Granite Samples: What You Need to Know

Beware the Little Granite Samples.

So, you’re getting new counters and you’ve picked up a little sample of Pretty Color Granite from a big box store and you’re using it to shop for paint and cabinet stain colors.

Watch Out!

That little sample might be a few weeks old, or it might be a few years old. In any case, it is very unlikely to match the actual slabs that will be used for your countertops.  And another thing – that little sample might not show that the slab is really different from one end to the other – check out the series of photos on this page to see an example of what we mean.

Oh No! Say it isn’t so!

4 Things to Know About Granite Samples

  1. Bigger is better. Small samples of granite won’t give you a good idea of what the whole slabs looks like, unless it is a granite type with a very small, tight pattern. Bigger samples might be harder to haul around for shopping for stuff to match your counters, but you will get a much better idea of how things really look together.
  2. Unless your sample is from the exact slab that will be used for your project, the color might not be that close to the real deal. Most granite yards aren’t going to whack off a piece of a slab for you to take shopping, so you might be better off bringing your samples of paint and cabinet doors to the granite yard to hold up against the actual slabs you like.
  3. Granite bought today is not likely to match granite bought a few years ago. Granite is a natural stone. As it is cut and removed in bundles from the quarry, the area where the next lot of bundles will be cut from changes. As the area of the quarry changes, so does the coloration of the stone, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot.
  4. If you need more than one slab for your project, make sure the slabs come from the same bundle, to have the best chance of the seams and colors matching. (Granite is bought by importers or wholesalers in bundles of 6 or 7 slabs. The slabs in one bundle may not match the slabs in another bundle. This may be the case even when the bundles come from the same quarry and are bought at the same time.)

So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Granite Samples ARE Useful

How the heck do you pick granite if you need big samples, but can’t really get samples that are the exact stone that will be used for your counters?

Here is what we recommend for choosing your granite:

  1. First, visit our little granite shop off North Lamar in Austin. Bring some photos of projects you like (magazine articles, photos on your phone, etc.), paint samples, a cabinet door, or pieces of tile or fabric that you either already have in your home, or are planning to use.
  2. We’ll help you make some basic decisions: granite with small, tight patterns, or granite with big, sweeping movement across the slab (like most of the Bordeaux granites)?
  3. We’ll also talk about whether you like warm colors (tan, brown, red, rust, gold) or cool colors (blues, greens, greys). (Check out our pages on Granite Colors and Granite Types for some ideas.)
  4. Once you’ve given us a good idea of how you want your finished project to look, we can talk about which granite (or marble, or quartz) will work better for your project.  Some stones are heavily favored for traditional styles, while others work better for modern or contemporary applications. Some patterns in natural stone look better on big kitchen islands, and some look better on long counters than others.
  5. If you have a designer, you may have already gone through a lot of this and are ready for the next step: picking your actual material at one of the local granite yards in Austin.

Are you thinking, “but we thought that’s what YOU are!”?

We are a fabricator, meaning we get material from granite yards all over Central Texas and use them to make countertops (or shower bench seats, or tabletops, or ledges, or . . .) for kitchens and bathrooms and outdoor kitchens, or really anything.

What that means to you is: your choice of granite, marble or quartz is never limited to what we have in stock. If it’s available locally, we can turn it into your counters.

Our showroom has example counters and lots of samples from past projects. This lets you do a lot of your decision making before hitting the big stone yards because the big stone yards are, well, big, and it can be daunting to go there first because your head will be pinning. And, in the summer, they are HOT, like big stone ovens, since we are, after all, in Central Texas!

Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for (even better if we also have measured your cabinets or existing counters, so you know how big the slabs need to be), you can go see full slabs at one or more of the local stone yards.

Read this article on What to Expect When You Visit a Granite Yard in Austin.