All marble and granite slabs are not created equally. And the only way for you, as a customer, to ensure that you secure the stone that’s just right for your project is to go to the stone yard and choose your slabs yourself. Sounds easy enough. But once you get there, what is it, exactly, that you should look for while viewing a slab.
The following tips will be of great help in choosing the best slab for your project:
• Look for color differences. Remember that each slab is as unique as the project it’s being used for. Shades can vary from slab to slab, even in the same quarry. Be aware that some slabs of the same stone can vary drastically and look for those that work together best.
Color and pattern variation within a slab; Yellow Bamboo Quartzite
• Is there enough of the stone you want to do your entire job? Confirm that there is availability to complete the whole project.
• Keep an eye out for undesirable qualities such as unsightly inclusions, fissures, pits or divot. What are these things? Here’s a quick primer;
Inclusions: A fancy way of saying a portion of the slab that looks a bit different from the rest. They can be small, medium or large, barely noticeable or quite obvious. Just remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Fissures: The look like hairline cracks, but are most often just surface features that will not widen or grow over time. They have no bearing on the integrity of the stone. A rule of thumb…if you can’t feel it, it’s a fissure. If you can, it’s a crack. There’s no need to repair a fissure.
Pits: These are tiny divots or chips where grains were released during the polishing process. They’re usually so small that they’re often not visible from all angles. They’re very common in some stones and do not affect the integrity of the stone. Just be sure to feel your slab so you’re not surprised upon close inspection after installation.
• When it’s time for layout and templating, be sure you’re there for that process. View the template over the stone to make sure that your favorite part isn’t omitted in the sink cutout. Consider what part of the slab will look best where and be sure the layout takes advantage of it.
Keep in mind that it’s also wise to shop for your stone early in the project planning process. If you choose the slabs you’ll work with before you build or design your kitchen island or vanity top, this gives you the opportunity to coordinate your project layout to best show off the beautiful stone. Designers and fabricators can also ensure that joints are coordinated to reduce their appearance. Plus, certain colors are limited to specific sizes. To get the optimal beauty out of your natural stone, select the slab first, then build to suit it.