Author: Tom Cordova of The Rock Blog
The Hand Selection Process of Granite Slabs
Perhaps the most important step in meeting expectations is 'hand selection of granite slabs'. The specific slabs that will be used for fabrication should be hand selected and tagged by the homeowner. Keep the following criteria in mind when inspecting the slabs you intend to use.
1. Are there any spots, veins or natural fissures in the slabs that you do not want to see in your kitchen? If yes, ask for a commitment from the fabricator to avoid them. It is not common for a fabricator to commit to avoiding natural blemishes but it you don't like what you see, then choose different slabs.
2. Discuss which way your kitchen will be cut with the slabs. The veining direction in your kitchen can make a big different. Ask you fabricator for his opinion and discuss this thoroughly.
3. Many granite colors have natural fissures. Feel the surface and consider if there are any open fissures that you will not be happy with.
4. Discuss maintenance with the salesperson. Be sure that there is a plan for sealing the granite after installation either by the installer or by you. Refer to our article "Sealing and Cleaning Your Granite" for more information.
5. Discuss the edge detail and how it will look with this specific granite. Some granite colors develop a patina over time from being exposed to sunlight or from airborne contaminants. When the granite edge is made, 'fresh' stone is exposed and does not have the same patina. It will appear lighter in most cases even after it is polished. This is common with some red and green granites. Also re-consider the edge detail style after selecting your granite. A very fancy edge on a very exotic granite will take over the room!
6. See full size edge detail samples from the fabricator, preferably on kitchens that are completed at the factory. This will give you a clear idea of how your edge selection will look in your kitchen.
7. Discuss where the seams (if any) will be required. A good custom fabricator tries to avoid seams at the corners where they will be most noticeable; however, sometimes this is the best location.
8. Be sure that you are looking at the granite in the right lighting. Viewing granite outside on a cloudy day does not always present the true color. Hopefully, you can look at the slab under good indoor lighting. Ask to take a sample home before committing to your choice.
9. Honed Granite: If you are considering 'honed granite' be sure to discuss the higher maintenance issues with the fabricator. Honed granite should be professionally sealed. We strongly oppose the use of Black Absolute Honed Granite for kitchens. While we understand the contemporary design intent, you will have high maintenance issues to consider such as finger prints, continual dusting, and cooking oil marks that you can not remove. Even routine cleaning can discolor honed black granite.
10. You are at the right selection yard if you received education from the salesperson. After covering the issues above, if you still have several colors in mind, go with the granite choice that 'moves' you. It is not uncommon that several granite colors will work in your kitchen, but after the technical evaluation is complete, check your feelings and go for it. Your choice will be the one you will enjoy the most for many years to come.