Granite quote - 2 cm vs. 3 cm granite

snowyshastaApril 3, 2008

We've just gotten a quote for our kitchen granite. There are two options listed, one is for 3 cm slabs, the other is for 2 cm slabs plus "Laminated Edge for 2 cm Material - Quarter Round - P (5/16'' radius top edge & 1/8'' bevel bottom edge)"

Can anyone help me interpret this? The 3 cm slab quote is about 25% more than the 2 cm plus laminated edge quote. I know I've read that 3 cm is more desirable, but I don't really know why. Is it worth the extra cost? What are the benefits?

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The 3 cm slab won't require putting a layer of plywood underneath it and won't require a laminated edge to cover up the plywood - generally 3 cm is available on the east coast and 2 cm on the west coast but it sounds like you have the option for either. Does their price include the plywood or do you have to get your GC to do that? That will add to the price.

I don't know about the difference in price - I have 3 cm granite on my counter - the place where I got it said they could do a 2 cm backsplash from the same granite for me - they said the price per sq. ft. would be the same. I ended up going with granite tiles instead. Pricing obvious varies from place to place.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:39PM
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Interesting, thanks. We're on the West Coast (Portland) but both are available, although from different granite yards. I believe the 2 cm quote includes plywood but not positive.

Anyone have pictures or experience with how the laminated edge looks to cover the plywood? Is it something we'd notice? Or is the 3 cm going to be stronger, or plywood a downside for other reasons?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:00PM
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This is what our granite installers (and a few others) told us:

If you have brand new cabinets and can afford it, go with the 3 cm granite.

If you are installing on top of pre-existing cabinets, go with the 2 cm granite. reason being that the plywood layer will create the level surface needed and the 2 cm granite will be more forgiving of older cabinets' imperfections.

We installed 2 cm on top of our pre-existing (original to the 30 year old house) cabinets. In part because of the above and in part because the granite we chose only came in 2 cm. Our edge is a full bullnose. You can see the seam in some places but it's not obvious.

Here's what it looks like from the side (this is/will be a non-exposed edge):

This is the front view of the edge:

Here's the underside of our overhang part. You can see the plywood and granite construction:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:18PM
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I have 3cm and my sister in Indiana has 2cm (laminated). I really like hers better in some's thicker and chunkier and looks more substantial. Her seams are barely noticeable. She never even noticed until I pointed it out to her. I'm her KD sister, of course!


    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:33PM
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I think both are fine and in use there isn't any significant difference. BTW, two friends of mine got 2 cm without the laminated edge - the edge is 2 cm thick instead of 4 and I like the lighter look. Many consider that to be a more contemporary/modern look. My DH had a strong preference for the laminated edge and I had only a mild preference for the thinner look so we have the lamination.

Something I like about having gone with the 2 cm is that the plywood underlay continues under the eating overhang on our island (like in the picture pbrisjar posted) with metal bars inset into the plywood so we can have an overhang with no corbels or legs to support it. There is just the hidden support from the plywood and metal bars.

If you can find slabs you like in either, go with the 2 cm and save the 25% unless the seam at the lamination is going to bother you. If the granite you prefer is only in one of the thicknesses (ore you prefer the slabs in one of the thicknesses) and the price works for you, then go with the slabs you prefer.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:44PM
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You are making this difficult :-) We will have new cabinets, so that would maybe say 3 cm. And we could afford it, I'd love to spend less but the difference could be handled. But if I'm not going to notice it, then maybe the 2 cm would be fine. I would definitely want the lamination, I'm not into contemporary. I guess it's a question of whether or not I'd notice the seams. Probably not, but then again you never know what you'll notice.

Maybe the right answer is to see the available slabs at each yard and decide which we like better. Although we have a big kitchen space and will need 5 slabs, so we probably won't find that many perfect ones, anyway, at either place.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 1:21AM
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A lot depends on the granite and the fabricator's skill. Using a 2 cm granite with a lot of movement, it will be difficult for the fabricator to seam the edge and have it not be noticeable.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:25AM
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We had 2 cm in a past home without a laminated edge and I felt it was too thin. We now have 3 cm and I am very happy with it. I have no experience with 2 cm laminated edge -but my only question would be can the laminate peel and chip over time? I had laminate in this house before we replaced with our current granite and one of the things I hated was that the corners were starting to chip and peel and the house is only 5 years old.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:30AM
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cpang, laminate in this case doesn't mean a plastic laminate. What we are talking about is a strip of granite epoxied to the edge of the counter so that the edge is double the thickness of the granite as in pbrisjar's pictures above.

snowyshasta, our slabs were in a set of about 10 to 12 that were book matched (cut from the same block of rock and polished on alternating sides) - each of the slabs looks pretty similar to the others except that alternating slabs are mirror image. If you find one you like, you will often find 5 that you like if you are lucky enough to find the set before a lot of other people have bought a few each.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:24AM
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Using an ogee detail on the double layer edge can hide the seam nicely because it gets lost in the shadow lines. But as mentioned, if the granite has a non-uniform pattern you'll notice it anyway.

