Homeowners can use many materials for a countertop. One of the trendy materials favored by homeowners is porcelain. This unique, durable, and attractive material comes in various styles, colors, and sizes. It is a versatile option for countertops, which adds color and dimension.
Porcelain can come as large gauged slabs about 12mm thick or tiles ranging from 12 inches to 24 inches. Both create a durable, heat-resistant, and stain-resistant countertop for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas. This variation in material creates a range of costs.
The national average cost for installing a porcelain countertop is between $1,750 and $3,600. Most homeowners spend around $2,500 for 30 sq.ft. of gauged porcelain slab countertops with a built edge and undermounted sink. This project’s low cost is around $750 for a 30 sq.ft. porcelain tile countertop with a cutout for a drop-in sink. The high cost is $5,000 for 30 sq.ft. of porcelain slab countertops with a built edge, two sinks, integrated burners, and a matching slab backsplash.
|Cost to Install Porcelain Countertops|
|National average cost||$2,500|
Porcelain countertops have a range of costs, depending on the material. Gauged porcelain slabs cost between $55 and $120 a square foot installed, while porcelain tile countertops cost between $20 and $30 a square foot fully installed. These costs include all materials and labor. For slabs, this means the slab, fabrication, edging, cutout for the sink, and the installation. For tiles, it includes the tiles, setting material, grout 1, underlayment, and installation.
|Size of Countertop||Gauged Slabs Cost (Installed)||Porcelain Tiles Cost (Installed)|
|10 sq.ft||$550 - $1,200||$200 - $300|
|20 sq.ft||$1,110 - $2,400||$400 - $600|
|30 sq.ft||$1,650 - $3,600||$600 - $900|
|40 sq.ft||$2,200 - $4,800||$800 - $1,200|
Porcelain countertops can be installed nearly anywhere. Whether you choose a gauged porcelain slab or porcelain tiles, this unique material is impervious to scratches, stains, and inclement weather. It holds up well in indoor areas like kitchens and bathrooms and outdoor spaces, such as kitchens and bar areas.
The costs below are general estimates for installing porcelain countertops in a few areas, based on the average countertop size in those spaces.
|Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Bathroom||$120 - $1,440|
|Outdoors||$240 - $2,400|
|Kitchen||$600 - $4,800|
The cost of installing a porcelain countertop in a bathroom ranges from $120 to $1,400. Costs range depending on whether you choose a tile countertop or slab. Your bathroom’s countertop size also impacts costs. Average sizes in the bathroom range from 3 feet to 6 feet in length, or between just over 6 sq.ft. and 12 sq.ft. of countertop. Using tiles or having smaller countertops results in lower costs, while gauged slabs and larger countertops have higher costs.
The cost of installing an outdoor countertop in porcelain is between $240 and $2,400. Costs range depending on whether you use porcelain tile or gauged porcelain. Porcelain tile starts at $240 for most outdoor countertops but may go as high as $600. Outdoor kitchen countertops range between 12 and 20 sq.ft. However, they can be smaller or larger, which impacts costs. Both types work well in an outdoor kitchen because porcelain is non-porous and unaffected by the weather and freeze/thaw cycles.
The cost of a porcelain kitchen countertop averages $600 to $4,800. Costs range depending on whether you use porcelain tiles or gauged slabs. Costs also vary depending on the kitchen’s size. Most kitchens have countertops between 30 and 40 sq.ft. However, you can have smaller galley kitchen countertops or a kitchen with a matching island 2 that requires more countertop. In either instance, the project cost can be much lower or higher.
Two types of porcelain can be used on countertops - tiles and gauged porcelain. Gauged porcelain can be described as a slab and sometimes an oversized tile. The material can reach lengths of more than 10 feet but only about 12 mm in thickness. This makes it fragile and difficult to work with until installed. While the material costs do not vary tremendously, the installation costs for gauged porcelain are much higher.
|Type of Porcelain Countertops||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)|
|Tile||$3 - $20|
|Gauged / Slab||$8 - $12|
Porcelain tile for countertops costs between $3 and $20 a square foot. You may have additional material fees, such as grout and setting material, depending on the countertop. Porcelain is made from compressed clay dust fired to very high temperatures. The result is a color-through body material impervious to water, stains, and scratches. It also comes in a range of colors and patterns.
In parts of the country that use tile counters regularly, including the Southwest, porcelain tile is beginning to make serious inroads as a viable countertop material. The tiles range from 12 to 24 inches and, in some cases, even 36 inches. Larger tiles mean fewer grout lines and a cleaner-looking top, but they cost more.
