Countertops are the workhorses of the kitchen and other areas where they are installed. They also play a big role in how the space looks and its overall style. For those who want a contemporary and low-maintenance option, stainless steel countertops are great.
These stylish and durable countertops can be custom made to fit any kitchen, or you can purchase small prefab versions to add a small section of stainless to your kitchen design. Whatever you decide, these countertops can be found in many finishes and thicknesses. This provides many options and a wide range of costs.
The national average cost range for installing stainless steel countertops is $2,400 to $4,050. Most homeowners pay around $3,000 for 30 sq.ft. of 16 gauge brushed stainless steel countertops. This project’s low cost is $1,000 for an 18 gauge prefabricated stainless steel island countertop. The high cost is $7,500 for 30 sq.ft. of 14 gauge hammered stainless steel countertops with a built edge and integral backsplash.
|Cost to Install Stainless Steel Countertops|
|National average cost||$3,000|
Like most countertop materials, steel countertops are sold and installed by the square foot. Stainless steel countertops range from $50 to $250 a square foot installed, with most people paying between $80 and $135 a square foot. They also come in several thicknesses or gauges. Thicker steel costs more than thinner steel. The type of edge, finish, and configuration play a role in the project’s total cost.
|Countertop Size||Average Costs (Installed)|
|10 sq.ft.||$500 - $2,500|
|20 sq.ft.||$1,000 - $5,000|
|30 sq.ft.||$1,500 - $7,500|
|40 sq.ft.||$2,000 - $10,000|
Stainless steel countertops are most commonly installed in kitchens - both commercial and residential. They hold up well in a wide range of circumstances and are easy to clean. They can also work for outdoor kitchens because they are not impacted by the elements like some countertops. Your project costs range depending on the countertop size and thickness and the stainless steel type. The costs below are based on the average sizes of each location.
|Location||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Outdoor Kitchen||$600 - $5,000|
|Residential Kitchen||$1,500 - $10,000|
|Commercial Kitchen||$5,000 - $15,000|
The cost of stainless steel countertops for an outdoor kitchen is between $600 and $5,000. Most outdoor kitchens have between 12 and 20 square feet of countertop. Your kitchen may need more or less, which impacts your final costs. Stainless steel is a common material for outdoor kitchen cabinets. This makes steel a good choice for a cohesive look. Keep in mind these costs are for custom countertops. When you purchase a stainless cabinet, the stainless countertop may already be included in that cost.
The cost of a stainless steel countertop in a residential kitchen averages $1,500 to $10,000. Most residential kitchens have around 30 square feet of countertop space. Larger kitchens may have up to 40 square feet of countertop. However, galley kitchens need considerably less, and larger kitchens with islands 1 and peninsulas 2 require more. This means prices vary tremendously. Stainless steel for most kitchens needs to be between 16 and 18 gauge. When using stainless steel as an accent, you can use 20 or 22 gauge with good results. The lower the gauge, the higher the costs, but the better the countertop’s durability.
The cost of stainless steel countertops for a commercial kitchen ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. There is no average size for a commercial kitchen, with different uses having varying needs. However, many have a minimum of 50 to 60 square feet of countertop space. Some may need considerably more, while others less. All commercial countertops should be 14 gauge steel. Using a thinner steel countertop results in more dents, scratches, and a noisier workspace.
The vast majority of the stainless steel countertops in kitchens are custom made. This means they are cut and fabricated to fit your kitchen. They are seamless and often include an integral sink, with an option of an integral backsplash.
However, you can purchase some prefab models for small countertops. These come in set sizes and do not have as many options for finish, thickness, or edging. They can be used to cover an island or paired with another countertop material like granite or porcelain for more dimension and interest. It is common to use only a section of stainless steel, with the rest of the kitchen using different materials to cut down on the industrial appearance. A prefab section may be a good choice if you choose this route.
|Countertop Size||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Prefab||$40 - $50|
|Custom||$50 - $250|
The cost of prefab stainless steel countertops is between $40 and $50 a square foot. Prefab stainless steel countertops are typically smaller than the average length of cabinet run in a kitchen. They are meant for smaller spaces or accents in a larger countertop area. They can include an integral sink or backsplash, but this sink size and shape is not customizable. Finishes are often limited, and the steel is often not as thick. These work best on islands, peninsulas, and short runs of cabinetry.
