What to Expect From A Stone Fabricator
So you have decided that you want to go with a countertop made out of stone. But you have never been through the process. Or maybe you have been through the process and were not happy with the results you received from the last professional that you hired. What happens during the process? Is it always the same? Furthermore, what should you expect from a fabricator installing your stone countertop? In this post, we will consider those questions. Along the way, we will look at some important things that you should be thinking of during the project.
What Is A Stone Fabricator?
The first thing to look at when considering your project is gaining an understanding of what a sotne fabricator is. So, what is a stone fabricator? In an article on its website, Marble and Granite Inc. distinguish between a distributor and a fabricator by describing a fabricator like this:
Fabricators are the hands-on stone experts who execute the process from templating to the final details of installation. This includes measuring, figuring out exactly how much stone, or other material, is needed, laying out the stone to ensure the best view of striations, veins, shading and other features of the surfacing product, executing edge details, and basically ensuring that your final product looks impeccably beautiful.
So the fabricators are the experts that actually do the work of cutting and installing the stone. As such, they will have knowledge of the project that stems from their first hand experience in working with stone surfaces. They can give you good guidance in response to your questions about various aspects of the project and how to care for you surface. For example, the fabricator might give you some guidance on what sealer to choose if you are looking for a food safe countertop sealer. Or he may have a recommendation about what to use to remove etching from a marble surface. However, the fabricator is primarily concerned with cutting and installing your surface. But Does the fabrication project entail?
A Look at the Fabrication Process
The fabrication process is just that; a process. But what are the basic steps in the fabrication process? Here is a list of five common steps used in the fabrication of natural and engineered stone:
First, you as the buyer begin by working along with the fabricator to select your perfect stone (in the case of a natural stone material) or you choose the color and finish (in the case of an engineered stone) you want for your project.
Inspecting the Slab
Second, after choosing your desired surface, the fabricator will then inspect the slab for any problem areas to ensure that it will indeed hold up as a countertop. However, in the case of a natural stone slab, you as the customer may find something on a slab that you may not want in the finished product. Therefore, it is imperative that you point this out during the slab selection process. Good fabricators can often times cut the slab so that an unwanted spot can be removed from the countertop.
Templating the Slab
Third comes the templating, or template layout, in this step the fabricator will place a template on the stone to mark off where the stone will be cut. Having an experienced fabricator that skilled in templating stone is vital for this step.
Working the Stone
Fourth, the stone is “worked” to cut the pieces out, cutout the sink and faucet holes, and put a profile on the edge of the countertop. In addition to cutting some fabricators will “strengthen” the stone so that it has better resistance to cracking or breaking in places where the surface area is thin (such as around sink holes).
Fifth, after all the other steps have been completed, the stone must be installed. The fabricator will set the stone in the room in which it is to be installed and ensure that it is properly adjusted, leveled, and fastened in place so that it can fulfill your objective.
Are All Projects the Same?
As we mentioned earlier, there are some places in the process where the fabrication steps will diverge from one another and then converge again. This is because there are variations in the process based on which kind of stone the fabricator is working with. There are differences between natural and engineered stone. For example, quartz surfaces do not require sealing like natural stone does. And even though there are specific cases when quartz surfaces can have a sealer and/or toner applied to them, it is not a requirement for a new install.
What Should You Expect?
So, what should you expect from your fabricator? Well, each professional will have some specific steps that they use for the results they deliver. However, there are some basic expectations you can have. One such expectation is to be prepared to work with you professional to a degree. In the case of a any stone surface, you will need to select the color or slab that you want and in the case of a natural stone, you will most likely want to look closely at the stone for any cosmetic marks that you may not want.
In addition to the choosing of the slab, you will almost certainly want to work with the fabricator to schedule the installation. This will afford you opportunities to ask questions, prepare the home for the install or even show a bit of hospitality to the installers.
The fabrication process will vary from shop to shop in some ways. yet, there are some reasonable, common expectations that you can have when it comes to your kitchen countertop. Once you have decided to find a stone fabricator in your area, prepare yourself for the experience. The better prepared you are, more smoothly your project will go.