I'm told leftover stone from a slab isn't mine--your experience?

needinfo1March 27, 2013

I'm curious if things operate differently in different parts of the country. My fabricator told me that the price I am quoted for a complete job is based on the amount of stone needed (sq. ft.) and the labor to cut and install it. If I buy two slabs, but only actually need the stone from 1 1/2 slabs, the rest of the second slab isn't mine to do with as I please. The fabricators keep the rest and use them in other projects or sell them as remnants. From what I've been able to tell, this seems to be the standard mode of operation around here--Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.

Has anyone else encountered this type of system?

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It depends - if they charged you for the actual square footage used then you don't own the remnants but if they made you pay for 2 full slabs, then you do own the remnants. Even in a given locale, things operate differently. In my case, I went to a one stop shop that included the granite yard and fabricator and I paid per square foot used If the fabricator is separate from the granite yard, then you're actually buying the slabs from the yard and you should own the remnants. What does your contract say?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:44AM
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Fabricators vary. Either situation is normal. I don't think you're getting a deal either way. Most of the cost of our counters is the labor anyway. Mine charged by what I used, which ended up to be most of two slabs. The pieces left wouldn't have been enough to do much else.

Think about what you'll do with a very heavy piece of remnant stone. Store it in your garage? Lay it in the backyard? How will you transport it?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:54AM
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In So Cal, many yards only sell by the whole slab. Typically the client buys as many slabs as needed, but only pays for fabrication of the material put in place, plus any edge detail. Any leftover slab is owners...

This post was edited by ctycdm on Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 9:07

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:04AM
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Also in S. CA. We paid per sq. ft, not by the slab, so no leftovers. Ours was also a one-stop shop.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 2:33AM
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I am a fabricator - from MN.

We do our job costing as you describe. When the fabricator assumes some residual value for the leftover stone from your job it's actually saving you money. If you decide to make additional parts from the leftover stone your total price will go up but your overall price PER SQ. FT. should go down as the waste percentage on your job is decreasing.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:06AM
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In NY all the places I'va worked with charge by the foot- you don't get remnants. Proice per foot doe not change based on size after minimum of 15 ft.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 6:44AM
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What does the fabricator do with all of these partial slabs? Is there actually that big of a market for odds and ends pieces of all different kinds of stone?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 8:58AM
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needinfo1 - I went to a fabricator to get a vanity top and they had dozens of leftover pieces of various sizes outside that they used for making vanity tops. I could choose any of the pieces for the same price. I happened to find a small piece of Cambria that I loved that was exactly the right size to make a top for our 24" powder room vanity. The fabricator said it was left over from a kitchen counter. So he was able to make $260 from an approximately 30" square leftover. This was a special advertised on Angie's List (including a porcelain sink and up to three holes for a faucet) and it seemed like quite a few people were using it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:28AM
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I'm in S. California. If I bought and paid for two slabs, I would certainly expect that anything left over was mine to keep. I bought my slabs at one place and had them fabricated by another. I do have two large pieces of slab left over, and it belongs to me, though it is still sitting at the fabricators while I decide what to do with it. The fabricator only keeps the left over slabs if they are purchased at his establishment, and in that case the client is charged by the foot for materials and installation, and not charged for the entire slabs.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I'm in Oregon. We bought two slabs of quartz and had a lot left over, so we decided to do our vanities. They said they'd store it till we needed it, but they are also letting us chose any of their remnants. We released our remnant and plan to get granite. Be warned, fabricating a remnant isn't cheap.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Also in CA. I paid for 2 slabs for an outdoor kitchen and then hired a fabricator to pick them up and do the work. Remnants were mine and I had the fabricator make 2 tops for an outdoor wrought iron table. He also made me a raised cutting board as a gift.

