Calacatta Marble Kitchen Countertop

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4 TIPS WHEN SHOPPING FOR A KITCHEN OR BATHROOM COUNTERTOP

Posted by Nelson Wong on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 11:17 AM

You’ve decided that your kitchen and bathrooms are ready to be revitalized. You have an idea of the style and colour for your kitchen or bathroom and now you’re ready to begin your shopping.  What are the key things, that an informed shopper must be prepared with, to make their buying a smooth experience?

kitchen renovation

1. Determine the right surface material to meet your lifestyle and budgetary needs

 We’re going to presume that you’ve done your homework, surfing the web, and found the right material for your home project, from the low maintenance and inexpensive laminates to the high-end granite, quartz and marble stones.  Let’s assume that you think, quartz, best fits your needs because it looks like natural stone without the deficiencies found in granite or marble. Quartz products are brilliant for busy individuals who do not have time to worry about spills and other messes on the countertop. Unlike its granite counterpart, quartz never needs sealing and almost any household cleaner is appropriate for wiping down stains. Granite is best suited for individuals that consider their countertop a kind of home "show piece". Considered a high maintenance surface, spills must be wiped up right away and a granite cleaner is recommended for daily upkeep. 

 Through research, you’ve become acquainted with well-known brands like Viatera, Caesarstone and Silestone, for quartz countertops, and that prices may vary between $80 and $150 per square foot, depending on the quality and detail work.  The first thing you notice is that prices are based on square footage.  This means you must know the “square footage” of your project in order to get an accurate read of the estimates against your budget.

Formula: Square Footage of a countertop = “length” x “width” of the countertop

Kitchen sketched diagram.JPEG

In fact, you may want to make sure your linear footage measurements are converted into inches when you shop around for your estimates. A good idea would be to diagram your countertops with the exact dimensions to help eliminate the guess work in getting your estimates done quickly and accurately.

2. Things to keep in mind when seeking estimates

 When shopping around, another good idea would be to bring with you flooring samples, paint chips or cabinet colour to help select a countertop that works with your decor. By narrowing your countertop colour selection, your kitchen and bathroom dealer/designer will be able give a more accurate cost for the job you have in mind. 

Also, consider the material thickness of the countertop design for your home project. Prevailing industry standards had granite and quartz countertops made to be ¾” in thickness. It then follows, to make the ¾” thick countertop edge to be laminated to have a 1 ½” edge profile. Why this size of edge? This size was perfect for framed cabinets since that thickness edge can cover the gap between the top of the cabinet and the cabinet door. Even as cabinets became frameless, the 1 ½” edging is still considered a popular size.

Edge Profiles

 

 

 waterfall edge countertopThe trends, over the last few years, had thick counter tops made with 2” to 3” mitred edgings. The "waterfall" style edge, gives a dramatic look, by flowing down the side of the cabinets to the floor to create a thick side panel.

As you shop, you may become overwhelmed with the various options available for your counter top. By having the basics, the countertop measurements, your home decor samples and diagrams of kitchen or bathroom lay-out; you’re better equipped to deal with the leg work of getting an estimate done a lot easier and quicker.

3. Think about the sink

You’ve planned for new counter topsBlanco Silgranit Sink but have you thought about adding a new sink to the kitchen or bathroom design? Sinks not only accents the new look of your kitchen but it happens to be a focal point for your day-to-day activity at home. Initially, you may struggle with the decision to do it all at once, but consider the savings on the extra time and costs, by not having to search for a new sink and then finding a plumber to install your afterthought. Some of the popular brand names include Blanco, Kindred and Kohler. 

 

4. Making the installation process a smooth and easy operation

You’ve completed the leg work of getting your estimates and now you’re ready to choose the countertop company who will make your project a reality. By and large, you can expect to get your table made within two to three weeks, from the time the countertop company send its templators to measure your kitchen or bathroom. By industry standards, a one week (seven business days) turn-around time is considered excellent. There are a couple things that you can do to make this happen. 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two scheduled engagements that you will be needed to be available for, the first is the templating appointment and the second will be for the actual countertop installation.

