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Just a bought an old house and need to re-do the kitchen. We are thinking about two options for countertop: Option 1 - DIY, buy granite tiles/bullnose and install ourselves (tile $6/sq ft, bullnose $11/ft, total $17/sq ft) ; Option 2 - buy granite slab and hire an installer ($15/sq ft for slab, installation $10/sq ft??).

Both of the options seem to be cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes (their cheapest is $39/sq ft). From your experience, which option is better? Do you have any granite installer to recommend? We don't have any experience in granite countertop. Any advice is appreciate.

Thanks.

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Just a bought an old house and need to re-do the kitchen. We are thinking about two options for countertop: Option 1 - DIY, buy granite tiles/bullnose and install ourselves (tile $6/sq ft, bullnose $11/ft, total $17/sq ft) ; Option 2 - buy granite slab and hire an installer ($15/sq ft for slab, installation $10/sq ft??).

Both of the options seem to be cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes (their cheapest is $39/sq ft). From your experience, which option is better? Do you have any granite installer to recommend? We don't have any experience in granite countertop. Any advice is appreciate.

Thanks.

Are you going to cut out for a sink or stove top? Will you have to use more than one slab and join pieces together? If so than I would highly recommend letting a professional do

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  • 2 weeks later...
Just a bought an old house and need to re-do the kitchen. We are thinking about two options for countertop: Option 1 - DIY, buy granite tiles/bullnose and install ourselves (tile $6/sq ft, bullnose $11/ft, total $17/sq ft) ; Option 2 - buy granite slab and hire an installer ($15/sq ft for slab, installation $10/sq ft??).

Both of the options seem to be cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes (their cheapest is $39/sq ft). From your experience, which option is better? Do you have any granite installer to recommend? We don't have any experience in granite countertop. Any advice is appreciate.

Thanks.

Search for the ads in the chronicle, green sheet, craigslist etc. There are a few asian-run places that get prefabricated slubs from China and can get $20-25/sq feet installed. It turned out to be as cheap as fancy laminate.

I've used a place called Sage Bathroom or something - can't find the phone number right now.

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If we are stuck in the same boat, hopefully its a booze cruze.

I would stick with a solid color corian, or the equivlent. Even some of the terrazzo looking selections look good. The whole granite idea is just a fad that is over. Stick with the basics and your overall design will be timeless.

My neighbor installs granite counters and has been VERY slow for some time..he may cut you a deal. PM me if you want.

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Booze cruze sounds good to me. What are your thoughts on Silestone? Expensive but low-maintenance. Saw bamboo counters over the weekend on TV. Sort of interesting. Are wood countertops tacky or is the wood/butcher block look timeless?

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Saying that granite tops is a fad that is over is more than just a little overstatement of things. Perhaps the crew at HGTV has moved on to petrified tiger dung and elephant tusks, but millions of homes now have granite tops, and given the expense of installing it and its durability without looking worn, it is not going anywhere soon. One may still install granite without fear that the local style maven will upchuck her fusion cuisine on your new granite. Granite's popularity has merely leveled off, where it is still a good look and a good product, minus your girlfriends squealing like schoolgirls when they enter your kitchen.

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The whole granite idea is just a fad that is over. Stick with the basics and your overall design will be timeless.

Was discussing this with a friend last night. We both have granite in our kitchens and we're both already tired of it. No matter how often we clean it, it still always looks dirty. And that's with using granite cleaner and having it sealed and everything. So frustrating to always have that muddled haze look, despite cleaning the couters till my hands are numb. :wacko:

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Was discussing this with a friend last night. We both have granite in our kitchens and we're both already tired of it. No matter how often we clean it, it still always looks dirty. And that's with using granite cleaner and having it sealed and everything. So frustrating to always have that muddled haze look, despite cleaning the couters till my hands are numb. :wacko:

Oh, sister, how I hate it! I come home from work every day when the sun is hitting it in that special way: hazy and filthy. No matter how much you wipe: hazy and dirty. How can something be busy, dull and ugly all at the same time?

Haven't decided yet between old fashioned tile, or wood. Been leaning toward wood for a while. The people who like granite from a functional standpoint must either have maids, or don't cook. And RedScare, don't try and tell us you cook daily. We don't believe you. :D

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Oh, sister, how I hate it! I come home from work every day when the sun is hitting it in that special way: hazy and filthy. No matter how much you wipe: hazy and dirty. How can something be busy, dull and ugly all at the same time?

Haven't decided yet between old fashioned tile, or wood. Been leaning toward wood for a while. The people who like granite from a functional standpoint must either have maids, or don't cook. And RedScare, don't try and tell us you cook daily. We don't believe you. :D

I keep a layer of dust on mine to keep the dullness and haziness from showing through.

