How To Install A Granite Kitchen Countertop
by Sean A.
When planning your installation, working with your local stone fabrication shop is key. So it’s a good idea to work closely with your local stone fabricator. In addition to the main countertop surface, you’ll need to decide on the length of the countertop overhang, as well as the type and size of backsplash. Once you’ve got your granite picked out and your old countertops removed, take accurate measurements of your base cabinets to give to the fabricator. And allow no more than 6 inches of unsupported overhang with 2-centimeter stone and 9 inches with 3-centimeter stone. Also, insist that your fabricator “rod” the cutouts with steel or fiberglass reinforcements to strengthen the narrow areas around the cutouts. Check to make sure your base cabinets are level across their entire length. It’s not a good idea to use shims directly under the granite countertop. Unless they’re being delivered, you’ll have to pick up the countertops from the fabricator when they’re ready. It’s important to always carry the countertops in a vertical position, never horizontally flat, to avoid cracking or breaking the stone. When the slabs arrive, have a cleared space ready in the kitchen area to store them upright on edge until you’re ready to install them. If any adjustments are needed use an electric grinder, carefully shave the edge to the desired level, remembering to always wear protective eye-wear to guard against dust and grit. If the wall-facing edge of a countertop isn’t flush and requires adjustment, carefully mark all the areas of the countertop to be removed and gently lower it back down. Then fit the slabs back in place making sure all the edges fit snuggly and securely, including the seams between slabs if you have more than one. With the slabs flush and level on the cabinets, if you have multiple slabs, now is the time to fit them together. Join the butt seams using color-matched two-part epoxy, which you can purchase from the fabricator shop. Attach and turn on the auto pump — the tension created will ensure that the edges of the seams remain flush as the epoxy dries. When the epoxy is dry, after about an hour, remove the setter. Don’t hold the razor at an angle or you may gouge the epoxy. Don’t use silicone caulk; over time, silicone caulk could wick into the stone and cause staining. With your installation complete, finish by applying granite sealer to your countertops; this will protect the stone and prevent any deep staining. This special cleaner will leave no residue and keep your granite countertops looking shiny and new. It can be installed over any other tightly bonded flooring, making it ideal for retrofits. They can make a narrow room look larger by running with the room’s width. Learn how to reuse a granite countertop and give it a new lease on life with these easy steps. You’ll see all the varied colors and grain patterns up close. You may want to have the fabricator visit your kitchen to check if anything there may affect how the countertops are made, such as wall bump-outs or exposed pipes. Start with the tops of the base cabinets, including the distance from the front of the face frame to the wall along the entire length of cabinets. In your template, you must measure the exact locations of cutouts for sinks and cooktops, and holes for faucets and soap dispensers. Measure the exact locations of cutouts for sinks and cooktops, and holes for faucets and soap dispensers. Scribe the template so that it fits snugly against the wall along the entire run of cabinets before tracing the front edge onto the template. Be careful not to allow a span of more than 2 feet between cabinets, such as a span over a dishwasher. If you plan an undermount sink, make note of that on the template for the fabricator, who will be able to cut a groove along the underside edge of the sink hole, so that the sink clips can be secured. Remember, if you’ll feel more comfortable, you can always negotiate an itemized price for your stone fabricator to come and take the measurements to ensure accuracy. If not, unfasten the base units and level them with shims underneath the baseboard. This will create small voids that could cause the granite to crack under pressure. Now that you’ve given measurements to the fabricator and leveled your cabinets, it’s time to get the cut countertops home safely, which can be tricky. Remember that granite is heavy — a 2′ x 6′ countertop can weigh in excess of 400 pounds — so enlist some help to transport and move the countertops safely. Protect the edges by covering them with wide painter’s tape. Here, the sink opening is above where the under-counter sink will be located. Once you have the granite slabs home, it’s time to install them. When lifting the countertop, take extra care to support the granite where it is thin, such as along cutouts. It’s not necessary for the granite to be supported by an additional subsurface, like solid plywood. Then, using a dry-cut diamond blade installed on an electric grinder, carefully shave the edge to the desired level, remembering to always wear protective eye-wear to guard against dust and grit. A seam setter also ensures that the top edges of the seams remain flush with each other. Then carefully shave away any excess epoxy using a single-edge razor held vertically. The weight of the countertops themselves is nearly enough to hold the stone in place, but you’ll still want to run a bead of caulk along the underside perimeter of the counter, where the stone meets the cabinet top. Simply wipe it on evenly with a clean, soft cloth, making sure to get full coverage. Installing a granite countertop yourself is challenging, but the cost-savings and enhancement to your kitchen are well worth the effort. A laminate floor is a “floating floor,” meaning it is not fastened directly to the subfloor.