Case Study – Granite kitchen worktop fitout, Kent
At County Stone, we pride ourselves on accomplishing any type of job with the quality and efficiency you expect from a leading stone mason and worktop manufacturer. With over 20 years experience in the field, we’ve templated, fabricated and installed a range of worktops, but an Oast House in Kent, was one of our most challenging projects.
Oast House project
The customer had turned to a number of companies that felt unable to complete the project due to the complexity of the job. The sheer degree of the curve in the desired worktop made templating and fabricating the stone a challenge and, in addition, the customer wanted her new worktop to match her existing centre island countertop. However, equipped with state of the art machinery, our in-house experts felt ready to take on the project.
“She didn’t want something crazy, she wanted something consistent,” said Lee Arnell, our expert fitter who installed the curved worktop. “She had a centre island that had been fitted by an independent mason around ten years ago and she wanted something to match that.”
As a result, the customer went with Indian Black; a dark, elegant granite that is both clean and rich, exactly the same as the black finish exhibited on the centre island.
Templating and fabrication
Where our fitters would normally complete several templates a day, templating for an Oast House took from dawn to dusk.
“I normally do two templates a day,” said Arnell, “but this one was probably the biggest template I’ve done.”
It was not just the templating that proved to be a challenge. The fabrication also took an extended period of time and, while the front edge was curved using a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine, the back edge required scribing and polishing by hand. We also had to consider two ceramic bowls the customer bought from us, along with the oven and hob that had to fit as part of the worktop.
Once again, the fabrication process took a whole day to complete, with our in-house masons working round the clock to ensure this project was perfect.
Once the stone was fabricated and ready for installation, it was up to our fitters to ensure the worktop was installed with the perfection we pride our company on. With an all day installation on the cards, our fitters had to make sure the whole project, from early morning to evening, went smoothly – a tough ask for a worktop with such an irregular curve and weight.
So, how did our fitters manage to lift such a heavy piece of stone?
“By going blue in the face!” joked Arnell. “With this worktop, where it curves away from you, you’ve got nothing to put in to your shoulder…where it was curved, we were lifting double the height because of the swoop of the stone.
“We carried it on the back edge so the polished side is up, and the worktop swoops down and round. So, you’re picking it up at the bottom of the back edge, down by your knees. We carried the stone in and put it onto woods at the bottom so we didn’t damage the floor or stone. Once in, we braced ourselves for a big lift up on the worktop.”
Working on an Oast house is one of the longest single jobs County Stone has encountered. However, where we overcame such a challenge, it didn’t just become one of our toughest projects; it was also one of our most fulfilling.