The 101 of buying a high-quality countertop
Ordering a countertop from Granitop is easy, but for a high-quality end result it’s good to remember a few tips.
We’ve been producing granite, marble and quartz countertops for years, and our experienced stonemasons are without doubt experts in their field. You might think that ordering a countertop early on, even before the kitchen furniture is completed, might save you time and money. Or it could be the other way around – it might seem like a good idea to finish the repair work first and when the countertop arrives, you can enjoy the cozy and beautiful end result right away. As always, the truth is somewhere in between.
Every person doesn’t have to know how to read a technical drawing or be familiar with the intricacies of installing sinks and faucets. It suffices when our experts know such things! “A stich in time saves nine,” as the saying goes, and it definitely applies when it comes to countertops. Thus, the first and most important tip would be to measure and plan carefully. Exact measurements are so important for us that we’ll do all the measuring for free of charge (Since January 2021, measuring is a paid service!).
A face-to-face meeting with our experienced staff is a good idea for several reasons. One, this means we can guarantee a great result – a marble, granite or quartz countertop that fits perfectly in the home, kitchen or bathroom, and has been made with all the characteristics of the location in mind.
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Secondly, the exact measurements and the client’s requirements are important to produce a perfect production drawing. A digital model made using computer programs and machines that can cut stone with a tenth of a millimeter accuracy – that is our concern, but a centimeter that’s been accidentally rounded up can become a nightmare once we begin the manufacturing phase.
What if the kitchen cabinets, where to cooker is supposed to be installed, are significantly wider, should the opening be 10 cm to the right or to the left or exactly in the middle? Where is the kitchen hood and does the depth or the planned location of the sink fit with the existing kitchen cabinets without hindering the opening of all the drawers and doors? How will the wall be finished – will it be tiled, painted or made from the same stone as the countertop?
There are no irrelevant issues, everything is important, and almost everything is possible. If the client wants a gigantic countertop made from one large piece of stone, then our experts should visit the site solely to make sure the stone will fit. We might need a crane or extra men to deliver the countertop and lift it into place.
The people at Granitop have honed their skills and acquired new knowledge over many years. Every new project is another lesson. Thanks to these experiences, we know that a photo of a stone on a laptop or phone screen can differ a lot from the real thing. Usually, the real stone is, of course, much more beautiful than the image but lighting and overall interior design play their part. A stone that appears patchy and ordinary in artificial lighting or on the screen can come to life in the morning sun and start shimmering in a multitude of colors, and that is an experience in itself! That’s why it’s important to see the stone samples in person – often the material seen on a computer screen doesn’t appeal in real life and the right stone will only be determined by looking-touching the samples. In addition, our experts can help with choosing various solutions – a sink, water grooves in stone, countertop joints, material of the backsplash, etc.
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Stone, especially granite, is a very strong material, and working it requires skill and the right tools. Stone, even the stunning marble, cannot be bent but precise measurements and cuts can be made – that is rather dogmatic position. When we measure, we don’t just sulk around the kitchen with a spirit level, an expensive device or a tape measure. It is an opportunity to talk, make changes and improvements to the project. For the best result and the client’s satisfaction!
How to choose a surface material: which is better - granite, marble, limestone, quartz, Terrazzo or ceramic?
1)Granite is extremely resistant, relatively non-porous and weatherproof.
2)The pattern of marble looks grand, but the stone requires more maintenance.
3)Limestone (especially Jura Grey) has an interesting pattern and it is more practical than marble, because signs of usage do not show on it. Limestone is a soft stone, as is marble.
4)Quartz is a very hygienic and resistant material. Unlike natural stones, artificial materials are not resistant to heat and may over time fade by sunlight.
5)Terrazo-stone is made of crushed natural stone. The mosaic pattern of pieces and fragments is beautiful and modern, but due to its resin content, it is not resistant to heat.
6)Compared to the other composite stones, quartz and terrazzo, ceramics are much more heat proof and the material tolerates as high temperatures as granite. Like another artificial stone, quartz, ceramic worktops are extremely hygienic and low in porosity.
What is the maximum size of a worktop cut from a stone slab?
There is no one simple answer to this question. For natural stone, a lot depends on the size and quality of the slabs cut in the mines. Although for some materials, the length of the slab may be up to 3.4-3.5 metres, one has to consider that marble, granite and quartz stone slabs rarely have all straight edges and huge slabs may not be available. Therefore, we recommend not planning for worktops longer than 3000mm. Quartz stones are rectangular and the size of the jumbo-slabs exceeds 3m (3185x1550mm, 3200x1600mm, 3250x1590mm - depending on the manufacturer), but not all materials are produced in jumbo-sizes. The size of the worktop is also somewhat limited by the weight of the stone (for example, a 5m2 kitchen island worktop may weigh 400 kg), as well as by the location of the kitchen in the building. Longer/wider worktop slabs or an L-shaped worktop as one piece cannot be transported in the narrow corridors of buildings in the old town, and hoisting the slab from the window may be limited by the size of the window frame.
Which preparations need to be completed before the measuring team arrives?
The kitchen equipment, sink and faucet should be on site so that the measuring team can get acquainted with their make/model and dimensions. We recommend consulting the specialists in Granitop before purchasing kitchen equipment - all hob and sink models may not be suitable for recessed installation. Please note special requests on the measuring data sheet!