Tips on Installing a Granite Countertop

Granite is an expensive commodity, but it makes beautiful, durable countertops that add value to a home and should last virtually forever. Installing a granite countertop requires specific training and equipment, and generally should not be done by the homeowner. But it is possible to save money on installing a granite countertop by doing some of the preparation work.

Before installing a granite countertop, the old countertop as well as the range tops and the sink will have to be removed. This can likely be dome with tools that you already have, or tools may need to be rented. The manufacturers instructions must be followed when removing these items to ensure that no damage is done to the appliances or to the cabinetry.

Granite Choices

The granite will have to be ordered, which requires a few decisions to be made regarding both the style and the cut of the granite. Granite countertops can be cut into different edge styles, with a rounded edge generally being more expensive. After ordering the granite, the installer will come to make precise measurements and to create installation templates.

The installer will also need to determine whether there are any special circumstances that will require special tools, and which would also make the installation more expensive. Once the prep work and measurements have been finished, installing a granite countertop can begin.

The Installation

The top of the cabinetry will need a strong surface to hold the granite, as well as extra support for the range and sink. Plywood and metal rods will be added to provide a surface that is both sturdy and level. This surface will keep the granite from breaking during normal use.

When installing a granite countertop, any high or low spots on the bottom of the granite slab will also need to be leveled, as the slab may have varying thicknesses within it. A competent leveling job will ensure that the stone is protected from breakage.

Installing a granite countertop begins with careful handling of the granite. The granite will be brought by the installers in large slabs measuring about 4 x 8 feet or 4 x 12 feet. Though the slabs are extremely heavy, weighing hundreds of pounds each, they are only about 3 centimeters thick. They will have to be carried properly to keep the stress on the slab low. Unnecessary stress on the slab can create cracks later.

The slabs will be cut with a diamond saw precisely to fit the templates that were made earlier. Jointing seams will then be sealed and the edges treated to make them smooth. Any trim inlays or other requested details will be added at this time. Then, a penetrating sealer will be applied and the surfaced will be polished until it is smooth and reflective.

One of the last steps in installing a granite countertop is to note the positions of the sink, electrical outlets and faucets. The granite thickness can change the reinstallation process for these items, and some adjustments will need to be made. The cook top will have to be re-set, as well as any trim or fixtures that had been removed.

The dishwasher stabilizer brackets will have to be re-secured at this time as well. The installer should be able to do all of these things without causing any harm to the new granite countertop.

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