This is what we had before:
It feels weird looking at this now.
This is what we have NOW 🙂
After narrowing our counter options down to quartz and granite we still felt overwhelmed by the multitude of choices. After doing research it seemed pretty clear that quartz had the edge over granite. We checked out consumer reports and found it to be pretty helpful. Consumer reports gave quartz an overall score of 84, edging granite out with a score of 81. The scores were based on four categories, staining, cutting, absorption and impact. When directly comparing the individual categories against each other both granite and quartz had the exact same scores (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor).
So after seeing that consumer reports essentially rated them the same, and the prices were fairly comparable at the places we were looking at(prices range in different parts of the country). For us the biggest drawback with granite is the maintenance factor. It needs to be sealed every 6 months. It seems like people make a big deal out sealing/maintaining granite. I’ve never had granite counters, so I assumed sealing them must be a lot of work and or money. I was surprised to find out that sealing is pretty simple and the hardest part of it (for us) is clearing your counters of stuff. So really, after looking into what sealing requires it became a non-issue for us.
We decided to go with granite because we both like look of granite over quartz. We’re mostly drawn to the lack of uniformity granite provides. Which is funny, we chose granite over quartz BEACAUSE of the lack of uniformity, while many people like quartz because it provides uniformity and no movement. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with granite or quartz. If you’re thinking about getting quartz THIS article from This old House is great and gives a lot of good info on quartz.
From here we decided on our price point and started visiting granite yards. When you go out shopping for granite something to know is that they don’t actually post prices on the slabs(at least the places we visited didn’t). Instead they have a grade system of First choice, Commercial Grade, Second Quality, and a Supplier rating of A, B, C, D(D being the most expensive and A being the least). We figured out that we could afford somewhere around a B rating, maybe a really cheap C. So we went ahead and wrote down our choices in the B and C range, we then had to contact fabricators to get estimates.
Here is a run down on what the different grade systems mean as I understand them:
- First Choice Granite: Highest rating, no visible defects, uneven veining, cloudy spots, color variation is even, overall pattern of granite is consistent throughout slab
- Commercial Grade Granite: May have some cloudy areas, small cracks, unusual color variation. The big flaw is that one side of the slab may look different from the other side making it difficult to match pieces when working with large surfaces.
- Second Quality Granite: Works well in small pieces, imperfections are highly visible, color is splotchy, veins do not flow well, smaller visible stones or rocks embedded in granite
- Supplier Rating (A, B, C, D): This is the suppliers internal rating of the granite. Most of the time suppliers rate their granite internally. So when you go in there may be a rating of second quality, commercial and first choice along with the suppliers rating(A, B, C, D) based on color, current trends, essentially the current desirability of the stone. The cost will not necessarily reflect the actual quality of the granite. Make sense? Basically the demand of granite will dictate the supplier rating.
These were some of our favorites:
There is a mix of Marble, quartz and granite in the below pictures.
Below is what we ended up choosing: Lennon(pictured below).
We called 4 different fabricators and went with the folks with the best price. They also gave us a military discount which was great. Some added expenses we didn’t account for were:
- Cut and polish hole for the under-mount sink which set us back $250
- Steel support beams for overhang set us back $160 ($80 per steel beam). We have an overhang where people can sit at the counter. The beams give the granite the extra support it needs.
We are very happy with the Lennon. AND, The best part of the new counters? It totally hides our messy, crumb ridden counter tops 🙂
I’m working on the cabinet and farmhouse sink installation post. I’ll show better pictures once those posts are all done.