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One Man's Trash is another Man's Treasure: Remnant Granite

by Matt Goering

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Remnant granite is a term that refers to the leftovers stone manufacturers are left with after cutting slabs for large countertops, tiling, and other jobs. That being the case, this isn't a material that is suitable if you're looking for a huge solid slab kitchen countertop. If you're in the market for something smaller, however, granite leftovers can be a very cost effective way to add class and a top grade material to many common home improvements.

Remnant Granite Saves you Big Bucks
Because of the nature of granite, leftovers from larger jobs usually cannot be incorporated into new projects. The colors vary slightly, the grains don't match, and the thicknesses of the slabs can differ. That makes remnants largely a waste product for large stone suppliers and contractors, and as a waste product, they're willing to sell remnants at rates far below market value for granite that isn't a byproduct of another project. If you're looking for the look and durability of granite, but at a much cheaper price, remnants are exactly what you've been searching for.

Be Flexible with Remnant Granite
The first rule in shopping for remnants is to raise your flexibility quotient. Remember, these are the leftovers from larger jobs, and while they're equal in quality and beauty to any virgin stone you can choose from your stone supplier, with remnants you're picking through the leftovers. Of course, that doesn't mean you won't be getting quality materials. Far from it, granite remnants are every bit as beautiful and durable as the original slab. It's just that you'll need to be willing to choose colors and textures that were someone else's perfect fit, not yours. For those hoping to find remnants suitable for larger jobs, you can find remnants in slabs large enough to do even a small remnant granite countertop, if you're willing to go with the flow instead of insist on that perfect shade and style that caught your eye in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

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Common Uses of Remnant Granite
As was previously mentioned, these granite castaways can serve a number of needs for the homeowner willing to use recycled products. Large slabs can still make perfect remnant granite countertops if you're working with small spaces or don't mind minor variations in the granite you're installing. Besides remnant granite countertops, however, leftovers are excellent for kitchen islands, bathroom vanities, coffee tables, and the like. Really anywhere you think a smaller piece of quality granite might enhance the interior or exterior spaces of your home, remnants are the perfect solution.

Talk to a Stone Supplier or Contractor
Even if you do choose to go with remnant pieces of granite for your granite project, you'll probably still need to talk to a professional about cutting, polishing, and detailing your granite. Cutting granite can be done by a do-it-yourselfer, but it's a messy, costly, imperfect, and time-consuming process. In other words, expect a major project and imperfect results. For some that's fine, but if you want a perfectly cut slab with beveled edges, for example, you're going to need to hire someone with the proper tools to do the job. For those working on a budget, it means a little extra cost. But when you consider the savings you get from going with remnants in the first place, you're still coming out way ahead and getting one of the most sought after home improvement materials to boot.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.
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