How NOT to Shop for Granite Countertops

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2016 by Arch City Granite
Custom Granite Countertops installed by Arch City Granite & Marble in St. Charles, MO home

Custom Granite Countertops installed by Arch City Granite & Marble in St. Charles, MO home

Granite, like a home, is something most people will only buy a few times in their life. That means you don’t get a lot of chances to learn by trial and error; it’s important to get the right stone with a good company the first time. We’ve written before about the “do’s” of granite-buying, but in this article, we’re going to cover the “do not’s.”

Don’t Pick Your Granite Out from a Picture

This is a big one. Let’s start off with pictures. One of the amazing aspects of modern interior design is that the internet is full of great pictures and ideas to help you figure out what you like. We wouldn’t be writing articles for the internet if we didn’t think people should be doing their research online before buying.

However, we always advise against making a final decision on a granite based on a picture you have seen online or in a magazine. Once you’ve set your heart on that granite pattern, you may end up disappointed and frustrated when you can’t find it in real life.

Because granite is a natural material, colors and patterns come and go. You may be able to find that granite name, but without same swirl of quartz you liked online, for example. In many cases, if you are looking at an exotic granite, you may find that what you have seen online is no longer available anywhere in the world.

Instead of going to different fabricators asking if they have one color, bring your photo as inspiration (or even better, a few different ones that inspire you) and ask “I saw this and liked it because of x, y, and x. Based on those elements, do you have anything you think I might like?”

Don’t Pick Out Your Granite from a Small Sample

In much the same way, picking out your granite from a small sample (like they expect you to do at big box stores) is just asking to be disappointed. Apart from the few completely solid stones like Absolute Black Granite, even the most consistent patterns like Giallo Ornamental Granite or Tan Brown Granite have variation from one slab to another and from one corner of the slab to the other.

When it comes to granite colors with more movement, like Typhoon Bordeaux Granite or Titanium Granite, you simply will not be able to imagine that counter in your home unless you see the entire slab with all its colors and movement.

Besides general pattern variation, seeing an entire slab saves you from large unsightly blemishes or strange formations on a slab. While you may be able to work around these imperfections when it comes time to install, it’s important that you see the entire slab before you invest in it.

Don’t Make the Assumption that All Granite and Fabricators are the Same Quality

Some high end products, like a particular model of car or truck, are all exactly the same, so you can just pick the company who will sell it to you for the lowest price. Granite isn’t like that.

Even granite slabs with the same name can be different in quality. Take the popular Uba Tuba Granite for example. Even a lower-priced stone like this one can be higher or lower quality. You may not be able to tell whether you are being offered commercial or residential quality grade granite. It’s important that you choose a fabricator who you trust to only sell you high, residential quality granite for your home.

And remember, you aren’t just paying for the granite itself. Part of your price is the experience, time, and skill that your fabricator will put into your unique countertops. So, don’t just hand over your money to the cheapest guy on the block. Like most natural or handmade products (like produce or wood or the tailoring on your wedding dress), you will more than likely get a higher quality (and thus more valuable) product for you money if you spend a little more.

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