Granite worktops are a popular fixture in many modern homes. However, they’re not always so easy to come by. That’s because they can be expensive, and what’s more, the look of a granite worktop isn’t always going to be the best fit for some spaces. People choose granite worktops for their stylish finish and their impressive durability. However, there are actually plenty of more budget friendly alternatives to granite worktops for UK homeowners to go for instead.
That being said, what are the best alternatives to granite worktops and why should you consider investing in them instead? Let’s take a look at my pick of the best, and why each material might work better for you in place of granite.
A word of warning – prices on the alternatives I’ve listed below can vary. I’ve made a point of letting you know where certain options sit on the pricing scale. However, as different stores and suppliers can change their minds when it comes to the cost of materials and supplies, it’s worth bearing in mind that this selection should only be used as a guide.
What Are the Best Alternatives to Granite Worktops?
In my opinion, quartz, soapstone and marble tend to present the best cases. However, this will vary on your own personal tastes, as well as your budget! I’ve made a point of going through each of the major alternatives to granite below, taking into account pros and cons along the way.
Have you found any other cheap alternatives to granite worktops? Let me know in the comments, and let’s spread the word.
Of all the cheaper alternatives to granite countertops, laminate is probably going to be the best choice if you’re not sure on what style to go for. It’s an option which is much easier to look after than granite or any of the stone options I’m about to explore below, however, that does come at a cost.
That being said, the cost involved is much likely to be less than you’d expect for other materials. Therefore, if you are looking for the cheapest of the cheap, a laminate worktop installation is probably going to appeal to you. If you want a certain look but don’t want the upkeep that comes with it, going laminate is a very good idea indeed.
- Laminate is easily the cheapest of all the alternatives out there, at least when it comes to stylish and modern options.
- It’s very easy to look after and clean. This is naturally going to be a big plus point for busy kitchens.
- Not sure what look to go for? Most of the fancier finishes and materials can be emulated in laminate style.
- While it’s cheap and easy to maintain, laminate isn’t ever going to last the years the way that stone can. Therefore, do make sure you set your expectations reasonably low in this regard.
- It’s pretty easy to mark. That means if you’re likely to be fairly clumsy in your kitchen space, it might not be the best option to lead with.
- Stone does tend to look a lot better, pound for pound. There’s a reason why it’s so cheap.
Wood is a material that’s crept more and more into contemporary kitchens. Unlike laminate, wood can be fairly pricey as far as worktop installations are concerned. However, they are still much more affordable than granite! Wooden worktops look great as part of most neutral kitchen standards, which makes them a popular choice for anyone who is really on the fence.
Wood is very warming as a material, and naturally, there are plenty of different trees out there! Therefore, you should have a fair scope of choice to pick from. However, as mentioned, it’s a little bit on the costly side. What’s more, you’re going to be looking at putting in a lot of time and effort to keep it looking great.
- There are stacks of options out there – just pick a tree that you like the look of!
- Wooden worktops are perfect for neutral kitchen designs, and can help to bring a warm, homely feel. Few worktop options really capture the same spirit.
- Wooden worktops are surprisingly easy to set up! However, I’d always recommend that you enlist the full help of an installer before you get started – it just makes sense.
- Anyone who owns wooden worktops will likely tell you how much work keeping them looking great can be. Unlike laminate, you are going to need to regularly protect this type of surfacing, particularly as it’s very prone to getting scratched or damaged.
- Once again, it’s not the cheapest alternative to granite worktops, but it’s still more cost-effective.
- Be prepared to be very careful around a wooden kitchen. Naturally, there’s a lot of hot stuff going down in this area – so make sure to be extra vigilant of where you’re stashing hot implements.
Many people go straight for marble if they don’t choose granite. It’s not hard to understand why. Marble is some of the most beautiful natural stone available, and to that end, it’s made its way into many kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. But how does it hold up as a worktop standard?
Marble is one of the best alternatives to granite worktops from an aesthetic point of view. It is also well-loved thanks to its bespoke nature. No two pieces of marble ever really look the same. It’s also available in a huge range of colours and styles. Beyond this, it is also one of the longest-lasting worktop materials out there, though you’re going to need to put in plenty of elbow grease to get it looking its best across the years. It’s worth asking installers and retailers about sealing, and what you need to do to protect it against regular use for years to come.
- Marble just looks the part. If granite doesn’t appeal to you, and you want to get your hands on a truly unique countertop material, it’s an option which is likely going to leap out.