He is a great guy and will travel quite far from the LA area for larger jobs.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:57AM
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I paid per sq foot of soapstone used. I held back 3 slabs but they only needed 2ish.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:15PM
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I don't understand the question. You clearly stated that you only paid for what you used. Why would you think you own what you didn't pay for?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:17PM
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To answer the question on the remnants--They get used, and are sometimes handed out for free--for vanities, shower thresholds, shower niche shelves, etc. I am doing 2 baths right now. Have found the company/person to do the vanities counters using remnants. And, the niche shelves and shower threshold piece he just gave me. (otherwise, he has to dispose of it... not a lot that can be done with an 8" wide leftover piece of something.)

If I wanted the pieces edged just so, or even polished (which takes TIME) I'd have had to pay. But, just a piece (which my tile guy polished the edge of and cut down to right size) he just handed to me.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:31PM
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One shop that I've spoken to requires me to buy the entire slabs, so even if I need only 39 sf but one slab isn't quite enough, I have to buy an entire 2nd slab (a waste of my money except they charge much less per sf than others); and the leftovers are mine to do as I please with (he suggested selling them on craigslist). But he charges installation at $15 sf only for the actual sf that is being installed.
On the other hand, another told me that I buy only the actual sf that I use, so the remnant is not mine.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:00PM
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What does the fabricator do with all of these partial slabs? Is there actually that big of a market for odds and ends pieces of all different kinds of stone?"

leftover slab pieces ("remnants") generally are saved if they are big enough to make at least a small vanity. Most fab shops have far more remnants than they will ever use as a typical kitchen of 50 - 75 sq. ft. has something like 30% waste and sometimes as high as 45 or 50%.

The surplus of remnants is the primary reason why a fabricator won't give you full value on the left over pieces from your job as he'll be lucky if he eventually recovers 1/3 of the remnant material cost by making a vanity or other smaller part.

There are a few colors like White Carerra Marble, Fusion, and Blue Eyes that are in high enough demand that a fabricator can give you a better allowance for the remnant because he knows it will get used up in short order. In my shop a nice sized remnant of White Carerra usually doesn't last more than a couple weeks. I have other remnants of nice stone that are more than 5 years old.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:43PM
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Also in S Calif. I bought the slabs and what was left over I used to replace the tile on my outside BBQ, plus I have a shelf outside the kitchen bay windows that we use as a pass through to the patio. It is also a great place for potted plants.

When I had to redo some of my granite, due to a smoothtop conventional cooktop (36" semi circle) that was junk in less that 2 years, I was able to buy a remnant at a granite shop and saved a lot of money compared to buying a whole slab.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Hmm, I bought a Dolomya marble, and I bought "the slab". I did receive the remnants, which I paid to have cut into a pastry board.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Hmm, I bought a Dolomya marble, and I bought "the slab". I did receive the remnants, which I paid to have cut into a pastry board.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:44PM
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The yard has a certain price per slab. I pay for the entire slab (through my fabricator) and can't just purchase a half slab, but if there are leftovers they belong to the fabricator.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Needinfo1, what if you chose to use a different fabricator?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:31PM
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jellytoast--oldryder is a fabricator from my area, and he posted above that this is fairly standard practice in my area. I guess I hadn't realized that there are differing ways of doing the stone business in different parts of the country.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:15PM
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Yes, but I was referring to independent contractors there who do granite fabrications without actually owning a slab yard. If you used one of them, you could keep your extra slab pieces. Frankly, I really don't understand this practice, even if it is common among supply yards in your area. I would be tempted to ask them Catbuilder's question, "Why would you think you owned what you didn't pay for?", with a small change ... "Why would you think you owned what you just sold to me?" I am asuming you are paying a separate charge for fabrication, yes? If that's the case, then you are just gifting them with your left over slab. With my installation, the left over pieces were quite large, enough for a fireplace, or even a backyard barbeque area. I wouldn't be happy if I just had to give that away to my fabricator.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:50AM
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How does one know if he/she is paying for the whole slab or not? Stone yards in this part of the Midwest will not quote the price of the slab to a customer who selects a slab...fabricatators quote an installed price after the stone yard reveals the wholesale price to them.