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Hi,

I want to defend granite as well. It is by far the most durable countertop material. I find marble to be a bit softer and prone to scratches. The same is also true with metal (my faucets are incredibly spotty due to Houston city municipal water). Wood's surface won't survive very long, and I imagine its upkeep will be the most difficult (unless you want a Jackson Pollock original once the food penetrates the surface). The main problem with tile is grout staining, and I find dark grout very ugly. I don't know much about terrazo or corian, but both are man-made and probably weaker.

None of the granite cleaners really worked for me - they just shine up parts of the granite that are already clean. I switched to cleansers (especially Barkeeper's friend) and cleaning it became quite easy. I found you can also safely use a straight razor on granite to remove the worst deposits. My counter looked really far gone until I tried this, but now it always looks brand new.

Edited by flash
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Oh, sister, how I hate it! I come home from work every day when the sun is hitting it in that special way: hazy and filthy. No matter how much you wipe: hazy and dirty. How can something be busy, dull and ugly all at the same time?

Haven't decided yet between old fashioned tile, or wood. Been leaning toward wood for a while. The people who like granite from a functional standpoint must either have maids, or don't cook. And RedScare, don't try and tell us you cook daily. We don't believe you. :D

I think it depends on the color/style of granite. I used to live in a place that had black/almost black granite countertops and there was nothing I could do to keep it from looking hazy, I also had a friend with black granite with the same issue. I have since purchased a house that has brown granite countertops and they are a breeze to keep clean, I just wipe them down every once in a while or as needed and they never look hazy/dull/dirty.

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Anyone else have experience with Silestone? I thought it was great, but sold the house a year after installing it and don't have any knowledge of the long term performance.

Should wear like granite (i.e. last a long, long time...)

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I just remodeled my kitchen with pre-fab "slabs" (NOT from China). I have a galley kitchen, so it was really easy in terms of just having long, straight runs. The pre-fab slabs come in 8 and 9 foot sections, with either right, left, or front-only bull nose. I needed three slabs: an 8 foot slab, cut down to ~6 feet for one run, another 8 foot slab cut down to ~5 feet for a second run, and a 9 foot slab for the long run, that had the kitchen sink.

I cut the two 8 slabs, myself, using a diamond blade on a skill saw, fastened to a homemade jig/guide, that would give me a staight cut (you cannot freehand cut granite). And a slow trickle of water from the garden hose, to keep the blade cool. The trick is to make about 3 or 4 passes, each time lowering the blade down another 1/4". You don't just cut these things like a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, it worked like a champ. I could not be more pleased.

For the 9 foot section... I took that piece to a granite/stone shop near Clinton drive (on my homemade granite carrying jig, I made from 2x4's, for the back of my truck). They cut the sink opening, polished the edges, cut 1 3/8" hole for the faucet, cut off 2 inches on one side, and embedded rods on the front and back of the sink opening, to strengthen it. They did excellent work. I was highly impressed.

Price. You can buy pre-fab slabs, depending on what you get, anywhere from $200 to $350/slab. That comes out to $12.50 to $22.00 sq foot for the material, alone. That assumes that you use all of the material. If you look at the actual install price/sq ft, the cost goes up, because you're having to discard 2 and 3 foot sections that end up being cutting off. But you're going to have to do that anyway. The pre-fab work I had done on the long piece, I paid $250 for labor to get work done on that piece (if anyone knows who can do that work cheaper, please PM me, for next time.)

So my total bill, for the whole countertop job (including labor on the 9' piece, plus all the material), was ~$1100 or $27.50/sq ft (I chose a nicer grade vs. the cheaper stuff - plus that is the installed sq ft price - 40 sq ft). Including the scrap pieces, which I could not use, the cost goes down to $22/sq ft - but that's cheating. This job done by Lowe's or HD would have been in the $55+ range. So I saved quite a bit of money.

If you have a kitchen anything more complex than an "L" shaped kitchen (e.g. odd angles, a lot of odd shaped bar area, odd sized island, etc.) - you're pretty much going to have to go custom for that kind of job.

Granite is extremely heavy. If you don't have a truck, this job is almost impossible to do. Otherwise, you're doing to have to add the expense of having it dropped off at your house, or borrow someone else's truck, etc. Did I mention that granite is heavy? It takes at least 2 people to load/unload the 8' sections; it took 4 of us to unload the 9' section, after it had been cut with the sink opening - just to be careful.

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Our granite doesn't look hazy, it looks clean and shiny unless it's dirty. Maybe it's the color, it's got brown and black mixed up in there. I like it. But I think concrete would be cool. Until it cracks. What about a thick piece of wood covered in some heavy duty super hard resin?

