Engineered quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodels due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, quartz countertops are not the most budget-friendly choice compared to options like laminate. Here is an in-depth guide on where to buy affordable engineered quartz countertops without sacrificing quality or style.
Check Big Box Stores for Sales and Bundles
Big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer some of the best deals on engineered quartz countertops. They buy materials in bulk directly from manufacturers, allowing them to pass savings on to customers. Watch for sales, especially around major holidays when stores are eager to move inventory. Bundled packages that include installation and edges for one set price can also yield significant savings compared to piecing together separate purchases.
Home Depot’s house brand MSI Q Premium Natural Quartz collection starts around $54 per square foot installed. Lowes’ house brand Allen + Roth Quartz Countertops start at $55 per square foot installed. These prices beat many small fabrication shops. Be sure to get quotes from multiple locations.
Find Warehouse Stores with Quartz In-Stock
Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club sell ready-made slabs of popular engineered quartz brands like Caesarstone in standard sizes. This allows them to offer discounted prices since you are not paying for custom fabrication. Expect to pay around $50 per square foot for materials. You’ll also need to arrange your own measurement, template, fabrication, and installation, but the savings can be worth the extra effort.
Order Samples to Get Estimates from Local Fabricators
Don’t limit yourself to big box stores. Order free samples from leading quartz brands like Cambria, Cosentino, Viatera, and Quartz Master. Bring them to local countertop fabricators to get exact quotes for materials and fabrication. Having them bid with actual samples yields the most accurate estimates. Local shops may be willing to price match or beat quotes you received from large retailers.
Negotiate Discounts for Payment in Full
Many countertop shops offer 5-10% discounts if you pay the entire project cost upfront rather than in installments. This can yield significant savings, especially on larger kitchen remodels. Just be sure to get everything in writing first regarding project scope and timeline. Never pay in full until after the templating appointment where they take exact measurements.
Purchase Remnants for Small Installations
For small projects like bathroom vanities, inquire with fabricators about purchasing remnant pieces. These are leftovers from previous jobs that are sold at a heavily discounted price. You can sometimes find pieces precut to standard vanity sizes. Just watch for ugly seams where slabs were joined. Remnants allow you to get the high-end engineered quartz look on a slim budget.
Skip complicating Backsplashes and Edges
Backsplashes, edge profiles, and intricate cutouts can add beauty to engineered quartz countertops, but they also add to the price tag. Opting for a standard 1/2 bullnose edge profile and avoiding extra trims like backsplashes can yield savings. There are ways to add decorative elements later for much less.
Consider Alternative Thicknesses
Engineered quartz slabs typically come in 3/4″ or 1-1/4″ thicknesses. The thicker option is more robust for counters like kitchen islands that see heavy use. However, the thinner 3/4″ slabs cost 15-20% less while still offering durability. If you don’t need the heft, pocket the savings by downsizing thickness.
Use an Independent Installer
Hiring an independent installer instead of having the fabricator do the install can lead to savings. However, make sure they have experience with engineered quartz specifically, as it requires specialized techniques like hanging supports and silicone seaming. Get references to verify quality workmanship.
Check Discount or Surplus Building Supply Stores
Check with discount building supply stores like Habitat for Humanity ReStores to see if they have any excess quartz inventory sold at a discount. Also look for closeout sales from local vendors going out of business. This approach takes more effort but can yield amazing deals.
Buy Medium-Grade Rather than High-End Quartz
Engineered quartz prices vary widely based on name brand and aesthetics. High-end luxury brands like Caesarstone can cost $100+ per square foot. However, medium-grade quartz like MSI Q Premium Natural Quartz offer similar durability and appearance for half the cost.
Use Quartz for High-Impact Areas Only
Using quartz selectively in high-impact zones can help diminish the overall project cost. Quartz for islands and cooking zones paired with laminate for the rest of the perimeter is a budget-friendly combo. Having less quartz fabricated also lowers the installation price.
Purchase Small-Batch or Locally Sourced Materials
Some local countertop shops order quartz in smaller batches from regional suppliers, allowing them to get bulk discounts that they pass onto customers. Supporting these local brands minimizes transport costs as well.
With some savvy shopping techniques, you can find stylish, durable engineered quartz countertops for under $50 per square foot. Big box stores, warehouse clubs, negotiating with local fabricators, and opting for medium-tier rather than luxury brands are key cost-saving strategies. With a careful approach, you can get the high-end engineered quartz look you love without breaking the budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the cheapest engineered quartz brands?
Some of the most affordable and reputable engineered quartz brands include MSI Q Premium Natural Quartz, Allen + Roth Quartz from Lowes, Cambria Bella Quartz, Viatera Quartz, Silestone Lyra Quartz, and Quartz Master. These offer prices starting around $50 per square foot.
Is engineered quartz cheaper than granite?
On average, both materials cost about the same per square foot, in the range of $50-100. However, granite requires periodic sealing while quartz does not, so long-term maintenance costs may be lower with quartz. Granite also has more variation while quartz offers uniformity.
What is the least expensive countertop material?
Laminate is the most budget-friendly countertop material, starting around $20-30 per square foot installed. However, laminate is less durable than engineered quartz. Other low-cost options include wood butcher block, ceramic tile, and recycled glass countertops, all under $50 per square foot installed.
Should I buy prefabricated quartz?
Prefabricated quartz costs 20-30% less than custom fabrication, starting around $40 per square foot. However, your design options are limited to whatever stock sizes are available. Prefab works best for small projects like bathroom vanities where simple sizing is fine. Custom fabrication is ideal for larger jobs.
Is it worth paying extra for thick quartz?
The 1-1/4″ thick quartz is about 15-20% more than 3/4″ thick. If you tend to be rough on counters when cooking or need an overhang for bar seating, the added robustness is worth it. For most tasks, the 3/4″ slab holds up beautifully while saving money.
Does Lowes or Home Depot have better deals on quartz?
Home Depot and Lowes price their house-brand quartz very competitively, around $55 per square foot installed. Lowes may run more frequent promotions on their Allen + Roth brand, but it pays to get quotes from both. Locally owned shops may also beat big box store pricing.