Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Countertop Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

A new granite countertop in a redesigned kitchen.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a countertop contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified countertop installation company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated countertop installer and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Contra Costa County – Countertops CATEGORY

Jack Benning is owner of Golden State Granite, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 201-6191 or by email.

Jack Benning

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jack Benning: Granite Ambition

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — With his background in general construction, Jack Benning says his transition into selling and installing stone products was a gradual process. “Granite really came into its own as a home remodeling product back in the early ’90s. A friend of mine was involved in it and I was intrigued, so I started helping him out on the side. It wasn’t long before it became my full-time career.”

Today, as owner of Golden State Granite, Jack says his favorite aspect of his job is the versatile nature of his chosen trade. “When you’re working with natural stone, every project is different and poses a unique set of challenges. It’s not a cookie-cutter business, which can certainly make things more complicated, but it also keeps things interesting.”

A lifetime resident of the Bay Area, Jack resides in Clayton with his wife, Michelle, where he says he appreciates the close proximity to a more rural environment. “We live right at the base of Mount Diablo, which makes it easy to get away from it all. After about a two-minute walk from my house, you’d never think there was a house within a million miles!”

Outside of work, Jack engages in a variety of hobbies, from restoring vintage cars to fishing at local reservoirs. An avid sports fan, he also enjoys following local teams, particularly the San Francisco Giants and the Cal Bears. “I’ll root for just about any Bay Area team, as long as it doesn’t affect my Bears or Giants,” he laughs. In addition, Jack likes cooking at home and taking short trips in his RV. When he’s not pursuing one of his personal hobbies, he keeps up with his and Michelle’s two grown daughters, Amanda and Meagan.

In regard to his career, Jack says when it comes to ensuring quality, cutting corners is never an option. “One of my mottos is, ‘We don’t do it the easy way, we do it the right way.’ Sometimes the easiest way may in fact be the best way; other times, it’s not. In any case, I don’t care what’s easiest—I just want to do things correctly the first time.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Jack says he’d embark on an extended road trip. “I’d do some traveling in my RV. I’ve only been to about six states, so I would definitely like to spend some time seeing more of the country.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Iced tea.

Q: What was your first car?
A: A Triumph TR4A.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Fall. It’s not too hot and not too cold, plus I love the rain…provided it doesn’t affect our work!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Watch golf.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Popcorn.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio.

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The Hard Truth about Manufactured Stone Products

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CONCORD — When choosing new kitchen counters, many consumers want to know what’s better: a natural product such as granite or marble, or a manufactured product like Caesarstone or Cambria. While there are pros and cons to either option, a… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Differentiating Countertops

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Complete Video Transcription:

CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you're planning on installing new counter tops, you'll want to know the differences between natural and man-made products. Today… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Caesarstone

  • Cambria

  • Vetrazzo

UltraGlas Countertops
DuPont Countertops
Swanstone
Sonoma Cast Stone
Haifa Countertops
Fountainhead Countertops
Stainless Living Countertops
Nevamar Countertops
Corian Countertops
Zodiaq Countertops
WilsonArt Countertops
American Standard Countertops
CaesarStone Countertops
Vetrazzo Countertops
Elkay Counter Tops

countertop installation
acrylic countertop
backsplashes
green countertops
stainless steel countertops
bathroom countertops
soapstone countertops
wood countertops
countertop refinishing
faux granite countertops
resurfacing countertops
sealing countertops
granite countertops
kitchen countertops
concrete countertops
laminate countertops
tile countertops
quartz countertops
marble countertops
formica countertops
solid countertops
vanity countertops
slate countertops

Alamo
Antioch
Bay Point
Bethel Island
Blackhawk
Brentwood
Briones
Byron
Canyon
Clayton
Clyde
Concord
Cowell
Crockett
Danville
Diablo
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hercules
Hilltop Mall
Kensington
Knightsen
Lafayette
Los Medanos
Maltby
Martinez
Moraga
North Richmond
Oakley
Orinda
Pacheco
Pinole
Pittsburg
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
Richmond
Rodeo
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg

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ASA American Subcontractors Association (http://www.asaonline.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.com/)
CSLB Contractors State License Board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)

NARI National Association of the Remodeling Industry (http://www.nari.org/)
NCBE North Coast Builders Exchange (http://www.ncbeonline.com/)
NKBA National Kitchen and Bath Association (http://www.nkba.org/)

Know What You Want
Preliminary Questions Before Hiring A Countertop Installer in Contra Costa County

Your quest for a satisfying bathroom, kitchen, or office countertop project begins by clarifying what you want.

