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posted: 10/2/2012 3:14 PM

Price of granite counters has fallen

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  • Many homeowners are updating their kitchen with granite counters.

    Many homeowners are updating their kitchen with granite counters.
    Courtesy of imperial Stone

By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald Correspondent

Homeowners today are investing in their homes for their own enjoyment. They are improving their kitchens and baths, in particular, so that they and their families can benefit from an enhanced atmosphere in two rooms where people tend to spend a lot of time.

But they aren't going wild and offering contractors and suppliers a blank check for these projects.

"The first question many of them ask is how they can get what they want without spending too much money," said Derek Wawyca, manager of Imperial Stone in Elk Grove Village. "Luckily for them, the granite countertops that everyone wants today came down in price by about 40 percent five or six years ago, thanks to the opening of new quarries and more competition. So more people can now afford granite and they are investing in it."

In fact, he added, many homeowners are choosing to keep their existing kitchen or bathroom cabinets, but they are enhancing them with new granite or quartz countertops.

"There aren't many people moving right now so, instead, they are remodeling their kitchens and baths and we are helping them by supplying cabinets, countertops, tile and sometimes flooring. We will provide installation of any of these items, particularly the granite countertops, but we will also let a homeowner have his own contractor install the items we sell," Wawyca said.

Imperial Stone also provides a design service. An experienced Imperial Stone designer will travel anywhere in the Chicago area to take measurements and design the kitchen of each particular homeowner's dreams.

Maple and cherry cabinets are the most popular choices today. Imperial Stone carries four brands of cabinets: Kraftmaid, Waypoint, Shiloh and 6 Square.

When it comes to countertops, most homeowners are choosing granite or quartz and opting to have their tile backsplashes extend all the way down to the countertop. Four-inch granite backsplashes are no longer in style, Wawyca said.

The name of the game when it comes to countertop and cabinet interaction in both kitchens and bathrooms is contrast, he continued. If a homeowner chooses darker cabinets, lighter granite is preferred. If the cabinets chosen are light, then darker granite is usually the choice.

While granite is still king, quartz is also gaining in popularity because it requires no maintenance or sealant. But quartz does not have any "movement" in it. Instead, the look is a very plain one, featuring speckles. So those who love the natural movement of granite are still choosing it for their homes, Wawyca said. The prices of the two materials are comparable.

Imperial Stone's showroom is at 460 Lively Blvd., Elk Grove Village. For more information, visit or call (847) 640-8817.

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