If you are shopping for granite (or other natural stone), don’t be surprised if you hear shops talking about various grades of stone, such as First Quality, Commercial Grade, etc.
While it is true that various grades of granite are available, the actual grading process is quite diverse and subjective between stone producers.
Typically, a granite that is consistently what the buyers expect the stone to look like is the first qualifier. Other attributes such as slab size and calibration, color uniformity, quality of finish and a minimum amount of inclusions and fissuring would typically define a stone of “First Quality”. Stones that are less optimum in any of these traits will typically be downgraded.
There are no absolute standards, or governing of the industry to insure that what you are buying is indeed First Quality. It is possible that stone purchased as Second Quality by the importer, could be sold as First Quality to the consumer, as certain regions have different local standards and preferences.
If your fabricator is telling you that they only use First Grade material, (insert eye rolling here), they are using scare tactics to ensure your business. If they’re buying locally, chances are that they really don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter.
Try this: When you are visiting a slab distributor, tell them you would like to view their slabs of “Blue Pearl” in First quality, Second Quality and Commercial quality. You will get a blank stare from the salesperson. It’s Blue Pearl. More than likely it’s your only choice regardless of whatever grade you want to give it.
The good news is that you don’t really need to concern yourself with any of this.
Think about this: The most beautiful slabs of granite that you’ve ever seen may be sold as Commercial Grade simply because the slabs are smaller than usual. That doesn’t make them inferior to the end user. Would you pass on those over someone else’s idea of what First Quality is? I wouldn’t.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Select slabs that are pleasing to you. Talk to your fabricator about the stone. Examine the reflection in the light. Inquire about the suitability for your project. A good fabricator will give you honest answers and will be willing to move the material to different lighting and even lay the slab horizontal if requested.
Your project is unique. Your stone will be unique. Ask questions, go with what pleases you, and don’t get too worked up over all this grading gibberish. Unless of course, you need 1000 slabs for a hotel project, in which case grading is quite important and you should contact us immediately!