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Stone Countertops: How to Choose Your Slab

October 11, 2016

So you’ve decided on a natural stone countertop for your updated kitchen. This means that one of countless slices of ancient rock will be going into your home, and it’s up to you to choose which one.

Choosing your piece will require going to the slab yard of (or recommended by) your countertop fabricator, looking at tall individual sheets of stone, and deciding which is the best match for your kitchen. If you have already chosen the color, budget range, type (granite, marble, quartzite) or variety (Cararra, Ubatuba), that will simplify your shopping quite a bit. If you haven’t decided any of these things, perhaps give them consideration before you go.

  1. Know what you’re looking for!
  2. Be prepared. Know the square footage of your counters and know if you’re shopping for one slab or two. If your fabricator has already taken your  measurements, they can tell you what you’ll need.
  3. Ask to shop by colors –  If you’re looking to match, coordinate, or compliment colors in your kitchen, bring samples, a matching paint chip, or at least a photo of what you’ve got at home. Know that certain colors will cost more than others.
  4. Ask to shop by budget – Don’t fall in love with a slab that’s out of your league, ask to be shown slabs within your budget range. Stone prices vary by demand and quarry location, so pricing cannot be determined by look alone, though color and ‘movement’ can be influencing factors.
  5. Narrow the playing field – Once you’ve narrowed your choices to a few or less varieties, then you can start assessing the virtues of individual slabs. Take note of the individual slabs you like so that you can find them again. It can be helpful to take a picture to help you compare slabs on opposite sides of the slab yard, or in different slab yards – a picture is a lot lighter!
  6. Check for flaws – is the polish uniformly smooth? Filling natural gaps with epoxy is common and not a problem, as long as it is polished even with the rest of the surface
  7. When you’ve found the one, get your name on it asap. Ask about the templating process to ensure that your favorite elements of your slab will be easily visible on your counters, and not cut off or hidden.

Here to tell us more about the process is Brett Cohen, one of our owners, at a local slabyard. He’s talking about granite here, but as we’ve covered in other articles, many kinds of stone fall under the name of granite, and the same principles apply to choosing a slab of marble or quartzite.

Remember, a stone countertop is very heavy and can be fragile to carry and move. Once it’s in place, your only choice for upgrading your cabinets without risking your stone counters is refacing. So either repair and update your cabinets before you install your counters, do it all at the same time, or keep the info of a quality cabinet refacing company on hand for when the time comes.

So that’s it! Now you’re all set to go slab shopping!  For more on stone selection, read more on Houzz, or here on our blog. If this doesn’t seem for you, check out these alternatives to stone countertops.


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