Though they used to be associated only with very expensive houses, granite countertops have become a popular option for many homes. They are a sure sign that the homeowner is a style-conscious individual. To shop responsibly, you need to be granite-conscious because not all counters are created equal.
Machine Fabrication vs. Hand Fabrication
Stone can be worked by hand or by machine. A handcrafted finish provides a better quality product with a more expensive price tag. Machine fabrication is the faster option, but the machines fail to polish the edges as well as a trained professional. Some companies will compensate for rougher edges by waxing them, but the wax will eventually wear off. These rules may vary depending on the credibility of the company.
Though wax wears off over time, a waxed edge will cost you less money. Also, many companies that machine fabricate their stone will have an employee hand-polish it after it is cut to ensure a high-quality product. As a customer, you should be informed about how the material is processed.
Ask About Installation
Some of the larger warehouse-style suppliers do not fabricate their own stones nor do they install the finished products. They are simply suppliers for other stores, contractors, or wholesale buyers. If you are looking for a company that installs their granite countertops, you should ask before you shop.
Seams are the lines where one piece of stone meets another. Granite countertops can be fabricated individually, then assembled or vice versa. The edges will look better if it is assembled first, but this is more difficult for the craftsperson, which means it will be more expensive. It is important to ask if your craftsperson uses a suction-automated machine to install seams. It levels the seams better by holding the granite in place during fabrication.
Typically, counters are around two or three centimeters thick. For a kitchen application, you should insist on three-centimeter granite. Two-centimeter thick stone is 70% more likely to break. Bathroom applications, on the other hand, tend to be smaller, so the thinner, less expensive stone should be fine.
Two-inch (or five-centimeter) pieces are also available though they are less common and quite expensive. They are desired for the ability to build a contoured edge with the increased amount of space.
Another consideration is color. Darker colored stone is typically easier to find in thicker slabs. Due to its mineral composition, this natural material comes in a variety of colors and can be customizable to your design plan.
This is the amount of the material that hangs over the edge of the counter’s base. Overhang is popular for uses such as kitchen islands, because it is an easy way to create more space. If you pick a thinner slab of stone, however, you might need to brace underneath the overhang to prevent it from breaking.
Granite countertops have quickly become one of the most popular options for kitchens and bathrooms. Though they might all seem similar, these differences can affect price, appearance, and durability.