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Granite Worktops - Truth, Lies and misinformation

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  • Hi Alan, hope you dont mind but PMd you about my granite escapade.

    Vader
  • Alan_M_2Alan_M_2 Forumite
    2.8K posts
    No problem, I've replied, check your messages.

  • Interesting original post from Alan M and most of it reasonably correct and honest, especially considering he's in the trade.

    My self-interest is I am an independent stone expert, chartered geologist and chartered surveyor, who has spent over 20 years investigating natural stone construction issues. I have investigated now hundreds of kitchen worktop issues and was one of the Author's of the Stone Federation Great Britain's guidance on the design and installation of natural stone kitchen worktops. For those thinking of buying a worktop this is the best £50.00 insurance you will ever have, for those installing, why have you not got a copy - you may never come a cropper again... Before you ask, I make no money from the Stone Federation by the way, I just give many hours of my time to help people avoid problems with natural stone which is the most wonderful material to work with.

    One major issue is that geology knows no political boundaries. Chinese, Indian, etc. does not influence whether the material in such political regions is any good. Cost depends on quarrying difficulties, over-burden, and many other factors and then finally how much profit the final seller thinks they can get away with. Some stones are sold at rates approaching £10 a square metre - I add these are not the highest quality ones - but it gives you some idea of the mark up to be had. In rich London areas I have seen stone purchased at £15 a square metre sold on at up to £500 a square metre.

    Do not be fooled by high prices, therefore, and do shop around as there are potentially very big savings to be made. However, to avoid many problems if you are not going to get the Stone Federation guidance, is to make sure you go and inspect the stone for your installation and do this very carefully under good lighting conditions. Also, take flash photos and review them as these often show up marks that are undetectable with the unaided eye or the presence of difficult-to-spot surface pitting - this works best with darker stones and especially black stones. It is amazing how many problems only appear once a worktop is installed and the lighting conditions changed.

    One good tip is to make sure there is always a rear supporting batten if the stone is not being set within any walls it is to run along. This is a basic requirement that is often missed out and makes sure that much of the load is taken here rather than by the kitchen units, which can slowly collapse under the weight of stone if made using MDF, covered chipboard, etc. Around sinks only marine quality ply should be used as any leaks will wreak all kinds of havoc. This is a good instance when spending a little more is a better idea in both the short and long term.

    Using natural stone should be and generally is straightforward. Always check a company is reputable and ask to see their work, but not what is in the showroom.
  • Alan_M_2Alan_M_2 Forumite
    2.8K posts
    ^^^^ What that man says....

    There is no substitute for actually going and looking at a large slab of stone, it is after all stone, therefore natural and no two pieces ever look identical (well apart from some nice italian book cut marble maybe).

    Whilst a sample gives you a basic idea of the colour, it can sometimes be misleading, particularly with some fo the lighter colours.

    The granite industry has operated for years as though it was some kind of black art. It can be very straightforward.

  • aceukaceuk Forumite
    2 posts
    Alan M
    I'm after a Granite worktop for the kitchen Absolute black.
    Can you recommend anyone in/around the suffolk area.
    Thanx
  • Im looking in North London for a supply and fit service , interested in the Blue Pearl granite.....is this variable? i realise its one of the more expensive varieties due to the logistics. Whats a reasonable price range in your mind?
  • Alan_M_2Alan_M_2 Forumite
    2.8K posts
    Blue Pearl is at the top end of installation costs, mainly becasue not many companies hold this material in pre produced form, it will be a traditional slab fabrication only.

    I couldn't even guess at a figure without seeing your requirements I'm afraid.

  • excellexcell Forumite
    22 posts
    Super thread! learnt a lot after reading most of it- so forgive me if i've missed anything on actual fitting. As a joiner I would be fitting my own kitchen- Could you possibly post a step by step guide to the actual piecing together and holding down of the worktops? Also if you could reccomend anyone in the Huddersfield area to cut and supply (PM if thats best) Thanks
  • Alan_M_2Alan_M_2 Forumite
    2.8K posts
    You'll need to talk to a stonemason for that I'm afraid. I'm a wholesale supplier and whislt I understand the process of fitting and the equipment required I've never actually done it myself.

    We're in Surrey, I just don't have any fitter customers that do much work north of Birmingham.

    Manchester is flooded with granite firms, there are plenty up there that have premises and enable you to visit and pick the stone your intersted in. Many will also offer a fabrication service without the fitting if you want to collect it all made to size then fit it yourself.

  • zcacmxizcacmxi Forumite
    136 posts
    We're on the border of SE London & Kent, and would like to get Granite worktops fitted.

    I've searched on google, and have found Universal Granite, Mister Granite, Granite4Less & Affordablegranite, but it's difficult to select between them.

    Anybody used one of the above firms, can you give some feedback? Also, can anybody suggest/recommend any firm covering the Kent/SE London area?

    Thanks
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