Research for this was a lot of work! I have been looking for ways to make our countertops more attractive without breaking the budget. The countertops we have are actually in good condition but the most harsh color white you have ever seen, I call it institiutional white. 

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I priced every surface I thought I might be able to work with. I even considered using some vintage school blackboards I found on Craig's List, but upon speaking with several stonecutters, they assured me that between the price to cut the stone to the dimensions needed, its questionable durability, and the plywood needed to brace the stone, it wasn’t worth the effort.

Here is some shopping tips for the budget conscious and those with a flexible plan that I learned along the way.

  1. Box stores are expensive. You would think that since they buy in such bulk that they would have the best prices. I haven’t seen this in my area. 
  2. The best prices on butcher block can be found at Ikea. They have 3 kinds of solid wood surfaces ( Karlby, Hammarp, and Mollekulla) and costs start at $119 for a counter top 74 inches long and $149 for 98 inches long. These are boxed items that you take home and can install them yourself or find someone to do it for you. Be sure you price out the install before you purchase, these are big items and not something you want to have to return!  Here is the link to the Ikea Home Page  Screenshot (1)
  3. Ikea also has decent prices on hard surfaces like quartz. They range from $45 a square foot and this includes fabrication of plate and installation. There is a caviate, if you live further than 20 miles from your Ikea store, they charge you $4 a mile after 20 miles for delivery and installation. Be mindful of upcharges, as they really drive up the price fast!
  4. You can purchase laminate to apply over your countertops. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, including marble, granite and concrete. You can find them in all sorts of places, but the best selection and deals that I could find were on Amazon. Here is the lint to Amazon Laminate Sheets. In addition there are tutorials to how to apply laminate, they can be found on YouTube. Here is one that I found good on YouTube, it's a tutorial for beginners on how to install laminate on a countertop.
  5. People sell all sorts of countertops on Craigslist. You can find just about any surface if you are patient. If you have a smaller countertop area, this is a really good idea. These countertops are used and you may have to have them re-cut to suit your needs. You should be sure to get quotes on cutting an existing countertop before you choose this option. You can usually find used countertops on Craig's List under the listings of materials but can also search for countertops. If shopping Craig' List, please shop carefully. Always keep your safety in mind.
  6. You can find odd lot quartz and granite listed on craigslist. In our area there are several suppliers who do this. It is usually listed under "materials" but can be found by searching for countertops. Suppliers do this when they have a small amount of product left or have gotten an order wrong. Often the price listed is for un-cut surfaces. You may have read through to find the cut price. In one case, I had to email them. If shopping Craig's List, please shop carefully. Always keep your safety in mind.
  7. You can paint laminate surfaces. There are several takes of this approach and the price ranges with them. No matter what, this seems to be the most reasonably priced option for someone whose laminate countertops are in good condition, like mine. If you look on Pinterest, there is a lot of information regarding this project. Here is what I looked at: The Clover Site Pinterest Page