Granite Countertops Quality vs: Price

Price Level One or Group C. What is this? Why can’t you just get a simple answer to the question “How much is this going to cost?”

What are the factors that affect the price of stone slabs?

There seems to be 4 major factors that affect the price of stone.

  1. Country of Origin. (Labor rates in China are drastically cheaper than Italy or Greece for example)
  2. Distance from the port. (Shipping it and receiving it)
  3. How hard is it. (Hard stone consumes more diamond tooling to quarry, cut, polish and shape than soft stone)
  4. Supply and demand (Ugly stone is always cheap and visa-versa)

OK, that is Raw material, but I need counter tops. What affects that?

  • Waste:: There is about 60 Sq foot of stone to a slab and you only need 28 square feet. What happens to the rest? It becomes either waste or a far less valuable remnant. How much waste and how marketable is that remnant makes the first 28 sq foot value a variable before we start the job.
  • Labor:: Stone is only about 30% of the final cost. Freight, labor, specialized material handling, diamond tooling, risk of breakage and waste are all significant factors in determining cost. Equipment and facilities are very capitol intensive and the product by nature is labor intensive as well. Salesmen, templating labor, fabrication labor, administration and installation labor are all being paid for in the price per sq. foot.
  • Tooling & Risk of breakage:: The average kitchen is 50 sq feet and can be polished by 2 men in about a day with a simple edge such as Eased or Straight polish. On the other hand the “Ogee” edge on that same kitchen will take a day to shape and 2 days to polish. The Diamond Bits that are required to shape that edge are costly.
  • Every kitchen has an oven but some have a cook-top. A cook top cut out is time consuming, dimension critical and fragile therefore a significant risk and labor cost. Channels are made beneath the counter in front and behind a cut out cook top so that Steel rods can be epoxied into place to strengthen the stone where it is very thin.
  • Delivery and installation:: You have chosen a fabricator that is 10 miles from your house that you live in but the granite is for a vacation home that is 1.5 hours away. Big diesel trucks are used to carry the kitchen to the work site and the tools and fuel are 2-3 times more expensive than a car going to the same place not to mention the commercial insurance or maintenance for that truck. Once the stone is there at the work site the pieces are very heavy and sometimes require extra men, especially when there are stairs involved.

This article is designed to help you understand some of the costs and realize that Granite counter-tops are a luxury and beautiful addition to your home as well as an investment.

When selecting Granite Counter-tops it is important that you weigh the quality of the stone and the fabricator vs. the price. ill fitting or poorly designed and installed counter-tops will take value away from, as opposed to add to your home and enjoyment.

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