The 101 Of Granite Countertops.
From my 17 years’ experience in the granite industry I’ve compiled the below. I want my customers to be informed of the process so they make correct decisions for their project making their remodel an enjoyable experience.
Removal of Formica Countertops & Covering Paint Lines:When we remove your old Formica countertops & back splash the following is important to know. Formica is 1 ½” thick while granite is 1 ¼” thick. If you’re not going to repaint or use tile back splash your granite back splash should be at least 4 ½” tall to cove existing paint lines.
Countertops Attached to Dry Wall:If you have a countertop mounted to a knee wall (dry wall) builders often use strong adhesives to hold the tops & base together. These adhesives when applied run down into the dry wall, not only attaching the countertop to the dry wall base but creating an area within the dry wall that becomes a solid mass due to the adhesives seeping into it. When the countertop is removed large chucks of the dry wall will break off. It may look like a very large baby was teething on the dry wall. This cannot be avoided; the dry wall will need to be replaced where damaged. You can arrange for this replacement with your handyman or contractor.
Decorative Under Counter Trim:Cabinets are not always level; this will create gaps between your countertop & your cabinets. To close this area builders & cabinet installer add a decorative under counter trim. When the old countertop is removed, this trim will come off with the old countertop & cannot be reused. Not all cabinets have this under counter trim.Look under your countertop to see if you have this trim. If you do then in most situations it will need to be replaced by you.
Uneven Walls:All walls are a bit uneven, butgranite countertops are cut to exact angles. This can create gaps between the countertop & the wall. Having a granite back splash will cover this gap. Even if you’re going to have tile back splash you can have granite back splash & then tile above covering the gap at the countertop level. If youchoose not to have granite back splash your tile installer will need to build out the wall before the tile back splash is installed.
Over Hangs & Brackets for Support:With most stones on a 24” deep cabinet you can have up to a 12” over hang without any extra under counter support. With larger over hangs or if your stone would require brackets forextra support this will be discussed with you. You’ll need to purchase brackets or feel free to speak with your project manager as to the options available and where to purchase.
Granite Back Splash:A granite back splash will frame your granite countertop enabling you to see your granite from a distance. Granite back splash will cover gaps between countertops & walls due to walls being uneven. Granite back splash will also cover old paint lines & chipping from removal of old countertop. Granite back splash will also protect your walls from chips due to items not being able to hit into the wall. No cleaning lines from soap or sprays due to having the granite back splash.
Back Splash Under Mirrors:Granite back splash under mirrors can be dealt with two ways. You can arrange to have the mirror removed from the wall, but examine first for some mirrors have been affixed to the wall with strong glues & could crack if you try to remove. If the mirror is removed your back splash can come right under the mirror leaving very little space between the top of the back splash & the bottom of the mirror. If you choose not to remove the mirror then your back splash well come a little below the mirror for we need space to properly install the back splash. This is a case by case situation to be discussed at template.
Seams:Seams are often part of granite countertops. Due to the size of the slabs & also maximum allowable lengths seams will be needed. Our in house professional fabricators & installers do a very nice job with seams.
Caulking:We use clear caulk where the countertop & back splash meet. When clear caulking is first applied, it will be white in color but as is dries it turns clear. Caulking around the faucet area can take longer to dry due to water seeping into this area, but once dried it turns clear.
Paint Touch Ups:With all remodeling projects where cabinets are removed or countertops removed there can sometimes be a need to have touch up painting done. This is not avoidable.
Changes After Template:Once we template we move forward with fabrication. You’re not allowed to make any changes to your cabinets or the area templated. This will cause your stone countertops not to fit properly. If you wish to make a change do so prior to template. If changes are made without our knowledge the responsibility of these changes which will affect the proper fit of your countertop will be yours as well as any costs to replace.
Sinks & Faucets:The size of your sink will be determined by your sink base cabinet. Faucet placement is also determined by the size of your sink, design and sink base cabinet. If your builder used a standard sink base cabinet in the corner and not a corner sink base cabinet this will leave little room for a faucet to be mounted in the back. If this is the case then your faucet will need to be mounted to the side. Placement of the faucet to the back or to the side is a personal choose. I have noticed many are choosing to have the faucet mounted to the side of the sink, it’s easier to reach for younger and older members of the family. If you’re providing your own faucet or sink please have these items at the job site when we come to template.
Reusing Original Faucet or Sink:If you wish to reuse your faucet please disconnectfrom your old countertop before we come to install. Stainless steel sinks cannot be reused due to the pressure applied when originally installed once removed the sink buckles and will not be able to be reinstalled.
Appliances:Appliances need to be installed before we template so we obtain a proper measure. If you’re going to have base boards around the area where the refrigerator is installed this need to be completed prior to template. If the refrigerator is in place at template but late you install base boards this will push the refrigerator over closer to the end of the countertop. When your countertop is installed the countertop will now be too long. Base boards must be installed around the refrigerator area prior to template and the refrigerator installed in its permanent location.
Stoves need to be installed prior to template & install. Sometimes stoves are a little wider in the back than in the front. If we template the countertop using only stove specs we’ll have an improper fit. Also, if you try to install the stove after thecountertop is installed you’ll find the stove will not slide in due to the back of the stove being wider than the front of the stove. If we return to cut the countertop back so the stove can slide in then the opening between the countertop and the stove in the front will now be to wide, leaving a space between the countertop & the stove edge.
Demolition of Old Countertops:Sometimes when we remove the old countertop we discover due to the unevenness of the wall the builder cut into the dry wall to angle the countertop for proper fit. We have not cut into your dry wall, but simply discovered. A granite back splash will cover this area, but if you choose not to have a granite back splash you’ll need to arrange for a dry wall repair in this area.
