Granite Countertops | Fabrication & Installation

How to shop for granite countertops: 7 things to remember


Granite is a gorgeous material, no doubt.

Granite will always accomplish its purpose, bring exclusivity to your home, by adding a touch of elegance. By incorporating a beautiful piece of natural stone to your living area, it will most likely help increase the overall value of your home. Always a plus!

However, when you start shopping for granite, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Today we’re sharing seven! Use these tips wisely, and you’ll increase your chances of being completely satisfied with your purchase (and the finished product).

Get a free estimate

Most construction and home improvement companies give their customers free estimates, but before you ask for one, make sure you know specifically what you want. Granite is available in a wide array of colors and patterns. In addition to this, you also have a choice between edge types too. Some of the most common edges include bullnose, square, rounded, and rough.

Once you know the kind of granite you want to integrate into your home, then you’ll want to decide on the shape of the slab, the size of it, where the seams will be, and the thickness of it as well. The more details you can provide, the more accurate the estimate will be.

Understand exactly what your proposal covers (or doesn’t)

This relates to the information listed above. Before you get started, you’ll want to review your proposal to ensure you completely know what you want and don’t want. This will not only reduce the change of having to redo certain aspects of the project, you’ll also be happier with how everything turns out.

When choosing the right kind of granite for your home, you’ll want to figure out what kind of style you’re interested in. Some of the most popular styles include rustic country, modern, two-tone, and herringbone. The granite you choose should also match your cabinets, your flooring, and everything in the room. It’s essential to get this all figured out before you get started.

Visit your local showroom or warehouse before you purchase your granite

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing your granite from a picture you saw online or in a publication of some sort. If you’re wondering why, it’s because the color you see in the picture might not reflect what the granite actually looks like in person.

Second, because granite is completely natural, each slab of granite will have its own unique pattern. This means that even if you order a hunk of granite by the specific name type, the product you get might not look like what you saw in the picture. Choose your granite in person.

It’s also essential that you don’t choose your granite from examining a small sample. It’s better if you can look at the entire slab. This will help you better visualize what the finished product will look like once the project is complete.

Always ask where to expect the seams

In order to fabricate your kitchen countertops, granite slabs have to be marked down, optimized for material usage, and cut down into the different counter top parts that will be required. As a result (depending on different factors), some tops may require a seam (or two).

For the most part expect at least one seam per a standard size kitchen. Different factors will determine the quantity of seams of course (if any). For instance; the length and width of your cabinets, the actual physical size of the slab (those vary), and access to the property can also be a factor (stairs, long walk ways, no elevator, or elevator size etc).

Good fabricators and installers will try to minimize the amount of seams in your kitchen countertops. Good granite installers will also do a good job putting (seaming) the pieces together. However, it’s still important to inquire where the seams will be located and how visible they’ll be, so that everyone is on the same page and your expectations are clear.

Have some idea of the color you want

There are thousands of different colors of granite to choose from, but they’re all listed in 10 different groups. These groups include the whites, reds, yellows, greens, grays, beiges, burgundies, browns, blacks, and blues.

Like mentioned above, when choosing the right kind of granite for your home, make sure your granite is appropriate for the style you’re going for, and make sure your granite matches the flooring, the cabinets, and everything else in the room.

If you need help deciding on the right color of granite for your living area, you can always talk to a professional at a warehouse or a showroom. Interior designers are also good at directing you in the right direction. Consider these color coordinating tips:

  • Darker granite usually goes great with lighter colored cabinetry.
  • Darker granite also looks amazing in rooms with a lot of natural light.
  • Lighter colored granite tends to go well with darker colored cabinetry.
  • Lighter colored granite also creates a feeling of openness which is perfect for smaller and more compact kitchens.
  • Colors like sharp reds, greens, and blues tend to work well with dull palette colored flooring and cabinets. 

These are just a few examples of proper color coordinating. By having this figured out before you go shopping, you’ll be able to spend more time on all the other important details.

Bring a cabinet door or floor sample from your existing kitchen

Trying to visualize what a specific color of granite would look like with the flooring or the cabinetry in your home can be quite difficult. By the way, if you’re looking for inspiration on kitchen remodeling, here’s a few design trends worth looking at.

