Why Artistic Stone?

Why does Artistic Stone stand out as the best of the Bay Area?

  • We carry over 100 colors of granite, marble, limestone, quartzite and quartz prefabricated countertops. This is the largest selection in the Bay Area.
  • We carry many different sizes of pre-fabricated countertops so over 99% kitchen and bathrooms counters can use our pre-fab counter tops.  One of our uniqueness is that we carry different prefab kitchen islands.  Not only do we carry 110” x 36” kitchen island, but also 110” x 42”  and 110” x 52” kitchen islands.  Please click here to see the different colors and edges kitchen islands.
  • We test all of our natural stone for stains and for radon, ensuring it is completely safe to put on display.
  • We provide advice and design recommendations for your specific kitchen and/or bathroom, and then we turn the design into a well-executed installation. We have years of installation experience.
  • Our price is competitive on most colors in our inventory.
  • We have earned rewards and best reviews from various sources. Artistic Stone won the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Super Service Awards on Angie’s List, and we’re rated 5 stars on Yelp.

Free Two-Year Warranty
At Artistic Stone, we are proud of our workmanship and feel confident that we can deliver a great experience to our customers.

Artistic Stone Kitchen & Bath Inc. warranties all workmanship against manufacturers defect or workmanship flaws within two years of installation, such as

  • Split or Damaged Seams
  • Substantial Changes to Level ⁄ Grade
  • Loose Counter Tops or Backsplashes
  • Edge Delamination
  • Cracks During Installation
  • Any Visible Violations of California State Code

Should evidence warrant repair, Artistic Stone will guarantee repair to commence within 30 days of the first report of defect at no charge to the customer.

The following is a very important message for any customer who is seeking granite installation:

Stone Grades and Our Stone Quality

  • Artistic Stone slabs/countertops are always Grade A.
  • Artistic Stone slabs/countertops are ¾” thick ( some companies carry ½” thick material which warps more easily)
  • Artistic Stone counter tops always match our islands. We also allow all customers to view their slabs together to guarantee color match.
  • Artistic Stone laminated edges never come apart, and are booked-matched so that the seems are less noticeable and AS offer more edge options.

Stone Grades

The following are the stone grades that are used by many industry professionals. The best way to check quality is by looking at the slabs yourself and making sure it looks good to you.

  • Grade A (or 1): This is the highest quality material. The finish should be consistent throughout the slab. There should be no visual defects in the slab, such as cracks or factory repairs. There should be very little waste from Grade A slabs. Note: there are some grade A granites that may still have some natural fissures and/or pits due to the natural composition of the stone (i.e. Bella Verde, Cream Bordeaux, Delicatus Light, River Gold). The porosity of a stone does not affect its rating. (i.e. Kashmir White will always be very porous).
  • Grade B (or 2) is often referred to as Commercial Quality. The slab finish may not be as good or consistent as Grade A slabs. There may be some obvious defects such as small cracks and blotches in the stone. There is nothing wrong with Grade B stone, and most fabricators can use these slabs to the best advantage, by avoiding cracks and/or blemishes in the stone.
  • Grade C (or 3): These slabs will have many repaired, or repairable natural defects and blotches in the material. For these slabs there may be a high amount of waste due to avoidance of these defects. Grade C stone is typically used for more large-scale contracts where the slabs are to be cut into smaller pieces. These are not ideal for worktops or areas where larger pieces are required.

Quartz Quality

All of our prefab quartz surface products are made using up to 93% quartz (one of nature’s hardest minerals). The remainder is made from high-quality polymer resins and pigments that are compacted under intense vibration, vacuum, and pressure into dense, non-porous slabs. Our quartz counters are then gauged to precise thicknesses and polished to an enduring shine.

This process results in surfaces that retain the cool, tactile qualities of natural stone while offering design freedom and almost unlimited application possibilities. With 3/4″ inch thickness, our prefab quartz countertops are made with strict compliance to California Building Code.  Our material quality is one of the best in the market, well-known for its miter edge lamination, polish, flatness, hardness, and straightness. We have lab test reports available at our stores for you to review.

BUYER BEWARE

Utilizing prefabricated granite slabs will save you thousands of dollars and dramatically shorten the duration of your kitchen remodel. As a pioneer of utilizing prefabricated granite and one of Northern California’s largest dealers, we are trying to educate the public about some of the benefits of utilizing prefabricated granite in your home remodeling project.

However, if you elect to utilize prefabricated granite, vendor selection is paramount. Like any contracting job, there are a number of things that can go wrong. In fact, we are firm proponents of the Murphy’s Law Theory: anything that can go wrong usually does. As a consumer, careful due diligence in terms of vendor selection can help you beat the odds.

