Stainless Steel Countertops Price Guide
A stainless steel countertop blends seamlessly with trendy stainless steel kitchen appliances. Many people like the polished look of stainless steel as well as the ease of cleaning it. Stainless steel is an affordable choice and can be coordinated with nearly any type of flooring, cabinetry or wall color. For many years, stainless steel countertops were only found in commercial kitchens at restaurants and school cafeterias. As consumers expand their tastes, stainless steel countertops are rising in popularity for residential use as well.
The average minimum cost of stainless steel countertops is $67.76 per square foot.
The average maximum cost of stainless steel countertops is $95.51 per square foot.
Additional Costs Associated With Stainless Steel Countertops
In addition to the cost of the primary material, the installation of stainless steel countertops requires payment for supplies such as metal fasteners, adhesives, polishes, nuts, screws and bolts. The average cost of supplies for the installation of 100 square feet of stainless steel countertops is $265.88. Professionals typically install stainless steel countertops. The average cost per hour of labor is $65.50. Installations of stainless steel countertops with multiple seams or of unusual shapes cost more in supplies and labor. Adding a backsplash to the stainless steel counter also increases the cost of supplies and labor. Removal of old countertops can add to the labor costs for the overall project.
A stainless steel countertop is not a solid slab of steel. Stainless steel counters are actually comprised of a sheet of stainless steel metal that is attached to a wooden backing and then installed on top of the cabinets. The thickness of a residential stainless steel countertop typically ranges from 14 to 16 gauge steel, or 0.0625 to 0.0781 inches thick. Stainless steel countertops installed in commercial kitchens are made of thicker sheets of steel to withstand more frequent and heavier use. Stainless steel countertops can be custom produced, or homeowners can select pieces off the rack that are ready for installation.
Types of Finishes
Stainless steel countertops are available in a variety of finishes. A finish refers to how the manufacturer applies the last layer of polish to prepare the surface for installation and use. Finishes are rated on a scale of 0 to 8. Below are the meanings of each rating:
Type 0 is the most polished finish and reflects the most light.
Type 1 stainless steel is hot rolled and passivated.
Type 2 is polished and annealed.
Type 3 stainless steel is a coarse finish.
Type 4 is a brushed finish and is the most common choice for countertops.
Type 5 stainless steel has a satin finish.
Type 6 has a matte finish.
Type 7 stainless steel has a reflective finish.
Type 8 has a reflective finish.
Stainless steel comes in a variety of grades. The grade of a sheet of stainless steel is determined by the elements added to the steel as well as the crystalline structure. Additions to the carbon structure may include molybdenum, titanium or copper. Common grades of stainless steel include:
200 series: This type of austenitic crystalline structure accounts for the majority of stainless steel produced, but it is a less common choice for countertops.
300 series: This is an austenitic crystalline structure with a greater proportion of alloys including 18 percent chromium and eight percent nickel. The nickel composition can be increased to up to 10 percent for countertops as well as for cookware and cutlery.
300 series: This super austenitic stainless steel is more expensive than austenitic stainless steel, and it is generally used in commercial countertops where durability is needed.
There are many different manufacturers of stainless steel countertops. Some of the most popular brands for residential countertops include Mott Manufacturing Countertops, Countertops and Islands Inc., Specialty Stainless Inc., Premier Surfaces Inc., Eagle Group Countertops, A-Line Stainless Steel Countertops, Advance Tabco Countertops, Stainless Living Countertops, Kitchen Source Stainless Craft and Revere Custom Stainless Steel. These brands come in a variety of finishes and grades to suit consumer needs and expectations for durability, aesthetics and longevity.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Countertops
One of the leading advantages of installing stainless steel countertops is that this material is one of the most hygienic choices. Because stainless steel is non-porous, it is easy to remove the bacteria and viruses that may come off the surfaces of raw meat. It is easy for the cook to clean up after preparing food and cooking. Stainless steel countertops are highly durable and tend to have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. Stainless steel does not rust, chip, fade or corrode. Cleaning stainless steel countertops just requires liquid detergent and a soft cloth. Vinegar or bleach solutions can be used to disinfect the countertops after raw meat or other potentially contaminated foods have been placed on the surface. Homeowners can place a hot pan directly onto the stainless steel countertop without worrying about damage. Stainless steel also comes in many different finishes, ranging from highly polished and shiny to matte and brushed. This allows the homeowner to coordinate the countertops with cabinetry hardware, appliances and flooring. A stainless steel countertop fits in well with a retro kitchen or a modern kitchen.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel countertops are more expensive than many other popular countertop choices such as granite or marble. Some people feel that stainless steel lacks the warmth or friendliness that is expected in the décor of a home kitchen. The surface of stainless steel countertops can become scratched or dented by falling or sharp objects. When damaged, stainless steel countertops are difficult to repair. Fingerprints, smudges and smears show up easily on stainless steel countertops. Food cannot be cut directly on the countertop without the surface being damaged. Stainless steel countertops are noisy especially when they come into contact with another metal. Banging and clanging sounds are common in a kitchen where stainless steel countertops are installed.
Last updated on Apr 1, 2015
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