Affordable types of countertops include laminate, tile and wood surfaces. Inexpensive tile alternatives are ceramic and granite. Homeowners can save further by seeking out discontinued or discounted countertop styles, and those with do-it-yourself skills can install the countertops themselves.
Laminate countertops consist of thin laminate material glued on plywood or chipboard. Home owners can choose matte or shiny finishes and fabricated edges. Laminates come in simulated stone, wood grain, and various patterns and colors. Consumers can purchase ready-made laminated countertop slabs or cut-out sections of wood and cover them with laminate material. Laminate countertops are quick and easy for experienced contractors to install.
Although ceramic tiles come in many sizes, homeowners usually use the 4 by 4-inch size for countertops. The tiles are available in many patterns, but solid color and white tiles are least expensive. Consumers who are comfortable using tile-cutting tools or wet saws can lay tiles on their own. Granite tiles render the look of granite slab countertops but for much less cost. Granite tile countertops are smoother than ceramic tile because they fit together with epoxy instead of mortar.
Wood countertops are inexpensive because they do not involve high-tech manufacturing. They are attractive but require considerable maintenance.