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What to Ask Your Countertop Fabricator — and What We Asked Ours

Whether you’re remodeling your entire kitchen or making some upgrades in the bathroom, any home renovation project is all but guaranteed to come standard with a few questions. Colonial Marble & Granite prides itself on being a go-to resource for property owners just like you by doing deep dives into topics we hear about most from our customers, including everything from how marble and granite are mined to what makes a stone “exotic” and beyond. Today, we’ll take a closer look at countertop fabrication; more specifically, the specialists behind this enthralling process that transforms raw material into breathtaking features.

When you’re in talks with countertop fabricators, here are the top questions you should be asking them to not only set expectations as far as timeline, budget, and beyond but determine who is the right fit to come on board for your project:

What to Ask Your Countertop Fabricator

As you discuss your countertop project with a stone fabricator, make sure the following questions are answered:

What Can You Tell Me About Your Fabrication Experience?

Making an informed decision about your bathroom or kitchen countertops boils down to trusting who you partner with — and when it comes to questions to ask your countertop fabricator, ensuring they have a background in helping customers just like you goes a long way in your project’s success. Years of experience and imagery of previous work are good things to have on your radar.

How Much Input Do I Have Regarding the Slab Used?

Selecting a slab you fall in love with is just the beginning. Experienced fabricators know how to showcase your chosen slabs’ best qualities with strategic cutting and other fabrication techniques. Still, you may wish to find out how much input, if any, will be needed on your part to maximize the practical and aesthetic benefits of your new countertop.

What Finishing and Edge Profiling Options Do You Offer?

Not every countertop fabricator can work on special finishes or edges (fortunately, the ones at Colonial Marble & Granite can!). If you are looking for anything other than a classic rounded edge or polished surface, make sure the fabricator is able to do it — and if there are any extra charges involved. When considering all the questions to ask your countertop fabricator, making sure the luxurious touches will be seen to is of utmost importance.

Do You Also Offer Countertop Installation?

There are very disparate skill sets required for the fabrication and installation of countertops. However, the fewer people involved in the process, the better. Suffice it to say, keeping the entire process in-house — with one company — cuts down on the margin for error and results in a higher-quality outcome. Colonial Marble & Granite offers end-to-end fabrication and countertop installation services to ensure a convenient, efficient process for all of our customers.

Is There a Warranty Provided?

When properly maintained and cared for, natural and engineered stone countertops can last for many years. Most fitters provide a long-term warranty on the workmanship involved. It’s best to be certain and get a clear explanation of what will be covered — and for how long.

Sit-Down With an In-House Fabricator

We sat down with our very own Edgar Parada, expert fabricator at Colonial Marble & Granite, who shared a wealth of knowledge pertaining to everything from cutting techniques for natural and engineered stone to industry trends at large:

How long have you been working in the industry, and how did you get involved in countertop fabrication?

I have been working with stone for 23 years. My brother taught me how to polish, fabricate, and cut countertops. Before we fabricated, we did everything by hand; that’s the way we learned. Now, with the new technology, it helps a lot.

What’s your favorite part about the countertop fabrication process?

My favorite is custom jobs; when they want something that no one else can do! Those ones blow my mind.

Can you name some challenges you face?

When you see a stone island, for example, it looks very simple. But, it’s actually a lot of small pieces that come together to look like one. This is the hard part!

What makes your fabrication process different from what other places might do? 

Yeah, we do things that another shop wouldn’t be able to do. Our fabricators build granite cabinets, custom fireplaces, and waterfalls. We do a lot of crazy things!

When merging pieces, how do you create smooth and the seams are perfect?

When the stones come, you may see it’s not shiny, or there are a couple of spots that look dull. That’s how you know the calibration is not perfect. So, we have the machinery to make it smooth and polished, so when you put it together, it’s all even. This is very important. We can touch up a piece after it’s installed if necessary.

Do different stones react differently during the fabrication process?

Marble is soft. When you polish it, it’s going to come in dark. You’ll see spots where water will go through. You can cut it, and the blade goes right through. Granite is harder. Quartzite is like steel; in some, they go in; in others, they don’t go in at all.

Engineered stone is soft, so the dark color is difficult to polish. Remember, this is man-made. If you push too much and don’t use enough water, you can burn it. You can make it look white. You have to use a lot of water and be careful how you polish. 

Do you have a favorite stone to work with?

Granite is my favorite. It’s easy to work with and easy to repair if it’s cracked or has pits. Marble, too, but marble is more delicate.

When you first look at a stone, what do you look for?

Some of the stones, you can see when they’re very strong. You can put your finger on it, and if it’s smooth, it will be easy to work with and process. When you feel a lot of pits, you know you have to use a lot of epoxy to cover them and make everything shiny. To do that takes more time.

How do you ensure the accuracy of measurements?

When the client comes here, they come with measurements just for an estimate. If they want to do their kitchen, we send somebody with a laser template and remeasure. Because sometimes, it’s not perfect. The customers don’t know how much overhang will be sticking out. Sometimes, they come in with cabinet measurements; remember, you have to put the overhang. That’s when measurements change. That’s the reason we send templaters to do the laser template. They take pictures and everything.

What kind of technology do you use for fabrication?

We use a waterjet — BACA, that’s the name — and we have five-axis saws to cut miters joints. We also use CAD for all the machines. With the laser template, they can send it to us, and we can cut it.

What do you think next in terms of fabrication technology for the industry?

The CNCs make everything. 5%, probably, is manual or by hand. So, I think future fabrication technology will involve tools that make the process faster. For example, you make one kitchen countertop in 3 hours. New technology could let you make it in one. It’s about speeding up the process while maintaining quality. 

World-Class Fabrication for Stunning Countertops

When investing in your space, it pays to understand just what’s involved in the process — and when it comes to gorgeous natural and engineered stone, knowing more about its journey from our fabrication facility to your kitchen or bathroom is an integral step in deepening your appreciation for it.

For more information about everything that goes into our breathtaking countertops — including fabrication, installation, and beyond — get in touch with our professionals today!

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