Choosing granite for your kitchen
Kitchens have changed many times over the years. Back in the day of the wild, wild, west where a kitchen comprised a Hoosier cabinets for a pantry and counter space, a wood-burning stove that multi-tasked as heat for the house, a cook stove and oven. Today, we have built-in cabinetry, counter space galore including an island and a breakfast bar, with granite countertops.
There were many things in between those kitchens too, some we hope to forget, others we try to bring back. One thing we have today that will probably be here forever are granite countertops. Granite lends not only durability to our kitchens, but it is a timeless beauty that we haven’t seemed to get bored or tired.
When the kitchen of an older home is renovated today, granite countertop replacement will be one of the first things done. If not pure granite, a by-product that resembles granite so close, you’d never know the difference. Granite countertop installation has become a top priority in new home builds and kitchen renovations for probably twenty years. As we stated already, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere either.
Which is better granite or quartz?
Even though we have stated that granite countertops are here to stays, there are some homeowners are choosing quartz countertops instead. When a new fad becomes commonplace, designers and homeowners clamor over each other trying to find the next “best thing “, and so it is with quartz versus granite countertops.
Quartz is a harder material which makes it more durable than granite, it isn’t a porous, so it is easier to clean, keep clean, and keep bacteria minimized better. Because quartz is so durable and non-porous, it is almost indestructible, unless it comes to excessive heat. You cannot set a hot pan directly on quartz like you can granite countertops. So, with that in mind, we stick to our opinion. Granite still rules and will for years to come.
Let’s review granite countertop advantages:
- A Value Add To The Kitchen and Home: Granite allows you to bring the outdoors into your home. This eco-friendly material will not bring you top dollar for home, but with granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, will give your home a touch of class, increasing the appeal level.
- A Durable Product: Granite is a stone that has survived years and years in the elements as monuments, statues, and buildings. Once your granite countertops are installed, follow the manufacturer’s suggestion of sealant to keep it beautiful and healthy.
- Earth and Eco Friendly: Granite will keep its natural look, and once it is polished and sealed, it will look as naturally beautiful as the day you install it.
- Bacteria and Dirt Resistant: Because granite countertop surface is sealed, making it non- porous, your kitchen will be less likely to be plagued by bacteria, dirt, germs, and other common grime that plagues kitchen countertops. The surface is smooth and clean ups are easy and kitchen prep is faster.
- Easy Repair Chips or Scratches: Granite countertops are durable and hard to chip or scratch, but things happen, like a cast iron skillet is dropped on the counter. Call the professional contractor that installed the granite countertop first. They will have the experience, knowledge, and materials to repair any chip it may have sustained.
- Family Friendly: Because granite countertops are durable, they can stand up to years of a young family with children that like to “help” and those accidents that happen. If you have a kitchen counter cat, their claws can’t damage granite countertops.
- Perfectly Flat: There isn’t a better kitchen granite countertop than granite for making cookies and kneading bread. Every cook, from homebody baker to professional chef, love a granite countertop because of its flatness, non-porous, smooth surface.
With all the good things that granite countertops offer, it has some disadvantages too:
- Granite countertops are forever. If you are one that tires of the same old thing, granite may not be the choice for your kitchen. Because it is glued at installation, changing it out may be challenging.
- Granite is a natural stone and is mined in slabs. No two slabs are the same, so one granite countertop may differ from the granite countertop on the other side of the kitchen. If you prefer uniform appearance, granite is not for you.
- Granite is expensive and installation of countertops is labor intensive, making a granite countertop installation cost as much as three times more than others.
- Granite must be sealed upon installation and once a year to keep it from becoming permanently stained from spills.
- Granite is durable, but if something heavy lands on it, it will chip or crack.
- Granite is a heavy material and often requires additional support when installing like the cantilevers and spans.
How granite countertops are installed?
Hiring a professional contractor is always recommended, but if you are an ambitious DIYer, you can install your own granite countertop. If your kitchen plans call for straight countertops and no inside corners, it will be an easy job. However, if there are inside corners, like most kitchen, there will be some cuts to make and seams to put together. For a DIYer that has basic woodworking skills, and the right tools, that won’t be as intimidating as it for newbie DIYers.
The first thing you need to do is find a place to buy your granite at a place that will do the cutting, machining, and shaping for the faucet and sink. The inside corners and butt joints are the tricky cuts and cutting the bullnose requires a miter with a special jig. If your cuts aren’t perfect, not to worry. That is what the fillers and polish are for – covering up those mistakes.
- Cabinet Preparation: Know going into this project, that granite is heavy, and you’ll need some help handing your granite countertops and you must have extra support component to hold them in place. Three-forth inch thick plywood is the most commonly used material, lay over the cabinets, lining the plywood evenly with them, no overhang, then inset screws to hold them into place.
- Check the Fit: Your walls may look perfectly square, but most likely they aren’t. When installing granite countertops, the slightest measurement error won’t let the granite light up correctly. Experts recommend creating a prototype with cardboard templates. Then use the templates for cutting the granite.
- The Sink: The granite countertop will have the area cut for the sink, but you must remove the plywood sub counter. This is an area where having the template cut out helps. Using a jigsaw, cut sink hole out using the template, cutting 1/8 of an inch wider. Next put the granite countertop in place with the sink.
- Level It: The cabinets, flooring, plywood support, sink, and including the granite slabs can affect the countertop being level. After you do the dry fitting, check the seams for being level and use a level to make sure the counters are level. Add wooden shims if the granite countertops aren’t level, then use silicone to hold the shims in place after confirming the granite countertops are level.
- Attach the Countertops: Now that you have the cabinets installation ready, the sink in place, and all is level, time to install your granite countertops. Start around the sink first and with help, lift the granite and apply silicone in small beads along the perimeter on the plywood. Add waterproofing around the sink and caulk around the rim. Now lower the granite in place and gently press down so it adheres to the plywood. Repeat the process with each slab.
- Glue the Seams: Once all the granite slab is in place and the silicone has dried, it is time to glue the seams. This will give your granite countertops an even surface that keep debris, food, and water from going between the slabs. Apply a strip of masking tape on each side of the granite slabs and then add properly mixed resin with hardener to the seams, smoothing it as you go. Once the resin and hardener are in place, remove the tape. After the resin has dried, smooth the seam.
Do you need plywood under granite?
Yes! It is recommended by experts to use a ¾” thick piece of plywood to fastened to the cabinets and the granite tops to the plywood. Granite is a heavy material, even after being cut down for granite countertops. You shouldn’t depend on the cabinetry holding the granite up alone. The plywood provides essential support to make your counters secure and stable.
How long does it take to install granite countertops?
The average two granite slab kitchen installation takes approximately four hours. Various factors can shorten or lengthen the time.
Do granite countertops need to be glued down?
Yes! Granite cannot be attached with screws, so gluing them down is the only way to attach them to the cabinets. There are specially developed silicones for granite, with epoxy being the best adhesive.
If you aren’t comfortable installing your own granite countertops, get quotes from several contractors and compare them. Having them professionally installed is better than attempting the project yourself, and they not come out right. Call DFW Flooring Warehouse today at 817.861.3737 for your granite countertop installation in Pantego and Arlington, TX.