Update Your Kitchen With Inexpensive Countertops

Updating your kitchen with new countertops is one of the best ways to refresh the look and feel of this important room in your home. With the right inexpensive countertop options, you can transform your kitchen without breaking the bank. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know to update your kitchen with inexpensive countertops.

What to Consider When Updating Kitchen Countertops

When embarking on a kitchen countertop update, there are several key factors to consider:


What is your budget for new countertops? This will play a big role in determining which affordable countertop options are viable. Set a realistic budget and try to find the best value within your price range.

Existing Cabinets

Will you be keeping your existing cabinets or replacing them? The condition of your cabinets will impact the countertop installation process and costs.

Kitchen Size

Measure the square footage of your countertops to determine how much material you will need to purchase. Larger kitchens may have more limited affordable options.


How heavily used is your kitchen? High-traffic kitchens need durable countertop materials that can withstand daily use.


What look are you going for? Stylish inexpensive countertops can help modernize your kitchen’s aesthetic.

Skill Level

Some affordable options like concrete require more DIY skills. Evaluate your abilities or hire a contractor if needed.


Eco-friendly countertop materials like recycled glass are affordable and sustainable options.

Once you have considered these key factors, you can zero in on the best and most budget-friendly countertop solutions for your kitchen remodel.

Economical Kitchen Countertop Materials

Here are some of the most popular inexpensive countertop options:


  • Cost: $10-$40 per sq. ft. installed
  • Pros: Huge variety of colors/patterns, affordable, easy DIY install, scratch/scorch resistant.
  • Cons: Prone to chipping, not very durable, seam visible.
  • Best for: Rental properties, simple upgrades on a tight budget.

Engineered Quartz

  • Cost: $40-$100 per sq. ft. installed
  • Pros: Highly durable, easy maintenance, heat/scratch resistant, seamless look.
  • Cons: Limited colors, heavier, needs professional install.
  • Best for: Streamlined look without high cost of natural stone.


  • Cost: $50-$100 per sq. ft. for materials
  • Pros: Industrial, trendy look, heat/scratch resistant, durable, seamless.
  • Cons: Requires labor for pouring/sealing, takes skill to install.
  • Best for: DIYers wanting a stylish, durable option.

Butcher Block

  • Cost: $30-$70 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Warm look, budget-friendly, easy install, naturally antibacterial.
  • Cons: Prone to scratches/stains, needs resealing, impact damage.
  • Best for: Traditional style kitchens with lighter use.

Recycled Glass

  • Cost: $40-$100 per sq. ft. installed
  • Pros: Eco-friendly, stylish look, easy to clean, stain/scratch resistant.
  • Cons: Limited colors, heavy, needs professional fab/install.
  • Best for: Sleek, earth-friendly kitchens.


  • Cost: $10-$50 per sq. ft. installed
  • Pros: Endless patterns/colors, heat/stain resistant, easy DIY install.
  • Cons: Grout needs sealing, prone to cracks/chipping, uneven surface.
  • Best for: Bold patterned looks on a budget.

Stainless Steel

  • Cost: $70-$200 per sq. ft. installed
  • Pros: Sleek, modern look, durable, easy to clean, heat resistant.
  • Cons: Prone to scratches/dents, noisy, limited colors, professional install needed.
  • Best for: Contemporary kitchens with clean lines.

With some savvy shopping, you can find chic and affordable options like these that help you transform your kitchen within a reasonable budget.

How to Choose the Best Inexpensive Countertop for Your Kitchen

Now that you know the most budget-friendly countertop materials available, how do you choose what is best for your kitchen? Here are some tips:

  • Take detailed measurements of your existing countertops including length, depth, overhangs, and any cutouts needed for sinks/stoves. This will tell you how much material to purchase.
  • Evaluate your kitchen’s functionality. For heavy prep work, look for more durable and seamless options like quartz or concrete. For less wear and tear, materials like laminate or butcher block will suffice.
  • Assess your style. Want a modern look? Stainless steel and recycled glass offer sleek, contemporary aesthetics. Prefer traditional charm? Butcher block and tile have classic appeal.
  • Look at samples in person. If possible, go to home improvement stores to see material swatches first-hand. Many retailers also offer free sample shipping.
  • Learn about installation. Some materials like tile or stainless steel will require hiring a contractor while options like laminate can be DIYed.
  • Read reviews online about brands and durability. This can reveal pros and cons from customers who have used the materials in their own kitchens.
  • Determine if you’ll need to reinforce your existing cabinets to support heavier materials like concrete or quartz.

Doing ample research will help you land on the ideal inexpensive countertop material that fits both your budget and kitchen needs.