You can start by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Are you planning to replace your countertops, or repair and refinish them?
  • Are you looking for a custom-designed countertop?
  • What surface material do you prefer?
  • How heavily will your new kitchen countertop be used for cooking and baking?
  • Do you want any special features like custom edges, backsplashes, or integral drains?
  • Do you plan to maintain your current kitchen or bathroom floor plan?
  • What is the best price you can find for your top selections of new countertop materials? What other materials are required (for example, grout and seal), and how much will they add to the total cost?
  • What is your budget for the entire project, including materials and labor?
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What To Ask In Person
Learn from Previous Countertop Customers in Contra Costa County

Previous customers can offer a wealth of information about the kind of work you’ll get from a contractor before you even sign a contract. All Diamond Certified companies are rated on the basis of independent research and carefully conducted consumer surveys that leave little room for doubt about the kind of service you’ll receive.

You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. You’ll never have to worry about dubious ratings or fabricated reviews, because Diamond Certified research is conducted using telephone interviews of a large, random sample of actual customers.

If there aren’t any Diamond Certified countertop contractors near you, you can still collect references from the contractors you contact. Taking a little time to survey previous customers on their experience with a contractor removes much of the guesswork involved in selecting the contractor that’s right for you.

Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the countertop contractors themselves are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process.

That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. Contractors will often give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

Request a list of the contractor’s five most recent customers and contact them with questions about their experience with the contractor and satisfaction with the finished product. Some relevant questions include:

  • What was the nature of your countertop project?
  • Was the work completed in a timely manner?
  • Were you satisfied with the quality of the work you received?
  • Did you encounter unanticipated costs or contractual disagreements?
  • Did you feel you received a fair price?
  • Why did you choose to work with this specific countertop contractor?
  • What were you most pleased or displeased with?
  • Would you hire this countertop contractor for another project?
  • Were you pleased with the material and features you chose? Is there anything you wish you’d have done differently?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Previous Countertop Customers in Contra Costa County

    Previous customers can offer a wealth of information about the kind of work you’ll get from a contractor before you even sign a contract. All Diamond Certified companies are rated on the basis of independent research and carefully conducted consumer surveys that leave little room for doubt about the kind of service you’ll receive.

    You can read Diamond Certified reports on all certified companies, including verbatim survey responses. You’ll never have to worry about dubious ratings or fabricated reviews, because Diamond Certified research is conducted using telephone interviews of a large, random sample of actual customers.

    If there aren’t any Diamond Certified countertop contractors near you, you can still collect references from the contractors you contact. Taking a little time to survey previous customers on their experience with a contractor removes much of the guesswork involved in selecting the contractor that’s right for you.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the countertop contractors themselves are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process.

    That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. Contractors will often give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    Request a list of the contractor’s five most recent customers and contact them with questions about their experience with the contractor and satisfaction with the finished product. Some relevant questions include:

    • What was the nature of your countertop project?
    • Was the work completed in a timely manner?
    • Were you satisfied with the quality of the work you received?
    • Did you encounter unanticipated costs or contractual disagreements?
    • Did you feel you received a fair price?
    • Why did you choose to work with this specific countertop contractor?
    • What were you most pleased or displeased with?
    • Would you hire this countertop contractor for another project?
    • Were you pleased with the material and features you chose? Is there anything you wish you’d have done differently?
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  • Review Your Options
    New Countertops Covered By The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Diamond Certified countertop contractors are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the countertop installation and repair company is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

    Know Your Rights As a Contra Costa County Countertop Consumer
    If your Contra Costa County countertop consumer has been vetted by Diamond Certified, the odds are in your favor that you will be satisfied with both the service and the finished product. However, any licensed contractor you hire has the responsibility to provide high quality work that fulfills the terms of the contract you agreed upon before work began.

    If you are not satisfied with the work you receive, document the problem, contact the supervisor or manager of the contracting firm you’ve hired, and calmly explain in detail the problem or contractual inconsistencies.

    Save a written record of all communication with your contractor and manufacturer to use in case arbitration becomes necessary.

    If the contractor is unreceptive, the California State License Board offers a formal complaint procedure to protect consumers and assist in resolving construction-related complaints.

    Refer to Your Warranties
    Most countertop materials and services come with warranties, so if your brand new or upgraded countertop installation seems defective, chances are the manufacturer or contractor is responsible for a replacement or repair.

