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    Alan M
    Granite Worktops - Truth, Lies and misinformation
    • #1
    • 9th Jun 09, 11:31 PM
    Granite Worktops - Truth, Lies and misinformation 9th Jun 09 at 11:31 PM
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    Back to the original post...

    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!!!8217;ve decided you want a granite worktop, it!!!8217;s an essential on your list of must haves for your shiny new kitchen, but it!!!8217;s something you!!!8217;ve no experience of. You!!!8217;ve read all sorts of horror stories on the internet, Chinese granite, Indian is dyed? Are the fitters any good? Why are the quotes so hugely different? Let!!!8217;s try and give you a layman!!!8217;s guide to what!!!8217;s out there.

    Pre produced verses tradition 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 3.5 metres in length, 2 metres high and 2 metres!!!8217;s huge and very heavy.
    This block of stone will then be transported to production facilities where is 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!!!8217;t vary a lot more than +/- 1mm.

    These slabs are then imported into the UK and bought by tradition stone masons, cut fabricated, polished and fitted into your lovely kitchen. You!!!8217;ll get a bespoke high quality product which should meet or exceed your expectations. The trouble is it!!!8217;s going to have a bespoke price tag attached to it.

    What if I don!!!8217;t have 4k or 5K to spend on granite...I!!!8217;m more your B&Q/Magnet/Wickes/IKEA/Howden customer than Smallbone or Mark Wilkinson. But I!!!8217;d still like granite. 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!!!8217;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 it!!!8217;s important when selecting more than one piece that the thickness are within 2mm if the tops are being joined or touching.

    So a company like mine orders containers of this material, we!!!8217;ll ask for a variety of sizes such as 2400mm x 610mm x 30mm or 2500mm x 900mm x 30mm breakfast bars.......providing us with blanks. The factory will also polish the edges on these tops to reduce labour in the UK.

    Think of this like walking into your favourite big orange DIY store to buy a 3 metre length of laminate worktop except it!!!8217;s granite instead. A proportion of the fabrication is already done, the wastage of a large slab is reduced and it!!!8217;s easier to handle to start with (one countertop weighs around 140kg, whereas a full slab can be as much as 500kg and sometimes more).

    Is it dyed?

    Some more unscrupulous producers dye material, generally Blacks. The UK 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 dye this completely black and sell it as pure black. The dye will eventually wash away over a period of time. There!!!8217;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 Chinese, I!!!8217;ve been told it!!!8217;s Rubbish? Is Indian any better?

    Well, I!!!8217;ve seen rubbish from both countries, I!!!8217;ve seen outstanding quality from both.

    What I tend to do is buy a product from it!!!8217;s country of source that way I!!!8217;m likely to get a better end product. Lets a pick one of the most popular stones available and explain how this works !!!8211; Star Galaxy.

    Star 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!!!8217;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 I wouldn!!!8217;t buy Fujian White from India as it occurs in China, so stop getting hung up on where it!!!8217;s come from. If it looks nice and the production is good and the slabs are all similar thickness then you!!!8217;ve probably got a nice stone.

    I will add that some of the best production I!!!8217;ve ever seen has come from China, they have invested heavily with government help and 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 templated?

    Actually this is really down to the design of your kitchen more than anything. If you!!!8217;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!!!8217;s likely you!!!8217;ll need a template.

    If you have a galley kitchen with a 3 meter length down one side and the same on the other and it!!!8217;s all straight then there!!!8217;s probably no need.

    So what!!!8217;s better, Pre produced or traditional slab installation?

    Sometimes this is actually determined for you by the design of your kitchen.

    A regular !!!8220;L!!!8221; shape or !!!8220;U!!!8221; shape kitchen is very often the perfect installation for pre produced tops. It!!!8217;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 substiantially cheaper.

    Fabrication costs

    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 60 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 450 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!!!8217;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!!!8217;s weight in gold, 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!!!8217;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!!!8217;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.

    I!!!8217;m generally happy to answer any questions on this subject, so fire away if you have any specifics. However, as I have a vested interested and I am in the industry I won!!!8217;t comment on other companies in the open forum. In most cases it is simply not appropriate.

