The Real Estate Investing Authority®

The Winning Approach For Rental Property Countertops

THE BEST TYPE OF COUNTERTOP FOR YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY 

You’re a property owner and you need to replace counter space in your rental property. Are you gonna get the cheap stuff from Lowe’s? The expensive stuff from Home Depot? With so many options out there, where do you begin? First off, make sure you have the right mentality going into the purchase. Your priority is to find a surface that is feasible, efficient, and durable.  

At Nexus Property Management®, we manage over 1200 units for our clients and have been at it for over a decade. Here are our suggestions regarding countertops and their relative values based on years of maintenance and unit turnover experience: 
 

 

OPTION 1: LAMINATE 

ADVANTAGES:  

  • Readily available and always in stock (big issue these days) 

  • Very, very affordable 

  • Ability to install yourself 

DISADVANTAGES: 

  • Not as durable as other options 

  • Can flake easily (especially around areas that have been cut) 

  • Can burn easily (i.e. hot pan directly on surface) 

  • Can bubble or peel (if wet for too long) 

  • Less attractive than other options 

 

Laminate is designed to look like the stone that people want but it is simply a printed image on a surface that is solid enough to make an effective countertop. At $100/$200 for upwards of 6-12 ft, laminate is highly affordable and can be installed by individuals without much hassle. If taken care of properly, and properly installed, laminate is a dependable surface that can last between 10 and 20 years. It is far less durable than other options, but its replacement cost is also far less. When it comes to rental properties, we highly suggest going with laminate countertops, not just because they’re cheaper, but because they add appropriate value, can be installed quickly (decreasing length of vacancy), and generally hold up well. 
 

OPTION 2: WOOD 

ADVANTAGES:  

  • Looks fancy and elegant 

  • Trendy on home improvement shows (advantage??? really???) 

DISADVANTAGES: 

  • Not meant to be a countertop 

  • Needs to be protected 

  • Not as durable as other options 

  • A couple years before it begins to deteriorate 
     

Let’s be direct: wood is a terrible choice for a countertop. At $25/sq. ft. (on average), it’s relatively affordable but not a great value because of a high likelihood of it deteriorating or needing significant repair. Wood is meant to be a structural or background material. Think about the way we construct roofs: wood, then some more wood, then we cover it with water proofing and shingles. It needs to be protected from water if it is going to last…hell…even the wood in trees is protected by bark!!! So why would we ever consider wood as our primary kitchen surface? We wouldn’t…and you shouldn’t either. It’s just not practical. 

 

OPTION 3: GRANITE 

ADVANTAGES:  

  • Attractive (with any color scheme) 

  • Reliable: going to last forever 

DISADVANTAGES: 

  • Expensive 

  • Not indestructible (it is a stone) 

  • Special orders needed; slower process; requires multiple people 
     

Granite is great. It’s solid stone, cut and cared for, that would be perfect for any single family home, condo, townhouse, or luxury loft space, but it’s probably more than what’s needed for a typical rental property. At $40/50 sq. ft. (on average), a 30 sq. ft. counter space is going to cost you $1,500 just for the slab…nevermind the added costs of delivery, install, any special cuts needed, etc.  Granite is highly durable and very attractive but more likely than not, the cost, labor, and time needed is not going to match the goals you have with your rental property. For very different reasons than the wood option, granite is not the most practical choice for a real estate investor. That being said, if you’re replacing the countertop in your own home, start with granite. 
 

OPTION 4: QUARTZ 

ADVANTAGES:  

  • Virtually indestructible 

  • Attractive (with any color scheme) 

DISADVANTAGES: 

  • Very expensive 

  • Some upkeep required 

 

Quartz is the most durable option out there. It’s made from crushed stone with a resin and then cut and polished to create an indestructible slab. But at $60/70 sq. ft. it’s very expensive. Using the same average size counter (about 30 sq. ft.) you’re looking at over $2,000 just for the stone top. Unlike granite, quartz countertops are also going to require a primer to be added periodically to maintain its original quality. But…you don’t have to worry about it chipping or breaking down the line. It’s costly but an investment that will keep value over time. For your own home, possibly worth it, but for a rental property it’s just too much. If you’ve got thousands of dollars to spend on countertops, there are likely better ways you can add value to your tenants’ lives. 
 

LEARN MORE: THE BEST FLOORING OPTIONS FOR YOUR RENTAL UNIT 
 

CONCLUSIONS 

When making any choices for your rental property, you want to do what most aligns with your goals and priorities. In our experience, the countertop option that most often makes the most sense to property owners is the laminate option. It’s not as durable as some of the higher end options, but minor bumps and bruises are the nature of rental property and replacement of items should be expected and anticipated. And even at that, laminate counters can easily last you a decade. At a couple hundred bucks, the value vs. the cost savings when compared to granite or quartz is the reason so many of our clients (wisely) choose a quality laminate countertop. 
 

Our Nexus Property Management® maintenance teams have 1000s of hours of experience in rental units providing solutions for issues as common as mold issues, heating failure, broken water pipes, fire coding, infestation, and so much more. With 100s of clients across the country we are always looking for proactive best practices to nip all issues in the bud.  
 

Want to learn more, or have additional questions about anything pertaining to rental property maintenance and construction? We encourage you to reach out to our team.  

 

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE READING: 

  1. MAXIMIZE RETURNS AND ATTRACT QUALITY TENANTS DURING UNIT TURNOVER 

  1. THE BEST FLOORING OPTIONS FOR YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY 

  1. HOW TO DEAL WITH TENANT V. TENANT CONFLICTS 
     

CHECK US OUT ON SUBSTACK: 

https://realestateislife.substack.com 

Mick Lefort is the Vice President of Operations for Nexus Property Management®. A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.

 

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Nexus Feedback

Renting through Nexus was incredibly easy and direct. My agent Mikalai was helpful with the entire application process and extremely friendly to speak with. I ended up being able to view and sign the apartment within a week. I’m glad to be renting with Nexus Property Management.

27 Aug 2019

What a great experience from start to finish! Very easy process and we were moved in within a week. Love that we can pay the rent through the portal and also make maintaince request. Thanks Greg for everything!

06 Nov 2014

Greg deserves 100 stars after he helped me!

06 Jun 2021