Even if you take a picture with your phone or a camera, it’s still hard to really visualize what the finished product will look like. The best way to solve this issue is to simply bring a cabinet door along with you. You can also bring a floor sample too. By doing this, you’ll be able to make a better and more logical decision.

Have a list of questions ready for your granite expert

The last thing you’ll want to do is sit down and make a list of questions for your granite expert. This is very important, because it allows you to cover all your bases. Listed below are just example questions you may want to ask.

Can I place hot items and cut food directly onto a granite surface?

Yes, you can. Remember that granite (prior to making its way to your kitchen) was nurtured by mother earth for a few million years, exposed to high degrees of heat. What’s important to remember here is that granite can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Just be mindful to treat your granite with care. Always talk to your granite salesperson or designer about properly caring for granite, and what types of things your particular stone will (or will not) resist.

Granite should be treated like any other expensive piece of jewelry you may have at home. How do you treat and care for those?

Do you recommend an undermount sink or a drop-in sink?

Drop-in sinks are the most common sink in kitchens these days. These sinks drop straight into the countertop from above. These sinks have a visible lip and are easy to install. Undermount sinks on the other hand are installed from below your granite countertop.

These sinks do not have a rim and are harder to install. On the plus side, they’re much easier to clean than drop-in sinks and don’t collect as much bacteria either. These are just a few of the pros and cons of each kind of sink. Ask your granite expert which of these two sinks would be better for your home, your lifestyle, and your household.

What does your fabrication and installation process look like?

When hiring a contractor, it’s important to look at their portfolio in addition to what their past customers have said about the kind of service they received. If the contractor you’re interested in does not have a portfolio, it might be best to hire a professional who actually has one. That’ll give you a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into and the kind of work they produce.

What is included in the price?

This is really an important question to ask your granite expert, contractor or designer you’re planning to hire. What is the cost of granite countertops? It’s essential that you fully understand what you’re getting for your money. Figuring this out up front will help eliminate any arguments or misunderstandings.

What edge do you recommend?

Like mentioned earlier, granite slabs come with a wide array of edges. Some edges are round, some are square, and some even have a rough edge to them. Talk to a professional to see which edge would be right for your household. For example, if you have a large, busy household, you may not want rough or sharp edges. People can accidentally run into them and hurt themselves. On the flipside, sharp edges can give your countertops a very sleek, stylish appearance that’ll definitely catch the eye of your guests.

What is the maintenance process for the granite you’re investing in?

To keep your granite countertops in great condition, you’ll want to seal them from time to time. This will keep then heat resistant, scratch resistant, and in great condition too. However, different kinds of granite may require different kinds of sealant. Discuss this with your granite expert and ask them about the kind of brands they approves of. You’ll also want to inquire about any other maintenance tips for maintaining your granite countertops.

What are the noticeable differences between the different colors of granite?

Speak with a professional about the main difference between the different colors of granite available. Although you may consider yourself educated in this area, an expert will be able to provide you with ideas you never thought of. For instance, colors like yellows, whites, and light blues are great for smaller kitchens, because these colors give off a very calming feeling and are a great choice for individuals who get more anxious in smaller rooms.

If you have an island with a large overhang, will you need extra support?

When adding additions to your kitchen, you’ll want to chat with a contractor and discuss all the details. Generally, if you have an island with a large overhang, adding extra support is not a bad idea. However, the length of the overhand and the size of the island will ultimately determine how much support you in fact need. Your contractor should be able to help calculate this and come up with a feasible plan of action.

What does the warranty look like, and what does it cover?

The warranty is definitely something you want to inquire about. Without a warranty, you could be out several thousand dollars. You’ll also want to ask what the warranty actually covers and what the duration of it is. By doing this, you’re simply protecting yourself from financial loss and unnecessary hassle.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the things you’ll want to consider before you go out and spend a small fortune on new granite countertops. Above all, take your time and don’t rush the process.

If you’re looking for a free quote or free estimate on granite countertops, we can help! So long as you are physically located in our service area of Washington DC metro area, Northern Virginia and cities like Beltsville Maryland, Jessup, Baltimore, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Crofton, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Anne Arundel County, and more.

Now remember, ask lots of questions! Until next time.

Here's More Related Content!

Get a Free Estimate!

Serving Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C.