When we were talking to granite shops I liked the 3cm better partly because you get the same edge exposure at the sink cutout, and mainly because the guy suggesting 2cm was just frighteningly stupid. I do like 2cm better for backsplash tho, 3cm seems a bit chunky.

- Don

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:02AM
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We have a granite with a lot of movement. The laminations were generally made from a strip of granite next to the counter piece on the slab and folded underneath so the grain matches. I don't have many close-ups of the seams but here is one:

And the same area a bit less zoomed in:

Laminated edge turning a corner:\

Since we have a deep sink, I like that the granite at the sink is just 2 cm - I don't want the reach to the bottom of the sink to be another cm longer. Here is what it looks like (there is also a seam front to back in the granite within a couple of inches left of the divide between the sink bowls- it is easier to see to the left of the faucet because there is a color shift in the granite - and a seam horizontally on the window sill to make it thick enough to meet the counter):

We only found this granite (which geologically is really quartzite) in 2 cm and felt really lucky to find slabs big enough to do our island without a seam.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I'd go w/ a 3 me it has more of a stone look than a 2. We did that in the master bath and plan to continue it through the house.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 12:27PM
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Thanks for the pictures. I am in a bit of a quandary, but then just now our contractor sent us the bid they got from another granite company. This one only has 2 cm available, but it's much cheaper!

The original quote was $9700 for installation/templating, plus either $15,200 (total ~$25 k)for the 3 cm slabs or $12,200 (total ~$22k) for the 2 cm slabs plus laminate. So the 3 cm is about 25% more from this company. The new quote is for $14,023 for installation and 2 cm slabs, so $8000 less than the previous 2 cm quote!

I'll have to talk to the GC more to be sure we're not missing something, but if it's really the same product and quality of install for that much less, the 2 cm seems worth it. Our granite (Blue Eyes) doesn't have that much movement in it, so I don't think matching the laminate strip would be a huge issue.

We've also gotten quotes for granite for the master bath (Costa Esmerelda), but that one is apparently only available in the 2 cm version. Again this second place is significantly less expensive, though.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:20PM
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Oh, I forgot that I also meant to ask - is there any difference in what's possible for the edge with either 2 cm or 3 cm? The quotes are for bullnose, which I think is the simplest/most common. DH likes the idea of something a little different, we'll see. But is there any limitation on what you can do with the laminate 2 cm vs. the 3 cm in terms of edge choices?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:24PM
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How many sq. ft. of granite are you getting? That's a huge amount!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Hi Snowyshasta...OTM in Portland and Pental had the 3m Costa Esmeralda. I have a bid for my counter and full backsplash with ogee edge for approximately $15,000. I've less than 100 sq.feet. I don't have my paperwork in front of me, but I think there is an option for many other edges.

At my last home, I used 2 cm and my fabricators did a beautiful I think you will be happy with either.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:13PM
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WOW!, I don't feel so bad now. I got 2 cm Crema Bordeaux - 2 slabs plus 1 on hold. Material cost me $2228 and fab + install is $4200 and I'm getting ogee straight edge all around. I'm in San Jose, CA (and I went with the higher bidder - the other two were about $500 - $800 less for fab & install)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Hi again...I just looked at my bids and they were less than I thought. For 3cmm Costa with ogee edge the bid was $12,928 ($147.56 per sq. ft) and the 2 cm was $9,490 ($101.97 per sq. foot).

The edge details offered for 3 cm are: Price Group A (Bullnose), Price Group B (T-Profile, PE Profile and M Profile), Price Group C (Top Radius and Ogee) and Price Group D (Flat edge and beveled).

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Hi Suzie - we're in SJ also - we're probably neighbors!

We've just begun our search for granite - would you send me an email and recommend a few places we should check out?

I'm seam-shy so I'm hoping for a 3cm larger slab - 10 x 6 ft
not asking for too much huh ;-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Have you chosen a granite type that the kitchen quote was based on? Are the prices for slabs in the first quote an allowance that you might go under or over and the quote is adjusted once you choose your granite? (That is the way our first quote was - the slab price was just an example.)

