Custom Countertops pricing guide:
How to buy Glass Countertops, White Glass Countertops and Concrete Countertops.
- Choosing Countertop Materials
- Choosing Designer and Fabricator
- Glass Countertops pricing guide
- White Glass Countertops pricing guide
- Concrete Countertops pricing guide
1. Choosing Countertop Materials.
When selecting custom countertop materials, you should ask your fabricator the following questions:
- Do they offer a range of luxury materials or are they focused on only one material?
- Do they routinely fabricate Glass, White Glass, and luxury stone materials?
- Will the material survive Indoors or Outdoors?
- Can they inform about the lifetime costs of each e.g. maintenance, sealing?
- Do their materials sync with your design thesis? E.g. do they offer Modern, Contemporary and Coastal designer surfaces?
- Do their materials offer to increase the resale value of your home in a few years
2. Choosing Designer and Fabricator:
- How many years experience do they have in contemporary kitchen design/build/install?
- What does their online Portfolio say about their ability to execute YOUR vision?
- How are their Reviews: What are their customers saying on Houzz?
- Are they responsive to Phone/Text/Emails. Are they open by appointment on weekends?
- Professionalism…Do they have a showroom with interesting displays and vignettes?
- Are they Local? If they are not, can they ship professionally?
- Who are they? Have they introduced themselves via a web profile?
- Can they handle the installation of LARGE materials? Can they scale to handle a large commercial project?
- Are they incorporating new and exciting ideas like a cantilevered high bar (Jetsons) vs (Flintstones) vertical standoffs?
- Are they incorporating current trends in their designs e.g. LEDs, ceiling lights, contemporary sinks and faucets?
3. Glass Countertops Pricing Guide
How is it Made. Float Glass is made by melting together silica, sodium oxide, lime and recycled glass at 2900 F. It is floated on molten tin to the desired size and cut after cooling. Glass Countertops are typically made from glass that is 3/4” or thicker. Thin glass may be used but only if it is tempered. Ultra Low Iron glass is typically used for its clear, light blue color. It is non-porous.
COST. The average retail cost of a Glass countertop is between $150/psf and $900/psf depending upon:
Size. Large glass countertops are harder to fabricate and install. Expect to pay a premium when more manpower is required to forl big pieces over 300lbs. 1.5” thick glass weighs 20lbs psf (per square foot) which is the same as granite. Textured glass can be fired to 126” lengths” without seams.
- Thickness. 1.5” thick is the standard glass countertop thickness represents the vast majority of surfaces. Thickness adds to cost exponentially as the glass annealing time is an exponential function of thickness and overall size. Only a slow anneal will keep the internal glass temperature within 5 degrees from center to edge during the cooling cycle. If cooled too quickly, the glass will have stress, and will likely crack at some point during fabrication. To give you an idea, a 1.5” thick glass countertop high bar will require about 10 hours to properly anneal. For a 4” thick piece, it will take ~14-17 days. This exponentially higher time in the glass kiln translates into a higher cost.
- Design Options. Fabricating glass countertops takes skill and time. There are many options to be decided upon when creating a glass countertop is they include:
- Textured glass or Flat Glass? Artistic texturing of glass countertops and high bars should take into account the flow of the space where it resides. The texture should mimic the flow of the room and draw you in. Static patterns don’t have this ability However, artistic, hand-made textures designed to flow with your room takes vision and communication with your glass countertop artist. He should convey their ideas in a series of sketches for client approval, prior to fusing glass. A well-designed glass texture will have a large visual impact on the room it inhabits.
- Polished edge, Raw edge or Textured edges. Polishing Glass to an optically pure quality takes 11 steps and a great amount of skill. Unlike a CNC polished edge, it should possess no visible lines. Ugly, visible lines can show from CNC machine tools that, when worn, produce highly visible lines on the edge. “Liney but shiney” may be OK for granite or dark stone materials, but it visibly obscures the refraction potential of the glass. Make sure you inspect the quality that your glass fabricator is offering before signing a contract.
- Cutouts. Cutouts for holes for supports, sinks and faucets need to be done with a waterjet. Traditional diamond are not recommended.
- Arcs, Circles. Waterjetting and polishing arcs and circles in glass is more difficult than saw cutting and polishing a straight line edge. Cutting glass is NOT like cutting any other material. It requires real skill and forethought to plan and execute your cut. Waterjetting glass usually runs about $100 per hour for setup and cutting.
- Back Painting Glass. Glass can be back painted any color with a permanent coating. Back painting glass is important for glass backsplashes and countertops. You do not wish to see through the glass. Back painting glass also adds depth to the textures. Alternatively, you can affix laminate under the glass.
