Head is Spinning--Home Depot or??? (x-posted)

shelayneApril 29, 2009

Well, I have started the process of looking at granite slabs, and there was really only one to which I was drawn, and that was Blue Pearl. While I was at HD the other day, I decided to check out what they offered for granite and see their pricing. That is when I saw ANOTHER color that I really liked. And the best part--it is their Level A granite! (And it is 10% off right now!) Of course, HD renamed it "Platinum Blue", but I came home, googled, and discovered it is Azul Platino.

Of course, every showroom I am checking out does NOT have the Azul Platino, so I can't really see it on a big ole slab, instead of that little strip at HD. I am very wary of ordering something sight unseen and knowing nothing about the fabricator. I read on the Stonemark site that they select the stone for you. I just don't know how comfortable I am with that. Has anyone gone the HD route with their granite, and if so, were you involved in the process, or did you have to cross your fingers? I would like to be armed with info that other stores allow the customer to view the slabs and know something about their fabricator, if that is the case. Just in case they try to tell me that "that is not how it works". Were you satisfied with your installation and/or Home Depot's response to any of your concerns?

I also met with a sales guy at a showroom yesterday, and he offered me an incredible deal on Volga Blue. Unfortunately, it just didn't look right in our kitchen, and hubby didn't like it. So for me, it really comes down to Blue Pearl or Azul Platino. He showed me Blue Pearl, but it was quite a bit more than the Volga Blue he offered, so I am talking to another guy that has a good price on the BP and does not charge extra for cutouts. So, of course, my head is totally spinning. My decision could be made for me, if I could see a slab (or at least a sizable chunk) of Azul Platino.

For someone who, only a couple of months ago, was SO BLASTED CERTAIN she was doing LG Hi Macs in Azure Quartz, this whole process is really starting to freak me out. Ha!

(And just as an example of how nutzy I am becoming, I accidentally posted this in the wrong forum! D'OH!)

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My experience with HD and Stonemark has been excellent. We had originally decided to do a quick kitchen facelift after my kids bought me a kitchenaid mixer for my birthday, lol. I really wanted an undermount sink, and so our journey began.

We initially wanted to go with Wilsonart HD laminate but I wasn't too fussy for the sink choices and I felt their colors were more designed to go with SS appliances, which I didn't have and wasn't interested in. At the kitchen design store we then saw Granite Tiles. Hmm, I was intrigued and I must admit they looked gorgeous in the display. When we rec'd the final quotes for install (no DIY) we were a tad taken back. So things stalled.

My husband happened in HD one snowy day in January and called me about a sale there. So just to placate him I jumped in the car and met him at the local HD to look at Granite. , knowing I would be disappointed, we never considered Granite at all due to the budget.

So I started browsing, the great price was on the 2cm granite, not the 3cm. The selection of 5 choices, well none of them wowed me. So I start looking at the 3cm samples and found a few that intriged me. Well that made the price jump from about 47 dollars a SF to about 79 a SF. However it was on sale as well, 10% off, additional $300, and free upgrade on the edging. And of course the sale was over in 3 days. The rough estimate including the installation of an undermount sink in a B sample actually was only 300 more than my quotes on HD laminate and the Granite Tiles!!

I left with my head spinning, and the next day went to another HD. Again looked at samples talked to him regarding 2cm vs 3cm. Went through the sample box from Stonemark and found one they did not have on display, Vecchio Oro. Really really liked it. My main concern was dealing with HD. Is the quality there? Will they be there if something goes wrong? Will they still be in business in a few weeks, lol?

During this time is when I happened upon GW site. Drank a lot of coffee and read, read, and reread all the great posts on Granite. We went back to our original HD, and I asked about viewing the slabs. We live in Western NY, the fabricator for HD was Innovative Stone out of Syracuse. We were told we could go view the slabs. Wednesday afternoons only. Since Syracuse is 2 1/2 hours away and it was the middle of winter, We decided not to, I held my breath as I wrote the check. Then I went home and started to second guess myself.

True to what I was told at HD the fabricator called me 3 days later to come and template, I had to stall as I hadn't even picked out a sink and faucet, they were gracious and just told me to call them when I was ready. So 3 weeks later I called them and they were here 48 hours later to template. The guy was very nice, I asked him every question in the granite install post by buehl, he explained everything as he templated, and measured. What they would do at the install, what was my responsibility. First he measured and templated by hand, and then used the laser template afterward. There are more positive points in this templating that I won't go into as its already a novel, for my first post, lol.

2 weeks later my install, of granite I never really saw. I was nervous when they pulled up and had to keep myself from running out to the truck to look as soon as they pulled up.

