Everyone so often someone asks us this question. Do you put a layer of granite on top of the worktops? Do you fit “the top that fits on top”? Some people think installing granite worktops is exactly this layering technique, of putting a layer or veneer of ‘stone’ over old countertops. Why do people ask this question – and do we do it?
The ‘other’ “granite” worktops
There is a well-known international company with a large advertising budget which does install a layer of surfacing over the top of existing worktops. They have granite in their name, and they do call this layer “granite” – although once you burrow into their website it is clear that it is a mix of stone chips and a polyester resin. It is far more like what is known as Corian and similar products, which have a high percentage of plastic (30% as opposed to 7 or 8% in quartz or 0% in granite). This stuff is not granite.
Is calling this material “granite” very unfair?
Well, yes it is. BUT our industry has shot itself in the foot over this from the off. What is sold as granite by ourselves and other reputable solid stone worktop fabricators is real rock – but relatively few of our stones would be classified as “granite” by a geologist. It has been judged that the public isn’t ready to be sold Labradorites and Gabbros – let alone Syenites and Schists! As a result, the word “granite” is used very fluidly – and we have lost all ability to prevent its use by traders who are actually fitting worktops with a very large percentage of plastic. It’s our problem, and we can only win by simply showing that our product is better.
Is your product better? And what is the real difference?
We are not in the business of denigrating legitimate tradespeople. And there is no doubt that the “layer technique” does leave some customers pleased and satisfied. On top of which, as in any real business, we occasionally have jobs that don’t go right, and where the job doesn’t end entirely as we would like. But we feel that there are some pretty big differences between our products, and we certainly believe in what we do. Here are three reasons…
1 We sell solid stone
Whether you buy granite – pure natural rock – from us or quartz, with its small percentage of plastic resin, what you are buying is the same all the way through. We NEVER sell a product that is actually one layer extruded or glued on top of another. If you cut or shape or polish our materials, you will be cutting and shaping and polishing a solid material. What we sell is the real thing that the “top that fits on top” is trying to copy. Who wants fake?
2 Solid stone lasts
The problem with any kind of layer system is that it can come apart. Our solid stone cannot ever de-laminate; these “tops on top” worktops can and do. This applies even to the (relatively sharp, not rounded) corners where, in effect, veneers are stuck together. It isn’t hard to look online and find pages full of complaints about worktops made in this way desintegrating after 3, 4 or 5 years.
Sure, over time, it is possible to take a few chips off our edges. Strong colours may cause difficult stains on light-coloured worktops (of all types.) Limescale can reduce the shine around the sink on a black stone. But we have never, ever, had a worktop simply fall apart.
3 Solid stone costs less
When I began in the industry, I was amazed when customers sent me enquiries for our worktops and included quotations for these layered products. I was scared that we might come out very pricey in comparison with the “fake” product. After a while, I stopped worrying. Time after time my quotes came out at the same price or even cheaper than the layered rival. You simply do not save money by putting a thin layer of artificial stone on your Formica. Quite why so expensive, I don’t know, but I am guessing that an international franchise-based company with big TV and magazine marketing doesn’t travel quite as efficiently as we do!
A word to the wise
We are proud of what we do, and confident in our product. We know that there are many companies who work in the same solid stone that we do, and who are our direct competitors – decent companies, earning their crust installing the beauty of genuine solid stone into your home. They have our respect, and if we are ever beaten on price or colour choice for a real granite worktop, we just have to take it on the chin and show respect for our rivals in the market. But please don’t settle for something that calls itself granite, and is actually just a special variety of laminate. If you are looking at going that route, please come to us for a price – you may be amazed that the real thing is more affordable than you thought!
We are Affordable Granite. We are the leading installer of granite and quartz worktops in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. For questions, queries and quotes connected with any aspect of worktop installation or kitchen design, please contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org