I was quoted $3'500-$4000 for a 78 inch long, 2 sink vanity made from Imperial Danby marble; the piece needed to be freighted in 120 miles from a stone wholesaler, and the fabricator keeps the rest of the slab. Based on the price referenced on this site from others for Imperial Danby marble installed, I find the quote excessive and suspect I am paying for the whole slab. However, there is no way to determine that in an area serviced by one fabrication shop.

I would prefer to know the price of the slab separately from the fabrication price the way many GWers purchase their counters.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Interesting this topic just came up again since I am the OP, and I too live in the Midwest. And, I just used the same fabricator I'd used for my kitchen for a vanity top.

I know there was leftover Carrera marble from the slab I bought for my kitchen counter, but of course it was the fabricator's not mine. Now I just had a small 45" vanity top made of Carrera and contacted the same fabricator about a remnant. My quote was for the finished top only, and they told me they were giving me the remnant for free. Whether the stone was free was because I was a prior customer I don't know. For all I know it could have been left from my kitchen project. I can't figure out the system at all.

Ranton--I have to say that price quote sounds awfully high to me too unless Imperial Danby is extremely pricey stone.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 6:17PM
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If you find the quote excessive, don't buy it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 9:06PM
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I didn't!

I understand that Imperial Danby is more expensive than Carrara marble and also understand that cutting a vanity top from a slab is the most expensive way to purchase a vanity. Because I have no way of finding out what a slab price is, I have no way of determining if the quoted price is a fair one. That is why I prefer the method of doing business that other GWers cite: buy the stone-then find and pay for fabrication. The breakdown on costs are very clear and upfront. While I am more than willing to pay a craftsman for time, skill, effort, and expertise, I am unwilling to be a guppy consumer. There is no competition here; and this fabricator certainly does not give remnants free...quote "Rock is rock."

There are no marble remnants in my area...not one in 4 months. So I am exploring other options for a marble top from fabricators 90-180 mikes away who will service my area. It is the only way I can confirm a "fair" price.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 10:28PM
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The place near me also considers remnants to be as good stone as slabs. No discounts. Certainly understandable there's no real reason to discount unless or until they just need to get them out of the way.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Snookums - or unless they've already been paid for that slab by a previous customer. That's my only objection, that sometimes they get paid twice for the same stone. Around here, where no one keeps their remnants, the prices vary from free to a modest SPF price, to full price for the remnants depending on the fabricator.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Well, you know I wouldn't agree to double dipping ;) My thought on the leftover material was that the pricing quoted to the customer reflects the job as a whole, including whether remnants are kept by the customer or they can sell them. Obviously, we see it is not safe to assume we purchase/own all the material and not just the amount required for the job when we select our slabs and/or receive a price for fabrication. It should be spelled out beforehand rather than a shop assuming the customer wouldn't want the leftover material though. But I'm guessing the price would likely change if they do want them. It's all part of the deal how and where they can make their money on the job.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Most of the cost of any of the project is labor. Not materials. The typical basic granite slab costs $400-$900.

For an exotic, where the slab actually might have some value, anything is possible. Just don't expect to have your cake and eat it too. If you buy a $1500 or up slab, and won't be using all of it, better think out where you're going to store the rest of it and at what cost. In most cases the storage fees for them keeping those remnants or tranportation fees for bringing them to your house to smash your toes and store will outweigh any residual material costs of the slab.