12,200 for five 2 cm slabs for normal granites is high compared to what prices were when we bought almost 2 years ago (though maybe with the weak dollar and high fuel costs prices have gone up a lot - I haven't been watching). That works out to about 2500 per slab. Our blue ones did cost more than that, but most blues are quite expensive and our slabs were good sized too. A lot of the more usual granites were running 20 to 30 per square foot.

If the quote was Laminated Edge for 2 cm Material - Quarter Round - P (5/16'' radius top edge & 1/8'' bevel bottom edge), that sounds like a half bullnose - rounded top and the bottom squared off except for a little bevel - it is a nice edge that keeps drips off the counter farther from the cabinets than the full bullnose. We have the full one and it isn't a big problem because we don't spill that often but when there is a spill, surface tension often leads it around the curve of the bullnose and onto the drawer fronts below.

Some companies that provide granite for lower cost, can do so because they use the stone more frugally - sometimes a kitchen can be done with fewer seams and/or better pattern matching but more wasted bits of stone or more seams/less match with the pieces out to use the slabs as efficiently as possible. That is something to discuss with each company. (Note, we did manage a layout with minimum seams and good matches that used the stone quite efficiently so that doesn't always take more stone.)

Can you see the work that each of them does?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:41PM
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cloud swift..what is quartzite? Is it granite or?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:00PM
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I saw in a picture of a kitchen that had 2cm granite, but instead of a laminated edge, it had a beautiful piece of dark stained molding running under it which tied in with the knobs and crown molding (the granite was black and the cabinets painted white). Unfortunately, I don't have the mag now or I'd post the pic but I liked it so much, that I think I going to do it just for the look. The kitchen was victorian style, but it could probably work with other styles as well.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:22PM
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We have somewhere around 140 sf of granite in the kitchen; big kitchen with big island plus a buffet separating kitchen and family room. So the $14k price from the second place is about $100/sf (for both material and install). This is a quote for the exact type of granite we chose - we went to yards to look at various slabs and chose the Blue Eyes as the one we liked the look of best. Then our GC sent out the dimensions of our requirements to the two shops for quotes for our specific requirements. From what I have seen/read the Blue Eyes is on the expensive side, it reads more as a gray with blue highlights than blue, but it does have the blue which I guess adds to the expense. But DH is in love with it...

The Costa Esmerelda slabs are cheaper - $8500 installed for 4 slabs. I think we're about 110 sf there (quote includes slab granite for shower walls in addition to counter and tub) so about $77 per square foot.

I think what we've chosen is on the more expensive side for granite; funny how it seems to work out that way. Original allowances from our contractor were $10k for kitchen and $4k for bath, so we're over that (bath one was for granite countertop and tile shower, but I'm really leaning towards the granite for both and no grout!)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 12:35AM
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to remodell959...
I'd love to share what I've learned so far...but I can't find you email address on here anywhere.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 12:18PM
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Suzieca - Haven't tried it before, but I think I can go to the "My Page" link in your post and find a link to email you from. I'll give it a shot.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 6:49PM
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Suzieca had some great advice which I'm sure she wouldn't mind sharing with everyone. Thanks, Suzueca!

Some things to think about (when buying granite and choosing a fabricator/installer)

**Make sure that you get your fab/installer's price for granite when you buy it - don't pay retail. And make sure you know what they pay to make sure they don't pad your price.
**If you have a slab with lots of 'movement' ask how they will lay it out, esp if you have turns in your counters. Most recommend keeping the movement going the same direction.
**ask if you can come down when they lay it out and have input in how it will be cut...they all said Yes
**ask about supporting sink/cooktop areas...some do it as a standard, some do not.
**I always carried my layout with me and always had my camera, too.
**I take photos of sample kitchens that I like in the showrooms for reference.
**I also took photos of MY slabs of granite.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 9:46PM
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I don't think that most fabricators recommend keeping movement going in the same direction. What is best may depend on your particular kitchen and stone. Because of the length of the legs of our L, keeping the movement going in the same direction would have required an extra seam - one leg is longer than the length of our granite and the other is longer than the width of our granite. Fortunately, our granite veins aren't entirely linear - they were swirly/chaotic in part of the slab. That allowed us to position the templates so that the only seam was at the sink in the swirly area and the grain turns direction there.

Debbie the slabs at a slab yard are made of lots of kinds of rock but generally they group any soft sedimentary rock as "marble" and any hard igneous or metamorphic rock as "granite". True granite is a particular kind of igneous rock. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of quartz - so it is very hard. Our stone was called a granite at the slab yard but a geologist would classify it as quartzite.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 12:25AM
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cloud..thanks so much for the explanation.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 2:03AM
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