Installing Granite Countertops
Granite is not only the hardest material available for countertops; it's also the most expensive, with prices starting at $60 a square foot. Though adding granite countertops to any kitchen can be quite costly, they remain the premiere choice in many new and remodeled homes. The beauty and warmth offer an aesthetic appeal that can't be found in other countertop materials.
Granite does cost more than other countertop materials, with the majority of the price coming from labor costs. Installing granite countertops is not a project for the do-it-yourself homeowner, seeking to save money on installation costs. Installation must be left to the professionals who have the right training and equipment. However, a homeowner can save money on some of the preliminary preparation and demolition work. Before the process of installing granite countertops can begin, range tops, the sink and the old countertops must be thoroughly removed. The remainder of the installation process must be left to the professionals .
After the granite countertops are ordered, an individual from the installation company will come to precisely measure the cabinetry and create templates for the installation. At the time the templates are created, the professional should be able to tell you where all the seams will be. The fewer seams, the better, as regardless of how well the joint is fitted, straight lines in the natural stone are very noticeable. At this time they will determine if any specialized tools will be required for the sink and range cutouts.
Prior to the installation, metal rods and plywood will be added to the top of the cabinetry to create a strong, level surface with additional support for the sink and range. This is a critical step, as it prevents the granite slab from breaking during regular use. Success of a granite countertop installation includes attention to the varying thickness of a slab. Although slabs are carefully cut, there may be high and low spots on the bottom; therefore, leveling is an important step of the preparation process to protect the stone.
Installers will later bring granite slabs that measure approximately four-by-eight feet or four-by-twelve feet and are only about three centimeters thick. The slabs can weigh hundreds of pounds and must be properly carried to reduce stress on the slab during transport. If the granite is not carefully laid on the cabinetry, it could crack at a later time during regular use.
The slab of granite will be precisely cut with a diamond tip saw to fit the templates. The jointing seams will be sealed and the edge will be treated to create a smooth, attractive perimeter. The installer can add any requested trim inlays, such as metallic materials or separate indications of a solid color. The installer will then apply a penetrating sealer and polish the surface to a smooth reflective finish.
The installers will note the positioning of electrical outlets, the sink, and the faucets, as the thickness of the granite may alter some of the process for re-installation of these items. The installers will also be trained to make adjustments for setting a cook top and re-securing the dishwasher stabilizer brackets without causing harm to the newly laid granite countertop.
The expertise required for installing granite countertops requires that this be one job left to the professionals. When properly installed, granite countertops are a beautiful and valuable addition to any home kitchen.