Shopping for High-Quality Kitchen Countertops in Westchester NY? Follow these Insider Tips
Homeowners have a common fear regarding remodeling projects. Most know a friend or family member with a cautionary tale about a project that began and was endlessly delayed or missed the mark. While there will always be some uncontrollable factors during a project, there are also a variety of preventable issues that can contribute to these disappointing stories.
To help keep your own kitchen project as close to on time and on budget as possible, review the following insider tips we compiled to support a seamless kitchen countertop selection, fabrication and installation experience.
Tip: Feel free to ask us for referrals beyond your countertops. Our network of luxury-home contractors results from years of successful co-projects in Westchester, NY.
Check the three Rs: References, Reputation, and Reviews
An eye-catching ad or promotion is not proof that a stone fabricator does good work. Here’s how to do your due diligence before hiring a team of home professionals.
References and reputation
Personal references are always the best option to inform your choice of services and products. However, it’s important to check that your references are coming from a recent project. Your neighbor may have nothing but positive things to say about their experience with a local natural stone fabricator, but if it has been years since the project was completed, it’s best to do more research to ensure the company’s quality of work is still exemplary. As employees can oftentimes come and go, or management can change hands, the quality of products and services can also change over time.
If you don’t have personal references, ask the business you are considering for client references. During this chat, you can ask them how long it took to complete their project, the overall experience and, of course, how the end result turned out.
Other contractors or builders are also valuable sources of referrals. A contractor or builder will only work with another company on an ongoing basis if the partnership benefits both parties.
Academy Marble & Granite is proud of our long-term and reputable relationships with architects, builders, interior designers, and remodeling firms. Their repeat business is the best testament of our reliability and high-quality countertop services.
Online reviews are a helpful assessment tool. Look for businesses that boast a steady stream of 5-star reviews on sites such as Yelp!, Google, Houzz and Facebook. Also check out any negative or less than satisfactory reviews. Did the business respond? What was their complaint and is it reasonable? Online reviews are helpful for determining if the company is credible and if their work lives up to what they claim online.
You can view some of Academy Marble & Granite’s customer feedback on our Testimonials page or view our five-star ratings on Yelp! and Houzz.
Experience and capabilities
Experience matters in every aspect of countertop material sourcing, selection, fabrication and installation. Professional, demonstrated experience can determine whether your countertop is just a necessary expense or an investment in artful craftsmanship that you can enjoy for years to come. If you want a kitchen countertop that’s selected with a keen eye, artfully fabricated and installed with the highest precision, we recommend sourcing a countertop supplier and fabricator with experience and hands-on capabilities in all aspects of their business.
To reduce your project costs while ensuring you get the finest marble, granite and quartzite slabs available, we suggest working with a direct importer instead of a commercial wholesaler. By working with a direct importer of natural stones from around the world, you can eliminate the extra costs and time involved when working through a middleman.
After you select your natural stone slab or engineered stone product, someone will come to your home to template your project area. The ‘someone’ that arrives is all dependent on the fabricator you choose to hire. Big-box stores will typically send out someone to measure, but this person’s expertise may not be with templating kitchen countertops, but more likely, it’s just one of the many services he/she provides. Without a certain level of expertise and focus, you risk having an error-prone template that results in a less than perfect fabricated surface.
To avoid this scenario, it’s important to partner with a kitchen countertop provider who deploys skilled fabricators with the expertise and hands-on experience to take the most accurate and precise measurements. Coupling this resource with the latest high-tech software and machinery ensures flawless cuts and edges during the fabrication process of your kitchen countertops, saving you the aggravation, cost and delays of righting the wrong of a poorly fabricated countertop.
Once the templating process is completed, working with a fabricator that executes all of the work in house will help you reach your project completion date faster. By working with a partner that provides all services in house, from selection to installation, you can enjoy the convenience and efficiency of working with a single provider, instead of dealing with multiple vendors.
Construction and project delays are often caused by problems with order fulfillment. A company may have the best of intentions, but they can’t always motivate their suppliers to stick to their desired timeframe. Having an expansive, high-quality inventory on hand can help speed up the countertop fabrication process.
When purchasing natural stone material, it’s critical to view and examine the exact slab that will be going into your kitchen. Even though color samples are great to take home and view in your current kitchen, you should be able to choose the exact slab you want at the showroom or slab yard. Every natural stone slab is unique; its colors, textures and veining will vary from one slab to the next.
You’ll also want to make sure your slab is free of any undesirable pitting or blotching. If you partner with a reputable fabricator, quality concerns like this should not be an issue, but it’s important to check for these things. What is considered to be a flaw in one homeowner’s eyes can be seen as a ‘beauty mark’ to another.
If your home has a large kitchen or you would like to extend the same stone to another part of your home, like a wet bar, it’s important to match your stone slabs as closely as possible. Again, even if a stone matches by name, it still may vary slightly by color and veining.
The devil is in the details. We recommend partnering with a fabricator that has a wide selection of stone slabs to choose from in person. Not only will you be able to see small details that are unique to the slab, but you’ll also be able to see any flaws that are present, too.
We’re here to help!
For natural stone countertops, Academy Marble & Granite feature one of the largest showrooms in Westchester, NY. In fact, we have over 25,000 square feet of natural granite, marble and quartzite stone to choose from. We encourage you to visit our Westchester, NY showroom and allow us to personally help you select the right countertop material for your needs. To request a complimentary consultation, click here.