Bierton & Woods are proud to be able to offer an unparalleled service for Granite, Quartz, Marble and Limestone worksurfaces. Retaining our core family values, we place great importance on being able to provide a truly bespoke and efficient service built on a personal relationship you can trust. Our strengths lay in the fact that we own and run our own business, we personally work each day in the workshop and are proud of our skills, the quality of our work and the services that we are able to offer our clients. We understand and care that everyone has individual requirements and we are pleased to be able to offer flexible help to them at all times, whether it is free advice, a five pound order or a five thousand pound contract all our client’s needs are treated and respected on an individual basis.
From our local workshop at Scole near Diss we have invested in the very latest stone processing machinery that is utilised alongside our small team of highly skilled and time served craftsmen. It is vitally important that as Stonemasons today we embrace the new technology alongside our traditional hand crafted skills that enable us to produce the highest quality hand finished work at a competitive price.
Our team have worked on many different prestigious projects of all sizes all over the country for many high profile clients, however please be assured we take the greatest pride and show the utmost respect to all. Whilst there are many businesses who call themselves ‘experts’ and state they offer the ‘best and most competitive’ product or service please make sure you understand truly what this means and if they can justify their bold statement. We realise that sometimes with flashy marketing it can be a minefield for anyone to locate a local, knowledgeable and trustworthy business that they can feel comfortable and work with.
We are proud our local connections, our skilled team of directly employed experienced craftsmen, our infrastructure and resources available to us and of course our reputation. Whilst we cannot always rashly promise to be the cheapest we can promise to offer the best service, with the best quality materials and craftsmanship at a very competitive price. Put it simply, We care and we are here to help in any way we can.
We aim to offer...
Whilst we are confident that we are able to offer the highest standards of our craft we realise the importance of offering value for money. As much as we thrive on happy and content customers who like to feel they have been fairly treated, we are not prepared to cut costs and compromise our values. There will always someone who promises to make something a little cheaper but invariably it is always made a little worse! Prices generally cannot be reduced without cutting corners or standards of quality, however prices can come down as a result of increased efficiencies but never by decreases in standards. We will be proud to help you in any way we can, and we want you to be proud of what we are able to make for you, it will last you a lifetime!
Natural stone & related surfaces
A well chosen material for a work surface will not only offer the ultimate statement in design but it gives a sense of quality, beauty and functionality for the lifetime of the kitchen. We import materials from various stone supplying countries around the world, as well as using the UK based wholesalers who are able to offer very quick and efficient supply of the many different types and colours of natural stone, granite, marble and quartz.
We only use reputable companies who are able to offer us the highest quality of materials. Like anything available in life to purchase there is a whole range of various qualities of stone, granite and marble available. We offer a guarantee to our clients that they can be reassured that what we supply will truly last a lifetime if well looked after and maintained, and to enable us to offer this guarantee we have to be sure we are supplying the best available products from reliable and honest suppliers.
The quotation process
We are happy to offer advice and free quotations over the telephone, however, a more accurate costing can be given when we are able to work from a design drawing or rough sketch showing the sizes of worktop required, type and location of appliances (ie sink and hob etc) and any finished edges.
The position of joins can have a considerable effect towards the final estimate, as an example one piece “L” sections. In this instance, the material required will be based on the full rectangular area necessary to make the whole ‘L’ section and a considerable amount of waste can occur, also there will be more edge working required by hand other than by machine.
All materials are generally sold in differing price ranges. A lower price bracket does not imply that the material is of a poorer quality, it simply means the cost of the raw material from the quarry is cheaper. Location, ease of quarrying and of course the amount of material available to be extracted will influence the final price of the selected material.
Every endeavour will be made on our part to give a fair representation of the expected cost for the supply of natural or engineered stone products whichever may be required. Any final costing will be based on the accurate templates, either supplied or taken by ourselves; this could be more or less than the original quotation depending if there are any alterations in design or dimension which can often happen at the installation stage of the cabinetry.
