We are wholesale suppliers of granite kitchen countertops.
We offer a fitting service by way of recommending local self employed fitters rather than by employing our own fitters. This helps keep our overheads down and helps reduce the final costs to you, the customer. .
You are welcome to buy the material only and organize your own fitter if you wish and you are welcome to visit our warehouse and pick the stone you would like in person.
Choosing your granite countertop
You’ve chosen your Kitchen and decide you want granite counter tops, it’s a minefield out there so here’s a guide to explain what to look for and what to do.
Ok, so before I start I need to declare an interest in this subject. I am a granite wholesaler. I import material from source (mainly India) and sell it mostly to the trade, although I do deal with the public if they wish. I specialise in pre-produced countertops.
So.....where do I start?
You’ve decided you want a granite Countertop, it’s an essential on your list of must haves for your shiny new kitchen, but it’s something you’ve no experience of. You’ve read all sorts of horror stories on the internet, Itly granite, Indian granite....it is dyed? Are the fitters any good? Why are the quotes so hugely different? Let’s try and give you a layman’s guide to what’s out there.
Pre produced verses traditional slab granite:-
For centuries granite (and many other stone materials) have been produced in slab form, a block of stone is carefully selected by geologists, this can be as big as 11.ft in length, 7ft high and 7ft wide...it’s huge and very heavy.
This block of stone will then be transported to production facilities where it will be cut on a huge gang saw machine into thin slabs (generally 30mm thick). These thin slabs of granite are then transferred to polishing machines where they are polished to a high shine and any imperfect pieces selected out. These slabs are usually quite consistent in production and the thickness often doesn’t vary a lot more than +/- 1mm.
These slabs are then imported into the, us, and bought by traditional stone masons, cut fabricated, polished and fitted into your lovely kitchen. You’ll get a bespoke high quality product which should meet or exceed your expectations. The trouble is it’s going to have a bespoke price tag attached to it.
What if I don’t have $ 2 k or $5K to spend on granite?...I’m more your B& But I’d still like granite can I afford it?
Well this is where pre produced countertops changed the industry.
In granite terms this is still quite a new idea. That generally means there are people that don’t fully understand what it is and how it works.
When the above mentioned large blocks of granite are quarried a selection of smaller blocks are also produced at the same time. Geological occurrences such as seams, fissures, vents and general inclusions make it impossible to quarry large blocks all of the time. These are used for other purposes such as tiles and cladding and generally smaller sized requirements. These blocks also get used to produce ready made countertops.
So instead of being sent off to a large very accurate gang saw machine for cutting, these smaller blocks are sent to another corner of the factory for vertical cutting. This is basically a very large overhead circular saw blade (think very large as in 8ft diameter) that cuts individual slabs at a time to pre required sizes. The material itself is still the same quality but the blocks are not as large and therefore not quite as expensive. However the cutting is sometimes not as accurate as gang saw material. So a 30mm top can be +/- 3mm. That means these pieces of granite arrive at anything from 27mm thick to 33mm thick....so it’s important when selecting more than one piece that the thickness are within 2mm if the tops are being joined or touching.
There is now a hybrid version of the pre produced countertops. On our very high volume granites (particularly Black Galaxy) we are producing so much material that it has become financially viable to cut the slightly smaller blocks on gangsaw cutting equipment. This provides a much higher degree of accuracy with regard to thickness, the cost of these is only slightly more than the regular vertical cut material but provides a cut accuracy of +/- 1mm per slab.
Is it dyed?
Some more unscrupulous producers dye material, generally Blacks. The us has an obsession with pure black granite, Nero Assoluto, Absolute Black, Zimbabwe, African Black...same thing, lots of different names.
Sometimes the seams of this product occur with a grey fleck of slight light markings in the product. Occasionally the less scrupulous supplier dyes this completely black and sells it as pure black. The dye will eventually wash away over a period of time. There’s nothing you can do other than trust your supplier that this has not occurred, it is not as prevalent as many people make out and generally only occurs with the pure black materials.
Is it ,China I’ve been told it’s Rubbish? Is Indian any better?
Well, We’ve seen rubbish from both regions, we’ve seen outstanding quality from both.
What we tend to do is buy a product from it’s country of source that way we’re likely to get a better end product. Lets a pick one of the most popular stones available and explain how this works – black Galaxy.
Black Galaxy only occurs in one place on this planet, the Ongole region of India. Therefore it makes sense that I buy this product from an Indian producer but how come the Chinese also sell it? Well it’s shipped to China for them to process. Common sense says if the Chinese are buying this product in India, shipping it to China and the processing it, they have to buy cheaper than the Indians to be able to sell it at the same price...therefore the quality is sometimes a little lower.
The flip side of this is we wouldn’t buy Fujian White from India as it occurs in China, so stop getting hung up on where it’s come from. If it looks nice and the production is good and the slabs are all similar thickness then you’ve probably got a nice stone.
We will add that some of the best production we’ve ever seen has come from China, have bought out a lot of Italian production companies wholesale and shipped equipment to China for production. Things are very different there now than they were two years ago.
Do I need my kitchen templates?
Actually this is really down to the design of your kitchen more than anything. If you’ve gone the traditional stone mason route, they will template as a matter of course.
If your room is an odd size, you have strange shapes, things are out of square then it’s likely you’ll need a template.
If you have a galley kitchen with a 13 ft length down one side and the same on the other and it’s all straight then there’s probably no need.
So what’s better, Pre produced or traditional slab installation?
This is actually determined for you by the design of your kitchen.
A regular “L” shape or “U” shape kitchen is very often the perfect installation for pre produced tops. It’s very efficient, has very little wastage and can often be fabricated on site.
If you have island or peninsular units, the size of these pieces will govern which is the more suitable fit.
Bottom line is, a traditional fit will cost more, you are paying for a bespoke service to get exactly what you request. It will be made to measure from scratch and should be perfect.
Pre produced countertops work if you design allows for modular sizes and you maybe don't mind an extra join or two. The upside is it will be substantially cheaper. In the case of simple kitchen fits you may not even be able to tell the difference between bespoke and pre produced.
Labour and fabrication is what makes granite expensive, it is heavy, difficult to move, difficult to cut and very difficult to polish accurately. The more polishing requirements you have the more the price goes up.
A simple cut out for a over mounted sink will take a good fitter 30 minutes or so to produce and is likely to cost around $100- $150,or so.
A Franke under mount bowl and half sink with tap hole, polished cut out and drainer grooves is going to take some hours (and specialist equipment) and is going to run you to $ 300 or so in fabrication alone. So you can see how something as simple as a sink design can alter the price substantially.
The rule is, if you’re on a budget, keep it simple. Reduce the polishing keep all the lines straight and stay away from curves.
How do I know I can trust the company?
Take all the usual precautions. A recommendation is worth it’s weight in granite, so always go that route if you can.
Pick a company that are happy to allow you to view the stone or even pick your own slabs before the fit.
Don’t be put off by companies that ask for small or reasonable deposits. This often is used to weed out the timewasters.
Be sensible about it as you would with any large purchase, ask questions, if you aren’t comfortable with the answer get a second opinion.
Get a variety of quotes and make sure you understand what you are buying and what you are paying for.
If you are unsure about anything just ask, advice is free and much better provided before you take a decision than after.