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Discussion Starter #1
Finally got hooked up with an excellent solid surface counters fabrication/installation company good enough to sub solid surface counter work to and feel confident they will treat the customers as well as I would personally and do as good a job on the installations as I would do myself.

I have an Avonite kit and a Corian sales kit, but I need something in regard to granite. If you are selling granite slabs on a regular basis what tricks and tips can you share? I really want more than a picture of the different styles of edges, thicknesses and corner treatments to really do this right, but it seems like I'm the only guy my rep has ever heard this from.

I am considering maybe having them make up for me a few 12x12 inch slabs with each edge having a different edge treatment and different corners and such so the customer can really get a good idea of what a 3/8 Roman Ogee looks like compared to a full bullnose. What do you think?
 

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Sounds like some heavy samples. Do you work from a storefront?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
No. Maybe make them smaller if necessary. I can't imagine needed more than 3 at the most to cover just about everything. I'm not so much interested in showing colors or slab selection as the process is to send them to a huge indoor granite slab wholesaler as part of the process where they can view everything and touch and smell it first hand. I'm really just interested in edge and corner details and being able for the customer to see what a 3cm slab and a laminated 4cm edge actually looks like.
 

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Small samples of edge treatments is really all you need.
I will do $60,000 or so a year in granite, and that's the kinf of samples I have.

6 inches deep and 6 inches wide is all you really need to show from. The power will be in the slab itself...THATS where the real decision will be.
 

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I like granite. But what I don't understand is when you see it on home improvement shows they always take the customer out to the place that has the big slabs to choose from meaning the place where they store and fabricate the big slabs in to countertops and back splashes. I have never seen any places like that around me. I definately think granite is the way to go if you can afford it. :Thumbs: I seen on one home improvement show they went with a granite tile counter top I thought it turned out awesome and it was substancially cheaper because it wasn't a big slap on granite.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
747 said:
I like granite. But what I don't understand is when you see it on home improvement shows they always take the customer out to the place that has the big slabs to choose from meaning the place where they store and fabricate the big slabs in to countertops and back splashes. I have never seen any places like that around me. I definately think granite is the way to go if you can afford it. :Thumbs: I seen on one home improvement show they went with a granite tile counter top I thought it turned out awesome and it was substancially cheaper because it wasn't a big slap on granite.
We definitly have those slab sellers around here, lots and lots of them. There are so many of them that usually the slab sellers don't do any fabrications and the fabricators don't sell any slabs.

I can spend hours looking at some of those rare slabs with really unique colors and patterns.

I heard from the granite guys that the granite market here has become so saturated that the money isn't anywhere near as good as it was a while back, so we may have more than usual. We also have a place that specializes in only marble now, which is nice.

Granite tile is way cheaper than slab out here. Slab will cost a minimum of $50 sq ft, and granite tile will be about $25 sq ft. Biggest objection is the grout lines with the tile, the wives don't want any grout lines to clean, second biggest is they all want a undermount sink which is pretty standard with granite slab but certainly not with granite tile.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Florcraft said:
Small samples of edge treatments is really all you need.
I will do $60,000 or so a year in granite, and that's the kinf of samples I have.

6 inches deep and 6 inches wide is all you really need to show from. The power will be in the slab itself...THATS where the real decision will be.
What do you find to be the most popular up there? 3cm or 4cm? or something else?

Do you guys also sell quartz based slabs too? Silestone seems to own the market here when it comes to quartz.
 

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Mike Finley said:
What do you find to be the most popular up there? 3cm or 4cm? or something else?

Do you guys also sell quartz based slabs too? Silestone seems to own the market here when it comes to quartz.
I've seen some samples that were just 2" sections of the bullnose and they seem to work pretty well.
 

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I am not a granite fabricator, but as a lifelong stone worker with a geology background I'd like to put my 2 cents in here. Hope you all don't mind. Dealing with natural stone is not at all like the solid surface, or engineered stone products. First of all, most of the stones marketed as granite are not even close to being granite. Same goes with marble, slate and others. The important thing if one wants to start selling natural stone is to learn about stone. Too many people are shopping for a "color" and don't have any idea if the stone they select is suitable for the intended purpose. Then there is the philosophy that putting on enough sealer will magically prevent any problems. Problem is that some stone is so impervious it cannot possible absorb a sealer, thus the sealer drys on the stone surface and becomes the sourse of problems itself.
What with new quarrying techniques, transportation networks, epoxy and resin bonding, there is a lot of stone coming into the the market that would never have made it out of the hole 50 years ago. Some are good stones for kitchens, some not so good, and some are absolute crap. However, they might look spectacular, and if you are selling , or buying, based only on looks, bad results can and do happen.
So if you want to get into the stone selling business, don't worry so much about available edge treatments---worry about learning all you can about the thousands of natural stones on the market today, and what their varying characteristics are. As a good friend of mine likes to say, Education before the sale.

