I plan to replace my kitchen countertops and don't want to spend a lot of money. Any suggestions?

Asked by Richard Graves, Toluca Lake, CA

I plan to replace my kitchen (laminate) countertops as part of readying my condo for sale and would love to use a "green" product. But the costs of all the products you recommend seem prohibitively high (with the exception of the recycled plastic, which I'm loath to use). I don't want to spend a lot of money, knowing that a new owner is likely to rip out whatever I do. Any suggestions?


Lily Livingston

Answered by Lily Livingston

San Francisco, CA

Lily Marie Livingston, AIA

January 25, 2007

It is true that countertops can be quite pricey, but the more environmentally friendly options aren't necessarily more expensive. The cost is related to the type of countertop surface and the quality you want. Prices jump in the move from tile to solid-surface materials—in the GreenHomeGuide Buyer's Guide to Green Countertop Materials, ceramic tile is at the low end of the price range.

The popularity of solid-surface materials that mimic stone is due to their durability and easy maintenance. Prices can range from $20 to more than $50 per square foot. Tile installations usually will be less expensive ($15 to more than $40 per square foot), but more grout lines can mean more maintenance—make sure to select a good grout like SpectraLock Pro.

Either way, your investment in a durable green countertop can attract a potential homebuyer and give you a positive return, both financially and for your soul. For more information on product options, see GreenHomeGuide's Green Countertop Know-How section.

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