So, you’re looking to update your kitchen and are considering what type of Natural Stone or Quartz countertop to choose. What’s the first step? Well, it mostly depends upon which factors are going to drive your decision. When working with customers in our showroom, it’s important for me to understand what interests them so I can point them in the right direction and make the best use of their time. Factors like price, material type, sustainability, functionality, color, maintenance, warranty, quality and delivery time can weigh heavily on the decision making process. Some folks are flexible on price if it means getting the look they want, while others are working within a firm price range and only want to see options that will fit the budget. I know that I like to be informed about a product before making a decision, so let’s start with material options and pricing, then we’ll move onto quality and other considerations.
It seems that there are a dizzying array of material types to choose from, but really, there are two primary categories that account for over 90% of our sales: Granite and Quartz surfaces. The attributes of each are described below.
Granite Kitchen Countertop
- A natural stone that is quarried all over the world.
- Scratch and stain resistant, but must be sealed annually to prevent oil staining.
- Sealing granite is an easy spray and wipe process that does not require a pro.
- Highly heat resistant, does not burn or discolor when exposed to heat.
- Granite is extremely durable and, with normal use, will easily outlive your house!
- Granite’s surface is available polished, honed (matte) and textured.
- Granite is normally repairable by a fabricator in the event of a chip, scratch or stain.
- Warranty: Rumford Stone offers a limited lifetime warranty, but in general, the warranty for granite countertops is limited to what each individual fabricator or retailer offers.
- Be sure to inquire about the warranty when purchasing a stone countertop.
- Price: Granite, depending upon the color selected, can be the least expensive option. However, granite pricing varies widely and some colors can reach the highest price ranges.
- Quartz is an expertly manufactured high performance countertop surface that is comprised of 93% natural quartz and 7% resin.
- Quartz brands are manufactured by a variety of companies from the United States, Europe and Asia.
- Quartz is scratch and stain resistant.
- Quartz does not require sealing, ever.
- Quartz is the lowest maintenance countertop surface we offer.
- Quartz surface is primarily available polished. Some manufacturers offer a matte type finish on a few select colors.
- Quartz is not as easily repairable as natural stone. However, due to its inherent durability and stain resistance, home owner damage requiring repair is rare.
- Warranty: Each Quartz manufacturer offers a warranty, the terms of which can vary widely, so be sure to inquire with your retailer and visit the manufacturer’s website to view their warranty information.
- Price: Quartz is affordable, although it is not as low priced as the least expensive granites can be. The price does vary depending upon the manufacturer and color selected.
In addition to Granite and Quartz, there are other materials to consider as well, please visit our website for more options.
The Most Important Thing
Now that you have some information regarding material choices, we need to talk about what is truly the most important factor in your decision: Quality. Consider this, if you purchased a beautiful diamond to have placed into a custom made setting, would you go to the local mall jewelry store and hand your precious stone over to the 20 year old behind the counter because they were running a special? Or, would you take it to a local jeweler who has been in business for years and has a great reputation and spend a little more? The choice seems obvious, but people spend thousands of dollars on stone tops, only to have them made and installed by subpar fabricators offering cheap deals on the internet.
Highly skilled tradespeople are required to successfully measure, fabricate and install your countertops. Regardless of the price of the material you select, it’s the workmanship of the fabricator’s staff that will determine if your job will look “fantastic for years” or like you “got what you paid for”. Quality workmanship is what your paying for and should be a paramount concern regardless of the price you pay. This is where the lasting real “value” behind your purchase comes into play. How can you possibly know whether or not your fabricator is going to deliver a quality product before you buy? Consider the following before you hand over your 50% deposit:
- Visit their shop and showroom. Is the staff professional and presentable? Is the facility clean, organized, safe?
- Look at their proposal? Is the pricing scribbled on a piece of paper or is it presented as a typed, professional looking quotation?
- Take 20-30 minutes and check them out online. Go to BBB Online, Angie’s, Houzz,Yelp, etc. and objectively read reviews and feedback from a variety of internet sources. No one is perfect and stone countertop installations can and do go wrong. If they have complaints, do they address them professionally and resolve the issues? Is there a lot if negative internet chatter? Ask the fabricator about any issues you’ve read about.
- Do they have a written warranty that you can look at before you buy?
- Do they have general liability and workers compensation insurance for their installers? Ask for an insurance certificate. If they aren’t insured, your homeowner’s insurance may be on the hook if one of their employees is injured onsite. You’d be surprised how many undocumented, uninsured and under-the-table folks are out there installing countertops.
- Ask for 4-5 referrals of customers who have had installations in the last 2-4 weeks.
- Ask about turnaround times and how they handle service issues.
Taking a few of these steps will help to form a picture in your mind of the type of business your about to trust with your kitchen countertop project. Trust your instincts.
Why Use Rumford Stone?
We’d love to do your work! Below are some points that I feel separate us from the other providers in our market. If we can be of service, please visit our website and/or our showroom in Pembroke, NH.
- We’ve been in business for over 20 years.
- Owners are 4th generation in the stone industry.
- Lifetime Warranty.
- Quality work and excellent service are our priority.
- We’re fully insured.
- Our staff is trained and authorized by our family before working in your home.
- All our field personnel have passed criminal background checks. If we won’t let them in our house, we won’t let them in yours.
- We source our material from the best industry sources and offer a full range of Natural Stone and Quartz surface options.
- We will assign a customer service rep to your job, start to finish, so you’ll have a single point of contact.