One of the great advantages of a quality natural stone installation is that, if done properly, it can last for decades or longer, the operative words being, "quality" and "if done properly." To ensure the best possible quality and installation, it is important to select your fabricator carefully. Here are a few tips.
So what, exactly, is a natural stone fabricator?
Stone fabrication is the process of cutting and installing natural stone slabs. These slabs are usually acquired through import or wholesale from around the world. Fabricators also guide consumers through the design, selection, purchasing, and installation process, which involves a series of sometimes complicated decisions.
Fabrication and installation should only be done by a professional fabrication company. Many other contractors, although they may be very good at what they do, will not have the proper tools, equipment, knowledge, or experience needed to understand and meet the needs of consumers.
The Cost of Cheap
One of the most costly decisions you can make is choosing a fabricator based on price only. A fabricator who has not had the proper training or who has little or no experience with the specific type of natural stone you are looking for may offer the cheapest price, but the cost in the long run may end up being far greater.
Tips for Selecting a Qualified Fabricator
- Thoroughly checking out your fabricator in advance is an excellent way to sidestep costly errors. Ask for references… and check them. In addition, check online reviews from previous customers.
- Review a potential fabricator's previous work, such as a portfolio or case studies on their website.
- Be wary of any fabricator who over-promises.
- A fabricator will carefully protect the surfaces surrounding work areas from damage, such as cabinets and flooring.
- A qualified professional will ask specific questions about your needs, will be able to educate you about what must be done to properly meet those needs, and will clarify what expectations you have for your stone.
- Make sure the fabricator you select has experience with your specific type of stone. Many very experienced fabricators will have no experience at all with certain stones that may require unique skills and expertise to cut and install.
- An inexperienced fabricator may not understand the long-term outcome of certain processes and procedures. For example, applying a coating might make the stone look great or offer extra protection, but if the coating was not the appropriate kind for that particular installation, the stone would end up looking terrible a few months down the road when the coating begins to yellow and peel.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you want a fairly priced installation, not a costly mess, choose your fabricator carefully. Mistakes in stone fabrication and installation, depending on the severity, might end up costing more time and money than you expected.
Be prepared to pay professional level prices for professional level work. If someone gives you a price that is too good to be true or substantially lower than other bids, be suspicious.
Savvy customers understand, often because they’ve learned the hard way, that when it comes to their natural stone,it is better to pay for high quality stone installed properly vs a low ball price that produces inferior results.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of surpHaces Partners.