Q: What’s the big deal about going to see my granite slab before I buy it? I’ve seen a sample. Why do I need to see the whole thing? Besides, isn’t all granite the same?
This recent question we received offers the perfect opportunity to emphasize the point that not all granite is created equally. Granite may be the top choice in countertop materials because of its durability and beauty, but it is not all the same. Not only is there a huge difference between the different types of granite, but also there is tremendous variance between the individual slabs of each type of granite. As a buyer, you should understand what differences come into play since these differences can have a profound effect on both quality and price.
Beautiful island in Costa Esmeralda by Westborough Design Center, Inc.; photo via Houzz
In order to choose granite that will withstand the test of time, you need to know how to decipher which material will offer the longevity you’re looking for. Plus, a small sample is just that…a sample. It may not be a “fair” representation of what you’re actually buying. Plus, no two granite slabs are the same. So while a sample may be similar, there’s no way it can provide a true cross-section of the exact granite you’re purchasing.
Pay attention to these factors when shopping for your granite:
Color and Availability
Some colors and styles of granite are rarer than others, which make them pricier. As with any other product, supply and demand dictates the price. And typically the prices go up as the granite becomes more rare or exotic. You will, however, see more colorful and interesting slabs available at the higher end of the price range, so it really all depends on the look you’re going for. Our website gives you a sense of price by showing retail pricing of our products. Be very cautious to note that our retail pricing shows pricing of our products only and does not include any fabrication or installation price. You should discuss fabrication and installation price with your fabricator.
Gorgeous island in Antique Ice by Select Stone; photo via Houzz
When selecting your slab, you should consider the largest pieces needed in your project and determine whether seams will be required, as it is preferred to have the least amount of seams possible. Many kitchens require more than one slab to complete the job, it is ideal to have slabs that were cut consecutively and they should come from the same lot.
Granite slabs like those used for kitchen countertops comes in different qualities, or strengths. The higher the quality, the more it will cost. Every supplier has a different definition of “quality,” so be sure you understand which qualities they’re comparing and ranking.
Granite sink area with bump out by Divine Kitchens; photo via Houzz
No matter what material you’re considering, remember to begin shopping early in the project planning process. If you choose the slabs you’ll work with before you build or design your kitchen island or vanity top, this gives you the opportunity to coordinate your project layout to best show off the beautiful stone. Designers and fabricators can also ensure that joints are coordinated to reduce their appearance. Plus, certain colors are limited to specific sizes. To get the optimal beauty out of your natural stone, select the slab first, and then build to suit it.
Have more questions about the various types of granite available? You are always welcome to visit our showrooms in MA and CT. Our stone experts can answer your questions and provide advice on getting the best quality granite for your investment.