Granite and marble countertops, along with other natural stone installations, are a far cry from the seemingly plain masses of rock that they come from. A lot of work goes into fabricating custom countertops, and a bit of insight into the process can help in ordering one for your own home.
Before the stone itself is worked, a template is first created in wood or plastic from the existing countertop and its shape and dimensions recorded in a computer assisted design (CAD) program. In this program, any needed modifications can be added, along with spaces for other fixtures and details such as the edge profile. The homeowner’s specific requests are taken into consideration here in editing the CAD template.
In the stone fabrication facility, a computer-controlled system uses the CAD blueprints to direct various machines in shaping stone from the quarry into a new countertop. A series of diamond-studded saws and routers cut and sculpt a slab into the proper shape, and a polishing machine grinds the surface down to a smooth finish with abrasive pads. This provides superb precision in a product that may only take a day to fabricate.
While the fabrication process is largely out of your hands, you can ensure quality results by finding the best local fabricators to contract. Many fabricators will give some insight into the workings of the facility, and you should inquire into their quality control standards; the best fabricators double-check the stone slabs cut from the quarry to guarantee their visual and physical qualities. As with any home improvement project, check into the other clients the contractor has served to get a sense of what it can do for your own home.
Even with the industry’s newest equipment, it pays to make sure that the contractor you pick can perform high quality stone fabrication. Careful planning, along with skilled and attentive workmanship, is what you want when you order a custom stone countertop.