A granite countertop is the number one choice of homeowners who enjoys beauty and strength. The cost of the material is so high that its installation is typically handled by professionals.
Shoddy installation by people who are not equipped with the proper skills will dramatically reduce the aesthetic value of the countertop. Nevertheless, the wise homeowner must have the proper information on how to successfully install a granite countertop so that he will know if his countertop is installed properly or not. This knowledge will also benefit homeowners who possess the necessary skills and equipments to do the job.
Of course, if you do the granite island installation yourself, you stand to save a considerable amount that otherwise would be paid to the installer. Whatever the case, here are the typical steps that you need to do in successfully installing a granite countertop.
A. Site Preparation
In this preparatory step, you can save some amount of money if you will do it yourself, whether you’re skilled or not. This step is called preliminary preparation and destruction work. You basically need to clear off the place where your new countertop will be installed. If there is an old countertop, it has to be taken down. The kitchen sink, kitchen range tops and all other countertop fixtures must be removed.
B. The Installation Process
- Normally, after you have bought your granite countertop from a stone supplier, he will send a technical representative over to your house to measure the countertop platform cabinet. He will discuss where you want to put your sinks, etc. and make the necessary templates for the installation. After the templates are made, he will inform you where the seams will be located. He might also tell you about the special tools that will be used in cutting spaces for the sink and the range.
- Before the actual installation of the countertop, the installers will put metal rods and plywood on top of the cabinet. This will provide a strong and level surface for supporting the range and sink. It will also give support to the granite slab to prevent it from breaking when used daily. Careful measurements of the various thicknesses of the slab is made and incorporated to ensure the success of the installation.
- Because of the varying low and high spots of the slab’s bottom, careful leveling is done to avoid cracking and breakage of the countertop. Most installers prefer the MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) material because they are less porous and flatter than regular plywood.
- After the granite slab is leveled, the stone will be glued to the platform deck. The types of glue used for this purpose includes liquid nails, clear silicone or other glues that do not expand and dry for an hour. Only the required amount of glue should be used, certainly not in excess. The ideal will be: each dot of glue should be about 18 inches apart.
- When the glue dries out, and before they put the grout, the granite will be sealed. The grout mixture should have a “cake-mix” consistency before they are placed in the seams.
- Sealing of the seams will follow and also the granite edges are treated to make the countertop perimeter smoother. If you want trim inlays, like those made of decorative metals or any other color decorations, they will be added by the installers at this stage.
- The countertop surface will now be polished. You will now have a granite countertop surface with a very smooth finish.
C. Important Considerations
There are some things that are not really a part of the installation process, but you still need to consider them if you want a successful installation of your granite countertop.
1) Granite slabs usually measures 4×8 feet or 4×12 feet and about three centimeters in thickness. These dimensions naturally make them weigh hundreds of pounds each. You need to be sure that they are transported carefully from their stockroom to your house. If not, cracks can develop in the weak spots of the slabs.
2) The slabs are cut by diamond-tipped cutters to fit into the templates. See to it that the jointed lines are properly treated and sealed. This is usually done to create an attractive border.
3) All inlays and decorative materials should be separately sealed and treated or they may be the entry points of water, liquids and dirt which will eventually damage your granite countertop.
Attention to detail is really very important in knowing how to successfully install a granite countertop. Just follow carefully the steps discussed here and you will surely have a granite countertop that will be strong and beautiful as you want it to be.