Effect of countertops on home value?

splatsJuly 25, 2009

A simple question I need an answer too. What will be the effect on home value and sellability of replacing an outdated kitchen 6" white tile counter/backsplash with a modern high end laminate countertop?

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The only thing I have read is that kitchens and bathrooms rank at the top of making a home's favorable impression and helping to sell quickly. However, in my area, laminate would not do it. But if the tile is awful, anything would be an improvement to make it move in ready. This is a question that should be considered with all sorts of other information--is the kitchen up to date otherwise, etc.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:41PM
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I think it depends on the rest of your kitchen. How are your cabinets? Nothing looks worse than granite counters on old 70's cabinets. BTW, I'm in the same situation. House on the market, updated bathrooms but not kitchen except for some minor things (light fixures). I regrouted the tile counter-tops/backsplash, cleaned up my oak cabinets and am hoping for the best. I live in a high end area and I know my kitchen affects what I can ask for the house.

I assume whoever buys will gut the kitchen.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:43PM
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Here is my problem and a picture of my kitchen. Honest comments appreciated. I'm 65 and someday (no time soon I hope) my house will sell to benefit my son. For whatever reason I hate that white tile kitchen. I've looked at all kinds of things but can't afford most. I was looking at granite tile but then I got to thinking maybe it would be better to put the limited funds I have into appliances; but ten I saw some really high-end laminate counters that looked really great. Way better than my old tile. But tile is practically indestructable and I'm not sure about the new laminates. There is a black built in microwave you can't see opposite the stove and I have changed the lights.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 12:00AM
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When your home goes on the market it will be compared to other homes in your area. What are those kitchens like? If laminate counters are the norm for your area then pick out a nice pattern and go for it. When I sold my home my realtor said not to bother changing a thing in the kitchen. While outdated by today's standards (late 80's natural maple, corian, old black and white appliances) it was nicer and more updated than other homes in that neighborhood and I woudn't recoup the cost of changing it. (and it sold in 2 days!)

If you're in a high-end neighborhood and you can't put the money into a high end kitchen, your best bet is to present a clean neutral kitchen that's workable until for the buyers until they tear it out, and I'd take laminate over tile in a heartbeat. Good laminate is pretty indestructible! My Dad's kitchen has the same color cabinets as yours, with counters in a brown, like these:

Here is a link that might be useful: wilsonart

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 8:48AM
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If YOU wnt to re-do your kitchen, go for it! If I were putting this house on the market tomorrow, I'd leave everything as is and discount the price if the competition has more attractive kitchens.

Your tile (floor and countertops) looks to be in excellent condition. (Are they different colors?) Again, we can't know what buyers of homes like yours expect, but I'd be inclined to either do a complete makeover or leave it as is. Just a change of countertops wouldn't be enough to make me fall in love with this kitchen. I'd be looking at the nice, big space and remodeling the whole thing. (Have you checked in on the "Kitchens" forum?)

Remodeled kitchens and baths generally make a house sell faster. They don't usually come close to recouping the investment.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 11:56AM
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I agree with Chisue -- just changing the countertops wouldn't be enough to entice me to buy this home. The kitchen should either be left alone and priced accordingly, or updated substantially, countertops alone are just not going to do the trick. I vote for leaving the kitchen as is and pricing to reflect the fact that the kitchen needs updating.

I'd much prefer to buy a home with a kitchen with good space and flow and put in the finishes of my own choosing. Your kitchen has good space, leave the upgrading of finishes to the buyer.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 1:44PM
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If you are going to be staying in this house for a few years and want a new countertop then go for it. You will enjoy your kitchen more and it might help sell faster. Or it might not, but you can enjoy the new countertop.

Knobs or pulls on your cabinets would look good, too. My daughter just put modern pulls on her 1997 maple cabinets and they really look good and make the cabinets and drawers much easier to use.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 2:11PM
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Since you don't plan to move anytime soon, install what YOU like. You have to live there.

Believe it or not some people look at their house as a home and live there without any thoughts of resale. :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 3:28PM
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I don't think I would do anything with it. If you change out the countertops, you'd probably have to change out the backsplash which of course means more $$$. I'd update the appliances if you'd appreciate it, but otherwise I would not even do that.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 4:35PM
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splais, I can understand why you want to replace the counters. Given the tile floor and backsplash, the present counters are just Too Much Tile. Replacement counters would be a big improvement.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 2:00PM
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Hi Splais,

I'm more than happy to encourage you to spend your money if it would make you enjoy your kitchen more. I think a nice laminate is a good way to go. I've lived with a tiled countertop very similar to yours, and while it's very practical to put hot pots on, the grout drove me crazy. I also agree with probookie in that it's a lot of tile given your flooring. Your kitchen does look quite nice, by the way.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:26PM
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I lived in a home for 15 years that had that very tile but my grout was white ...... which meant that it showed every little spot and stain. I hated that tile because of the grout. I would put a quality laminate counter top in unless quartz or granite is what is predominant in your area. It will be so much easier to clean.

