3 Things You're Not Thinking About Enough When Shopping for New Countertops

If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you’ve likely landed here thinking you’re getting a creative masterclass in wit, in addition to a dose of knowledge about natural stone countertops. Well, sorry to say this one’s all business. We’ve noticed recently that a lot of folks come in to shop for granite and quartz kitchen countertops without knowing some essential aspects about the buying process, end product, or scheduling timeline. It is in this vein (pun intended...I just couldn’t resist) that I’ve put together a comprehensive blog that takes a deep dive into what you should know before you ever seek out a fabricator to do your project. By the time you’ve invested 20-30 minutes into reading this post you’ll be ready to confidently take on the search for stone with fewer unknowns along the way!

1) Picking Your Own Slabs

When most people shop for natural stone countertops, choosing the right color is the biggest priority. After all, granite and quartz aren’t the cheapest options, they’ll last as long as you want to keep them, and with many hundreds of colors out there to choose from, the curse-of-choice is easily cast upon anyone who struggles with indecision. Further complicating matters can be the variation between slabs found in all natural stone. What happens when even slabs with the same name don’t look very much alike? The answer is to communicate early about color variation with your fabricator, and to perhaps consider taking a trip to a stone vendor to hand-pick your slabs. Here’s what you need to know about this step of the process:

  • When is it appropriate for me to pick my slabs?

Quartz is man-made, so generally only has a small amount of variation from batch to batch, and therefore is very rarely hand-selected. In the granite world, however, anything goes. Some colors exhibit a large amount of variation, and some just a bit; some will look just like a sample in a showroom, and some won’t. Your fabricator’s expertise will come in handy when you’re perusing their options, and you should inquire as to the level of variation in each color offering. As for the advice you’ll receive from your fabricator… well, it all depends on who you’re working with. Some fabricators buy certain materials in bulk and are able to sell those specific colors for lower prices, but only when you buy slabs they already have in stock. Others mandate that every granite customer hand-pick their slabs, to make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re getting. The bottom line is that if you’re interested in hand-picking your slabs, you’ll need to discuss it in advance with your fabricator, since they have the information about which slabs are available for viewing and where. Keep in mind that stone is imported from all over the world, shipped all over the country, and probably won’t be in their warehouse until they’re about to fabricate it. Which brings us to...