The first appointment is important because it starts the production process. When the templators arrive at your home, make sure all the cabinetry are secured and installed in their final location.  The templators will create digital blue print of your kitchen or bathroom. These are exact measurements that will require having your appliances and sinking to be present on site to be factored into the final dimensions of the countertops. Basically, if it affects the countertop, the templator will want to know about it. This initial meeting most likely involves a six hour window which factors in arrival time to the completion of the task.

The second meeting will be the installation of your countertops and is the “home stretch” to the completion of your revitalization project. This appointment may require you to be at home for the entire day but consider this a small investment in time for a beautiful kitchen that will add enjoyment, value and longevity to your home.

Ultimately, the more information you have at your finger tips, the less time you will spend on the little nitty gritty, and the better your shopping experience becomes. 

Topics: counter tops, Caesarstone, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, quartz countertop prices, counter top, Countertops, Kitchen Renovation, Kitchen Sinks, Kitchen Sink, how long to make a countertop, Counter top thickness, Quartz, bathroom design; Installing; installation; install

3 Money Saving Ideas for you Kitchen Renovation

Posted by Bob Gilson on Wed, Oct 03, 2012 @ 07:32 PM

Tip 1: Keep It Simple!

The kitchen pictured below looks amazing and I know the homeowners love it. However how much did it cost? How could they have saved money on this beautiful design?

First off, look closely and you will see that the customer picked an expensive edge profile.  A square polished or eased edge profile isn't considered an upgrade at Latitude whereas the edge profile in the picture costs $45 per linear ft.  If you have 30 feet of edge, that beautiful scuplted edge profile just added $$1,350 to the cost of your counter top. 

Don't get me wrong, if you like the edge profile and you can afford it, go for it.  I did and I love how it looks in our kitchen.  However, if you are looking to save money, then stick to a square polished or beveled edge.

 

Granite countertop tips

 Tip 2: Size and Shape Does Matter!

Different materials come in different sizes.  Some products are only available in 120" X 56" whereas other products are available in "Jumbo" slabs 130" X 63". 

When we cut your counter top, we lay the counter top pieces out to get the best yield from the slabs.  If you picked a directional granite (a granite colour with lots of movement and veins) then we need to try and book match your counter top wherever two pieces meet.  This can lead to a lot of waste which you will be paying for. 

That beautiful arc on the island in the kitchen above looks great but is expensive to fabricate and also creates additional waste.

If you have a large island or want fewer seams, then an extra man charge to install that large heavy piece in your home.  Extra man charges start at $200 and up depending upon the installation.

Your counter top is priced by the square foot. If you stick to rectangular pieces as much as possible, then you will save material and money.  If you have the budget and you want the look of flowing curved lines, then definitely do it. We can create any curve you want.

Tip 3: Avoid Exotic Granite and Marble

Now this is a really tough piece of advice for a counter top fabricator to give you.  Why? Because we make so much money on these counter tops!  Boy oh boy, our accountant just loves it when you buy exotic granites and marbles.  

Exotic granite and marble are like a piece of art.  Exotic granite is truely a work of nature at its finest! No man made product can come even close to matching the work of mother nature.

However, fabricating these materials is difficult.  They are usually soft and brittle.  Exotic granite counter tops can easily break in the manufacturing process or in installation. Every manufacturer in the world has a whole yard full of beautiful pieces that broke. Now that's great if you are after a remnant piece.  (My wife found a beautiful piece of Cosmos 9' long hidden amongst our remnant pieces.  It now sits in our ensuite bathroom and we love it.)  However, it is unlikely that you're going to find enough material for a standard kitchen.

Because of manufacturing and installation problems, every fabricator increases their profit margins and their waste factors when calculating the price of your counter top when you select an exotic or difficult to work with material. In fact, we won't even manufacture some extremely high end products.  Instead, we will refer you to an artisan who specializes in fabricating exotic granite or marble counter tops.

If you are on a tight budget, then these high end materials aren't for you.

There it is! My top three tips for saving money on granite counter tops!

If you are looking for more information on planning and designing you kitchen, I suggest you visit Kitchen Design Tips for some great planning advice and more on Granite Counter Top Pricing or you can visit one of our dealers located across Ontario.