The cost of custom stainless steel countertops averages $50 to $250 a square foot. Custom stainless steel countertops are made for your kitchen. A template is taken of your countertops to ensure the best fit. To make a custom countertop, a wood countertop is made in the correct shape and thickness. This is wrapped with the steel and given the final edge and finish treatment. If you need more than one piece to cover your cabinets during installation, the seams are butt-edged and buffed away until the countertop appears as a seamless sheet of metal.
Stainless steel can be finished in many ways. Most finishes are graded 3 on a scale of 0 to 8 - 0 is a mirror finish and 8 a soft finish. The more polished and reflective the steel’s finish, the more it shows fingerprints and scratches. The duller the finish, the less they show. Each finish has characteristics to consider. Some finishes increase the countertop’s cost, but most of the cost stems from the steel gauge and installation. The finish can impact costs, but only on a minor level.
|Finish Grade||Characteristics||Average Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|0||Mirror finish / Very reflective||$50 - $150|
|1||Coated to resist chemicals||$60 - $175|
|2||Polished and tempered for strength||$60 - $200|
|3||Coarse finish||$50 - $150|
|4||Brushed finish (most common)||$70 - $250|
|5||Satin finish||$70 - $250|
|6||Matte finish||$70 - $250|
|7||Mild reflective finish||$50 - $150|
|8||Soft reflective finish||$50 - $150|
The cost of mirror polish stainless steel countertops is $50 to $150 a square foot. Mirror polish stainless steel countertops are highly reflective surfaces. This means they are difficult to keep clean because streaks, fingerprints, smudges, and food particles show easily. This finish is not often recommended for everyday use and shows scratches and dents more easily than other finishes. It does not keep the polish for long when used daily.
A coated stainless steel countertop costs between $60 and $175 a square foot. A coated stainless steel countertop is first hot-rolled when produced for additional strength. It is given a coating that helps it resist chemicals. Steel naturally resists acids and alkalines - two things that can damage a stone countertop, but it is not impervious to everything. Steel corrodes on contact with chlorine 4, which is the main ingredient in bleach. A coated steel countertop can prevent corrosion if you accidentally get some bleach or bleach-containing product on your countertop.
The cost of a polished and tempered steel countertop averages $60 to $200 a square foot. This countertop has a high-gloss finish. It has also been tempered with heat for durability. This means the countertop is less likely to dent. You could get away with a thinner gauge without worrying about excessive denting. The polished finish still shows fingerprints and scratch marks, but this is a good option if you are worried about dents.
The cost of a steel countertop with a coarse finish ranges from $50 to $150 a square foot. Coarse finishes are good for hiding fingerprints and some minor surface scratches. The term coarse varies by the manufacturer in texture. For some, it is a rough texture reminiscent of fine sandpaper. For others, it may be a more aggressive brushed texture. Most reflect some degree of light, so they are not completely matte.
The cost of a brushed stainless steel countertop averages $70 to $250 a square foot. Brushed stainless steel is the most common finish for countertops. It hides scratches and fingerprints better than any other finish. This means it looks better for longer with less care. Brushed finishes still reflect some light. The reflection is duller than polished steel, but most people find the benefits outweigh the reflection loss.
The cost of a satin stainless steel countertop is $70 to $250 a square foot. Satin is a softer finish than brushed but with some of the same benefits. It does not reflect as much light as a true polish but reflects more than matte. It has a very light texture, which is not as pronounced as the brushed finish. This can be a nice finish to help cut down on scratches and fingerprints showing if you do not like the brushed finish texture. Overall, this is a softer finish for the steel.
The cost of an antique matte stainless steel countertop is between $70 and $250 a square foot. Matte countertops do not reflect light. The countertop’s surface is dull in appearance. This is different from a brushed countertop, which is textured and reflects light. Antique matte stainless steel is often marked like a brushed countertop without the reflection. This finish is good at hiding scratches and fingerprints but not as good as a true brushed finish.
