Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom renovations due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. Though quartz counters are on the pricier end of countertop options, it is possible to find affordable quartz countertops if you know where to look. This article will discuss the benefits of quartz counters, provide tips for finding discounted quartz, and recommend the best places to buy inexpensive quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resin and pigments. The quartz composition makes these counters extra hard and durable. Here are some key advantages of quartz counters:
- Extremely durable – Quartz has high resistance to scratches, stains, burns, and chips. Quartz rates 7-9 on the Mohs hardness scale compared to a rating of 4 for granite.
- Low maintenance – Quartz requires very little maintenance compared to other natural stone counters. Simple cleaning with a damp cloth and mild detergent is all that is needed.
- Stain resistant – The non-porous nature of quartz makes it resistant to stains from spills. However, acidic substances like wine or lemon juice can dull the surface over time.
- Consistent appearance – The manufactured process creates a very consistent look. Natural stone has more variation.
- Integrated sinks & backsplashes – Quartz can be fabricated into one-piece countertops with integrated sinks and backsplashes for a seamless appearance.
- Variety of colors and patterns – From solid whites to bold granites, quartz comes in a wide array of colors and patterns to fit any décor.
Cost of Quartz Counters
Quartz counters range in cost from $50-100 per square foot installed. Here are some factors that determine the total cost of quartz counters:
- Base Material Price – Basic quartz counters start around $50 per square foot while premium brands run $70-100 per square foot.
- Color and Pattern – Complex patterns and unique colors tend to increase the price.
- Thickness – Standard thickness is 3/4″, but thicker 1 1/4″ counters are more durable.
- Edge Profiles – Decorative edges like ogee, bevel, and eased add $10-15 per linear foot.
- Labor Costs – Approximately 50% of the total price is fabrication and installation labor.
- Backsplashes & Curbing – Adding backsplashes and curbs around sinks increases overall project costs.
- Appliances & Sinks – Integrated sinks, cooktops, and other appliances can significantly increase costs.
Tips for Finding Affordable Quartz
Though quartz is pricier than materials like laminate, there are ways to find discounted quartz and keep project costs down. Here are some tips that can help you find cheap quartz countertops near you:
Shop Warehouse Stores
Big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer quartz countertops at affordable prices. Their in-house brands Hampton Bay and Allen + Roth often cost $10-20 less per square foot compared to name brands. These retailers have large inventories and offer frequent sales on countertops.
Look for Surplus Inventory
Local countertop retailers may have remnant pieces or surplus inventory in odd sizes, discontinued colors, or misordered slabs. These outlets are often willing to sell surplus quartz at a discount to clear space. Be sure to get professional installation for cut-to-size remnants.
Choose a Thinner Countertop
Opting for a 3/4 inch thickness instead of 1 1/4 inch thickness can save $5-10 per square foot. The thinner quartz is still very durable for most residential uses.
Select a Simple Edge Profile
Keep edge profiles simple. A standard eased or minimal bevel edge can save $10-15 per linear foot compared to decorative edges like ogee, triple waterfall, or dupont.
Installing the countertop yourself can potentially save hundreds in labor costs. This option only works for simple countertop layouts. Professional installation is recommended for more complex projects.
Avoid Sinks and Backsplashes
Get quotes with and without integrated sinks and backsplashes. Having these done separately can possibly reduce costs. But weigh this against potential additional installation labor.
Where to Buy Discount Quartz Counters
To maximize savings on quartz countertops, focus your search on the following affordable options:
1. Home Improvement Store Brands
Large home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell their own exclusive quartz product lines at prices up to 50% less than name brands like Caesarstone and Silestone.
Home Depot sells Hampton Bay quartz which ranges from $40-$70 per square foot. They frequently run 15-20% sales making these counters even more budget friendly.
Lowe’s Allen + Roth quartz line starts around $50 per square foot. Frequent sales and discounted remnants make this a great value choice.
Both brands come with professional installation and a 15-year warranty. Shop display models and in-stock slabs for the best deals.
IKEA offers an affordable quartz line called Sektion starting at just $45 per square foot including free installation. Their in-house team will custom cut and install your counters.
This is an exceptional value for simple countertop layouts. Visit your local IKEA or order online for 10% off your total order.
3. Floor & Decor
This national flooring retailer also sells granite, marble, and quartz slabs at everyday low prices. Their house brand Q Premium Natural Quartz counters start at just $47 per square foot.