- Integral Color. Color can be added between layers of glass before firing using glass frits. This enhances the artistry of the design, and is permanently fused to the glass.
- Lighting. LED’s and under lighting can add magic to textured glass countertops. LEDs can be installed at the rear edge of the countertop between the wall and countertop. For high bars, stainless steel covers can be added to finish the look. Underlighting requires LED panels to achieve a broad, even, and dramatic back-lighting illumination and a sturdy, finished frame to encase and support the glass above the panels. Down lighting with narrow beam LED’s highlights the textural shadows below the glass. Modern LEDs have the perfect color rendition, and new designs project razor sharp shadows which are very dramatic.
- Brackets. Most high bars finish at 42” above the floor. Most installations require metal standoffs, support brackets and/or caps to secure the glass above the lower countertop. Drilling of the lower countertop to attach the supports is a must.
- Knee walls can use Low Profile Caps to secure the top.
- Flat glass can be through-drilled and attached with Low Profile Caps or round or square standoffs with UV glue.
- Textured glass is tricky (you are mating an undulating glass bottom to a flat support. For this application, we recommend a custom support bracket that elegantly and securely cantilevers the glass up and over the lower countertop and secured with crystal clear silicone or low profile caps.
Durability. Glass has a Mohs Hardness of 6.6 Scratching, chipping are not an issue if using round over tops (vs a 45 bevel which has 2 sharp edges). Repairs in field are possible. Scratches can be buffed out professionally
Installation. Challenging site conditions e.g. Stairs, Condos with small elevators may necessitate a large crew to carefully install the glass. Textured Glass Countertop installations are not for for amateurs. Please make sure that your installers are THE BEST you can find.
Best For: Modern, Contemporary, Transitional, Coastal, Indoor, Outdoor, Kitchen, Bath, Backsplashes, Tables, Stair Steps, Glass Shower Walls
Summary. The real benefit in owning textured glass countertops is that they are are a hygienic and luxurious material that add an artistic element to your kitchen, bath or restaurant. They come alive in the evening with thoughtful lighting and can truly appear to float. Our favorite countertop combination is a Textured Glass High Bar with LED and ceiling spot lights over a White Glass countertop. The dark shadows on the white surface are most striking, and the glowing aura it creates is simply stunning. Its a top dollar splurge, but if placed in high-value areas it can pay you back everyday with a WOW! Factor.
3. White Glass Countertops Pricing Guide
How is it Made. White glass countertops are a fusion of glass and silica at 2700 degrees. It is poured into forms, cooled, polished to a gloss finish. It is as non-porous as glass.
COST. The average retail cost of a White Glass countertop is between $150/psf and $250/psf depending upon:
Size. Large white glass countertops sized pieces are harder to fabricate and install. Expect to pay a premium when more manpower is required to for big pieces over 300lbs. 1.125” thick white glass weighs 23lbs psf (per square foot) which is about the same as granite. Slab sizes are 61” x 111” x 1.125” Maximizing the yield per slab lowers the cost.
Thickness. 1.125” thick is the standard white glass countertop thickness. Lamination of edges can provide any thickness desired.
Design Options. Fabricating white glass countertops takes skill and time.
Polished edge. Polishing White Glass takes 6 steps and a great amount of skill and effort. Make sure you inspect the quality of polish that your glass fabricator is offering before signing a contract. Square polished edge with a roundover is standard.
Cutouts. Waterjet cutouts for holes for supports, sinks and faucets are recommended, but with care, diamond core bits can be used.
Arcs, Circles. Waterjetting and polishing arcs and circles in white glass is more demanding than linear saw cutting and polishing. Cutting white glass is NOT like cutting any other material. It requires patience, a specialized set of diamond tools. Waterjetting glass usually runs about $100 per hour for setup and cutting.
Color. It is pure white. See our comparison of white countertop options.
Lighting. White Glass is opaque and cannot be underlit.
Durability. White Glass has a Mohs Hardness of 7.0 Scratching, chipping are not an issue if using roundover tops. Repairs in field are possible. White Glass Countertops aka Nanoglass countertops are by far the whitest, strongest, most stain-proof, UV-proof, cigarette and hot pan-proof, hair dye-proof, solvent-proof acid-proof material we have ever tested. For outdoor kitchens, it is the perfect material because it is 100% inorganic…and unlike quartz, whose plastic resin binder will yellow in the outdoor light. It also stays very cool to the touch (96 degrees on a 93 degree day) in direct Florida sunlight…amazing! .The unbelievable strength of white glass allows you to create designs with MUCH wider cantilevers, and overhangs, without bracing. It is non-porous and you do NOT need to use expensive sealers on an annual basis, nor will you encounter expensive refinishing repairs like a natural marble or quartzite stones.
