Selecting Your Kitchen Countertop

May 02, 2013

4 Helpful Slab Selection Tools

If you’re working on a new build, kitchen remodel, or simply upgrading your old or outdated countertops to natural stone, choosing the right slab for your project may feel like a weighty decision – and it is! You will enjoy and use your countertops every day, and though the investment is certainly worth the end result, it isn’t one you will take lightly.


The process may feel overwhelming: selecting the type of stone (granite, marble, or other natural stone), the color, the movement and character of the right piece, and the finish that will fit your needs – there is certainly a lot to decide. Fortunately, MSI offers resources that will help simplify the slab selection process for you:

1.    The Kitchen Visualizer – Your first stop is to play with a variety of slab selections for natural stone and quartz countertops. The visualizer will help you to make the big decisions – including whether you are going light or dark with the countertops, and how that choice may affect other key choices like cabinets, floors, and mosaics. When you imagine a look that works for you, download, print or email your design(s).

2.    MSI Blog – Take some time to review past articles in the MSI blog. Learn more about the advantages of each type of stone and how it will fit with your lifestyle and theme, as well as find great information on how to address overall design. The blog below is an example of one of our many blogs that are specifically written to aid you in slab selection:

MSI Blog - Granite Countertops: The Workhorse of the Kitchen

3.    Website – MSI’s website offers an expansive selection of colors and patterns of granite slabs, marble slabs, travertine, onyx, limestone and more. When you find selections you enjoy, consider pinning them to Pinterest to create a board using MSI Products, another tool that will help you to refine your many choices before you visit a local Kitchen & Bath Dealer as well as allow feedback from others. 

4.    Homeowner Slab Selection Instructional Video – This video will take you through the selection process at an MSI showroom, including what to consider before you arrive and what you’ll need to bring with you to optimize the experience.


As you utilize all of your resources for slab selection, be sure to consider the following:

STONE – Every stone has its advantages and disadvantages. Some etch more easily; others are highly durable. Some are cool and ideal for bakers; others can tolerate hot pans and dishes with ease. Before visiting a showroom, investigate the different kinds of stone and what works best for your needs.

COLOR – You may not have narrowed your choices to one color before seeing slabs in person, however, it is essential to decide beforehand how your countertop will function in the overall scheme of your room. Will it be a contrast or an accent? Do you want your countertops to blend with other elements, or to downplay or highlight them?

MOVEMENT OR CHARACTER – Variance in the slab, such as the amount of veining, swirls, pebbles, or flecks, will also impact whether your countertop is a contrasting, complementary, or statement element in your room. Consider what part of the kitchen you want to stand out most, as that will factor into your ultimate selection.

FINISH – Highly polished, textured, matte, natural – there are several options when it comes to countertops. Edge profiles will go hand and hand with finish as well, as both finishes and edges can create an overall look, from old world to modern. Your fabricator can help you with these decisions, but knowing the overall desired look ahead of time will help you move quickly through the slab selection process.


When you have fully considered the above, it’s time for action! Find a Kitchen & Bath Dealer in your area. (Search online for smaller boutiques with natural stone samples or visit a larger store like Home Depot or Lowes). You will be introduced to a variety of natural stone selections. If you arrive prepared with several options in mind, it will help them to better partner with you. They may have small slab samples on hand, order ones they don’t have that are “must sees” on your list, or may even urge you to visit one of MSI’s 15 North American showroom facilities to hand pick a slab from full-size selections.

After making your selection, MSI will work directly with your fabricator for delivery of your stone. It may be a weighty decision, but selecting a natural stone slab that will enhance your home with beauty and function for years to come is as easy as a little preparation!

M S International does not sell directly to the public nor do we quote any prices.  As the largest natural stone importer and slab distributor in North America, MSI Stone offers slab selection showrooms in support of fabricator and retail partners.  The purchase of slabs must be prearranged through a kitchen and bath dealer prior to showroom arrival.