How is square footage of granite calculated?

raehelenDecember 13, 2007

After reading lightlystarched's question about cost of Soapstone, I had to go measure my counters. Even being generous, I got 50 sq ft, and I am being charged for 66 sq ft.

Another question to ask my kitchen guy... I suppose.

I mean I realize stone is cut out of slabs, but for those of us who are paying by the square foot, and not by slabs- how do they actually calculate the square footage? Unless I've made a mathematical boo boo somewhere...maybe I wasn't getting such a great deal (not to mention that they have to replace half of it- arghhh).

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You usually need to include "waste" in your square foot calculations. For example, let's say you only have a small strip of the granite behind the back of the sink ... you still have to pay for the portion of the granite that was cut out even if it is not insalled. There is usually some waste at the ends and corners as well.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 6:29AM
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Hi Raehelen:

Aside from the obvious - take Length times Width...

Here's the thing that alot of consumers don't know
when it comes to getting a "square foot" price from
their Fabricator..

Fabricators typically are going to charge one of two ways:

1. Charge per square foot is based on the NET amount of stone
actually used to make your project, and NO Waste is
factored into your price - any waste that is generated
is used in the next subsequent "jobs" - Larger volume shops
will do this when they know that a project in let's say -
Uba Tuba, will need 1 1/4 slabs, the next job in production
that is using Uba Tuba will use that remaining 3/4 slab.
This is also much more condusive to the Fabricator that "Stocks"
his own inventory, and he can control color matching this way.

2. Charge per square foot is based on the GROSS amount of stone
that's required to do your project - ie: you have a Baltic Brown kitchen
that needs 1 1/3 slabs - your Fabricator has to buy 2 slabs
to do the job - he has to factor in the waste of the other
2/3 slab that will be left over - into his bid to you. Many Fabricators use this
method to estimate the price when they have to aquire slabs
for each of their customers -
and they may not always "stock" inventory.
This means that they
can't always guaraantee that the remaining "left over" stone
from your 1 1/3 slab project will be able to be used on the
next Baltic Brown job they say...three weeks from now...

I would say that IF your Fabricator stocks bundles of
slabs at his yard (this is the trend that many Fabricators
are gravitating towards) then you have a better chance of
getting a price from him based on NET usage.

If - on the other hand, your Fabricator has every one of
his customers go to a slab distributor to select/approve
your slabs, then they probably will be charging on the GROSS
method of building in a "waste factor" into the price they
give you.

The most important thing to remember about pricing, is that
it's kind of like the start of the LeMans car race, where
all of the drivers stand at a starting line, and when the
the starter's gun goes off, some drivers sprint, some run,
some jog - but they all - eventually - get to their race
cars and take off - and only one guy wins... bidding is pretty
much like the LeMans - only one guy wins........

hope that helps you


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

Here is a link that might be useful: AZ Schoolofrock

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 7:33AM
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I bought from a place that does charge by the square foot. However they determine the sf price based on how much you need. If I needed all of one slab and a bit of a second...then they factor in the cost of buying the second slab into my over all sf price. If you get a common stone I don't think you have to worry about that. We determined our sf by multiplying the inches long by inches wide and dividing by 144 to get the over all sf. This included the area that was cut out for the range which we paid for and is sitting on my deck. Oddly our fabricator charged us by our measurements-I think they forgot to double check and adjust since I paid based on my drawings before they ever did the template. Hum.....I think I got an extra sf or twoÂ..

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 7:36AM
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The obvious is length times width divided by 144, and always round up. However, most people make the mistake of calculating the countertop depth at 24", when it should really be calculated at 26" (25 1/2", round up). Add in any overhang on an edge (1 1/2") and don't forget to calculate the backsplash also if you are getting one (usually 4 1/4 to match what a laminate backsplash is sized at). The sink cutout or any other cutouts are not "removed" from that total figure. That includes a slide in range, if you want granite behind it in a continuous piece. If you're OK with a small piece seamed at both edges, them they'll reduce the square footage, but if you want a continuous piece with no seams, you'll pay for the "negative space" of the cutout. Same goes for corner sinks. You're paying for a 42" x 42" square to cover the whole sink area, even though the corner you stand at is "clipped" off and the piece is no longer square. Same with rounded islands. You pay for the largest square used, even though one edge may be rounded off and be shorter than the center depth.

