So you have bought your dream kitchen units and are looking for something special to add that million-dollar feel to your work surfaces. Well, it doesn’t come any more special than granite. Literally thousands of colours and patterns exist, but believe it or not the UK customer tends to choose darker colours such as Absolute Black or Star Galaxy. It is worth pointing out that in the industry the word granite covers a variety of stones (some of which are not actual granites) — if you require the actual classification of the stone you are purchasing ask your fabricator.
When deciding on colour, firstly contact your fabricator and visit any showrooms to see the granite in situ (reputable companies will always have showrooms) and ask how the colours you like perform as work surfaces. As a general rule of thumb, darker colours are usually dense and strong whereas lighter colours are weaker and can be prone to breakage across weak points such as cut-outs for cooker hobs and sinks.
Consider the design layout of your kitchen very carefully as granite is rarely produced in sizes over 3.2 metres. In fact, some colours are unstable over 2.6 metres and may require joining over longer runs. At this point it is also wise to consider your sink. An inset sink is a simple cut and is usually less expensive than an undermount sink cut. These special cut outs are best cut using a computerised cut system (CNC) which allows a perfectly beautifully polished finish to be produced and usually five drainage grooves are etched into the granite, providing a very attractive look to the worktops. Some companies will try to cut an undermount by hand, but in my experience this is the incorrect way and is classed as a second rate cut due to the wobbly effect of the finish. Ask your fabricator to give you samples of the granite which you can take home and do some experimenting on. Try scratching the surface with a butter knife, you should find that your granite is tougher than steel, and as such will not scratch. These granites are better, as scratch free is what you should be aiming for.
Make sure your fabricator is contactable by a landline telephone and is not likely to disappear overnight. The last thing you want is a problem with your worktops that cannot be resolved because the company you are dealing with has gone out of business.
When ordering, it may be worth considering opting for a company who does not ask for deposits, this will allow you to part with your hard earned cash when you are satisfied.
To summarise, find the worktop which suits you, use a reputable supplier, see the worktops in situ, ask for samples, insist on a CNC cut for your undermount cut out, and finally don’t leave a deposit. If you follow these simple steps you should have beautiful granite worktops which give your kitchen that touch of class it deserves.