COUNTERTOP buying guide

Use this guide as a reference outline to help make your project go smoothly.

COUNTERTOP BuyING Guide

PRE-TEMPLATE DECISIONS & INFORMATION

Navigating decisions, products and understanding fabrication and installation can be extremely exhausting and complicated.
Your project is important to us and we are excited to help you through the process.

Project Overview

Some of the things that you will be asked during a consultation are:

  • What are your goals and objectives with your project?
  • What motif or style are you interested in? (modern, rustic, traditional, etc.)
  • Are you working with a contractor, designer, cabinet maker, or plumber?
  • Does your project involve new cabinets?
  • Are you reusing existing cabinets, sinks or appliances?
  • Is removal of existing materials involved?  If so, who is doing the removal?

Estimate

To receive the most accurate estimate for your project we will need:

  • Material Selection
  • Edge Selection
  • Cabinet plan or rough counter sketch (in inches) indicating sinks, appliances, walls, etc
You will be provided with an estimate and layout, please review this for accuracy.

This is an estimate only and may change based on final measurements, material selection and edge choice.

DESIGN CHOICES

Material Thickness & Edge Profiles

Granite, marble, and quartz typically come in two thicknesses: 2cm (3/4”) or 3cm (1 3/16”).  3cm thickness is usually the most popular and cost effective. VVG stocks this size as it is generally not necessary to “build up” the edge profile. Some materials, typically used in shower surrounds, fireplace surrounds, or decorative will be 1cm-1.6cm thick. Below are visual examples how edges are created.

2cm Edge Profiles

3cm Edge Profiles

OUTSIDE AND INSIDE CORNERS

You can view examples of different corner types during your showroom consultation or shown below. Typically, square is a more modern look and round is a “softer” look.

CORNER RADIUS OPTIONS

Radius corners refer to the degree of roundness the countertop corners will have. The larger the radius the softer the corners will look.

OVERHANGS AND BRACING

To prevent tipping, overhangs cannot be longer than 1/3 of the width of the countertop.
  • 3cm natural stone can have an overhang up to 10 inches without additional support.
  • 2cm natural stone can have an overhang of up to 6 inches.
  • 3cm engineered stone can have an overhang up to 15” without additional support.
  • 2cm engineered stone can have an overhang of up to 10 inches.
  • VVG considers a “standard” overhang 2 inches from the front of the cabinet box and 1 1/2 inches on the sides.

APPLIANCES

VVG Sales Consultants are not trained to determine the suitability of specific fixtures or appliances. However, we will work with you and your supplier to help evaluate whether the components’ sizes and characteristics fit your project.

  • It is important to ask about compatibility prior to purchasing appliances.
  • It is necessary to supply VVG the make, model numbers, and spec sheet of appliances that need to be cut into the counter.
  • Drop-in cooktops will need to be on-site at time of template. They will be “dry fit” at time of installation. Failure to have this on-site will result in an additional “trip charge”.
  • Slide-In range or cooktop with the controls on the front will usually require a “filler” piece of counter behind the range and may require the front of the counter to be “notched.” This appliance will need to be on-site at time of install.

Freestanding ranges (most common), which have the controls on the back, will generally require a 30” opening and the sides will be polished. These ranges are not required to be on-site.

Most dishwashers will attach to the cabinets on the side flange, however, if you would like a metal bracket that spans a dishwasher opening (24”) please let your sales consultant know.

Shown below are the most common cooking range applications.

SINKS

VVG stocks a variety of high quality undermount sinks.

If you are providing the sinks, they need to be ON SITE at time of template and placed in the correct location. All farm style sinks need to be sitting in cabinet box with the top of sink flush with the top of cabinets at time of template. Custom sinks may require an additional drafting fee.
  1. Undermount (most common): mounted underneath the polished countertop material
  2. Overmount and Vessel: rests on the top of the countertop (harder to keep clean)
  3. Dual Mount sinks may not work and are NOT recommended to be undermounted
We will need to know sink models, who is providing the sink(s)
Specify your choice of sink material.
  • Stainless Steel - Generally durable and economically priced
  • Granite Composite - Mid-priced, great look with many color options
  • Porcelain (or porcelain coated cast-iron) -Very common with farm style sinks
  • Custom Sink made from Countertop Material - Ask a sales rep to show you some unique options.

