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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering replacing my kitchen laminate countertops with granite. I have seen ads for Granite Transformations that says that the countertops can be placed over your existing counters. Has anyone had any experience with them or any experience replacing contertops and/or advice on what to look for when countertop shopping?

Also, I am wanting to darken the stain on my kitchen cabinets. They now have a shiny polyurathene finish on them over the existing stain color. Is this a project that would be reccomended for a DIY'r to sand and refinish? Or is this a long and dirty job that should be left to the pro's? Any advice on how to procceed with this job would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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We install granite and for what we charge, removing the old countertops isn't much of a bother. Especially laminate. You can remove a laminate top in a very short time, an hour or so, so why try and lay something on top?

After looking at the website, they don't seem to be selling real stone but some sort of engineered product that wraps around the old top. It looks cheesy to me and comparing it to a solid stone top isn't even a contest. We sell and install 3cm granite. Many shops are doing 2cm granite. There are a lot of arguments about which is better, but I think if either is done by a good stone cutter and installer, then they're both beautiful. There are advantages to either one, so that takes some research to decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Granite Transformation claims that it is real granite, from Italy, and is made at their factory and is measured and then brought to your home and placed over the top of the existing counter. They claim that there is a 10 yr warranty vs replacing the counter with regular granite comes with no warranty(is that true?).
 

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What I saw on the website was their "Granit", which is apparently ground up stone that is mixed with some sort of resin and applied to some sort of flexible backer. I wouldn't call that a granite countertop just as I wouldn't call mdf wood. Granite comes from all over the world with different regions producing different colors. Using the "Italian granite" phrase sounds like some marketing type hyping his product. Engineered stones lack the natural granites' randomness in figure and colors and generally look manmade.

I'm sure the stuff has it's place, just as mdf does, but to compare it to a natural slab of granite, they're just not in the same league.

I'm curious as to the cost. We install our contractor colors for about $60 per square foot. We'll remove the old tops for a nominal fee. What does this "Granit" sell for?
 

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Transformations tells me that it is 95% real granite with polymers added. They are charging $63/sp ft installed.

Matt, I am not familiar with the granite tile. What are the advantages/drawbacks to this?
 

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I think paying as much for an imitation as the real thing costs is a bit dicey. Let me put it this way. Real stone and the engineered stones like Silestone keep their value. You can expect to retain between 80-95% of your original investment when you sell. I doubt this "Granit" will come close to that. It may contain real ground up granite, but that's meaningless. I can paint particleboard and call it cherry, but it's not the same thing.

If it was around thirty bucks a sf, I might would consider this stuff. But for $63 and put over my old tops that may be degrading? No way.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What I was told is that it is a solid piece of granite formulated to fit over the top of the countertop. Reading into your information, the granite is ground up with polymers to form the counter? This is obviously different than what would happen if it was a complete redo counter? One solid piece of pure granite?
 

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You can't formulate granite. You can quarry it, cut it, trim it, and polish it, but that's about it. If you know what you're doing it will even fit!
 

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KennyKenny -- One thing solid granite OWNERS have is staining and sealing, one of the "benefits" that rock owners seem to consistently over look. Keep in mind PK sells stone and therefore he believes in his product, as he should. But to call it cheesy shows that he does not have any interest other than his own, and you should take all opinions as what they are.

The material is ground up granite that is mixed with a polymer. It's laid out on a mat that ends up being 3/8" thick that is reinforced with a fiber mat. They come in and template to your walls, machine the pieces in their shop, and bring the pieces out and install (epoxy) them to either the existing counter top or new deck. If the existing deck has a drip edge, it's sanded off before installation. If we were to do it over, we would choose the same product again. There is absolutely zero staining/spotting and we use the kitchen/counter top hard.

Good luck to you...
 

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Actually my primary problem with the stuff is the cost. For $63sf you should be able to have real granite or one of the engineered stones such as Silestone installed. And if it comes time to sell, which would a prospective buyer perceive as the better value, a solid stone top or an old formica top wrapped with this material? Please note that I don't sell engineered stone of any kind, not because I think it's inferior, but because my stonemason is only experienced in natural stone. Silestone, Zodiaq and the rest are a much better alternative when you're paying this much money for a top if you want something other than natural stone for whatever reason.

As I said, this stuff has it's place, but when the price is the same, why would you settle for an imitation? Installed for a price between laminate and stone and it's worth considering. But forget natural stone for a minute and compare it to engineered stone. What benefit is there over Silestone? Which will retain it's value better? Which will last longer? With the Silestone, you don't have any concern for a particle board substrate that may have already been in degradation at the time of install and isn't going to get any better. Even if you install a new substrate, is it going to have the lifespan of the engineered stone? Is it going to be waterproof, mold and mildew resistant and able to retain it's shape? What happens when you have a small leak in a faucet that soaks the substrate? Are you going to be able to replace that section of material and match the surrounding top? With the solid top, that's not a concern.

