The Kitchen Gallery has a lot of granite samples for you to look at... These samples vary in size from 3 x 3 inches to 10 x 10 inches. However, looking at these small samples is not the best way to select your granite countertop. Granite can be very unique from one slab to the other. So it would be best to select your granite slab(s) from a distributor, where you can see the full slab of granite.
One granite distributor Kitchen Gallery often suggests is Boston Granite Exchange in Haverhill, Massachusetts. They are one of the largest distributors and most conveniently located. They unusually have around 300 different granite and marble options to choose from. Boston Granite Exchange also offers quartz countertops. The advantage to using quartz which is man made, is it doesn't need to be sealed like granite. CLICK HERE to learn about sealing countertops.
A granite distributor only sells granite, marble or quartz. They don't cut the granite before it goes in your home. A granite fabricator will template, cut and install your granite in your home. Granite fabricators will purchase the granite from a granite distributor like Boston Granite Exchange.
If you would like to look at manufactured quartz options the Kitchen Gallery has a wide selection to choose from in our office. Alternatively, you can start with browsing quartz manufacturer websites by CLICKING HERE. Customers remodeling their kitchen or bathroom often like manufactured quartz because there is no maintenance required, unlike natural granite. Over the last several years the colors are getting much better too.
When choosing your stone, it is important to understand how much square footage you have for countertop and backsplash (if wanted). Most slabs of stone will yield about 45 square feet. So if you have 80 square feet of countertop and/or backsplash... Then you will need 2 slabs of material for your job. For your particular job, ask the Kitchen Gallery how many square feet you need before making the trip to Boston Granite Exchange.
Also, when you select a slab, if you need more than one slab... Make sure they are coming from the same lot number. Stone distributors will show lot numbers on the side of the stone. One lot of stone can be very different from another lot of stone.
Also, before making the trip to a distributor, it would be a good idea to have some information about countertop pricing. The Kitchen Gallery should give you some pricing information with "GROUP 1", "GROUP 2", and "GROUP 3" pricing... This will give you an idea of how much granite and/or quartz countertop materials cost for your specific layout.
Keep in mind there are many, many price groups... Not just three. Typically GROUP 1 (entry level) granite will start at $55 per square foot (template, fabricate and installed). However you can spend as much as $200 per square foot and beyond. On average the cost per square foot for granite is between $70 and $90. The $70 to $90 price range covers a lot of stone options. Quartz cost per square foot is generally between $75 and $85.
Every stone distributor tries to color code or group slabs (A, B, C, D, E etc.) to try and help home owners in the selection process.
Even after a stone distributor groups a specific slab... it still isn't a perfect way to determine pricing.
Currently, the best way for a home owner to tackle such decision is... Often I will tell a customer to tag several different slabs at different price groups and then after receiving pricing on several different slabs make your decision. It is often helpful for a home owner to take photos of the slab(s) they are considering, along with the bar coding on the edge of the slab so it can be identified later.
Also, it is rare that a customer likes the lowest priced slabs (Group A) or what ever color the lowest cost slabs are. So in this respect a low price for a slab is driven by lack of popularity.
Pricing is also very dependent on your specific countertop lay out and edge detail. Distributors will try to color code the stone slabs, but this is not a perfect science. The price of the stone is base on supply and demand or how rare the stone is. Sometimes the material can be more costly depending on its origin. It is not so often priced on the quality of the stone. If you select from Boston Granite Exchange, you will more than likely get a good quality material for your kitchen.
When you walk into Boston Granite Exchange, reception will likely greet you and ask who your fabricator is... You can say that you are working with the Kitchen Gallery. They will want to know that so they can put it on their tagging paperwork.
If you like one or more slabs of granite. "Tag" them... When you "tag" material it is held for 7 days. Long enough for the Kitchen Gallery to update pricing for that specific slab(s) of granite and your project. In the case of Boston Granite Exchange, they will give you "hold" paperwork when you tag material, this paperwork will have the information needed on it for the Kitchen Gallery to update pricing. When you "tag" or put material on hold, you are not obligated to purchase this material. You can e-mail the hold paperwork to firstname.lastname@example.org or text a photo of the paperwork to 603-964-8939.
Hopefully, the above post has given you a better understanding on the granite selection process. If the Kitchen Gallery can further clarify, please let us know.
Another granite distributor is Stone Decor Galleria in Woburn, Massachusetts... There are many others, but you will need to do some traveling.
As you might have already figured, the Kitchen Gallery does not cut or install quartz, granite or solid surface countertops. We subcontract that part of the work out to a fabricator much like an insurance agent offers you home owners insurance. We have long established relationships with several qualified and reputable fabricators and work with the one that will give you the best deal. So in a sense the Kitchen Gallery acts as a middle man or broker.
So why should you purchase quartz or granite countertops through the Kitchen Gallery instead of going direct to a fabricator? More than likely, you will be doing only a hand full of countertops in your lifetime... The Kitchen Gallery can do up to 100 countertops in one year. Each of the fabricators we work with want that business. So they have a vested interest to keep the Kitchen Gallery happy... And when you are happy the Kitchen Gallery is happy. You will find that our pricing is competitive and ordering your countertops with the Kitchen Gallery as a one stop shop helps to insure your project runs smoothly.
Most granite distributors will show the same species granite and marble. If you would like to continue your search for the perfect granite, below is all the stone distributors within driving distance. Before making the field trip to the various distributors, I would suggest browsing their respective websites to see what their hours are and what there inventory looks like otherwise this can be a bit overwhelming.
Boston Granite Exchange
One Parkridge Road
Haverhill, MA 01835
Granite & Marble Depot
15 Old Flanders Road
Westborough, MA 01581
European Granite and Marble
675 Canton Street
Norwood, MA 02062
171 Locke Drive, Suite #114
Malboro, MA 01752
CBS Exotic Stones
35R Holton Street
Winchester, MA 01890
DalTile -- One Quartz
56B Kendall Pond Road
Derry, NH 03038
Elemar North -- NuStone
179 Olde Canal Drive
Lowell, MA 01851
Marble and Granite -- Colorquartz
270 University Avenue
Westwood, MA 02090
1080 University Avenue
Norwood, MA 02062
Stone Décor Galleria
180 New Boston St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Stone Showcase of New England
166R New Boston St.
Woburn, MA 01810
174 Olde Canal Dr.
Lowell, MA 01851
Suggested Reading -- COUNTERTOP LAYOUT
Suggested Reading -- UNPOLISHED COUNTERTOPS
Suggested Reading -- COUNTERTOP EDGE OPTIONS
Suggested Reading -- COUNTERTOP TEMPLATING
Suggested Reading -- CARING FOR GRANITE COUNTERTOPS
Suggested Reading -- COMMON STAINLESS STEEL UNDERMOUNT SINKS
Suggested Reading -- ENTRY LEVEL GRANITE PRICING