Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I get a quotation?
A. Just fax a dimensioned sketch to 760-607-0802 and in two or three days you will receive a hardcopy quote back from our estimating and pricing department. These are not the final measurements that will be used so you don't have to worry about being exact at this time. After you place your order you will get a set of dimensioned engineering drawings. You will have an opportunity to make any adjustments or corrections to the measurements when you get the drawing. We don't start fabrication until we have a set of endorsed drawings from you. If you are using an independent installer, contractor or cabinet maker it is usually a good idea to get them to check and approve the drawing so if there is any problem with the measurements they own the problem not you.
Q. How exact to I have to be in my measurements?
A. The greater the accuracy the better the ultimate fit and the easier the installation. Try and get within at least 1/4 inch. The manner in which the counters are constructed does allow for some play and error. The back and side splashes allow about 3/4 of an inch under which problems can be hidden. The manner in which we make the corner panels also allows for a wide margin of error.
Q. How much overhang do I need to allow where there are finished edges?
A. 2 inches.
Q. How thick are your countertops?
A. 2 cm (about 5/8 of an inch) with a 4 cm (about 1 3/8") laminated edge.
Q. What edges do you do?
A. MARBLEMASTER does a wide variety of edge styles but the edges priced are either a full bull nose, a beveled edge, or a square edge with a 3/8 inch radius relief on the top and bottom edges.
Q. What does the price of $26 or $28 per square foot include?
A. It includes cutting, edging, profiling and polishing the countertops for your specific installation with any of the standard edges listed above.
Q. Are there any other charges?
A. Yes. Non standard configurations such as compound complex curves can result in additional charges. If you wish us to do the sink cutouts and polish the edges for an under mount sink will added $275 per cutout, inclusive of up to three plumbing holes.
Q. Will I have to do any cutting?
A. Possibly. For example if you have an L shaped counter we build each panel as if it goes to the end of the counter in each direction. So the miter cut at the corner is cut in the field. It is very easy to cut and is accomplished with a portable household saw. That way if your walls or cabinet are not square you will not have a big gap at the seam.
Q. How can I cut granite slab? Do I need special tools?
A. Granite slab can be cut with a standard household skill saw fitted with a continuous diamond cutting blade. These are available from Home Depot and Lowes for about $40.
Q. Can I ship you my slabs and have you do the fabrication?
A. Regrettably no, this is not possible.
Q. Some suppliers use 3cm granite and do not use a laminated edge. Can you do this?
A. We can but the freight starts to become excessive. This practice is more prevalent in the eastern part of the United States. Typically the installer forgoes using a plywood subcounter when using 3cm material which we don't recommend either. 2cm with the thicker laminated edge are by far the more widely used design in the Western part of the United States.
Q. Can I install my countertops myself?
A. Many homeowners do. Anyone with the skill set of a finish carpenter is more than capable.
Q. Should I put anything under the granite tops when I install them?
A. Yes. In addition to a 3/4 inch thick plywood subcounter you will want a moisture barrier between the granite and the wood. A vulcanized rubber paint, for example, works just fine as does plastic sheeting. The idea here is you don't want any moisture or water getting into the subcounter and rotting or mildewing.
Q. What do I use to glue the counters in place?
A. Clear knife grade 2-part epoxy works great. Use this same glue to seam the edges where the slab panels meet. When doing your edges add some color pigment to the epoxy resin before you add the hardener which make the epoxy glue set up. These color pigment kits are available from Home Depot or Lowes in the paint department and cost $10 to $20.
Q. When I cut certain kinds of granite I noticed the sharp edge of the granite wants to chip away and I don't get a clean cut. Is there anything I can do to get a nicer cut?
A. It is a trick used by the professionals. It is called "collar the blade". These are sold in the tool department of most major hardware stores. They are really giant washers that you place on both sides of the blade when you install it on your skill saw. The chipping is usually caused from vibration of the blade as it is cutting. The collars reduce the vibration and the resulting chipping of the edge.
Q. How can I get the smallest seam possible where two slab countertop panels meet?
A. Well obviously a good fit and straight cuts are key. But here are a few other tricks of the trade. Get some large soft rubber suction cups of five or six inch diameter and some turnbuckles eight or ten inches long. Attach one cup to each end of the turnbuckle. After you butter the edge of the seam with the epoxy that you have tinted the color of the granite stone you are using set them in place and squeeze them together gently. Then take your assembly of turnbuckles and suction cups and straddle the seam placing one suction cup on each side. Then spin the turnbuckle to gently pull the two panels together. You don't want to apply too much force here or you will break the suction of the rubber cups to the granite. Wedges are also useful in achieving a tight seam by forcing the panel in the direction of the seam.
Q. Do I have to seal my new granite countertops after the are installed?
A. Yes. All natural stone products should be initially sealed and periodically resealed. Any natural stone sealer for granite counters may be used. A good source for this is VIC International in Knoxville Tennessee. The telephone number is 888-DIALVIC. The sell a complete line of stone fabrication and stone care products.
Q. How much should I pay to get my counter tops installed?
A. That depends on the area of the country that you live in. As a practical matter anyone with the skill set of a finish carpenter can do this by the time we get done fabricating the tops for you. It is a two-man job. Only one man however is a skilled tradesman. The second person is just the beef to help lift the slab panels into place. A typical 70 sq ft kitchen counter can easily be installed in a day. If you figured $40 per hour for a skilled laborer and $15 per hour for an unskilled helper then you might expect to spend about $450 - $500 to install the granite counters. Beware though trade professionals who earn their living fabricating and installing granite counters are not likely to be particularly helpful or thrilled with the fact that you have just saved yourself 75% or so by buying prefabricated panels and eliminating all of their profit in the sale of the slab and the fabrication process.