FAUCETS AND FAUCET HOLES

Prior to template, provide the faucet model number and number of faucet holes required and the placement in relation to the sinks you choose.

The standard size of a faucet hole is 1 3/8”. A single hole faucet is generally easier to clean around. Will an “air switch” be required for a garbage disposal in an island? Will a sprayer be installed?

BACKSPLASH

A backsplash between 2” and 4” will be billed as a 4” splash

PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL (REMODEL)

  • It is recommended to have a plumber disconnect your sinks, disposals and faucets before we can remove your old tops and install your new countertops.
  • We suggest that you call a licensed plumber or electrician for your connections.
  • If we are doing a full splash we will have to remove the faceplates and pull the electrical outlet from the wall. If any outlets need to be moved, it is your responsibility to have them relocated before templating.
We do not disconnect cooktops. We do not reinstall any plumbing, electrical appliances or fixtures.

CUTOUTS

  • Cutouts will have a hole pierced in the middle during fabrication and are discarded
  • If purchasing “by the slab” all counters and “extra pieces” will need to be defined prior to templating and will be fabricated and delivered at the time of installation.

CAULKING

  • Undermount sinks, backsplash and counters are caulked during installation. Depending on the material, a white or translucent (milky) white caulking will be used. Typically, paintable caulk is used where stone meets sheetrock, and 100% silicone (non-paintable) caulking is used where stone meets stone or stone meets cabinets.
  • Caulking requires regular maintenance and may shrink over time.
  • As part of our ongoing annual stone care, caulking will be “touched up” as needed.
Please inform your sales rep if you have any special color requirements for your caulking.

MATERIAL DECISION

Material selection is probably the hardest and one of the most important parts of the countertop buying process. VVG carries a large inventory which is competitively priced. You are also welcome to select materials from your choice of vendors.  Ask a consultant for a list of local material suppliers.

general color and design tips

  • A good design rule is to “Contrast not Compete” meaning that often, a darker material will compliment a lighter cabinet and vice versa. Just as there are multiple variations of white, it may be better to contrast completely instead of trying to match colors exactly.
  • Natural light is important to consider.  Do you want to “brighten” the space?
  • Different colored island - It’s not uncommon to select a more exotic island material in contrast to the perimeter. If you would like this included in your estimate please inform your sales consultant.
  • Having paint, flooring and cabinet samples will help with decisions
  • Your sales consultant can help advise you in these decisions.

choosing from a sample

  • VVG Signature colors (priced by the sq. ft.) are generally more uniform and consistent in color, however, stone samples are representative of that product and show only the type of material found within that particular range of stone.
Color variation is expected and an exact match to samples cannot be guaranteed.

  • VVG has large samples and full slabs at each of their showroom locations with the ability to access our photo database and can electronically view other in-stock materials.

Labor and material costs

  • Labor costs required to handle, fabricate and install slabs are around 60% of the project cost.
  • With the exception of extremely exotic and porcelain materials, most labor costs will remain the same regardless of what material you choose.
  • If an exotic material is chosen, your cost could increase due to shipping, quarrying, rarity and country of origin.  In addition, rare materials could be more difficult to work with and less durable than stone in the VVG Signature Color Collection.
  • Generally the more movement or pattern in the material, the greater the expense.

Purchasing a slab

Slab materials are priced in two ways:

  1. By the square foot - You pay for what you use (these are our stock VVG Signature Colors)
  2. By the Slab - This is VVG Exotic or any custom slab you select from a slab yard.

Which model is more cost effective is entirely dependent on your budget.

