Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodels in recent years. But with their sleek, modern look comes a higher price tag than some other countertop materials. So how expensive are quartz countertops really?
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz particles combined with resin and pigment. It is molded into countertop slabs which are installed much like natural stone. Quartz is non-porous, stain resistant, and durable while still having the beautiful veining and patterns of natural stone.
Unlike granite or marble which are mined from quarries, quartz slabs are manufactured in factories allowing much more control over the look and consistency. The resin binds the crushed stone into a solid surface making it stronger than natural stone.
Some key advantages of quartz:
- Extremely durable and scratch resistant
- Stain, heat, and water resistant
- Non-porous so does not need to be sealed
- Available in wide range of colors/patterns
- Consistent look since manufactured
Quartz Countertop Cost Factors
Many factors go into the total installed price of quartz countertops. Here are some of the main considerations:
Quartz Material Cost
This is the cost per square foot of the slab before it is cut and fabricated. The material itself ranges from about $40-$100 per square foot. Some things that affect the material cost:
- Brand – Higher end brands like Caesarstone generally cost more than lower tier options.
- Color/Pattern – More exotic, unique patterns tend to cost more. Simple white/neutral colors are cheaper.
- Thickness – Standard is 3cm thick. Going to 2cm can save some cost.
- Location – Material prices can vary regionally based on distributors.
To have your quartz slabs cut, fabricated, transported, and professionally installed, costs typically range from $40-$100 per square foot. This includes:
- Template/measurement of space
- Precise cutting of quartz slab to specifications
- Shaping, edgework, and polishing
- Seam placement and sealing
- Installation labor
More complex job factors like a high number of seams, intricate edgework, or remote location can increase installation costs.
Total Quartz Countertop Cost
When you add up the material and installation costs, expect to pay $80-$200 per square foot for a installed quartz countertop.
For the average kitchen with 30 square feet of countertop space, total costs often fall between $2,500-$6,000.
Here is a rough breakdown of estimated quartz countertop costs for a typical 10′ x 3′ kitchen:
- Quartz Material: $50/sqft x 30 sqft = $1,500
- Fabrication & Install: $70/sqft x 30 sqft = $2,100
- Total: $3,600
So while not cheap, quartz often costs less than materials like granite or marble which have higher material and installation costs.
Factors That Impact Quartz Countertop Prices
Many different factors can cause quartz countertop costs to be on the higher or lower end of the price spectrum. Here are some of the biggest variables:
1. Quartz Brand
Quartz is made by several major manufacturers including Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone and others. The brand you choose makes a significant difference:
- Caesarstone – The most popular and largest quartz brand. Known for quality and patterns. Costs $55-$120/sqft.
- Cambria – Focus on natural stone look. $80-$140/sqft range.
- Silestone – Good reputation but more limited color options. Around $50-$100/sqft.
- Other brands – Smaller brands like MSI and Pental Quartz offer more budget options in the $40-$80/sqft range. Quality varies.
So while you can pay over $100/sqft for premium Caesarstone or Cambria, you can also spend half as much with lesser known, budget-friendly brands. This is a place many homeowners save on costs.
2. Color and Pattern
Another big factor in material cost is the color and pattern chosen. Simple whites and neutrals are the least expensive options. On the higher end, bold colors like reds or blacks or unique patterns with faux veins or mineral flecking add to the price.
For example, a bright white Caesarstone quartz may cost $55/sqft while an exotic blue and gray pattern with veins could be over $100/sqft from the same brand.
The standard thickness for quartz countertops is 3 cm (1.25 inches). Some manufacturers offer thinner 2 cm (0.75 inch) slabs which use less material and save on cost. These thinner options work well for applications like backsplashes but may not be ideal for heavy-use kitchen counters.
4. Edge Profiles
Fancy edge profiles and treatments will increase fabrication and installation costs. A standard eased or beveled edge is the most affordable. More ornate ogee, chamfered, or waterfall edges require extra cutting and finishing work so add to the price.
5. Installation Complexity
Simple countertop layouts with just a few seams will be cheaper to fabricate and install than complex designs with many seams, intricate seam placement, and special cutouts. Extra fabrication time adds cost.
Also, remote installation locations far from the fabricator’s shop mean extra transportation fees can apply. This is especially true for islands like Hawaii.