- It’s affordable luxury. The price you pay for marble worktops is going to vary by quite a bit. Therefore, always be ready to shop around, but don’t necessarily be so ready to settle. You might find a high-end bargain when you least expect it.
- Marble can really transform the whole look of a modern kitchen. It’s sought-after by homeowners who want to transform their contemporary spaces into something akin to a spa or four-star hotel.
- Ads with wood, to look this good, marble is going to need serious work. Therefore, if you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you’ll get handsomely rewarded all the same.
- However, the costs of owning a marble worktop may not even out too much in the long run. A marble top is going to need sealing on a regular basis. That means you should be looking at maintenance costs as well as upfront fees when it comes to investing outright.
- Do also bear in mind that marble is very easily damaged. You should only be looking at this worktop material if you are going to be extra careful. Even then, it’s probably still worth thinking carefully about your choice.
Yes, believe it or not, plenty of homeowners are getting into concrete worktops when it comes to finding viable, more affordable alternatives to granite. It might not sound too stylish, but just take a look at what concrete can do to your kitchen! It’s preferred by many people because it is amazingly functional and very flexible. That’s flexible in terms of choice and style, of course – as once it’s set, it’s going nowhere.
Concrete kitchen worktops tend to be some of the cheapest options you’ll find if you’re looking for a granite substitute. It’s also very contemporary – but there is a catch. While it may look easy to just pour concrete into a hole and to let it set, it’s actually pretty bulky and difficult to handle on your own. Like marble, too, you’re going to need to seal concrete off if you want it to stay resilient against everything you could throw at it.
- Concrete is surprisingly flexible, and is considered one of the best options beyond granite if you are looking for a specific colour and style. Therefore, it may be worth taking a chance and looking at what other concrete worktop standards look like.
- Concrete worktops are, of course, very durable – providing you seal them. You can often buy concrete worktops as part of wider kitchen fittings, and why not?
- You can buy concrete worktops in various thicknesses, too, meaning you won’t have to cope with a big slab or two unless you really want to.
- Concrete is, of course, very heavy. You’re going to need a helping hand or two from professionals to get this style of countertop up and running.
- Like marble, be prepared to put in plenty of work in. Sealing is an absolute must, and I mean that with no hyperbole.
- It can be easily stained, so again, make sure you protect it through sealing or otherwise.
Stainless Steel Worktops
If your sinks and taps can arrive in stainless steel, why can’t your worktops? Believe it or not, steel is a more than viable, cheaper alternative to granite countertop design. You may already know that stainless steel is easy to wipe over and maintain by design. After all, the clue is in its name. It also carries something of a clinical, commercial look, which may appeal to some people. However, it can offer something of a ‘marmite’ feel in terms of aesthetic, meaning you might want to go for something a little less left-of-field.
Stainless steel, while it will protect well against stains – obviously – is never going to hold up well when it comes to additional damage. Metal is hardly impervious to scratching and scuffing. Therefore, again, if you are likely to run a fairly clumsy or frantic kitchen, it may not be the best option. However, it is likely to last for centuries providing you keep it clean – if you live that long!
- Stainless steel is, as the name suggests, resistant against everyday marks and stains. Simply wipe it clean and get on with your day.
- Installation is fairly simple, and it can look great alongside sinks and taps which are built in the same material. Your own sense of style and aesthetics will, of course, vary.
- You can opt for stainless steel in more than the standard silver colour, but again, this is all down to personal choice. Many people will want to leave steel completely where it stands.
- Stainless steel may be easy to clean and a joy to look at when it sparkles, but once it’s scuffed or scratched, it’s going to be difficult to remedy. Unlike other cheap alternatives to granite worktops, this is one material that’s fairly unforgiving.
- You should also take a look at the pricing available from various stores as well as online. Stainless steel worktops are very uncommon, which means you may well have to pay a premium for the privilege. That being said, it is still a more affordable option than granite.
Quartz can also be referred to as ‘engineered stone’ in this setting, and it tends to be one of the more affordable alternatives to granite. It’s a good mid-range choice if you want to achieve simple luxury, and one of the biggest positives to take away is, of course, that it is available in a variety of different shades and colours. A quartz worktop is also one which is going to impress anyone that sees it, so if you want to make a lasting impression, it’s a fairly cheap option that’s worth looking closer at.
