Unlike other parts of your home, a kitchen worktop deals with many issues; hot pans, sharp knives, and hot liquid splashes eventually damage the surface. Therefore, sometimes it’s a good idea to install a new kitchen worktop before the surface deteriorates too much.
The average cost of kitchen worktop replacements in the UK varies with their material. But generally, prices of the most popular materials range from £20-£600/m2 for 600mm deep x 20mm thick worktops. Additionally, specialist kitchen installers charge £150-£200/day for labour. In comparison, installing fitted appliances cost £60-£100/hr.
As with all jobs around the house involving safety issues, you must comply with the Building Regulations. A Part P electrician should install electrical appliances, and a registered plumber should install sinks and taps. You can find them both on the Competent Person Register. Alternatively, for gas appliances, use a GasSafe engineer, who you can also find on the Competent Person Register.
These amounts sound expensive. But, don’t be tempted to replace kitchen worktops cheaply. It’s much better to choose someone who knows what to do, has the correct tools and doesn’t hang around.
This guide describes some of the most popular worktop materials, the factors affecting their price and how to contact a reputable kitchen installer. By choosing the right professional, you can have a beautiful new worktop to replace the tired and scratched surface in your lovely kitchen. Choose a reputable local person yourself, or use the form on this page to get quotes from some of our recommended contractors.
How Much Does Kitchen Worktop Replacement Cost?*
There are many different materials suitable for use as a kitchen worktop. Some are expensive because of the work involved in manufacturing and installing. Moreover, you should only use these pricey worktops in high quality, bespoke kitchens; otherwise, you’ve wasted your money. Probably, they would look out of place when used with a standard kitchen that most of us have, anyway. Therefore, this guide deals with the most popular worktop materials, which you can see in the following table.
These estimates show a kitchen worktop cost comparison, and you can calculate a ballpark figure for the size of your worktop. So, use this data as helpful information when starting the research for your new worktop.
|Worktop Material||Cost/m2 (Supply Only)||Worktop Size (m2)||Total Estimated Cost|
*We compiled these prices from those published by specialist sources. Every manufacturer has unique designs and thicknesses other than those in this table, and every home is different. Also, the estimates might vary when the worktops aren’t like-for-like or the same size. And kitchens can have many configurations. Therefore, be aware when comparing these products with others. Always contact a local kitchen supplier or installation company if you want an accurate quote for your kitchen. Alternatively, use the form on this page.
It’s surprising how replacing your worktops can improve the look of your kitchen, even if you don’t replace the cabinets or their doors. Moreover, there are many other additions to make your kitchen look more sophisticated than it did before.
An island is a group of floor cabinets grouped away from the walls. An island usually uses a 900mm deep worktop and often contains a sink or hob.
- The laminate worktop needed for a standard-sized island costs £150-£170 for a 3m length.
- A wood 900mm worktop costs around £1500 for a 3m length.
- A quartz 950mm worktop costs £500-£700 for a 3m length.
Waterfall worktops are distinctive innovations in kitchen design. The floor cabinet’s sides are covered in the same design as the worktop. Therefore, it appears to flow over the edge of the cabinet and fall to the floor.
Upstands are a narrow strip of worktop material about 100-150mm in height. Moreover, you can choose upstand designs to match or contrast your worktop. They sit at the worktop’s rear and hide the gap between that and the wall. Typically, they cost £35-£120 for a 3m solid wood upstand. Alternatively, a laminate version costs £20-£70.
As an alternative to upstands, you can clad the wall above the worktop. Furthermore, you can cover the entire area or only partially.
There are a few cladding types you can choose from, but here are the most popular:
- Ceramic tiles – Tiles are easy to care for; simply wipe them clean. They can handle splashes of hot and cold liquids from the hob or sink. Also, there is an almost infinite variety of colours, designs, shapes and sizes to choose from.
- Wood – Wood walls look warm and cosy but are sensitive to humidity and might expand or warp over time if not installed correctly. This cladding needs regular maintenance to keep it looking good.
- Vinyl – Vinyl plates fixed to the wall are an affordable and straightforward cladding method. They are easy to maintain and can be customised if required.
- Natural stone – You can choose from a range of natural stone textures and colours to complement your worktop. Choose from marble, granite, slate, quartz or sandstone. This cladding is easily cleaned and will last a lifetime. But, use a professional to mount them.
