A Guide to Replacing Kitchen Countertops


Replacing your kitchen countertops can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Old, worn-out countertops can make your kitchen appear dated and dingy. Putting in new countertops is one of the best investments you can make when remodeling your kitchen.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of replacing your existing kitchen countertops with new ones. We’ll discuss the different countertop materials available, provide tips on choosing the right countertops for your kitchen, outline the costs involved, and give you a step-by-step overview of the installation process.

Whether you plan on installing new countertops yourself or hiring a professional, the information in this guide will help you select the perfect countertops and ensure that your kitchen makeover goes smoothly. So let’s get started!

Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons

The first big decision you’ll need to make when replacing your kitchen countertops is choosing the right material. There are a number of options to consider, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of the most popular countertop materials:



  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • Available in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns
  • Adds value to your home


  • Expensive
  • Requires periodic sealing
  • Porous and can stain
  • Needs to be installed by a professional



  • Durable, non-porous surface resistant to stains and scratches
  • Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Heat and stain resistant


  • More expensive than laminate
  • Can chip if subjected to heavy impact
  • Seams may be visible



  • Elegant, timeless look
  • Heat resistant
  • Adds value to your home


  • Expensive
  • Easily etched and stained
  • Requires resealing every year
  • Scratches and stains are difficult to remove



  • Budget-friendly option
  • Wide range of styles and colors
  • Low maintenance


  • Not as durable as stone surfaces
  • Sensitive to heat, scratches and stains
  • Seams can wear down over time

Butcher Block


  • Warm, natural aesthetic
  • Durable and scratch-resistant
  • Naturally antimicrobial
  • Easy installation


  • Requires frequent resealing
  • Easily stained
  • Not heat or moisture resistant
  • Shows wear and scratches over time

Solid Surface


  • Seamless appearance
  • Durable and scratch-resistant
  • Available in wide range of colors
  • Non-porous and resistant to stains
  • Easy to clean


  • More expensive than laminate
  • Not heat resistant
  • Can be damaged by heavy impacts
  • Visible seams in some colors

Once you review the pros and cons of each material, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and select the right countertop for your kitchen. Be sure to consider your budget, kitchen usage, and desired aesthetic.

How to Choose the Right Countertops

With so many options to pick from, choosing new countertops for your kitchen can feel overwhelming. Follow this criteria to help guide your decision:

Step 1: Set your budget. Countertop pricing ranges dramatically from affordable laminates to high-end natural stone. Determine how much you can reasonably spend before starting your search.

Step 2: Consider your kitchen’s functionality. Do you frequently bake, cook, or entertain guests? If so, heat-resistant materials like granite and quartz are ideal. Active families may want ultra-durable surfaces that can handle heavy daily use.

Step 3: Decide on the look you want. Sleek and modern? Rustic farmhouse charm? Classic white marble? Browse photos online or in home design magazines to identify your desired aesthetic. This will help narrow down material and color options.

Step 4: Review material pros and cons. Refer to the breakdown earlier in this guide to compare durability, maintenance needs, and other factors across countertop options.

Step 5: See samples in person. Don’t rely solely on photos! Visit home improvement stores to see slabs and speak with kitchen designers. Seeing materials first-hand can make choosing easier.

Step 6: Choose a professional installer. Research contractors thoroughly and make sure they have experience installing your preferred material. Check reviews and ask to see examples of past work.

Follow this process and take your time making the decision. The right countertops can make your kitchen beautiful and functional for years to come.

Cost of New Kitchen Countertops

What can you expect to pay for new kitchen countertops? Prices vary widely based on the material you select and several other factors. Here is an overview of average costs:

Laminate: $20 – $50 per sq. ft.

Engineered Quartz: $80 – $120 per sq. ft.

Granite: $60 – $100 per sq. ft.

Marble: $70 – $150 per sq. ft.

Butcher Block: $30 – $70 per sq. ft.

Concrete: $50 – $100 per sq. ft.

Stainless Steel: $100 – $200 per sq. ft.

