I am ready to buy granit countertop for my kitchen. I have several
1. My kitchen countertops are not continues. In fact I have three
independent countertop areas, none is exact whole number of sqft. How
sqft are calculated? Are they calculated total in square inches and
then dividied by 144 to get sqft?
2. Priced advertised everywhere is per sqft. Does shape affect price?
My backsplash wall unfortunately is not straight. I would like template
to be made to follow the wall so that countertop will match the wall
exactly. Also do cuts, for instance for sink cost extra?
3. Finally, is granit the same from any distributor or it differs? If
it is the same everywhere what else except color affects the price
which I see varies from 45$/sqft to more then $100/sqft.
4. what else should I put attention to when buying granit countertops?
There may be a scrap factor to consider also. It depends on whethe ror not
two pices can come from the same slab or if there will be a lot of waste.
Shape can affect price. As for the template, there may be other
altaernatives rather than trying to cut a piece of graite to a wavy wall.
Granite varys from one distributor to the next and from one slab to the next
and the region it comes from and the quarry it comes from and on and on.
Some colors are more rare and thus, priced higher. Granite from New
Hampshire is going to be cheaper than from Italy in most cases. Or some
place in Africa.
In question #3 you said "Finally" meaning that was the last question.
What's up with this one?
OK, I'll give you an answer anyway. First, there is no such thing as
granit. Don't take the spelling for granted, but it should be granite.
You may get some very good information here, but you will be able to look
and see differences by visiting a dealer. He can show you why some is $45,
others are $100. He can tell you the best way to work with three different
pieces. He can offer ideas, or even show, how a wavy wall can be handled.
I've advise you to visit more than one dealer. Some only carry the lower
end stuff, others carry only the best. Only by seeing the difference can
you determine what is best for your needs.
There are others more expert them me on this, but I would suggest that you
measure in feet for your rough estimating, not inches, so you do not need to
convert the units at all. 6 inches is 0.5 feet <--- like that. When they
agree to sell you one later on they will measure exactly then. I also agree
with Edwin to go visit and talk to the dealers. Just talk and find out
without agreeing to anything. I do this and tell them right up front that
this is my fact finding trip for a soon to come purchase, but not a right
now purchase. Works for me.
Not usually but it may affect how many slabs you need or if your
counters can be fashioned out of one continous piece rather than
having a joint.
Depends on who's doing the work. These are important questions to ask
the folks you have estimate the job.
Depends on the area. Here in Chicago, we have a handful of slab
wholesalers near the airport, and a number of fabricators and then a
ton of folks selling countertops reselling work of those fabricators.
The individual outfit you talk to will determine how much markup they
Try to deal directly with a fabricator. Someone who has a shop floor
where the countertops are cut from raw material. Don't deal with
someone who contracts their stuff out to a fabricator, or who tries to
cut edges and holes at your home.
A fabricator will send someone out to precisely measure your kitchen,a
nd then the counters will be made at their facility from raw slabs you
pick out from the wholesaler they use.
I paid $59/sf, out the door (tax, all cuts, any edge I wanted,
isntallation, take up and disposal of old counter, and even a
stainless undermount sink) all included. Other places nickel and
dimed you to death charging extra for these various things.
It goes something like this .........
When we did our granite, we had to buy almost twice as much as the final
countertop area because the patterns within the slab didn't run consistent,
and we could get only one area we wanted out of each slab. We were able to
find one piece that was ten feet wide, however, eliminating a splice in an
area where we did not want one.
The skill of your installer will have a lot to do with how much waste you
will ultimately end up with.
And the patterns that are in your granite also has a lot to do with it. If
it doesn't matter, than any piece will go about anywhere. If grain and
pattern matter, then it becomes a puzzle.
You have to buy all the granite ahead of time in slabs. You do not end up
paying only for what you use out of those slabs. You pay for everything,
the good stuff AND the waste.
Some places including Home Depot and Lowes do it that way.
In other situations, you might buy whole slabs from a dealer
and then pay a fabricator to make and install your countertops
Home Depot and the like quote a price per sq ft INSTALLED.
However, they do charge extra for most of the cuts and
or other polished edges.
Assuming the slabs have no cracks or bad fissures, a given granite
will be pretty much the same no matter where you buy it. The size
of their slabs might differ and the price almost certainly will.
Personally, I think the Home Depot (and similar) pricing models
are a rip off if you're buying one of the more expensive granites.
As you point out, their prices range from around $50 to $100 per
sq ft. However, the cost of the raw material is in the $10 to $20
range. The cost of fabrication/installation/labor is essentially
the same for any granite. So they're raking in a huge profit when
the customer selects a $100 granite.
I installed 70 sq ft of granite for which Home Depot wanted $99
per sq ft. With extra charges for cutouts, bullnosing etc. their
total price was over $10K.
I went with a fabricator who paid around $1500 for two slabs
of 60 sq ft each. Total cost of materials and labor was half
of what Home Depot wanted.
* The type of granite you select. Some have a lot of "movement"
(wavy patterns) that can make the planning of your layout a
lot more complex. Some are harder than others. Some will stain
more easily than others. Some will show stains more. An
"eccentric" choice may adversely effect the resale value of
* The thickness of granite you select -- generally 2cm or 3cm.
I believe the 2cm is more popular in the western states; the
3cm in the east. With 2cm granite, fabricators typically
laminate a second strip of granite on the edges to create a
nice 4cm bullnose which overhangs (and therefore hides) the
plywood subcounter. I prefer the 2cm with the 4cm bullnose.
* The amount of downtime between demolition of your old
countertops and the installation of the new. This can be
a couple of weeks. And living with 3 kids and no cooktop
or sink for 2 weeks is no joke!
* The quality of fabricators work, especially the seams and
bullnosing. Choose your fabricator carefully. Get references
and check them. Make sure they're being open and transparent.
I found many who evaded my questions and were clearly playing
games. If you can't get straight answers from your prospective
fabricator, run, don't walk, somewhere else.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
While the others have given you good advice, I would also
suggest (if you haven't already) at least ask around about the man-made
stuff like Corian, etc. They have some upsides (non-pourous for
instance so you don't have some of the spill concerns as you do with
granite and the patterns tend to be easier to put together since they
are more consistent throughout the slab). Just something else to
consider, if you haven't already.
Better than that. This place was stones throw from where I lived.
< I say, that was a joke, son. A gag. A flag-waver.
You're built too low, son. I keep pitchin' em and
you keep missin' em.>
A granite contractor I work with likes to quote per linear foot of
standard depth counter, and then extra for islands, peninsulas, etc.
If you have several non-adjacent pieces, there will be more edge
finishing, and therefore more cost. You might not find the wall
unevenness to be a problem, since your backsplash will likely cover
small problems, especially if you're using granite or thick tile as a
Sink cuts are extra, especially if they're undermount (more edge
polishing to do). There are also other options, like cutting in a
drain board to the sink, etc.
There are lots of reasons that the prices vary so much. Popularity,
country of origin, thickness, quality, can all have an impact.
You're best off to get a few quotes from reputable fabricators, and
then make the choice. They'll tell you plenty about the different
materials, and you'll actually be able to choose the slabs they'll use
for your project.
One other thing - make sure your base cabinets can support the weight.
If they're older or flimsier, you may want to evaluate them before you
commit to the granite.
You should think about how you are going to get it installed. Blatent
Plug: I work on a companies website putting their articles and
informational How-To Guides online. They have one on all the ins and
outs of stone countertops from a toxicity standpoint.
If you are interested, check them out at: <http://www.SaferBuilding.com
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