The following table shows typical kitchen sizes and the price to fit standard worktop configurations. We’ll assume a medium-priced laminate worktop costing £90/3m in length. Remember, you must buy full lengths even if you only use part lengths. If you want to add islands or upstands, use the previously mentioned costs.
|Kitchen area (worktop lengths required)||Worktop cost||Labour cost||Total estimated cost|
|Small 6m2 (3m + 2m)||£180||£200||£380|
|Medium 9m2 (3m + 3m + 3m)||£270||£300||£570|
|Large (15m2 (5m + 3m + 5m)||£450||£500||£950|
Kitchen Worktop Replacement Price Factors
It isn’t easy to calculate an accurate cost to replace your worktop without asking the installation company to inspect your existing kitchen. Many factors affect the cost of kitchen worktops, and you must account for these in your budget when choosing a replacement.
Worktops come in standard widths and thicknesses depending on the material, usually 600mm wide and 19mm thick, although the thickness can increase to 50mm. However, you can also buy 900mm wide versions. Once you’ve selected the dimensions, choose which type you want. However, larger worktops cost more than smaller versions. Also, you’ll find that wider and thicker worktops are significantly heavier, which further increases the labour cost.
As you can see from the table, the material significantly affects the supply cost. But, the material also determines how easy it is to cut to length and install. Therefore, the material also determines the labour cost.
Worktops usually come in standard lengths unless you buy the granite and quartz variations directly from the manufacturer, in which case they come already cut to size. Otherwise, most worktops come in 3m lengths, and you have to cut each one to length. Depending on the kitchen’s configutation, and how many internal and external corners you have will determine how many pieces you buy and how many cuts you make. Therefore, the configuration determines the worktop costs and the labour involved with cutting joints and corners.
Mitred or butt corners
Corners can be either “butt joints” or “mitred joints”. Butt joints have each connecting piece cut at 90⁰ on a corner. In comparison, a mitred joint has connecting pieces cut at 45⁰. Generally, the two types aren’t as straightforward as they sound. It’s surprisingly difficult to cut at an exact angle, and they both need different joining methods that you should leave up to the kitchen installer. Each jointing method takes different durations, with mitred corners requiring the most skill and work. So, the corner type changes the labour costs.
Built-in hobs and sinks must be inset into the worktop to provide a smooth, unbroken surface. This operation requires the installer to cut the right size hole to accommodate the appliance. Each hole increases the cost of installation.
The cost of living varies depending on where you live in the country. London and Southeast England have the highest labour rates and can be anything up to 20% higher than other areas.
Premade worktops are made in bulk on a machine, whereas a custom made worktop is made to measure with all joints and holes for appliances pre-cut in the factory. Therefore the custom-made product is more expensive.
The installer’s experience
Every professional has different skills and experience. Therefore, expect to pay more for highly qualified professionals. However, you can expect quality workmanship in the minimum time possible at this high price.
Replacing the worktop is only one way to improve your kitchen’s overall appearance and feel. Therefore, while you’ve got a professional in your home, why not consider replacing the following as well:
- Install new kitchen cabinets.
- Add new cabinet doors.
- Insert new sink and drainer.
- Add new kitchen taps.
- Install new appliances.
- Add upstands and splashbacks.
You can choose from one or all these from the entire range of improvements.
Benefits of Replacing Worktops
What benefits will replacing your worktop give to your kitchen?
Probably, the most popular reason is to improve the look of your kitchen. Over time, and with continual wear and tear, a kitchen work surface becomes scratched, chipped and marked from chopping knives, hot pots and pans, and spilt hot liquids. Furthermore, it isn’t only the appearance that matters. Scratches and chips allow dirt to accumulate and bacteria to grow. These impart an odour to the room and risk giving your family food poisoning.
There are many materials and styles to choose from, and it’s worth looking out for materials with inbuilt anti-bacterial properties, additional heat resistance and wipe clean facilities. Furthermore, if you choose well, the new worktop will add considerable value to your home. In fact, if you intend to move house and your kitchen is letting you down, the cheapest way to improve its overall appearance is to replace the worktop and leave everything else as it is.
Types of Worktops (Material Options)
Laminates are an extremely popular worktop choice. They’re not only the most affordable, but they’re also available in a wide variety of colours, finishes, and styles. Generally, compared to the other worktops currently available, laminate worktops are lightweight, simple to cut and install with standard DIY tools, and highly resistant to hot liquids and stains. However, their affordability probably makes them stand out from the rest.
They have disadvantages, however. They’re easily scratched, and if damaged, are difficult to repair. Furthermore, the plastic laminate layer tends to peel if not appropriately maintained.
Laminated worktops range from £20-£50/m2, depending on quality, thickness and design.
Timber worktops are another affordable worksurface material having an aesthetic appeal and durability, with a classic finish. However, because sharp knives easily damage the surface, they need regular maintenance to continue looking good, primarily if the worktop uses softwood such as pine or deal.
Although many wood species such as oak, pine and cedar are thought to be anti-bacterial, you can enhance this property on your timber worktop by using Ronseal Anti-Bacterial Worktop Oil. The oil uses silver metal, known for thousands of years to be anti-microbial, to prevent harmful bacteria in the woodgrain grooves.