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    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 29-08-2013 at 3:24 PM.
Page 31
    • Go-granite
    • By Go-granite 15th Dec 16, 9:32 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Natural Stone Trends
    Hi Alan

    > Though current trend shows demand for Natural Stone is it still a good idea to become a Granite Importer?

    > Why don't wholesalers do not disclose prices to Private customers and sell to Trade only?

    Apologies if my questions are very basic and not using my common sense to find answers haha

    • farmbelle
    • By farmbelle 21st Feb 17, 8:05 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Ive just read all 30 odd pages of this very helpful thread. Very sad to see the wonderful Alan M disappeared towards the end as his help has been invaluable. I wonder if anyone can help - I'm wanting to fit granite worktops onto my existing units. Ive seen it alluded to here that this could be a problem but i didn't fully understand this. Could anyone kindly explain?

    Also i have my heart set in lighter or grey toned granite (not black sparkly), but have seen the multiple comments about lighter colours being more suitable for quartz due to the risk of staining...but quartz isn't for me. I don't like the uniformity. I love the uniqueness of granite. But saying that we have young children and it will be very at risk of staining from wine/curry/tomatoes etc!!!

    I would be willing to go for darker shades to reduce the staining potential but want to stay away from black. Can anyone tell me how the grey tones fair in terms of staining? for example salt and pepper/ azul platino/ bianco antico/ black wave.

    Any help or advice is much appreciated
    • oozdat
    • By oozdat 28th Feb 17, 10:46 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    I had Kashmir White fitted in my last house, inherited black granite & am now having this replaced with white quartz as I hate the dark surface. Granite is porous and the Kashmir soaked up spilt oil (never got this out) and can stain. I think anything other than very dark could stain. The black doesn't stain, but does require buffing after cleaning to avoid water marks. Depends how careful you are and how much time you are prepared to spend looking after your worktop.
    • Hoseman
    • By Hoseman 1st Mar 17, 1:21 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 174 Thanks
    We've decided to go for quartz. Is there anything we need to be aware of in terms of care and general use?
    • EssexExile
    • By EssexExile 1st Mar 17, 1:44 PM
    • 2,765 Posts
    • 1,919 Thanks
    No, it doesn't need any special care.
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
    • rosie383
    • By rosie383 1st Mar 17, 4:30 PM
    • 4,651 Posts
    • 10,332 Thanks
    We went for a very light grey quartz with flecks. So easy to keep clean and shiny. I did get one rust stain on it but a quick squirt of the amazing WD40 took it off in seconds. Having seen how difficult shiny black is to keep clean, we avoided it.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    • Miles16v
    • By Miles16v 27th Jun 17, 8:38 PM
    • 201 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    I'm after a granite worktop for my bathroom.

    Its a really simple design, so wont need templating, just one worktop cut to my measurements with a hole for a tap and a hole for the waste of a counter top sink.

    Does anyone know anyone online that would provide this?

    Size is around 1200mm x 500mm, if anyone has an idea of the cost I should be looking at?
    • wen-tom
    • By wen-tom 11th Jul 17, 10:35 AM
    • 409 Posts
    • 783 Thanks
    I'm desperate for a solid worktop for my island unit. It will be around 1600 x 850 and will need a belfast sink & taphole cut out and also a small cut out on one side for a beam!
    I have no idea what sort of prices I should be looking at?
    • Strider590
    • By Strider590 11th Jul 17, 12:54 PM
    • 11,622 Posts
    • 6,534 Thanks
    My folks thought they wanted a granite worktop..... That is until they got one and had to spend hours everyday cleaning/polishing it.

    They're great for the pretentious middle class wannabes who never actually cook anything (preferring to buy overpriced organic ready cooked food from the local farm shop), but want a fancy kitchen to show off how many credit cards they have. If you ever use the kitchen you'll regret buying it very quickly indeed.
    I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an a** of yourself.