Originally a molten rock formed beneath the Earth’s surface. Blocks weighing up to 20 tonnes are quarried from many countries around the world. These slabs are sliced down to a workable thickness, 20 mm and 30 mm being the most popular. Slab sizes can be up to 3000 mm. X 1800 mm. Characteristics such as colour, veining and mineral composition change with each material and geographical location. This ensures your granite kitchen work surface will be a unique and beautiful piece of nature that only a natural material such as granite can provide.
Granite provides a very durable surface, it is heat resistant, scratch resistant (though not impossible to scratch), is very hygienic and easily maintained along with its natural beauty. As well as the vast array of colours and shades that are available various finishes, other than the most widely used highly polished and reflective finish are available. A ‘matt’ or more commonly called a ‘honed’ finish is becoming more popular but this can make the granite slightly more susceptible to staining. It can also be supplied in an antiqued or leathered finish in which the stone is slightly textured. Both these finishes provide a very tactile and ‘softer’ finish than polished.
The final polished surface of granite, although producing a reflection almost like that of a glass mirror will on close inspection have noticeable crystal formations with what may appear to be small fissures or cracks. This is perfectly normal and does not indicate any fault that may or may not occur sometime in the future.
This is generally what an ‘Engineered’ stone is referred to. Brands such as Silestone, Arenastone, Caesarstone, Okite and Zodiaq are the best known examples. Quartz is around 93% stone with the remainder made up of polyester resin and colour pigments. The appearance and feel is very similar to natural stone but the finished work surface is more consistent across the slab and it has added benefits in terms of strength and hygiene due to the product being impregnated with an antibacterial product. Engineered stone is virtually non porous and because of this no sealing is required and any spillages remain on the surface and do not easily penetrate into the stone.
The surface finish can be polished or ‘leathered’, this gives a more matt appearance with a silky textured feel although this finish does require more effort to keep smear free. As a work surface, Quartz can be a reliable and trouble free choice suited to most kitchen designs where a more uniform or unusual colour is desired. The colour range available from the various engineered stone manufacturers also offers designers the opportunity to colour co-ordinate a clients kitchen with a little more precision.
Engineered Quartz products are available in similar maximum slab sizes across the various manufacturers, typically 3000mm x 1380mm in 12mm, 20mm and 30mm thicknesses. Some colours are available in larger jumbo slabs measuring 3250mm x 1570mm which gives further design flexibility. Eco Quartz is also available which is manufactured in the same way as other engineered stone excepting it is made predominantly from recycled materials such as glass, porcelain, earthenware and vitrified ash. Many colours are available and it offers sustainability and an ecological alternative to other solid stone surfaces.
Acceptance of a Quotation
Quotations can be provided on a full service to include template, supply and fit or supply only ex works. Supply and delivery only can also be arranged but help must be available at the end destination in this instance to assist the driver in unloading. Please provide an accurate address for quotation purposes. There is a normally a short lead time from an order being placed until templating can be arranged. Non account holders will be required to pay a deposit of 50% including VAT on receipt of templates being checked off against quotation and to enable manufacturing to commence.
If you decide to proceed with an order for your work surfaces it is likely that we will need to attend site at a pre-arranged time to take accurate templates of the work tops that will enable us to produce the stone surfaces. Whilst the technology is there to take computerised digital templates we prefer to make physical templates made from plastic or timber sheet material. The reason we like to use this method is that most clients prefer to actually view the size and shape their worktops will finish as they will be fitted to the actual kitchen units.
This is very important where shapes or curves have to be decided and we take pride in working with our clients to make sure they have the flexibility to alter anything they require at this stage on site. Often designs can change once the installation of the cabinetry commences and we feel very strongly that time and due care and attention to the finer details is of the utmost importance at this stage. Many granite slabs have beautiful patterns and colour shifts and once again by having templates to hand this enables us to lay these over the selected slabs and ensure the best pattern matches at joins in the finished tops. However, it must be stressed that due to granite being a natural material it is often impossible to get a perfectly matching and invisible join.
