What is prefabricated granite?
If you have been shopping for granite countertops you probably noticed that some companies are carrying prefabricated or "prefab" granite countertops. Most companies you will find carry slabs of granite and some will carry both prefab and slabs of granite.
What is the difference between prefabricated granite and slab granite?
Prefabricated granite and slab granite are both made from the natural stone of course and they are both cut from a mountain. That is where the differences start to take place. Prefab granite simply means that some of the fabrication has already been done before it is shipped to the US. Prefabs mostly come from over seas with the edging already done and they are made to fit your average size cabinet in depth and can be cut to length. The prefab slabs usually come with a full bullnose edging on the front and one, or both ends. The fine tuning will be done at the house during installation. Slabs of granite are just raw slices of granite that are cut from a block and shipped to the USA.
What is the downside with prefabricated granite?
The downside with the prefab granite is most of the fabrication labor is done in India or China where they have less quality requirements and less expensive labor and equipment. This usually results in granite pieces that are a little different in thickness and granite that has more flaws in it. The different thicknesses become a problem when you are joining them together. It is very hard to join two pieces of granite that are different thicknesses and hide it at the bullnose. Also, during the installation with prefab you may have more seams, this is due to the restricted length and depth of the the pieces. You also may see more color variation between prefab pieces which will give you a poor looking install when it is done. This is usually caused by granite pieces cut from different parts of the mountain. With prefab you cannot change your edging, it is already done over seas.
What is the upside to prefabricated granite?
The biggest advantage to prefabricated granite is the price. Because most of the fabrication was already done over seas by less expensive labor you can usually find these at a discounted price. Depending on the kitchen or bathroom you are doing, you may save money on material if you can get away with the prefab dimensions. Also, prefab granite can be cut onsite at the house on the day of installation. The fast turn around is the biggest appeal for flippers and landlords. We live in an "I need it now" type of world.