Tile on the floor and tile on the counter is just too much tile. I wonder if it would be cheaper to put down new flooring that could tie in with the cabinets. You will have to extend it into the room off the kitchen. Is that a laundry?

Do put on some quality knobs or handles on the cabinets. It will look so much better. I had the same thing in my kitchen and it bothered me that there was always those corners that got dirty or grimy from hands pulling open by the edge.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 6:41AM
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It is considerate of you to think about making things easier on your son. However, it is WAY premature. You are 65 years old!!! God willing, you will live for another 20+ years. Who knows what will happen in the meantime. Cosmetic changes you make now in the home probably be dated 2 decades from now anyway

Bottom line - If you have the money and you really hate the tile....go for a new counter top! Hopefully, you will live happily in this home for years to come, so don't be ashamed of making it a more comfortable and convenient place for you.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:48AM
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I have older laminate (decent, not great) counters and was told just yesterday by a realtor to either do granite or do nothing. He said that putting a nicer laminate would be a waste of $$. Hard to believe but granite is still "it" here in NH, the granite state!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 8:43AM
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I agree with "bill". If you don't have to sell for a long time do what YOU want to the kitchen. If the tile bugs you and you have the money; get new countertops! I wouldn't worry about "resale"; it will drive you crazy!! When Dh and I sold our house last year we had refaced the cabinets with white doors, installed new laminate, and a couple new light fixtures and that's it. We wanted to "update" but only had the funds for a "small update". It worked for us and we did get to enjoy the "mini makeover" for a couple years before we sold.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 10:46AM
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I would agree with those who are saying, if it makes you happy, go ahead and do it. But not for the sake of resale - you (and your son) won't recoup the $$. Certainly not 10 or 15 yrs down the road!

If you were going to sell tomorrow and your local market demanded it, then I'd stain the oak cabs (which I like but aren't style-forward any longer) darker, add hardware and put in granite tile counters/backsplash. The less you do, the higher your return.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 2:20PM
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If I bought your house I would much rather put in my own countertop than inherit one from you. We've walked from condos that didn't need work but had ugly granite for countertops. Countertops are very personal. Give me old tile or laminate any day... btw, they have some new laminates that look great if you decide to get new counters.

If you read over in the kitchen section, many people think that granite is on the way out. You might keep that in mind if you are not going to sell for another 10-20 years.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 4:05PM
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If it were me I would dig out the grey grout and re-grout with a white stain resistant grout.

I will make them not look so "dated". It would be very inexpensive and could be done in a weekend.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 10:46PM
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I wouldn't bother with removing the grout. I would just use a grout colorant like Aquamix. I believe that the colorant also acts as a sealer.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 1:48PM
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What is really making your kitchen look dated isn't the tile it's the ceiling fixture and the white walls. I'd change out the ceiling fixture for something more modern and get rid of he builder white walls and ceiling.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 1:34PM
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I agree with Carol From NY. The lighting is harsh.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:34AM
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Your kitchen looks to be in excellent shape, but dated. I agree about the tile, too much tile. I wouldn't spend too much on a countertop, because the cabinets (looks like oak) are still going to look dated anyway. If you want to change the countertop, I agree with the other posts, do it because you want it, not for resale value because I don't think it would make much difference in your selling price. If it were me, I'd get a nice laminate.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 2:45PM
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You realize that this thread is over 4 years old.....

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Doesn't matter, still thinking about it. :)

PS: this is what it looks like now.

This post was edited by splais on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 20:16

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:58PM
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splais, you haven't done it yet? Your kitchen looks very functional. I'm another vote for doing what pleases you, now, not some eventual buyer. What kind of laminate do you like -- darker, or lighter? Patterned or plain? Colorful, or neutral?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Nice floor and much nicer light fixtures. Of course, you should do what you like, but here's another idea:
Paint the cabinets and change the grout. In the pictures below, they actually added the tile.

Here is a link that might be useful: painted cabinets and white tiled counters

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I think your kitchen looks much warmer, more inviting. I'm seeing new wall color, window treatment, flooring and cabinet hardware, lighting. Way to go! I hope you've been enjoying it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:45PM
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