Granite or Concrete Counter Tops in New Duplex

12 Replies

Hello Team,

This week, I signed a PA for my 4th rental property in Minneapolis, MN. It is a disaster, but in a very solid area, so a play for both cashflow and equity. 

I'm currently outlining a plan for renovation... I'm torn between Granite or Concrete. Granite is probably classier, cleaner and will last longer. But my friend's Dad who is a Concrete Mason, has offered to assist if we choose Concrete. All he would take as payment is beer ;-)

So, I could renovate and add granite, or go with concrete in these 2 units, and another unit in my quad, all for $250 in materials. No labor. This instead of $3-4K for granite.

I'd be curious to hear what the board has to say-- what would you do?

At that price definitely concrete. With so little invested you could always change them out later. 

How much do these units rent for?

Updated 2 Bed, 1 Bath in this part of Mpls-- should fetch between 999-1099 per month. 

Good morning. I am an Architect in California and have seen both used extensively.

The cost factor is definitely something to consider. Granite is nice but it will require maintenance as it is a porous material. Concrete is also a porous but can be sealed and will wear just as long as the granite if properly installed. Just watch the water to cement ratio as too much water will dilute the strength of the concrete and continue to hydrate longer. There are some coloring and texturing that you can get with concrete that you may not be able to with granite. Things to consider.


Considering the huge cost advantage, I think I'd go with concrete in this case. Maybe also think about what you can do for the installer, since he is the one subsidizing a great deal for you. 

I would go concrete. Look up buddy Rhodes concrete. I built a counter top with it. It is a lot of work but I'm no mason ;) 


I know you said the guy is a concrete mason, but have you seen his work? I have seen some amazing concrete countertops and some that look like pure DIY hack jobs. At your price point, a nice looking concrete countertop is fine, but not a hack job. 

The obvious question is what kind of beer does he drink and how much.  If he's a Surly drinker like me, it might end up costing you as much as granite.  In Minneapolis right now, concrete will cost you more than granite anyway so it's still worth it. 

That said, concrete countertops are something of a specialty trade.  When done right with some proper the bear bottles we put in a recording studios counter tops, the concrete is every bit as nice as granite and frankly, quite a bit less passé.  You need someone with the proper tools however since not all concrete masons own the diamond grinders and polishers that are used for this type of work.

After reading through the other responses I'd go with concrete as well since other than the cost there seems to be very little in difference.  Good quote on the install..where can I find contractors like

@Tom Henderson  

I echo what others have said here regarding concrete and "getting what you pay for". I've seen some really cool concrete countertops and a quick google search shows ones far nicer than the ones I've seen. All depends on who's doing the work and how it is installed. 

I recommend giving him some pics of what you want for a finished product and see if he has any pics of his work. If it's an experiment for him, you're taking a bit of a gamble, but as in all risks one that could payoff. If you happen to have a short counter section that he could do first, that is one way to see.

Good luck!  

Where in Minneapolis is this located?

Thank you everyone for your suggestions!

I am going with the concrete counters-- appreciate your support and ideas. I'm looking for a way to attach photos here... my roommate helped me create concrete counters in my 4plex we live in. I'm excited to continue this in the new duplex and save some $.

Have a great day, all!


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