    <><><><><><><><><<><><><><><><><><><><><><> Don't forget to like and subscribe \/ \/ \/
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 11th Jul 17, 1:19 PM
    • 1,231 Posts
    • 845 Thanks
    My folks thought they wanted a granite worktop..... That is until they got one and had to spend hours everyday cleaning/polishing it.

    They're great for the pretentious middle class wannabes who never actually cook anything (preferring to buy overpriced organic ready cooked food from the local farm shop), but want a fancy kitchen to show off how many credit cards they have. If you ever use the kitchen you'll regret buying it very quickly indeed.
    Originally posted by Strider590
    Hours every day, I think not.
    • gizmoses
    • By gizmoses 14th Jul 17, 5:13 AM
    • 13 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Has anyone used a company in West Midlands they were happy with and could recommend thanks
    • poor_child
    • By poor_child 16th Jul 17, 9:49 AM
    • 34 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    I am getting quotes for a Quartz worktop.

    Does anyone have any company recommendations? Please?
    • dannyb123
    • By dannyb123 19th Oct 17, 9:08 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    Just to bump this old thread, I!!!8217;m getting a new kitchen and looking for quartz worktops, had quotes from various companies in West Yorkshire. Anyone got any feedback good or bad, here!!!8217;s the list;

    Mayfair / Marble 4 Life (Bradford)
    Meridian (Leeds)
    Roann (Wakefield)
    DIY Kitchens (Getting kitchen from these)
    Al Murad worktops (Morley)
    Granite Master (Dews)

    Thanks in advance
    • Miles16v
    • By Miles16v 19th Oct 17, 9:15 PM
    • 201 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    I've got my second kitchen from DIY kitchens on order and have to say that whilst I've not had granite from them, the company have always been an absolute dream to work with so on that basis I wouldnt hesitate to use them.

    That said, a local firm are doing my granite at a lower price - there was plenty of room to get a deal with them if you work it right.
    • dannyb123
    • By dannyb123 19th Oct 17, 9:59 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    I've got my second kitchen from DIY kitchens on order and have to say that whilst I've not had granite from them, the company have always been an absolute dream to work with so on that basis I wouldnt hesitate to use them.

    That said, a local firm are doing my granite at a lower price - there was plenty of room to get a deal with them if you work it right.
    Originally posted by Miles16v
    We have being quoted around 1k cheaper on the quartz worktops compared to the Diy price. I know they use a subcontractor so they probably cant offer the worktops as competitive as the kitchen units.
    • Neetarc
    • By Neetarc 27th Nov 17, 1:15 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Granite worktop
    Any recommendations for granite worktop in Londom
    • M00sealini
    • By M00sealini 28th Dec 17, 2:13 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Granite undermount sink cut advice
    We recently had granite worktops fitted and we are disappointed with the cut for the 1.75 under-mount sink. The fitter asked in advance if we wanted the granite to overhang slightly, so yes this is what we wanted, I believe it is called a 'negative reveal'. However we expected the cut to follow the lines of the 1.75 sink and the negative reveal would be consistent and equal. When we questioned the cut, the fitter insisted that the cut he made was normal for this type of sink ...We can't find any pictures online with a 1.75 sink cut this way and think that we are getting fobbed off. Any thoughts?
    Picture on Instagram ...
    • EssexExile
    • By EssexExile 28th Dec 17, 2:25 PM
    • 2,765 Posts
    • 1,919 Thanks
    I put "inset sink in worktop" into Google Images & came up with pictures of it done properly, with the cutout following the shape of the sinks. Your's is just wrong!
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
    • fezster
    • By fezster 28th Dec 17, 5:29 PM
    • 247 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    I think it should have been done like this:

    • ic
    • By ic 28th Dec 17, 7:16 PM
    • 2,584 Posts
    • 1,323 Thanks
    I think it should have been done like this:
    Originally posted by fezster
    I disagree, the gap between the two sinks is too small and would be far too fragile. The cut out however should have reduced from front to back around the smaller bowl. Like this one:

    If anything, the hole actually looks too small for the larger bowl, meaning the worktop overhangs the bowl?
    * my posts are made in good faith and only represent my own opinion, experience or understanding of a situation.
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