Please be sure to provide an accurate address for the site where the work is to be carried out at the time of the order, this helps with travelling logistics. If for any reason the pre-arranged templating date is going to be delayed due to units or appliances failing to arrive on site to complete the kitchen installation please kindly inform us at the earliest opportunity to enable us to schedule other work.
It is essential that to enable correct and accurate templates to be taken, the following information is understood. First and foremost the units must all be levelled, in place and securely fitted. If there is to be either an under-mounted sink or a Belfast/Butler style sink, they should be fitted in the correct position and be fully supported but able to move 2 or 3mm in each direction. The template provided with the sink should be available to take away with any notes of change in over-hang itemised by the client on the template. Should there be a hob this needs to be on site with the cut-out instructions as provided by the manufacturer. The hob position, both back and forth, left and right needs to have been pre-determined. Range type cookers should be fully installed and fitted square with the adjoining units, the client needs to be aware of the minimum clearance, usually 5mm, to allow possible future removal of the cooker top for servicing purposes.
Nowadays there are many different built in fixtures and fittings, such as pop-up sockets, waste bins and instant hot water appliances. It helps to speed the manufacturing process if all of the information is to hand during the time the templates are being measured. Once the templates are completed, there should be someone on site with the authority to check all the finer design details and sign off the paperwork. We are also more than happy to work from templates supplied by others if your builder or kitchen installer wants to make these and obviously any quotation would be adjusted accordingly.
Once the templates have been checked against the quotation and the details are all confirmed in writing and approved by our client and, if requested a deposit received, then production can commence. The normal production process is approximately five working days but please allow considerably longer where other special edge details are required. We will always try our utmost to accommodate any special requests for urgent installation dates if required.
Selecting your material
Clients are most welcome to visit our yard and view various slabs and samples of material. Whilst we try and keep a good selection of the most popular materials if we do not have the type or colour you are looking for we can arrange for you to visit a stone wholesaler or we can arrange for the material to be delivered to our yard for you to view. We are also able to provide samples to take away but this can only give a representation of the selected material due to its natural colouring shades and differential veining being a characteristic of any natural stone product. When considering engineered quartz stone a sample can be more representative due to its consistent nature but small shading differences can still be present due to it being manufactured from natural quartz.
Edge details are offered in a number of styles, once again there will be considerable cost variations between the different options. The standard quoted option will allow for a bevelled or small rounded profile to the top and bottom of visible edges. Please see the separate information sheet for the various options available.
Opening for Sink Bowls
Surface mounted / sit on the surface type. These can require long cut-outs within the top of the stone. Depending on the depth, front edge to back edge, a minimal amount of stone material may remain to the front and back of the cut-out, causing a serious weak point. The stonemasons will use their discretion regarding whether to reinforce underneath within the thin remaining stone strips or make joins front and back of the four corners of the sink cut-out.
Belfast/Butler Style Sink
Depending on the width of the sink opening, joins either side close to the opening may be required, the stonemason will use his discretion and skill to determine the best option. The exposed edges around the sink opening will be flat polished with a small bevel or round to the top edge, according to the front edge style. Where DuPont or Ogee edge styles are used on the front edge, these are not an option around any sink opening.
This needs to be made clear on any plan provided for the purpose of providing a quote, to save confusion between top and under-mount. There is a cost difference involved due to the extra polishing works around an exposed opening, which are quite significant. There is a cost for each individual opening, so please high-light whether there is to be a one and a half bowl within a single opening or two separate openings. (Please ensure that when two sinks are to be installed side by side, that there is at least a 65mm gap). Please note we do not supply or fit the sinks or any associated plumbing work. Any sinks, especially the Belfast/Butler styles will require fitment prior to the templating stage. Under-mounted sinks must be fitted to a substantial sub-base, which should be 3mm lower than the flush surface of the kitchen units. The sink/s should be free to move slightly, side to side and back and forth and not rigidly fixed. At the time of fitment of the stone tops we seal the gap between the underside of the granite and the top edge surface of the sink with Silicone mastic.
Five straight grooves, 400mm long are quoted. These will be 12-14mm wide with a slight slope towards the sink. Other styles are offered such as flared or “dog-legged”, there will be an extra charge should these styles be required.
