Factors Affecting the Costs of Granite Countertops
Despite its popularity, some homeowners are still reluctant to take the plunge and acquire granite countertops for the kitchen because of the costs. While granite countertops can be pricey, it all depends on the choices you make.
Granite ASAP has a huge selection of granite slabs for you, and offers special packages to fit small budgets. However, if you want more control and flexibility over your final project, you need to understand some things about granite countertops. Many factors come into play when it comes to the overall costs of granite countertops. Making the right decisions ensures you get beautiful kitchen countertops you can afford.
Granite comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Suppliers grade it according to appearance rarity complexity. This has nothing to do with the quality or durability of the stone. Choosing Grade 1 granite does not mean your stone is less tough than Grade 3 granite.
The simplest patterns in the most prevalent colors are the least expensive, given a grade level of one. If the granite is a bit more colorful with patterns that are more complex, it levels up to Grade 2. Grade 3 granite slabs have unusual patterns and exotic colors, and these are the most expensive.
Fabrication and Installation
A major factor in the overall cost of granite countertops is the fabrication and installation. In most cases, this is about as much as the cost of the granite itself.
Theoretically, you can save quite a lot of money if you simply buy granite slabs and install it yourself. However, it is not as easy as you might think. Granite is extremely tough, so you will need special equipment to make a simple cut. If you need to do sink cutouts, good luck.
Additionally, granite is hard to damage, but any damage usually occurs during fabrication and installation. You could end up throwing money away by cracking your granite. It is simply better to have professionals do this part.
You can save a bit in this case by choosing a simple edge profile such as square or eased. More complex edge profiles such as an ogee would cost more.
Granite is the most abundant natural stone in the world, and found everywhere. The source will affect the composition and conditions of its formation, so some colors and patterns in granite stone might only appear in certain areas. However, the same costs apply to quarrying and processing all types of granite, so the location of the source is not actually a factor in this sense. What will affect it is the cost of transporting it from the source to the end user.
For example, if you choose granite from Italy, it might be more expensive to bring it to the US than if you get it from Brazil, even if it is the same grade. The slabs you see in our warehouse might reflect this added cost.
A possible exception to this rule is granite sourced in the US. Processing granite slabs from quarried blocks happens onsite, so that means getting local workers to do the job. While the shipping costs of local granite will certainly be lower than imported granite, the labor costs are probably higher, so it will even out in the end.
Granite suppliers do not only cut slabs from blocks. Most also produce tiles and modules, which is rather like a tile, but bigger. Tiles are much less expensive than modules and slabs.
The best option for granite countertops is slabs, of course, because you minimize the number of seams. On the other hand, if you have a tight budget and an experienced installer, you can still get a nice countertop even if you use tiles or modules.
The cost for granite tiles range from $6 to 10 per square foot, and they are available in many hardware stores in the usual sizes. If you already have the supporting structure for a countertop, you can actually install the countertop yourself. Note, however, that granite tiles require setting on end-to-end in epoxy, and not using mortar to hold them in place with spaces to fill in with grout after curing. The same applies when using granite modules.
Module prices range from $25 to $40 per square foot, and you are unlikely to find them in hardware stores. You can probably get them from the same place where you can find slabs. Considering that granite slabs can go as low as $40 per square foot, you might want to consider choosing slabs instead.
The best use of tiles and modules is for backsplashes, where seams are not as much of a problem. A good compromise would be to choose slabs for the kitchen countertops and tiles or modules of the same granite for the backsplashes. Walls and floors are also good candidates for modules and tiles.
Granite slabs come in different thicknesses. As you might guess, thicker slabs are more expensive. The recommended thickness of slabs for kitchen countertops is 3 cm. This is thick enough to stand up to regular use without additional support and without damage, but not so much that it would be too heavy.
If your budget is not up to the challenge, choose a thinner slab (usually 2 cm) and simply add more support. Installers will usually use plywood for this, and will definitely do so if you have long countertops. Thinner slabs for smaller countertops such as most bathroom vanity tops will not usually require additional support.
You can always afford granite countertops if you keep these factors in mind. It is much easier to do this if you contract with an experienced and reputable countertop specialist to advise you in this issue. Granite ASAP is your answer in the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.
We carry a wide range of natural stone slabs as well as the best engineered stone brands in the country. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom.
If you prefer engineered stone, we can offer you products from the Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI brands, each one carrying the manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs.