Granite Samples: their value
Seeing a sample before you buy is an obvious thing to do with almost any home improvement product. That goes for solid stone worktops too; quartz and granite worktop customers often ask us for samples and we send them, with a £7.50 p&p for a package of three samples. And of course, quartz and granite samples can be picked up from our Charlwood granite worktop factory free of charge.
But granite samples have their limitations. In this blog I want to look at two of them.
A typical 100mm square, 20mm thick sample of Quarella Blanco Paloma quartz. Such samples are the staple of our industry: still just about small enough to post, and yet large enough to give some idea of the colour. Certainly, once a customer has been in to see slabs, taking a small sample of a quartz away to compare with tiles, flooring or kitchen blind material can be a real help.
Granite Samples: the visual and psychological limitations
Steel Grey Granite
The first issue with small granite samples is that they are what their name implies – small. We simply can’t send bigger than 100mm squares – we just weighed three typical three samples of Black Pearl granite at this size and immediately have a parcel weighing 1.71kg – not far off 4lbs. Hence the £7.50 postage charge – even that doesn’t really cover costs.
So we send small. But even with the kind of igneous worktop granites which have a small scale crystalline structure and pattern, with no large-scale streaking or pattern, a small sample does not give a good impression of a granite slab or granite worktop. A small square held close to your face can’t give you the sense of beauty, depth or (dare I say it?!) grandeur you can see in the same stone on a big scale. This is what I think of as the visual or psychological drawback of small samples – they just can’t communicate the impression of the real thing.
Steel Grey Granite in a Cuckfield, West Sussex, Kitchen
Granite Samples: big pattern - the killer drawback
But the real problem with small granite samples is that, for many stones, including some which are extremely popular at the moment, small samples just don’t work at all. Any stone which has a big-scale pattern, with streaks and patches across the whole surface, cannot yield small samples that are of any value. A 100mm square from one area will be entirely different from a 100mm square elsewhere. Just take a look at the slab of Ivory Fantasy granite here to see the idea. A small, posted granite sample could be quite misleading.
This is all the more the case with yet wilder stones. We recently took delivery of two magnificent slabs of Champagne Gold. Take a look at the 100mm squares below:
It may seem crazy to say it, but all of those sample-sized images come from the same slab:
You can probably spot roughly where on the slab those different 100mm shots were taken. You can also see how NO small sample can even begin to capture the impact or even the colour palette of Champagne Gold Granite. Small samples of wild slabs are worse than useless. We know from experience – we have seen customers shocked by the look of a large slab, having chosen on the strength of small samples picked up in a kitchen showroom.
Granite Samples: putting it all together
- Small quartz and granite samples have their place – especially with small pattern quartz and fine-grained granites where you know that there is consistent colour across the slab. In that case, having a small sample with you can really help when shopping for tiles, blinds, other kitchen accessories – or even the kitchen units and doors themselves.
- Seeing big slabs is ALWAYS better than a small sample. Even with fine grained materials with small scale pattern, it is so much easier to get an idea of the possible look of your granite worktops by seeing a whole slab of the material.
- Seeing images of whole slabs is a great help. With large-pattern natural stones, a decent photo of a whole slab is vastly better than a small sample in the hand.
- Seeing good photographs of materials actually installed in a kitchen can be even more helpful. With small-pattern stones, what you see may be very much what you will get, and even with larger-patterns where slabs vary wildly, you will at least get some idea of the kind of look you may achieve.
At Affordable Granite we are specialists in making the process of buying granite worktops as painless, happy and successful as possible. We know the process seems a minefield, and we know how a lack of honest information and help can leave customers feeling insecure or worse. We are very happy to provide quartz and granite samples. We are also specialists in taking consistently helpful pictures of granite and quartz slabs and comparative images. We often take images for specific customers. And we are very happy to welcome you to our Charlwood warehouse so that you can see the big slabs for yourself.
A stunning slab of Juparana Bordeaux on the “photography rack” in our warehouse.
We are Affordable Granite, 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 don’t hesitate to contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org/ .