Here are 10 things that you should consider when getting Granite bids.
Get a personal in-home estimate to make sure that pricing is concrete and based on facts, not a guess. Make sure that once the estimator visits your home, the price provided is final and not subject to change.
Thickness – Not all granite countertops are the same thickness. 1 – 1/4″ granite is considered to be the standard thickness. Thinner granites are often used on bathroom vanities and in laundry rooms. Make sure the thickness of your granite countertops is included on the bid.
Slab viewing – One variable in the cost of completing granite countertops is the quality/pattern of the granite being used. Not all 1 1/4″ granite is the same. There are parts of granite slabs that have unsightly patterns to them that you would not want to look at on your kitchen island. In a good granite shop, some granite will never get used. Other granite shops use every square inch, regardless of the pattern. Your estimate should include the opportunity to view the slab you are purchasing and lay out your project on the slab. This allows you to see how the granite will flow BEFORE it is fabricated.
Edge detail – Different edges take different amounts of time to fabricate. Most companies will have 1-4 “standard” edge details. To get the most accurate bid, pick the edge detail you wish to have and have it priced with that edge. If you have a couple of different edge selections you like, you may want to have an option price given for each of them.
Granite Sealer – Many companies do a simple sealer on their granite that will need to be reapplied after 1-2 years to keep your granite sealed and protected. Others have gone to new sealers that last for up to 15 years. It is best to request a 15 year sealer and if not available, request a free sealing service for the life of the granite. The process of sealing it is quick and easy for a professional.
Backsplash – Most granite installs look best with a 4-6″ backsplash where the countertops meet the wall and/or cabinets (known as a sidesplash). If this is something you are going to want, make sure it is included on the bid. Many companies don’t include the backsplash on their bid and upcharge for it when you say you want it.
Cut-outs – Granite is not easy to cut therefore many companies charge per cut-out needed in the granite. Examples of cut-outs are faucets/sink/cooktops or any other holes needed in your granite. It is best to know what cut-outs you are going to need and ask for it to be priced accordingly.
Delivery/Installation/Tax – WOW! This bid is 30% less than the other ones! No, it’s not — that bid does not include delivery of your granite countertop, installation and sales tax. On most bids, all 3 of these should be included. A full kitchen will take 2-3 guys half a day to install properly. That time costs money and is figured in the overall cost. If you are buying a single vanity top, you may pick it up and install it yourself and in those cases, make sure the bid reflects that.
Existing tops – Ok, your new granite countertops are installed and shining. Now what are you going to do with the old ones? If you want your old countertops removed and taken away by the installers, make sure you ask for that on your bid. This is a very common practice.
Warranty – Last, but not least, you’ll want to verify the quality of the warranty that goes with your new countertops. Good companies stand behind their granite, installation,and sealing. Make sure you compare the warranties. Properly sealed and installed granite is very durable, and limited lifetime warranties are not uncommon.
Getting the correct information on your granite countertop bid will allow you to compare bids more easily and should also give you a more true cost of what the job will really cost. You should also make sure that your estimate (based on plans or on-site measure) is a “locked-in” price, so you know exactly what you are getting for what price.