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Press: Chronicle-Journal, July 2003

The Chronicle-Journal 
Sunday, July 20, 2003
By Cathy Arola


Granite Counters No Longer the Dream Alternative

Raise the bar while keeping up with the Joneses.

You don't need to be Wilma Flintstone or a Rockefeller to appreciate and now even afford granite accents in your home. The polished, earth-toned, glittering surface can be installed as a counter top or an overlay on staircases, fireplaces, hearths, wet bars, showers and tubs.

To complement existing pieces, some homeowners have opted for granite custom-made furniture, table or desk tops, floor tiles and cabinet knobs.

Granite uses have no limits, explains John Naccarato, owner of Granite Tops Inc. Located at 913 Eira St. behind Home Building Centre on Memorial Ave., it is the only granite distributor and fabricator in the region. They also service the United State Midwest.

Because of advances in technology, resulting in efficent tools and methods for processing the super-hard material, the price of granite has fallen considerably. Ten years ago the average counter top installation would cost about $12,000 at $300 per sq. ft. Now it costs about $80 per sq. ft., depending on the type of granite used.

Once considered a small market for the wealthy, this highly attractive alternative has entered the mainstream. The 80-billion-year-old material is stainless, maintenance-free, virtually unbreakable, sanitary and heat resistant. In 10 years, Naccarato says he has yet to repair any chips to any granite pieces he's sold.

Three-quarters of the company's granite is mined in Northwestern Ontario, including Vermillion Bay. Some pieces are shipped from quarries in India, Norway, Brazil and the U.S.

Dakota mahogany, pine green, silver cloud and red deer brown are among about 500 colours available. For counter tops, customers can choose from seven different edges.

The colour of the moment is absolute black, Naccarato said. The choic is popular for homeowners who want a versatile palette to work with. Even speckled granite can open a window of opportunity for complementary wall coverings or pain, flooring, fixtures and lighting.

Naccarato says granite is a homeowner investment. For example, synthetic countertops - usually a laminate-covered wood base - have an estimated life expectancy of five years.

Customers are advised 3-4 weeks in advance in case the company doesn't have it in stock. Polished samples are available for view on the sales floor.

The 800-lb., 3/4-inch slabs are measured and cut and polished with diamond pads at the company site.

For a free consultation or estimate, call Granite Tops at 1-866-767-7787 or visit their Web site.

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