How to be budget-minded with granite

planningnutApril 7, 2008

hello - I'm going cross-eyed trying to do all this research on granite and am left with just one question - how can I be budget-minded with granite?

Are there certain edges that keep cost down? are there certain categories of granite that are less expensive? how does thickness affect price?

we're looking for a simple black, with a flat edge, and maybe 1" thick or so? nothing too crazy...

Can't get these answers from the granite shops - they just want to give you a bottom line...

any thoughts or advice would be wonderful!


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Yes-there are certain granites that are more standard and not as exotic so are lower priced. There are also edges that are more standard edges. I would think you can get an absolute black with a standard square cut edge and that would be the lower end of what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:41PM
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When we bought our granite, the yard had a computer system that took rough dimensions and gave us a price for each "grade" of stone. Single blue, double blue, silver, double silver, gold, double gold, triple gold, etc. We walked around the yard and the slabs were marked with paint on the edges to indicate which they were. I think that's the only way to find one you like in your budget.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:52PM
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IMHO, one way in which you should NOT try to save money is by getting the very squared off top edge. Many people have cautioned me that those edges chip very easily, but that a small ease, even just 1/4 radius, will significantly lessen the chances of a chipped edge.

If anyone thinks otherwise, I'd be happy to hear about it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:19PM
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Helou - that makes sense - thank you - hadn't even considered that. A small bevel is lovely. A squared edge would be a real risk for chipping.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:21PM
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I have found prices vary greatly in my area. Most places are charging $60 to $70 for Gaillo ornamental, but I found a place in the next town over that sells it for $42. And they do an excellent job too....many builders use them. That is a huge savings for me!! From what I've found, if a stone has lots of veining and interest, it is much more expensive. Stone with red in it seems to be more expensive also.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:22PM
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if you can do it yourself, and easy way to save a ton of money is by going to stone tile. We are doing our own soapstone tile for 1/10th of the cost of slab.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:49PM
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I think most places put an "eased" edge on as part of the price--that's a very small corner off.

It's the fancy edges--ogees and such--that start adding up. And obviously the materials and cutouts.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 6:07PM
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A friend of mine went to the granite yard and asked if there were any pieces lying around that were there a long time and they wanted to move out. She saved a bundle, but of course you have to go with an open mind. Stay away from any of the "ogee" edges which are premium. 1/4 round, 1/4, half and one inch bevel, demi, half and full bullnose are fairly standard and not so bad. Also swirl in the granite are more expensive than flecks. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 6:15PM
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Stay away from blue granite! Seriously, if you already know your color, go to one yard, ask to price all slabs in that color by the square foot so that you can get a general idea of which names are in the low/medium/high/stratospheric range; cross-check the names you like on one of the comprehensive granite websites to make sure you have a commonly recognized name; then call/visit all of the local slabs with the names you like and can afford. Granite is sold in 2 cm (3/4 inch) or 3 cm (1-1/4 inch) thick slabs; the 3 cm will be more $ (harder to find too) but not necessarily 50% more. The more times the fabricator has to run the edge through the machine, the more $; thus, double ogee edges with about 5 passes through will cost a lot more than simple bevel/bullnose/knife/eased type edges. (IMO some of the very fancy edges end up being crumb catchers, so this may be one place where economy makes sense; plenty of people on this site will disagree through.) I am told that 12" granite tiles are less expensive but many people prefer to spend a little more $ in exchange for no grout.

There are lots of choices in black. Absolute Black and Black Galaxy are two that I remember hearing. Depending on whether you want a little color, Ubatuba (very dark grey/green/blue verging on black) is an inexpensive and commonly found granite.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 6:41PM
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We did what someone here suggested...walked in with an open mind and ended up with granite for under $10 per sq ft. Fabrication and installation on top of course, but the stone is a great deal and it will look great too.

3 slabs Amazon Green for under $1200? Great deal
Having enough money left over to buy food? PRICELESS

Enjoy your search.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:03PM
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I've been agonizing over finding the "right" granite! I finally found what looked like a rather plain, 2cm thick group of 3 creamy colored slabs. Picked them out, put them on hold and waited to get the estimate. The stone fabricator called the next day to say it would be $20,000.00! Yes, thats twenty thousand for a pretty small kitchen! Needless to say, its back to the drawing board for me. What's in that granite? Gold?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 11:52PM
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It sounds like you need to find a new fabricator. Shop around. The prices from fabricators will vary greatly. Talk to people who've used various fabricators before you pick. We ended up picking a very expensive granite-it was the one we really loved. The fabricators were very helpful in figuring out ways to use less slabs and keep the cost down.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:26AM
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Looks like the $20k quote is way off... Even from a place Expo (HD's pricier cousin) you should be able to get pricing in the range of $100/sqft fully installed - so say 5, 8'x2' counters would be around: 80sqft * $100/sqft = $8000/-

