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The Difference Between Builder & Standard Grade Granite

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Difference Between Builder & Standard Grade Granite

Granite is the most popular choice for homeowners when it comes to countertops. It’s pretty much indestructible and offers a wide variety of colors and looks, so it’s a no brainer. But lots of factors come into play when shopping for kitchen or bathroom countertops, and the more knowledge you have when making your choice the better off you’ll be. An important piece of information that’s often a source of confusion is a “Builder” or “Commercial” grade granite vs. “Standard” grade granite. The typical assumption is that “Builder” grade granite is far inferior to “Standard” or mid-level grade granite. As a fabricator, designer, or homeowner, here’s some valuable insight for you: it’s not!

One of the only differences between the two is the look and physical appearance of the slabs. Yes, availability, thickness, and origin all play a part in pricing but as far as actual quality, different grades of granite slabs are pretty much the same.

That’s something that most wholesalers won’t tell you, but we will.

What Is Considered Builder Grade Granite?

Slabs labeled as “Builder” or “Commercial” grade are generally common granite colors like:

The colors listed above have a few things in common like larger veins and frequent inconsistencies. These “Commercial” grade slabs are quarried in abundance so naturally by law of supply and demand the price is lower, automatically giving out the vibe that they’re cheaper because of the quality. False. The slightly varied patterns and veining is the true difference between these slabs, a secret most people don’t know.

Santa Cecilia Builder Grade Granite
Giallo Ornamental Standard Grade Granite
Builder Grade: Notice the Large Vein in the Granite

At first glance both slabs seem to look almost exactly the same, revealing a common color with a similar pattern. Take a closer look. Notice how the “Builder” grade granite has a large vein in the upper left corner of the slab. It was a specific cut of the earth and was the lucky slab to get that unique mark. The quality is the same, but the look is slightly different.

Ask Us Anything

It’s always wise to ask questions, especially when investing in a kitchen or bathroom remodel. So we’ve thrown in a couple of great questions we’ve received in hopes they serve you well:

“When choosing my granite, will the stone sample be identical to the actual slab I select?”
No cut of natural stone is ever identical. Similar, yes. There will be variations from a small sample size to a full slab. Why? Because they’re cut from different parts of the earth and at different times. It’s kind of like the explanation of a snowflake, no two are exactly alike.

How can I get the best deal on a granite slab?”
There are various levels of pricing for natural stone slabs, especially given the different factors that go into pricing them. A great shopping tip is to research and ask if any fabricators are offering a price concession on “Builder” grade slabs. It never hurts to ask, and you know the quality won’t suffer because of it.

We’re here as a resource for you, so feel free to give us a call with your questions or concerns. Let’s set up an appointment to check out our show room. Our design professionals will be happy to assist you!

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