Nearly 90% of kitchen remodels in the past year included this high-impact project.
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2020 was a big year for home renovation projects. For some, spending more time at home prompted updates to add function, while others finally had the time to tackle a list of to-dos. Kitchen remodels became a top priority for many homeowners, and interior design hub Houzz recently released findings on the scope and details of kitchen renovations over the past year. One key takeaway? Replacing countertops was a must-do for nearly 90% of homeowners surveyed.

white top and blue bottom kitchen cabinets
Credit: Brie Williams

The 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, which was conducted last summer, involved more than 2,000 homeowners who completed a kitchen remodel in the previous 12 months, were currently working on one, or planned to start a project in the next three months. The results show that countertops were the most popular feature to upgrade, with 88% of respondents incorporating the project into their kitchen remodel. Updates to backsplashes and sinks followed closely behind with 83% and 80% respectively.

The survey also dug into specifics on the materials and styles most often used in countertop replacements. Engineered quartz was the top choice for upgraded countertops with 40% of homeowners opting for this material, compared to 28% who preferred granite. However, quartz's popularity in 2021 is down from its peak of 51% the previous year, a decline that could be explained by rising costs due to increased tariffs on imports from China, the report notes.

Kitchen with dark blue and wood island with bar seating
Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography LLC

When upgrading island countertops, nearly one in four homeowners chose a material that contrasted with the perimeter countertops. Of those contrasting materials, butcher block or wood slabs earned the top spot at 41%, while granite trailed at just 16%. The comparatively low cost of wood compared to real or engineered stone makes it a smart choice for homeowners looking for a stylish accent that can also help scale back expenses.

Replacing kitchen countertops can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $4,000 and up, depending on the size of your kitchen and choice of materials. Most countertop surfaces start at about $15 per square foot and can go up to $100 per square foot or more for high-end stone. The cost of labor, including removing the old countertop and polishing or sealing the new surface, will add to the expense. But if you're ready to give your kitchen a boost of hardworking style, replacing the countertops can be a worthwhile investment.


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