Shopping for Granite: What to Know Before You Go

Shopping for Granite: What to Know Before You GoProtect Your Granite Investment

So you want a Granite countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, now what? Granite has been a popular natural stone for decades. Homeowners and designers alike rave about its durability, ease of maintenance and striking appearance. But how does one embark on a journey of purchasing Granite? The shopping experience can be overwhelming when dealing with cracks, veins and seams for the first time. Protect your investment by learning how Granite is classified, who grades it and how this relates to price.

Level Up

Two things ultimately determine dreamy Granite from the average are the level and grade. Level has everything to do with COLOR. The generic evenly-speckled beige, brown, black and gray granite you see in every condo building built in the late 90’s already has mass appeal and is considered low grade quality. Granite rich in gray and white stone basically telling a story through vibrantly detailed veins scrolling over unique pink and gold colored specks will classify on the higher end of the spectrum.

“Put quite simply: the higher the level, the higher the price”.

Getting the Grade

Next up, is the grade. What makes one slab of stone a higher grade than another? Grade is basically the imperfection meter. The less dings, dips, chips, fissures (industry term), the higher the grade. Seams also play a large role in grading. Fabricators have the ability to tailor seams (where two stones join together) in the slab strategically. Seams tend to disrupt the stones’ natural beauty. The less seams, the higher the grade and you guessed it – the higher the price.  

Shop Smart

Back in the day, acquiring stone was done locally. Supply and demand from the nearest quarry. Like many other household goods, worldwide distribution impacted the industry in both positive and negative ways. On one side, stones from across the world have been made available in your backyard. On the other, lots of these stones are mislabeled and poorly priced. Just like anything else, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How does this happen? Fabricators are not held to an industry grading standard. This means scammers are ready to sell you their high-level granite for an insanely low price. So lace up your tire-kicking shoes and shop around. Treat your countertop like you would your car. Is the mechanic trustworthy and reputable? Look on the website for client testimonials of success stories. Don’t be afraid to ask around, good old fashioned word of mouth continues to be effective.

Shopping for a kitchen countertop is a personal experience and a good retailer will handle your business carefully. Learning the in’s and out’s of Granite is no easy task. The absolute best way to get acquainted with the stone is to visit a few different retailers and be the judge yourself. Heck, you may find a lower grade attractive and save a bundle. Knowing what your like about specific qualities of Granite can help you find your dream slab a lot faster.

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