Thursday, June 30, 2011

Like a Rock

As you can see from our last post we replaced the countertops in our kitchen. What a difference it makes. I will never forget when we saw the house for the first time that was one of my biggest complaints about the house – the gross white laminate counters with gashes and knife marks on the surface.

We always knew we wanted granite. I thought for a while that I wanted marble but then quickly realized we are not wealthy – and not in Italy. Maybe someday when we buy an Italian villa I will be able to fill it with marble staircases and floor to ceiling marble, right, in my dreams.
When shopping for granite we did a lot of online research learning all about the benefits and pitfalls of granite.
· Durability - hello its made from rock
· you can put hot pots right on them without damage
· they are nice to look at and easy to clean
· don’t house bacteria like other surfaces
· Expensive
· I am sure there are others but this is really what comes to mind (cha-ching)

First thing we did is measure how much square footage we would need and in our heads set a budget. We’ve never bought granite before so we really only had an idea based on our own calculations and advertised square footage prices. As with all major home improvement projects we wanted to get 3 quotes and go with what we felt was the “best” one; not necessarily the cheapest.

We started at Home Depot just because we were there and figured they would be a good benchmark. They frequently run specials on certain types of granite and price ranges from $39-$50 per square foot. There are of course higher grades of granite but we liked the ones that were less expensive (thank goodness for that). What we did not factor into our budget was installation – which can run more than the granite itself. We had also decided we wanted a 4 inch granite backsplash that would extend up the wall (more square footage).

Next stop was a local granite shop that had an advertisement in the newspaper. They specialize in kitchens and had a wall with samples of about 100 types of granite. Their square footage price ran $50 and up for the types that we liked. I think at this I realized how many different types of granite there were. Thankfully for us we knew what colors and wood tones we were already working with and knew we wanted to get something that coordinated with our yellow walls and that helped narrow down the choices. I highly recommend doing this because there really are hundreds (probably thousands) of different types of granite.

Third and final stop was another local kitchen remodeling granite mecca warehouse. We walked in and they had all these little made up kitchens with granite countertops and sinks with a few staging items thrown in for good measure. We were greeted by a salesman and after we talked about what we wanted he showed us back to their granite yard. I wish I would have taken a picture of this because it was truly incredible to see all these slabs of granite organized by color scheme; which I liked since I could ignore the areas that did not fall into ours. I also recommend this method because you can see what the granite will look like overall and not just on a small sample. Our kitchen isn’t big so we didn’t want the granite to be too “busy”. We asked for the pricing on the two slabs we liked the best and the salesman informed us that one of the slabs was on “special” this week so we took it as a sign that it was the one for us. We also managed to negotiate a new sink to be included and installed with the granite. This was kind of the deal-maker for me since our old sink was all scratched up and I was not a huge fan of the configuration.

We then scheduled for their installation team to come out and measure – they come out with a high-tech machine that digitally measures the countertops and properly calculates them (even if you have an uneven wall which we had).

We also asked them if we could keep the granite that they were going to cut out of the slab for the sink hole. We use it as a cutting board now (and it is heavy) so I put some felt feet on it so I can slide it around the countertops without scratching them.

That granite makes me want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking up a gourmet meal – I’m sure HB appreciates that.

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