What comes first kitchen counter or backsplash (I swear this is the chicken and the egg scenario)?
I am glad I decided to purchase my backsplash first. It is much easier to carry around and match with countertop samples. Real life moment: the stone samples you look at in the showroom will not perfectly reflect what you’ll end up with in your kitchen-each stone is unique. Mother Nature can be unpredictable; this is reflected in granite (I have narrowed down my options to granite and quartz. Here is a great quiz and an informative article. If you’re doing an upgrade, I also send up a silent prayer for you.). It has no repeating pattern or color scheme. Irregularities are part of its beauty. The solution here is to go to a showroom where you can see whole slabs and pick out your own. This is also a good time to set your budget (I decided on $55 square foot) and to remember to ask these questions:
- Does your company allow me to select which parts of the slab will be used on my project and where they will be used (i.e. template pairing/ slab layout)?
- Can I buy my sinks and accessories from you?
- Ask your stone fabricator who will be handling the plumbing installation and hook-up. This person should be an expert with plumbing or a licensed plumber.
- Ask your stone supplier about warranties on their products. Warranties should cover such issues as stains from food and beverages. Make sure to discuss this so you know what the warranty entails and covers, and for what period of time. If your countertop gets damaged, a professional stone fabricator most likely can repair your countertop. Of course, most fabricators charge for on-site work other than warranty work.
- Do I get to keep the remnants? Is there a charge for this? For us creative types, we want that sink cut out piece. I am still pissed I wasn’t given this option- that would have made for two perfect tables in my backyard.
The first showroom we visited I found some lovely things that would make my tile pop. My spouse also found some lovely things (You want to test your relationship? Remodel something together!). Then, it happened! The salesperson said, “I can’t sell to you.”
We looked at each other, and she quickly clarified they only sold to contractors (I know, what the hell?). What a beautiful, blessed nightmare. I then asked for a quote so we could perhaps find contractor. She let out a little gasp and informed us that was not an option, as the price varied three to seven percent (seriously!). What beautiful, blessed nightmare. My spouse grabbed his sample and we stormed out in a theatrical fashion and headed to the big box stores. We thought maybe we were overlooking the obvious (PLEASE stick to your gut). Lowe’s’ selection was hideous and very limited. Home Depot had something I thought was lovely, made my backsplash sample pop, and that my spouse could live with. Then it turned into another beautiful, blessed nightmare.
I’ll spare you the letter I sent to the Home Depot customer service department. However, I am curious- am I the only one who didn’t know that if you get a quote at one Home Depot store, the other Home Depot stores won’t honor it? What the hell? Aren’t they a chain? So, pissed off and annoyed I have decided I am boycotting them.
Exasperated, we agreed on one last showroom. Thankfully, the place was an amazing paradise of counter material. The staff was friendly and they let us loose in a warehouse full of beautiful slaps where I probably hugged and touched every beautiful piece. My spouse, on the other hand, was still holding on to his sample from the first store (men!). He inquired if they could order his slab, and she happily informed she could and it wouldn’t cost extra. I tossed in my three favorite samples for quotes. She happily gave us four quotes and informed us the price would be adjusted after our kitchen was properly measured, and no rush on making a decision as it was good for 30 days. That night we laid samples on top of our old laminate counter top. My spouse’s samples popped against our cabinets, but my samples popped against what would be our new back splash, accent wall, island and curtains. Hmmm, what to do. We decided after a proper measuring and seeing the bottom line we go with the cheapest. The difference between our top two was $14.82. Ugh, we still had decision to make. What a beautiful, blessed nightmare.