Engineered Stone Countertop Cost Guide
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Engineered stone countertops are created using a process that binds crushed stone together utilizing a polymer resin. The primary material employed is typically quartz. The resulting product is highly customizable and easy to use. Maintenance of engineered stone products is typically less than with natural stone products, which may need to be treated from time to time. Engineered stone can be cut and milled in the same manner as other stone products that are available for creating countertops, and this allows contractors to readily substitute engineered stone when a plan might call for something else.
Average Costs of a 50-square-foot engineered stone countertop
Minimum = $2,400
Maximum = $5,000
Materials costs for engineered stone range between $50 and $100 per square foot installed. This cost is similar to costs for granite countertops.
Additional materials can be added to the composite to create different looks, and pricing should be adjusted upward accordingly.
The biggest benefit of engineered stone is long-term durability and ease of maintenance. Engineered stone does not require the regular treatments and attention that other stone countertop materials often entail. Engineered stone can be cut just like other products, and this makes it very easy to use in any planned projects. The product also tends to last longer than other stone materials that are used for creating countertops, and this can yield long-term cost benefits despite the fact that initial costs are similar to other stone countertop materials.
The composite materials put in engineered stone can be modified to suit the needs of a customer. This allows contractors to mix and match different types of materials, such as glass, in order to create different colors and looks using engineered stone. This allows engineered stone to be used in a much more creative fashion than most other stone countertop materials.
Engineered stone is highly resistant to heat and can take a great deal of abuse, making it a superb material for highly active kitchen areas. It also tends to not take up bacteria or mold easily, making it a fairly healthy material to use for a cutting surface.
It’s much easier to create a visually consistent appearance using engineered stone as opposed to using naturally occurring materials such as marble or granite. This makes replacement and repair projects easier for contractors to address down the road. It’s easy for contractors to specify how they want the stone to look, and this ultimately reduces costs because suppliers don’t have to look through large volumes of materials in order to identify something that suits the customer’s needs.
Most contractors should be familiar with using engineered stone. Due to its simple design and ease of use, even those who aren’t familiar with it can quickly catch on. It doesn’t demand the acquisition of any new equipment that someone familiar with installing stone countertops wouldn’t already have on-hand.
Engineered stone is primarily made from a composite of crushed quartz stone and polymer resin. By weight, it should be about 93-percent quartz and 7-percent resin. By volume, engineered stone should be about 66-percent quartz and 34-percent resin.
Different mixtures are available, thanks to the process that’s used to create the composite. Portions of the quartz mixture can be readily substituted with glass or other materials to produce a wide range of looks. Veining and other patterns can be easily implemented by choosing different mixtures for the composite material involved. The materials used in engineered stone can be readily cut using a water jet cutter. This permits almost any qualified stone countertop contractor to use engineered stone without any equipment upgrades.
Engineered stone is not typically thought to have different grades of materials. To the extent that differences between engineered stone materials might exist, they are deliberate products of the process of creating the composite. These different materials and additional processing efforts can result in significant deviations in pricing of engineered stone.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Engineered Stone Countertops
While engineered stone is not cheap in any sense, it tends to be at the lower-end of the price range for stone countertop materials. The cost of engineered stone is comparable to granite and significantly cheaper than marble. For customers who are looking to get a marble countertop look at a cheaper price, engineered stone offers an impressive range of options while also providing significantly greater visual consistency than marble.
Engineered stone can readily be used for projects that were planned with other materials in mind. It’s very simple for a contractor to start using, and the high level of consistency between slabs of material permits greater leeway in putting together large sections of countertop. This also reduces the likelihood that a different contractor in the future will have trouble matching the material if a section needs to be replaced. Any contractor already capable of installing stone countertops should be able to readily install engineered stone products.
The primary disadvantage of engineered stone is the question of authenticity. For customers who wish to obtain the most authentic and natural stone appearance, the consistency of engineered stone may not suit their taste. While it is possible to achieve the more natural look of veined or weathered-stone materials using engineered stone, the effort to produce that look is likely to bring the project closer in cost to simply using natural stone materials in the first place.
While engineered stone countertops are considered to be heat-resistant, they are generally considered to be less resistant than marble or granite. It is also more susceptible to sudden changes in temperature, which may cause the resin to react. Expansion and contraction over time are more common with engineered stone than natural stone materials.
Engineered stone offers an alternative to traditional stone when building a new counter. Dramatic looks that cannot typically be achieved using natural stone can be easily created using quartz and mixed materials. This opens up a range of design and budget options.
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Last updated on Apr 1, 2015