Installing granite countertops can be an expensive upgrade for your kitchen. The good news is that there are multiple ways to get the cost of them down to fit into just abut any remodeling budget.
My favorite is purchasing remnants.
What Is A Remnant?
Every time a fabricator makes a countertop there is left over material. Sometime it’s just a few small pieces that get tossed in the dumpster and other times it’s nearly a full slab.
The big pieces get set off to the side so that they can be sold again. It’s basically free granite for the fabricator because the first customer already paid for the material. It’s simply leftover so they are able to sell it to you for 100% profit.
Of course they aren’t going to give it to you for free and you’ll still have to pay for the fabrication and installation, but it’s not unheard of for homeowners to score cheap granite for half the price.
Drawbacks Of Granite Remnants
It’s unusual to find extremely large remnants. Most of them will be half slabs or smaller. You may be able to get away with using one if you have a small kitchen or are willing to accept an extra seam or two to make it work.
Your choices will also be limited to whatever they have on hand. If you don’t like any of the full slabs that they have in stock at the fabricator, there are always 100+ more at their supplier to choose from. But with remnants you are limited to their stock.
How Much Do Remnants Cost?
There’s no straight answer to this because every stone is different and every shop prices them differently. Some just want them gone because they are tired of looking at their skid full of remnants out back. If that’s the case they may give you a sweet deal and sell them for 50% off retail.
But other companies see gold in their remnants and don’t offer exceptional discounts. They know that their profut margins are high on them so they hold onto them to try to squeeze as much money from them as possible. In this case you’ll be lucky to get 20% off the square foot price.
Where To Buy Granite Remnants
You’re not going to find remnants at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but nearly every granite fabricator has a skid with a selection of remnants to choose from. Generally they don’t throw out useful pieces of material.
If you want to save money with a remnant don’t be shy about going to a few different local fabricators to see what they have. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find something you love, it just probably won’t be what you initially wanted to buy.
If you’re not sure where the local companies are then yelp is a great place to start and asking your friends where they got their countertops is also an excellent way to find them. If you have facebook then asking for recommendations there will usually net you a handful of companies you may not have found otherwise.
We sent an email to Scott from architypes.net to ask him about other ways to get cheap stone. His first recommendation was remnants but he advised us that there were other ways to keep costs down as well. “Discount granite countertops are a bit of a misnomer,” he says. “You generally aren’t going to get discounts. What you can do is keep the prices down by making smart choices such as buying a remnant or installing granite tile instead of slab if your budget is tight. There are plenty of inexpensive stones to choose from and the stone is what makes up the bulk of the difference in cost from store to store.”