Diane Follestad, co-owner with her husband, Doug, of Granite Transformations since 2008, recently spoke with Lavender about wonders awaiting your home through engineered stone. Founded 15 years ago, the company now has 80 franchises in the United States, offering environmentally-friendly composite granite and Trend glass tiles and surfaces.Tell us about engineered stone.
It all started in Italy, where a traveling Aussie saw these gorgeous engineered granite slabs, which were used only as flooring. He approached Trend, Granite Transformations’s parent company, and a proprietary technique was established to fabricate one-piece countertops.
These granite and glass slabs come in 1/4” thick, 4’ x 10’ slabs that are 95 percent undyed, crushed granite, and 5 percent Forever Seal (polymer resin). Recycled glass (up to 70 percent post-consumer) contains some granite, and 5 percent Forever Seal. Because the color is injected when the glass is in its liquid state, the coloring is uniform.
Where do you obtain your granite?
Granite is quarried all over the world. However, only about 30 percent of the granite quarried is usable for traditional slabs. Granite Transformations draws from the remaining 70 percent, which is then crushed and mixed with Forever Seal, and formed into slabs.
Our engineered slabs outperform traditional slabs because of the physical benefits of the Forever Seal. We produce a product that is heat-, stain-, scratch-, and bacteria-resistant, because it is nonporous.
There is no guesswork on the quality, because no matter what slab you choose, you will have uniform strength, durability, and long-lasting beauty. The slabs all come with a lifetime warranty, and you will have expert installation by our crew—everyone holds a certification to work with our products.
Your motto is: “Affordable Renovations Without the Mess!” What may a customer expect?
The customer makes an appointment with one of our Design consultants for a free, in-home consultation to measure the surfaces, show all of the colors of our products, and provide the price. Besides assisting you with your granite color choice, we are also equipped with a large array of sinks, faucets, and cabinet hardware choices. You are able to see all of our products in the lighting of your home, and next to your cabinetry.
A week or so later, an installer returns to make a pattern, or template, of all of the areas to be covered: countertops and backsplashes. The granite is then cut and fabricated to the exact measurements in our fabrication shop in Shoreview.
Finally, the installers come back with everything—granite, tile, sink, faucets, whatever was ordered—and install it. It usually takes just one day to transform your space—with no demolition! It’s a very clean and precise process—no large saws or power tools are used.
One thinks of granite in the kitchen or bath. Where else do you suggest?
We do love our granite in the kitchen and the bath, but we also install granite on fireplace fronts, shower surrounds, window sills, curved walls in office spaces, floors, bars, motor homes, and boats. The sky’s the limit!
One also thinks of money when considering granite as an option. Is granite competitive with other materials in general use?
You must consider the value of the products that you use, and how their physical characteristics will serve your lifestyle—especially in kitchen and bathrooms. Porous surfaces harbor bacteria, and it is great if you don’t have to use harsh cleaners on porous surfaces where you prepare food. We are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF)-certified, so we can also be in restaurants and schools.
Our countertop products are priced by the job, and are comparable to traditional granite slabs (mid-range quality), and lower or equal to the price of many quartz products (which contain dyes).
One thing to consider is the cost and mess of demolition—that someone will charge $300 to $500 to pull it out, and haul it away.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We have an interactive tool on our Trend website, where we can custom-mix a mosaic tile backsplash, marrying the colors of the existing elements in your decor into the backsplash. Visit <www.trendgroup-USA.com>, and click on “build my trend.”
Using Trend and Granite Transformations products may contribute to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points. Our granite and recycled glass slabs use 60 percent less raw materials—60 percent lighter—a consideration for your cabinetry and shipping/fuel costs. We are also reducing the number of old countertops going to landfill.
We are on a journey to continue to improve how the manufacturing and use of our products relates to our environment.
575 Shoreview Park Rd., Shoreview