Join the refacing revolution

Granite Transformations targets market growth with its total kitchen refacing solution

These photos are not of a newly-fitted kitchen or a studio set – although you must admit they look pretty impressive. It is, in fact, a 25-year-old kitchen in which the original work surfaces, cabinet carcasses and drawer interiors have all been retained, then refaced with handsome diamond-polished worktops and stylish timber-faced doors and drawer fronts. To all intents and purposes, it is a totally new kitchen, yet the original framework has been entirely preserved, saving on waste, landfill space and cost, while most of the usual ripping out, debris, dust and installation time have been eliminated. So it’s green, quick, hassle-free and affordable.

This is the ‘refacing revolution’ that home improvement franchise Granite Transformations is advancing in this country and it spells good news for its franchise owners and their customers. For existing and future franchise owners it creates a profitable new revenue stream, by adding replacement kitchen doors to the distinctive ‘top that fits on top’ that made the brand famous. For homeowners it’s an attractive alternative to the expense and upheaval of installing a complete fitted kitchen, at a time when budgets are still tight.

Although this concept is relatively easy to explain, it is rather more difficult to grasp the mechanics of refacing kitchens, where the material savings are actually made and what exactly goes into a typical makeover. So to illustrate the process, Granite Transformations photographed every stage of one complete installation and shot the whole job on time-lapse video. This can now be viewed as a high speed four-minute makeover on You Tube and at www.granitetransformations.co.uk.

The original kitchen had a traditional look with dark oak doors, wall cupboard and storage unit, contrasting with cream laminated work surfaces. Perfectly acceptable, a good L-shaped work layout based around the Aga and sink but inevitably with a few signs of ageing. Having first templated the worktops and measured the units, the doors and drawer front were then removed, leaving a solid ‘skeleton’ of hardwood carcasses that will still give many years’ reliable service.

The beauty of Granite Transformations’ tough yet lightweight worktops is that they are fabricated off-site, then bonded directly on to the existing work surfaces, without the need for demolition or extra reinforcement. Edge strips were then mitred and fixed to the slimline upper surface, creating a deep worktop profile, while a fashionable waterfall end was added for a luxury finish. Fit the replacement doors, drawer fronts and stainless steel handles and the transformation is more or less complete.

The look is now very contemporary, with eco-chic recycled glass worktops in earthy tones and light beech timber facings, complemented by a new sink unit in matt coffee. The finishing touches are provided by quartz floor tiles in desert shades and a new focal point in the form of a moveable island unit, with twin waterfall ends, wine rack and extra storage.

There was no need to hire a skip, no rubble, no clouds of dust and no major upheaval, since the work was completed by two Granite Transformations fitters in one busy 12-hour day. Although it would usually take a couple of days, when not being filmed continuously.

It’s the sort of ‘instant’ kitchen makeover that appeals to many home owners and puts the Granite Transformations brand in a strong market position. With a number of exclusive franchise territories still available, it is also a distinctive marketing USP that makes this a highly attractive business proposition for would-be franchise owners.

Reported by Sam Gent

Type of franchise: Retail management/Home installation
Industry sector: Home improvement
Retail products: Kitchen worktops and doors, interior finishes
Ideal franchise owner: Self-motivated, management and sales experience, team leader
Company history: Established 1996, first UK franchise 2004
Investment required: Franchise fee from £29,975 + VAT, additional capital £35,250
Recruitment locations: Selected postcode territories nationwide