It’s probably one of the healthier, more eco-friendly choices out there in terms of kitchen worktops, and what’s more, you will never need to seal it. If sealing marble is going to be the ultimate deal-breaker, then you should definitely think about looking up quartz as a back-up choice. Yes – it’s a little more expensive than systems such as laminate, but you get a whole lot more in terms of resistance and great aesthetics.
- Quartz, or engineered stone, simply looks great. It’s probably going to be the best choice for anyone wanting a luxury touch for less money spent in comparison with granite.
- It’s also hugely versatile. There are stacks of great colours and visual options available. Therefore, if you’re really not sure what’s going to look best, you really can just take your pick.
- There’s absolutely no need to seal quartz, and it’s very, very easy to clean and maintain. Plenty of the options on this list require a bit more attention than your average countertop might, and that’s something of a deal-breaker for a lot of people.
- It can be a little pricier than some of the lowest-grade options. However, you are going to be paying for a luxury look and touch, as opposed to the absolute cheapest material. There is a trade-off which works pretty well here.
- It’s not as hardy as some stone options, which means you should really be making a point of keeping it away from heat. That’s going to be a little difficult in a kitchen sometimes!
If you prefer a little more of an old-school look to your kitchen, you may want to go for simple tiles. If you already have tiles adorning your walls, there’s no reason why you can’t make it work on a countertop basis. It tends to be amongst the cheapest of choices out there if you’re looking beyond granite. They are also very easy to lay down and setup yourself, though you may not want to do this – to each their own.
Tiles are also impressively diverse. You can choose form a range of uniform colours, or if you really want to go for a vintage look, you might want to choose a specific design that runs across. However, it’s this sort of aesthetic which can let tile worktops down, meaning that when installed poorly, it can look a little bit of a shambles. However, if you’ve got a steady hand and aren’t afraid to get down and grout, there’s no reason why you can’t make tiling work.
- Tile worktops can be very diverse. You can complete control over the patterns you’d like to create, and what’s more, you can do it all yourself.
- Some people find the look of a tile countertop to be fairly timeless, while others may find it tacky. In the ‘pro’ section, a tiled option can look clean and uniform. It can also look fairly unique, and might appeal to you if you are looking for a vintage twist.
- There’s no need for you to do much in terms of upkeep. It will need regular cleaning, but unlike pricier stone, you are never going to need to seal a tile countertop or worktop in.
- The tiled look isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and in some cases, it can look a little muddled or even messy. It all depends on the quality of the grout, and whether or not you arrange for a professional to help.
- Tile can be quite easy to damage and scuff. Therefore, while there isn’t much maintenance involved, once it’s chipped, it’s chipped. Only careful owners really need apply.
- Tile worktops are amongst the cheaper alternatives to granite, however, there’s a reason for this – as they won’t give you as much robustness or support. Those looking for a more solid option should consider marble or quartz.
Finally, let’s look at an option which might not be the most obvious to everyday buyers. Soapstone is a great alternative to granite in that it retains a great, natural stone look. However, it requires much less work than granite, on the whole – and it is very resistant against impact and heat damage. Therefore, on paper, it certainly seems to be one of the best alternatives to granite worktops around.
However, there are catches. Soapstone can be one of the more expensive alternatives, though you will of course still be paying less than you might for your average granite system. There are only a handful of colours available, and while you can probably put a hot pan or two on soapstone, it’s not going to bear up well if you accidentally scratch it. That being said, you won’t need to seal it like other stone worktop choices.
- Soapstone is pretty durable, and it’s certainly one of the more heat-friendly stones on the market. Granite is, naturally, going to be your optimum choice for protective stone, but soapstone actually carries many of its qualities at a much lower price tag.
- It’s very easy to clean and keep looking great. Most people will be able to leave soapstone well alone and it still look the part years on down the line.
- You will never have to seal soapstone, which means it already holds a lot of benefits over some of the other choices I’ve analysed in this list.
- While it is well-protected against extreme heat, soapstone is, like many ornamental and worktop materials, somewhat easy to mark and scratch if you’re not careful. Therefore, do make sure to take extra care when you take it on.
- It can be fairly expensive compared to tile and laminate, but that is to be expected.
- It might not measure up to granite in terms of its relative softness, however, it does stand out apart from the rest of the pack in terms of its durability. You’ll also only be able to choose from a handful of styles.
As you can see, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to granite worktops that homeowners can opt for if looking to save money. I would suggest taking a close look at all of these options in the flesh and to weigh up cost, maintenance, sealing and more. The last thing you are going to want to do is pay less and end up with more hassle. Don’t be afraid to compare and contrast.