We have all seen the plastic lawn signs by the side of the road advertising unrealistically low price for granite countertops. How can some contractors make granite countertops so cheap?
Sometimes they can't and will try and bait and switch you to a higher price when you meet them.
Some do not have proper insurance. Liability insurance is expensive, but it protects the customer if something goes wrong. The law requires workmens' compensation insurance. If the contractor does not have the insurance, the homeowner can get stuck if there is a problem.
Not all granite is the same quality even if it has the same name. Commercial grade granite can be duller and less attractive or have more defects and carbon spots
Some contractors use mismatched slab. This happens when there are leftover slabs (orphans) from a particular block of slabs. They might have the same name but can be far different – see pictures. The only way to avoid this is to approve all slabs that will be used in your top and make sure the slabs are number consecutively. This is particularly important on slabs with a lot of graining or colors.
Installers working on the cheapest countertops also do not have the time to install proper bracing or finish seams and edges properly.
Cygnet Stainless Steel Sinks from ANO are welded sinks which means the bowls are individually drawn and then welded together. Here is a video that demonstrates the differences.
It is Hard to Buy a Better Mousetrap
In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” Sounds right except when Emerson was speaking there was no internet and there were no big box stores. Today he might say, “Build a cheaper mousetrap, regardless of quality…”
In today’s marketplace, the lead is nearly always price. On the internet, it is impossible to tell a good faucet from a cheap plastic version of the same thing. Even brands are not sacred. Most big manufacturers make cheap versions of their mainline product for the big box stores and internet.
In the picture below, a Freendo faucet we sell is side by side with the knockoff sold at a big box store. The big box store version is sold to the public for about our wholesale price. Notice, the finish on the big box version does not have the highlights our version does. The big box store has a plastic cartridge instead of a longer lasting ceramic cartridge, and when you get it home – the drain is not displayed in the store – the plug and drain are all plastic.
And it is not just this manufacturer. The big box store calls in the manufacturer and offers to purchase large quantities of the product but dictates the price. The manufacturer then goes back and makes the product fit the price. When the product shows up on the internet, there is no way to tell from the pictures which version of the product you are buying. Often the only packaging difference is the part number.
What does that mean to you?
It means it is hard to get a better-quality product, any product.
Recently, ANO was interviewing manufacturers of ceramic lav bowls to improve the quality of the product. The manufacturers were so accustomed to price only purchasing that it took months to find one who was willing to upgrade quality, even at a higher price. ANO’s needs were simple, or so we thought. Our customers wanted the following:
- A finish free of dimples, dust, and bubbles
- A consistent size – one major manufacturer recommends 5/8 inch overhang because the bowls vary so much
- Glazing that went to the top of the bowl, so the installer did not need to install a large caulk bead to hide the unfinished bowl
- Flat top so it lays flat on the countertop
- Glazing that went into the overflow hole, so the chrome drain cap was not required.
ANO was willing to pay a premium for these features.
It took months to find a manufacturer willing to even discuss these issues. We have now made arrangements with a factory that meets these needs. ANO is getting the top ten percent of the production runs to avoid the defects and size differences. The sinks are sanded to lay flat on the countertop, and so the glazing goes to the top. ANO is also inspecting the bowls to make sure we get what we require.
At the bottom is a picture of the gazing on the new ANO lav bowl.
Features of Infinity Series Stainless Faucets
- Solid Stainless Steel, so they heavy and are built to last as long as the granite
- On/Off handle is forward motion only, so there is no interference with backsplash.
- New swivel top hose
- Lead-free not just meet the code but truly lead-free.
- Faucets are sand cast stainless steel, so all components match. Many other brands faucet have more than one color tone.
- Excellent color match to the Infinity and Decora Series stainless steel sinks.
- Solid Stainless means no finish to come off, and minor scratches can be buffed and repaired.
- Spring retraction system so there is no weight to bang on plumbing or hang up on items stored under the sink.
- Popular styles
- Quieter long-lasting vinyl hose.
- Soap dispenser with longer spout, so it does not drip on granite or rundown sink.
- Parts are easy to replace if
Models Coming in May
- FSR-3219 Single Bowl
- FSR-3310A-PF Apron Front for Farm Sink Cabinet
- FSR-3307A-PF Apron front for existing Cabinets
- FSR- 2318-12PF – Laundry Sink 12″ deep
One of the most common questions we get is “What size hole do we cut for the faucet?”
All of the kitchen faucets except the RO/filter faucet need an 1 3/8″ hole – see below. To install the faucet into the hole, you need to remove the black plastic thread protectors on the water lines.
Looking for some unique countertop designs? Take a look at these.