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Solid Surfaces

How to Install a Granite Kitchen Countertop (page 2 of 3)

Granite, like most natural stones, can be expensive. But you can save between 20 percent and 30 percent off a professional installation by doing it yourself.

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Prepare for Installation

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Check to make sure your base cabinets are level across their entire length. If not, unfasten the base units and level them with shims underneath the baseboard.

It's not a good idea to use shims directly under the granite countertop. This will create small voids that could cause the granite to crack under pressure.

Transporting Granite

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Now that you've given measurements to the fabricator and leveled your cabinets, it’s time to get the cut countertops home safely, which can be tricky.

Unless they're being delivered, you’ll have to pick up the countertops from the fabricator when they’re ready.

Remember that granite is heavy — a 2' x 6' countertop can weigh in excess of 400 pounds — so enlist some help to transport and move the countertops safely.

It's important to always carry the countertops in a vertical position, never horizontally flat, to avoid cracking or breaking the stone. To transport granite slabs, carry them on edge in an A-frame rack, the way glass is carried. If needed, you can make a simple rack from 2x4s. Protect the edges by covering them with wide painter’s tape.

When the slabs arrive, have a cleared space ready in the kitchen area to store them upright on edge until you’re ready to install them.

Install the Slabs

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Once you have the granite slabs home, it’s time to install them. First, dry-fit the countertop to ensure an accurate fit.

When lifting the countertop, take extra care to support the granite where it is thin, such as along cutouts.

Lay the slabs directly on the frames of the lower cabinets. It’s not necessary for the granite to be supported by an additional subsurface, like solid plywood.

If the wall-facing edge of a countertop isn’t flush and requires adjustment, carefully mark all the areas of the countertop to be removed and gently lower it back down.

Then, using a dry-cut diamond blade installed on an electric grinder, carefully shave the edge to the desired level, remembering to always wear protective eye-wear to guard against dust and grit.

Then fit the slabs back in place making sure all the edges fit snuggly and securely, including the seams between slabs if you have more than one.

Sink hole in countertop