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  • 1/18/2017 8:45 AM

A Checklist for Choosing Natural Stone Slabs

Hand selecting stone slabs is one of the most important components to meet buyers expectations when choosing natural stone slabs. The purchaser should hand select the specific slab(s) that they want to purchase, which then need to be tagged with the purchasers information. This is because natural stone slabs are each unique and vary in the amount of coloration, veins, natural fissures, or more. Finding a fabricator that has a warehouse and keeps slabs in stock is the best option for purchasing stone slabs, this way you get to physically inspect the slab that you are buying and can ensure that you will be happy with the results. Following is a list of criteria that can help you when you are looking for stone slabs to purchase.

1. Imagine what you want the end result of your project to look like.
Do you like the look of natural veining and picture it in your completed kitchen or bathroom? Do you not want to see veins, natural fissures, or spots in your finished project? If you do not want to see certain characteristics in your slab, ask the fabricator to commit to avoiding these elements. It may sound like a lot to ask for, but any good fabricator will avoid any personal preferences for their customers. Ultimately, if you still don’t like what you see, then you will likely have to choose different slabs.

2. Consider the direction of the veining in the slabs.
The direction of the veins makes quite a difference. Your fabricator should be able to give you advice if you talk to them about it. After templates are created, it is advised to be present to be a part of the layout process to ensure that things look the way you want.

3. Touch the surface of granite to feel for any natural fissures.
A lot of granite colors have natural fissures. Make sure you are aware of and happy with these before you commit.

4. Ask the salesperson about the maintenance of the stone.
Ensure that a plan is in place to seal the stone after it is installed by either the installer or yourself. See the care and cleaning section on our site for more information.

5. Consider the edge detail and how it will look with certain stone.
Some types of stone develop a patina over time from exposure to direct sunlight or contaminants in the air. When the edge is initially made the fresh stone does not have the same patina and typically will appear lighter, even after it is polished. This is particularly common with green and red granite. Make sure you use an experienced fabricator, they will have the knowledge and the skill to match the edge of the stone with the face.

6. Ask to view full size samples of edge details from the fabricator.
If possible, ask to view completed kitchens with different edge details. Seeing the full size sample will give you the best idea of how the edge you choose will look in your own kitchen.

7. Consider the placement of the seams and/or joints.
The number of these seams and/or joints will be minimized by a skilled and experienced fabricator. Also, ensure that the fabricator has their own installers, rather than contracting work out. This becomes particularly helpful when it comes to warranty issues and deadlines.

8. Make sure that you are picking out the stone in proper lighting.
The best lighting for choosing stone is in good indoor lighting. Looking at stone outside in bright sunlight can misrepresent what the stone will look like indoors. Also, be sure to request a sample of stone to take home before committing to the purchase.

9. Discuss the types of finish you desire with your fabricator.

If you want brushed or honed countertops talk to your fabricator about the maintenance. It is recommended that brushed or honed stone be sealed by a professional. Black granite that is brushed or honed is harder to maintain due to visible fingerprints, dust, and marks from cooking oil that can stain the stone.

10. If you receive good education from your salesperson that indicates that you have found a good fabricator.
If you still are torn between certain colors of stone after reading the above information, then choose the stone that speaks to you or stands out to you the most. There’s no doubt that multiple types of stone and colors will work well in your space, but after all the technical components have been checked the best advice is to go with your feelings on the choice of stone. This is likely the right choice for you and will be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Hopefully now that you are aware of some important factors of choosing natural stone and a good fabricator like ourselves, you can make your decision a little more easily. If you want to check out natural stone materials for yourself, stop by G.M.S. Werks and check out our showroom for your natural stone needs! Our hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can also reach us by phone during our normal business hours at 402-451-3400 or email us by going to the contact page of our new site!

We have been meeting the needs of both residential and commercial customers for over 90 years.