May be in the form of a semi-finished or a completely
finished countertop piece. A fabricator may reject or discard a custom fabricated countertop for various reasons or import extra stock of prefabricated countertops for multi-unit projects. Often these overruns are liquidated and
further discounted over time until cleared. Prefabricated lengths are limited for use in residential projects and tend to be best suited for standard cabinetry designs and smaller cabinet areas.
The majority of marble and granite blocks used as
architectural stone is quarried in countries such as Canada, United
States, Brazil, India, China, and Europe with major processing of these
blocks into thin slabs (veneers) done in China, Brazil, and India.
Although Europe processes most of its marbles and travertines its
technologies for granite processing are well established in these other
major processing countries. Stone slabs in all types of geological
formations are typically 2cm (3/4") - 3cm (1-3/16") in thickness with
slab widths ranging from 3 to 6 feet and lengths in excess of 10 feet.
The variances among processors for slab quality produced with the natural
variances in every grade of stone type creates much diversity. Usually
slab bundles are imported without prior viewing and distributors are limited by what arrives on their loading docks. With between 12 and 20 local importers
of stone the best material available at any given time will alternate
amongst the various importers and with each new shipment arrival.