Installing Granite Counter Tops in Your Kitchen

 

granite-countertopGranite kitchen counter tops are one of the most reliable and versatile surfaces you could have in your home. It is very strong, resistant to damage and easy to clean. But hiring professionals to install natural stones in your kitchen can be extremely expensive. Here are steps that allow you to do this job yourself. When finished, you will have a lovely surface to house your small kitchen appliances, like a blender or a place to dehydrate food, which takes up space in our house.

Proper Planning and Measurements

If you haven’t yet installed your wooden cabinets, make sure they are level with the ground and attached to the floor securely. Loosen cabinets from the floor and use shims underneath if one side is too low. Make every effort to ensure the cabinets are installed in square corners and flat walls with no curves at all. Once the wooden counter tops have been removed, make a measurement template with either butcher paper, cardboard or even thin plywood that rests snugly against the wall and corners. Measure the edges of the sinkhole as well as cook tops. Do not allow for more than 2 feet between cabinets (for example dishwasher space) and no more than 6 inches of overhang for 2-centimeter stone (9 inches for 3 cm.) Begin with the top of the base cabinets and measure up to the front of the face frame along the entire length of the wall. These are the measurements you will use when either looking for prefabricated granite or to give to your granite fabricator.

Preparation of Counter Top

Install 3/4 inch plywood to the top of your cabinets to support the added weight of the stone. Make sure to cut the plywood even with the front of the cabinets. Do not bother cutting a hole for sinks or cook tops, as this will be cut out later when the granite is installed. Before fastening the plywood down, make sure all sides and edges are level. Once this is done, use drilled flat screws to attach the plywood to the cabinet tops.

Preparation of the Granite

Make sure you are aware of the color scheme or wall back splash that will best accentuate the color of the granite that you will utilize. When looking for prefabricated granite or discussing details with a fabricator, make sure there is a groove along the sink hole for sink clips if you plan on installing an under mount sink. You may also want to ask them to “rod” the cutouts with steel or fiberglass to strengthen the narrow places around them. Ensure you have proper and safe transport for your granite top once it is ready. Check that the vehicle you will bring it home has padding on the resting area to prevent jostling and damage.

Setting of Granite Counter Top

Make sure you get at least two or three people to help you bring in and install your granite top. Always carry granite tops vertically and never horizontally to prevent breaks or cracks. Using wide painter’s tape at the corners and along the edges is an excellent way to protect the slab from any damage. An A-rack for transporting glass is a good idea. When you have them in the kitchen, rest them upright against a wall until your surface top is ready for them. First dry fit the tops to see where an area might not be flush against the wall and mark them. Use a dry-cut diamond blade on an electric grinder to shave the marked areas to the level you want them. Once this is done, dry-fit the granite again to make sure the edges fit snugly and securely, including spaces between granite slabs. Once you know exactly where you want the slab, mark the areas edges for the sink and cook top holes. Rest the slab against a wall again and drill a pilot hole in a corner of each cut-out hole. Use a jigsaw to cut out the rest of the holes from the plywood. If you are installing an under mount sink, do so now before you place the granite slab back on top to fasten it down. Dry-fit the slab one more time to ensure it is still level. Apply silicone sealer to the edges all around the plywood top (spacing circular drops every 6-12 inches and all around the seam on the sink and cook top holes. Lower the slab on top for the last time.

Finishing Installation

For the seams between slabs or the edges of the sink, you will need to run blue painter’s tape along the edges to protect the rest of your slab from your bonding agent. Use a polyester-based resin or epoxy that matches or is close to the color of your granite to fill out the seams with a putty knife. You may need to mix different colors of resin to get the desired tint. To draw the seams of multiple slabs together, you may want to use a seam setter. Place both sides of the seam setter on either side of your seam. Tighten the tightening screws until you feel resistance. Attach and switch on the air pump, and the tension created will make sure the seams stay flush while the epoxy dries. After an hour, remove the setter and take off the tape, scraping away any excess resin from the area. Use acrylic caulk to seal the edges on the bottom of your slab to your wooden cabinets. Finally, apply a spray granite sealer to the slab(s) with a clean, soft cloth and let it dry for 24 hours.