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Granite on a Budget!

So granite is not a very sustainable countertop choice. Nor does it fit into any budget that I have to work with. Unless of course you are using waste! Or in the granite world it’s called a Remnant.

Granite countertops, despite their great looks, are less-than-sustainable due to environmental damage caused by quarrying practices and the high embodied energy incurred by shipping this heavy item.

The reason that I’m going to use granite is because it’s waste from another project. This slab of granite is a remnant from a relatives kitchen remodel and came to the 7020 house at no cost. Since this project is about remodeling on a shoestring budget, and I didn’t create the demand for the new product, it was decided that this was a good use of someone else’s waste and my budget.

Here is the granite installed at our relatives house, it’s so beautiful!:

And here are the large remnants for the 7020 house!

Such good timing! So much to work with! Here is a close up of how dynamic the remnant is:

Although the material was free -installation and fabrication was not. I got 4 bids, from recommended companies from my boss, a builder friend, the company that did the kitchen above and someone with high ratings on Angie’s List. In the end the lowest bid was the one we went with – about $32 a SF. Not always the best decision but since all the companies came to me with recommendations I think it will be ok.

The last thing I will say about this decision is that everyone around me told me that $32/SF was a lot for a countertop – however – I went to a lot of stores looking for a sustainable countertop option and here is a list of why they wouldn’t work for my application:

Ikea’s MDF/Laminate: This is the Ikea option for what I could get for $32 a SF. This is not high quality, would not hold up to a renter and I would prefer not to purchase something that encourages putting formaldehyde in a surface that food could sit on.

Other Granite Places: For $32/SF I could go to several countertop places around the city and buy granite and installation. It really is an affordable option – Although I would be getting to pick out a color and texture of my choosing, it isn’t sustainable to create demand for granite for all the reasons mentioned above and I’m not sure what the quality difference is between granites, it seems like since the prices vary so drastically, there must be a difference .

DIY Cement: This was my favorite and most affordable option – but it can take weeks to dry properly and install. This was a project that I could have started months ago. The other reason I didn’t do this option for this space, is because I really wanted an eating counter, a little raised bar on top of the counter to serve instead of a table in case the person living there didn’t want to take up space for an eating table.

Paperstone: This is something I want to save up for and install upstairs but was closer to $64/SF and was not an affordable option for this project.

Alas, using the granite remnant at $32/SF is my most affordable & sustainable option.

I am posting today because the guys are coming in today for a “measurement”! First step in getting it installed! Yeay! Installation day is sometime the first week in September …. more posts to come!

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