Wanted to get laminate countertops but NOBODY does it!!!

32 Replies

So I’ve been looking around for a minute trying to find someone who can install laminate countertops for me. I’m geting ready to rent this thing out and the countertops are kind of shot. The estimates I got were, $800, $1200, $1000..... I got a lady who who estimated GRANITE for $1160, thats including a new sink, labor, taking hauling away the old countertops and all.

With the numbers I been getting for laminate, I might as well get that granite for $1160 put in. I just feel like granite sounds too high end. And my area is not really high end. It’s like a C+ B neighborhood... I don’t think much people have granite. Although the neighborhood Im in is mostly single family homes my side of the street along with my property are all duplexes. The street behind me is a bit rough but my neighborhood is pretty walkable (a lot of older people take walks, people walking their dogs, people walk/jog, multi cultured) And I don’t think any of the duplexes have granite.... I feel like it would be over improving by doing this...

What do you guys think?

By the way I’m in Columbia, SC in case anyone knows anybody who may do it for a fair price. Thanks in advance!

@Jason D. I might have to. I just feel like it’d be doing too much considering the area/comps, but I guess if ima be spending about the same amount of money either way, it would make send to just go wit the granite...

Southeastern Salvage on Garner’s ferry Rd sells them. I think I got an 10’ run for under $80 if I remember correctly.  They sell the hardware needed to install as well.  My dad and I cut and install in just a couple hours and they’re holding up great after 4-5 years.  I’m pretty sure Lowe’s and Home Depot sell them too. 

@Jonathan Perez

@Jason D.

We're in Bigger Pockets rehab-talk silly season again.

If you want laminate countertops, you build your countertop out of particle board or MDF, which is dirt cheap. You laminate it yourself with these big sheets of laminate you cut to rough size size, cost $80-$200 to do a whole kitchen. After you're done gluing the laminate to the MDF, you rout the edges.

Laminate is not a contractor job, it's a handyman or DIY job. Sure, you can buy the countertops premade, too and cut them to size, then only cut and glue the end piece on and then rout it down to size...same tools for a much smaller job.

If you're in low-income rentals you need to know how to do this and have a handyman who does it. You need topmount/drop-in stainless and composite sinks that can be replaced easily and cheaply and not premium farmouse or undermount sinks like you would have with granite.

Granite chips, and in ways where you can't always put in and shape some knife-grade epoxy to mask the chip. Cabinets often get destroyed in rentals -- you'll need to replace them and you won't be able to easily with epoxied-in granite. Don't throw your money away on looks without understanding the realities of running the place and turning it between tenants.

You can also resurface.  Last kit from Rustoleum I got on sale for $75 and I had plenty left over.

These countertops used to be bright orange from the 70's.

I see three options. 

1. Resurface countertops. I’ve used the Rustoleum countertop Resurfacer from Lowe’s on C properties before. This is the cheapest option.  It’s only a few bucks but it does take careful prep and some time to cure. 

2. Find countertop material and an inexpensive contractor to install. Try Web Don on Bluff Rd. I’m pretty sure they are one of the last laminate top suppliers in town. I’m 90% sure they supply the big boxes. It’s been years since I used them but I think it was like $15/LF for material cut to fit. Or buy stock length material from a big box  

3. Break down and buy granite. FYI...You can save yourself a few bucks on granite by going with 2cm over the thicker 3cm. 

Originally posted by @Brent Davis :

Southeastern Salvage on Garner’s ferry Rd sells them. I think I got an 10’ run for under $80 if I remember correctly.  They sell the hardware needed to install as well.  My dad and I cut and install in just a couple hours and they’re holding up great after 4-5 years.  I’m pretty sure Lowe’s and Home Depot sell them too. 

 Lowe's definitely sells this exact countertop. We use it in a lot of our rentals here in CT.

Originally posted by @Jason D. :

@Jonathan Perez I found the same thing. Decent laminate is almost comparable in price to cheap granite.

Go with the granite, itll last much longer and worth the investment

 also if everything being equal Tenant will rent yours over the one with the beat up laminate.. this is very common with a lot of the turn key providers.. 

Dude, Granite, no brainer, ( will last longer, Kitchen looks way better, plus Laminate could get against you when new tenants come and maybe ask for less rent, Granite, people won't argue) 

And that ladies quote is pretty good. And if you compare the difference will be probably like $300-$200 differences if you go with laminate. (finding labor, time wasted looking wor laminate, installation etc...

@Jonathan Perez this just comes down to talking to the right person. Laminate counter tops can be fabricated on site or off site. Off site you get them from cabinet manufacturers or home improvement stores. They usually have installers they can send. Any handyman or carpenter can install. You can also have them fabricated on site. Either way, laminate should cost much less than granite. Sometimes you can get granite cheap if it is a common color or they can use left over pieces.

@Jonathan Perez I am a newbie to the forum but based on your scenario I would go with the granite. The pricing is relatively comparable to the laminate and will last longer. You can charge a bit more in rent to compensate the difference in price and it will possibly rent faster than a unit with laminate. Over time higher rent and lower maintenance on the countertops will make you a happy landlord in the long run...as long as you have a good tenant in place.

I would not go with granite. It requires special care and I wouldn’t trust tenants not to mess it up. Plus if something goes wrong you might need a granite specialist to fix it, and it will not be cheap. We have had good luck with laminate countertops from Home Depot, they are very easy and pretty straightforward to install if you’re handy.

The issue here isn't that the granite price is cheap, it's that the laminate price is way high. I've installed laminate countertops a number of times and it's definitely a "handyman" job and not something that should cost $1000. That's ridiculous unless there is some kind of complex curves or angles. I figure less than $200 in materials to replace the counters in a typical kitchen that we regularly encounter. The sink can probably be reused and buy a nice faucet. Kitchen will be plenty adequate for a rental in the neighborhood you described.

Call a lumber yard to get a referral for an individual who does this.  This has worked quite well for me in Michigan.  I am soon relocating to Atlanta GA and am looking forward to seeing how that works there

Maybe I am being silly here, but have you priced out butcher block?

Every chance I get, I sell thats an upgrade. Very cost effective and easy to install. Slop some bar epoxy on it and never look back.

If it's for a bar style or weird shape, then I suggest otherwise.

@Jonathan Perez in my market investors who renovate the property, some of them put granite in, regardless of the class of the rental. With the listed prices I say go with granite

@Bill Kramer how does butcher block hold up with tenants? Do you need to refinish it annually? I ended up putting butcher block in1 unit I had because contractor by accident cracked the laminate. It looks awesome AMD hebdidnt charge me extra but should I really consider it on the next rehab? TIA

Spend the money on "Bartop epoxy". You pour it on crazy thick, use a hairdryer to get the bubbles out. Let them try to damage that, they are going to have to willingly make an extra effort beyond anything that resembles normal use. 

It's ridiculous how durable and maintenance free it is at that point.

I will be doing that on my next remodel where we are replacing cabinetey/counters so I'll make sure to document my next rehab for you guys.