The cost of a steel countertop with a mildly reflective surface averages $50 to $150 a square foot. This is a good option if you like smooth countertops. It is not as reflective as the mirror polish and has a smooth surface. It does not show fingerprints as strongly as a high-gloss finish. It still scratches, but small imperfections are not as noticeable without the mirror finish. This makes a mildly reflective finish a good compromise for some homeowners.
The cost of a steel countertop with a soft reflective finish is between $50 and $150 a square foot. This finish is closest to a “high hone” on a stone countertop. It is not matte but not polished. It is one step up from matte, reflecting some light while having a smooth and flat surface. Like the mildly reflective finish, this is a good compromise finish. It has a softer look to it than the high polish and disguises fingerprints better.
You can also get black or hammered finishes. Hammered finishes are good for busy kitchens or when you opt for higher gauge steel because they are less likely to show wear, scratches, and dents. The coating put on some stainless steel can be tinted black, and the steel can be chemically treated to take on a black hue. These options further customize the way your stainless steel countertop looks and functions.
|Type||Average Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|Black||$60 - $175|
|Hammered||$100 - $250|
The cost of a black stainless steel countertop averages $60 to $175 a square foot. Black stainless steel is not a very dark matte black. It is a very dark gray with black undertones. It usually has a polished or semi-polished surface. This means it shows fingerprints and scratches easily. The color can be achieved in several ways, from chemical treatments to a coating. The color is permanent and does not require additional care.
Hammered stainless steel countertops cost between $100 and $250 a square foot. Hammered finishes have a pitted surface that makes the steel appear as if it has been hit with a ball-peen hammer. This surface texture adds depth and disguises dents and scratches. It also resists showing fingerprints. Hammered stainless steel is usually still fairly reflective with a textured finish. To get this finish, you need a thicker gauge.
Stainless steel countertops are made from a sheet of steel wrapped over a wood base. The steel comes in several thicknesses, known as gauges. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the steel.;
For residential use, most steel countertops are between 16 and 18 gauge. Commercial use is typically 14 gauge, and this gauge can be used in residential kitchens if you are concerned about dents.
Some steel manufacturers also offer countertops in 20 and 22 gauge. While these are inexpensive, they do not hold up well long term in residential usage. They dent easily and warp with repeated use.
Typically, the thicker the steel, the higher your cost because steel is sold by the pound. Thicker steel is heavier than thinner steel, so a thicker countertop is more durable and costly.
|Gauge||Average Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|22||$30 - $50|
|20||$40 - $60|
|18||$50 - $175|
|16||$80 - $200|
|14||$100 - $250|
The way stainless steel countertops are formed means you can have nearly all the same edges as on butcher block, granite, and marble countertops. However, most manufacturers do not offer formal and decorative edges common with marble and other stones because steel is contemporary. You can potentially have them added, but this must be a custom job discussed with the fabricator.
Most edging does not dramatically change the countertop’s cost like with other countertops. That is because the edge does not need to be “finished” like other materials do. Instead, it is wrapped with steel so that the edge does not impact your final costs unless you do something custom with your fabricator.
Common edges with a stainless steel countertop include: square, eased, bevel, half-bullnose, full bullnose, and marine (no drip).
The cost of installing a stainless steel countertop is around $30 to $50 a square foot. This includes templating your kitchen to get the correct shape and size, wrapping the steel around the wood base, attaching the countertops to your cabinets, and buffing out the seams. For a 30 sq.ft. countertop, this makes the installation portion between $900 and $1,500 out of the $3,000 total.
You may also have added costs for drilling holes for the faucet and creating an integral sink or other features. These increase your labor costs to between $1,100 and $1,800, depending on the features. These costs do not include the plumbing for a new sink or faucet.
