Granite countertops are desirable for many homeowners, and the fabricated and installed product is certainly worth the cost and effort. However, most people have only the vaguest idea of the complexities involved in fabricating and installing granite countertops, which is when breaking and other types of damage occurs with the slabs. Here is an overview of granite countertops.
Granite slabs have slight variations in size and thicknesses. The average thickness is 3 cm, although 2-cm slabs are also available. The standard length can vary from 110 to 117 inches, and the width from 62 to 70 inches, depending on the source and granite type.
It is possible to request larger slabs for specific purposes, such as for granite cladding or flooring. However, granite is very heavy, so larger sizes tend to have a higher risk of breakage during transport and fabrication.
For residential use, the average size of a 3-cm slab of 114 x 66 inches is usually just the right one for granite countertops. Perimeter countertops are usually just 24 inches in depth, which means the fabricator can cut a whole slab down the middle to produce two slabs with a width of 33 inches, and still have enough allowance to work with each half. At the same time, you can also keep the slab intact for a large kitchen island in a double L kitchen layout.
Alternatives to granite countertops
If you are in the market for granite countertops, chances are you are looking for the look and vibe of natural stone for your kitchen. The sleek look of stainless steel or the organic feel of wood is not what you want.
It is difficult to match the depth, colors and patterns unique to naturally-occurring granite stone. However, a few manmade stones make an impressive effort to do so.
One of these is engineered quartz stone, which contains natural quartz materials to match and even exceed the durability of granite. It uses resins to bind it in a patented process called Bretonstone, and pigments to simulate the dramatic streaks, veins, and crystals of real granite. It will cost about the same as granite or slightly higher.
The greatest advantage of top quartz stone brands such as Silestone over natural granite is availability. These are manmade stones, so there will always be available inventory. All you have to do is choose one from a catalogue from an authorized dealer, and the company will ship it to you. It is also non-porous, so it does not need sealing. However, it is not heat resistant like granite, and the colors tend to fade with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight’s, especially the darker ones.
A cost-effective alternative to granite and quartz stone is solid surface, of which the first and most popular brand is Corian. It is not as durable as granite or quartz countertops, or has the same vibrancy and depth of granite. However, it is close enough for some people.
Cost of granite countertops
The cost of stone slabs in the US, from marble to quartz stone, is by square foot. Granite slabs range in price from $10 to $180 per square foot, not including installation. The large variance in price is due to the grade, source, and rarity of the slab. On average, a good quality relatively common slab is $30.
The cost of installing granite countertops is usually about the same as the price of the slab you choose up to a certain point. For example, if you choose a slab costing $30 per square foot, you pay about $30 for installation. A kitchen island that is 7 feet long and 4 feet wide has an area of 28 square feet. This means you can expect to pay $1,680 for a granite countertop, installed.
In most cases, you have to pay more for backsplashes, fabrication, and other extras. Some companies offer low-cost all-in packages that include fabrication, sealer, and even a sink can make it more.
You can save some money in several ways when putting in your granite countertops. You can choose a less expensive granite, for example. This means lower overall costs. You can also choose a more expensive one.
The funny thing you should know about granite countertops is that installation costs march along slab costs only up to a certain point. Most suppliers will charge you less for installation if you choose a more expensive slab. It sounds weird, but there it is.
You can also save a few dollars per square foot by choosing a basic edge profile, such as square or eased. Most fabricators will not charge extra for a simple edge. If you choose a complex or premium edge such as an ogee or waterfall, however, you will definitely have to pay a premium.
DIYers versus professionals
It may seem that installation costs are unreasonably high. However, if you think buying a whole slab and DIYing the fabrication and installation is a good idea, you should think again. Not only do you need special skills and tools to cut into granite, you also need to understand that most breakages occur during fabrication and installation.
If you get a pro to do it for you, any breakages that occur are not on you. You only pay for the finished product. Even then, you should choose a reliable contractor to make sure you get good quality products and workmanship. You need a company like KNC Granite if you are in the areas of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Alexandria VA, Arlington VA, and Washington DC.
KNC Granite has a large array of granite slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
We do not only supply top-quality granite stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.