Installation. Challenging site conditions e.g. stairs, small elevators may necessitate a large crew to install the white glass. White Glass Countertop installations are not for for amateurs. Please make sure that your installers are THE BEST you can find.
Best For: Modern, Contemporary, Transitional, Coastal, Indoor, Outdoor, Kitchen, Bath, Tables.
Summary. The real benefit in owning White Glass Countertops is that they are pure white, non-porous, hygienic and luxurious material. They make the apparent size of each room they inhabit appear 25% larger. In an era where we purchase countertops and homes by the square foot, adding 25% to the visual volume of your home adds tremendous value.
They are also a very contemporary and modern countertop option that is great for outdoor countertops. When combined with stone or reclaimed wood paneling, white glass gives a very pure and interesting Jetsons-Flintstones juxtaposition.
4. Concrete Countertops Pricing Guide
How is it Made. Concrete countertops are created from sand, aggregates, cement, fibers and water-reducing chemicals. Poured into custom forms, cured, and then polished to the matte or gloss finish. Terrazzo is ground to reveal aggregates. Concrete can be sealed in many ways as it is porous.
COST. The average retail cost of a Concrete Countertop is between $149/psf and $300/psf depending upon:
Size. Large concrete countertops are harder to fabricate and install. Expect to pay a premium when more manpower is required to forl big pieces over 300lbs. 1.5” concrete countertops weigh 20lbs psf (per square foot) which is about the same as granite.
Thickness. 1.5” thick is the standard minimum concrete countertop thickness but 2” thick concrete is the most popular. Any edge thickness can be specified and concrete does not require lamination resulting in a beautiful one-piece look.
Design Options. Fabricating concrete countertops takes skill and time.
Polishing. Polishing concrete to a matte finish is a 6-step process. Gloss concrete requires 10-steps. Moreover, glossy finishes are naturally more “fussy”. They will require more frequent attention to smudges and fingerprints than its matte counterpart. Matte concrete feels like a worn shell, and is very comfortable to touch. 90% of orders are matte.
Cutouts. Cutouts for holes, sinks can be done with standard diamond tools.
Color. The base color of concrete is similar to canvas…not pure white. Pigments can be added to match almost any color. Expect to pay more for expensive pigments, and color match service.
Terrazzo. Terrazzo is a matrix of concrete, pigments and aggregates. Aggregates can be recycled glass, SeaShells, Mother-of-Pearl, Agates, etc. “Vetrazzo” is a prefab slab with a high recycled glass content. All terrazzo needs to be sealed periodically just like concrete.
Sealer. Sealing concrete is a must. Many topical sealers such as epoxy are available, but they can yellow and peel over time. Moreover they cover the very tactile nature of concrete with their plastic barrier. Penetrating sealers do an excellent job of preventing stains except from long-term food acid spills. They do not yellow, and leave the surface feeling soft and natural.
Concrete has a Mohs Hardness of 5.5 Scratching, chipping are not an issue if using roundover tops. Repairs in the field are possible. Concrete requires attention to prevent long-term exposure to food acids which can etch the concrete. Concrete stains from organic sources can be removed with bleach. Since it is a 100% inorganic material it works well outdoor unlike quartz, whose plastic resin binder will yellow outdoors. Lighter concrete colors stay reasonably cool to the touch. It requires sealing every 3-5 years (wipe on wipe off) and can be refinished in the field.
Installation. Challenging site conditions e.g. Stairs, Condos with small elevators may necessitate a large crew to carefully install the concrete countertop.
Best For: Modern, Contemporary, Transitional, Traditional, Coastal, Indoor, Outdoor, Kitchen, Bath, Tables, Stair steps, Floors
The real benefit in owning Concrete Countertops is that they can be created in exactly any color and monolithic thickness you desire. Aggregates (such as shells and glass) included in the concrete allow for an unlimited palette for creative designs in countertops. They make excellent sinks for bathrooms as they can be formed in a variety of creative designs. Concrete sinks with glass basins make for unusual, contemporary designs. Concrete can patina over time but this adds character to their perfectly imperfect nature.
Concrete is a very historic material and plays well with glossy contemporary cabinets to give a very interesting Jetsons-Flintstones juxtaposition.
Jeff Downing Designs Info Blogs
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When buying custom countertops at Downing Designs, we start with how you use your space before we recommend one of our surface solutions. Do you have kids, are you generally messy, is this for indoors vs outdoors, modern vs traditional, high budget vs low budget,...read more