RSS Feed for This PostCurrent Article

Countertop Envy

Another sweet milestone..On Saturday with the help of a friend we picked up and installed the granite and marble slab countertops in the kitchen and both baths. You can see in the pic I still need to install the backsplashes, but we got all the tops in and the bar top server on the kitchen pass-through. I went with Absolute Black for the kitchen to contrast the white cabinets. As a general design rule in rehabbing you always go dark, light, dark or the opposite in the kitchen meaning: dark floors, light cabinets then back to dark counters. The opposite would be light floors, dark wood cabinets then light colored counters. I think the black and white with grey walls looks real crisp and modern while still period sensitive, you can’t go wrong with this combo. Any future homeowner could switch out the wall colors and anything would still look good. Another flip tip to keep in mind is that you must have good lighting in the kitchen if you want to do black counters, but in this case we have under cabinet lights pre wired and with recessed lighting, abundant natural light and the pendants I’ll be hanging over the bar it won’t be an issue. Black counters can make a room look small as well but since I’ve opened everything up it works for me. I chose White Carrera Marble for the bathrooms, it looks a little more feminine and with the grey veining through it, ties in perfectly with our wall color. This is the first time I’ve used the white marble and I’m loving the way it looks. I cant wait to see it with the white sinks and chrome hardware.

I’ve received a lot of reader mail over the years asking about how I get my granite for so cheap. We started doing this method back in California, the granite industry has been revolutionized for people in the know. Yea, you can still pay $40/s.f. to the big dogs in town or mid $30’s to the big box stores for granite slab but this method gets er’ done for under $12.00 per square foot. These 8′ x 24″ slabs are pre-fabricated in China where labor is cheap and then shipped to the states. The material still comes from all around the world but it’s sent to China to get cut down, polished and bull nosed. For an 8 foot section I am paying $160.00. That’s $10/ square foot, then add a couple more bucks for materials and it still ends up pretty inexpensive.

Ask around for “pre fabricated” or “pre bullnosed” granite slabs. They always come from China. When we first moved to San Antonio you couldn’t get them here so we’d drive to Houston to pick then up. Here in San Antonio the company who carries them is called Builders Mark . They have about 30 colors in stock to pick from as well as bar tops, peninsulas, backsplashes and islands. You still have to put them in yourself, maybe I’ll do a “how to” video for the DIY’ers out there one day. They sell to the public but also give contractor discounts. Real stone slab counters boost the resale value of your rehab, along with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops are top of the wish list for homebuyers in today’s market.

Trackback URL

  1. 8 Comment(s)

  2. By Sharon Vornholt on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    Great info Tom. I’m going to see if we can get these in Louisville, KY.

  3. By Tracy on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    So where were you buying in Houston? I’m located in Houston, and have just started getting involved in investing in RE, and would like to take advantage of your Houston source for prefabricated granite.

  4. By Diane on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Tom, does the $12 sq foot price include having them cut to size and installed? I’m lovin’ the white sink too and it will still work with the stainless appliances. SS sinks are horrible to keep clean and even the expensive ones look cheap IMO.

    Thanks for the tip!

  5. By Tom on Sep 13, 2010 | Reply

    In Houston the place that has them is on Longpoint Drive near I-10 West, It’s called G.M.E. or Granite Marble Etc.

    My stated prices dont include installation because we easily do it ourselves. The granite and marble is actually easy to cut “dry” with a skilsaw or grinder and diamond blade.

    Thanks for the comments!

  6. By Kyle on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    I would love to know the basic steps to diy granite cutting/polishing/installatation. Even if it’s just small tips regarding the tools & techniques.

  7. By Diane on Sep 15, 2010 | Reply

    I had no idea you could cut granite with a skilsaw. Matching and filling the seams doesn’t seem to be that difficult. Cutting around that post could be a little tricky.

    Measure twice, cut once!

  8. By Tim on Sep 23, 2010 | Reply

    Tom, would like to see your video on granite install. We have a Minneapolis supplier of china slabs, however they only sell it installed at $30sf and up.

  9. By Craig Fuhr on Sep 29, 2010 | Reply

    Wow Tom – it looks like you’ve really stepped up your game with this one. Very nice…..VERY nice. I love seeing what other rehabbers do, but I’m rarely inspired – UNITIL NOW.

    I’ve been doing a lot of updates at my blog on the houses I’ve recently listed. Have you seen them?

Post a Comment