Granite is a popular and preferred material for countertops because of its durability and stone-like visual appeal. However, many homeowners are unsure whether to go with granite slab versus prefabricated granite. In this blog, we’ll review what makes these countertop types different, and what you need to know going into your 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. It’s just been cut to standard sizes before being shipped to the distributor. They are suitable in situations where multiple pieces are required and all the pieces must be of the same size. Installing a prefabricated stone is much easier and faster as compared to a custom cut slab.
While they look and feel similar to custom granite slabs, they are available in a narrow range of sizes. They offer no customization options since they are prefabricated. Selecting a prefabricated stone is suitable when they can fit in the existing space, especially a home with standard dimensions.
By default, most prefabricated granite pieces have bullnose edging. This typically isn’t an issue for many homeowners: bullnose edging features gentle curves that work in just about any kitchen style. They’re less rigid than the right angles of eased edges, but safer for children, since corners are softer.
Prefabricated granite 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.
Prefabricated granite is an especially great fit in settings where return-on-investment is the driving concern, such as commercial kitchens, office buildings, or investment properties. These places need quality countertops, but don’t need the customization a homeowner might. This makes prefabricated pieces an outstanding fit.
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.
See our installation process!
Jennifer explains how the Superior Stone & Cabinet team handled her entire countertop and cabinet installation process, from start-to-finish.
Custom Granite Slab
Custom granite slabs are custom-cut pieces made according to the requirements of the clients. They are more expensive to install than prefabricated pieces since they need to be cut down to the size needed. In most cases, custom granite slabs are perfect for non-standard kitchens that have unusual countertop needs and sizes.
Some homeowners choose customer granite slab versus prefabricated granite because they like having more customization options when it comes to edges, seals, and more.
Granite slabs do cost more than prefabricated granite. In essence, you’re paying for an entire slab of stone. This comes with several benefits—including customization, as we’ve already noted—but it will increase the cost.
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.