Yes Granite: rock solid  

Solid granite work surfaces give a truly professional finish to any kitchen. The Moment talks to Paul Simmonds of Yes Granite about the process – from quarrying to fitting – to get there  

Granite work surfaces are the last word in luxury, providing a hard-wearing, timeless finish to just about any kitchen. House-proud Peterborians have one of the most extensive granite showrooms in the region right on their doorstep, courtesy of Yes Granite. Yes Granite carries an extensive range of stock, literally hand-picked by owner Paul Simmonds and his team. ‘We personally fly to Italy and visit one of the biggest granite yards in the world to hand-pick the stock we carry,’ explains Paul. ‘The granite is bought up in container quantities; we buy about 50 to 60 slabs at a time. It then travels back to the UK via train, ferry and, finally, road.’

The stone originates from countries as diverse as Brazil, India, Norway and Iran. The closest comes from Ireland. Quarrying and transporting the stone requires equipment of an epic scale, while processing it demands machinery that’s up to the job of cutting through granite – one of the hardest stones on the planet. ‘Once it arrives in the granite factory the stone has to be sliced up and polished. The equipment involved isn’t cheap! Stone is cut with the equivalent of a giant breadknife. The synthetic diamond-tipped wires are the consumable part of the machine and cost 50,000 per set. The machine itself is more than half a million euros and the company we buy our stone from has dozens of them,’ says Paul.

The stone is sliced up into sheets about 3x2m. The slabs are then laid flat onto a conveyor belt for transport along a 100-150m polishing line. ‘The slabs are alternated so that they you can by bookmatched like butterfly wings,’ explains Paul. ‘Once we take delivery of the polished slabs we then need a crane and professional cutting gear. Working with granite is at least 10 times the cost of working with wood – everything has to be that much more hard-wearing.’ The crane that Paul works with may be substantial but it’s a tiddler compared to those in the granite yards of Italy, where appropriately-named Goliath cranes make short work of shifting the dense and heavy slabs.

Once the slabs are on display in Yes Granite’s showroom, the really creative stage can begin. Customers are free to wander the showroom and select whichever slab takes their fancy. Paul’s team will then process the slabs, fit them and can even organise all of the accessories – including the kitchen sink! Prices aren’t as expensive as you’d imagine, with a family-sized kitchen fitted for around £2-2,500. ‘We’re very reasonably priced,’ says Paul. ‘And compared to many of the bigger DIY chains our stone is better and we can install it quicker’. Paul prides himself on the company’s three-day turnaround: one day to measure up and create the necessary templates; one day to cut and prepare the stone; and one day to return and fit the work surfaces. Customers usually visit Yes Granite with a kitchen plan and an idea of what they are after.

Nevertheless, the first glimpse of the showroom always surprises by its scale and variety: ‘People are usually amazed by the amount of stock we’ve got and the size of the granite sheets. The sheets are genuinely impressive when you’re close up and you can touch them.’ Potential jobs can be priced up based on the kitchen plan and a sample of the chosen sheet broken off to help customers choose paint, floor tiles and other decorative elements. Specific slabs can be reserved in order to guarantee an exact and predictable finish. Yes Granite also offers a range of finishes to its stone. Polished granite is the most popular choice, while a textured finish gives a more natural look.

Another popular stone is Siletone Quartz, which is made from resin-bound crushed quartz. ‘It’s almost impossible to stain,’ adds Paul, ‘and it’s available in pure colours: pure white, grey and so on. It makes an excellent choice for more contemporary kitchens.’ It isn’t just kitchens that can benefit from Yes Granite’s stone, with natural stone sprucing up bathrooms and shower enclosures across the region. They can even supply hard-wearing surrounds for the likes of woodburning stoves. With quality stone giving a truly luxurious finish, Peterborough homes are set to become a lot more desirable

■ As an all-natural stone granite is porous and, as such, liable to staining. Treat it with care and it will last a lifetime and beyond. ■ Regular sealing keeps granite protected; ■ Avoid putting hot objects directly onto granite; ■ Don’t cut directly on the worktop; ■ Don’t leave acidic fruits on granite; ■ Clean spillages immediately  

YES GRANITE Unit 1/2 Enterprise Court, Eagle Business Park, Yaxley, Peterborough PE7 3GR. 01733 639639 / 07921 829816

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