Just the labor for that vanity project would be $1500-$2000. The more exotic the stone, the higher the fabrication costs. Add in the shipping upcharge, and the cost of the stone itself, and I don't find a $3500 quote shocking for an exotic like Danby in a remote location. An urban location with frequent shippings and a volume purchase by a fabricator could get the cost down. But there is a price to be paid for wanting something outside the local norm and living a good distance from those supplying it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 12:01PM
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I don't think keeping $200-$450 for half of a typical granite is any better than $$$$ of an exotic one, IF the customer actually owns the whole stone. It's still a lot of money. Some people just want to make cutting boards or a small vanity or table top. Don't see how that's wanting to have and eat your cake too. It should be made clear at the outset what happens to the remnants, what exactly people are paying for. Because, of course, if a customer buys a slab, they are going to be under the assumption they have bought and own the whole slab. Only reading online would clue you in otherwise, and most people aren't internet junkies that way, nor should they have to be. If shops don't want people to feel ripped off wondering what happened to all that excess material they spent a lot of money on, they should discuss remnants and how they priced the job up front, not just assume whatever is left over is theirs to keep.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Same goes for the customer. They shouldn't assume that they own the leftovers. Or that leftovers will be kept at the fabricators months on end without incurring some charge. Or that someone will bring a large and dangerous heavy piece of stone to their house free of charge.

Again, those charges quicky eat up the value of a standard granite, even if they actually own those leftovers. If they don't have a specific purpose and timeframe for the leftovers, even exotics, keeping them is of absolutely no use to them. It amounts to hoarding tinfoil because it "might" be useful one day. Try looking onine for those that did keep those remnants and the gradual reduction in price for what they want for it, and what they end up pricing it. And then just end up donating it to H4H.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 1:04PM
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As Jakuvall said in WNY granite yards and fabricators are one and the same. You pay for what you need per sqft. not by the slab. So of course the yard keeps the leftovers. They then offer good deals if your job can use up one of these remnants.

edited for spelling

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Sat, Dec 6, 14 at 13:50

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Of course if someone buys a slab of stone they are going to think they bought a slab of stone. Common sense. I don't see or know people assuming they can store leftover material at a shop's warehouse (for free) or they are demanding (free) delivery of a large heavy remnant.

All remnants are not large or unmanageable and some, say for a vanity or small table top, could just be loaded in someone's truck and stored at their house. It's really up to the customer if they have, in fact, paid for a whole slab. Someone here had a series of cutting boards made. I am willing to bet they expected to (pay) for it. And maybe they want the leftovers for their beauty, not their decreasing monetary value, so incurring a delivery charge for larger pieces is a nonissue. Whether the apparently cheap and ignorant customer ever uses it or not is really not anyone else's business.

If the shop prices based on keeping leftover material, that should be disclosed so there is no confusion and people are on the same page who owns what and what the options are otherwise.

There is really nothing unusual or demanding about such expectations and communication. It should be understood and in writing as a business' s SOP. People buy a slab ... they think it's theirs unless told otherwise. Fair enough assumption, imo.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Cutting boards out of stone only ruin your knives. And cost a couple of hundred dollars to have done. For something too heavy to haul in and out on a regular basis.

Unless there is a substantially sized piece leftover that you want to do a future fireplace or vanity with, it's not worth the hassle of keeping any of the scraps. You can't store them flat and out of the way. They need to be stored on edge, and stabilized. Most people don't end up doing anything with them at all.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 2:55PM
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Thank you for the info on slab prices; it was what I suspected but had no way of finding out.

I traveled 90 miles today to visit a yard/fabricator who says he is in my area a few times a month; each slab was priced per square foot of stone. This is the kind of pricing arrangement I was hoping to find; I am waiting for a fabrication and installation quote; this should help me decide if the more local quote was a fair one.

Since my entire kitchen with a small island was quoted at $6,000 for fabrication of one slab of Level 4 quartzite (it too needed to be shipped in) which I was told is more expensive to fabricate than granite, I was surprised that 14 sq. feet of the same price level marble ended up being more than half the price of the kitchen. There would be a very large remnant of Imperial Danby marble left; nothing significant would be left of the kitchen quartzite. Is marble more difficult to fabricate than quartzite?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2014 at 6:46PM
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