    Refer to your written warranties for the terms of coverage and the specific parts and services for which the relevant parties are responsible. Then contact the manufacturer or contractor and describe the problem.

    If you are unable to get your warranty honored, contact the appropriate consumer’s rights advocacy organization.

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  • How To Work With
    Write a Contract for New Kitchen Counters

    Once you’ve decided which contractor best suits your needs, the last step before work begins is to negotiate and sign a contract. A contract is a legal agreement that outlines and protects the interests of both parties.

    This essential step will ensure that both parties are clear about what a job will entail in costs, payments, and timeframe. Your contract should detail how and when the work will be done, which materials are necessary, and how much each material costs. A good contract can spare you the headache of legal action down the line.

    Start your contract by making a list of all responsibilities of both parties.

    For example, is the contractor responsible for purchasing and transporting materials? Who is going to obtain the permits, if necessary? Next, determine an agreed upon price for all the involved materials and labor.

    This is where you can use your preliminary pricing research. The list may include items such as refinishing materials, tile, grout, and adhesives. If you found materials cheaper, tell your contractor where. Also, don’t be afraid to bring up estimates that other contractors provided you, if they are lower than the contractor you’ve selected.

    This can help in negotiating a better price for your countertop remodel. Finally, review the estimate your chosen countertop contractor has provided and recommend any changes. Be sure to include a clause dictating that you wish to approve any costs above the agreed-upon amount. Finally, a guarantee of the quality of the work and all warranty time periods should be specifically noted.

    Once you have agreed upon a cost that fits your budget, a timeline in which the work is to be completed, and a schedule for submitting payments, your countertop contractor can begin your remodel.

    Obtain and Compare Free Written Estimates of All Costs Involved in Your Project
    After you have discussed the nature of your specific project in detail with prospective licensed Contra Costa County countertop contractors, you should obtain a complete, written estimate of charges for all labor and itemized costs of all materials involved.

    A new countertop project can call for additional items besides the actual surface material. Be sure to also get an estimate of labor hours for each phase of the project along with the cost per hour.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Countertop Company Client?

    It’s the responsibility of the countertop contractor you hired to provide you with quality counter tops using the best possible installation techniques. However, you also play a part in the success of your countertop remodel.

    Here are some steps to ensure that you’re a good customer when hiring a Contra Costa County countertop contractor.

    • Be clear and upfront with the kitchen counter contractor. Let them know what you want from your countertop, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile starts the working relationship off on the right foot and can help diffuse difficult situations.
    • Before you hire a countertop contractor in Contra Costa County restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the countertop remodel representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication, so being clear about your expectations and theirs can help you avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your countertop contractor if you should reach out to check on the progress or if he will contact you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where he or she can reach you at all times while they’re installing or repairing your countertop. The work will move along more smoothly if your countertop contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the project on schedule.
    • Pay for the countertop materials and work promptly according to your contract.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Countertop contractors in Contra Costa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good behavior as a customer creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Inspect Your New Kitchen Counters

The last step in your Contra Costa County countertop remodel project is to make sure that the work you receive is the work you desired. It should be immediately apparent if your countertop contractor has installed a countertop surface that is different from what you selected.

In addition to this, be sure to check the quality and stability of all parts of the installation, and verify that all non-visible parts, such as faucets and drains, are in working order.

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Written Warranties
Get All Warranties in Writing

Ask to keep copies outlining the details of all warranties and guarantees that apply to both the materials used in your countertop remodel and the service provided.

Written warranties should include:

  • The physical address and license number for the countertop contractor and installer.
  • A list of all products or services covered by the warranty.
  • What your responsibilities include in the event that products or services received are defective.
  • The length and transferability of the warranty term.
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Top 10 Requests
Counter Top Services You Can Request in Contra Costa County and Beyond

Countertop contractors in Contra Costa County can often perform a wide range of tasks, but some countertop remodel projects are more commonly requested than others. The most requested Contra Costa County countertop remodel services include the following.

Granite and marble sealing
Natural stone countertops are exquisitely beautiful, but also require regular maintenance to maintain their natural beauty. For this reason, properly resealing a granite or marble countertop is a common task for qualified countertop contractors. Penetrating or topical sealers will protect these porous surfaces, preventing liquids from discoloring and saturating the stone, which weakens it.

Countertop etching repair
Etching occurs when acidic liquids, such as coffee or lemon juice, create create a dull spot or ring on the surface of natural stone countertops. Calcium rich stones like marble and limestone are the most susceptible to etching, and the solution is refinishing and polishing the surface. Your licensed countertop contractor will be able to restore countertop to its natural luster.