Porcelain slab countertops cost between $8 and $12 a square foot. A gauged porcelain slab is simply an oversized tile. They are a little thicker than the tiles at 12 mm - most tiles are 6 to 10 mm. The slabs mean you do not have grout lines. They can also give you a larger “pattern” because you do not have individual tiles breaking up the surface. At this size, however, the material becomes very hard to work with. So while it is not very expensive to purchase, it is hard to turn it into a countertop. It can also be difficult to find fabricators who know how to work with porcelain slabs.
Porcelain tiles and gauged porcelain come in a wide range of colors. In most cases, the material is designed to look more like stone than a glazed or ceramic tile. This means you can find porcelain that looks like marble or slate 3 in a range of popular colors, such as white, tan, and black.
Color is not a huge driving force behind your countertop’s cost. While marble and granite costs are affected by color, this is due to the stone’s rarity and how hard it is to quarry. Because porcelain is man-made, color does not play as big a role in costs. Most slabs cost between $8 and $12 a square foot, regardless of color. Prices range depending on the edge treatment, how many cutouts you have, and the slab’s thickness. Some smaller slabs are 6 mm thick and work for smaller bathroom countertops at a potentially lower price.
Porcelain countertops are available in two finishes - polished and unpolished. Some companies offer one, others both, and some have different finishes in different colors. For example, they may make a Calacatta Gold countertop in a polished finish and a Crema Marfil in an unpolished finish.
Polished countertops are slightly more expensive than unpolished, but both have overlapping costs, depending mostly on the manufacturer. Porcelain cannot be polished or honed like granite, so the finish cannot be changed if you choose a slab with a polished finish.
|Porcelain Type||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)|
|Unpolished||$8 - $11|
|Polished||$9 - $12|
Like all countertops, your porcelain slab countertop must have a finished edge. Unlike other slab countertops, however, there are limits on what can be done with a porcelain countertop. The slabs are only about 12 mm (½-inch) thick, and the material can be brittle and fragile until installed. This means that square edges are the most common. You can build up the countertop’s edge to make it appear thicker. This built edge is also most often left square. However, you can give beveled and bullnose edges to the finished countertops. Doing anything other than a square or eased edge increases project costs.
|Edge Type||Average Costs|
|Square||No additional charge|
|Eased||No additional charge|
|Bevel||$10 - $12/linear foot|
|Bullnose||$10 - $12/linear foot|
|Built||$15 - $25/linear foot|
Your porcelain countertop’s installation cost varies depending on the type and what you have done. In general, labor for porcelain tile countertops is fairly low, averaging $7 to $10 a square foot. However, labor for a porcelain slab countertop can be higher when you include fabrication and installation. Labor costs are usually between $47 and $108 a square foot for slab countertops. This includes the sink cutouts, edge treatment, templating, fabricating, transporting, and final installation. The slabs are easily chipped and damaged during fabrication, transport, and installation because they are thin. Once installed, they are very durable, but getting them to that point can be time-consuming and difficult, which is why fabrication and installation costs are high.
|Countertop Type||Labor Costs per Sq. Ft.||Total Costs per Sq. Ft.|
|Tile||$7 - $10||$20 - $30|
|Gauged / Slab||$47 - $108||$55 - $120|
It is very common to update multiple areas of the kitchen at once. This means that while you are doing your countertops, you may want to tackle other areas. Some of these are integral to the countertop installation, such as the sink or induction burners. Others can be done before or after the countertop is installed.
|Cabinetry||$40 - $80/sq.ft.|
|Sink||$250 - $1,000|
|Backsplash||$600 - $1,200|
|Island||$1,210 - $2,640|
The cost to add porcelain slabs to cabinetry, furniture, or other areas is $40 to $80 a square foot. 6mm porcelain slabs can clad many areas. You can use them on the ends and exteriors of cabinet runs, as kick plates 4, and as stiles, and they can clad cabinet doors when installed properly on a firm surface. The key is the porcelain must be mounted 5 on something stable. Alone, it is very fragile and does not hold up. Mounted on a stable surface, however, it is incredibly durable and long-lasting.
Building a porcelain sink from the same material as your countertop costs between $250 and $1,000. Many slabs can form a sink that appears seamless and integral to the countertop. Smaller pieces are cut, fitted together, and installed below the countertop. This is essentially an undermounted sink. It is held with clamps and epoxy 6 like a stainless or porcelain enameled sink. The finished sink appears to blend with the countertop for a sleeker appearance.
The cost of a porcelain tile backsplash averages $600 to $1,200. The backsplash 7 is often the final piece of the kitchen design. It is very common to install a new backsplash with a new countertop. Sometimes, removing an old countertop can damage the lowest part of the backsplash area, necessitating a change. Porcelain tile creates a modern, sleek backsplash that complements many homes. The larger tiles mean fewer grout lines, which can make for a cleaner-looking design.
