Some types of countertops can be installed with little experience or expertise, but natural stone is not one of them. It’s easy to spot granite, marble, and travertine countertops that weren’t installed correctly, which may mean unsightly gaps, improper leveling or support, poor quality edge work, and other issues. Choose the wrong installer and you may even get low-grade stone with pitting, expensive upcharges, or a house full of dust. The Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold® share some tips for finding the right professional granite installer for your project.
1. Make Sure You’re Getting High-Grade Stone
If a fabricator or installer advertises very low rates, it may mean they use a low-grade stone that has unattractive blotches or pitting. For instance, low-grade granite is sometimes called commercial granite, and it’s usually a thinner cut like 3/8″ rather than the standard 3/4″ or 1-1/4″ you get with mid-grade or high-grade granite. It also usually needs plywood backing to support its weight.
2. See the Slab You’re Buying First
Don’t hire an installer who won’t let you see the stone before installing it. You should have the chance to view the entire slab before it is installed to make sure there won’t be surprise pitting, veins, and blotching. You may want to choose the stone you like before you start looking for fabricators. Some types of natural stone are easy to find, while others may need to be shipped from a national distributor.
3. Get Bids from 3 Installers
Don’t overpay for installation. Get bids on your project from at least three different shops. If you’re also installing new cabinets, it’s a good idea to bring drawings from the cabinet company to ensure the dimensions are accurate. Otherwise, a professional installer should visit your home to take measurements and bid on the project at no cost. Make sure your bids all include the same options, from the edge detail and slab thickness to your backsplash and sink type.
4. Ask About Their Equipment and Approach
Make sure you choose an installer with modern equipment that creates accurate and clean cuts and beautiful seams. Ask about their approach to preventing dust from spreading from the worksite, and make sure you know where they will put the seams. Some installers will try to reduce their labor and put the seam at the sink cutoff, but this doesn’t look very good once the countertop is installed.
5. See the Installer’s Work
When searching for a high-quality installer, ask to see what your seams and edges will look like. Some installers have a showroom where you can view their work, but you should also read reviews and find out what previous customers say about their installation experience.
Once your countertop has been installed, it’s up to you to care for it and keep it looking beautiful. One of the most important items you’ll need is a specially formulated stone cleaning product. However, cleaning isn’t the only crucial aspect of caring for granite, travertine, quartz, and other types of natural stone. Call Granite Gold® today at 1-800-475-STONE to learn more.