Why Price Shouldn’t be the Only Factor

There is no doubt that we always want to be smart consumers when it comes to researching costs of home improvement projects.

Yes, it is true that you might be getting the same product – “stone” – but there are actually many differences when it comes to “stone quality.” Quality of the stone itself, quality of the stone field measurement, quality of the stone fabrication, and quality of the stone installation, just to name a few. Stone is not equal to mass produced widgets from a machine.

While price is an important part of building a new home or remodeling, this page is to serve as an educational tool for our customers to show why quality and service are even more important.

You will see images of job sites we’ve been called upon to visit and assess other fabricators and installers’ “work.” On some of these jobs, we’ve even had to remove the existing stone and provide a brand new installation. To the consumer, this means reselecting, refabricating and reinstalling the stone and at least doubling the initially planned project cost and completion time.

Bottom line: Don’t fall victim to the granite countertop price wars that are occurring in today’s marketplace. When it comes to stone, you truly get what you pay for.

set stone countertops installationIn a good installation, stone is set level using shims whenever possible. Seams are then suctioned as close as possible so a 2-part epoxy can fit between the two pieces of stone. Here, the stone was set unlevel, giving an uneven, warped look.
seams of countertops installed with epoxyIn a good installation, seams are adhered with a 2-part epoxy that is color matched to the stone. Here, silicone was carelessly smeared onto the backsplash to hold together the seam. This is simply a case of sloppy and unacceptable workmanship.
sink installation with clipsIn a good installation, sinks are secured to granite with sink clips that attach to key holes which are drilled to the underside of the stone, and finished with a bead of silicone. Here, a fabricator glued pieces of granite to the sink and underside of the sink in high hopes it would hold the sink to the granite.
  1. Make sure your fabricator and installer have insurance
    Paying for insurance is expensive. Although you cannot see your fabricator or installer’s insurance policy in your countertop, if one of the workmen gets hurt, they can sue you as the homeowner if the fabricator or installer cannot cover the claim. If the installer damages your home and disappears, there will be no insurance company to stand behind you. Covering these risks cost money.
  2. Visit the shop where your countertop will be made
    Well-equipped shops that are clean and efficient are expensive. The cheapest contractors work out of garages, storage warehouses or even fabricate in your driveway where they do not have to pay for rent or expensive equipment to do the job right.
  3. Make sure your fabricator has a landline
    Fabricators who run an office and plan to be around for the long haul will have an office and a permanent phone number. The “cheap guys” will have a cell phone only that can be changed at a moment’s notice and no office or location where you can find them when you need warranty work.
  4. Ask for references
    References are the simplest, most inexpensive and honest way to find out the real truth about your fabricator.
  5. Approve the slabs that will be used in your project
    Slabs will be different depending on the lot number and when they were quarried. Getting slabs that match is expensive. Don’t let your fabricator find you the cheapest slabs that work best for them.
  6. Ask what quality grade of stone you are getting
    Stone is available in different grades. Lower, commercial grades will typically include pits, fill and other undesirable blemishes in the stone. Higher, premium grades are clean, have uniform coloring, and are free of most blemishes.
  7. Ask to lay out your slabs
    Every slab of stone is unique. Most stone contains beautiful veins and crystalized areas that customers would like to capture in a particular area of their space. During a slab layout, you can also help determine seam placement to achieve the best overall look.
  8. Select the edging you want
    You have the option of selecting an edge for your countertops. Make sure you ask to see the edges available to you. Do not let your fabricator decide for you. Also, make sure that your edges are polished with diamond pads and not a wax that is applied to the surface to make it look shiny. The wax method is cheap and will wear off with time, leaving the edges looking dull and unfinished.
  9. Don’t get persuaded into a “free sink deal”
    When a customer is shopping for stone, they are looking to have it for a lifetime. As soon as a sink cutout is made in the stone, that is the sink you live with for life. If the sink fails, you will have to find the exact replacement sink since every model is unique. The very cheapest sinks have no manufacturer’s name on them so you can’t track down the manufacturer if the fabricator disappears.
To assist you in selecting your stone, download our education tool here.

We will never compromise our quality or service. If price is your main concern after reading this, we just may not be the fabricator for you.