Two types of slab materials

  1. Natural or Quarried: Literally cut from the mountain, sliced up, and polished. Granite, Marble, Travertine, Soapstone, Serpentine, Slate, Sandstone and Quartzite
  2. Man Made: Processed in a factory using different methods. Engineered Stone (Quartz), Ultra Compact (Tile Slab), Engineered Marble

Types of slab material finishes

  • Polished: Most common type of finish; it is easy to clean and maintain
  • Honed: Matte finish, recommended for marble and does not reflect the light as well
  • Leathered: Textured, unique finish
  • Ultra Compact: These surfaces come in finishes similar to tile

Material comparison chart

Granite and Quartzite

  • The most common types of natural stone used for countertops.
  • Average slab size is 115” x 70” but will vary from color to color.
  • Granite comes in many different types, each composed of different natural materials and properties.
  • Granite will have varying levels of maintenance and discoloration/staining susceptibility.
  • Granite is an extremely hard surface that is very scratch resistant. Cutting on granite is ok, but will usually dull knives.
  • Granite is heat resistant and unlikely to burn or scorch.  However, thermal shock or cracks may occur if the countertop is subject to extreme temperature changes.
  • Granite that has not been treated with resin are recommended for exterior applications.
  • Each stone is unique and subject to variations in background color, veining distribution and veining pattern.  Fissures and pitting are naturally occurring features in granite and should not be considered a defect.  These natural features will not affect the performance of granite.
  • True Quartzite is extremely hard (harder than most granites) and dense. Not many quartzites that are quarried are used for slabs.

Quartz (engineered stone)

  • has gained extreme popularity recently as colors have improved, often imitating natural stone.
  • comprised of approximately 93% stone aggregates and 7% polyester resin by weight (66% stone aggregate and 33% resin by volume) and is pressed into slabs or large blocks that are polished.
  • Seams and shading variation may be more visible with Quartz products than other products.
  • Quartz is not UV stable and will fade with direct sunlight. VVG WILL NOT use quartz outdoors.
  • Chiseled edge is not offered on quartz products.
  • Slabs come in 2 approximate sizes - 120” x 55”  or 126” x 63”

Marble, Travertine, Soapstone, serpentine, slate, and sandstone

  • These materials have a very unique color and appearance.
  • Great choices for backsplash and less trafficked areas that don’t see a lot of food preparation.
  • Choosing these stones for kitchen applications is acceptable, but the likelihood of these materials staining and scratching is much greater than with polished granite.

Ultra compact (tile slab)

  • Ultra Compact is a fairly new product in the market and is gaining popularity as durability, tooling and processing methods are being developed.
  • Ultra Compact products provide a unique texture and look that cannot be captured in natural or engineered stone.
  • Very low coefficient of thermal expansion makes it thermal shock resistant from both extreme heat and extreme cold. Good choice for exterior and high traffic applications.
  • Extremely easy to maintain; chips however, are extremely difficult to repair.
  • With nearly 0% porosity, it is a hygienic surface resistant to acidic liquids, heat, staining, and scratching.

Engineered Marble

  • a recycled natural marble that has been crushed, pressed, heated and bonded with an amount of resin.
  • typically softer than other materials, scratches easier, and is not as heat resistant.
  • good choice for vertical surfaces such as shower surrounds or backsplash options.

Joint Placement

  • Joint placement is determined by VVG professionals in accordance with industry standards.  
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that joints are placed in the best location for structural integrity and aesthetic value.  Joints may vary from 1/16” to 1/8” and may be visible to the eye and touch.
  • Some materials may experience shade variations where two pieces come together. (This is common with Quartz material)
  • VVG does not place joints in the middle of sinks, but instead, embeds a fiberglass rod on the underside of the counter to strengthen the sink rail. The exceptions of joint placement in sinks would be a “farm style” or “apron” front sink that do not require countertop material in the front. The placement of a joint in a cooktop and over-mount sink is acceptable.

Approve slab layout

One of the advantages that VVG offers, when you buy by the slab, is the ability to view your layout prior to purchasing.

  • When purchasing by the sq. ft. VVG staff will determine what slabs are used and layout.
  • VVG Signature colors will need to be purchased by the slab if an exact slab and layout approval is required.
  • If you purchase by the slab or by the “cut piece”, you can electronically lay out your project at one of our showrooms to see how the material would look with your project.

