Soapstone, marble, granite: True stone countertops are gorgeous and character-rich, no question. But they also come with true stone maintenance issues and, of more immediate concern, true stone price tags. We did some research, guys: Here’s how to get the look for less (like, way less) without resorting to laminate.

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Soapstone is timelessly chic with a country house charm. Too bad it needs constant oiling to maintain its luster and costs a small fortune to buy new. Here’s a nifty alternative with a similar aesthetic: Richlite, a paper-based composite (with origins in the aerospace industry) that’s having a bit of a moment in kitchen design. This innovative and eco-friendly material is made of hyper-compressed papers that are smartly blended with hard-wearing resins. P.S. You can easily sand away imperfections as they surface. Très cutting edge.

Cost comparison:
Soapstone: $70-$120/square foot
Richlite: $45-$75/square foot

Get the look: Richlite in Black Diamond

neolith counter marble
Courtesy of Neolith


Creamy, veiny white marble countertops are the Holy Grail. But as anyone who’s done their research knows, they’re porous (aka prone to soaking up red wine spills). Oh, and also hugely expensive. Our new favorite solution? Neolith: engineered porcelain slabs with remarkably convincing marble-like patterning. We love that this sintered stone option is eco-friendly (psst: it’s clay-based), that it’s heat- and stain-resistant and most of all: that the price point is comparable to quartz.

Cost comparison:
Marble: $70-$100/square foot
Neolith: According to our sources, roughly $20-$40/square foot. (But note that prices vary considerably depending on the model, thickness, finish and price of manufacture.)

Get the look: Neolith in Blanco Carrara

granite transformations granite
Courtesy of Granite Transformations


Sure, granite has enduring appeal and many hardy qualities. But it needs regular sealing, can chip, and, yup, it’s damn expensive. Which is why we dig Granite Transformations as a cost-savvy solution. These lightweight sheets are a mix of natural stone and polymer (a fancy word for an engineered mix of resins) and look just like granite. Cooler still? The material is custom cut to fit right over your existing countertops like a glove. In other words, you don’t even have to pay for demo. Whoa.

Cost comparison:
Granite: $50-$200/square foot
Granite Transformations: $50-$60/square foot  

Get the look: Granite Transformations in Nero Stella

RELATED: 3 Things You Need to Know If You Have Marble Countertops  

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