Recessed Drainer Area
The surface in the sink area is machined out to a depth of approximately 3-4mm. This area can be either one sided, slightly sloping in the case of a Butler/Belfast sink, or half side or surrounding the sink area when an under-mounted sink is specified. Please note the recessed area will be level when the area surrounds a sink and it cannot be sloped in the manner of a half side recess. There are further options available, such as double sided and surround, but please be aware, the larger the recessed area, the higher the quoted cost. If a recessed draining area is required it is important to be made aware that the recessed area may appear to be a different colour/texture shade to the un-recessed original surrounding surface. Tap Holes etc. Normally 25 or 35mm, please high-light on any plan whether there is one or two allocated to each sink. It helps to have the selected taps on site at the time templates are arranged. Hob cut-out. The same information as applicable to surface mounted sink cut-outs is used for quotation purposes.
For templating purposes, the hob must be on site with details of where it will be installed and preferably not connected. During the last few years, surface mounted hobs have been designed for installation flush with the surface of the worktop. Designers need to be aware, the cutting out of the stone for this type of hob costs considerably more than a stand cut-out. For this reason, please make clear on any plan to quote on if this design is an option. To enable accurate cutting out of the hob area into the stone we will require the client to allow for the hob to be brought back to the manufacturing base where it will be safely stored. The completed cut-out for the hob area will not be polished below the surface. When the hob is in position there will be a clearance tolerance so that any heat expansion can occur without cracking the glass hob surface. Please note we are not qualified to carry out any Electrical or Gas connections or disconnections on any Hobs or free-standing cookers!
Range Cookers (AGA etc.)
We allow to flat polish the edge of the stone where it meets this style of cooker. Such cookers must be fully installed prior to the templates being taken. There will be a manufacturers clearance required between any installed stone work surface an d the sides and back of the cooker, usually 5mm.
These can be fitted on any work surface and provide a very modern design feature. They are normally 20mm thick and a height between 40mm and 100mm. We always cut the upstands from the same slabs as the work surface to ensure the material matches as far as is practicable. There is no guarantee offered as to the maximum length of any individual piece of upstand due to the strength of the long and narrow lengths of stone. This can vary a great deal, depending on the particular material selected. On average 900-2000mm long should be considered as an approximation. Where upstands meet, in a corner for instance, there will be a “butt-joint”, it is very difficult to achieve a clean mitred join on natural stone. A frequently overlooked but very important consideration is the fact, upstands do not bend, which can become very apparent on older properties, especially those that have a number of timber frame beams. To overcome this issue, there either has to be a degree of filling of the gaps between the wall or the use of shorter lengths of upstands.
These are quoted on a square metre basis. Any curves to the top edge are an extra over cost if not mentioned on any plan to quote from.
Adding a matching window sill finishes the design off very attractively. It is advantageous to know if these are required as it is more cost efficient to produce these at the same time as the surfaces. We prefer to keep the thickness of the stone selected for the sill to be the same as that chosen for the worktop.
Any steps back and forth (break-fronts) in a leading polished edge add to any quote, therefore should to be shown on the drawing. Likewise any Radius’s or proposed larger curves need to be mentioned at the time of quotation.
Planning The Fitting Date
We will telephone and arrange a mutually convenient fitting date once the tops are in production. A morning or afternoon appointment will be given but it’s extremely difficult to give accurate times. Most installations are planned to be completed in one day however some jobs which involve large island tops and a quantity of upstands may take a day longer, please be aware of this fact when follow on trades are to be scheduled in. Once the installation is completed and finished to your total satisfaction the balance of the invoice is required to be settled with cleared funds whilst the fitters are still on site. Payment by card over the telephone is a further option.
Freqently asked questions
As most slabs are only available up to 3000mm x 1800mm due to quarrying limitations there will need to be joins in any stone tops. This may be due to a change in direction of the cabinets in a corner or a long run greater than three metres. Although the join will be bonded with a strong colour co-ordinated resin, the join will still be noticeable, especially on the more patterned materials. The line of resin will normally appear to be approximately 2mm in width, although in practice the gap between the stones is not as wide but because the sharp edges of the stone are removed the width of the join becomes exaggerated.
