4 Things That Stone Suppliers & Fabricators Alike Wished You Knew When Selecting Your Countertops. Curious?
The idea of installing new stone countertops is usually thrilling—and sometimes a bit scary—because you’ll be living with the decisions you make today for years to come.
No one expects consumers to be experts on stone fabrication or installation, but the better educated you are, the better your odds of having a smooth experience and a happily ever after. Here are a few things industry professionals wish their customers knew.
1-Know Your Stone
Just a generation or two ago, consumers were limited to just a handful of stone choices, both in terms of type and color. Now you need only walk into a stone yard to see an astonishing range of granite, quartzite, marble, quartz, and more. Choose wisely. Harder stones like granite are workhorses, perfect for high-traffic kitchens where durability counts. Softer stones like marble require more care to ensure lasting beauty and can be better choices for bathroom vanities. We educate the end user on what to expect as far as wear, tear, and maintenance here at StoneX USA. There’s a trend toward white marbles right now. For instance, marble has been predominantly used in European homes for centuries and many love how it slowly patinas with subtle etches from use over time. It’s a “living surface” which tells a story of their family over the years. Conversely, someone who wants the surface to always look like the day it came out of the showroom and was installed in their home, or for a growing family who’s likely to subject the countertop to spills, splashes, scratches, and more, it may not be the right choice. Understanding your material options before making your decision can ensure your likelihood of making the right choice for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.
A glimpse of Shopping our Showroom here at StoneX USA located in West Allis, WI
2-Make it Your Own
It’s not enough to select the stone from a Suppliers showroom. Fabricators recommend that you also visit their shop to meet with them. It’s a fabricator’s job to cut and shape your selected slab to fit your exact cabinet dimensions. They will also be responsible for quoting and ordering your selected material. To fabricate your stone, they first make a template of your counters with cutouts for the sink, faucet, and cooktop. If seaming is needed, and most installations require at least one seam, you should collaborate with your fabricator on positioning based on aesthetics as well as technical and logical considerations. The same goes for the length of the overhang for island seating if applicable.
Furthermore, because stones have natural variations and sometimes movement, you should work with your fabricator in determining the best part of the slab to use in the most visible areas, such as the island or peninsula, and which part you may want to position in a less prominent section like your coffee pot side, perhaps because of natural pits or fissures not fond of. Tastes vary from one consumer to the next. Maybe you like the odd inclusion as they add character to your stone, while others may prefer uniformity. In any case, it allows you, the consumer and homeowner, to be a part of the process. This is your home. It’s where your kids do their homework, it’s where you and they relax after dinner, enjoy a bottle of wine with friends etc. You’re going to be spending a lot of time there. As such, you will want to be involved in the process from start to finish including working with your fabricator on the layout, edge profile selection, possibly book matching of veining or incorporating your favorite part of the slab into your most prominent area of your kitchen and other such details surrounding the fabrication of your project.
3-Don’t Be Thrown a Curveball During the Quoting Process
When budgeting your project, be aware of what goes into pricing so there are no surprises to you. No two slabs are alike, which is the beauty of natural stones and what distinguishes yours from the rest. Keep in mind, the cost of the slab is just one part of it. Prices rise the higher the grade of material and the more “exotic” the stone is, but don’t fret. There are plenty of budget-friendly options available here as well. Offering 12 Price Tier Points and 7 different material types in over 350 color options, you can find multiple options that you not only like but can afford. Labor costs can range from 20-50% of your total countertop costs according to some recent studies. As a result, decorative edging profiles, edge thickness, certain finishes, extra cutouts, and your backsplash heights all plan an important part in your quoting process and factor into your price breakdown (Bid) from a fabricator for each stone selection. In addition, some stones are simply more challenging to work with than others and may require more time to fabricate and install and thus will be higher priced than other less exotic or less problematic stones when estimating your project’s fabrication cost. So when shopping around, it’s important to understand exactly what goes into their pricing bids.
Some companies will attract their customers with very low-price estimations and then a la carte everything that goes into the job, from the sink cutouts to the edging so on and so forth. In the end, the customer may end up paying more for their job than they might have with another fabricator’s preliminary big though it may have been slightly higher. This is why it is so important for the homeowner to get several bids, understand their material selections and the limitation of their project before ultimately deciding on a shop that you feel most comfortable working with both in pricing, communicating with them and their shops reviews.
4-Prepare Your Home for Install
On the day of installation, make sure there is a clear path to your front door, along the driveway and walkways, as well as easy access to your kitchen, bathrooms, or work areas. You will need to turn off and disconnect any water source from your faucets in your kitchen or bathrooms. Additionally, you will need to move any pieces of furniture that may obstruct the path, so that installers don’t have to navigate the terrain carrying a thousand-pound payload. And, of course, keep any small children and pets out of the work zone for their safety and ours. Your old counters should be free and clear of any items including small appliances, dishes, and especially items of value or personal significance for easy removal if required. We do not want to find ourselves liable for something that might mistakenly get damaged when this can be easily prevented by moving. It is our utmost goal to make the entire experience from start to finish enjoyable for you and your family and wish only to add to your home’s beauty and esthetics while offering our services.