LAYOUT APPROVAL

Joint Placement

  • Joint placement is determined by VVG professionals in accordance with industry standards.  
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that joints are placed in the best location for structural integrity and aesthetic value.  Joints may vary from 1/16” to 1/8” and may be visible to the eye and touch.
  • Some materials may experience shade variations where two pieces come together. (This is common with Quartz material)
  • VVG does not place joints in the middle of sinks, but instead, embeds a fiberglass rod on the underside of the counter to strengthen the sink rail. The exceptions of joint placement in sinks would be a “farm style” or “apron” front sink that do not require countertop material in the front. The placement of a joint in a cooktop and over-mount sink is acceptable.

Approve slab layout

One of the advantages that VVG offers, when you buy by the slab, is the ability to view your layout prior to purchasing.

  • When purchasing by the sq. ft. VVG staff will determine what slabs are used and layout.
  • VVG Signature colors will need to be purchased by the slab if an exact slab and layout approval is required.
  • If you purchase by the slab or by the “cut piece”, you can electronically lay out your project at one of our showrooms to see how the material would look with your project.

ORDER FINALIZED

Prior to templating:

  • All estimates, layouts and material waivers must be signed and returned to VVG prior to templating.
  • 75% deposit must be paid prior to templating. (Payments by credit card shall be subject to a Convenience Fee of 3%. Consequently, your payment by credit card shall constitute your acceptance to this fee and an express waiver of any claims with respect to such fee)
  • Ensure that templater has clear access to areas to be measured
  • All cabinet work must be attached and in permanent position, leveled and secured. Any brackets must be installed on the cabinetry.  
  • Any alterations required to cabinets or substructure must be completed before templating.
  • Cabinets that sit on the countertops need to be removed prior to template/install and should be reinstalled at least 24 hours AFTER new countertops have been installed.
  • Make/Model Numbers for: faucets, cooktop & slide-in ranges (controls on front & filler counter in back) have been provided to VVG prior to templating.
  • Customer supplied sinks & drop-in cooktops will need to be ON-SITE and placed IN THE CABINET BOX at time of template.

A Return Trip Charge will be assessed for items not on-site at time of template.

  • If a Cast Iron or Apron-Front (Farm Style) sink is used, it must be built into cabinet by cabinet maker before measuring can be done. The top of the sink needs to be flush with the top of the cabinets.
  • Number of faucets and faucet holes and placement to be drilled is determined and verified on the sale order.

Holes drilled at time of installation will incur an extra charge.

  • Dishwasher: Most dishwashers are designed to fasten along the cabinetry on the side of the dishwasher seal. This is the preferred installation method.  Another method is a wood (cabinet) strip above the dishwasher. VVG can provide a metal bracket that spans the dishwasher opening and secures the flanges on the top of the dishwasher. If you want such a bracket, make sure this is specified in your sale order.

Prior to template (for remodel)

  • Clear off counters so the templators can capture a good measurement of counters and walls.
  • In some cases, (usually existing tile countertops) it is best to have the counters removed prior to the measuring process.  Usually laminate can be measured with the existing counters in place.
  • Mirrors (to be) mounted above backsplashes or countertops are the responsibility of the homeowner or builder.  Existing mirrors are to be removed before installation of backsplash.  Mirrors are only to be reinstalled after marble/granite installation is complete.  VVG is not responsible for damage to mirrors that are not removed prior to field measure or install.
  • All appliance garages (storage areas) must be removed prior to field measurements.

SCHEDULING YOUR PROJECT

Project Manager

Once you have everything completed for your order, your project will be submitted to a Project Manager who will review everything and contact you confirming the earliest date your project will be ready for templating.

Your Project Manager will be working closely with you to ensure that everything runs smoothly through the entire field measure, fabrication and installation processes. They will help you with the scheduling, post field measure and installation events.

For any scheduling questions please contact the project management team at (435) 257-7814

DAY OF TEMPLATE

Your templating specialist will be measuring and electronically creating / submitting the final CAD drawings for production.

In order to provide the best possible processing time, our goal is to be fabricating your job within 4-8 hours after he has field measured. This is why it is imperative that ALL decisions be made and information provided prior to your templater arriving at the jobsite.

Template appointments usually last between 30 minutes and an hour depending on the size of job. The following activities will be done while they are on site

Please have someone familiar with the job requirements available either in person or via phone for questions during the appointment.

