Additions and surprises in final granite quote?

raee_gwOctober 8, 2013

I finally came out of my decision paralysis about the counters. I had found a granite that was on "clearance" as the last slab in the warehouse of one company. I haven't seen this particular granite (Verde Lavras) at any of the other warehouses, and with a honed finish I really like it. So even though it wasn't the best priced of my quotes, I decided to go with it and the installer affiliated with that warehouse.

The installer had given me an initial quote of $1500 to install with a drop-in sink (the granite itself is selling for $20/sq/ft). The honing was to add another $5/sq.ft.

Well, he came out to template today, and informed me that since the walls were not straight, there would be an extra charge to actually scribe the granite to the wall. $200 more in fact. (If you laid a straight edge from corner to corner, the center part of the wall bows away about 1/4 inch or so from the line. This is, I think, due to the mudding done at either end. )

Is this typical? Did he seriously expect the walls to be straight in a 1941 house, or was I supposed to be okay with the gap in the middle and try to cover it with a backsplash?

Come to think of it, he didn't mention any problem with fitting the granite at the ends of the counters. Perhaps because they are short cuts?

Oh, and also, the honing was now $10/sf, not $5. There are other fabricators that do it for $5, I know -- I have those quotes.

What do you think? Should I say, "sorry, Charlie" and go with my second choice and another fabricator?

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I have heard that this is standard operating procedure for the companies that advertise the $20 per sq ft specials. That they always find additional charges to tack on until the final price is about the same as what an honest shop would have quoted in the first place.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Hi bob_cville -- I had been on the lookout for this, but in this yard their granite was generally priced well above what I had been seeing in the other yards (or I should say, what fabricators that use the other yards charge). This place was unique in that they actually have prices on their stone, yet they don't install. So the slab I want really was a discount from their typical because of being the last slab.

It could be, though, that between the yard and installer they are making up some of that discount.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Gouge out the drywall 1 1/2" above the cabinet tops and tell him to retemplate to the studs. No scribing, no fee.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:59PM
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I'm with you, I think the $200 fee for not straight walls is a crock. If there's a truly straight wall somewhere on this continent, I'd be surprised. Unfortunately, he's already done his template, so there's actual work done. It might be difficult to to dismiss him without his weaseling that $200 out of you one way or the other. If you go ahead and sign a contract with him, be sure to cover all your bases, like allowable gaps between the wall and the granite, seams, etc. Honestly, I'd have a hard time trusting him and would feel the need to dog his every step.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marble Institute of America installation standards

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Lol. Extra charge for walls that aren't straight! That's great! My house was built in 1928 and I decided not to tear down any walls. I'm glad my fabricator didn't think of this.

I guess the question is, how much do you like the granite, understanding you're being charged excessively. The two known factors are the higher cost and your love of the granite. Figure out which one matters more in the end.

PS. Unknowns: How bad will you feel if the fabricator messes up the job? Hopefully he has come recommended to you.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:17PM
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I know pricing is a regional thing, however it sounds similar to a neighbor's project. His had less counter space than our kitchen, the install was a basic "L". The seam has got to be one of the worst I've seen. He felt by paying nearly $3k for the install, he would get a better install than the lower prices. They pretty much tossed the 2 pieces on the cabinets, used silicone for the seam, was gone in 2 hrs.

I got my install with more counter square footage, with a nice looking seam installed for almost 1/3 the cost.

I guess what I'm getting at. Sounds like your installer wants a basic slap down, and if they have to do any type of work, it's going to be a project for them. Where as a professional who does it every day, it's not such a project, and you get a better price for less.

If it were me, I'd forget the slab and the installer.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Oh, dear. I am surprised at myself, I guess I was hoping to hear that he wasn't trying to pull one over on me!

I think that I will call the warehouse and ask if they can recommend another installer, and verify what he has told me about the scribing and honing costs.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Perhaps Livewireoak or OldRyder would chime in with an opinion on the scribing?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:51PM
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I am a fabricator.

Adding a charge for a wall that isn't straight is ridiculous. Walls are never straight. (well, almost never.)

This "rope a dope" pricing is common at the low end. Low ball price per sq. ft. advertisers typically add for a finished edge, a sink cutout, the sink installation, splash, dishwasher install, and whatever else they can think of.

To me this is a dishonest business practice. quoting a price per sq. ft. for a kitchen and not including a sink cutout is like advertising a price for a car and then adding an upcharge for tires.

There are, however, legitimate reasons for adds. We quote from drawings and then sometimes find at the field measure (our 1st time at the house) that the install will take extra personnel due to physical challenges like steep stairs or split stairs with a 180 degree turn. Those adds are reasonable because there is no way for the estimator to include them and the customer almost never realizes their particular layout will make things more difficult.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:57AM
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Oldryder, thank you so much for chiming in. That was my feeling, that he was being shifty.

This particular fabricator had been to the house and measured (the cabinets already in) when he gave me the first price, which included a drop-in sink cutout, "standard" edge, but no backsplash. It was only when he came back to template that the extra charge for fitting to the wall was mentioned. He had heard the last time he was here that I didn't want a backsplash, unless he could make a short (ie 2") one -- and he had already told me that he would not.

If I choose to go with an undermount sink, that is another $300 too (most of the other quotes were ~$225-250 for undermount)

Sigh. I do like that stone.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:28AM
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