JVC
 

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John,
Nice stuff. Can you can recommend a book for a brief down and dirty look at the info. BTW, ball park only low bias lions face 12" X 12", $ ?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
JVC, thanks for the info. I have heard much of that also, in regard to granite not being real granite and such and the differences in hardness. Around here the grades seem to be all about rarity. With the cheapest grades being the most available and most consistant stone, and the most expensive grades being the rarer and hardest to get in quanity and useable conditions. Do you think hardness plays a factor in the price of the stone? I've never heard that being the case, but I don't have the back ground you do. I have read about the lemon test and such things in regard to testing slabs, don'
t know how relevant it really is.

If all I did was specialize in granite counters I would certainly be able to afford to become an expert in it, unfortunately it's just one small percentage of a vast amount of stuff I am involved in so I will have to rely on my stone rep for education and fielding specific questions while I pick it up along the way.

"Too many people are shopping for a "color" and don't have any idea if the stone they select is suitable for the intended purpose." - I find that to be true of almost everything aspect in remodeling.
 

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We have lots of people and their designers specifying limestone and marble kitchen countertops. One customer had us install SOAPSTONE in the kitchen.

We have a long discusion about using the wrong stone in the wrong places, and then they sign a waiver to get what they want.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Marble for the entire counter? Geez the designers must not actually think the customer intends to actually use the kitchen. I have heard of it being used specifically on a small kitchen counter that is intended for baking needs but never through out.
 

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Actually, soapstone aside from being soft is a pretty good kitchen counter material. It's been used for years in chemistry labs for work surfaces--basically 100% impervious, and non reactive with just about everything. Down side is that it scratches easily (do not use as a cutting board) up side the scratches sand out easily, or disappear if some mineral oil (the traditional surface treatment for soapstone) is rubbed on it.
Limestone, marble or any other calcite based stone should not be in the kitchen if one expects it to stay nice and shiney new for any period of time. All calcitic stones react with acids (and the kitchen is full of them) and the result of that reaction is an etch mark--commonly called a water stain. The acid actually eats at the stone a bit, and depending on the substance and how long the spill sits on the stone, the damage can be extensive. However, people around the Mediteranian have been using marble for kitchen work surfaces for centuries. The etching (common) and staining (less common) become part of the stones history, rather like a well worn pair of jeans. Of course, in those cultures, stone is not polished to begin with. So a honed carrerra marble work surface is entirely viable for the right temperment client. I have carved bathroom sinks out of cubic Texas limestone, which is something I would not have in my own home, but the clients that I carve them for love them, and the tub surrounds and vanity tops all out of the same stone. So basically, the true stone professional knows what the pluses and minuses are for the different stones and inform their clients as to those characteristics. That is the only way a consumer can make an educated choice, and know what to expect from the stone they decide to adopt.
JVC
 

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I have found that stone surfaces sell themselves. It's often one of the few decisions that a potential customer has made and it decides the rest of the room.
To comment on 2 subjects at once; I recently had a customer that had fallen in love with a jade marble countertop, nothing else would do. Upside is that no one in the house cooked and this was just meant to be a showpiece/bar/recreational area. The downside was that the halogen under-cabinet lighting was going to throw a green-blue cast in the reflective light.
In cases like this, you have to be very careful with your color choices in the rest of the room, especially backsplashes and paint that are very close to the top. Light colored cabinetry and appliances will also show a greenish cast.
Just a word to the wise.
P.S. I knew about the reflective lighting and called in an Interior Designer before I got in over my head, money very well spent.
 

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they use

I can't count how many times I seen them go with soap stone on a this old house project. I was going to ask you guys what the story is on quartz countertops meaning is that more expensive than granite. I agree with teetor when a customer sees a beautiful slab of granite it will sell it self. :)
 

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It is basic human nature to look down first. When you step into a home for the first time, you check the height of the step so that you don't trip and fall. The eye registers the entry and sets your brain for what is to come. Most people keep track of where the rugs start/stop, where furniture is located and looking up is a secondary function. Unless you're ol#2, who walks through in total amazement, knocking over the Tang Dynasty vases along the way.
As you enter the kitchen, the countertop is below eyelevel and, most often, the first thing seen. Some of my more dramatic furniture has caused people to walk into the countertops regardless of what they are.
 

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jvcstone,
A local stone refinisher has found a home in the resort area we are building in, due to the stone choices made by decorators after looks, not function.

The tops DO look good though, and since the owners are only here for 2-4 weeks a year, they get to stay nice.

I really try to divorce myself from these decisions and give the customer what he/she wants, after our disclaimer is signed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
747 said:
I was going to ask you guys what the story is on quartz countertops meaning is that more expensive than granite. I agree with teetor when a customer sees a beautiful slab of granite it will sell it self. :)
Out here quartz and granite start off about the same in price and follow each other up the price scale hand in hand but then granite eventually keeps going and going in price, I have seen granite at $180 sq foot but never quartz even getting close.

The reason for that is granite is natural and the highest priced pieces are the most rare, with the prettiest patterns and most exotic colors, where as quartz is man made and uniform in pattern (at least currently).

If they ever get quartz to mimic the higher end and highest end granite slabs I would think that granite would disappear from the market since quartz is superior in every way but artistically.
 
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