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Of all countertop surfaces -- laminate, tile, Corian, quartz, soapstone -- granite is probably the overall best substance. It's durable, heat resistant and beautiful. It's also extremely heavy.

When I placed the order for the cabinets I also paid for an estimate of the countertop. It's basically priced out on a square foot basis plus additional charge for a walkup delivery. So months before the stone was even quarried it was bought and paid for.

After the kitchen was measured ("templated") the rep, Donna, at Innovative Stone called to ask where I'd like the seams. They wanted to do each half of the counter as separate pieces. And they wanted me to build supports on the far side of the pass-thru as the countertop extends 9 inches into the living room.

Seams, I thought, we don't want no stinkin' seams. I spoke to my neighbor directly below (same size kitchen) and she said they had neither seams nor supports. I explained this to Innovative Stone and was told that they didn't have a slab of the stone I'd chosen (Luna Nero) large enough to cut as one piece (just about 4x8). I said, "contact Home Depot and have them refund my money. I'll go with a different substance". Donna said, "Let me see what I can do and I'll call you back".

Next day she calls back and says they can do both sides without seams (I guess they found a large enough slab hiding somewhere), but that I'd need to pay for 3 extra men (over $500) because we don't have an elevator in the building. At this point I hit the roof. I told her that the Home Depot designer was well aware of the overhang at the pass-thru as well as the fact that we live in a walkup.

Those that know me can imagine how this conversation is going.

Donna said she still had to calculate the total material cost and that I could decide what I wanted to do when it was done. I said, "I don't care what price you come up with. I'm not paying one dime more for this countertop. You decide how badly you want this job."Lo-and-behold, when the final tally came in it was exactly what we'd already paid. Funny how it worked out that way.

The Stone Men

The total crew for the job was 5 guys. When I met the truck, Andy (the guy in charge and the only one who spoke English) told me they tried to do the job with 4 guys but they couldn't even get the countertop on the truck. He said the larger of the two pieces weighed over 800 lbs.


The Struggle

Watching these guys haul this sheet of igneous decadence up the stairwell of my building had to be one of the most anxiety ridden things I've ever experienced. If any one of these guys slipped or didn't pull his weight we're talking broken bones. If they lost it the guy at the bottom would most likely have been killed or seriously injured.

The Huddle

After much sweating, grunting and groaning they made it to my kitchen. Amazingly enough, neither the carpet, walls or wallpaper was damaged.

Alley Oop

In the above, there's 4 guys lifting and one guy underneath pushing up with his back. You don't want to be that guy and have enemies on the crew.

The Other Side Goes In

The sink side was smaller (no overhang) and lighter (the sink cutout) so it went much quicker and easier. Quicker is relative. It took over 4 hours to get everything hauled and installed.

Sink Side

As can be seen, the granite was worth both the money and effort.

Fancy Inset Sink

View from the Living Room.

Compare these shots to the ones in previous posts and the beauty of the countertop will be obvious; if it isn't already.