- What is a Fabricator and an Installer?
- Step 1. Make a List of Qualified Countertop Fabrication & Installation Companies
- Step 2. Narrow Down Your List
- Step 3. Request for an In-Home Estimate
- Step 4. Verify Their Experience & Capabilities
- Step 5. Ask About Their Physical Facility, Showroom, and Selection
- Step 6. Ask About Their Fabrication & Installation Processes
- Step 7. Check Their Licenses, Insurance Policies, and Warranty Coverage
- Step 8. Ask How Much They Charge
- Step 9. Get Multiple Written Estimates
- Step 10. Ask About the Project Timeline
- Step 11. Choose Your Final Fabricator and Installer Based on Expertise and Price
- Step 12. Don’t Forget to Work With Your Project Manager
- A1 Stone World is Here to Help!
You are planning to install new countertops, but how do you hire a reputable countertop fabricator and installer?
When it comes to stone kitchen or bathroom countertops, there are a lot of choices to make. Not only do you need to decide what material and design style you want, but also choose a trusted company to do the job.
With quality fabrication and installation being crucial factors in the success of your remodeling project, how would you know that you are working with an experienced professional? This step-by-step guide aims to help you narrow down your options and find the right company that can meet your needs.
What is a Fabricator and an Installer? #
A stone fabricator measures, templates, and cuts stone countertops using advanced equipment to ensure precision and a perfect fit for a seamless design in your kitchen. On the other hand, an experienced countertop installer guarantees the successful installation of your countertop to ensure durability and longevity.
Step 1. Make a List of Qualified Countertop Fabrication & Installation Companies #
The first step is finding potential fabricators and installers who can meet your requirements. It is not ideal to call random countertop installers blindly without verifying their credibility. Here are some ways on how you can find quality countertop companies faster:
1. Check Out Their Google Business Profile and Reviews #
The Google Business Profile can provide valuable information about the business. From reviews to photos to products a business sells.
Check out A1 Stone World’s Google Business Profile!
2. Ask for Recommendations from Your Family & Friends #
Ask people you trust who have already worked with countertop companies before for their personal reviews and whether they would recommend the company to you. However, make sure that you check recent projects because the product quality and services of a company can change over time, especially when there is a change in the company’s management.
Moreover, make sure to also check if the installed countertops look good in person and if they’re within your budget before you include the company on your list. Check the cuts, seams, and edges. Ask for details about the project completion time and the ease of working with the company too.
3. Ask for Referrals for Other Businesses #
Get referrals from other businesses as they often have connections which are already prequalified. Some examples are:
Remodeling Contractors or Cabinet Suppliers #
Remodelers and suppliers usually have connections with stone fabricators to help homeowners find reputable companies. Scheduling and quality standards are often handled by your contractor when you work with a third-party fabricator.
A1 Stone World offers an all-in-one countertop service from design to fabrication and installation to post-sale services. We have a reputable team of experts who will ensure top-class workmanship at services you can afford.
4. Big-Box Stores #
Big-box stores such as Lowes and Home Depot sell marble, granite, quartz, and other popular countertop materials along with installation services. Below are the pros and cons of hiring a fabricator and installer through big-box stores:
|– They offer warranties and reliable post-sale services|
– They offer promotions and bundle discounts for home appliances, cabinets, and countertops together
– You get financing options so you can pay later
|– They are not experts in the field and won’t be able to help you with complex countertop projects. They just pass your specifications to the companies they have subcontracted.|
– Their selection can be limited to certain brands and colors
- Big-box stores often have less experienced staff. This can lead to error-prone templates and imperfectly fabricated surfaces. Dedicated fabricators and installers are more reliable.
HELPFUL TIP: Work With A Local Countertop Fabricator & Installer #
- They know your area inside and out including local rules and regulations regarding countertop installation
- Better and more personal overall customer service
- You can check their products and facilities in person
- You can save more by cutting out middlemen
Step 2. Narrow Down Your List #
Visiting multiple companies can be a time-consuming process. To make your search easier, below are the initial screening methods you can do:
- Ask the fabricator/installer for client references. If they can give multiple references, this shows that they are confident in their workmanship. Asking for references also helps you assess if they can meet your specific requirements.
- Read online reviews and look at past work completed. Read reviews, both the positive and negative, to give you a better sense of the customer experience you will receive. You can find reviews on Google, Yelp, Houzz, and Facebook. Also, check how the company responds to reasonable negative reviews.
