Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Three Inexpensive Countertop Materials for the Thrifty Kitchen Refacer

by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Thanks to the current recession, homeowners looking to reface or remodel their kitchens will likely want to do it for as little as possible, hence the popularity of kitchen cabinet refacing. For many homeowners, while granite or custom concrete countertops are an ideal option, they are simply out of the question when it comes to price. But if you are looking to refresh a dated kitchen, spice it up with a new color scheme, or simply redo worn-out countertops, you can still reface your countertops for less with these inexpensive materials.

Top 3 Inexpensive Countertop Materials

  • Laminate: The classic standby, laminate countertops are still used in many homes, and for good reason. Their most obvious advantage is price (typically, post-formed laminate starts at around $10 per square foot, while the more durable high-pressure laminate starts between $15 and $20 per square foot), and easy maintenance is a plus as well. However, laminate is susceptible to damage, especially from sharp knives and hot pans, so make sure you use hot pads, trivets, and cutting boards.
  • Ceramic tile: Ceramic tile may very well be the least expensive option for a homeowner with do-it-yourself ability and experience, costing as little as $11 per square foot. If you choose to have installation included, the cost typically runs a little higher, between $25 and $30 per square foot. Also, you can be nearly as creative as you like when it comes to ceramic tile. You can install it in colorful patterns, or use it on the walls as well to create a backsplash. Ceramic tile also includes the advantage that it is scratch- and heat-resistant, and a broken or chipped tile can be replaced without redoing the entire countertop. The drawbacks: the surface is quite hard (be careful with your wine glasses if you're clumsy), and keeping grout clean can be a challenge.
  • Butcher Block: Many people are fans of wood countertops because of the natural warm look they can bestow on a kitchen, and also because wood has some natural bacteria-fighting properties. Typically, butcher block countertops cost between $30 and $40 per square foot. Advantages include the fact that the countertop can be used as a cutting board, and stains or knicks can be sanded out and refinished. The downside? Wood countertops require oil reapplication every few weeks, so constant maintenance is a must.


Redoing your kitchen doesn't have to cost a lot. If your kitchen needs a new countertop, there are enough inexpensive countertop materials that there is likely something out there that appeals to you.


About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre

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