After a decade in the countertop industry, I’m finally buying a new countertop. My first impressions are in part 1, here.
Next step, visiting a fabricator.
I felt like I knew a lot about buying a countertop based on chatting with thousands of fabricators, but I wasn’t really prepared. My wife spent days looking at Pinterest and Houzz for design ideas. Every night we’d talk about the grand plan. Since we’re remodeling that included looking at paint colors, tile, floors, and a lot of countertop options.
Opportunity #1: If you’re a countertop fabricator, and not posting pictures on Pinterest or Houzz… you’re invisible. Both of those sites appeal to the same core demographic that’s your customer.
I drew a sketch of the counters, in CounterGo. We took some pictures of the kitchen, because we thought it’d help. We brought a cabinet door, samples of the tiles and paint we liked, and headed to Precision Countertops to make some choices and get things rolling.
I’d chatted a few times with Ryan, the operations manager for their business in Bend, and he was meeting us to help.
In addition to being one of Moraware’s long-time customers, and being personal friends with the folks there… one of the reasons we chose Precision is because they had an informative website.
Opportunity #2: Have a great website. Don’t talk about yourself, educate your customers.
I’ve attended many industry events and heard the mantra “it all starts with color selection“, but I wasn’t sure I believed it. Turns out, that’s totally true.
When I put on my homeowner hat, I don’t care about the performance characteristics of the surface in my kitchen. I certainly don’t care about the brand – Casearstone, Silestone, Cambria, Corian, Formica – they’re irrelevant. What I care about is the color.
Even though we spent lots of time looking at colors on the web, I’m now sure that this part of the process has to be done in person. Variations of color on a computer screen are too unreliable. I don’t want to end up with a pinkish countertop that I’m going to regret the moment it’s installed.
Random idea: it would have been really cool if there was a way to have variable light in the showroom. The same way our paint colors look different in every room based on the light, I’m sure the countertops will look different in the real lighting situation of my kitchen. Is anyone doing this? It would have given me much more confidence in our selections.
So, we ended up picking Dekton Danae… mostly based on the color, which is digitally printed to make it look like a marble, or limestone. But, since I’m messy when I’m in the kitchen I really don’t want to think about maintenance. One thing I’ve learned from being in the industry is that keeping the pristine look of porous stones requires care, and I’m not willing to do that.
Explaining the process
Although I’ve got a good idea of the overall process of buying a counter, even I missed some key elements. The big one was that we’ve got an appliance garage in one section of the cabinets. I hadn’t even considered the fact that it would impact tear-out and the new installation. But I’m interested to see how it’ll pan out.
Next step is for us to sign the quote, and get a template scheduled. I’m really curious about the overall timing – since we’ve got other tradespeople in our house, I’m guessing we’ll need to be a bit more particular about the timing than I expected.
More, in part 3.