Calacatta Marble Kitchen Countertop

Granite, Quartz & Marble Concepts For Your Home

Granite Or Quartz Countertops: Myth or Reality

Posted by Mary Louise Colquhoun on Fri, Oct 05, 2012 @ 04:53 PM

Kitchen Granite Island

What started as a Rant about how much I love my Granite Countertop appears to be almost a Hatfield and McCoy argument. I personally find it so strange; I even wonder if the stories that put granite in a bad light are propagated by the quartz manufacturers. Trust me I don’t have anything against Quartz, some of it is quite beautiful, but many colors seem to be wannabe Granite colors! With a huge price tag!

I had a stunning Venetian Gold counter top put in my kitchen 10 years ago. I have gazed in wonder at its beauty for all that time. My guests always comment on how incredibly gorgeous it is. The natural beauty created millions of years ago cannot be denied. You want movement, it has swirls, it has speckles, and it moves everywhere. The colors are magnificent, no possible way it could be duplicated with a quartz product.
But if it was beautiful and difficult to maintain I would not be so impressed, but in 10 years I have done nothing except wipe it clean. No sealers, just plain old living with 3 kids. Baking, cooking, arts and crafts, parties with lots of grape juice and wine spills. Nothing has ever been an issue. I love my Granite top, for its incomparable natural beauty and the resilience. I would hate to see someone who loves the look of a particular granite for their countertop deny it to themselves because others talk about the amount of maintenance required, as it truly is not the case. I believe if you ask your supplier which granite requires little maintenance, and many many of them do you will get some good, very appropriate suggestions.

Do not be mis-lead by marketing tools into paying more money than you need to for a stunning looking counter top.
I will continue to gaze at my kitchen countertop and feel so grateful that it graces my home; my guests will continue to comment long after those teenagers have left the nest. So for me, granite is the way to go, quartz may try to come close, but in my mind it is just no cigar!

Just because I think this is such an interesting topic, I am going to ask my friends and report back: Feel free to comment.


Topics: counter top, Countertops, Kitchen Renovation, granite counter tops, granite countertop, Cleaning granite counter top, difference between granite and quartz, kitchen countertop, Kitchen Countertops, Natural Stone

3 Money Saving Ideas for you Kitchen Renovation

Posted by Bob Gilson on Wed, Oct 03, 2012 @ 07:32 PM

Tip 1: Keep It Simple!

The kitchen pictured below looks amazing and I know the homeowners love it. However how much did it cost? How could they have saved money on this beautiful design?

First off, look closely and you will see that the customer picked an expensive edge profile.  A square polished or eased edge profile isn't considered an upgrade at Latitude whereas the edge profile in the picture costs $45 per linear ft.  If you have 30 feet of edge, that beautiful scuplted edge profile just added $$1,350 to the cost of your counter top. 

Don't get me wrong, if you like the edge profile and you can afford it, go for it.  I did and I love how it looks in our kitchen.  However, if you are looking to save money, then stick to a square polished or beveled edge.


Granite countertop tips

 Tip 2: Size and Shape Does Matter!

Different materials come in different sizes.  Some products are only available in 120" X 56" whereas other products are available in "Jumbo" slabs 130" X 63". 

When we cut your counter top, we lay the counter top pieces out to get the best yield from the slabs.  If you picked a directional granite (a granite colour with lots of movement and veins) then we need to try and book match your counter top wherever two pieces meet.  This can lead to a lot of waste which you will be paying for. 

That beautiful arc on the island in the kitchen above looks great but is expensive to fabricate and also creates additional waste.

If you have a large island or want fewer seams, then an extra man charge to install that large heavy piece in your home.  Extra man charges start at $200 and up depending upon the installation.

Your counter top is priced by the square foot. If you stick to rectangular pieces as much as possible, then you will save material and money.  If you have the budget and you want the look of flowing curved lines, then definitely do it. We can create any curve you want.

Tip 3: Avoid Exotic Granite and Marble

Now this is a really tough piece of advice for a counter top fabricator to give you.  Why? Because we make so much money on these counter tops!  Boy oh boy, our accountant just loves it when you buy exotic granites and marbles.  

Exotic granite and marble are like a piece of art.  Exotic granite is truely a work of nature at its finest! No man made product can come even close to matching the work of mother nature.