If you'll post your layout and measurements, I'm sure we can see where that figure came from.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:40AM
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All of the fabricators I talked to were willing to give a firm bid based on detailed drawings of the countertops. Based on these drawings they computed square footage estimates ranging from 72 to 78 sq ft. and all said that if when they templated for the countertop the measurement was greater than what they computed from the drawing, the price would be different.

With the fabricator we went with, we asked him to fabricate the peninsula/stove side with one big piece for the angled peninsula continuing all the way to the edge of the cooktop, and another on the other side of the cooktop, and two thin strips in front and behind the cooktop, rather than one piece atop the cooktop cabinets with a hole cut out for the cooktop, and a separate piece for the angled peninsula.

I don't know wether this requested change resulted in less square footage (since the no cooktop cutout was being discarded) or more square footage (since the angled peninsula piece would result in more waste) but we ended up at the same price as originally quoted.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:04AM
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As already mentioned, different places charge differently so the price per sq. ft. isn't all that useful. Some charge for waste, some don't. Some charge extra for cutouts and extra sink holes. Some charge extra for different kinds of edging. The only way to compare is to get quotes for your entire job.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:16AM
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OK- thanks for the above answers. But, I think most of you went to fabricators and picked slabs. For those of us who didn't discover this forum until AFTER we had ordered (mea culpa mea culpa), there are many places that just charge by the square foot. I think HD probably does, etc. My granite (go to 5 granite pieces- 3 run one way- 2 run the other, for the rest of the story...), was ordered from China, and for some reason they weren't going to pay for me to go over and pick my slabs! :>) Would have loved the excuse though...

So, I understand about having to use up the slab economically, etc. and I do understand how to multiply L X W and divide by 144, and yes I calculated where my sink is as a solid piece, and yes I realize that the counters are 26" deep, etc. So, I THINK I was pretty generous in arriving at 50 sq ft.

Live wire oak, I have to go to exercise class (been lax on that and body is complaining) and run a few errands, etc. so I will take you up on your offer to look at my layout when I get home- may be late tonight, if I have to go straight to work (coaching), if traffic is bad. I'm just really curious now, cuz I never really measured it before- AND like fightingoverfinishes, there are two areas that are actually bigger than originally planned and measured, and EVEN counting those larger areas, I still come up with 50 sq ft.

So, thanks so much for all your input- boy has this reno ever been one HUGE learning curve!!!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 11:56AM
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So if you are charged by the gross and my job takes 1 1/2 slabs, am I the owner of the leftover stone and can I ask for it? I'm thinking of a nice coffee table...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 8:42PM
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I think I may have it figured out. Going by the layout really helped, and LiveWireOaks explanation of having to pay for the 'Total Box', is the answer I was looking for- missed that the first time I read her post.

So, in actuality, I ended up with more square footage than they estimated. 72 square feet (cuz they did a 10 1/2 foot pony wall for me for free- just charged for installation). But, they still charge for installation for the whole 66 sq ft. even though I only have about 50 sq feet of granite in place. I do get why you have to pay for the whole box, but think having to pay for installing 'air' is kinda crummy!

Here's a pic of an early drawing of my layout- not what we ended with (we took out the wall between DR and Kit), so counters at that end got extended. But, I wrote in the correct dimensions for the counter. Plus there is a 126" long pony wall, 8" wide.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 5:42PM
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Ugh, if I paid installation for "invisible" granite, I'd be mad.

Can anyone answer my question about the leftover stone? If I have to buy 2 slabs, but only use 1 1/2 in my kitchen, should I get the leftovers?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 5:51PM
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Actually, a little red-faced here... when I recalculated, it looks like I do have about 67 sq ft of granite (counting the sink hole as granite), so seeing as I was charged for 60 (7 feet was at NC), and installation was for 66, it's my boo-boo here.

Sink got siliconed to granite today- WE can install faucet and DW tomorrow- looks like I'm going to have a working kitchen (though still far away from finished) soon! Yippee!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:22PM
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