One of the benefits of a stainless steel countertop is you can have several add-ons or options that enhance the project. These include things like integral sinks, backsplashes, and matching island countertops. While none of these are required for a beautiful stainless steel countertop, they can dramatically improve the piece’s appearance and function.
|Add-On||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Backsplash||$8 - $20/linear foot|
|Sink||$500 - $1,500|
|Island Countertop||$1,000 - $5,000|
The cost of adding an integral stainless steel backsplash 5 to your countertop is $8 to $20 a linear foot. Integral backsplashes are generally about 4 inches in height. However, you can increase or lower the backsplash’s height. This backsplash can be created in several ways, depending on the size and style. Most are welded onto the countertop. Thicker materials require more work with a higher upfront expense.
The cost of adding an integral sink to the countertop ranges from $500 to $1,500. You can have any stainless steel sink welded into place, provided it is the same gauge as your countertop. This means you can choose a high-quality stainless steel sink, such as Franke, Kohler, or Kindred, and your fabricator welds it to your countertop. This creates a seamless transition between the sink and countertop. This means you need to purchase and provide the sink ahead of time so that the appropriate cutout can be made and the sink welded in place. Choose a sink with a similar finish to your countertop for the best appearance.
The average cost of a stainless steel island countertop is $1,000 to $5,000. This is assuming an island that has roughly 20 sq.ft. of space. Your costs can be different if your island is smaller or larger. You can use a stainless steel island countertop with stainless steel perimeter counters as well as counters made of another material. This can add depth and interest to the kitchen design while giving you the look of the steel.
Stainless steel countertops are a beautiful addition to many kitchens. They have a very contemporary or industrial style, depending on the finish. They are stain-resistant and easy to clean. They do not rust and easily handle a hot pan right from the stove without burning. They have a sleek appearance and are very easy to wipe clean with an integral sink. They can be considered hygienic and sanitary because they are completely nonporous.
However, stainless steel countertops are loud. Any pot or pan set on them makes a loud clanging noise. They also scratch and dent easily, particularly at higher gauges. You also must deal with smudges and fingerprints with a polished finish, which shows easily. Streaks from some cleaners can also occur.
Stainless steel countertops are low-maintenance and easy to care for. They do not require sealers or special cleaners. Soap, water, and a soft cloth work great for daily use. If your countertop scratches, you can usually buff the scratches into the rest of the finish - as long as it is not a mirror polish - with a green scrubbing pad. Otherwise, wipe it clean as needed.
Stainless steel and granite are great options for kitchen countertops. They are very different from one another, however. Steel is metal, made into countertops by wrapping a thin sheet over a wooden base. Granite is a natural stone quarried in enormous slabs that are cut and shaped to fit your countertop.
Both are durable options for daily use. Granite is higher in maintenance due to its need for sealants and special cleaners. Steel dents and scratches while granite does not. You can combine the materials and use them in the same kitchen for various looks.
When it comes to costs, both have a fairly wide range that overlaps. Depending on the finish and options, they tend to be fairly comparable in cost.
|Material||Average Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|Granite||$40 - $200|
|Stainless Steel||$50 - $250|
If desired, you can have a cooktop installed with your countertop. However, it must be a drop-in installation. You cannot undermount material beneath stainless steel because of the wood backer. The average cost to install a cooktop is between $500 and $1,000.
When replacing your current countertops, keep the removal of the old countertop in mind. Most installers remove an old countertop at no charge, but others charge between $50 and $200 for the removal and disposal, depending on the material.
Updating your countertops can be one part of a whole kitchen update. Many people looking at countertops also update their cabinets. The average cost of installing new cabinets in a kitchen is around $6,450.
Stainless steel countertops are heat-resistant, but they are not scratch-resistant. You can get finishes, such as a brushed finish, that reduce the appearance of scratches, but the material can scratch.
In general, stainless steel resists damage from acids. This means vinegar should not overly affect the material.
Most paper towels should not scratch the steel. However, using an abrasive cleaning pad or cutting directly on the counter scratches it.
No, they are fairly comparable in cost, with granite costing $40 to $200 a square foot and stainless costing $50 to $250 a square foot.
While you can, it is not recommended. Doing this scratches the surface.