Keep in mind that the total cost of your new countertops will depend on:

  • Material chosen: As shown above, stone, quartz, and premium materials cost more.
  • Countertop size/layout: More surface area = higher price. Creative shapes and edges also add cost.
  • Fabrication: Custom cutting, edging, and etching can increase fabrication fees.
  • Installation: Hiring an experienced professional is advised for natural stone. This adds labor costs.
  • Location: Materials and labor tend to cost more in major metro areas.
  • Specialty features: Built-in workstations, sinks, added counter space all raise the budget.

While certain materials like granite may seem expensive upfront, they add immense value and beauty to any kitchen. Set your budget and find the best possible deal on the countertops you love most.

How to Install New Kitchen Countertops

Once you’ve selected your new countertops, it’s time to focus on the installation process. Here is a step-by-step overview:

Step 1: Make Templates

The installer will create a template to get exact measurements for cutting the slabs. Templates ensure your new countertops fit precisely in your kitchen’s space.

Step 2: Demolish and Remove Old Countertops

If you’re replacing existing countertops, they’ll need to be safely removed. Cut countertops with a circular saw or oscillator. Disconnect sinks and plumbing. Take precautions to protect walls and cabinets.

Step 3: Prepare the Base Cabinets

Inspect cabinets for level and make any needed adjustments. Seal the cabinets if painting or refinishing. Install new cabinets if part of your remodel.

Step 4: Cut and Fabricate New Countertops

Your countertop slabs will be transported to a fabrication workshop. Here they are cut to the specifications on your templates. Edges, holes for sinks, built-in workstations and more are added.

Step 5: Install Your New Countertops

The installer transports your custom fabricated pieces to your kitchen for installation. Countertops are secured to cabinets with adhesive, screws, and other hardware.

Step 6: Seal and Finish Countertops

Natural stone countertops require sealing to prevent stains and etching. The installer will apply the sealant. Backsplashes and end panels may also be added.

Step 7: Reinstall Sinks and Appliances

With your new countertops in place, sinks, faucets, and appliances can be put back in. Make sure these are installed properly so your new surfaces are not damaged.

And that’s it – your kitchen has a gorgeous new countertop installation! Enjoy this exciting upgrade.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About New Kitchen Countertops

Still have some questions about the process of installing new kitchen countertops? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to install new kitchen countertops?

The installation process usually takes 2-3 days from start to finish. The demo and removal of old countertops is done on day one. New countertops are installed on day two. Finishing touches are completed on day three.

Should I replace my kitchen cabinets too?

It is not mandatory, but many homeowners choose to replace cabinets when installing new countertops. The old cabinets likely won’t match the look and finish of your new counters. Refacing or painting cabinets is an affordable option.

How do I find the right countertop installer?

Look for an experienced professional installer who specializes in your chosen material (granite, marble, etc). Check reviews and ask to see photos of past kitchen countertop projects they have completed.

Can I install kitchen countertops myself?

Laminate and some other DIY-friendly options can be self-installed. However, natural stone requires special cutting and fabrication tools best left to the pros. Improper self-installation could lead to cracks, chips or other damage.

Do I need to be home during the countertop installation?

No, you do not need to be home. But it is wise to be present at some point during the process to visually inspect the new countertops and confirm everything looks perfect.

How long do I wait to use my new countertops after installation?

Adhesives and sealants need 24-48 hours to fully cure. Avoid sitting anything heavy on new counters during this time. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for any specifics.

How often do I need to reseal my natural stone countertops?

Granite, marble and other natural stones need resealing every 1-2 years to maintain their protective barrier. Quartz and other engineered stones rarely need sealing.

What’s the best way to clean and care for my new countertops?

Use a mild soap and soft cloth when cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads. Blot spills immediately. Check the manufacturer’s care guidelines for your specific material.


A kitchen countertop replacement can revitalize the entire look and functionality of your space. Transforming your outdated or damage countertops into a beautiful new surface delivers instant visual impact. Use the guidance in this article to choose the perfect countertops and complete this project smoothly and successfully. With proper care and maintenance, your new countertops can look stunning for decades.