However, fabricating these materials is difficult.  They are usually soft and brittle.  Exotic granite counter tops can easily break in the manufacturing process or in installation. Every manufacturer in the world has a whole yard full of beautiful pieces that broke. Now that's great if you are after a remnant piece.  (My wife found a beautiful piece of Cosmos 9' long hidden amongst our remnant pieces.  It now sits in our ensuite bathroom and we love it.)  However, it is unlikely that you're going to find enough material for a standard kitchen.

Because of manufacturing and installation problems, every fabricator increases their profit margins and their waste factors when calculating the price of your counter top when you select an exotic or difficult to work with material. In fact, we won't even manufacture some extremely high end products.  Instead, we will refer you to an artisan who specializes in fabricating exotic granite or marble counter tops.

If you are on a tight budget, then these high end materials aren't for you.

There it is! My top three tips for saving money on granite counter tops!

If you are looking for more information on planning and designing you kitchen, I suggest you visit Kitchen Design Tips for some great planning advice and more on Granite Counter Top Pricing or you can visit one of our dealers located across Ontario.

Topics: counter tops, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, quartz countertop prices, granite countertop, Granite counter top prices, how to save on granite granite counter top costs, estimating kitchen renovation costs, estimating the cost of a granite countertop, granite countertop installation, Granite Kitchen Countertops, how to estimate the cost of a granite countertop, Caesarstone countertop prices, granite countertop prices

Granite countertop installation process

Posted by Bob Gilson on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 04:56 PM

Now that you have chosen a granite or quartz countertop, installation is the next step.  Installing a granite counertop is not a job for most homeowners and I strongly suggest you leave it to the professionals.  Latitude installs 5,000 granite countertops a year! We have installed granite countertops for most of Canada's popular TV Renovation shows, including "Love It or List It", "Holmes on Homes", "House of Bryan" and "Summer Home".

Templating - A Precision Measurement For Fabrication

The first step in getting your countertop installed is templating. Your contractor, designer or Latitude will contact you to schedule a template. 

A template is an electronic measurement of your countertop.  This measurement is subsequently turned into a CAD file which will be used to fabricate your countertop.

How long does it take to get my granite countertop installed?

Latitude usually installs your countertop within 8 business days of completing a template. Our customer department will call you, your dealer or your contractor to confirm and installtion date and time.

The day before your installation, we will call you to confirm that we will be there the following day to install your new granite countertop and that there will be someone in the home over the age of 18 who will let us in and can approve the final installtion.

How do I ensure that I get an accurate template?

When scheduling a template we request that the homeowner, designer or contractor is on site so our templaters may ask questions related to the final installation.

If you are replacing an existing countertop only, the old countertop does not have to be removed.  However, have your countertop clean and clear of all items. 

All new cabinetry must be installed prior to templating.

Ensure that all cabinets are installed and are level and secure.  Appliances, faucets and sinks must be selected prior to templating and should be on site or exact installation measurements available.

Who will remove my old countertop?

You can remove your old countertop yourself or you can contract Latitude to remove and dispose of your old countertop for you.

How long will I be without a sink?

If Latitude is removing your countertop, you can have your sink hooked up 24 hours after installation. 

Who installs the sink?

Most people select an undermount sink.  If your sink is onsite at the time of installation, we will install your sink in your countertop for no extra charge.  Undermount sinks are attached to your granite countertop with silicone. Silicone must cure for 24 hours before creating a strong bond. During the curing process, the sink is held up with a brace which is removed after 24 hours.

Granite Vanity resized 600

Cabinet and wall preparation

Cabinets and walls must be square, level and structuraly sound.

Do plumbing fixtures and appliances need to be on site during installation?

Sinks, soap dispensers and faucets need to be on site during installation.  It is best to have appliances on site as well to ensure proper installation.

Who do I call with questions about my granite countertop installation?

Your dealer, contractor or designer can help you through the entire installation process. If you bought your countertop from Latitude, our customer service representatives will answer any questions you may have.

Once you have your granite countertop installed and your sink connected, now you are ready to enjoy many of the new features of your new kitchen.

Topics: granite countertop, granite countertop installation, installing a granite countertop

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