There are differences between granites that can make the difference between your kitchen surface being a pleasure and it becoming a big big problem. For instance, some granites are easily scratched, pitted, and can dry out and twist, or they can break along hairline cracks.
In recent years cheaper granites have become widely available from India and China. We don’t think the quality of these is good enough and it would harm our excellent reputation for quality and service if we accepted and sold those granites. We simply won’t do it. The best granite in the world comes from South Africa, Belgium and Finland, and that’s where we get ours. Granite slabs are priced by their quality rather like diamonds.
1 – Hairline cracks
A hairline crack in a granite slab is a weak point along which the slab can easily shear. Cheaper granites can contain hairline cracks. If the slab is twisted during fitting, or if there’s any movement at all afterwards, the slab can break.
2 – Inconsistent thickness
We’ve often seen a cheap granite slab that’s 30mm thick at one end and thinner at the other, even down to 24mm .. quite a difference. Often there’s a difference that’s not immediately apparent until you look along the edge. If you try to use a granite like this to, for instance, build an L section, you’ll end up with an obvious difference in heights underneath.
3 – Edge polishing
A polished edge from Granite Worktops (UK) Ltd takes approx. 30mins labour per foot. Other companies spray wax on the edges to produce a shine, but that takes minutes and wears off quickly (try scratching it with a coin, it will remove the wax). Our work is guaranteed for years. In practical terms, our edges will never wear.
4 – Contractors
Many companies say they have employees who fit their granite surfaces, but almost everyone uses contractors, and often there’s one contractor to measure out the worktop, another to make it, and another complete stranger to fit it. The person making the worktop doesn’t know anything about how the slab is going to be installed or brought into the house and fitted, where the steps are and so on, and you’ve no idea who will come to your house to fit.
With Granite Worktops (UK) Ltd, it’s me, Paul Bond. I measure, I build, and I fit. Everything is under my control and I am very conscientious about the quality of my work.
5 – Hardness
Check the hardness of the surface. Ask for a sample so you can try to mark with a normal kitchen knife. A cheap granite will easily mark because it’s softer than a quality granite. It’s possible to mark granite but much harder to mark a good granite, of course a scratch can be polished away, but you’ll always be able to see the dip.
6 – Pitting
All Granite contains holes which, when the surface is polished, shows as pitting. Get close and look at a light’s reflection on the surface. If you make bread or bake on the surface, flour gets into these holes and the surface will require a light scrub to get it clean. The fewer pits there are, the higher quality the granite. Check your granite slab isn’t too pitted.
7 – Graining
Cheaper granites can have inconsistent colouring from one end to the other end of a slab which becomes visible once you try to butt one slab against another, for instance in a corner. Our granites have consistent colouring.
8 – Joints
Bad quality workmanship is shown partly in the joints between granite slabs. A quick and cheap joint is formed by simply butting two slabs together with silicone sealant. Our joints are also pinned underneath to make sure the slabs stay together and don’t move over time.
9 – Water content
Granite slabs should be completely dried out before fitting. we don’t recommend you try this, but if you put a blowtorch to granite and see condensation – the granite has not been dried out properly, in other words it contains water. That doesn’t happen with our granite because we thoroughly dry the granite out before fitting it. We then seal it (our granite is sealed before installation so it completely repels water, water should act like a mercury bead on a granite surface), depending of the colour and type of granite you choose, some require extra sealing than others.
Why is water in granite a problem? Granite can bend, like wood, as it dries out. So you might have a lovely kitchen to start with, but as the granite dries you may start to discover that the joints are no longer as tight as they were. If the granite is fixed in place, it might even simply break one day along a hairline crack. Our granite is dry and won’t bend.
10 – Great service
There are many companies selling cheap granite and offering no real peace of mind, I’ve seen problems you just wouldn’t believe .. and these companies seem to be so brazen about it. Ask how long the granite company have been trading, ask for several references before you buy!!
A granite worktop is the ultimate in durability, stylish luxury and ergonomics. You’ll have to try really hard to mark, discolour, chip or deface a granite surface. The fact is a granite worktop in your kitchen will probably outlast the house!!
It’s not just the visual impression granite gives, it’s how it makes you feel. If you’re a home baker, nothing beats a cool granite work surface for perfect pastry making. If you’re not, try it!
When you’re entertaining, you can put hot pans, casserole dishes or baking trays straight onto a granite surface without a care, it won’t mark. No more space juggling.
Granite is just as pleasing to the touch as it is to the eye, it is easy to clean and maintains a cool and solid touch. There are 100’s of colours of granite to choose from, from highly patterned, veined to a simple plain granite.
Quartz is a manufactured worktop and comes in hundreds of colours. It has a very modern twist, some quartz contains flecks of mirror. Some of the colours can be very vibrant. There are many manufacturers of quartz worktops, e.g. Silestone, Caesarstone, Compac, Cimstone, Samsung, Technistone etc.. to name but a few.
Natural quartz is a highly resistant mineral. The porosity of quartz is inappreciable meaning they prevent a generation of mould or mildew. Every quartz manufacturer provides different guarantees against their materials.
Take a look at the popular granite and quartz samples on our website, once you’ve chosen a stone (colour) either phone or email us a plan, sizes etc of your design. A sample plan is shown to help you, it doesn’t have to be exact, but it does have to show the approx. granite measurements, also finished edges. The fact that there is a cut-out matters, but at this stage the position and size don’t for sinks and hobs etc. This plus your location, contact details and the name of the stone you have chosen is sufficient for us to produce an estimated price for you.
We will quote for templating, manufacturing and installation. If you can’t decide on a stone from this website alone, please visit our finished displays at our showroom in Huddersfield which is open 6 days a week.
When you place your order and a date and time has been confirmed (to suit yourself, daytime, evenings or weekends) I will personally meet you at your home with a sample of the actual material you have chosen. I will then measure or take a template, the granite will then be installed between 7 – 10 days thereafter.
You are also welcome to choose your own individual slab of granite by arranging to meet us at our warehouse where slabs are stored, this is by appointment only. We install granite and quartz worktops throughout the UK.