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Old 01-08-2012, 01:36 AM   #1
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


I could use your help.

I am now wondering how difficult it will be to find a granite fabricator to install my new granite countertops in my kitchen. I just purchased four 8-foot ďpre-fabricatedĒ granite countertop slabs at Menards. Menards is like a Home Depot or a Lowes in Minnesota. I was thinking I could hire someone to cut the existing 8-foot slabs to the proper lengths for my kitchen and also cut out enough granite in order to insert a new kitchen sink.

Specifications of each granite slab (in general they are finished on 3 edges and ready to be installed):
96 in long and 25 1/4 in. wide,
2 cm (approximately 3/4 in.) thick,
Three edges finished with a curved edge style and one 8-foot unfinished edge to place against the wall. The three finished edges are double thickness to give a 3 cm (approximately 1 1/4 in.) finished edge.

Each granite slab comes with an 8-foot long backsplash, 4 in. wide and 2 cm (approximately 3/4 in.) thick for optional use as part of the counter top.

My old kitchen countertops are in a U-shape along 3 kitchen walls with a 5 foot peninsula used to separate the kitchen work area from the eating area. There is one sink cutout required in the middle of a 79 in. long piece of granite (that is my measurement of the length I believe will be used over the sink).

I will install all of the base cabinets and then I need someone to cut the 8-foot finished slabs to the proper lengths and install the granite counter top. I calculated the total square footage of the project to be around 50 square feet.

I talked to a couple of Menardís employees and obtained the names of a few handymen with experience in working with granite countertops. I called 2 of them and found out they were not interested in cutting 2cm thick granite slabs (especially for the sink). This is my first experience with granite. I thought 2 cm and 3 cm thick granite slabs were the two common choices. I also thought fabricators and installers have developed routines to handle common cutouts such as for a sink. One handyman mentioned using steel rods to strengthen the area around the sink. An online search on the topic found the tactic of cutting channels in the granite and then gluing steel rods in the channels to provide extra support.

I am wondering if larger companies working with granite countertops will be willing to work with countertops not purchased at their store. I was surprised that Menards didnít suggest any true granite professionals who could handle the job but I have only called 2 prospects so far.

I would appreciate any suggestions on to how to find someone with experience to tackle my granite countertop project? Is this an hourly rate situation or should I get a bid for the whole job? I live in a suburb of Minneapolis.

Thanks for any comments.

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Old 01-11-2012, 07:12 AM   #2
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


First, check with friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc., they are usually reliable referral services. Check local bath/kitchen supplier, design houses, they know the best, and the worst.

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Old 01-11-2012, 08:59 AM   #3
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


You're going to have a hard time. The general expectation when you buy granite from a big box is that a) you're just going to install straight runs or b) you are going to do whatever cutting is required yourself.

Installers who acts a subs to countertop companies really don't want to get into cutting that is any more involved than straight trimming an end or drilling a faucet hole or two. They don't have the equipment and it's not what their business is about. I assume the pushback from them has been around the sink cutout. Nowadays that is controlled with CNC machines, not something your average installer is carting around in the back of their pickup.

Countertop companies that sell granite and engineered stone are not going to be interested because you did not buy the material from them and that is where most of their profit is. You can try and talk one of them into doing your sink cutout for you, then having the installers do the rest. It's worth a shot.

If it were me I'd probably take it all back to Menards and go to a counter company. They'll come out, laser measure your layout after the cabinets are in, then a week later or so show up with your perfectly fitted slabs and install them and epoxy the seams and polish them. Any problems and you have a warranty.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:01 PM   #4
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


When I bought my granite countertops from Home Depot, they had subs that did the measuring and install.

It is my experience that no reputable granite shop is going to want to be responsible or touch anybody else's granite. Anybody that will is probably a step down and not as good.

I see granite slabs for sale at auction sites or the local outlet store all the time. Not sure what to do with them if I would buy them.

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Old 04-20-2012, 02:38 AM   #5
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


You can look for granite counter tops in the market , you will see there new and of different colors of counter tops , or get idea from friends and neighbors or can find online .
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:50 AM   #6
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Finding a good granite fabricator for kitchen countertop


I did enough with my stone folks they would help me out but of course I would not have bought the granite from a box store. I would look in your phone book for a stone company, call around, and explain your situation. As mentioned, they may not want to work with material they do not know.

It would be a bit of a long shot but if all the stone companies you call turn you down, a monument company MIGHT be willing to help you out if they have the tools for doing sink cutouts. They certainly work with stone as much or more than countertop folk.

I would take the stone back if you can and work with a regular stone company. They will come out and measure, cut and polish everything, and put their name and reputation to the task of doing the install. A box store sub will not be the same. Glad to hear Menard's did not try to force one on you. Home Despot and Blowe's would have.

Worst case, you may have to cut your losses and advertise the granite you have on eBay or Craig's List to recover some of what you paid for it.

It sounds like the tooling you need is not complicated but it does require diamond tools cooled as they cut, etc. Good luck!

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