Also, if you are not averse to using prefab slabs from China, India etc., you may have a less expensive option - ~45$/sqft including OG-edges if you are lucky to find them.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:42AM
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While $20K for slabs is outrageous, it is in the ballpark of very pricey granite. While doing my exhaustive search for blue granite, I ran into a few slabs of lapis and sodalite. These are not granites named "lapis" and "sodalite" because they LOOK LIKE the semi-precious gemstones, these ARE the semi-precious gemstones. Repeat: you would be chopping tomatoes, slicing lemons, and dripping coffee on a gemstone. Slabs were priced at $180 - 200/sqft (but I had to ask and thus couldn't afford it), wholesale to fabricators, before fabrication/installation costs. I ended up with azul macaubas; approximately triple the costs of a HD common or garden variety granite, but a real bargain by blue standards. It was my splurge.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:59AM
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My Uba Tuba island was put in Thursday. It goes with both maple and cherry. It has lots of beautiful flecks. It's one of the least expensive ones, I just got the slightly rounded edges and its costing about $50/sq ft.

The granite was a splurge, so I just got the island and bought laminate for the other counters. The second the granite went in it was so beautiful (and mind you this is one of the cheapest ones that some are thumbing their noses at), that I starting eating my guts out because it made the other perfectly good laminate counters look shabby. I broke down yesterday and decided to get the rest of my counters in granite while they still had matching slabs left.

BTW-I was warned by reading other posts in this forum that something like absolute black shows everything (water spots, crumbs...) Also, make sure when you are looking that you bring cabinet, floor and paint samples. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:18AM
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bluekitobsessed - We did the same thing. All the "granites" we loved were those really pricey fancy ones - including the lapis and sodalite. The arcobaleno we found is a close cousin of the fancy azul set. We just didn't have those in our budget. (Odd-shaped kitchen = more slabs and more expense.)

So, yeah, $20K depending upon stone, edge, location and square footage (and with three slabs that's quite a bit) is not unheard of.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:39AM
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Chefkev, be proud of your ubatuba! I'm sorry if it sounded like I was thumbing my nose at it. I looked (hard) at it but it was simply too dark for me, and once I knew that true blue was out there, true blue was the only thing for me regardless of price. I'm doing the cheapest and most boring backsplash possible -- Daltile subway tile, white, HD special $22/box -- partly because I wanted the granite and the range (Thermador with blue knobs, of course) to be the only "statements," and partly because the azul macaubas blew the budget. Every person on this site has scrimps and splurges. I'm sure your ubatuba is gorgeous, and yes I agree that now you need to upgrade your other counters.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:19PM
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Go to a good stone store and ask to see their "boneyard". We did this at a great store in the Chicago area. They had hundreds of slabs out there that were being discontinued. Perfectly good slabs that were at the end of their run or just being replaced with another variety.

We picked out two drop-dead gorgeous slabs of Golden River. Lots of movement to it, too. Saved big $$$s.

As mentioned before, stay away from ogees as that can really run up your bill. You can get a general idea what the upcharges are for an edge by looking at some granite web sites.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:44PM
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heya - wow - what great info - thanks everyone!

Just got my granite quote from Lowes - for the most simple edge (cheapest...) and absolute black or black galaxy (again, their least expensive options) they wanted $11,000.... WOW. Insane (for us...). Laminate is around $2-3K...

seems I have some running around to do!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:59PM
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Unless your countertops are enormous, there's something seriously wrong with that picture. I think I am paying about $70/sqft for high end pricey stuff, including installation (I bought the slabs separately; installation/fabrication costs are buried in the general contractor's contract). I've heard anywhere from $30 to 50/sqft for fabrication in SoCal. One granite yard actually gave a price sheet on everything in stock and some of the least expensive were $10/sqft (don't recall which, sorry). HTH when you shop around.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 2:35PM
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planningnut - That number sounds really high to me too (unless you've got a whopping big kitchen with a whole lotta counters!). See if there is a company or shop in town that specializes in granite. This is where I found the best price.

bluekitobsessed - I'm so proud of my granite I could burst and I did not mean you at all when I was mentioning the thumbing of noses. I love your posts! I went into this not knowing anything about stone counter-tops and am super grateful for all the help and education I received from this forum.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:13AM
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It isn't for everybody, but another option that no one has mentioned is prefab granite. These are counters that are usually 8 feet in length that have a front edge on them already. From there, they are just cut to length. The company I have been researching has 3/4 inch granite.

How cheap? Well, the color I have been dreaming of is ONLY $350 for an 8 foot run. How AWESOME is that!

Best way to save? My kitchen was actually designed to maximize these 8 foot pieces. There is will be no sink hole in the granite to minimize fabrication costs.

I am doing a different material for my island, but the island pieces (3x5, finished all the way around) are only around 5-6 hundred.

I just checked the company I will most likely use for their blacks, Impala black- $340 counter, $495 island. Uba Tuba- $499 counter, $675 island. Green Diamond (a blackish green)- $499 counter, $675 island.