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I think it depends on the color/style of granite. I used to live in a place that had black/almost black granite countertops and there was nothing I could do to keep it from looking hazy, I also had a friend with black granite with the same issue. I have since purchased a house that has brown granite countertops and they are a breeze to keep clean, I just wipe them down every once in a while or as needed and they never look hazy/dull/dirty.

I agree. we had an almost black granite countertop in our old house that always seemed to have a dull haze but in our recent house the lighter brown countertop we now have looks much better, despite being older. Black countertops are like buying a black colored vehicle. They look incredibly good when cleaned and waxed but look like crap if they get just a little road dust on them.

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My cousin works in a specialty wood shop in either Medina or Bandera. They take fallen cypress trees (and others) from the banks of the rivers up there and build furniture. They make countertops as well. I have thought about having him make me one for my kitchen. It is so beautiful. I'll have to ask him the name of the woodshop. They ship all over the world.

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Anyone else have experience with Silestone? I thought it was great, but sold the house a year after installing it and don't have any knowledge of the long term performance.

I had some installed earlier this year, and we're very pleased thus far... The newer styles don't appear as manufactured as they have in the past (at least to me). Plus keeping it clean is incredibly easy. Obviously, I can't really attest to long-term performance yet either, but everyone loves it - or at least says they do :)

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So my total bill, for the whole countertop job (including labor on the 9' piece, plus all the material), was ~$1100 or $27.50/sq ft (I chose a nicer grade vs. the cheaper stuff - plus that is the installed sq ft price - 40 sq ft). Including the scrap pieces, which I could not use, the cost goes down to $22/sq ft - but that's cheating. This job done by Lowe's or HD would have been in the $55+ range. So I saved quite a bit of money.

By the time you factor in construction adhesive, epoxy for the joints, the diamond blade, gas, the a-frame you built and something for your time, I don't think you saved any money.

I'm paying my granite installer $30 a square foot for a B class granite like giallo ornamental installed and $125 for undermount sink labor in a kitchen. The installer eats the cost of the wasted material.

For 40 square feet and 1 sink, that's $1,325 and I don't have to do anything or provide any materials.

flipper

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I don't know anything about its performance over time, but I think the Silestone that looks like terrazzo is very pretty.

I'm still thinking I'll be going with tile when I redo my countertops, though. Part of my problem with granite is that it just wouldn't look right in my old house, but a big part is that I'm commitment phobic. All that expense and then you decide you don't like the look anymore, and you can't just send it back to the quarry and I don't know what kind of aftermarket or recycling options it affords.

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I don't know anything about its performance over time, but I think the Silestone that looks like terrazzo is very pretty.

I'm still thinking I'll be going with tile when I redo my countertops, though. Part of my problem with granite is that it just wouldn't look right in my old house, but a big part is that I'm commitment phobic. All that expense and then you decide you don't like the look anymore, and you can't just send it back to the quarry and I don't know what kind of aftermarket or recycling options it affords.

I hate hate hate the exterior color of my house. That's the last time I will hire the painter before deciding on the color. Perfect example of haste makes waste. HA!

I have 4 inch white porcelain tile on my counters. I hate the grout lines, even with sealer, they get dirty. I wonder how it would look with a tinted grout?

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Anyone else have experience with Silestone? I thought it was great, but sold the house a year after installing it and don't have any knowledge of the long term performance.

Don't have Silestone but know a lot who do. A little cheaper and just as durable as granite (I think). You have the option of just getting a plain color for the more timeless look or you can get all tacky with a blue with lots of sparklies. We've got Corian at home (it's OK) but I wish we had Silestone instead.

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I agree. we had an almost black granite countertop in our old house that always seemed to have a dull haze but in our recent house the lighter brown countertop we now have looks much better, despite being older. Black countertops are like buying a black colored vehicle. They look incredibly good when cleaned and waxed but look like crap if they get just a little road dust on them.

I think that's my problem, too - black granite. I've given up on keeping it non-hazy for now, and will just have to put extra effort into it to keep it shiny when we finally go to sell the house. :rolleyes:

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I just remodeled my kitchen with pre-fab "slabs" (NOT from China). I have a galley kitchen, so it was really easy in terms of just having long, straight runs. The pre-fab slabs come in 8 and 9 foot sections, with either right, left, or front-only bull nose. I needed three slabs: an 8 foot slab, cut down to ~6 feet for one run, another 8 foot slab cut down to ~5 feet for a second run, and a 9 foot slab for the long run, that had the kitchen sink.

