As slab granite enthusiasts like to say, "Nothing can compare to the natural beauty of the real stone." Real granite can be a touchy material, prone to breaking at the wrong places during fabrication, staining, and even scorching under high heat. But it's hard to deny its beauty and solid feel. If your heart is set on granite, it helps to have a little background on the material.
Size of Granite Slabs
Since granite is a natural material quarried from the earth, size varies. Larger slab sizes are more costly to container-ship, handle, and fabricate.
The average size of natural slab granite that's used for countertops is 9 feet 6 inches long by 5 feet 6 inches wide, according to Marble.com, one of the the premier natural stone countertop fabricators and installers in the world.
Most slabs used for countertops are roughly 1.25 inches thick. Thickness can vary across the expanse of the slab. In that case, installers often have to shore up parts of the slab so that all areas are supported.
|Product / @ 1.25" Thickness||Length (In)||Width (In)|
Note, that the 5.5-foot width allows the slab to be cut down its length, in the middle, in order to produce two slabs of about 33 inches. Countertop depths tend to be about 24 inches, so this gives the fabricator ample working room.
Slab vs. Other "Stone-Like" Countertops
If you like natural slab granite, you are not searching for the sleekness of stainless steel, the gleam of ceramic tile, or the glint of glass—you want a stone look.
With that in mind, there are three other countertop materials that mimic the look of stone. Two of them actually do contain minerals.
The dramatic veins, streaks, and mineral deposits offered by slab granite cannot be duplicated by other countertop materials. Natural slab granite still provides the greatest visual (3D) depth, and the variety of its patterning cannot be matched by quartz. But quartz is a more consistent material, which means that it is more durable and less prone to cracking.
|Material||Description||Comparison to Slab|
|Quartz or Engineered Stone Countertops||10% binders; 90% stone-like materials, such as crushed granite,||The next closest competitor to natural slab in terms of materials and solidity. However, quartz actually surpasses granite in some respects: it never needs sealing and it is a predictable product.|
|Solid Surface||33% manmade (polymers); 66% minerals.||Not as dense as natural slab, solid surface provides a less expensive alternative to both slab and quartz.|
|Laminate||Thin laminate glued onto particleboard. No stone content.||From a distance, the laminate can visually duplicate the look of slab granite better than quartz or solid surface, since it is a photograph of granite.|
How Much Does Slab Cost?
Slab stone ranges from $40 to $60 per square foot uninstalled. For installation you can expect price ranges of $35 to $85 per square foot in addition to the cost of the slab.
Averages found in a survey of a leading granite counter supplier:
|Cost For Slab Only||$24.33|
|Cost For Installation Only||$23.07|
|Cost For Slab + Installation||$47.40|
Example: You want slab granite on your kitchen island, 7 feet by 4 feet, for the total square footage of 28 square feet. If the company offers slab at $50 per square foot, slabbing your kitchen island will set you back $1,400. Other counters will cost more because they will require extras, like backsplashes, cut-outs for sinks, etc.
Self-Installation vs. Professional Installation
Slab granite is too heavy and the installation learning curve too steep for most homeowners to DIY-install slab granite. Also, the price of failure (breakage) is too high. It is best to leave granite slab installation in the hand of qualified installers.
Slab granite is one of those products where it is tough to shave costs. Like owning a unique car, you pay for installing a premium product. The cheapest option will be to purchase a prefabricated granite slab with a standard edge—the more custom the slab, the more it will cost.
- Edge treatments: One simple way to hold down the cost of your slab counters is to minimize the edge treatment. More complicated edge treatments can drive up the cost. Essentially, the more fabrication that is needed, the more the finished product will cost.
- Cheaper types: Different types of granite have different prices. Inform yourself of the prices attached to various stones through the bulk middle supplier Slab Market. While you cannot purchase through this site, you will learn which types are more expensive than others.
- Tiles and modular: If the cost of the slab puts you off, you can consider purchasing lower-cost granite tiles or modular granite and self-installing them. Because of their seams, tile and modular are not considered as high quality as a slab.