Visiting a stone slab yard is akin to visiting Mother Nature’s art gallery. You’ll love it! It’s truly amazing when you consider the amount of work that goes into fabricating natural stone counters.
In a stone slab yard, you not only get to see your stone slabs, but you also get to touch and handpick them. A typical stone slab yard features limestone, marble, travertine, granite, and soapstone slabs and tiles from around the world. It’s indeed a once in a lifetime experience.
Are You a First-Time Visitor to a Stone Slab Yard?
If yes, going to the wholesalers to choose the perfect stone that adds to the splendor of your home is definitely overpowering. Take your time and don’t feel too pressured or rushed into picking a stone product. Conversely, this is something you’d want to relive for the lifetime of your home. Choose a day when you can spend several hours walking through more than one stone slab yard. It’s helpful to bring wall, flooring or cabinet door samples to make certain that the stones you pick will be perfect.
Where Do You Begin?
Nationwide, there are numerous stone slab yards. Locate the yards that are not very far from your home. Check the inventory on their websites. Narrow down your selection before you begin your visit. If you’re keen on checking out an assortment of stone slabs, especially premium stone slabs, set up an appointment with the yard’s sales staff. The sales staff will make your stone inspection much simpler.
What’s Your Next Step?
All stone wholesalers have a separate “Slab Department.” They’ll enquire whether you’re working with a Fabricator. If you’ve already chosen one, you can let them know. Either way, they’ll not quote you the stone pricing straightaway. Instead, they’ll categorize the stones into diverse groups or price levels to ensure you stay within your budget. For instance, some stone yards may categorize a specific stone as a Level 3 stone but other stone yards may categorize this same stone as a Level 2 stone. The easiest method of getting a spot-on pricing is to contact your fabricator or designer.
What to do if You See the Stones You Like?
Looking at all the stones can confuse you so much that you may not pick the stone that suits your home perfectly even if it’s available in the yard. So when you see a design or color that you like, write down its name. It’s even better to write down the stone number. This number is usually on the side of the slab or on the floor. Doing this will help you to be more specific when you shortlist the stones you wish to buy for the different rooms in your home.
Find out if there’s enough quantity to fulfill your stone requirement. It’s helpful to know the sizes you require from your fabricator. Also, ensure that your chosen stone slabs are large enough. If the slabs are indeed available, request the staff to pull them out for you to view.
The Right Method of Inspecting Your Stone Slabs
Unless specified, your Fabricator will not work on the stone surface. Your stones are cut, and the edge details are finished prior to installation. When the stone is quarried, its surface is polished with a huge machine. Any holes or cracks (fissures) will be filled with epoxy (labeled as “fill”). Although the color of the epoxy matches the color of the stone in most cases, the difference in the colors is noticeable in rare instances. And even then, if you’re not specifically looking for the subtle difference or someone doesn’t point it out, you may miss it.
After the stone slabs are pulled out for you to view them, just touch them gently. Feel the materials that impress you. At times, there’s a possibility that small areas may be uncut or unpolished. Also, in some stone surfaces, there may be big cavities. Nevertheless, all stone materials do contain Epoxy fill. Hence, it’s important that you look at the stone surface meticulously and decide if it fits your home décor.
What’s a Fissure?
A fissure in a stone slab surface isn’t a defect. Hence, when you spot one, there’s no reason to panic. A fissure is a line of separation or natural junction within a single intact stone slab. Fissures are formed when two different flows of hot liquid magma merge into a single mass. A fissure exists when the stone block is quarried. It’s not altered when the stone block is cut into slabs. Eventually, a fissure remains in a stone slab permanently. In case there’s an issue of strength in the fissured area, the slab yard will reinforce the underside of the slab and also epoxy the surface. The stone slab is now even stronger than it had been when it was formed. Fissures are more common in granite. If you’re uncomfortable with fissures, it’s better for you to pick stones without these beautiful blemishes. Instead, pick stones whose surfaces have a more consistent design.
How to Identify Cracks?
Examine the slab surface for voids, dull polish, pits or other inconsistencies. In case of inconsistencies, make certain they are something you can live with comfortably. It’s expensive and difficult to alter the surface of a stone slab. Check the slab for cracks. A crack is unlike a fissure. And a cracked slab is best avoided.
For confirming a crack, you should examine the back of the stone slab carefully. A crack runs throughout the stone slab. You can spot it even if the stone is reinforced with resin and mesh. Sometimes, entire slabs of less stable materials are coated with resin and mesh too. The treatment may just be additional reinforcement, and the stones may not be damaged at all.
What to do After Inspecting Your Stone Slabs?
Place the materials you pick on hold under your name. Get an estimate of the stone price and start the contract process. At most stone slab yards, you’ll need to sign a contract and pay an upfront 50% deposit to order the stones you need. The wholesaler will hold your materials only for a stipulated (short) period. If you don’t order for the stones you earmark, they’ll be returned to the wholesaler’s inventory.
Ensure there are enough stone slabs in your chosen bundle for completing your project. It’s safer to place an extra slab on hold. Visualize the layout of your area clearly. If the material you’ve chosen is extremely directional, this attribute will determine how you use the slab. Even here, it’s safe to place an additional slab on hold. It’s best to pick your stone slabs no more than 1 week prior to the template date. The staff at stone yards tag and keep stone slabs on hold for a maximum of 7 days.
Visiting a stone slab yard helps you pick out stone slabs that you’re going to love for decades. Hence, picking the right stones for your home is akin to picking an excellent tie. Ideally, the colors and pattern of the stones you pick should bring together and enhance the colors of the room. Toward that end, it’s prudent to bring pictures or samples of your planned flooring, cabinetry finish, paint color, and other materials in the room of your home. Consider the lighting as well—natural and artificial.