Yes it can, but with due care and attention they can be mostly avoided. Granite is certainly the hardest and therefore most scratch resistant of all natural stones. Engineered Quartz is almost as hard as granite but Marble, Limestone and Slate scratches much more easily. Granite and Engineered Quartz will tolerate soft fruit and vegetables being cut with a very sharp knife directly onto the stone surface. The key words “soft” and “sharp”, very little force is required during the cutting process. The other extreme would be to try and cut a frozen loaf of bread taken straight out of the freezer, then proceed to cut it with a serrated bread knife, any material will suffer surface damage under these conditions. A good quality chopping board is an essential item when preventing scratches on any other surface.
The least obvious cause of scratches on stone surfaces is, fresh home produced garden vegetables! How come? Home grown vegetables are naturally covered in soil, unlike supermarket produce which has been thoroughly pre-washed. The process of washing vegetables from the garden will certainly spread soil and water across the work surface some distance around the sink area. Should a heavy pan sitting on the work surface be required closer to hand and in the process be dragged across the work surface, the water and grit within the soil are not the most efficient lubricants and the trapped grit will scratch the worktop.
As a natural material comprising of minerals varying in size, distribution and colour it is occasionally noticed that the highly polished surface can have small pitting and loss of polish in areas of the work surface. This is entirely normal and the durability or quality is not considered to be impaired in any way.
These small fissures or pits where present will be resin filled during the fabrication process. If at any time you are concerned or have found an area you are unhappy about please call us and we will happily address anything that is considered sub-standard or requiring attention to ensure your granite continues to provide ongoing satisfaction and peace of mind. All stone types can be chipped it can normally be repaired. A heavy cooking utensil falling from an overhead storage unit, as an example, could indeed cause on impact a chip or crack. Thankfully there are within the trade specialist repair products. When used professionally an almost invisible repair is often possible.
With the exception of the Engineered Quartz stone, all other stones are treated with a proprietary impregnator such a ‘Lithofin Stain Stop’. This treatment, which penetrates in to the stone and once applied is invisible and not like a varnish or other thick surface coating. This product makes the stone more resistant to staining caused by spillages however it is recommended any spilt liquids are wiped up as soon as possible and great care has to be taken with anything acidic, including things like fruit juices, vinegar or alcoholic drinks. Re-treatment is recommended every 3-5 years depending on the material and should there ever be any concerns please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to assist you. If you are unlucky and you find a stain or ring marks on your granite we are more often than not able to successfully remove the problem and re-treat the granite to help prevent future issues.
Care and maintenance of natural stone work surfaces.
There is no need for any specialist cleaning products for day to day cleaning, a wipe over with a damp cloth is quite sufficient. When a more thorough clean is required, “CIF” white cream applied with a “SPONTEX” non-scratch scourer will remove all but the most stubborn marks including lime scale.
This cleaning method is safe to use on Granite, Marble, Limestone and the Engineered Quartz stone. There may be a little more final wiping over of the surface with some of the darker coloured material’s, this is because the white residue from the “CIF” cream may leave dusty streaks. There is no need to apply any wax products, and certainly not on the matt and honed surfaces. Particular brand named products to avoid on natural stones are “CILLIT BANG” and lime scale removers such as “VIAKAL”. Depending on how hard the kitchen area is worked, the surfaces may need re-sealing more often than the recommended 3-5 years. “LITHOFIN” produce a range of sealing and cleaning products used universally within the stone trade.
Should any client experience a problem after the installation of their new work-surfaces you can rest assured that you can rely and trust us to put things right. Even minor accidental damage can be taken care of in most instances. Please be aware that joins can sometimes open up and this is usually due to floor settlement or shrinkage of the natural wood used through the kitchen design. Once again we will happily return at a mutually arranged date to instigate a repair so please do not hesitate to call.