When choosing a stone fabricator, these are our favorite quotes that put the importance into perspective:
“You get what you pay for” and “All fabricators are NOT created equal”
Stone fabricators really are artists! The experienced ones really know what they’re doing. They have been there done that, meaning they know what works and what doesn’t. They aren’t like painters, where you can just choose a color, and have them move forward. Every stone is different, meaning you can’t treat them all the same.
You’ll want to make sure they’re insured. If they say they’ve done certain stones (soapstone, sandstone etc.) and you don’t see photos of finished jobs in that particular stone on their website, ask for references, see how the job & quality turned out. This is all normal, so don’t feel like you’re being overly concerned. You’re spending a lot of money, and you want to make sure the end product is not only going to look good, its going to last! Another thing to consider is when you’re doing a light stone, whether it is white marble or a light limestone; they require specific glues. Now glues/epoxies are not cheap! So if you’re going with the lowest bid, expect that the glue may bleed, meaning it will spread into the next piece (if there is a seam) and may discolor, making it very obvious there is a seam. It may not happen the first week; it could happen months/years down the road. This is all based on experience and the quality of glue/epoxy they use. Also, there is epoxy and polyester. Epoxy will last forever when glueing laminations, polyesters only last a few years. The lowest bid will always use polyesters, because it’s a quarter of the cost, compared to epoxy. But as long as it looks good, they might not care how long it will last.
Check out their showroom to see examples of their seam quality. Either on the actual counter top, or the edge; you shouldn’t be able to feel the seam. The veins should also flow into the edge or back-splash, not abruptly stop and start somewhere else. This is especially important when using a material with dramatic veins, patterns or movement; like marble or soapstones.
Below are some photos that do not have very good seams. This is most likely the quality you will get, if you pursue the lowest bid and don’t check the fabricators work, before committing.
If they truly are a good fabricator, they support the Marble Institute of America (MIA). Check to see if they are a member HERE.