getting the best price/shopping for granite?

melkel31May 14, 2014

So the kitchen demo started yesterday! yeah!! ;) That said we HAVE to choose our granite asap! We went to a kitchen design place and they sent us to the granite warehouse to look at slabs-... my ? is do we need to shop around or is the granite price going to b the same everywhere? We always shop around and price check... Do you all find it cheaper to buy directly from the granite warehouses? The kitchen place employee said that we would be paying retail if we went that way and that it is cheaper to go with her but I am skeptical- bc she has to be making some money for this! but all she did was call the place and get a price using our measurements... also wondering if using home depot or lowes is cheaper to go through as the "middle man" as opposed to the much smaller kitchen design place?? any advice on the best most cost efficient way to do this i MUCH appreciated! the other crazy thing is so many are only open while we are working and not open on the weekends????!

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Group A granites are all going to be relatively competitively priced. What you get by going to a place that your kitchen shop has vetted is the extra layer of assurance that they've vetted their work, and none of the horror stories that you see on here frequently will happen to you. If they did do poor work like that, then the kitchen shop would no longer work with them.

True story here. I get approached all the time from fabricators who tell me that they can sell me granite much cheaper than we sell it for. When I ask to see their shop, or their work, suddenly they stop talking to me. When I call their references, no one will let me view their counters, and the only comments I get are, "well, the price is right". Or, if by chance I do actually get to view their work, it's from some proud stone noob who doesn't even understand that he's failed at the job that he's showing me.

Granite is a whole lot more than the "right" price that you have to pay twice because the first guys are clueless and you have to move on to the "more expensive" shop to have the project redone to a better quality standard. Not saying to not shop around, but shop the work, not the price. Or, save yourself driving all over town and use the place that someone else who has experience is happy with.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:47AM
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A lot depends on your market. In my market, there are very few granite direct fabricators. The good ones usually have partnered with lots of designers and dealerships to show (display) and sell their product. They give those shops and designers a trade discount to sell their stuff.

I agree with LWO, focus on installation quality: seams, edge profiles, sink installs, sealants. You might find a fabricator for $500 less but that might buy you 'issues'. There is a price to pay for peace of mind of a job well done!

If you can find a quality fabricator that will sell direct and save you some cash, then that's great.

Find 2 or 3 quality locations for granite, get your estimates and decide. Price them apples to apples! Same edge, sink, edge profile.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 1:30PM
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good advice in both replies above! so is a "fabricator" the place that houses the granite as in the warehouse I spoke of? We are looking at a price level E, and F if we go with the honed look - typhoon bordeux- I guess anotther ? I have is if I go to Home depot wondering if anyone knows will there price be any cheaper using the same warehouse as the kitchen place's price?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:24PM
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Home Depot was actually significantly more expensive than other dealers/fabricators that were in the area for us. Granted, the dealer was also the fabricator and the places we are looking at dont have a designer "middleman", but I've found big box stores to be the biggest middleman of all. That and customers routinely don't choose their own slab there. The salesman was actively discouraging me from driving the hour and a half each way to the yard to pick the actual slab. Might not be your experience with them, and I hope it's not, but I certainly wasn't going to buy something site unseen, esp when it was more expensive than the other quotes I was getting. Are there a lot of stone dealers and fabricators in your area? If so, go around and get things priced, as well as viewing their work and reading reviews. I agree with the others, though- that designer wouldn't risk her reputation by going with a sub-par vendor, so if you know the designer has a good track record and satisfied customers, then it is likely that the fabricator she recommended does good work.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:41PM
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For sure, a fabricator is not the place that you want to look for the "cheapest" price. Unfortunately, high prices don't necessarily translate to a quality fabricator either. Sure, you can shop price a bit...but let the main determining factor be someone who will answer your questions, has good feedback from others, etc. You don't have to read far on this board to see an hear about the areas where fabricators have fallen tremendously short on delivering what someone hoped to receive.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 3:52PM
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I need clarification on what a fabricator is? haha! ;) and what is a dealer? I called a large stone "place" let's just call it bc not sure if it's the fabricator or dealer ;) and they said they don't sell directily to cuptormers but only through stone complanies. So is that large place I called a "fabricator or a dealer" ? :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:30AM
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They are a dealer, Mel.

A fabricator is the person who fabricates, or "finishes" the stone and installs it in your home.

