Granite slab versus prefabricated granite: which is better?
Granite has long been a favorite choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops among homeowners and designers alike. Its natural beauty, unique patterns, and colors, along with its renowned durability, make it a sought-after material for those looking to enhance the value and functionality of their homes. However, when it comes to choosing granite countertops, the decision between granite slab and prefabricated granite is a common dilemma. Each option offers distinct advantages and considerations, impacting your project’s overall cost, installation time, and customization level. Let’s delve into the differences between these two types of granite countertops and what you should consider for your remodeling project.
If you’re in the market for granite (or quartz!) countertops, be sure to check out our first-time buyer’s guide.
Prefabricated granite is still granite yet it is often less expensive than granite slabs. Since prefabricated granite is manufactured and fabricated in bulk, there’s no need for you or the distributor to have it fabricated and cut. What you lose in options and customization you win back, ultimately, in your project’s bottom-line. Prefabricated granite can be as much as 45% less expensive than granite slab.
The advantages of prefabricated granite include:
- Cost-Effectiveness: Prefabricated granite is generally less expensive than slab granite, as the cutting and edging are done in bulk, reducing labor and manufacturing costs.
- Ease of Installation: With their standard sizes and pre-finished edges, prefabricated granite countertops can be installed more quickly and easily, potentially reducing installation costs.
- Quality and Beauty: While prefabricated, these countertops still offer the durability and aesthetic appeal of natural granite, making them an attractive option for those on a tighter budget.
On the downside, prefabricated granite countertops come with some limitations:
- Customization: There is less flexibility in terms of customization. You are limited to the available sizes and shapes, which may not suit all kitchen or bathroom layouts.
- Uniformity: If your project requires more than one piece of granite, it might be challenging to match the colors and patterns of prefabricated pieces, as they come from different blocks of granite.
As mentioned above, our prefabricated granite is still granite. The quality is the same as that found in granite slab: it just comes down to whether or not the stone has already been cut and fabricated. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped a stigma from forming around prefabricated granite. It’s why we recently took the time to dispel 6 of the most common prefabricated granite myths.
Custom Granite Slab
Granite slab countertops are cut from single blocks of granite. These slabs are then custom-fitted to your kitchen or bathroom layout, offering a seamless and uniform look. The primary advantages of granite slab countertops include:
- Uniqueness: Each slab has unique veining, coloration, and patterns, making your countertops one-of-a-kind. This uniqueness adds character and luxury to your space.
- Customization: Slabs can be cut to fit any size or shape, offering complete customization for your kitchen or bathroom. This is particularly advantageous for spaces with unusual layouts or specific design requirements.
- Durability: Being a natural stone, granite is incredibly durable, resistant to heat, scratches, and stains when properly sealed. This makes it an ideal choice for high-use areas.
- Value: Although granite slabs are generally more expensive upfront, they can increase the overall value of your home, making them a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind with granite slab countertops:
- Cost: The cost of granite slab countertops can be significantly higher than prefabricated options. This is due to the material’s quality, transportation, and the labor involved in custom cutting and installation.
- Installation: Installing granite slab countertops requires professional handling and installation, adding to the project’s overall cost and timeline.
One advantage of buying a granite slab is that it comes to you as one continuous piece. This means the natural veining and colors are consistent all the way through. This doesn’t mean it won’t be cut and it won’t have seams: there’s no getting around that. But, it does mean that seams will be slightly less noticeable. For homeowners designing their dream kitchen, where every detail matters, this may be an important consideration.
Granite slab versus prefabricated granite: what’s the difference?
The main difference between the two is price. Since prefabricated granite is mass-produced with no customization, it’s generally less expensive than a custom granite slab. If you’re willing to have less customization options, you’ll be able to get a better deal with prefabricated granite.
Let’s get this out of the way: most homeowners, homebuyers, or anyone short of being a countertop expert cannot tell the difference between prefabricated granite and granite slab once each is installed. If the countertop has bullnose edging, they may be able to guess that it is prefabricated, but—otherwise—all bets are off. If anything, granite quality is determined by the cost and origin of the granite—not the manufacturing style. This is why it’s important to work with a reputable, local installer.
If the price of granite offered by a contractor is too good to be true, it probably is: some less-than-reputable contractors sell faux granite countertops, made from granite and resin. They try to undercut the price of both prefabricated and slab granite with this less durable, less beautiful product. Before you buy, always ask about the origin of the stone, and get multiple quotes so that you have a good idea what you should be expecting to pay for granite.
So, which is better?
Truth be told, that depends on the buyer, the context, the budget, the home, and a number of other factors. Superior Stone & Cabinet carries and installs both prefabricated granite and granite slabs.We’ve seen customers happy with both types.
If you’re interested in granite counters, but you’re still deciding between granite slab versus prefabricated granite, start by giving our team a call to schedule a free in-home estimate here in the Phoenix metro. Or, come visit our showroom.
Our friendly team will help you find the countertops that are right for your home and budget.