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Stone Slab Countertop Installation Prices
Stone slab countertops, as the old marketing adage goes, sell themselves. But if you’re the one doing the buying, settling on a particular type of stone can be difficult. Cost Owl makes your decision a little easier by breaking down the pros, cons, and costs of some of the more popular stone slab countertop materials.
Stone Slab Countertop Installation
Stone slab counters are made from a single piece of stone that’s cut to the specifications of your counter or vanity top. For a particularly long run of counter space (most slabs are 9 to 10 feet long) or a counter with multiple sections, it may be necessary to use more than one piece of stone. In that case, expect a seam or two, although seams should be very thin and virtually unnoticeable. If you choose a stone backsplash, there will a joint (filled with silicone) between it and the countertop. A fabricator will add the edging of your choice (square, round, beveled, ogee, etc.). DIY installation is possible but difficult due to the heavy weight of stone slabs.
Types of Stone Slab Counters
While granite is practically synonymous with stone slab, there are a number of other popular options for stone countertops.
- Granite: Granite is the most popular stone countertop material due to its unique blend of beauty, durability, and performance. Nearly impossible to scratch, granite is nonetheless porous and should be sealed to protect against stains (including moisture). Some manufacturers now offer granite slabs with a factory finish that can (supposedly) resist staining for the lifetime of the countertop. Feel confident installing granite even in high-traffic areas.
- Marble: Marble is valued more for its looks than for its performance. Softer than granite, marble is susceptible to scratches, chips, and acid etching. And similar to granite, marble should be sealed periodically for stain protection. For these reasons, the material is recommended for low to medium traffic kitchens and bathrooms.
- Soapstone: Soapstone isn’t the hardest stone available (it’s easily scratched and nicked), but it’s extremely heat-resistant. The distinctive gray color of soapstone can be darkened to a charcoal tone with mineral oil, which helps to provide a uniform countertop surface. No sealing is required for this low to medium traffic countertop.
- Limestone: Without the heavy veining of granite and marble, limestone has a more uniform appearance. Although heat-resistant, limestone is soft and porous, so it doesn’t stand up well to impacts or stains. Limestone should be considered a decorative stone that’s best for low-traffic applications.
- Quartz and Engineered Stones: Quartz countertops are actually a combination of 90 to 93 percent quartz crystals and binding resins. The veins and striations aren’t as naturally variable as those found on granite and marble, but quartz countertops provide superior resistance to wear and tear and require no sealing. Engineered stone versions of granite and marble are also available. Prices are comparable to those of 100% stone slabs.
Stone Slab Countertop Average Costs
Stone slabs are among the most expensive countertop materials, but lower-quality stone, surprisingly, sometimes isn’t much more expensive than some of the high-end stone imitation laminates that are now offered, in particular if you choose DIY installation. Top-notch, stone, on the other end, can be very expensive.
- Stone slab countertops start at $40 to $100 per square foot installed and can cost as much as $150 to $250+ per square foot installed.
- Engineered stone is priced similarly to stone slab; expect to pay $50 to $100 per square foot installed.
- DIY stone slab installation can cost as little as $25 to $50 per square foot. You may, however, still need to hire a fabricator to cut sink and faucet holes and create the edge profile.
- The actual cost of stone slab countertops is affected by the quality of the materials, local labor and material costs, countertop size and layout, and edge profile.