Granite, Marble, Soapstone Countertops - Buyers Guide
Finding a Supplier
So How Do You Find A Competent Supplier?
This is not easy because the industry, though very old, is still very fragmented and un-standardized. Much of the time, an importer of slabs operates independently from a fabricator and even an installer. There are also a lot of companies out there selling granite that are no more than referral services - they simply find a customer and refer them to a fabricator for a piece of the pie. If you dig deeper and ask to see their fabrication facility it will soon become evident that they are merely a shell company and will direct you to a fabrication subcontractor and some of those might subcontract the installation. It is impossible to provide appropriate quality control when multiple parties are involved in the countertops alone. Heritage Stonecraft is your one-stop shop for all your needs. By the way - you should never have to pay for an estimate or make any commitments before an estimate - only companies with something to hide will require this.
Heritage Stonecraft uses the latest laser technology to make templates of your kitchen. In most cases that means we don't have to remove your old countertops to make accurate templates. Our customers are usually without a kitchen for only 2-3 days. One day to remove the old countertops and install the granite; one day for reconnections of sink and cooktop; and one day for backsplash installation. Our laser templates also feed digital data directly to our computer driven CNC machinery.
What about the Chain Stores?
Then there are the chain stores (Lowes/Home Depot), who, like builders, remodelers, cabinet shops and design shops, also subcontract the work out. With a little bit of leg work you will come across a single all-in-one supplier that does everything from importing to installation as well as direct marketing. As you are here on our website you have already done the right thing. Heritage Stonecraft is a company that provides expert fabrication and installation with a warranty. This is your best bet for low prices, quality and service, as there are no middle-men, each extracting a margin. Also, you know exactly who you are dealing with and who is accountable from start to finish. Typically our total prices are 25% to 35% lower than the big box stores, although their $/square foot price and clever adverting hides this quite well.
This fragmentation of the industry accounts for the huge variation in granite countertop pricing, so shop and compare. Read our expose here. Builders, remodelers etc. do provide a very valuable service if you don't want the hassle of coordinating different contractors and trades, but if you want the best prices on granite countertops, and the ability to look the real provider of services in the eye, then go straight to the source - the full service fabricator/installer, with highly reputable associates for other services and trades.
But where do you start? Word of mouth is often the best source. The internet is rapidly becoming the source for the best leads and provides the opportunity to “pre-shop” easily and conveniently. One of the problems with the internet is making sure you restrict your research to local suppliers. It's not a lot of good to find the perfect supplier if they operate in Atlanta! Of course regional magazines can also be a good source of leads, but, make sure you visit potential suppliers and look at their operation and check their references and even their suppliers . I can't stress this enough. Some suppliers literally operate out of a garage and build countertops in your driveway but you can't tell that from the glossy ad in the paper or the nice website they put together.
Please research online reviews of Heritage Stonecraft by Angies List, BBB, Google Places or other review websites. This independent feedback from our customers is unmatched with consistent "A"s and positive comments. We also post our own Testimonials on this website. These are taken from post-project written comments from hundreds of customers. Additional reviews are freely available in our showroom, in a large 3-ring binder which also contains the customers name and contact information, should you wish to follow up in person. We are also one of the few natural stone providers in the nation that offers a warranty.
Buying based on Lowest Price?
At Heritage Stonecraft we're often asked if we will price-match every competitor. While we believe we beat the prices of the vast majority of fabricators we do not try to compete purely on price with the "driveway" fabricator. Value is the optimum combination of Price (we're low!), Quality (we're top notch!) and Service (we're unbeatable!), and so we target best overall Value to the customer. We do offer to match competing quotes from reputable companies if we see a detailed and comprehensive quote.
We do it right, the first time, on time