As for having to seal stone, it takes a few minutes every few months or few years depending upon the product, it's about as hard as wiping down the countertops a few times. Natural stone does require a little more care and has it's own set of problems as do all materials.
 

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...is it going to have the lifespan of the engineered stone?
yes
...Is it going to be waterproof,
yes
...mold and mildew resistant
yes
...and able to retain it's shape? What happens when you have a small leak in a faucet that soaks the substrate?
yes, the faucet is fastened to the granite material, and doesn't touch the substrate.
...Are you going to be able to replace that section of material and match the surrounding top?
yes, nearly seamless repairs can be made to the counter top.
...As for having to seal stone, it takes a few minutes every few months or few years depending upon the product, it's about as hard as wiping down the countertops a few times. Natural stone does require a little more care and has it's own set of problems as do all materials.
ya got me.
 

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What I'm questioning is, is it waterproof from the bottom? This is where most leaks are and where water damage starts. If you're applying it over a substrate, be it new or old, it's only as good as that substrate is. If you're applying it over a ten year old laminate top, then you really only have whatever the lifespan of the substrate of that top is, and there's no way that it's anywhere near the life of a solid stone, or even solid surface top.

I think it all boils down to one simple question. Why would you pay $63 sf for this product when you can have the real thing or an engineered stone for the same price?
 

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What I'm questioning is, is it waterproof from the bottom? This is where most leaks are and where water damage starts.
Sure, it depends on the cut out size for you sink. I think I have about an 1-1/2" larger than the sink, and the sink is water tight against the counter top. So unless there's an abnormal large amount of water, it would be the same regardless of which counter top material is being used.
If you're applying it over a substrate, be it new or old, it's only as good as that substrate is. If you're applying it over a ten year old laminate top, then you really only have whatever the lifespan of the substrate of that top is, and there's no way that it's anywhere near the life of a solid stone, or even solid surface top.
Can't agree more...and it goes with out saying. Unfortunately someone going to use the product over a swollen up POC (piece of c_ap) counter top and it'll fail and black their eye.. I would hope the installers evaluate each installation thoroughly enough to assess the counters durability.
I think it all boils down to one simple question. Why would you pay $63 sf for this product when you can have the real thing or an engineered stone for the same price?
One thing we've not mentioned here is that many homes may not have have the necessary sub-structure to support the added weight of the stone product.

The maintenance items previously listed were huge for us. We didn't want any product that would absorb common household items, wine, oil, vinegar marks, nothing. Our prices were >$10 less than any stone bid we had and we didn't see the added value for us. That's not to say that Granite Transformations is the right product for everyone, it's not, just as stone is not the right product for everyone. My wife and I built our house together with with our labor, blood, sweat and tears. We're in it for the long haul and not planning on flipping it anytime soon. God willing, we'll retire and entertain our grand children in this house.

Way OT with regards to this topic -- since you work with stone, how difficult is it to get a piece of stone about 5/16" thick, 1/2" tall by about 4' wide?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all of the great information. So just to be clear, Rippy you do have the transformation countertop in your home?

What is the benefits/drawbacks to quartz vs. (solid-not transformation)granite?
 

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RS, I sent you a pm.

Kenny, the primary advantage to the engineered stone is that you can control the quartz content thereby making the top more resistant to heat marks and stains. It's reported to be easier to cut and edge and isn't as susceptible to cracking along a grain, making it easier to install. It is heavier though.

The natural stone needs to be sealed from time to time, which is a very easy task with the right materials. It can stain, but if well-sealed and maintained the chances are lessened. Most stains are from oils I'd say. You can remove most stains from most granites. Not all granite is equal, quartz content varies and generally speaking the higher the quartz content, the fewer problems with stains.

The primary benefit of real stone is the appearance. Man just can't duplicate what takes nature millions of years.

My personal favorite is soapstone. I love the look, the feel and the colors. It's easy to cut and easy to maintain.
 

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Thanks for all of the great information. So just to be clear, Rippy you do have the transformation countertop in your home?
Yes, and we'd do the same if we were to do it again.

What is the benefits/drawbacks to quartz vs. (solid-not transformation)granite?
In a nut shell for us it's the fact that you have no maintenance, no staining, yet have the look and feel of stone. I have stone tops in the bathrooms, and while they look good now, I can see were the kids toothpaste rinsing cup sits. Anytime it gets wet there's water spots...granted they go away as it evaporates...but just the same it looks odd.

As for a comparison to quartz and granite...I can't give it to you since I don't have enough experience to give you a good picture. Call them up and ask for samples.
 
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