The cost of a porcelain island countertop ranges from $1,210 to $2,640. The average size of a kitchen island is 20 to 22 square feet. Island countertops have the same considerations as perimeter countertops, although they can be slightly more expensive. An island requires finishing the countertop’s edge on all 4 sides. This can make the countertop more expensive than normal. The porcelain’s thinness lends well to things like waterfall sides and other popular island countertop styles.
Porcelain countertops are easy to maintain. While they are fragile when handled, they are very low maintenance and highly durable once installed. They do not require sealing or special cleaners. They are also impervious to scratching, heat, and staining. You can wash them with your preferred detergent. They may chip, however, if they receive a heavy impact. Be careful with heavy pots, set them down gently, and do not swing them or bump them into the edge.
Porcelain countertops are low-maintenance. They are scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and heat-resistant. They never need sealing and do not require special cleaners or specialized maintenance. Once installed, they tend to be very durable and long-lasting. They come in a wide range of colors and styles and mimic stones, such as marble, without requiring maintenance.
However, the slabs are thin. This means they are difficult to work with, inflating the labor and fabrication costs. They frequently break during installation, meaning the project may be delayed while a new slab is fabricated. They are often given a built-up edge to make the countertops more robust. This makes the countertop look thicker but creates a visible seam 8 where the built section is.
Both porcelain and quartz countertops are popular man-made materials that offer low-maintenance, high-durability options for the kitchen. Neither material requires special care or maintenance, and both mimic the look of natural stone without sealers or special cleaners.
However, the composition of the two materials is very different. Porcelain is made of compressed clay dust. It is highly recyclable and easy to produce. The slabs are very thin, however - less than half a quartz slab’s thickness.
Quartz is made of 93% natural quartz rock, mixed with resins and pigments. This material can be made in different thicknesses but cannot be recycled. Both are cost comparable, but quartz may be easier to find fabricators for.
Another popular material for countertops is granite. Granite countertops are made out of stone quarried from the ground. They come in a wide range of colors and styles, and no two pieces are the same.
Porcelain is a man-made material, so it is more consistent. Most granite slabs are 2 or 3 cm in thickness, while porcelain is mostly 12 mm for countertops. This means granite is naturally thicker and easier to work with and transport than porcelain. Granite also has a wider range of colors, while porcelain is more limited.
Both have comparable price ranges. Granite is higher maintenance and requires sealants and special cleaners.
One of the materials porcelain is frequently designed to look like is marble. Marble is a natural stone that is much softer than granite. It is made mostly of calcite, so it can etch or dull easily with contact from lemon juice or tomato sauce. Like granite, marble’s color and appearance are never the same.
Porcelain is a man-made material and more even. While it is designed to look like marble, it is easier to care for. It does not dull or etch and does not require sealers or special cleaners. Porcelain countertops are thinner than marble and more difficult to work with. The two are price comparable, with a wide range of costs.
It is common with slab countertops to have a cooktop undermounted into the counter. This gives you a sleeker look and more options for arrangements with your oven. The cooktop and installation cost is $500 to $1,000, plus a $200 cutout fee for the slab.
Porcelain can be installed over an existing countertop. However, you can remove the old countertop first. Some installers do not charge for this. Others charge up to $200 for the old countertop’s removal and disposal.
Porcelain countertops are roughly in line with other slab countertops like granite, marble, and quartz. There is an overlap in cost. In this case, the material is fairly inexpensive at $8 to $12 a square foot, but fabrication and installation is expensive due to how difficult the material is to work with.
Before installation, porcelain can chip or crack very easily. After installation, they are less likely to chip or crack. However, they may chip if they are hit hard with something like a cast iron frying pan.
Granite and porcelain have a range of costs. Some granite is less expensive than porcelain, and some is more expensive. Both have similar average costs.
Porcelain slabs are stain-resistant. They are non-porous, so stains remain on the surface and are easier to remove. They can discolor but rarely stain.
Porcelain slabs cost little for the material - about $8 to $12 a square foot. However, they are difficult and expensive to fabricate and install, giving them costs similar to marble, granite, and quartz.
Porcelain countertops are easy to maintain. You can clean them with your favorite detergent. A lint-free cloth is recommended, but scrubbing pads 9 or other cleaning product materials are fine.
Porcelain slabs are extremely difficult to handle and install, so they are not a good option for DIY. Porcelain tiles, however, are fairly easy to work with, and you can install a porcelain tile countertop.
Porcelain tiles are very durable and withstand most commercial uses when installed properly. The key is not to suddenly strike or drop something because it could crack.