A1 Stone World has earned positive reviews from more than 10,000 satisfied customers in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. This proves our skill and professionalism when it comes to creating beautiful spaces that you will be proud of.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to meet them and discuss your project to help you choose the best one that can meet your needs. Start by requesting an in-home estimate.
Step 3. Request for an In-Home Estimate #
Invite each of the companies to your home and show them the area to be worked on. It would be better if they can provide an in-home estimate (most installers offer free estimates) as well as bring small stone samples you can choose from. As you discuss your project, talk about your preferred features, shapes, and edges.
- Make sure you are done with your renovation tasks before you involve your fabricator to ensure accurate assessments.
- Small samples seldom provide a true representation of the actual slabs. They have natural patterns that we have no control over so make sure that you visit your a slab yard in person.
Step 4. Verify Their Experience & Capabilities #
Ask the company about their experiences to assess their skills, especially when it comes to customer service. Some of the key things you should consider are the following:
1. Years of Experience #
How long have they been in the stone countertop fabrication and installation business? A company that has been in the industry for years is sure to have developed good practices that will guarantee the success of your project. If you are hiring a company that is not within your local vicinity, ask if they have previously worked in homes in your area. They should at least have installed a few.
2. Skilled Team #
Choose a company with qualified designers and contractors. An in-house installation team would be ideal as they can understand your expectations better. Also ask if the company uses subcontractors or does their work in-house.
3. Services Offered #
Choose a company that offers a wide range of services so you won’t need to hire multiple contractors to do the job. The process will also be done faster and seamlessly this way. They should have experience in all aspects of the business including:
- Material sourcing and selection
- Design & Consultation
- Post-sale services
The company should be able to offer creative and innovative ideas as well as guide you in choosing the best materials and colors. Thus, ensuring a cohesive overall design.
Also, inquire if they offer other services like fireplace surrounds, backsplashes, walls, and tub surrounds? Do they service both residential and commercial applications? Do they do smaller projects?
A1 Stone World provides design, templating, fabrication, installation, and post-sale services in one place. We deploy skilled fabricators to ensure accurate measurements with the help of modern machinery to ensure flawless cuts, edge, and seam work. Thus, guaranteeing high-quality fabricated countertops in a timely manner.
4. Customer Service #
Good communication is the major key when it comes to finishing your remodeling project successfully. Hire a company that can communicate effectively and clearly to make sure that all of your expectations will be met, especially when there are changes that need to be made to your original design during the installation process. Also, they should be easy to reach in case of issues.
5. Blogs #
The company’s website can also provide some insights into their expertise. They may include design, installation, and maintenance tips which show how much knowledge they possess regarding stone countertops.
Step 5. Ask About Their Physical Facility, Showroom, and Selection #
Check if the company has the following that you can visit:
1. A Physical Location #
Ensure that the company you will be working with has a physical location so you can also visit them in case of future concerns.
2. A Showroom or Slab Yard #
A slab yard or showroom you can visit is important when choosing the best fabricator/installer. Seeing the materials in person makes a big difference when it comes to gauging quality, discovering your ideal countertop style and color, and narrowing down your options.
You might also want to check out our article on what to have prepared before visiting a slab yard here.
Also, Do They Have a Good Selection? #
An expansive inventory will help in speeding up your selection process.
You can refer to our guide on choosing the best slabs for your project here.
- Always ask to see the entire slab before finalizing your purchase. Small samples rarely represent the full slab.
- Check for undesirable blotches, pits, veins, and other natural features that might not appeal to your liking.
A1 Stone World features among the largest stone collections in Northeast Florida with an on-site fabrication facility. By partnering with us, you will get the following benefits:
- 10-foot wide showroom for easy viewing
- 15,000-SF indoor facility with AC
- More than 1,000 luxury slabs in stock
Many homebuilders, contractors, and architects work with us due to our extensive collection.
Step 6. Ask About Their Fabrication & Installation Processes #
Understanding how your countertop will be manufactured and installed is crucial to ensure superior quality. Ask your chosen fabricator/installer about the following:
1. Material Sourcing #
The first question you should ask is where the company is sourcing their materials from. A1 Stone World only sources slabs from the finest quarries around the world that have the strictest quality standards to ensure that you get superior-quality countertops. We source from the quarries in Spain, Italy, Brazil, and India.
2. The Fabrication Process #
Before your fabricator cuts your countertop based on the measurements during the templating process, make sure to decide which sections of the slab will go to which areas in your kitchen.
