Why You Should Never Buy Quartz or Granite at Big Box Stores

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When you’re renovating your kitchen one of the biggest price tags will come from the countertops you select. And because it’s so expensive you want to make sure you’re educated about not just what to buy but where to buy. For granite and marble countertops you can visit your local stone supplier. If you’re looking for quartz you can visit a local fabricator showroom. 

You can also head to your closest big box store where you’ll find some of the same items. For those who are tempted to keep it easy and shop big box you’ll want to read this. I’m sharing the reasons why you should never buy quartz or granite from a local big box store.

 

1/ They’re Not Specialists

 

Countertops are just one of a thousand items you can buy in a big box store. They don’t specialize in sourcing or installing granite or quartz. In fact, they’re not even the supplier of these quartz and granite products. They purchase them from local companies for the lowest price to ensure they can maximize profit. 

While it might seem convenient to be able to purchase your cabinets, countertops, backsplash and flooring from the same place you’re missing out on the benefits a specialist can provide. 

When you visit a stone yard or quartz fabricator you’ll see just what you were missing when you shopped at the big box store. The array of beautiful items that you never see at big box stores will make you instantly reconsider. 

 

2/ You Won’t See the Full Slab

SOURCE: SNB Stone

One of the best parts of taking a client shopping for quartz or granite is seeing how excited they become when they see the full design spread across an entire slab. When you shop at a big box store you’ll be limited to only the part of the design they can fit into their tiny samples.

There are plenty of times I’ve fallen in love with a slab that I would have completely disregarded based solely on the small sample. And alternatively, I’ve also changed my mind for a client project once I saw the entire design in a large format. You should never make a decision about something so impactful based on a small sample.

Patterns, particularly with granite as it’s a natural stone filled with intricacies, can’t be fully embraced until you’ve seen the slab. You’ll never discover in a sample bright, shining flecks of other stones or the way a vein changes direction. Sometimes the full slab will feel too chaotic and busy. In the case of quartz you might actually feel it’s boring once you see the entire slab. 

Overall, it’s best to avoid making a decision about stone or granite countertops unless you can see the entire slab first.

 

3/ Big Box Stores Use Sub-Contractors For Installation

SOURCE: Maison & Demeure

It can make a significant impact in your kitchen to have a beautiful stone slab installed carelessly. Seams are often sloppily joined or don’t fit nicely into corners or butting up against walls. These are the most common mistakes made by inexperienced installers but it definitely doesn’t cover the list of complaints. Small chips in the stone, hairline cracks and too much adhesive around faucets are also very common when countertops are installed by sub-contractor who aren’t experienced enough. 

When you go directly to the stone yard or fabricator’s you’ll be working with a team of people who have been trained to work with this product. They’re accustomed to the product and its nuance because they do this type of installation full time. 

Sub-contractors who are hired by big box stores might be installing carpeting, tile floor and countertops all in the same day. They’ll never be as precise or take the same pride in their installation as those who do it everyday. 

4/ The Template Team is Inexperienced

 

Creating a perfect template is essential to getting a perfectly installed countertop. When you shop directly from the supplier they’ll have team members who spend everyday creating templates. 

There’s a lot more to the template than just measuring the length and depth of the countertop. There are precise cutouts for sinks and faucets as well as managing slab sizes and patterns to ensure the most beautiful part of a slab is being showcased. Experienced templaters know where seams should go to be the most discreet and they know how to manage tight corners. 

There are instances where a sub-contractor creates the template using digital measuring tools which will never be as seamless or precise as a handmade template. Digital measuring tools are great for measuring spaces but when it comes to precision measuring they can fail. 

Many of the big box stores will make you sign a waiver giving the fabricator the right to decide where the seams are installed on your countertop. This will always be advantageous to them and not you. They’ll want to have the smallest amount of waste possible so you may end up with awkward placement because it benefited them. 

 

5/ Your Missing the Most Exciting Slabs

SOURCE: Midwest Marble and Granite

Big box stores want to deal in volume and the easiest way to keep customers satisfied is to offer the most basic stone with limited pattern and movement. This keeps the complaints to a minimum but it also means you’re missing out on the best slabs these companies have to offer.

Your selections at a big box store will be generic, vanilla options that you’ll likely see in your neighbour’s home. If you want a unique design that looks like you worked with a designer, you need to skip the big box options.

Don’t be afraid to look around at the local options for fabricators and stone suppliers to see the best that’s out there. You’re going to have this countertop for a very long time so pick something that will feel exciting and unique to you.

 

6/ You’re Going to Pay More

SOURCE: Construction 2 Style

Contrary to popular belief, you won’t save money and in fact you will spend more money shopping at your local big box store. Prices can be 25% higher at big box stores than if you visited your local stone yard and purchased directly.  

One of the ways that you end up paying more at the big box store is that they will gouge you for every little upgrade or change starting with the templating process. While a specialty provider includes the template measuring as part of their service, big box stores will charge you for this. Be careful and ask about additional charges for things like edging and number of faucets. These are often additional costs that will mitigate any savings you might think you’re receiving. 

 

I hope that helped take away some of the confusion you may have been feeling about where to shop. If you’re renovating your kitchen and would like to speak to me, reach out. I’d love to hear about your upcoming project. 

 

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