8 Facts about Installing Granite Countertops
Granite is the most popular natural stone surface for kitchen and bathroom countertops, hands down. Its extreme hardness makes it one of the most durable options for homeowners today. Plus it keeps its shine for decades so it always looks like new.
Installing granite countertops is a big job. Here’s a little peek at what happens before it ends up in your kitchen.
#1 Granite countertop transportation is tricky.
Moving your granite countertop from the warehouse to your kitchen is a tricky business. Even though it is a tough stone, it can chip and break and needs to be handled carefully. A wooden A-frame is constructed to support the granite in transit.
The largest of granite countertop slabs can weigh over 500 pounds and are lifted onto a heavy-duty truck by crane.
#2 Granite is cut to fit on-site.
Cutting your granite to fit around the sink should be done in your kitchen or bathroom rather than at the fabricator. Cutting off-site means you run the risk of an improper fit. When it is cut on-site, you’ll get a custom fit.
#3 Granite is cut with specialty saws.
The power needed to cut through granite is considerable. It is one of the hardest stones in the world. That’s what makes it great for countertops. Thin granite tiles can usually be cut with a standard table or circular saw. But thicker, larger slabs need water-cooled blades to make the cut. Some opt to use diamond blades for easier cutting.
#4 Installing a granite countertop starts long before the countertop arrives.
A problem-free countertop installation starts when the cabinets are put in. They should be installed to be level and walls should be at a perfect 90 degree angle. The cabinets need to be prepared to hold the weight of the granite by putting in proper plywood support on top of the cabinets.
An expert installer will create a template of your countertop to guide the cutting process. He or she will fit your countertop more than once to ensure a snug fit. After gluing the countertop down, each seam is sealed with a resin that matches the granite and keeps water from leaking between the granite and the sink.
#5 Granite tile countertops look as great as granite slabs and are easier to install.
Granite countertop slabs are ¾– 1 ¼” thick and measure up to 7 x 4’. They can weigh over 12 pounds per square foot for ¾” slab and 18 pounds for 1 ¼” slab. On the other hand, granite tiles are 3/8” thick and measure 12 x 12”. You can easily install tile by yourself, but you’ll need to hire a pro to install granite slab.
The downside to tiles is that you’ll have many seams to deal with, whereas with the slab you’ll have no seams (unless your counter is larger than 7 x 4’).
#6 Granite countertops should be sealed before use and resealed annually after that.
All natural stone, including granite, is porous and can absorb liquids. When liquid seeps into the stone, it leaves a stain behind. Granite is also sensitive to acid and will etch if alcohol, citrus juice, or other acidic substances come in contact with it.
Avoid these disasters by sealing your granite before you use it. It is recommended that you reseal your granite at least once a year. Some seal their granite every six months, especially if the countertop gets a lot of action. Note that sealer doesn’t make your granite impervious to liquids; it just means you have a little longer to get that spill up before it stains.
#7 Once granite is sealed, take good care of it.
Granite countertops will last indefinitely. If you want them to keep looking like they did the day you installed them, be sure to take care of them. Granite doesn’t require much work. Seal them then keep them clean and dry and they’ll look great. Avoid abrasive or acidic cleaners and use a grease-cutting soap to tackle oil-based spills and you should be able to enjoy beautiful counters for a long time.
#8 Consider a stone enhancer sealer for pristine countertops.
Stone enhancers penetrate the granite and darken the surface. It gives it that wet look that brings out the detail and color of the stone. Enhancers can make older surfaces look like new again. These come in enhancer-sealer combos so you get two jobs done with one product.