They should be skilled at cutting, edge profiling, and polishing (honed, polished, etc.) to make sure that you get the look and stone finish you want. They should also:
- Make sure that the overall look of the cut pieces should fit together once installed (slabs have unique designs, movements, and colors are challenging to align when installed)
- Consider the slab’s focal points to make sure that the best sections are highlighted in the resulting countertop
3. The Installation Process #
Here are some questions you can ask your installer regarding the installation process:
- What’s their plan for limiting the mess during the installation process? They should have a definite plan on protecting your home from dust to keep the area as clean as possible.
- How do they determine the placement of the seams? A perfect seam is an indication of a quality installation. Seams shouldn’t stand out and the installer should match the stone’s grain at the seam to ensure a flawless look.
4. Equipment They Use #
Also, inquire about the equipment they use for the templating, fabrication, and installation processes. A high-end stone fabricator and installer should use up-to-date equipment to ensure accurate and precise cuts as well as clean seams.
A1 Stone World uses state-of-the-art technology for our processes such as:
- Digital templating technology for accurate measurements
- CNC profiling machines for seamless cuts and beautiful edges
Step 7. Check Their Licenses, Insurance Policies, and Warranty Coverage #
It is also important that you verify the company’s credibility and professionalism by asking about their licenses, insurance coverage, and warranties:
1. Business License #
Make sure that the company is licensed in your area. Also see if they have received any other accreditations or awards.
2. Insurance Policy #
Make sure that the company is adequately insured so you won’t be held responsible in case anything goes wrong during the fabrication and installation process. This includes workplace injury and property damage. Also, always read installation agreements carefully before you sign and ask about the what ifs like what will happen if the stones are not matching up.
3. Warranty #
Lastly, check what types of warranty the company offers in case any issue arises.
Step 8. Ask How Much They Charge #
When asking about the price, make sure to check for hidden fees. Don’t be lured by low-cost advertisements. Always ask about additional installation fees including sink cutouts and edging. Take note that more complex designs will be more expensive to install.
Also, save on your costs by:
- Looking for promos and special deals
- Asking if the company offers a free in-home estimate.
A1 Stone World offers upfront pricing with no hidden fees aside from our already affordable products and services. We also offer free quotes for your project.
Step 9. Get Multiple Written Estimates #
Always ask for written estimates from multiple installers. This makes comparing your options easier to make sure you’re getting quality service at the best prices. Also, let your installer know that you are getting multiple estimates so they can give you their best rates.
When comparing bids, consider the following:
- Are the slabs the same? Take note that some fabricators will use unusual names instead of industry-standard names to confuse you. Make sure that the stones you are comparing are the same.
- Do they have the same thicknesses? The common stone countertop thicknesses are 2cm and 3cm.
Step 10. Ask About the Project Timeline #
Your fabricator and installer should be able to establish deadlines and stick to them. Asking about the expected start and finish dates can help you prepare, especially if you are doing a major kitchen or bathroom remodel where you can’t use the space while the installation is ongoing. In addition, ask what times they will arrive and leave so you can properly organize your schedule.
A1 Stone World provides the benefits of working with a one-stop-shop company including a fast turnaround time and seamless communication with a single provider for a more efficient and convenient process.
Step 11. Choose Your Final Fabricator and Installer Based on Expertise and Price #
Once you’ve asked all of the necessary questions, choose the company that you believe possesses the right skills and experience to successfully fabricate and install your countertop.
Step 12. Don’t Forget to Work With Your Project Manager #
Lastly, make sure to get all of the things you have agreed about in writing to prevent confusion and miscommunication. In case anything happens, call your project manager. The details of your countertop fabrication and installation are usually handed to your project manager who will become your main contact point. They are typically responsible for the following:
- Template date
- Document signing
- Installation date
- Post-installation services
A1 Stone World is Here to Help! #
A1 Stone World’s professional team with years of countertop fabrication and installation experience can understand your vision. With our expansive portfolio of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, and dolomite countertops, you can find your ideal style. We also offer other products and services such as sinks, edges, remnants, bathroom and kitchen walls, fireplace and tub surrounds, bar tops, commercial desks and tables, and more. Contact us for more details!
We serve the following areas (contact us for areas that are not listed):
Green Cove Springs | Jacksonville | Jacksonville Beach | Ponte Vedra Beach | Saint Johns | St. Augustine