Are you looking into getting stone worktops for your kitchen, but you don’t really know where to start? Well, look no further, because in this blog post we’ll walk you through the process and explain everything you need to know.
Step 1: Shop around
If you’re working with a kitchen contractor for cabinets and appliances, chances are they will give you some options for worktops to pick from. You might assume that this is the easiest solution as you get everything from the same source.
What many people don’t know is that you’re likely to pay a hefty premium for this service.You can get much better deals with similar service levels from independent worktop providers (*cough* Purple *cough*). But enough of the self-promotion, we really do want you to get the best deal, so our tip is always to do your research and get quotes from different providers.
Step 2: Pick out your stone
Now this seems obvious. But what we mean by this is, go visit your stone provider and look at the actual stones in person. Get a feel for what type of stone you want – granite, marble or quartz. Stones are a natural material with variations and some of its details can’t be appreciated or even seen online.
For this step you can go one of two ways. Option one is to go to your stone fabricator where you’ll be able to pick out the type of stone and they will then source the actual stone slab for you. They may also have slabs on location that you can pick from. Option two involves an additional trip to a stone supplier where you can pick out the actual stone slab yourself.
Getting natural stone worktops is a significant expense in your kitchen renovation, so we would always recommend visiting and having a conversation with your provider before making a decision. We can talk you through the practical differences between marble, granite and quartz, point you towards the most suitable options for your individual kitchen and even assist with design advice. Getting natural stone worktops comes at a certain cost and you’ll want to make sure you have all the information.
Step 3: Measuring your kitchen
This next step is called “templating” and might just be the most important part of the process. Your provider will come and measure all the details of your kitchen surfaces to the millimetre. Before they can do this, your kitchen appliances need to be in place and you’ll need to know where appliances such as sinks and stovetops will go.
If the templating is not done properly, the best case scenario is having to live with gaps. The worst case would be that the entire worktop doesn't fit into place. With other worktop surfaces, for example butcherblock, it is fairly easy to cut an extra millimetre off during installation. With stone worktops that’s simply not possible.
When templating, your stone fabricator logs the size of the worktop as a whole and where cut-outs need to be placed for sinks, stovetops, sockets, etc. They also create physical templates from corrugated plastic sheets which are cut to the exact dimensions of your kitchen. These templates are then annotated with measurements and anything that could be relevant to the process.
This step can be done in digital format but read on to find out why we prefer working with physical templates, especially for patterned stone.
Step 4: Decide stone placement
When you decide to install a heavily veined stone, you’ll want to decide which part of the stone goes where. After all, you wouldn’t want the most beautiful part of your marble pattern cut out to make room for your stove top or sink. If you decided on a uniform quartz or granite, you might be able to skip this step, but for patterned stones we thoroughly recommend visiting your fabricator for stone placement.
So, what happens during your visit? Remember the templates we talked about in the previous step? This is where they come in handy. You can place them against your stone and move them around to decide exactly where the stone will be cut. Because of the templates’ translucent nature, you’ll be able to see the stone patterns through the corrugated plastic.
Step 5: Cutting out the worktops
This step doesn’t really involve any input from yourself. Once you’ve decided on your worktop placement, your stone fabricator will cut the stone to the correct dimensions and placement. At Purple, this typically happens within a week or less. We also have a 72h express service if you just can’t wait any longer to get your new worktops.
Step 6: Installation day!
The most rewarding step: getting your beautiful new stone worktops fitted. Your fabricator will deliver and install the stone which again, doesn’t require much from you. You really only need to let the fitters in and maybe offer them a cup of tea.
Step 7: Appreciate your new stone worktops in all their glory
For a real life example of this process have a look at @thehousethatblackbuilt’s Instagram stories highlight on marble. We recently worked with Chelsea and she did a great job explaining the process from her perspective.