Let me tell you the 2 guys from Innovative Stone were absolutely wonderful. The color of my granite was a surprise to me. Yes I could see it was what I had picked, but there was more gold in it then the 3 inch sample. But the good news is that I absolutely love it. They had a few obstacles to overcome in my 20 year old kitchen, but they worked quietly, explaining everything to me as they did. I think the install took them a couple hours more than planned, but didn't leave till everything was perfect. Its been about 5 weeks now, and everytime I walk in my kitchen I am just so thrilled my kids bought me a kitchen aid mixer and led me to this. So totally an impulse buy with great results! Now if I could only decide what color to paint the rest of the kitchen, but that's another novel, lol.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 7:38AM
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When I was looking for my granite, I did look into Home Depot and they told me I would have to go to their stone fabricator and pick the slab I wanted which is the only way I would ever buy granite. You need to see all of it not just a sizeable chuck. I actually found another place that I bought my granite from for a better price and they shipped the slab in and I looked at it before I agreed to having them fabricate it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 7:40AM
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During our kitchen reno, I looked at Granite through Home Depot and Lowes, and both offered to let me go to their granite supplier and pick out slabs. (I ended up going with someone else for different reasons)..... but I cannot see why they wouldn't allow you to pick out your own slabs. It's a very common request these days.... I would think that they would WANT people to KNOW what they are getting before it is templated and installed in their kitchen!

I would be a little more firm with them and tell them that you HAVE to see your slab before you can make a deal with them. I certainly don't feel that this request is unreasonable.

Keep calling around... someone is bound to have a sample slab of your favorite color.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 8:29AM
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BTW, I think the Home Depot stone you mean is maybe not Azul Platino, but Imperial Pearl. At least that's what they have on display at our HD. Does this look like it:

If so, it is a very inexpensive stone. There are local fabricators offering it for about $20/sf.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 9:01AM
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Definitely pick your slab and be there when they lay the template out on it. Press HD to let you do it if they want the sale. Even fairly regular granites like Blue Pearl have variations between lots and slabs. It's too major a purchase to leave to chance even if it costs you a little more.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 9:23AM
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There is no way I would by granite without picking out the slabs. No way. There is just too much variation -- that's what makes it so beautiful. But I've seen slabs with big obvious weird spots and I've seen kitchens where the granite looks great throughout except one place where the pattern got weird.

Don't get me wrong, I love the variation! But it needs to work well. In other words, if you have lots of variation thoughout the kitchen, it can be beautiful. But if you have everything looking sort of uniform with one big splotch somewhere, well, that would bug me.

You are getting ready to plop down a chunk o' money, make sure you see what you're buying first.

I've read different things about HD & Lowes so it may depend on the location. Some will let you see the available slabs, some won't. If they won't, get with a fabricator who will. In any case, I would shop around and get quotes because HD/Lowes is not always the cheapest.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 11:50AM
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StoneMark/Innovative Stone - stone supplier to Home Depot - has filed bankruptcy on April 17th, if that would help any in your decision. Their (HD's) fabricators have had some difficulty in obtaining materials, resulting in longer wait times and such.

Not trying to be all weird because HD is a big box or anything, but have you tried working with a local stone guy? Quite often the price difference is not that big (HD is known for their "add-ons") and the quality and experience could just be miles better. Plus you have a much closer working relationship with the stone guy - something that you will be thankful for, I can assure you.

A good stone guy will work with you in material choices and be well worth it in peace of mind. It will involve some homework on your part, though. Finding a good guy, asking for and following up on references and such.

Pay Stone Advice a visit. You will learn what to look out for and how to weed through the fabricators to find a great one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone Advice forum

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 11:56AM
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Thanks everyone. Wow, san824, thank you for such a detailed post about your experience. That has been very helpful! I am so glad you are thrilled! Hey, maybe I can get a KitchenAid mixer from my kids after the granite is installed! OK, maybe not. They are only 12 and 10. LOL.

Hmmm, Writersblock, I don't *think* that is the same granite I saw. The Platinum Blue at my HD has a lighter gray background, with blues and greens and splotches of a darker color and creamy white--almost yellowish. Your photo which I LOVE, is much more vibrant, and if that is representative of Imperial Pearl, then I want to SEE THAT ONE, too! Here is what the stone sample I saw at HD looked like, but even a bit lighter than is represented on my monitor:

Of course, I am going to take a trip to HD to look again.

Yes, Stonegirl, I am meeting with local stone guys. I have just not had much luck finding what I want. YET. I have just started the process, and I am confident that I will find MY stone; I am just impatient and want to find it NOW! ;^). I will check out your link. I HAD heard about Stonemark filing bankruptcy, and that is a bit unnerving, so that is another thing to add to my list.

Thank you again! You all ROCK! (no pun intended ;^) )

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:21PM
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I just looked up Google Images for Imperial Pearl, and there is one photo that looks similar, but so does the Azul Platino.

Well, I'll just have to see BOTH then, won't I?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Well I went to HD tonight to look again, and the stone I was into, looked a little different from my memory of it. It is actually more of a moss green and gray, with dark and ivory splotches. The blue in it is really more gray. It is very pretty, but the computer images confused me and made me think there was more obvious blue in it, and the green was a different shade. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

I still would like to see a slab of it, though.

One last thing, I'm pretty certain their Platinum Blue is Azul Platino after all, for one thing it is from Spain, just like the AP.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:50AM
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