Onyx Countertop Prices
When it comes to choosing a countertop, homeowners have a lot of styles from which to choose. One that has been growing in popularity in recent years is onyx countertops. There are many reasons why onyx has proven to be so popular, but a lot of it has to do with its unique patterns and beauty, which are only made possible thanks to its natural coloring. Unfortunately, since onyx is a type of quartz, it can be an expensive choice for a countertop. Here is some important information about the cost of installing onyx countertops that all homeowners should know about.
The cost of onyx countertops is expensive in itself. On average, prices can range between $40/sf on the low side to $250/sf on the high side. One factor that will greatly increase the price is the size of the onyx slabs installed. Onyx is a very brittle material and should only be installed by a professional. Having the counter broken up into different onyx slabs that are connected will cost less than having the onyx countertop installed in one large piece.
Another consideration when buying onyx is how it's formed. The grade and appearance of onyx depends a lot on how the quartz is ground. For example, when quartz like onyx is ground finely, it produces a very smooth look. If homeowners want onyx countertops that produce more of a flecked appearance, they want an onyx countertop that is coarsely ground. The cost will also vary a lot, depending out of which onyx the countertop is made. All natural onyx is going to be more expensive than man-made onyx. In general, man-engineered onyx still contains roughly 90% quartz. The other material that makes up the onyx countertop will vary the pricing as well. For the most part, the other ingredients found in man-made onyx contain around 10% polymers, resins and pigments to adjust the coloring.
Since onyx and other quartz countertops can be difficult to work with, the cost of installation makes up a huge chunk of the overall cost. The cost to have onyx professionally installed will vary depending on the contractor hired to install it. Low-end installation usually costs around $320 for 50sf. Higher-end installation costs can be as much as $400 for the same square footage. Although these prices are high, homeowners should not consider trying to install onyx countertops themselves.
Homeowners should also remember that most contractors will haul away their existing countertops. The fee for this isn't usually included in the original labor quote, so it will cost extra if homeowners want to take advantage of this service. It is highly recommended homeowners hire contractors who offer a haul-away service.
The materials needed to install an onyx countertop are pretty similar to the materials used in the installation of any other countertop. The first thing homeowners will have to determine is the brand of onyx they want to use. Breton, an Italian company, is the only company that owns a patent to produce solid surface quartz countertops. Most of the other well-known companies use this patent to make their own quartz countertops. Some of the big names to consider are Avanza, DuPont, Cambria, Cosentino and Technistone.
As far as choosing the best brand is concerned, Silestone is often considered the best. Although most brands offer the same quality onyx countertops, Silestone has an edge because of the anti-microbial protection it puts on its products. However, since onyx is naturally resistant to bacteria because it is smooth, the best brand usually just comes down to preference.
When buying any quartz countertops, including onyx, one of the main things homeowners need to be aware of is the grade. Most sellers break their onyx into the following grades:
First Choice: This is the highest grade onyx offered. Sometimes it's also referred to as "AA" or "Exotic" grade. These slabs of onyx are nearly flawless. However, this does not mean they are stronger than lower grades.
Commercial: This is usually a good grade of onyx for people who are on a budget. Although it might not have the same quality as other grades, it is usually polished nicely to hide any defects.
Second Choice: These slabs usually have high contrast in coloring or natural discoloration. Because of the odd coloring, they are cut into smaller pieces, which makes them unusable in most kitchens. They offer just as much strength as higher grade onyx countertops. If homeowners can make a second choice grade work, they will be getting a good deal.
Advantages of Onyx Countertops
One of the biggest advantages of an onyx countertop is its look. This is an expensive countertop, and it shows. Having onyx installed will increase the value of a home. It also comes in a variety of colors, making it easy to find the right coloring to fit just about any scheme. Onyx countertops are extremely easy to clean and can be wiped down with warm, soapy water.
Disadvantages of Onyx Countertops
The biggest drawback to onyx countertops is the expense. There are many other options available that cost a fraction of the price. Also, due to its brittle nature, seams are unavoidable if the homeowner has a large countertop design. Onyx doesn't tolerate heat at all. Placing hot pans or plates on an onyx countertop can damage it, and there is really no way to fix a piece of onyx that has been burned. The homeowner would have to replace the whole piece of onyx.
In a world where everyone is trying to lower their carbon footprint, it's good to know quartz is a very abundant material. It's the second most readily available material in the Earth's crust. However, there are a few types of onyx countertops that should be avoided if homeowners want to go green because of the way they are produced. The problem is with the acrylic resins, which are used in the production of all quartz countertops. These are petroleum by-products, which means they often have alumina trihydrate fillers. Such fillers are made from bauxite ore, which is usually mined in developing countries using toxic chemicals.
Some onyx countertops are certified by GreenGuard. This means they have been developed in a way that is safe for the environment. Companies offering these onyx countertops include Silestone, Formica, Zodiaq and Wilsonart. Some brands such as Cambria Quartz are popular because they are made and mined completely in the United States.
Last updated on Oct 24, 2014
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