Scratch repair for countertops
Scratches can occur when any sharp objects his drive across the surface of the countertop. Given the volume of use and abuse that countertops sustain, scratch repair is understandably a common task for countertop contractors. Stone scratches will appear white, making them more visible on darker stone surfaces. Your contractor can remove surface scratches by refinishing the stone surface material using coarse abrasives.

Crack and broken edge repair
Most countertops are built to withstand a tremendous amount of weight and force. However, over time, and especially without regular maintenance, even hardy stone surfaces can crack or break. Typically, such problems are preventable, but if your countertop does crack or break, you need not replace it entirely. broken edges can be pared down and reshaped. Cracks can be repaired by filling with an adhesive, and then matching the color. This may also require refinishing. Qualified countertop contractors can also repair brakes and cracks that occur beneath the surface.

Dullness repair
All stone countertops dull over time and extensive use. Exposure to abrasives and acids rapidly accelerates the aging process. Your countertop contractor however can refinish and polish the surface back to its natural sheen.

New kitchen countertop installation
Replacing existing kitchen countertops with brand-new surface materials is not a job for the faint of heart. It’s a job for a highly skilled countertop contractor. Each material has its own unique properties and quirks, so it is of vital importance to find a contractor with extensive experience installing the material you’ve selected, whether it is laminate, natural stone, stainless steel, or solid surface.

Kitchen countertop expansion
Another common countertop remodel project involves expanding the existing countertop or reconfiguring the kitchen space. Two little kitchen counter space is one of the most common complaints homeowners have about their kitchens. A countertop contractor can help you rethink your kitchen space to maximize the utility you get from it. Common methods include installing an island, and long getting an existing surface, and moving or repurposing an existing surface.

Concrete countertop design and installation
Concrete countertops have gained considerable popularity in recent kitchen design. With concrete countertops, artisans can create unique, specially detailed designs, and as such, concrete countertops are typically more expensive than common surfaces like granite or marble. They are also rather high maintenance, and need to be sealed regularly to prevent staining. However, their unique designs also have greater longevity and can increase resale value.

Bathroom and office countertop installation
Not all countertop remodel projects are confined to the kitchen. While they don’t typically experience the wear and tear of heavily used kitchen surfaces, bathroom and office countertops need to be replaced from time to time, both for functional and aesthetic reasons. A qualified bathroom and office specialist can help you size and match the proper surface to your existing bathroom and office design.

Tile countertop installation and repair
Tile countertops represent a large enough subset of all countertops that they merit their own category. Many contractors specialize exclusively in tile work and repair. Whether it’s replacing broken tiles or designing an elaborate, colorful countertop backsplash, tile countertop specialists can work wonders with your existing tile countertop or replace your current countertop with a richly designed, durable, and economical new tile countertop.

Popular Brands of New Home Countertops
If you are searching for a brand new countertop, here’s a list of some of the top brands in the industry:

  • CaesarStone Countertops
  • Vetrazzo Countertops
  • WilsonArt Countertops
  • American Standard Countertops
  • Fountainhead Countertops
  • Stainless Living Countertops
  • Elkay Countertops
  • Corian Countertops
  • Swanstone
  • Sonoma Cast Stone
  • Haifa Countertops
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Glossary Of Terms
Terms Used By Locak Counter Top Installers

backsplash
The area on the wall between the countertop and cabinets.

bevel
A countertop edge profile in which the corner edge is cut across at a diagonal.

bullnosing
The process of rounding the edges of a granite countertop.

butcher block
A countertop material made of various quality grades of polished wood. Rather durable, and withstands cutting well.

cooktop
A stovetop situated with in a countertop.

drop-in sink
A sink that “drops in” to an opening in the countertop, with the edges lipping over the edge of the countertop opening.

eased
The countertop edge style in which the countertop corner edge is slightly shaved down, dulling the corner edge.

edge detail
The edge style of the countertop. Common styles include eased, bullnose, round over, and bevel.

engineered stone
A synthetic surface material made of quartz particles and colorful epoxies.

Also known as: Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone, and quartz

granite
A natural stone material derived from igneous rock and polished for kitchen and bath countertops.

grout
A porous material made of cement and sand used to fill the seams between tile. Porous nature can allow mold and mildew to form.

honed
A finish style that is smooth but lacks the sheen of a polished finish.

