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Thread: Granite Countertops...

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Irvo's Avatar
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    Default Granite Countertops...

    Greetings folks, what are the pros and cons of using pre-fabrication vs regular slab/fabrication?

    I've noticed pre-fab is WAAAAAY cheaper, why is that?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A good installer will match slabs, when necessary, and account for unsquare walls, plus, custom finish the edges and sink holes, etc to your needs and desires. Plus, you generally get to pick out the slab(s) you prefer from a huge variety of stone. Most custom stuff is 3Cm thick. This can be critical when you need more than one piece, but not so much if you can do it with one.

    The off-the-shelf stuff often is thinner at 2Cm, which requires a bit more support, is often only available in a few stone types, and you may not have the option of a sink hole, or if you do, it will be for a specific sink, and you may not like the sink. Fabricating a sink hole on-site is possible, but expensive and subject to cracking the slab. Often, you end up with a drop-in sink verses an under-mount, since it is really hard to fabricate proper anchoring for an under-mount in the field. Matched pieces and joints are difficult with the pre-fabbed stuff, if you need to turn a corner or use more than one slab. Cutting a piece in the field can be done, but it won't look good if you need to have a finished edge on it unless you have specialized tools, and some skill.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Even a "prefab" has to be custom cut for your dimensions and sink size and location. That is, unless you intend to move the sink to where they put the opening and also move walls to fit some predetermined size. Once you have the countertop, then YOU would install the prefab, and that is when errors, and damages, can occur.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Irvo's Avatar
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    Would you folks use them on your homes?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    In any natural product, there are potential huge variations. WHen you go custom, you get to control many of those. Off-the-shelf, you get what you get. Also, shipping any stone product can be risky. Some types of stone are very consistent, and there is little change from sample to sample. The pre-fabed stuff tends to be that. If I could look at it before I bought it, and liked it, AND it fit what I needed, then maybe as the price can be quite good. But, often the compromises tend to be bigger than I'd want to put up with.

    On smaller projects, I've had really good luck with my stone fabricator in picking up end pieces or remnants, but my needs have been small, so that worked out. Big savings on material costs. Edge finishing still is costly, depending on profile chosen, though. Prep for an undermount sink runs in the order of $3-400, which is often more than the material costs. And a fancy ogee edge could be $10/inch. The prefabed stuff may also not have the quality of finish polish or it may have pull-outs or voids filled. Some actually dye the material, and that can wash out, so what you see is not always what you'll get done the road a bit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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