How to select a Granite Countertop Fabricator

When selecting a fabricator, the quality of the fabricator is often overlooked because of the common misconception that granite is granite. This is equivalent to saying that a car is a car and their quality is all the same. We all know a cheap car that is unreliable car is not a good deal at any price. How do we know what to look for and who to believe?Today, a quality fabricator uses state of the art equipment such as digital templating tools, CNC robotic cutting and manufacturing equipment. A quality fabricator has a quality inspection and training process throughout its manufacturing operation. Just by asking the right questions, you can learn what type of fabricator you are interviewing for your counter-top work.

You can separate the men from the boys in just 6 questions.

  1. Do my counter-tops need to be removed prior to template? If the counter-tops do not need to be removed prior to template, expect a sloppy fit and uneven overhangs. RUN NOW and RUN FAST. Hiding these gaps with a matching stone back-splash may preclude your using a tile back-splash in the future. Beware of the free 4 inch back-splash. That is really code for fast and sloppy. The worst of all “installer hacks” will cut your drywall to slide the counter-top into the wall. This will allow cold air in winter to penetrate your home forever, freeze pipes, cause the granite to expand and contract unevenly and even crack years after the installation. Why would the granite company do this? It cuts the work in half of preparing the stone. A good company will scribe the counter top the wall.
  2. How will the stone be prepared at the seams? Photo Slab Software that allows you to layout the stone and see the seams before it’s even cut is a technical reality for hi-end stone choices at quality stone shops. Cutting the stone with a saw blade leaves small chips and fractures that make a seam look fat even though the stones on both sides of the seam are touching. To get a tight, thin and minimally visible seam you need a CNC to mill the stones seams with progressively finer diamond tooling. Chemical Biscuits will hold the seam together forever because the epoxy has a groove to bite into and hold permanently.
  3. How will you make the sink cutout? Primitive tools like hand grinders and templates with handheld routers get results like primitive tools do. Explanations that include talk about highly skilled guys and we’ve been doing this for years are code for human error will happen on your sink cutout. Precise digital DXF files from the sink manufacturer provide the CNC digital shop with precise contours to follow your sink curves and get you results that a computer can provide.
  4. Will you reinforce the stone in front of and behind the sink? Steel or fiberglass rods are inserted in the underside of stone. Especially, in front of and behind the sink hole cutout. They are also used anywhere that the stone has natural fissures. Because stone is natural it is inconsistent and therefore needs to be reinforced with Steel, fiberglass and attached inside of the stone with epoxy much the way a concrete worker will used re-bar to make concrete stronger. Free sink holes are sometimes code for poor quality manufacturing.
  5. How will you mount the sink to the stone?

Some stone companies do not mount the sink to the stone and place that responsibility on the homeowner or plumber. Others use silicone to glue it in place and hold it there with a clamp until it dries. Others use epoxy to glue scrap stone to the underside of your counter-top. All of these techniques can fail over time due to moisture getting behind the silicone and the garbage disposer weight and vibration over time.

Quality companies will use threaded inserts with screws and metal hardware to support the sink or create a cradle of wood to support the sink forever. 6) How will you seal the counter-tops and with what? The correct subset of questions might be. Will the counter-tops be sealed at all? Are the stone slabs you selected resin treated? Is there a warranty available for an up-charge? How many coats of sealer will be applied? Where will they be applied?

Free sealer for you to apply after we leave is code for, “this is your problem and responsibility”.

It doesn’t need to be sealed might be code for, “We don’t care”.

A quality fabricator will tell you what they use, where it is applied and how many coats will be applied and will be truthful about how to care for your counters. They will also explain the limitations and offer extended warranties if they intend to be around longer then the 1 year warranty that comes with most counter-tops.

While the sealer industry is starting to offer warranties, who is behind the warranty and how much it costs is important for you to understand and get in writing from the manufacturer of the sealer itself.

Dan DiTomaso Stone Masters Inc, 515 School House Road, Kennett Square PA 19348

Scroll to Top