Also known as: matte

integrated
The seamless, solid surface countertop that integrates with a solid surface sink.

laminate
A thin layer of material, typically wood or plastic, glued to the surface of the countertop.

marble
A natural stone countertop material derived from metamorphic rock and composed of carbonite minerals. Typically softer than granite, marble tends to stain or scratch more easily than other natural stones.

mitre
A corner seam in a countertop material where two countertop pieces join, typically where the countertop changes direction.

polished
A finish style with a brilliant shine and smooth texture.

Also known as: gloss

porous and non-porous
Terms referring to the penetrability of the surface of a fixture. A porous material has tiny holes, and is susceptible to mold, mildew, and stains. Non-porous materials are solid and are not susceptible to mold, mildew, or stains.

refinishing countertops
Painting and sealing a countertop or tile area. Can restore a like-new appearance in the short term, but the paint tends to wear and chip over time.

Also known as: reglazing, ceramic tile refinishing, resurfacing.

round over
The countertop edge style in which the corner edge is dramatically rounded.

seal
A solvent used on many countertops, especially natural stone, to protect and shine the surface.

soapstone
A smooth, dark metamorphic stone used in countertops. Not particularly strong or durable, because it is soft and scratches easily.

solid surface
A nonporous, synthetic material used for a countertop surface. Durable and easy to clean.

Also known as: Corian

stainless steel
A durable, heat resistant, scratch resistant, easily cleanable countertop material. Commonly used in commercial kitchens.

undermount sink
The sink couched under the edge of the countertop, with the countertop edges overlapping the sink.

vessel sink
A type of sink that sits on top of the countertop, rather than being recessed into a countertop opening.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Countertop Companies and Kitchen Counter Installers

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified countertop contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a countertop contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only countertop remodel contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified countertop contractor.

Q: How long does a typical countertop remodel take?
A: This depends on the nature of your project. A simple refinish should only take one day. However, installing brand new fixtures or custom fixtures, changing the floor plan, or changing the style of your countertop fixture all dramatically increase the timeline. Selecting materials and finalizing terms can take 2 to 3 weeks, ordering and delivering materials can take 3 to 6 weeks, removing old materials can take 2 to 3 days, installing new materials can take 1 to 3 weeks, and finishing touches and clean up can take an extra week.

Q: Will my countertop contractor be able to help me choose materials and obtain permits, if necessary?
A: Qualified, licensed countertop contractors will definitely offer creative and technical expertise in the decision-making process, steering you clear of materials that may not fit your budget or size-constraints, and lending their advice on various materials and manufacturers they’ve worked with. They will also most likely have a portfolio of design options you can peruse, and will know the ins and outs of obtaining building permits.

Q: Which materials have the best stain resistance, heat resistance, scratch resistance, and crack resistance?
A: Any surface described as nonporous, such as stainless steel, laminate, solid surfacing, and ceramic tile will be stain resistant and easy to clean. Surface materials that require regular sealing, such as granite, marble, and solid surface, can also scratch easily. Stone, tile, and steel surfaces are the best for heat resistance.

Q: What are the most common countertop materials?
A: Engineered stone, granite, marble, slate, stainless steel, concrete, solid surface, ceramic tile, and laminate are the standard countertop surface materials.

Q: How expensive is a new countertop?
A: New countertops vary widely depending on the surface material used, and the size of the countertop. Expect most high quality materials to cost between $50 and $200 per square foot, with the exception of laminate and rule, which are typically under $50 per square foot. Add to this additional materials such as grout and the cost of actual installation, typically $40-50 per hour. The number of hours required once again depends upon the size of the job.

Q: What is a typical payment schedule?
A: Most contracting firms will require 30-50% up front at the time the contract is signed, an additional 30-40% upon delivery of the materials, and the balance upon completion.

Q: What information do I need about my sink before selecting and ordering a countertop material?
A: You should know the kind of material your sink is made of (stainless steel, porcelain, acrylic), the size of the sink, the style of sink (undermount, integrated, drop-in), and the number of bowls in the sink.

Q: I don’t know much about interior design—can a countertop contractor help me find something that looks good?
A: Many larger contractors have a designer and interior decorator on staff who can help you select fixtures that will be an attractive fit for the rest of your kitchen or bathroom, or provide a optimal first step in a complete kitchen or bathroom overhaul in the future.

Q: What is a typical warranty for countertop fixtures and contracting remodel services?
A: Many contractors will guarantee their work for one to five years after completion of a countertop remodel, depending on the type of work. Countertop manufacturers typically offer a 10-20 year guarantee against defects.

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