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What is it with Granite worktop suppliers

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porker

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I was doing a major refurb of the ground floor of my house when the lockdown struck. Luckily my builder worked through most of it OK and got the structural stuff finished. I am left with fitting the kitchen which I am part way through.
From a few months back my wife has been buying the new materials, flooring, kitchen cabinets etc. She has also been trying to buy granite worktops. She put a fair bit of effort putting drawings together to send suppliers and specc'ed the stone she wanted, cutouts etc. etc.
After finding a company that were helpful and seemed to have what we wanted at a good price, we got to paying the deposit which was around 50% of the total. Then they told us they won't take a credit card for deposit. After a few back and forths I declined to proceed. We found another company that had the same policy (we asked up front this time).
Am I expecting too much to use a CC for a deposit? I fully understand why they need a deposit. No good having a customer decide they don't want something after expensive stone is cut but I don't go handing over large chunks of money (4k job so 2k deposit) without some protection if they go bust.
I asked if it was the cost to them of the CC transaction that was the issue and they said it was not that and they only dealt with bank transfer.

The other beef I have is that after speccing the whole job and a couple of options, two suppliers have quoted but appear to have disregarded what I actually asked for (with drawings and a spec).
Looking for other local suppliers at the moment so if anyone has any recommendations in the Bucks/Oxford area?
 

lurker

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I thought granite worktops were passé .
Ones that I have seen, look less than perfect quite quickly.

Nothing beats a nice lump of wood IMHO.
 

Richard_C

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It sounds distinctly dodgy to me, and it maybe that the credit card companies won't deal with them if they have had bad experiences before. I would steer clear - if they go bust you have lost it all.

An interesting few minutes on the companies house website might help. Some friends paid a chunk of money upfront to a 'green energy' firm that sprung up all razamatzz and new. Over a few months they hoovered up deposits, failed to pay rent after the first month (I know the landowner), delivered nothing then overnight went, taking all their fixtures and fittings with them. Looked them up on companies house (search for companies house beta, its free don't get sucked into paying for reports) and things like the accounts were overdue, action to strike off had been taken and so on.

The really interesting bit was the 'people' tab - you can see all the directors. You can click each one and see all their other directorships - make sure you allow 'all' not just 'current'. The Directors had set up a company every 18 months or so, then resigned before it got struck off. I guess you can make a lot of money if you 'churn' limited companies with no intention of making them last.

Not saying that is the case here, but it looks very risky.
 

Rorschach

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I would never pay any kind of deposit without using a credit card, definitely sounds dodgy to me.
 

porker

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Thanks for the replies. Glad some others feel the same way. I had looked at companies house and there is a web of companies with the same frequently occuring name as company directors. It seems to be a strange business all round. You call one company and another answers. This has happened on a few occasions.
Looking for someone local as there appear to be a large number of small operators tucked away so hopefully I'll get this sorted soon

Regarding the wooden worktops, I like wood as much as a lot on here, but with 3 teenage kids there's no chance I would be going with wood worktops in the kitchen. Have plenty in other parts of the house that they are always putting cups on etc.
 

Rorschach

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With teenage kids granite could be a problem too.

Why not go for melamine until the kids leave/grow up enough and then get the wood you want later?
 

Phil Pascoe

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That's odd, as marble is metamorphic and granite igneous. By the bye. :D

My friend had granite worktops and wished he hadn't, the amount of crockery and glassware he'd broken or chipped.
 

AJB Temple

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How odd. If people are breaking crockery on granite, they are careless. Don't blame the granite. It will look good for the life of the house.

Trade pay less than half the price of fitted and templated granite than high street kitchen shops typically charge retail. Quartz now outsells granite by somewhere around 8 to 2, as it is lower maintenance among other benefits.

The guys I use in Kent are excellent. The lead time for templating (essential) was a week. I paid 50% deposit on template day, by BACS (having visited their workshop in the middle of nowhere). They cut and fitted (perfectly) a week later. About 15 square metres of quartz. I settled in full by BACS on the day after it was fitted.

You do not need to overdo it with specs. Let them template, deliver and fit. They will do this MUCH better than you, your kitchen fitter or your builder. The good ones are used to taking the risk and do a spot on job. Do NOT contract via a third party such as Howdens.

Anyone who wants me to put you in touch, let me know (PM only). I am not sure of their area of coverage other than it includes Kent, at least parts of Sussex and London.

I have used Marble City in London extensively in the past for property developments and they are good but "London" prices.

