When you decide to swap out your existing kitchen countertops for ones made of granite, it is easy to imagine the end result. Seeing your small kitchen electronics neatly lined up on a stunningly attractive countertop is something no homeowner in his right mind would turn down. Granite countertops can take your kitchen from dull to designer in the time it takes to install them.
But as a homeowner, you may have questions about how having new kitchen countertops actually works. For example, how should you prepare your kitchen for new granite counters? And what can you expect during each step in the process? After all, something has to happen between the time you buy the countertops in the retail showroom and the time you get to use them in your kitchen.
The secret to a successful kitchen renovation that includes installation of granite counters is in the preparation. Some of the things will fall on your shoulders as the homeowner, while others will be the responsibility of the contractor. Here are some things you can do as the homeowner to make the process easier for the installers.
- Make sure all cabinets are permanently installed and that they can sustain the weight of a granite countertop.
- Have your sink delivered and ready to be installed. This will allow the installers to make the template to the exact specifications of the sink for a perfect fit.
- The same goes for faucets. If space needs to be cut for them, then they will need to be on site before the day of the countertop installations as well.
- Double check the height of your counters. Not everyone in your family is the same height. Some tasks require standing. Others, like eating at an island, might accommodate sitting at a counter-height stool.
- Ensure that empty spaces such as alongside appliances like a range or refrigerator can support the weight of a countertop. Another frequent trouble area is where a countertop ends over a dishwasher. Moving two large slabs together can be tricky, and the seam often has to be done onsite to guarantee flushness.
On the day of your granite countertop installation, you still may be needed to make some last minute decisions. For example, how much of the sink do you want to show on an under mount countertop installation? If you want to keep your sink clean with as little extra maintenance as possible, then ask the contractor to bring the edge of the granite flush with the walls of your kitchen sink. You might prefer to let some of the top flange show on all sides of the sink. Either way, your installer needs to know these kinds of details.
Another thing you need to ask is where the seams will be. It is almost impossible to have a countertop without seams. One benefit of granite is that you can hide the seam along the vein in the stone. The contractor will then use an epoxy that is tinted to match the surface of the granite, making the seam even more difficult to locate with the naked eye.
How Contractors Use Templates for a Perfect Fit
Contractors might use templates in one of two ways. The first is rather basic and requires using thin strips of plywood, called luan, and a hot glue gun to create rectangles to fit the spaces in your kitchen. The second method involves a type of process which is called photogrammetry, using photos of the spaces within your family’s kitchen, as well as high-tech templates using paper targets instead of the wooden luan. Regardless of which method of making templates your contractor uses, each one can create equally flawless results in the end.
After the templates are done, the manufacturer will fabricate your new granite countertops. You will need a precise date from the installation person, so that you can also schedule the plumber to come out and hook up or install things like the sink or ice maker afterward. When it comes to renovations, especially in the kitchen, scheduling is everything.
The Final Touches
Next the sink will be put in place, and secured into the spot with silicone. Although the faucet holes will also be drilled at this time, do not be fooled. The plumber still needs to hook everything up before you can use it. Due to the overwhelming and sometimes harmful fumes given off by things like epoxy and silicone, make sure your kitchen is well ventilated both on the day of installation as well as any days following until all trace of the odor is gone.
Finally your countertops will be installed, and the only thing you will have left to do is to pick out a backsplash. You might even choose to order one made from granite that matches the counters to create a stylish, streamlined look. And when that is finished at last you are ready to enjoy your kitchen granite countertops.