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5 questions to ask before hiring a granite fabricator

Granite is one of the most beautiful materials that can be used for a countertop either in the kitchen or the bathroom. A rock that was formed millions of years ago in the bowels of a volcano, it’s as tough and durable as it’s beautiful. Granted, it’s expensive, but given the right care it will last longer than the house or just about anything else.

The professional to go to for a granite countertop is a granite fabricator. He or she knows how to make and install countertops and can make one to order for a homeowner’s kitchen counter or bathroom vanity. Since granite is a bit pricey and the homeowner will be living with it for a long time, it’s a good idea to choose a granite fabricator with care much like a homeowner would a general contractor. This means that the homeowner might want to interview the fabricator before hiring them to make up his or her countertop. Here are five important questions to ask:

Will the Countertop Be Pre-sealed?
For all its toughness, granite is porous and needs to be sealed to protect it from staining and etching. It's good if the granite is pre-sealed, but if it’s not the homeowner will have to seal the countertop him or herself. Fortunately, this is a quick and easy thing to do. A good company will also give their customers instructions on how to care for their granite countertops.

Can the Homeowner See the Slabs?
The countertop will be cut from a slab of granite. Because it's a natural material, every granite slab is different. Though the homeowner may have selected a color and pattern from a book or a website, it’s important to see the slab itself to make sure that the inevitable color and pattern variations are acceptable. The homeowner will also be able to feel the texture of the slab.

Who Will Actually Install the Granite Countertop?
The homeowner will need to find out whether or not the company has technicians who install the countertop or whether they leave it to subcontractors. It’s a good idea to ask for references and proof of insurance before taking on an installer.

How Long Will It Take to Get The Countertop Installed?
After the space is measured, it shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks to get the countertop installed. It should certainly be no longer than a month. It’s no fun to have everything else installed in the kitchen or bath save the countertop. The homeowner will probably need to submit a down payment before work can begin.

Do They Fabricate By Machine or By Hand?
A big company with lots of orders will most likely fabricate by machine since this is faster. A smaller company will hand-fabricate their granite countertops. One of the drawbacks of machine fabricated countertops is that sometimes the polishing isn’t as exquisite as it would be with hand-fabricated granite. The best of both worlds is to use a company that machine fabricates then manually polishes the countertop. The company should tell the homeowner whether they do this or not.

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