Topics: counter tops, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, quartz countertop prices, granite countertop, Granite counter top prices, how to save on granite granite counter top costs, estimating kitchen renovation costs, estimating the cost of a granite countertop, granite countertop installation, Granite Kitchen Countertops, how to estimate the cost of a granite countertop, Caesarstone countertop prices, granite countertop prices

How Much Does a Granite or Quartz Countertop Cost?

Posted by Bob Gilson on Mon, Oct 01, 2012 @ 03:43 PM

This is by far the most frequently asked question.  It is also the most difficult question to answer due to the variety of kitchens, styles, options and materials. But I really wanted to give one straight forward number that most people can use to estimate the cost of their granite or quartz countertop.

To calculate the average square foot price, I looked back over the past year and divided our sales by the total square footage we sold to determine the average square foot price. The average retail price I came up with was $80 per square foot of counter top.  Since we are in Canada, I thought I should also calculate the price in meters, which is $861.12 per sq. meter (one meter is 10.764 sq. feet). 

What do I get for $80 per square foot?Latitude Granite Countertop resized 600

What does the average retail price of $80 per square foot of countertop include? This price includes all the standard stuff you need in your typical granite countertop kitchen installation: granite or quartz material, templating, installation, travel (if required), sink cut outs, edging, plywood (if required) stove cutouts, fridge cutout and faucet holes. 

How come my Uncle Vinney only paid $45 per square foot for his granite countertop from you guys?

Well, we liked your Uncle Vinney better than you…. Just kidding!

Now I don’t want to get a million comments about this blog, so I will defend myself by quoting my old statistics professor from my undergraduate days.  He was a retired British Royal Air Force Colonel and he liked to bark in a typical British military style, “There are Lies! ... Damn Lies!! And THEN THERE ARE STATISTICS!!!” 

What my old prof meant by that quote was that statistics is bit of an art and a science.  You can make numbers say almost anything you want to if you try and are blessed or cursed with the knowledge of statistics.  The $80 per square foot of countertop price I’m using here is an average price.  Some granite countertops sold for more and some for less.

If you buy a remnant granite countertop directly from our factory you will pay less.  If you pick a beautiful Louise Blue granite, you will pay over $200 per square foot.  In the end, the price really comes down to what material and edge profiles you choose as well as the features and options you want as well.

 

Visit Our Show Room Today

 

All I’m saying is that each year Latitude makes over 4,000 countertops and on average our customers pay $80 per square foot.   

One last comment about countertop prices

When you are shopping for countertops you shouldn’t just focus on price.  Price is only one part of the total value proposition.  Even Walmart doesn’t compete only on price.  Walmart also includes selection and availability in its value proposition. 

When it comes to countertops here are a few additional points to consider in the total value proposition:

  • How long will it take to have your countertop installed?

  • Does the countertop company offer additional services i.e. countertop removal

  • Can the countertop company template without you removing your old countertop first?

  • What does the countertop guarantee and for how long?

  • Can I pick my granite slab or does the countertop company pick it for me?

  • How long will the company hold the granite slab I picked?

  • What have other customers said about the company?

  • How long have they been in business?  The company guarantee isn’t worth anything if the company isn’t around next year.

  • Do I trust the company to make it right?

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The Easy Way to Estimate Your Granite Countertop

If you are in the middle of budgeting your kitchen renovation or estimating the granite countertop for your new home, all you have to do is calculate the square footage of kitchen countertop and multiply it times $80 and that is approximately what you will pay for your granite or quartz countertop.  Most kitchens today are around 35 square feet, so you can expect to pay around $2,800 plus taxes for your countertop.  Depending on your options and the material you chose, you may pay less or a lot more .... and remember what my prof said about statistics.

Bob Gilson

Topics: quartz countertop prices, how to save on granite granite counter top costs, estimating kitchen renovation costs, estimating the cost of a granite countertop, granite countertop installation, how to estimate the cost of a granite countertop, Remnant Granite, Remnat Kitchen countertops, Granite Kitchen Countertop prices, countertop prices, estimating a caesarstone countertop, countertop price estimator

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