Before you begin shopping for natural stone countertops for your home, it’s important to understand the two main types of stone you will see offered: slab stone and prefabricated stone. Slab and prefab are both made of natural stone, which can make it a bit difficult to understand the difference. Here’s what you should know about these two options and how to tell the difference as you compare them.
What Is Prefab Stone?
Prefabricated stone has already been cut to standard dimensions before arriving at the distributor. Because prefab stone is made with a limited and standardized range of options, it’s more affordable than slab granite. Care for prefab stone is generally the same as it is for a custom slab. If your home has countertops that fit the standard dimensions, you might want to consider prefabricated stone over having a slab cut to custom-fit your home.
One downside is that most prefab countertops are made in bulk in China and India with little quality control. It’s possible for the stone to be low-quality and thin, and sometimes prefab stone is not natural stone at all, but granite dust mixed with resin. You should also consider that prefab is only available in a limited range of sizes, colors, and finishes. Noticeable seams can also be a problem as well as discernable color variations from one piece to the next. You will not be able to choose the style of edging, either, as all prefab countertops have standard bullnose edges.
When Prefab Is a Good Choice
Many homeowners mistake prefabricated stone as being cheap, but this isn’t true. While prefab countertops advertised at very low prices are likely low-quality stone, prefab countertops are still made from granite and available in popular colors and styles. If you need a countertop in a standard size, prefab may be a good choice.
What Is Slab Stone?
When you choose slab granite, you are getting countertops custom-cut from a single slab of natural stone. You can visit a stone supplier to choose the precise slab of stone you want in your home, and it will be cut to fit your kitchen.
As slab countertops are cut from one piece of stone, there will be greater color consistency, even if seams are necessary. You will also have a large selection of colors and styles with the ability to choose the finish and edge style you want.
Recognizing Prefab and Slab Stone at the Supplier
While shopping for granite, marble, or quartz countertops, you’ll find it easier to recognize the difference between prefab and slab stone once you know what to look for. Prefab countertops will be cut in a regular shape with rounded edges and a finished surface. You may notice seams on a prefab piece of granite or marble. A full slab of stone will not have smooth, cut edges or a finished surface. Full slabs are also much larger than prefab pieces, often measuring about 50 to 60 square feet. If you choose a full slab, it will be cut to the precise dimensions of your project.
Whichever type of natural stone countertops you choose, make sure to take proper care of them to maintain their appearance. This includes purchasing a safe-on-stone cleaner, sealer, and polish as well as a granite cleaning pad to remove food particles and water deposits. Get in touch with the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold® to learn more about how to effectively care for granite and other types of natural stone like marble, travertine, and slate. Call 1-800-475-STONE to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.