Frequent sales can drop prices to under $40 per square foot. Free sinks are often included in packages. Professional installation available.
4. Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Check for discounted secondhand quartz counters at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Homeowners will often donate these when remodeling.
ReStores have unpredictable inventory but have steep discounts at 50-90% off retail prices if you can find quartz. Hire a pro for custom cut-to-size installation.
5.clearance section at big box stores or local suppliers
Sometimes quartz suppliers and installers have remnants or leftovers when completing a job. Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s will often clearance these out at 50% or more off.
Local countertop suppliers also tend to have remnant slabs they are willing to sell at a discount. These provide the opportunity for major savings but may require some more effort to have cut and installed properly.
6. Order samples from manufacturers
Many quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone will send free quartz samples in 4″ by 4″ pieces. These samples sometimes show up on eBay or Craigslist where flippers resell them for $5-10 each.
With some patience, you could acquire enough discounted samples to create a unique, cheap mosaic countertop. Hire an experienced fabricator for installation.
7. Negotiate with fabricators and suppliers
Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially if purchasing remnants or having countertops installed in off-peak seasons. Many retailers are willing to negotiate 10-20% off standard prices.
Offering to pay cash upfront can also motivate extra discounts from fabricators. But make sure to get all agreements for pricing and installation in writing first before finalizing a discounted deal.
What to Look for When Buying Cheap Quartz
To ensure you get high-quality quartz countertops even at lower price points, be sure to check the following:
- Thickness – Choose at least 3/4” slab thickness for durability and structural support. Steer clear of very thin 1/2″ pieces.
- Warranty – Opt for quartz that comes with at least a 10-year manufacturer warranty. Many big box options include 15 years.
- Reputation of the retailer and fabricator – Read reviews and check complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Avoid risks.
- Quartz percentage – Higher quartz content averages 90% or more. Lower content means more plastic resins.
- Finish quality – Inspect edges and seams closely. Look for clean uniformity with no major chips or cracks.
- Fabricator reviews – If hiring separate for install, read reviews to avoid sloppy fabrication or poor fitting joints.
- Sample inspection – Personally review and inspect an actual slab sample before finalizing purchase to avoid surprises.
Do Quartz Countertops Add Value?
Given their designer look and durability, quartz counters do add resale value over outdated laminate or tile. But quartz may add less value than materials like granite and marble.
In the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report from the NARI, granite countertop upgrades recovered about 75% of costs at resale. Meanwhile, quartz counters only recouped around 65% of costs.
However, newer reports show quartz rapidly gaining popularity. So quartz may appreciate more in the future as it becomes more standard.
But the biggest value add of new quartz counters comes from modernizing an outdated kitchen or bath. Even if you don’t fully recover costs, the upgrade can still help sell a home quicker.
Do Quartz Counters Need to be Sealed?
Unlike porous natural stone, quartz does not need regular sealing. The resin binder creates an impervious surface that resists staining. But proper cleaning and care is still important:
- For regular cleaning, use a mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Disinfect surfaces with diluted bleach or ammonia-based cleaners.
- Blot spills quickly to avoid any staining, especially oils and juices.
- Reseal if countertops become noticeably duller or develop etch marks over time. Use a penetrating sealer made for engineered quartz.
Quartz vs. Granite vs. Marble
How does quartz compare to other popular natural stone countertops? Here is a brief rundown:
- Very durable surface
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Resists scratches and stains
- Consistent color and patterning
- Can scorch at high heat
- Needs occasional resealing
- Hard, durable surface
- Heat and scratch resistant
- Can chip if hit hard
- Needs yearly sealing
- Natural unique patterns
- Can have radon gas emissions
- Softer surface prone to etching
- Can stain easily
- Needs frequent sealing
- Classic natural beauty
- Lovely veining detail
- Can be stained by acids
Should I Buy Cheap Quartz?
In summary, quartz makes an excellent countertop choice that offers durability and low maintenance at affordable prices. Opting for discounted big box store brands, remnants, and specials allows you to enjoy the pros of quartz while minimizing the higher costs.
Focus your search on warehouse outlets, clearance sales, negotiating fabricators, and being flexible on sizing and colors. With smart shopping, you can find cheap quartz countertops that keep your project within budget. But don’t sacrifice quality just to save a few dollars. Carefully vet retailers and installers.
Inspect all slabs thoroughly before purchasing. With due diligence, you can successfully upgrade to beautiful and affordable quartz countertops.