Once you have selected your stone, more specifically your particular slab(s) for a project and edge profile, you will begin working with us on templating your stone. Typically, we will visit your home and make a template of your new countertop. This can be done with a laser, referred to as digital templating, or coroplast (corrugated plastic), or with a measuring tape. This is definitely a process that you want to be involved in as determinations will be made such as where your faucet will be located, how much of an overhang you would like, and the desired corner radius’, among other items. This template (whether digital or coroplast or measuring tape) is then taken back to the fabrication shop where it is laid out against your stone slab. Here comes the fun part, you get to study the template, laying it out to best highlight the points in the stone you love – for example a particular pattern in your granite. Often, we will highlight a favored pattern in a prominent area such as the island. If there are other parts of the stone that you don’t care for as much, you can work to “hide” those in the templating process. They can be placed in the areas that you are cutting out for the sink or stove/cooktop for example. All of this assumes a reasonable utilization of the material and not excess waste.
WHEN IS TEMPLATING DONE?
In a renovation project where you are just changing the countertop, you can template once the existing countertop has been removed. It is best to make the template once the countertops are removed so the templator can get the most accurate template. Also, the cabinets need to be checked for level in case they need to be leveled prior to countertop installation. For a complete kitchen renovation or a new build, the templating process occurs after the cabinets and appliances have been properly installed to ensure everything is leveled correctly. This is also where you can catch small issues such as a countertop corner jutting out to the exact point where your refrigerator door opens. No matter how careful you are, stone is harder than the refrigerator and over time you would likely end up with a dent in your appliance. The templator can see this during the templating process, one reason a traditional template may be favored, and adjust the corner appropriately.
What needs to be done prior to templating the countertop?
- Installation of cabinets
- Installation of appliances (preferred option) – especially the refrigerator and stove/cooktop
- The dishwasher may be placed later
- The countertop fabricator should have a copy of all appliance specifications if they aren’t installed (not preferred option)
- Sink should be decided and sink template supplied to the fabricator, along with the faucet template
- The countertop fabricator needs to know about anything that requires cutting into the granite – such as stove vent, faucet spray, soap dispenser, outlets, etc.
- You should also have your colour, material and edge selected prior to our templator arriving to your home. This will allow the templator to help determine overhang and seam location.
WHAT IS A COUNTERTOP SEAM?
With most natural stone countertops, and even quartz, seams are unavoidable. The seam is the place where two individual stones are joined together. In some smaller surfaces, like a bathroom vanity top, a seamless countertop is possible. However, in most kitchen projects you will end up with seams, the important variable is the finished look. This is where an experienced stone fabricator becomes invaluable. Let’s further explore seams and what can be done to minimize their appearance.
Does the size matter?
In many cases, size does matter when it comes to seams. Seams are designed and placed to ensure a workable size of stone. Without seams, the stone would be too large and heavy to safely bring inside your home for installation. We work to place seams in not only the most discreet, but also the most effective place for safe fabrication, delivery, and installation of your stone.
Does the material matter?
The material you have selected for your project may have influence over the size of stone we can work with without a seam. Some stones have characteristics of being more fragile in the shipping and fabricating process than others. For these particular stones, sometimes called exotic stones, we are limited to where we can design seams or cut the stone. An experienced project manager will counsel our clients in the templating and seam layout process minimizing the risk involved in cutting the stone. It bears mentioning that those characteristics do not carry over into the installed product. Regardless of the fragile nature of certain stone in the shipping and fabricating process, once the stone is installed it will last a lifetime.
Does the color matter?
A darker stone can sometimes have a more visible seam than a lighter stone. Pattern can also play a role and the visibility of seams can be dependent on how well the pattern is oriented at the seams. We recommend selecting a stone based on your particular project and color scheme. It is our job as the stone fabricator to work closely with you to discreetly place seams and provide you with a beautiful finished project in the color scheme you want.
Are all stone types created equal when it comes to seams?
Yes, all stone materials require seams, whether you are looking at a man-made quartz or a natural marble, granite, or quartzite.
As you can see, selecting your stone, and then your slabs still isn’t the only critical part of a project. Each and every detail, from the templating to the experience of your stone fabricator when it comes to seams is equally as important. Asking key questions to your fabricator up-front will save you from surprises or unmet expectations throughout your project. Ask what type of templating they do, insist on a template for each and every surface of countertop. Ask about their ability to polish in-house should you select a bookmatch or diamond seam design. And last, ask about their process for seams, do they hand grind and polish before attaching two pieces together for a seam. Asking the right questions will not only meet your expectations, but with a beautiful countertop that is functional and awe-inspiring for your enjoyment!