Pass Through Ledge:Many pass-through ledges are notched in the center so the piece raps around to the outside of the ledge on all four sides extending to the outside walls. If you wish a stone ledge that matches your countertop it will be fabricated without the extended pieces. Past experience, these small extending arms will break off either at fabrication or install. You will also have to look under your ledge to see if you have trim work. If so please know that with the removal of your old ledge this trim work will also be removed & cannot be reused. You will need to make arrangement to replace or to have this area patched& repainted.
Plumbing Reconnect:We recommend that you use and experienced plumber to reconnect your plumbing.
Shut Off Valve:Sometimes the shut off valve is old & will not shut off completely creating a little leak. This valve will need to be replaced, arrangements can be made with your plumber.
Work Area:Please know as with all remodeling one can expect some dust from the removal of the old countertops and drilling of faucet holes. We do all possible to limit the dust by using a strong vacuum when drilling your faucet holes & do our best to leave the work area clean when we leave.
The Benefits of Granite CountertopsOne of the most exciting things about building or upgrading a home is making a kitchen or a bath reflect your personal taste. Another important factor is making sure the changes will appeal to prospective buyers when you’re ready to sell. Two things most people notice inside a home are kitchen and bathroom countertops. You can bet the appeal of your countertops could mean a sale or no sale.
All About GraniteGranite is a well-known stone. It develops with the eruption of molten rock from the core of the earth. There’s an almost unlimited selection of colors and patterns to choose from. That’s because so many factors collaborate to create their sparkle, veins, fissures and density. The various swirls you see in countertops are due to lifting and twisting of tectonic plates as the molten rock cooled over a very long time. Once the granite slabs are polished the true beauty of the stone is revealed. Homeowners have many options when considering the material to use in the kitchen and bath for countertops. Here are seven benefits of granite.
Resale ValueThe addition of granite to the kitchen or bathroom countertop gives the space an elegant look popular with prospective homebuyers. It’s an investment that suggests “high end” once a property has been listed. Granite is a universally appealing material that conforms to nearly all design trends seen today.
Unique Natural LookSince pitting, veining, specks and swirls vary among slabs of granite, you can be sure your granite countertops will never look the same as someone else’s. When sunlight hits your granite, the light goes into the stone revealing deeper shades of color enhancing the stones beauty. Let’s face it – granite is just plain beautiful. Even the ancient Egyptians loved this timeless material.
Structural AdvantagesGranite is structurally strong and durable. You can only scratch granite with another piece of granite or a diamond. This durability frees the family to embark upon their cooking adventures without fear of ruining the countertop. It’s also interesting to know that granite is so strong it can be used for outdoor kitchen countertops.
Easy Cleaning & MaintenanceWhat's the best way to clean granite countertops? We've read a lot of varying views on this — use Windex! No, never use Windex! Use a special granite-only cleaner! No, you don't need a special granite-only cleaner! — but after doing our research, we think we've discovered a consensus among stone experts on how to care for granite. The best part? You really don't need any special cleaners to get those countertops shiny and streak-free. The Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Granite DO: Make sure your granite countertop is sealed. While granite is a very hard surface and less porous than marble, unsealed or weakly sealed granite will soak up oils, spills, and stains. To check whether your granite is sealed, leave a few drops of water on the surface. If it beads up, you have a secure seal. If after a few minutes the water has soaked into the granite, then it's time to reseal the stone. DON'T: Use harsh or abrasive cleaners and sponges, Windex, acidic cleaners like vinegar, lemon, lime, or anything with ammonia or bleach. Frequent use of these chemicals will dull and weaken the sealant over time. Basically, the harsher the cleaner, the quicker it will break down the sealant. DO: Wipe up spills as soon as you notice them. DO: Use warm water, a mild or gentle dish soap, and a nubby washcloth or microfiber cloth for daily wiped downs. What About Disinfecting? A well-sealed granite countertop is relatively impervious to bacteria. Hot water and dish soap should be adequate for daily sanitizing. However, if a stronger disinfectant is desired, mix together a 50:50 solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Spray onto the granite, allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, then rinse with water and dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid bleach or ammonia-based cleaners. What About Special Granite-Safe Cleaners? There are granite cleaners out there. Use these cleaners if you want — just know that you don't have to buy them if you don't want to. Remember with a little proper care, your granite countertop should stay beautiful throughout your life time. Remember the Romans used granite in their homes, when you visit Roma you can see it still looks beautiful.
Heat ResistanceGranite is heat-resistant. You don’t have to worry about scorching or burning your countertop if you place a hot pot or pan on it. Since the stone feels cool when you touch it, a granite countertop is the ideal spot on which to make candy or roll out cookie dough.
Variable Size and ShapeIt’s possible to cut granite into any desired shape. This versatile stone can form curves, squares, angles, ovals, special edging, or arches. Granite also comes in different thickness so you can incorporate this into any design also. When thinking of doing small projects like desk tops, vanity tops or table tops ask about remnants. Not all companies can supply this option but due to our being a fabricator with our own stone yard we have lots of remnants offering wonder selections at great pricing.
Not Just Undermount SinksMany homeowners who love granite wonder if they need to use an undermount sink. Not if you don’t want to. Undermount sinks are very popular but other options are also wonderful. There’s farm skins (apron), top-mount sinks and vessel sinks that also add a nice designer touch. So, feel free to be creative.
Added BeautyGranite adds beauty wherever you decide to place it in your residence or office. When deciding on the right countertop for you, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful stone. You’ll always have the satisfaction of knowing that the material you selected is truly unique and an investment in the value of our home. Hope you enjoyed the read, let me know if you have any questions for I’d be happy to hear from you.
Sandra Kay League
Sudbury Granite & Marble
Tel: 301 220-3830