Choosing your granite slabs

Posted on March 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm by kathy Comments Off on Choosing your granite slabs

Granite slabs are not all created equal. For stone counters, here’s what you need to consider before choosing stone and where to find granite slabs wholesale. Granite slabs are the polished sheets of stone that your granite countertops start from. So how do you choose which stone is best for your granite counters?

Besides the type of stone, color, and surface finish, you also need to know what size your slab is and how many are required. Here are some tips on choosing the right stone.

For kitchen countertops, natural granite still offers the most benefits – scratch resistance, stain resistance, heat resistance, and versatility. Limestone and marble do not perform well in kitchens. They do work well in bathrooms and other areas though.

The stone you pick should be “first quality”. Lower grades of granite are sometimes offered as first quality but should be relegated to commercial work. You should inspect slabs for cracks, scratches, fissures (cracks that don’t go all the way through the stone), and imperfections. All these may affect the quality of your countertops.

Granite slabs come in a broad range of colors and patterns. Choosing the right color for your stone counters is a matter of personal taste. The characteristics and performance of granite can actually vary by the color of the stone. Light colored granites may have swirling or flowing patterns. They can also have randomly placed large and small crystals. These granites hide messy counters well. Light granites are often more porous and softer than darker colors. They require sealing with multiple coats of penetrating sealer before use. Dark granites are more subdued than the lighter ones. They are often much more consistent in crystal pattern too. Dark granites usually require few or no coats of sealer. Check out the Lemon Juice Test to see if your granite needs to be sealed. Black granite such as Galaxy Black or Absolute Black is not really granite but rather a gabbro or dolomite. It actually performs better than true granite, requires no sealing, and is very consistent.

Surface Choices

Although granite typically has a highly polished surface, other surface finishes are becoming popular. Honed granite is a stone with a matte finish.

It does not shine and the color differs from the polished version. River washed or flamed finish offers a highly textured surface that can be visually appealing. When granite has an unpolished surface, its stainability seems to change. Honed black granite should not be sealed. Instead a color enhancer/sealer product should be used. Without this, spots and oil marks tend to show.

Slab Size

When you choose your stone, you’ll want to know how many slabs you need and what thickness of stone to buy. An average granite slab size is 9 to 10 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet tall (slabs are displayed vertically).

A typical slab may be 50 square feet but with waste and granite remnants, it may yield only 35 square feet of stone counters. Most kitchens need multiple granite slabs – Countertops can be seamed.

The size of the slabs can affect how many seams end up in your kitchen counters and where they must be placed. The thickness of granite is usually 2CM (3/4″) or 3CM (1 1/4″). Each thickness offers a different look as a finished top. In many parts of the country, two layers of 2CM stone are glued together to produce a 4CM thick countertop. The resulting glue line often detracts from the beauty of the finished tops.

Slab Sequence

If you need multiple slabs for your project, you will want to choose them from the same bundle. Granite slabs are quarried, tracked, and shipped as sequentially labeled stones in bundles of 6 or 7 slabs. Each slab in a bundle has comparable color and pattern to its neighbor. Slabs that come from different bundles don’t always look alike nor do they have similar colors. They can have slight shade differences that become obvious at seams in finished counters. Granite selection centers are quite aware of this fact, so don’t be mislead.

Where to Shop

Stone suppliers offer you the ability to look at slabs, give you details about the stone, and make selections. You typically cannot buy granite slabs wholesale. Wholesale pricing is reserved for the fabricators who make the tops.

These stone centers display all the stone slabs vertically so you can see exactly what you’re getting. Countertop fabricators also may display and sell their own stone. The selection may not be as great, but the cost may be less.

Be sure to call us first to see if we have the stone you like or if we can get stone from the supplier. Shopping for your granite and choosing slabs can be very rewarding and sometimes a fun experience. Knowing what to look for and how to evaluate the different stones will enable you to pick the best granite for your stone counters.

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