5 Steps for Choosing Countertop for Investment Property

From Measuring Space to Analyzing Durability

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The goal of owning an investment property is to make money. That is why it is so important to select the right materials. You need to choose a countertop that has the right look, the right price and the right durability for the type of property you own. Here are five steps to help you easily select the right countertop.

1. Measure the Space

The first step in selecting a countertop is to figure out how many square feet of material you will need. You can calculate square feet by multiplying the length by the width of the space.

Here is an example of how to measure square footage for a kitchen island:

  • The length of the island is 72 inches, which equals 6 feet. 
  • The width of the island is 48 inches, which equals 4 feet.
  • Multiply the length (6 feet) by the width (4 feet) and you get 24 feet.
  • Therefore, you will need 24 feet of countertop material for a 4 by 6-foot kitchen island.

Make sure you account for an overhang when calculating material needed. 1.5 to 2 inches is a standard overhang. If adding seating, add 12 inches for bar height, 15 inches for counter height and 18 inches for table height.

2. Set a Budget

Countertop material is priced by the square foot. A price difference of five dollars a square foot might not seem like a lot initially, but if you need 100 square feet of countertop, it will set you back an extra $500 dollars.Therefore, you need to set a budget before you even start looking at materials.That way, you can ask to only be show countertop options in your particular price range so that you do not fall in love with something that is out of your budget.

Countertops are important, because they are one of the first things people notice. However, you do not want to overspend if the value of the property does not warrant an expensive counter.

  • Property Value: Your price point should be influenced by the value of the property. You do not want to over-improve by spending more than the value the countertop will add to the existing property. Choosing a material that is $90 a square foot for a $1,000 a month rental is over-improving. You also do not want to under-improve. A laminate countertop in a million dollar home is an immediate turn-off for many buyers. However, a laminate countertop in a mid-range rental may be the way to go.
  • Account for Additional Costs: A countertop may be advertised at $10 a square foot, but you must make sure you leave room for additional costs. Many fabricators charge additional fees for installation, sink cut-outs and edging. Be sure to ask beforehand if such factors are included in the price of the material.
    • Example: You set a $1,000 budget for the 24 square foot kitchen island. You might assume that means you can look at materials that are $41.67 a square foot ($1,000 divided by 24 feet). However, that only covers the price of the material. If you choose a material that is $41 a square foot and assume you'll be in the $1,000 price range, you'll be in for a shock when your total bill comes to $1,600 including tax, installation, edging and cut-outs.

    Ask if there are additional charges to fabricate and install the counter.

    3. Choose Counters Based on Property Type

    If you are replacing counters in a rental property, your main concern will be durability. You want to choose a material that can take abuse, and will not stain, crack, scratch, or etch easily. You also want to choose something that is low maintenance and something that does not have to be oiled or sealed constantly. Quartz, granite, and laminate are popular choices for these reasons.

    For a property flip, you have more options. Your goal is to choose a cost-effective material—a material that will fit with the value of the property and attract buyers but not break the bank.

    4. Analyze the Function of the Space

    Selecting the right countertop also depends on the function of the space. For example, bathrooms and kitchens have different needs.

    In a bathroom, you need something that can be exposed to constant moisture. Butcher block counters and stainless steel counters are not good choices for a bathroom. Marble, granite and quartz can all work in a bathroom.

    In a kitchen, you need something that can withstand water, food, and drink spills. You also have to consider that pots, pans, and plates will constantly be dragged across the surface. Marble is not an ideal choice for kitchens because although it is beautiful, it is a soft, porous stone and is prone to etching.

    Hard stones like granite and quartz are popular choices for the kitchen. You may also consider using different countertops for different functional areas in the kitchen. Marble could be wonderful for a dedicated baking section and butcher block may be a good choice for an area to chop and cut.

    5. Consider the Design Element

    You will want to make sure that the countertop material or the color fits in with the surrounding materials and design. For example, stainless steel, concrete, and quartz look great in modern kitchens, but may look out of place in a more traditional or country style kitchen with a lot of wood cabinets.

    Before choosing a countertop, it is important to realize this is a decision that will likely be around for a while. Unlike choosing a paint color, which can easily be changed, a countertop is a large expense. You will want to choose something that has a timeless appeal. You may love that rainbow colored granite at the moment, but within a month may wish you had opted for the beige and brown instead.

    You also want to make sure the material you select has a broad appeal. When renting or selling the property, it is better to have a classic, neutral material that appeals to the masses and not just a select few.