Custom-cut countertops made from natural stone add value and beauty to your kitchen or bathroom. The multi-step fabrication process ensures that your new counters will be personally made and perfectly fitted for your home. Throughout the process, you’ll make many decisions that will influence the course of the project. Knowing what to expect and which choices benefit you most is important.
Choose the Right Stone Fabricator
There may be many stone fabricators in your area. Choosing the right one is very important. Look for a business that sells quality materials, provides excellent customer service, sets fair prices and enjoys a good reputation.
- Visit the showroom to view their selection in person. Pay attention to the customer service you receive during your visit. Are they attentive? Do they communicate well and answer your questions accurately? Are they willing to go the extra mile to help you make your decision?
- Get references from previous customers. This is the best way to gauge a fabricator’s service, products and quality.
- Read the warranty. Choose a fabricator that shows confidence in their products with a solid warranty.
Select Your Stone Type
Marble, soapstone, and granite are the most common natural stones used as kitchen counters. Each has its own patterning, color, and durability. Each stone is differently maintained. Some are more durable than others. The countertop material you choose will affect the type of maintenance you perform and the day-to-day behaviors that you adopt to protect your countertops.
Marble is a sophisticated but soft stone, most commonly available in white and gray. It’s highly absorbent and must be sealed periodically to prevent stains. It also scratches easily, so it must be protected from knives and heavy, hot pots with cutting boards and trivets.
Soapstone is a very dense, hard stone that does not need to be sealed. It ranges in color from soft, creamy white to deep charcoal gray. Soapstone develops a natural patina that darkens with time. Oiling soapstone periodically helps this patina develop evenly.
Granite. Granite is the most popular natural stone countertop material. It is prized for its durability and beauty, and comes in a range of colors and patterns including brown, brown, gray, black and white. Though granite is much harder and more scratch-resistant than marble, it too can absorb liquids and may be subject to staining. Periodic sealing helps granite repel water and protects granite from stains.
Inspect the Slab
Every slab of natural stone is unique. Some have beautiful features that you’ll want to stare at, run your fingers across, admire. Most slabs will have spots you might call “imperfections.” A good stone supplier will allow you to inspect each slab before selecting your countertops. Show your fabricator the areas you like best, and the areas you like least. Your fabricator will help you choose a layout to showcase what you love.
Sign a Contract
Countertop installation is no small investment. Your fabricator should present a contract to ensure everyone is on the same page. Read the contract thoroughly and ask questions about any parts that you find confusing or difficult to understand. The contract should contain information like payment terms, stone type, dimensions, the name of the installer, scope of work, and the contact information for the installer.
Learn more about the process of fabricating countertops by reading our article titled “Countertop Fabrication from Start to Finish: How to Install Custom Countertops at Home“.