  • Make sure all items from STEP 5 are complete prior to this visit
  • Model numbers for sinks, faucets, cooktops etc. will be verified
  • Cast Iron or Apron-Front (Farm Style) sink locations will be recorded
  • Cabinet measurements/locations will be recorded
  • A digital template will be taken of the cabinets and walls that will come in contact with the tops/splash
  • Photos will be taken to verify the information that was recorded
Equipment used for templating.

AFTER TEMPLATE ADJUSTMENTS

Incomplete items at time of template could delay your installation date assignment.

  • Job not ready for measure (cabinets not secure / job site not accessible)
  • Measurements increase greater than 2 sq. ft.

                 - A new sale order approval may be required

                 - A new layout may be required if you are purchasing material “by the slab”

  • Missing items on site (owner provided sinks or drop in cooktop)
  • Decision changes (Edges, Colors, Faucet, Splash etc.)
  • Additional design answers needed from VVG Production or Installation (verify piece sizes / joint placement etc.)

The day after template

  • Valley View Granite follows “first in first out” manufacturing methods.
  • If there is no additional information required and no change to the estimate, Project Management will send you another sale order confirmation and an installation date.
  • If there are any additional approvals or information needed will be resolved/approved by project management.
  • A completion date will only be assigned after ALL information is received and verified.

In the event that material is not in stock, the completion date will not be assigned until the material arrives at VVG fabrication facility and any necessary layout approvals are received.

No changes can be made after a job has been approved for production.

  • With 24 hour a day production, VVG offers some of the fastest turn around times in the industry. Average lead time from the date of receipt of approved shop drawings is 7 to 15 business days.

Project Timeline

The following represents approximate delivery times only. It does NOT constitute a contract or commitment.

DAY OF INSTALL

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • Natural and engineered stone is heavy! Please have a clear pathway to the installation area.
  • On occasion, stone may need to be cut, ground, or polished on site, creating a layer of dust. We will do everything possible to contain the dust, however, homeowners should be aware that there will be dust. Adults and children with respiratory illnesses (asthma, COPD, etc.) should not be at the site on the day of installation.
  • The process of installation requires the use of epoxies and/or other resins which produce a strong odor. We recommend that windows be open during this process. Be prepared for inclement weather or hot weather (sweaters in the winter, fans in the summer).
  • In order to properly install sinks, it is not uncommon for cabinets to be cut or modified at time of install.
  • All plumbing, gas and electrical connections must be disconnected by the installation date.  Once the installation is complete, countertops will require a mandatory setting time of overnight, but optimally should be allowed to set for 24 hours before reconnecting utilities or installing any fixtures.  VVG will mount sinks and drill faucet holes.  You are responsible for scheduling a licensed professional to reconnect fixtures and utilities.
  • To ensure customer satisfaction, we ask that any installation work be inspected for quality and suitability at time of install. By helping to review our workmanship in a timely fashion, you will minimize any time needed to make additional adjustments and ensure your happiness with your product.
  • Most dishwashers will attach to the cabinets on the side flange, however, if you would like a metal bracket that spans a dishwasher opening (24”) please let your sales consultant know.

Remodel

Children or animals underfoot puts them at risk! We ask on the day of the installation your animals be kenneled and, if possible, arrange for your children to be with a caregiver.

  • Remove any loose rugs from the floor and ensure floor surfaces are dry.
  • Remove decorative and other unnecessary items from the work area.

We recommend waiting 48 hours before preparing food on your countertops to ensure that sealant is fully absorbed and cured.

Field service hours

VVG Field Service hours are between 7:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday - Friday.

Any field services required after 4:00 PM will be billed for overtime.

  • Overtime for measuring will be billed at an additional $35.00 per hour and an installation crew will be billed at an additional $75.00 per hour.

Scheduling communications and supervisor permission for overtime must be approved prior to scheduling.

Work performed after 4:00 PM because of VVG workload will not be billed overtime.

LONG TERM CARE

Slab Care and Sealing

Regardless of material, VVG always recommends that your slab is professionally maintained annually, giving you the peace of mind that your slab will continue to exceed performance expectations.

LEARN MORE