I cut the two 8 slabs, myself, using a diamond blade on a skill saw, fastened to a homemade jig/guide, that would give me a staight cut (you cannot freehand cut granite). And a slow trickle of water from the garden hose, to keep the blade cool. The trick is to make about 3 or 4 passes, each time lowering the blade down another 1/4". You don't just cut these things like a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, it worked like a champ. I could not be more pleased.

For the 9 foot section... I took that piece to a granite/stone shop near Clinton drive (on my homemade granite carrying jig, I made from 2x4's, for the back of my truck). They cut the sink opening, polished the edges, cut 1 3/8" hole for the faucet, cut off 2 inches on one side, and embedded rods on the front and back of the sink opening, to strengthen it. They did excellent work. I was highly impressed.

Price. You can buy pre-fab slabs, depending on what you get, anywhere from $200 to $350/slab. That comes out to $12.50 to $22.00 sq foot for the material, alone. That assumes that you use all of the material. If you look at the actual install price/sq ft, the cost goes up, because you're having to discard 2 and 3 foot sections that end up being cutting off. But you're going to have to do that anyway. The pre-fab work I had done on the long piece, I paid $250 for labor to get work done on that piece (if anyone knows who can do that work cheaper, please PM me, for next time.)

So my total bill, for the whole countertop job (including labor on the 9' piece, plus all the material), was ~$1100 or $27.50/sq ft (I chose a nicer grade vs. the cheaper stuff - plus that is the installed sq ft price - 40 sq ft). Including the scrap pieces, which I could not use, the cost goes down to $22/sq ft - but that's cheating. This job done by Lowe's or HD would have been in the $55+ range. So I saved quite a bit of money.

If you have a kitchen anything more complex than an "L" shaped kitchen (e.g. odd angles, a lot of odd shaped bar area, odd sized island, etc.) - you're pretty much going to have to go custom for that kind of job.

Granite is extremely heavy. If you don't have a truck, this job is almost impossible to do. Otherwise, you're doing to have to add the expense of having it dropped off at your house, or borrow someone else's truck, etc. Did I mention that granite is heavy? It takes at least 2 people to load/unload the 8' sections; it took 4 of us to unload the 9' section, after it had been cut with the sink opening - just to be careful.

most of the cheap pre-fab are "seconds" They are seconds for varying reasons (e.g. scratches, natural veins, mispolishing, bow).

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By the time you factor in construction adhesive, epoxy for the joints, the diamond blade, gas, the a-frame you built and something for your time, I don't think you saved any money.

I'm paying my granite installer $30 a square foot for a B class granite like giallo ornamental installed and $125 for undermount sink labor in a kitchen. The installer eats the cost of the wasted material.

For 40 square feet and 1 sink, that's $1,325 and I don't have to do anything or provide any materials.

flipper

You flip houses. I don't. And I still paid less. Contstruction adhesive was cheap, no epoxy for any joints (because there are none), lumber was (8 2x4's?) not expensive.. The diamond blade was pricey: $25. Even adding all these misc expenses, I still came out pretty good, IMO. Regarding labor, my labor rate, charged to me is $0. And I get to live with my mistakes, not those of others.

Edited by BryanS
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most of the cheap pre-fab are "seconds" They are seconds for varying reasons (e.g. scratches, natural veins, mispolishing, bow).

You're going to apply the same scrutiny to a full slab of granite vs. these pre-fabs, at least I do. That is, you have to look at what you're buying and stay away from defects/natural artifacts that you don't like. This is not an item you should order on the internet.

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Just curious, Bryan. Did you get any quotes before doing it yourself? I only ask because I have seen numbers close to yours for simple jobs like that. Clearly, using Lowes or Home Depot will get you ripped off, but if one uses a good sub, granite prices can easily get into the mid-20s to low 30s range. Only the complex countertops or very pricey granite should reach the 40s, and frankly, nothing should hit the 50s.

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I've been quoted $150/sf for concrete countertops. OUCH!

Im in same boat. 1955 house. Flooded last month, redoing pretty much everything. Down to countertops in Kitchen and Bathrooms. Got custom cabinets built already. Cant decide on where to go from here. Budget is a bit tight after long list of projects. Is ceramic tile totally out these days? Granite tiles even worth it to save money over slabs? I presume the recycled option is rather expensive?

Right now the kitchen floor tiles are somewhat off white. Other than that I am trying to come up with a cool color scheme. I do have a wood panel dining area connected to kitchen painted all white currently. Do I go dark stained cabinets? Dark countertops? Guess thats more of a personal preference.... I just suck at it.

I am also looking into tin as a possible backsplash option as well. Anyone hip to this? http://www.americantinceilings.com/backspl...CFQ_yDAode0s-Bw

Edited by TexansFight
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