When you’re dreaming of a beautiful kitchen, and know that buying new cabinets is more than your budget will allow, maybe it’s time to consider a makeover that includes new countertops. If your cabinets are in good condition and the the space plan works well for you this might be your perfect solution!
There was a time, in my old EXPO Design Center days, when I was known as the Queen of Countertop Remodels because I helped so many clients with them. And because of that, I learned exactly what to do, so that stress was kept to a minimum.
Let’s take a look at my list of Designer do’s and don’ts that will help you with your own countertop remodel.
Do: One of your first decisions to make is what material do you want to use, because you have a few options. There are natural stone products (granite, marble, quartzite) and there are quartz composite products (Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, etc.)
Do: Know what “look” you want to achieve in the space. The material you choose will help you get there.
Do: Decide if you want a lot of movement (veining) in your countertop material.
Quartzite Mont Blanc
Don’t buy a slab that has a lot of movement and imperfections if you think it will drive you crazy. Stone is a gift of nature, and definitely not perfect. Also, if you need to have a seam because of a large area to be covered, the veins will not match. If that is a problem for you, then choose a slab/pattern that has less movement and a quiet pattern.
Do: Decide on your fabricator (the person who will template, cut and install). They often display granite, marble, and quartzite slabs in their warehouse. But sometimes they’ll send you to look at a larger showroom that has more to offer. These showrooms typically do not sell directly to you, the consumer. So this means they won’t be able to quote you a price. They’ll give the price to your fabricator who will then factor in the additional labor costs before giving you a quote.
Granite Colonial White
Don’t visit a granite showroom without a designer, contractor, or fabricator name. They can call ahead to let the showroom know you’re coming, or they can go with you to help you select. Sometimes a showroom will recommend a fabricator if you don’t know who to use. A few showrooms/warehouses will let consumers come in to look without an appointment. Your fabricator will contact them for pricing.
Do: Find out your fabricator’s price levels before you visit a granite showroom. Since most of them don’t sell directly to the consumer, they won’t give you a price. But they can point you to the slabs that will be in your approximate price point. Many large fabrication companies have enough space to have countertop slabs on display. In that instance, they’ll be able to give you a quote.
Don’t: Assume that the initial quote is the final one. Your fabricator will send someone to make a template, and that will determine the final cost. But before they schedule you, they will need a countertop plan with the shape of all your counters, and the dimensions.
Do: Make sure that you have your sink, and sometimes faucet, when they come to make your template. They will take it with them back to their shop.
Do: Know that some fabricators require you to purchase an entire slab, and some will only charge you for what you use. Be sure to check this out in advance. Quartz composite products seem to require purchase of an entire slab. But this is also at the discretion of the fabricator.
Don’t: Ordering less than 25 square feet is not acceptable to most fabricators. Sometimes they have a scrap yard to choose those pieces. If they do, it’s your luck day!!!
Don’t: Order countertops when you’re in a rush to have it installed. From the time they make the template, until the time it is installed could take anywhere from 5-15 business days.
Don’t: Have your heart set on a slab too early in the process unless you’re prepared to make a deposit so they will hold it. Also, make sure that your fabricator is going to hold onto the unused part of your slab. I have had slab “scraps” sold before projects were installed, only to be upset when they made a mistake cutting. Time was lost while they waited to find another slab to match.
Don’t hang on to a sample that you love and expect it to look the same in 6 months. The look of natural stone is determined by where it’s mined in a mountain. Even though it has the same color name, it can look completely different in pattern and color.
Granite sells quickly in certain markets and new shipments aren’t always cut from the same area of a mountain. Always inspect your slab before purchasing! If you need more than one slab for your countertop, make sure that there are more in the stack. Sometimes they’ll be labeled by the order they’ve been cut.
Do: Know that there are options to choose from for your countertop edges. Standard edges are included in your quote. Non-standard edges are sold by the linear foot.
There are a lot of things to think about when making your countertop selection. And it probably seems like a lot to remember. But Do’s and Don’ts are meant to guide us in the right direction and keep us from making painful or costly mistakes.
If you’re still confused and unsure of what to do next, feel free to leave a comment below, or email me at Randi@RandiDestefano.com with your questions. I’m here to help!