What in the world is a “slab yard”? I always grin when I tell my clients we are headed to the slab yard to make selections. It almost sounds a bit morbid – a little like the morgue, but it is SO much fun and one of my favorite parts of the construction process! While other countertop materials come in slab forms, like Caesarstone, Silestone, Santa Margherita and others, I don’t usually go select those slabs since the sample sizes given are always an exact match. However, granite and marble slabs, since they are a natural product, are always different and require viewing and selection in person. Trust me, you don’t want to select your slabs from a sample…EVER!
I often see clients get bogged down at this point in the selection process because the possibilities are endless.
Image from albadorsch.com
In order to keep a project on point and meet deadlines, I will call ahead and have certain slabs pulled for optimum viewing for our clients and schedule an appointment and time that we will be there to view them. If you don’t, it’s like trying to see the inside of a loaf of bread and you don’t get a good view of the slab. Request that your pre-selected slabs be pulled to the “viewing racks” and their true beauty will be revealed.
Sometimes I only pull a few slabs, other times when we are doing an entire house, I pull as many as the viewing racks allow. One thing to consider is that each slab has to be removed from its “loaf” and forklifted or hoisted over to the viewing area. This can take some time, so give the supplier plent of time and direction on exactly which slabs you want to see. This usually takes 2 trips…one for preview and the second for selection.
Once there, look for specific features you like or dislike: movement in the granite or marble, fissures or cracks that have potentially been filled, or even the direction of the veining in the marble or travertine. Also, try to imagine exactly how each piece will be cut from the slab and put together on your countertops. This is also a good time to mark areas that you DON’T want in your countertop. If it is on an edge or can be avoided, the countertop fabricator will do so.
The key with the slab yard is to arrive focused and prepared to make your selections. You only have so much time on the viewing racks to make your decision before they need to make room for the next appointment. Make sure you bring everything else you need to make that slab decision. If you have already selected your tile and/or paint in the space, bring those with you. While it may be difficult to see everything under the massive warehouse lights, you or your designer will immediately know whether the slab is going to work with your color scheme.
Have you had a slab success or failure that seemed almost impossible? Leave me a comment here about it and I will address solutions in our next post on countertops!