Do some searches for prefab granite in your area to see how the prices would be for you, also remember fabrication costs really add up, so ask lots of questions first.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:07AM
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Keep in mind, that the price of the granite is only part of the story. Installing granite properly is what will make your kitchen look its best. There are deals to be had, that's for sure, but before you buy or pick up a nearly free slab, find your fabricator, and be aware of what his costs are going to be.

BTW, I was looking at granites and slates today- and saw this absolutely stunning golden and black slab, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I was told it was Uba Tuba! Not seeing one like that before (MY Mom has UT, but not with so much gold), I assumed from much of what I'd read here, that Uba Tuba was a 'mediocre' granite- I was mistaken, this was gorgeous!

And, I actually bought a pre-made granite top for one of my bathroom vanities, it has an ogee edge, sink and faucet cut outs, and on sale for $199 for 49" long, it saved me at least $400-$500 over the one I was in the process of ordering, and that was on sale too! I'm quite thrilled, cuz now with granite picked, I can pick out shower floor and wall tiles, oh that money saved will be spent soon enough! :>)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 3:23AM
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We bought "Blue Starlight" by Stonemark from the Home Depot about 6 weeks ago. We purchased about 95 sq/feet for about 6K, fully installed. We got a simple bullnose (rounded) edge and a 3" radius around the corners on the bar. I thought that was reasonable.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:49AM
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UbaTuba gets a bad rep because it's so common. It's actually a very nice stone and comes in different colors. I like it but didn't use it because the look I was going for was different. But it's on my list of faves, along with Black Galaxy. I ended up with Blue Eyes - my kitchen splurge.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:13PM
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I went around to several granite yards. All had remnants, but most were small or just one slab or the less expensive granites. Then I got very lucky!

One of the places had 5 slabs each of 2 different granites in their remnant yard for $25/sf installed. One of them was Costa Smeralda, one that DH and I had loved since we'd first seen it several years before, but never considered using because it's one of the priciest. All of the slabs were cracked 1/3 of the way over. The layout of our large kitchen was such that the slabs could be pieced together without showing the seams. For $25/sf and my favorite I can live with insignificant seams!

They had lots of granite, marble, and onyx choices in their full price yard, some that I'd never seen before, so some of their smaller remnants were not the usual run-of-the-mill. They had only 2 framed letters of recommendation on the wall: one from the governor's husband regarding the granite they'd installed in the governor's mansion, and the other from a lawyer in one of our powerhouse firms who'd had his granite job screwed up by someone else, and then redone successfully by this place.

So, look around if you have more time than money. You never know what you'll find!


    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Gina_W, have you finished your kitchen and do you have pictures? We are planning on Blue Eyes for ours as well - also a splurge, but DH especially is in love with it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 5:38PM
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I am seriously considering Blue Starlight--do you have yours in yet? Are there pictures?

And my second choice just happens to be Blue Eyes, so ditto on snowyshasta's request for pics of Blue Eyes!!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Carla in Sac
Yes, it's in. it looks brilliant! We also installed a 36" Signal Blue Bluestar range and they complement each other nicely. The Blue Starlight looks fantastic when the sun hits it, the blue specs jump up off the countertop. I will try to get a good picture of the countertop which shows the blue.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 10:52AM
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The owner of a local granite shop came to my house sunday to see my koi ponds. We talked at great length how to save money on my job. I LOVE some of the exotic granite, which usually runs $75 per sq ft at his yard. He said from most slabs, he can get 60 sq ft of granite counter tops. If my job runs close to that 60 sq ft and leaves him with less waste (which ends up in the bone yard for cheap), he can cut the cost of my granite order by probably $20 per foot. If my job runs over 60 sq ft, he can combine my job with someone else who needs a slab and a half and order 3 slabs to do two jobs, saving all of us some money. He also is willing to reduce granite that he's had around for a while. So it looks like this guy is willing to work things out for me so I can have an exotic granite for a common granite price. Gotta love that!!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Just an FYI:

Home Depot has granite & (I think Silestone as well) on sale right now. But only until Wed. Feb. 18th.

They have some not-so-desirable colors (in my opinion only) on sale and all others are 10% off.

I got Stonemark's Uba Tuba (granite) for $53/ sq. ft. yesterday. With the single ogee edge.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 1:36PM
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ok i'm not sure if i am in the right area, but i need to know a decent price per sq-ft for the African range silver cream granite. I am in Florida, I was told that it was an exotic.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 2:08PM
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Can't get these answers from the granite shops - they just want to give you a bottom line...

Then smile sweetly at the sales rep and say, "I'm sorry to hear that you aren't interested in helping me stay within my budget." Then turn around and WALK OUT.

When you get to the next shop, let them know that you need specific answers and you know they will be able to give them, because you would hate to have to walk out like you did with the last shop.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:17AM
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