11 Questions to Ask Before Buying Countertops

Do you hold any professional accreditations or industry certifications?

Make sure your stone fabricator is not just a “dues paying” member of an industry organization, but that they hold MIA (Marble Institute of America) Accreditation or some type of certification for compliance, assurance and quality craftsmanship.  We are MIA accredited as well as members of ISFA (International Surface Fabricators Association isfanow.org) and Artisan (an elite group of fabricators).

Does your company handle all of the fabrication and installation of my countertops?

Check to see that your fabricator is not outsourcing.  If so, ensure not to unqualified or substandard fabricators. Make sure who is doing the fabrication and installation and that they are a trusted and respected professional.We are considered experts of the industry and we make everything we sell, handling all countertop details from template to fabrication & installation.  All steps of our process are provided by a trained Paxton team member and never a subcontractor.  We strive to make every experience an exceptional one.

If I need a seam, what is the process for determining that seam location (will I have any say?) and how will my seam look? 

Seams should be based on the yield of the slab and onsite details (such as how will a top make it inside, up or down flight(s) of stairs, ceiling height, etc).  Look for a shop that will allow you to work with them on placement and will order additional material rather than have the color and grain of your countertops compromised.  Check to see that the seam will be cut on a dual CNC for crispness, and that the adhesive will be a color-matched quartz bonder (should be matched by chemist in a lab manufacturing for every individual countertop color, specifically for this industry).  When the seam is not located at a sink, a quality countertop fabricator will use a special piece of vibrating equipment that will draw in and vibrate out any air bubbles, resulting in a more inconspicuous seam.  You can be as involved as you would like when it comes to seam placement.  If ordering an additional slab means a better flow and overall turn out of your countertops, then by-gosh we will order another slab!  We use lab color-matched quartz bonderat the seams which rate 3200 on a flexural rating as opposed to the 900 FR our competitors use.  Correct lab-matched adhesive specifically created for your chosen countertop color, along with dual CNC seam crisping allows for the best outcome possible when seaming quartz or natural stone.

Do you finish the underside of natural stone overhangs to eliminate the roughness?

Finishing the underside of the overhangs is just another personal added touch that you should expect from your fabricatorNo more snags on your pants or hosiery. Feel the difference.  The bottoms of our tops are always finished and never rough.  Add to that personal touch that we hand-polish the machined edges to eliminate the linear lines.  The other guys call it an upgrade (or often they don’t even offer this service), we call it a standard.

Do you take any special precautions to prevent breakage on narrow cuts of a natural stone countertop?

Look for a shop that pays special attention to detail such as rodding of narrow cuts on natural stone. We rod delicate areas including cut outs, rebating into the bottom of your natural stone top and insert a metal rod and adhesive which strengthens the stone for fabrication, installation and after.

Will you help and guide me with my countertop project?

Your countertop fabricator should provide complete one-on-one project consultation, guidance and design expertise. They should provide you hassle-free sales, service and support. Quality countertop shops employ highly qualified, experienced personnel who are knowledgeable and professionals in their field.  Every customer who comes to Paxton experiences one on one guidance from a Paxton trained professional.  We begin by asking what is important to you and then educating you on the features and benefits of materials based on your needs.  Next, we set your expectations for what is to follow by informing you of our Paxton’s Points of Excellence (what sets us apart from what’s out there in the wild as it pertains to countertops and company culture).  Then, we give you a brief overview of our proven process from pre-template details to contract signing through installation and post-installation service options.   Now that you know why you should choose Paxton, the real fun begins!  We will help you pull together your design and color palette ideas starting with our in-house inventory of over 800 slabs of various material types.  When you are passionate about something, you love to talk about it!  We love to talk about countertops and we’re excited to walk beside you every step of the way.

What brand or grade of stone do you sell? Is it grade A (best) or D (bad)?  First choice or first quality? Standard or commercial?

Ensure that the countertop shop you choose is knowledgeable regarding material quality.  There are different grades of stone just as there are different grades of diamonds. While they appear similar, there are color, structural and quality differences that dictate how the stone is graded at the quarry. “First Choice” is typically the highest quality.  Standard grade and grade C or D is used often by box stores and box store competitors.  This is not acceptable.In an industry that is brand saturated, we made the decision in 2013 to focus on only the few, the best brands for all materials in our industry. We only allow Grade A and first choice quality natural stone and Breton SPF zero pin-hole quartz in our fabrication.

What type of clips or method do you use to attach an undermount sink to a stone countertop?  What kind of reassurance do I have that my sink will not become loose or completely fall out?

Typically, sub-standard fabricators as well as box store sub-contractors will use a basic sink clip to attach your sink to the bottom of your top. The clip is silicone in place and wooden blocks are hot-melted surrounding the clip, buying curing time for the silicone to set up.  Unfortunately, this widely used method fails regularly.  A quality fabricator uses top-of-the-line mechanical fasteners ensuring your sink will remain securely attached.  Paxton uses these quality mechanical fasteners which ratchet into a rebated space in the bottom of your top followed by the injection of a hard adhesive around the fastener.  Use of these fasteners, will give you peace of mind that your sink will remain securely attached (we get about a call per week due to the failure of clips used by other fabricators). Additionally, we fabricate a 3/8” radius edge profile at your sink cut out which will allow for more impact without chipping (think pots and pans).

What kinds of warranties do you offer?

Ask your stone supplier about warranties on their stone. Warranties should cover issues such as stains against food and beverages and damage. Make sure to discuss this so you know what the warranty entails and covers and for what period of time.  Major brands have partnered with Paxton as experts on warranty repair and replacement regardless of who the original fabricator was.  In addition to any manufacturer warranty, we stand behind our fabrication and products.  Some of our best testimonials are that of customers whose projects perhaps, did not go exactly as planned.  First time right, first time fix.

Will you provide service after installation?

A quality stone fabricator will provide continuous customer service, personalized visits and any necessary care after your counters are installed. Any issues and questions should be readily addressed by your installer.  We offer service packages for all of the different materials we fabricate.  These packages may be purchased when you sign your original contract purchase order (discount offered at this time) or later on.

Can I buy my sinks and accessories from you?

Look for a stone shop that also carries plumbing products. Offering sinks and bath accessories allows your fabricator to show you actual products in their showroom that can be coordinated to fit your needs, design style and budget. It also makes it easier to purchase all of your accessories at one location.  Paxton Countertops is a Kohler Authorized Dealer with a huge assortment of sinks and faucets available for you to view right in our showroom.

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