Kitchen countertops

I'm told we need a new kitchen countertop. :-)
Apart from the Granite vs. eStone question, picking a fabricator/installer looks like a real minefield. I was leaning towards granite, but there's a wide range of qualities from the little I've read. I was under the impression that you could kick the tires on the Granite (pick your lot), but the one website I looked at had a long list of conditions (arranging to have your existing CT removed for measurement, having your sinks/tap onsite before measurement, then they would order your selection). This seems like bad news, since the selection I pick could be far different than what gets installed.
So is engineered stone less of a crapshoot than Granite? What to look for in an installer other than references? It sounds like a full service kitchen place would be less hassle than a countertop installer, but we don't want new cabinets, so why pay for the overhead.
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Will your present cabinets support the half ton of stone? If not, just buy stone patterned Formica (which looks every bit as good) and save way over half the cost. Overheard an interesting tale at the box store checkout a while back: Seems to happen now and then that a mishap at the edge of an under mounted sink on a stone top results in a nasty edge chip in the stone. Rather costly to replace, hard to ignore. Likely not a problem in a trophy kitchen if the maid is careful. HTH
Joe
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wrote:

Will your present cabinets support the half ton of stone? If not, just buy stone patterned Formica (which looks every bit as good) and save way over half the cost. Overheard an interesting tale at the box store checkout a while back: Seems to happen now and then that a mishap at the edge of an under mounted sink on a stone top results in a nasty edge chip in the stone. Rather costly to replace, hard to ignore. Likely not a problem in a trophy kitchen if the maid is careful. HTH
Joe
We got a granite looking countertop for my mother in law. About a grand after special forming and add ons. And it looks good. Not like real granite, but real good.
Steve
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on 5/24/2008 9:36 PM Bill Stock said the following:

I replaced the clay tile countertop in my kitchen with 12" square by 1/4" thick granite tiles. I installed them myself, so the price was just for the material, which was only a small fraction of the solid, one piece granite.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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This only happens if you select the stone from a bunch of samples in the big box store or at an installers showroom that could be years old. Good countertop manufacturers will provide you with the addresses of granite supplier's warehouses where you go and choose the exact "in stock" slab(s) of granite that you will reserve in behalf of the installer. He will take the reservation slip and go and pick up the slabs you ordered and make your countertop. This way the countertop is exactly the same as the stone you selected, and not a "similar" stone to the one you chose from a 5 year old sample. When we did our kitchen we went through about 20 granite warehouses and finally chose some slabs that had the exact coloration that we were looking for.
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Right. I went right to the installer, who had slabs set up in his site for the choosing, as well as searchable stock of area granite dealers. It's half the fun of getting it anyway.
Banty
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