Kitchen counter top, granite or formica

11 Replies

I'm debating about what type of countertop to put in a mid-range rental (Oak Park, MI). I plan to rent for $1,100/month in an area that similar houses rent for 850-1,100 for this type of house, now this house is on a highway service drive and my plan is to keep it as a long term rental. Target renters are young professionals, graduate students, young professional couples.

I don't think the granite will add much to the rent other than maybe a renter liking it a little more/attracting better pool of renters, doubt anyone will pay more b/c of the service drive and no basement (crawlspace) and the mid-range area (keep in mind I'm a new fairly inexperienced investor, if anyone has experience in this area and wants to correct me please do so! :)). I did get a great quote from this guy, I told him I can't pay no more than 1,000 (about 35 sq ft of counterspace) and he can use remnants and even combine different stones as long as they were very similar, well he agreed. Now I'm feeling like I'm making a decision based on my heart and not on business principles. Now to get me more wind up I searched CL for this city and granite and found a handful of rentals with granite. I just don't see a target renter willing to pay even $25 more for granite in this area.

Someone slap me and give me some advice, thanks!

954-805-4616

In a rental I would go formica as opposed to low end granite. If you use pieces that don't quite match it will be an eye soar and might work against you. Take the money you save and do dome light fixture or bathroom upgrades. Food for thought.

There are plenty of nice looking countertop alternatives. Stay away from granite for a rental. I agree to put the money to better use elsewhere. Nobody will

Your search on CL for granite was it $1100 rentals in the area that have granite?

I try to stay away from granite on my low and midrange

The thing that granite has that formica doesn't is durability and it is less damage prone. Look at the price difference. Is granite twice or 4 times the formica cost. Anotherwords how many times would you replace the formica to justify the cost difference. Are the cabinets new or fairly new /solid. I would consider that in your decision. It is also the wow that may make your rental more attractive. About remnants if they reasonably match it is no issue, A renter told that the house has granite isn't going to say oh but it has seams.... Granite may help if your exit strategy is to sell this unit.

Another thought is we shop second hand a lot and look for kitchen displays if you are replacing a whole kitchen. More relevant to your situation though is corian. Corian is more expensive then granite but twice we have gotten good deals from people who are getting rid of corian to put in granite. We have been able to refabricate the corian fairly easily ourselves and it is more durable then formica. Just a thought. Also for granite you can keep your cost down by say putting butcher block on an island if you have one or using something different as an accent.

Well for one knowing the area I would be shocked if you get that much per month being on that service drive.

Go to lumber liquidators and look at their butcher block. You can save plenty of money and even install it yourself.

John and Rob, formica is looking like the obvious choice, although one person came to see the house and he liked it and said if his girlfriend agrees to live in the area he will split some of the cost of the granite, sounds to good to be true, I won't hold my breath!

Rich, I saw 2 granite sub $1,000 and 2 around the $1,400 range.

Colleen, I'm estimating that the Formica will cost me around 300-400 , where the granite will be $1,000 ( both materials and installation) plus I have to buy the sink (around $200?) so around $1,200.

Scott, that's what I thought, I had some serious electrical issues in the kitchen and started opening walls and went crazy and gutted the first floor, man, what a money pit! but that means now I have a brand new first floor and I showed the house unfinished to at least have some sort of feedback about the property and I can tell you I doubt that I will have any problems getting my $1,100, I think I could have done even $1,200 but not having central air has kept me from going that high and also I don't want to push my luck to much, I want to have a good pool of renters to choose from. Maybe I got very lucky that May is a great month to rent in the area (have to get to know the big 3 hiring schedules/universities start/end dates)? I know the house is looking pretty darn good on the inside, charm is what I go for.

Interesting that you recommend the butcher block, one of my contractors is recommending it (from Ikea). I'm concerned about renters using it as a cutting board and letting water sit on it, what is your experience with this?

Thanks everyone!

954-805-4616

@Roy Gutierrez I try to keep my fixtures in a rental nice but not top quality, because after all they are a rental. that being said if I could get countertops of granite for $1K all my rentals would have it. Way to go bud.

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
The thing that granite has that formica doesn't is durability and it is less damage prone. Look at the price difference. Is granite twice or 4 times the formica cost. Anotherwords how many times would you replace the formica to justify the cost difference. Are the cabinets new or fairly new /solid. I would consider that in your decision. It is also the wow that may make your rental more attractive. About remnants if they reasonably match it is no issue, A renter told that the house has granite isn't going to say oh but it has seams.... Granite may help if your exit strategy is to sell this unit.

The thing granite has for those of close to large urban ports and large granite yards is way lower labor costs. The granite crews are fast and reasonable. Landlords are using granite in $100K rental houses where I am because it's cheaper than a custom formica or laminate install. Sometimes you luck out for sizing and you can use the pre made laminate counters. But if not, the granite guys are cheaper here.

Then there's the perceived value issue. I slapped some granite on top of some 1980s painted cabinets in a medium sized U-shaped kitchen and on both of the old bath vanities (also repainted). That granite sold the house.

You can also look at tiling the counter tops. You can get granite tiles or even good looking ceramic or porcelain. I've done that one 2 houses and it looked nice for low and lower-mid level. It may be a good middle ground between the 2.

Originally posted by @Shawn Thom :
You can also look at tiling the counter tops. You can get granite tiles or even good looking ceramic or porcelain. I've done that one 2 houses and it looked nice for low and lower-mid level. It may be a good middle ground between the 2.

I'm actually not a fan of the way granite looks or feels (to modern, too cold) and just too much like stone....because it's granite. So have been considering some 12" porcelain tile options for my own kitchen counters. I've seen some really beautiful applications of large tile that end up looking warmer, with way more color options than granite. And the price is right. It's nothing like the 4" square tile ceramic tile installations of the past.

If granite is only 1k for this sized kitchen, I would go granite every time. In my area it is that little extra that makes a kitchen pop. Plus, as K. Marie said, the durability is so much better than Formica when you turn over tenants.

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