You do not want to be visiting glossy showrooms. You need to go to their yard. All the stock will be outside and it will probably be a mess. The place I use has samples on the wall. Outside, in the yard. You can help yourself to a big pile of offcuts if you want to take samples home.
 

Doug71

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There are loads of firms around at the moment who I think really only do the measuring and fitting if you know what I mean, they send the measurements off to some other firm who actually supplies the granite and cuts it to size.

I'm probably behind the times living up North and out in the sticks but last kitchen I fitted had I think Quartz tops. I was there doing some other stuff when the firm came to template it. There were no templates involved, just a bloke stood in the middle of the room with a laser on a tripod connected to a laptop. He moved the laser round firing it at the wall every few inches where the worktops were going, 10 mins later he emailed the measurements to his supplier. They came a few days later to fit the tops and they fitted :shock:
 

RogerS

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porker":eaoz4lnn said:
I was doing a major refurb of the ground floor of my house when the lockdown struck. Luckily my builder worked through most of it OK and got the structural stuff finished. I am left with fitting the kitchen which I am part way through.
From a few months back my wife has been buying the new materials, flooring, kitchen cabinets etc. She has also been trying to buy granite worktops. She put a fair bit of effort putting drawings together to send suppliers and specc'ed the stone she wanted, cutouts etc. etc.
After finding a company that were helpful and seemed to have what we wanted at a good price, we got to paying the deposit which was around 50% of the total. Then they told us they won't take a credit card for deposit. After a few back and forths I declined to proceed. We found another company that had the same policy (we asked up front this time).
Am I expecting too much to use a CC for a deposit? I fully understand why they need a deposit. No good having a customer decide they don't want something after expensive stone is cut but I don't go handing over large chunks of money (4k job so 2k deposit) without some protection if they go bust.
I asked if it was the cost to them of the CC transaction that was the issue and they said it was not that and they only dealt with bank transfer.

The other beef I have is that after speccing the whole job and a couple of options, two suppliers have quoted but appear to have disregarded what I actually asked for (with drawings and a spec).
Looking for other local suppliers at the moment so if anyone has any recommendations in the Bucks/Oxford area?
Why not ask Brachot-Hermant if they supply anyone in your area. Well worth a visit to their place to drool over the fabulous slabs.

Brachot-Hermant UK Ltd.
Wood Lane
Erdington
GB - Birmingham B24 9QJ
Tel.: +44 (0)121 382 8778
Fax: +44 (0)121 382 8700
Email: Brachot.Birmingham@brachot.com
 

Phil Pascoe

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AJB Temple":2hgv0vk7 said:
How odd. If people are breaking crockery on granite, they are careless. Don't blame the granite.
More chipping than breaking but I have heard the same from a number of people, none of them any more careless than anyone else.
 

porker

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Thanks for the replies. Definately some things there that I agree with and I'll follow up on those leads. I do most things myself but want the company to template and fit the stone, main reason being I have no experience of this myself and if they mess it up it's not my fault. Speccing was just the sizing they need for quoting, thickness and stone type we were interested in.
I knew a great company in Devon (where I am originally from) but they don't operate out this far and appear to have scaled down their business on the worktops. They had the yard with huge stock of slabs and offcuts to take.
Company we had been dealing with sourced their stone from another supplier but would let us pick the slabs we wanted with a deposit. They would then template and fit including an undermount sink.
I've had two companies go bust on me in the last 12 months so am very wary of parting with money with no goods. (Both times I had an issue the CC refunded with no issues).
Agree on the glossy showroom - I know the customer ultimately pays for this. I want granite and possibly quartz is an option for some of it - It's basically an L shape and a large island so they could be contrasting. TBH I would never use wooden worktops in a kitchen. I have seen too many damaged worktops due to neglect and water damage and I don't want the hassle. I know some will disagree but its personal preference. I know some care is needed with granite. I've done the laminate route before and whilst it is very practical I want to upgrade although I know there is a huge range now on laminates from the very cheap to the very expensive.
Thanks for the pointers
 

sunnybob

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Our kitchen has black granite work surfaces. 12 years old, not a mark. I doubt we have chipped or broken a couple of items in all that time. =D>
'er indoors does sometimes say she should have picked a lighter colour, but thats it for negative comments. 8)
 

Billy_wizz

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I think the problem with credit card deposits are people get bored waiting or find something they prefer go running to the bank for a charge back then the supplier ends up with no money and a part finnished order
 

porker

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Yes, I guess so. It wouldn't occur to me to do that because a deposit is a deposit and I get why the supplier has to have one. It never fails to amaze me how many people who you would think were decent people are happy to really mess others about with money
 

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