If you want a beautiful top end bathroom, and can afford a little luxury, granite bathroom countertops may be what you are looking for. They may not be the most inexpensive alternative, but if you are looking for a natural stone look, granite is probably the most durable and easiest to maintain of the natural stone choices.
While granite countertops may not be the best choice for the kitchen because most people like a more durable surface that can take the abuse that is common to kitchen countertops, they are generally considered a practical choice for the bathroom. Since bathroom countertops are not normally subjected to very much stress, natural stone surfaces such as granite are a very popular alternative.
Installing Granite Bathroom Countertops
The first step to installing bathroom countertops is deciding what type of granite countertop you wish to install. Granite countertop alternatives include:
• Granite tiles: granite tiles are sold for many purposes and some people use them for countertops. Although they may not be as good looking as a sold sheet of granite, they are perhaps the easiest to install for some people.
• Modular granite: specifically designed for countertops, with a built in backsplash and bullnose, these are not quite as attractive as a solid slab, but are easier to install. They also come in sections that are convenient for most countertops.
• Granite sheeting: a polymer granite resin that is formed into large slabs. Granite sheeting is 95% granite that is ground up and mixed with a polymer resin. It is as heat resistant as a real granite slab and is scratch resistant and doesn’t require sealing every six months like natural granite slabs. One huge advantage is that sheet granite can be installed over an old countertop.
• Granite slab: granite slabs are by far the most luxurious of granite countertop choices. They do need to be sealed every six months, but the seamless countertops are the look that most designers are seeking.
Considering the above choices, it you can afford it, a granite slab countertop will be the envy of your neighborhood. Since the granite slab is the choice of most designers and by far the best looking option, we are going to give you the basic steps involved in installing a granite slab bathroom countertop.
1. First you need to make a template that can be used to cut the granite slab. To do this you use plywood and mark out the shape of your countertop. Do not forget to mark the sink cut out precisely so that you will have a perfect fit. Once you are certain that you have it marked out exactly like you want the countertop to be, go ahead and cut out your template. If you do not feel comfortable making the template yourself, ask your natural stone dealer to send a representative out to your home to do it for you.
2. Take your template to the store with you to buy your granite countertop. Choose the color granite slab you want to have cut for your bathroom. At the store, the granite will be in uncut slabs. A store representative will then cut out your custom countertop from the template you provided. Then you can take the countertop home and set it aside until you are ready to install it. One advantage of granite slabs is that they are virtually indestructible, you can set them anywhere and not worry about them getting damaged. Also, they will be safe for the trip from the store to your home.
Old Countertop Removal
Now That you have your granite, you will need to remove the old countertop. Here are the steps for removing the old countertop:
1. First you have to turn off the water supply. It is usually easiest to just turn off the homes main water shut-off valve. Then you can disconnect the plumbing from the underside of your sink.
2. Remove the sink by carefully working around the rim of the sink with a putty knife to remove the adhesive. Then the sink will lift out. If there is a backsplash, remove that as well with a pry bar.
3. Now you are ready to take the old countertop off. Just remove the screws from the underside and the counter top should lift right off. Some countertops may be glued as well. In this case, use your putty knife to pry the countertop up.
4. Now bring in your custom cut granite countertop and place it in place on top of your cabinet. The cut granite slab should hold itself in place securely if it was cut properly from you template.
5. Now reinstall your sink with adhesive strips to attach it to the countertop around the rim. The adhesive strips go around the edge where the sink meets the granite. Be sure to use enough to secure the sink well. Use as many as you can. You do not want to use too few because your sink will come loose if you don‘t use enough. You can not really use too many.
6. Now you can hook the plumbing back up to the sink and turn the water supply back on. Check for leaks and you are done.
While it sounds easy, don’t forget, the hardest part may be making the template exactly the right shape so your cut granite slab will fit properly. Spend extra care and time on that step and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Photo by vittands, Creative Commons Attribution License