Should I get Custom Granite Countertops or Prefab?
We’ll compare the benefits of custom stone countertops to prefab…
If you are starting a kitchen or bathroom remodel and have made it to shopping for countertop options, you’ve probably come across the term “prefab”. Whether you are shopping for granite, quartz, or marble countertops the term “prefab” means the same thing – the stone has been prefabricated to standard dimensions and edge types. Why does that matter?
Size and Dimensions of Counters
First, let’s talk about sizing. You’ll need to know at least rough dimensions of your counters in order to ensure prefab material will fit properly in your space. If not, you will either need to go with custom-fit countertops or be okay with having a visible seam somewhere on the countertop. This is the first benefit to custom countertops! No matter your countertop layout, the granite, marble or quartz can be cut to fit your precise needs without unnecessary seams. If you have particularly long spaces to cover or wide, such as a wide kitchen island, custom cuts are definitely the way to go.
Prefab stone will come with a preset edge type, so you will not get to choose the style. Customized countertops allow you to choose the style of edging you want, although it can affect the price. So, if you find a prefab color and edging you like and it fits your space, then prefab may be a good option for you. That brings me to the next limitation of prefab…
Prefab material (marble, granite, or quartz) is cut in mass quantities of a particular color option, so there is very limited color options as opposed to custom slabs which are cut out of the earth all over the world in many varieties.
Do you care how thick your counters appear? Or are you concerned about a large amount of weight bearing down on your countertops? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, prefab material may not meet your expectations. Here’s why… Standard granite countertops are 3 cm thick. Sometimes the granite is glued together to form a wrap around the front so it appears double that thickness. Prefab granite is 2 cm thick or is offered in 3 cm for a premium price, particularly in the greater Seattle area and Pacific Northwest. The outcome is a thinner-looking counter that may have weight limitations if you are planning on storing or having heavy items on it regularly.
If you are set on having natural stone as opposed to engineered “fake” stone, you’ll want to choose custom granite or quartz countertops. (Marble is a softer stone and engineered to countertop slabs) Prefab granite or quartz may or may not be naturally occurring stone carved from actual quarries in the earth.
Lastly, is a very important factor in most people’s decision, but also can be dependent on many factors – price. Generally, prefab material is known to be cheaper because it is mass-produced and doesn’t require the custom labor. However, depending on your particular layout, dimensions, and edging choices, you may actually save money using custom material. This can be especially true if you can find remnants at your local supplier. To learn more about how the price of prefab vs. custom countertops varies, read this.
If you have not already prepped for the installation of new stone countertops, you can start with these 5 steps. The process does not need to be as complicated as it sometimes sounds. Be sure to choose a fabricator that is flexible to be as involved as you’d like to be during the process. Seattle’s Best Granite, in Marysville Washington, does a fantastic job at taking the reigns and designing beautiful countertops for kitchen and bath. If you need a bit of education and explanation of the process or terms used, their customer service experts are very patient and willing to explain.