For kitchen remodeling in our Rome, New York, townhome we're going for a contemporary look. I'd like granite countertops. My wife says if you can't actually cut food on granite, why not save money and get granite-looking laminate countertops and use cutting boards on them. Percentage-wise, how much more expensive is granite?
Mark T. ~ Rome, New York
Mark, like so many products in the building industry, there is wide range of costs for both granite and laminate counter tops. Within this wide cost range, you can expect granite counter tops to cost more than double what you will pay for laminate counter tops. One reason for the differing prices is that fabricating granite counter tops takes very specialized equipment, while laminate counter tops can be made using basic carpentry tools like a saw and a router.
When comparing the prices of the two materials, keep in mind that the advertised price of granite often does not include fabricating the edge profile, cutting out the hole for the sink, polishing the stone, or creating the back-splash. This means that a "well priced" slab of granite can skyrocket in cost once the details of the fabrication are fully realized.
That being said, granite counter tops are both durable and beautiful, and oftentimes they become the showpiece of a remodeled kitchen. One way to keep the costs of granite counter tops reasonable is to choose a modestly priced slab or an acceptable remnant, and then select a standard edge profile and design. If you decide that the cost is too prohibitive for your remodeling budget, then choose a high quality laminate and dress it up with a wood edge detail and a tile back-splash. Good luck making your decision, and I hope your remodel turns out like you want it to!