DIY Installation Tips for Affordable Countertops

Installing new inexpensive countertops yourself is a great way to save on labor costs. Here are tips for DIY success:


  • Use plywood substrate for support.
  • Carefully measure and cut laminate with table saw.
  • Use contact cement to adhere laminate to plywood.
  • Router laminate edges so they are flush.
  • Clean excess glue with mineral spirits.
  • Use seam sealer on joints and allow to dry.

Butcher Block

-Sand and finish butcher block prior to install.

  • Measure and cut using circular saw.
  • Build supporting base frame as needed.
  • Use construction adhesive and screws to install.
  • Seal joints with silicone caulk and allow drying.


  • Clean countertops thoroughly and apply thinset mortar.
  • Cut tiles with wet saw for clean edges.
  • Arrange tiles uniformly and in proper pattern.
  • Apply tiles to thinset, using spacers for grout lines.
  • Let tiles set for 24 hours before grouting.
  • Seal grout 7-10 days later with penetrating sealer.

Always wear safety goggles, gloves, and a mask when cutting. Taking your time with accurate measurements, cuts, and seam sealing will lead to a successful DIY countertop installation.

Hiring a Contractor for Countertop Installation

For some countertop materials like engineered quartz, concrete, or stainless steel, hiring a professional contractor is recommended for proper installation. Benefits of hiring out include:

  • Skilled fabrication – Contractors have the expertise to precisely cut and polish more difficult materials.
  • Special equipment – Professionals have access to tools you likely don’t own for a seamless install.
  • Product knowledge – Experienced contractors are familiar with the best brands and latest styles.
  • Proper support – Contractors can assess if your cabinets require reinforcement for heavier materials.
  • Efficient installation – Hiring a pro allows for faster install without the steep learning curve of DIY.
  • Warranties – Professional installation may qualify you for extended product warranties.
  • Peace of mind – Having an expert do the job alleviates the stress of DIY risks.

Though pricier, professional countertop installation gives you quality results and labor warranties. Be sure to get 3+ contractor quotes for the best deal.


Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about updating kitchens with inexpensive countertops:

How much do inexpensive countertop materials usually cost?

Inexpensive countertop options range from $10-$100 per square foot installed. More budget-friendly choices are laminate, butcher block, and tile ($10-$50 sq. ft). Pricier options are quartz, concrete, and stainless steel ($40-$200 sq. ft.).

What is the cheapest material to use for new kitchen countertops?

The most affordable kitchen countertop choice is laminate, starting around $10 per square foot installed. While laminate lacks durability, its low cost makes it ideal for rentals or DIY upgrades on a tight budget.

Can you install new countertops over existing countertops?

In some cases, yes. Tile, stainless steel, and laminate can be installed over existing countertops, saving time and money on tear-out. This may raise the counter height slightly. Countertops like quartz and concrete will require removing old tops first.

How thick should kitchen countertops be?

Standard thickness is 1 1⁄4 inches, though some materials may be thinner like stainless steel or butcher block. Thicker countertops of 2+ inches provide extra durability for busy kitchens.

Can I install IKEA countertops myself?

Yes, IKEA’s prefabricated countertops like butcher block, laminate, and quartz have DIY-friendly designs allowing for self-installation. Their affordable prices and mix-and-match systems make IKEA a popular countertop source.

What countertop materials can withstand hot pans?

Granite, quartz, concrete, and ceramic tile hold up best to hot pans. Laminate and wood surfaces like butcher block are prone to scorching from high heat and should have trivets used.

How do you cut costs on new kitchen countertops?

Ways to cut costs on countertops include: choosing affordable materials like laminate or butcher block, shopping warehouse stores for deals, DIY-ing the install, using remnant pieces instead of full slabs, refinishing existing tops, or ordering online instead of through kitchen designers.

Transform Your Kitchen Affordably with New Countertops

Updating your kitchen countertops is one of the best ways to make this important living space look fresh and current. Cost-effective countertop materials like laminate, butcher block, and tile can give you the stylish transformation you want, without breaking your remodeling budget.

With some smart planning considering your budget, kitchen functionality, and style goals, you can find quality inexpensive countertops to fit your needs. Whether you DIY a simple laminate install or hire a contractor for a high-end look like quartz, new countertops open up affordable ways to rejuvenate your kitchen.

So don’t delay in giving your kitchen the update it deserves. With today’s wide range of countertop options, there are so many innovative looks that not only refresh your space, but increase your home value as well. Your dream kitchen is waiting – just pick the right economical countertop materials and make your vision a reality!