A dealer is someone who sells to the trade. i.e. they sell to the fabricator. They generally have more slabs in stock than a fabricator. At least where I live, you will not get pricing from a dealer - they gave a letter designation (A through Z) and then you had to contact your fabricator to get a price on the stone (and that price from the fabricator included at least "basic finishing and installation" - there were options available for an additional price).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:10AM
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We priced two independent and Lowe's and can get a better price at Lowes and they now carry two different types of granite by different suppliers with more color options. Home Depot was more money for the color of granite we are looking for.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:59AM
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I'm in the middle of doing this right now for our diy kitchen. There is a large dealer - wholesaler - in our area with a huge warehouse. The slabs are tagged with price categories, but they won't sell directly to customers and they won't disclose the actual dollar amounts. They told me that the ultimate price varies depending upon which fabricator - cutter/installer - one uses. What they will do is send a list of the slabs that you have selected to any number of fabricators of your choice. They also won't help you pick a fabricator or say which are good or not so good. They would anger their client base if they did so. They will say that some are more expensive and some do better work. When you go to a fabricator, they will also have a selection of slabs, depending upon the size of their facility. You may notice that the slabs have paper tags indicating which wholesale yard they came from. There are typically slabs from several dealer/wholesalers at a fabricator's site. The fabricator may buy and import directly as well.

I just spent many days with a friend who was looking for remnants for two bathrooms. It was a good education and a dry run for me. Got to browse with no pressure, and learned about the various places in our area.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:15AM
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melkel13- you can go online to HD and use their countertop calculator to get a price for your counter. where i am hd was significantly cheaper on the higher end granite however the reviews were so bad we didn't go that route. it is a good tool however to check granite prices. btw where i am typhon bordeaux is going for $100 per sq ft or more. it is a pricey one. the first couple of granites i loved were very pricey so i kept looking at stoneyards/fabricators and found one i loved just as much for $20 less per ft. where i am, fabricators and stoneyards are one so we looked for good reviews and a granite we loved for a price we could handle. if your kd's stone yard doesn't have a lot of options on hand, they can probably get anything you want. i would look at a lot of stones before you decide because some kinds like typhoon bordeaux vary a lot!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:49AM
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When we were shopping for granite, I briefly checked out our Home Depot. They had many samples for ones I had seen at several good sized stone yards in town. But they told me that you would just pick the stone from that small 6 inch or 12 inch sample piece and our counter tops would be made out of province and shipped here when finished. So we would have had no way of choosing an actual slab, and they do vary. We would have had no say in laying out the templates and lining up or balancing out patterns in the granite. Even if the price was free, I wouldn't use them where we live knowing those facts.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:55AM
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If you have a general contractor who is bidding for the labor for countertop install as part of the overall project, then you may save money by going to a warehouse to buy the slabs separately. The closer you are to retail, the more it will cost. The labor will likely cost more than the materials.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:00AM
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When I got my Caesarstone counters in my kitchen, my KD handled everything and gave me an installed price to consider. Other than a minor, correctable issue, I've been fortunate to have no problems with my counter at all.

For my bathroom remodel, I've been on my own finding a slab and a fabricator. Luckily there's a good stone yard in my town that does their own fabrication. And they will sell half-slabs of carrara, saving me a bundle.

Every slab in their yard is clearly tagged with two sq.ft. prices: the lower one is if they do the fabrication, the higher one if you have someone else do it. Fabrication is approx. $65/sq.ft. on top of that. So it's not too hard to get a rough ballpark figure walking around using a little pocket calculator. A vanity top is way simpler than a kitchen counter, and I received an official estimate from them later in the day. I got a lot of assistance in the yard, moving slabs around, taping off areas I want.

My Caesarstone is overall pretty consistent so I could get away with buying it sight unseen, but I'm not so sure I'd want to do that with a granite or marble.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Actually there are more categories:

STONE SUPPLIERS: Big outfits like Daltile, Mont are large stone suppliers and do not fabricate. They have a general idea of price groups A-Z usually but do not give out specific prices because they sell to the FABRICATORS.

FABRICATORS: These companies CUT the stone. They sell to dealers. SOME sell to the public. They also sometimes offer quartz, solid surface and laminate. Some are small shops, some are big shops. These are the people that will template, fabricate and install your tops. Some template the old school way, using strips of wood....some are more high tech with laser templates and CNC machines (computers that cut the stone off the laser machine template)

DEALERS: These are companies that sell product and have displays. They do no cut the stone or install it.

BOX STORE: Same as a dealer but a national outfit.

This post was edited by kompy on Thu, May 15, 14 at 11:30

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:28AM
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PS. Some of the larger fabricators stock and supply their own granite instead of buying from the middlemen like Daltile and Mont. This is a significant savings!! These larger fabricators will allow you to view their slabs and tag them, just like the stone suppliers. So in essence, some places are BOTH Stone Suppliers AND Fabricators.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:38AM
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This is a very local thing. I bought my granite for my last kitchen at DalTile. They had a huge warehouse full of slabs -- I selected my slabs, paid them for it, and told them who my fabricator was and they arranged shipment and delivery between them. I paid the fabricator for the fabrication.

This time I went to a fabricator that has a warehouse full of slabs too. I was getting Ceasarstone so it wasn't really an issue, since I knew what I wanted before I went. My price was broken down by materials and labor, but it was one check to one place.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:57AM
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thanks everyone! I understand the difference now. ;)called HD for a quote so we will see...:)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:01PM
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