2012 03 27 14.14.19

Learn How Your Money is Being Spent on Your Stone Project


With the economic downturn, there is no doubt that consumers are watching their pennies. The Internet has become a valuable research tool within this economic environment and an educated consumer is a smart consumer.  However, shopping around for the cheapest price may save some money initially but it can also end up costing much more in the long run.  The best way to decide whom to choose to work with begins with knowing how your project is being priced.  Quality materials and experienced craftsmanship are the foundation of your granite countertop purchase.  The project is generally broken down into five categories: materials, fabrication, template and installation, and profit. To understand the pricing breakdown for your countertop, material prices are based off of finished materials by square foot.

Your material makes up approximately 25% – 50% of your final price per square foot. Readily available stones such as Ubatuba tend to make up a lower percentage and tend to contribute to a lower portion of the job.  There are an abundance of these quarries, therefore making it accessible by any distributor and retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes.   Unfortunately, there is much less quality control, giving some distributors an open door to lower standards.  The other extreme of materials such as Blue Pearl and Soapstone are not found in such high quantities, creating more control on reliability.  Exotic stones such as Fusion and Calacatta, and manufactured materials such as the Concetto line from CaesarStone (which is comprised of semi-precious stones that are rare and carefully chosen), could actually comprise up to 50% of the total price per square foot of a job, as the labor doesn’t change much.  There should be a slight increase in labor due to the risk of handling such a high-end product.

Labor makes up a significant portion of your quote.  This is where the specific details, which personalize your granite countertops, are calculated.  Edge profiles, polishing, sink and cook-top cut outs, and backsplash are some examples of this.  We, at MCM Natural Stone, rely on experienced craftsman to complete the process by hand from start to finish.  Shop overhead cost is another contributing factor to variation in price.  Staying compliant with OSHA guidelines and providing their employees with insurance reflects the founding principles of the fabricator. Some companies employ experienced staff to help in the design process and help see you through any problems that may arise.

As with labor, installation of your granite countertops is another considerable portion of the overall cost.  This process begins with the template and ends with the final details of the installation.  Paying a premium to ensure you have a reliable installer is worth the money.  Having the same person template and install helps maximize the communication and minimize the return trips back to the jobsite.  Fully insured installers are critical to the completion of your job, and requesting proof of Certificate of Liability Insurance ensures that your installer is providing coverage while working in your home. Important details such as proper seams, seam placement, sealing the stone, finishing the exposed rough underside of the stone, as well as final instructions on care and maintenance, help prolong the beauty of your investment.

The final component of the price is profit.  There are many reasons a job must produce profit other than simply making money.  A quality fabricator not only deals with reputable distributors, they provide a safe workplace for their employees.  Companies that do this are financially stable and also practice safety according to OSHA guidelines.  A shop that meets all these requirements is much more likely to treat your project with the same respect. Knowing how your money is being spent from start to finish will help protect your investment.  

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