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 you’re 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 of 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 you’re about to trust with your kitchen countertop project. Trust your instincts.