Choosing granite countertops for your kitchen or bathroom might set you back a bit, but they are worth it for the value they can add to your home. However, since they are quite expensive, you want to make sure they last a long time.
Granite is very durable, so it will not easily crack or break, but granite countertops are typically between two and three centimeters thick. While this is thick enough for kitchen countertops, it requires proper support in all the right places.
The support for granite countertops will depend on the design. The standard overhang is just 1.5 inches over the cabinet, so that will not require any support. However, if the design of your countertops has a longer overhang and cantilevers, then you have to show that to your countertop supplier.
Most fabricators will include a wire mesh on the underside of the parts of the stone that will need additional support if you have a 3-cm thick slab. This will help to prevent the granite from breaking at these vulnerable areas.
However, if you choose a 2-cm slab, a mesh is not enough. The installer will have to install plywood cut to fit the shape, cutouts, and size of the countertops on the cabinets before installing the granite. The installer should then add a front edge piece to hide the plywood sub top.
In most cases, the installer will add the plywood as soon as the cabinets are in place, so you have to coordinate this with your cabinet installer. If you are putting new countertops on existing cabinets, you have to show your design to the granite supplier prior to removing the existing countertops. You might be able to save some time and money by using the existing countertops as the support in lieu of the plywood.
Not all kitchens have dishwashers, but if you do, your granite countertops will probably go right over it. This means a little over 24 inches of countertop space with no cabinet underneath that will need additional support. As with overhangs, the installer will add either mesh to the underside of the stone for 3-cm thick slabs or plywood across the opening to support the granite.
Granite makes an awesome looking bar top, but that usually means an overhang between 8.5 and 10 inches. Some people believe that granite is tough enough not to need support for overhangs less than 12 inches, but that is taking an unnecessary risk. In many cases, a bar top overhang is in an unbalanced loading state as people tend to put weight on the edge. To be on the safe side, support the stone wire mesh or plywood as well as with corbels or brackets placed at equidistant intervals along the width of the bar top. Put them closer together if you have 2-cm granite slabs for your bar top. Your overhang should not exceed 24 inches.
If you have a home office in your kitchen, you might be using base cabinets to support a desk area made of granite countertops. You can decide how much legroom you need, but the open area should not be more than 36 inches. As with other types of unsupported but balanced loading, the installer will use wire mesh for 3-cm slabs and plywood for 2-cm slabs and add a front edge piece.
Types of supports
As previously mentioned, wire mesh and plywood is not always enough to provide proper support to granite countertops. Here are some types of supports you might see your installer using.
Corbels are like shelf brackets in that they form an L, but usually visible. This shape transfers the load from the surface (such as countertops) to the supporting structure such as a wall or cabinet. Some are simply functional, while others are decorative, and may be made of wood, plastic, cast iron, stainless steel, and other metals. Your countertop specialist will have a selection of corbels for you to consider.
As you might well imagine, posts are structures that provide support straight from the floor or another level surface, and typically made of wood. You can usually buy posts from cabinet suppliers that will match your cabinets in style and color. You can also ask your remodeling contractor for suggestions.
Brackets come in many forms. It may be an L-shape like corbels, flat like a cantilever, T-shaped, or side wall. The one thing they have in common is they are hidden or at least less visible than corbels and posts. Most of these brackets are steel for durability. The installer will add support to the cabinet and cut a notch into it to install the bracket.
It is unlikely that you will ever actually need to put the supports for your granite countertops. However, it is always a good thing to know a bit about these things when having professionals do it for you. It shows you are no slow top and keeps them on their toes. Of course, if you have experience countertop specialists doing the job, that will not even be an issue.
Keystone Granite & Tile has all the experience and skill you need to fabricate and install your granite countertops properly. We can help you with more than that if you are in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
We have showrooms in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio. We offer natural stones for your consideration. We will walk you through each granite and marble slab to explain how each can benefit you in your kitchen or bathroom remodel. We also carry the top brands of quartz countertops in the market, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI. They all come with manufacturer warranties.
Once you have chosen your countertops, we will provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We also have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget.
We are experts at fabricating and installing engineered stone and granite countertops, so you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality. Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to set the ball rolling!