Wooden worktops cost £40-£200/m2, with the high end of the range being exotic hardwoods and thicker worksurfaces.
Granite is a tough rock that polishes to a high gloss sheen. Worktops made from this material are highly durable, water-resistant and hygienic, withstand heat and are easily cleaned. One of the attractive features of a granite worksurface is that each piece is cut from solid rock. Therefore, every worktop is unique. But, you don’t get all this loveliness for anything. Granite is difficult to cut and polish and must be cut to length, with cut-outs already made. Therefore, most types of granite cost £300-£600/m2.
Although quartz worktops are difficult to install and sensitive to hot pots and pans, they are resistant to moisture and stains. They use crushed quartz, a waste product from the mineral processing industry. The finish is similar to granite but made from a mixture of crushed quartz blended with resin in a mould before being polished. Therefore it can be coloured and shaped in many different ways. The prices depend on size, shape, and thickness but range from £200-£600/m2.
How Do I Change My Worktop Cheaply?
What should you do if replacing your kitchen worktops is more than you can afford? No problem.
you can buy worktop covers which are self-adhesive flexible vinyl sheets designed to cover the existing worktop. The vinyl covers come in many colours and textures, including wood grain, marble, granite, metallic and many more. Typically, the vinyl rolls are up to 3m long and 300mm, 400mm, 450mm, or 600mm wide.
Prices vary depending on the finish and quality. For example, a 600mm x 2m, self-adhesive, marble effect, vinyl costs £18-£22. Alternatively, a 670mm x 2m, self-adhesive, black granite vinyl costs £12-£15. And a 900mm x 2.1m, self-adhesive, light oak vinyl costs around £12. You can buy them from major DIY stores or online. This is a job suitable for a DIY project
Alternatively, some companies provide quartz/resin rigid worktop covers (or overlay worktops) moulded to fit onto an existing worktop. They are 6-8mm thick and weigh about 18kg/m2. Typically, you can choose from at least 20 finishes to suit your new colour scheme.
The installation process is a two-step affair. The first visit takes 1-3 hours when the company measures the area to be covered together with holes for cut-outs, appliances or taps, and where the joints will be. Then you wait around 2-4 weeks while they make the mould and cut to suit your layout. Although everything is prefabricated at the factory, the installation takes up to five hours. It involves removing the sink and other appliances, dry fitting the cover to ensure a good fit, followed by glueing in place. Every kitchen is different, so we can’t give a definitive price. However, you can expect to pay around £2000, fully fitted, for a typical UK kitchen. You can also pay extra for splashbacks, window sills, upstands and many other accessories. However, the additional cost might not be as high as you think.
Worktop Installation Steps
Replacing kitchen worktops is a skilled job and needs experienced use of tools. Therefore, we recommend that you hire a professional with relevant knowledge. However, it’s always beneficial for a householder to know the significant steps involved. So, we’ll lay out some bullet points to guide you through the process.
- Plan the layout and decide how much worktop you need. Also, decide on where to make the cuts and joints and where you can hide hand-cut edges.
- Depending on the type of worktop, you might have to make allowances for expansion or contraction. Therefore, read the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Note where obstructions occur. These could be pipes on the walls, inlaid sinks or hobs. Make templates to transfer the measurements to the worktop.
- Machined cuts made in the factory will be more accurate than those you do yourself. Therefore, keep machined cuts on exposed edges, and hide your hand-cut edges against walls or under a joining strip.
- Ensure appliance cut-outs are at least 50mm from the front edge and 60mm from the back edge. Also, joints should be at least 100mm from appliance cut-outs.
- Depending on the contours of the wall, you might have to cut the rear edge of the worktop to match the wall’s shape. If the gap is less than 5mm, you can usually cover this with an upstand or tiles and silicone sealant.
- Existing floor cabinets will have locations for screwing to the worktop. Usually, there are two locations at the front and one at the rear. Use the longest screw available to go through the fixing point and into the worktop without piercing the top surface.
- Professionals will usually cut corner mitres using a router and jig, but this is a skilled operation, so don’t try it as a DIY job. However, if you have a cheap worktop or are doing the job yourself, use butt joints with a joining strip and silicone sealant.
- Finally, use silicone sealant to fill between the worktop and appliances, walls and upstands.
Replacing your old worktops with new ones or hiding them beneath a worktop cover is an excellent way to smarten up your kitchen, especially if you want to sell up and move on. However, we always advise householders to hire a kitchen professional to get a good quality finish.
Complete the form on this page, and we’ll pass your details on to specialist companies. Then you’ll receive up to four local kitchen worktop replacement quotes so you can choose the best in the privacy of your home.