Q. Where do I select slabs for my project? A. You can visit us and view our selection of in stock slabs or select material at any of the Portland area slab distributors. We can also source material from outside of the Portland area if needed.
Q. Which should I use: 2 cm or 3 cm slab granite material? A.There is no major difference in the finished appearance or functionality of 2 cm vs 3 cm countertops. This issue is mostly driven by fabricator preference. 3 cm slabs are heavier and more expensive than 2 cm slabs, whereas 2 cm material requires more labor during fabrication. One fabricator may prefer 2 cm for its lighter weight and ease of installation. Another fabricator may prefer 3 cm because the edge isn’t usually laminated during fabrication, reducing the labor required to finish the project.
Q. Does Alpha prefer 2 cm or 3 cm material? A. We enjoy working with both!
Q. Is 3 cm stone more expensive than 2 cm? A. It is, however the finished cost is typically very similar. The added cost of thicker 3 cm slabs is offset by the added labor cost of the laminating process used on 2 cm material. The price of natural stone is mainly influenced by its rarity, ease or difficulty of access to the quarrying location, and shipping costs. With rare and exotic materials, the price difference between installed 2 cm & 3 cm counters is more apparent as the added slab cost outstrips the laminating labor cost.
Q. Is there a standard size for stone slabs? A. No there isn’t. I have seen slabs as small as 36″ x 60″, and as large as 80″ x 135″. Quartz slabs, however, come in uniform sizes. Most brands come from the factory at 55″ x 120″, with some manufacturers supplying over sized slabs for large island counters.
Q. What is “lamination”? A. For each finished edge of a 2 cm countertop, an additional 1.5″ wide strip of materal is cut during fabrication. This piece is epoxied to the underside of the countertop along the front edge to create a 4 cm (1.5″) thick edge. Counters are laminated for aesthetic reasons; doubling the thickness makes the counter look more substantial. A plywood substrate is required underneath 2 cm countertops, and the laminated drop edge also serves to hide this plywood from sight. You can see a list of our laminated 2 cm edge details can be seen here.
Q. Does Alpha Stone Works “bookmatch” the laminations on their countertops? A. Yes. This provides the best possible appearance on the finished product.
Q. What is “bookmatching”? A. The two pieces on either side of a bookmatched seam are mirror images of one another. A piece of stone is cut in half and opened like a book, hence the name bookmatching! A bookmatched lamination strip is cut from immediately adjacent to the edge where it will be epoxied in place. Book matching keeps the color and grain direction consistent between two pieces of stone, creating a nearly seamless look. Backsplash can also be book matched to achieve a uniform appearance.
Q. How noticeable are countertop seams on Alpha Stone Works projects? A. Visibility of our seams is mainly determined by material color. Uniform, homogeneous stones tend to hide seams very well. Slabs with lots of character and movement are fabricated with special care, and seams are aligned optimally to blend colors and movement. On the jobsite, seams are glued together with the help of a vacuum powered seam setter device,which holds two pieces of stone tight and flush until the epoxy is set. Each batch of epoxy is hand mixed and tinted to blend in with the individual stone it will be used on.
Unlike some production fabricators, we take special pride in creating the best possible seams on each and every job. A rough saw cut isn’t clean enough for our standards, so we machine each seam again during fabrication to ensure a tight fit between the two pieces. Installers are the most important part of the final appearance of a seam. Special care must be taken to ensure the tightest fit during installation, and our install crew has years of experience creating top quality seams. As a finishing touch, we often surface polish the cured joint to create a smooth and flush finish.
Q. Can we look at the actual slabs you will use on our project before you cut them? A. Yes, we encourage this. In many cases we insist on it. If you choose slabs with movement, we provide a layout view, where you participate in deciding which piece is cut from which area of the slab.
Q. What is “Movement”? A. This is a term used to describe granite & marble with directional veining. A homogenous piece is said to have no movement, whereas a stone with extreme movement might be a completely different color and pattern from one end of the slab to the other.
Q. What is your typical lead time for a kitchen project from start to finish? A. From the time that we template your job until the time we install is usually two weeks. We do our best to accommodate your needs in this regard.
Q. In a remodeling situation, how long can I expect to be without a working kitchen? A. Assuming you are simply replacing your countertops, we can often complete the entire project with only 24 hours of down time. We template without disturbing your kitchen. Once the countertops have been fabricated, our install crew is usually able to tear out your old counters and install new ones on the same day. We coordinate with a liscenced plumber to disconnect your sinks in the morning before we begin tearing out, and often times we can have our plumber reconnect your new fixtures that afternoon or the next morning.
Q. Do you work with any products besides natural stone? A. Yes. See our “Quartz” pages for other materials we work with. Keep posted for updates on Dekton, a new ultracompact surface..