6. Contractor Markup
When going through a kitchen contractor or interior designer, expect them to markup the material and labor costs by 15-30% as they are project managing and taking a profit. Going direct to a fabricator can avoid some of these markups.
7. Regional Labor Costs
Installation fees are primarily labor costs. In areas with higher wages like New York City or San Francisco, expect to pay more compared to less expensive metro areas. Labor makes up the bulk of installation pricing.
How to Get the Best Price on Quartz Countertops
Here are some tips homeowners use to get the most affordable pricing:
- Shop around and get quotes from 3-4 fabricators
- Consider lesser known quartz brands to save on material costs
- Choose a basic white or neutral color instead of bold patterns
- Select the standard 3cm thickness instead of thicker options
- Opt for a simple edge profile like eased or beveled edges
- Use a kitchen calculator to get accurate measurements and square footage
- Avoid super complex installation situations if possible
- Ask for discounts from the fabricator, especially in slower seasons
- Provide your own sink and hardware to save on markup
- Install and seal the countertops yourself if competent DIYers
While quartz is still an investment, a bit of shopping around and smart specification choices can help you get closer to $80/sqft rather than $200/sqft for a major cost savings on your kitchen remodel.
Maintaining Quartz Countertops
Once installed, quartz requires very little maintenance compared to other natural stone. Here are some tips for keeping quartz counters looking like new:
- Use a mild soap and water for regular cleaning
- For stubborn messes, a gentle cleaner and non-abrasive sponge can be used
- Avoid exposing the surface to strong chemicals or solvents
- Blot up spills immediately to prevent staining
- Reseal with a special quartz sealer every 1-2 years
- Avoid cutting directly on the surface to prevent marks
- Use trivets or hot pads under hot pans to prevent thermal shock
The durability and non-porous nature of quartz makes it very low maintenance compared to alternatives like marble. With occasional resealing and protected from heat damage, quartz countertops stay looking pristine for years.
Should You Choose Quartz Countertops?
Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding on quartz:
- Extremely durable and scratch resistant surface
- Easy to keep clean and sanitize
- Resists stains, etching, and heat damage
- Wide variety of colors and patterns
- Consistent look since engineered in a factory
- Does not need frequent sealing like natural stone
- More affordable than natural stone
- Higher cost than laminate or tile
- Visible seams in installation
- Not quite as heat resistant as granite
- Made from non-renewable materials
- Can chip if subjected to heavy impact
For most homeowners, the pros of the durability, appearance, and maintenance outweigh the higher cost compared to materials like laminate. Quartz provides an upscale look and great functionality for decades. Just be sure to budget properly for both the material and professional installation.
Quartz Countertops: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have about quartz countertops:
How long do quartz countertops last?
With proper care, quartz countertops can last 50 years or longer before needing replacement. The durable engineered stone resists scratches, stains, and damage that deteriorate natural stone over time.
Do quartz countertops stain?
Quartz is non-porous so liquid spills and stains do not easily penetrate the surface. However, some oils and foods can leave a stain if not wiped up quickly. Overall, quartz resists stains remarkably well compared to other materials.
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
It’s not recommended to cut directly on the countertop. The resin binder between the quartz particles can be damaged by sharp knives. Always use a cutting board instead to maintain the integrity of the surface.
Do quartz countertops need to be sealed?
Periodic sealing is recommended every 1-2 years with quartz. Special quartz sealers help prevent stains and damage by creating a protective layer. More frequent sealing is needed for natural stone.
Are there cons to quartz countertops?
The only real downsides are the higher initial cost compared to options like laminate and the visible seams in the installation. Cracks and impact marks are also possible although rare. Otherwise quartz makes an excellent countertop for kitchens or baths.
Can you install quartz countertops yourself?
DIY installation is possible but challenging. Special tools are needed to cut and polish the edges of the slabs. Most homeowners opt to hire a professional to fabricate and install their quartz counters unless very experienced.
While not the cheapest option, quartz countertops provide unparalleled durability and visual appeal. Budgeting $80-$200 per square foot covers the costs of materials and professional installation. With some smart shopping you can get quartz counters that stand up beautifully to heavy use for decades.
Careful specification of color, edges, and layout during the design phase allows you to tailor the project to your budget. And proper maintenance keeps quartz looking like new years later. For a kitchen or bath remodel that provides lasting value and enjoyment, quartz countertops are an investment worth considering.