- Don't ask for insurance. Paying for insurance is expensive and once your top is in you cannot see your contractors insurance policy in the top. If one of the workmen get hurt they can sue you as the homeowner if the contractor cannot cover the claim. If the installer damages your house and disappears there will be no insurance company to stand behind you. Covering these risks cost money so do not ask for an insurance certificate.
- Don't visit the shop where your countertop will be built. Well equipped shops that are clean and efficient are expensive. The cheapest contractors work out of garages, storage warehouses or even fabricate in your driveway where they do not have to pay rent or for expensive equipment to do the job right.
- Find out if your contractor has a land line for a phone number or works strictly off a cell phone. Guys who run an office and plan to be around for the long haul like when you need warranty work will have an office and a permanent phone number. The cheap guys will have a cell phone only that can be changed at a moment's notice and no office or location where you can find them when you need warranty work.
- Don't ask for references.
- Don't approve the slabs that will actually used in the in your project. Slabs will be different depending on the lot number and when they were quarried. Getting slabs that match is expensive. Let the contractor find you the cheapest slabs.
- Pay for you slabs at the slab supplier. This will save the middle man charges. It also means the contractor is cut off for credit reasons at the supplier but what do you care if the contractor has credit problems. You won't have warranty problems.
- Don't ask what grade of granite you are getting. Premium and Commercial grade slabs even if they have the same name can be very different. Having countertops with uniform color and free of blemishes is expensive.
- Don't ask which direction the veining in the slab will run or where the seams will be. Properly seamed countertops and countertops where the direction of the veining is properly planned are much more expensive.
- Let the contractor pick the edge finish and put wax on the edges instead of polishing them. Polishing edges takes expensive equipment and a lot of time. Waxing is cheap and you clean it off so you can get the dull natural just sawed look.
- Make sure you get a “free” sink. Don't ask it if it meets building code or who will handle the warranty. The very cheapest sinks have no manufacturers name on them so you cannot track down the manufacturer if the contractor disappears. But it was free.
This article is, of course, written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. It is difficult to be a legitimate granite countertop fabricator when there are pretenders do all the above and more to create countertops that are cheap. You do not want those countertops in your home!
copyright 2012 T Robinson