A few key items to watch out for:

Material Quality: You should inspect material quality carefully before placing an order. Not all prefabricated granite (or regular slab granite) is created equal. Many vendors compete solely on price and as such, must cut corners to drive profits. The first place they cut corners is in material quality. Increasingly the market has become flooded with granite from developing countries. Some of these manufacturers have state of the art equipment, many decades of experience and make terrific products. Others have outdated or poor quality manufacturing equipment practices and non-skilled labor. There are a number of material problems or defects that can create headaches for you down the line:

  • The granite is not very attractive. It looks okay in the showroom or the sales person convinced you it would look better once installed but it just doesn’t look very attractive.
  • Granite is not cut to uniform thickness. This creates a nightmare scenario for your installer who has to level the countertops in order to get a perfect seam. Often poor seams result from poor material quality. Unfortunately this would be very difficult for a consumer to see because uneven thickness may occur away from the cut cross section (for instance in the middle of a slab).
  • The prefabricated lamination may not be laminated properly and may fall off later. (Again, this is a difficult thing to gauge)
A couple of tips to identify the gems from the dross:
  • The look test. The granite should look shiny with vibrant colors. Many times your own eyes are your best friend. If the granite vendor has poorly lit premises, ask to see the granite in direct sunlight. Dull, lifeless granite can be a result of just ugly rock and poor polishing equipment.
  • Look only for granite vendors with warranties on workmanship. The only thing more expensive for a vendor than installing granite is having to reinstall it. Vendors who put warranties on their workmanship must believe in their own workmanship. If a granite vendor does not have a formal warranty program in place, you have to question the quality of its workmanship. Do not except personal verbal guarantees, get one in writing that is clearly defined in your purchase agreement or contract.

Licensing: Proper licensing is perhaps the single most important factor in your contractor selection process. An unlicensed contractor is ineligible to buy bond, insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

We know what you are thinking: what’s the big deal? That stuff only affects the unlicensed contractor, right?

It is illegal in the state of California to hire unlicensed contractors for certain jobs. Granite countertops and tile setting happens to be one of them. By doing so, you not only acquiesce nearly any possible legal recourse if your job turns out satisfactory, but you also assume a considerable amount of financial and legal liability.

Scenario 1: A contractor gets seriously injured on your premises. Granite slabs can weigh as much as 600 pounds. Broken fingers, legs, arms and more serious mishaps occur from time to time. If there is an emergency situation in your home and your contractor or his workers have no health insurance (which is probable), then you may be held financially responsible. Worse, unlicensed contractors typically have the least health and safety training and are more likely to hurt themselves on your premises.

Scenario 2: There is major damage to your home (fire or water typically). If your homeowners insurance company discovers that you hired an unlicensed contractor (which is probable when the claims adjuster comes to your home), they may reject your claim for restitution.

A storefront does not mean a vendor is licensed!

Interestingly, there has been a rising number of unlicensed vendors that have retail locations and warehouses. Originally these vendors started off as wholesalers. As their business began to fail, they decided to offer low cost installation services. Their business strategy is simple. They round up the lowest cost labor possible and bundle them with their already poorly selling materials. Their wholesale businesses were failing because knowledgeable buyers such as contractors refused to buy their materials. This practice truly puzzles us as they are sitting ducks waiting to be arrested by state officials. Out of professional courtesy we will not say who they are but we know them well and we know that there are a lot of them.

Remember to ensure the name on the license matches the business. Many unlicensed vendors with storefronts pay licensed contractors to borrow their license number. Hiring these folks offers the worst case scenario as you are unwittingly paying a premium and receiving none of the protections afforded by proper licensing. The California State Licensing Board is a good resource and keeps licensed contractors honest and diligent. Violations to the building code or generally unacceptable work quality could result in stiff fines or suspension/loss of license.

To check to see if your contractor is licensed, follow the link below:

The California State Licensing Board

Workmanship: The same qualities that make granite an excellent countertop surface – hard, durable, chip resistant, solid – also make granite very difficult to work with. Of all home remodeling projects, granite is perhaps the most unforgiving substance to work with. Very few granite cutters know how to make a perfect seam. Only very experienced fabricator installers with quality cutting equipment can create a quality fit and finish. The diagrams below illustrate typical problems with countertop seams. Our advice to you is to get it done right the first time!

ARTISTIC STONE SEAM

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Questionable Behavior

NEVER take a job from an independent contractor unless he shows proof of a valid contractor’s license (C-54), insurance and bonding. Always make sure that the contractor’s name or business name, address, phone number match proof. Also, check if the contractor’s license is still valid. Many unlicensed contractors try to use other contractors’ license numbers and falsify documentation.

Never enter into a contract without clearly defined terms. Contractors may give you verbal confirmation that they can do your project for a certain price, but after they have begun work, they may decide to change the terms of either the price or the completion schedule.

There are simple ways you can avoid this problem. First and foremost, you must specify the terms of a project in writing. A good contract must possess the following information in order to protect yourself:

  • The contractors license number, address and phone number. Always validate this information.
  • The exact materials used (color and edges)
  • A clear break down between labor and materials
  • A detailed description of the work, the work address and the timing.
  • Detailed specification as to what work will be completed or not: appliance hook-ups, plumbing, sink cutouts, back splash, wall repair, etc.
  • The exact schedule of payment and amount
  • A written confirmation of warranty/guarantee and terms

Economy of Scale: Large scale vendor installers such as Artistic Stone conduct many millions of dollars of business a year. We run our own factories overseas and import tens of thousands of pieces of granite a year. We can procure granite materials for just a fraction of the cost of a freelance contractor. Additionally, we can get highly competitive rates on insurance products given our size and superior health and safety track record. What we incur in overhead is more than offset by the efficiencies we gain from our size.

We believe we have the best prices of any licensed and reputable dealer in Northern California, period.