Training & Education

Peter J. Marcucci

Photos Courtesy Brian Brutting

Caesarstone’s Brian BruttingAs I recall, engineered stone was first introduced to the countertop market in the late 1980s. I also recall it having its own set of problems at the time, such as dye lots that did not match, dealing with UV damage and difficulty making seams and edges look good. 

As resourceful stone fabricators, we eventually managed to find acceptable workarounds to these situations through trial and error, better known as mistakes. Who was it who said, “There are two ways to learn: by your mistakes or the mistakes of others.” This is very true, and it’s been said many ways, though I may have come up with this paraphrase while self-training in fabricating engineered stone. 

Enter Brian Butting, Senior Technical Specialist at Caesarstone USA. Brian’s experience spans 21 years to include the sales and fabrication of natural and engineered stone, as well as 11 years at Caesarstone.  

Brian, thank you so much for giving your time to our readers. Would you please describe your current role with Caesarstone?

“I’m very busy on two fronts. The first is conducting inspections at job sites where end users of Caesarstone have concerns over the material, or have fabrication issues. The other is giving seminars that feature the fabrication and installation of our products. I’ve been doing these seminars for eight years, beginning when I was a sales rep for the company. Corporate had heard that I had some technical knowledge and asked me if I’d speak to a group of fabricators who were struggling, and I agreed. 

“I then put together a very loose PowerPoint presentation and gave my first class. It was such a hit that I kept getting requests from Caesarstone managers across the country. We then got an operations manager that loved it so much that he made it my job. So it went from a voluntary thing to a mandated thing. I additionally train our technicians as well as our sales force to better serve the fabricators who buy our products. To me, education and training is paramount in this or any business.

“My experience with Caesarstone dates back almost 30 years. Since then the brand has improved and its use continues to grow exponentially. That said, you’d think the secrets of fabricating Caesarstone would be well learned by now. So why do we need training or retraining at this point?  

“Many things have changed since its introduction. The resins used to manufacture slabs are different, creating a more appealing and durable product. Moreover, specific tools and equipment to work with Caesarstone didn’t exist back then. Over the years the equipment has changed, the way it’s fabricated has changed and the business has changed. So 30 years later, I bring to the table not just my 20 years of experience, but everything I’ve learned from other fabricators while working with them. I’ve taken that pool of experience and now share it with everyone at these seminars.”


Caesarstone’s Brian Brutting offers up-to-date training for fabricators and installers.

Caesarstone’s Brian Brutting offers up-to-date training for fabricators and installers.

From left, Brian III and Bryce Brutting “help” at a recent Caesarstone seminar.

Above: From left, Brian III and Bryce Brutting “help” at a recent Caesarstone seminar.

Stone can’t do that: Brian demonstrates the shaping  flexibility of Caesarstone with a custom see-saw.

Stone can’t do that: Brian demonstrates the shaping  flexibility of Caesarstone with a custom see-saw.

Could you briefly explain what these seminars cover? Are they hands-on with tools and materials or text book, and how are they structured? 

“We do two types of training. The first is full seminars in large groups of 30 or more attendees. These are classroom style and last about four hours. We review cleaning and repair, and then go through fabrication guidelines and overall best practices including customer interactions. Most recently, however, it’s been hands-on training with smaller groups of 10 to 15 people that shuffle from station to station. Each station lasts about 25 to 30 minutes and consists of visuals of proper and improper techniques.” 

What common mistakes are fabricators still making these days? 

“This is a really important question. In my opinion, unfortunately, a big part of it is customer communication. Fabricators are great at working with their hands, but many don’t talk to their customers enough about the design and how it’s going to perform. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have a job if fabricators communicated better with their customers. It is very common for them not to follow the guidelines even though many know better, but don’t, because the customer asks for something else.”

Brian continued,“Then there’s a failure, and then we have to get involved simply because the end user was never told what was best for the application. This scenario is nothing new, but it is still a consistent issue in the industry. The other is that we still see things like very sharp edge details that can chip easily (Example: a polished edge with a small break). This, too, is really just a communication issue with the customer when explaining what the potential risks are with this type of edge detail. I’ve surveyed users with this problem and asked if they were offered other options, and they said, ‘No.’ A better choice in this situation, is a 1/4-inch radius at inside of the sink  and over the rest of the edge detail at least a 1/8 inch on top and bottom. When talking to architects, I’ve asked them to specify these edges with an exact dimension, so it can be checked. 

“Other common mistakes include basic cleaning and long-term care of the surface. For cleaning, gel soft scrubs work the best. It doesn’t matter if it’s red wine or chicken grease, gel soft scrubs leave no residue, and it takes the surface back to the original condition on the day it was delivered. So it’s really important for a customer to review the manufacturer’s recommendations at the point of purchase, and not after there’s a problem.”

If a fabricator or customer is using Caesarstone and they have a problem, who do they call: the dealer or Caesarstone? How much support does Caesarstone offer their customers? 

“That’s a very interesting question! We’d like to believe we are the most customer-friendly company in the world. The way it works, though, is that no matter who you go to, somebody is going to try and assist you with a problem. So we always try to track back to where consumers purchased their product, and then help them with the process in a number of ways, on a number of levels. If and when it gets to the level that nothing has worked, that’s where I get involved and do an onsite inspection. Our product has a lifetime warranty, and you can call Caesarstone 20 years after you bought a countertop and we will walk you through any issue.”

Who can attend these seminars, and when and where are they available?  

“Seminars are for all industry partners and typically begin by a request from a fabricator to his local Caesarstone representative. That sales rep then sees how many people he can get to come, and with a good enough headcount (usually 30 or more attendees) we’ll start planning one within two to three months of that request. We currently do not charge to attend. All you have to be is a trade partner with Caesarstone. In fact, you not only don’t have to pay; we’ll also provide you with a meal, because these classes are most always held at night so they don’t interfere with the work day.”  

How can an interested reader contact you for help or information? 

“They can contact me at They can also use and search Brian Brutting Jr. for general industry questions.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add before closing? 

“Yes. Effective sales training is a great way to increase profits. By developing reasonable expectations for either a product or a service, you are truly providing customer service second to none when someone buys a countertop. Always remember that our field of expertise is not their field of expertise, and they are counting on us to help guide them through the best possible choices. Many fabricators are missing a huge opportunity to increase their sales by not educating their customers, or not up-selling other options such as a different edge or a backsplash. If they did, their customers are going to buy more. Know that you are not trying to take advantage of the customer; you are just informing them of their options, and it is ultimately their decision if they want something or not.”