Contrary to popular belief, installing a granite counter is actually an easy task. All you'll need is patience, preparation, and an extra set of hands to help with lifting and positioning.
- Measure your existing granite, marble, tile, or Formica countertop. Measure the length and width, of course, and don't forget the backsplash and notation of existing electrical outlets.
- It can be more economical to go to a slab yard and pick out a hefty piece, but since these slabs are usually 8'-10' x 6'-8' you may want to reconsider depending on the size of your job. If you choose to visit a local granite dealer, they will usually have prefabricated granite countertops that should do the job. The prices range from $150 - $450 for an 8' x 2' slab; this includes standard bull nose.
- Pick your color, but remember: the nicer colors are usually more expensive.
- You will need to have cuts made in the countertop to accommodate your fixtures. Certain L-shaped or peninsula-shaped kitchens can require many cuts.
- If you want a flush granite counter that is easier to clean, you will want an undermount sink cut. This costs more; the labor is much more intensive due to the need to polish the cut stone that will be exposed. If you don't have the tools or the skills to cut the countertop yourself, you should have the granite dealer cut the sink hole and any other cuts you may need.
Now you're ready to install this beautiful, natural countertop.
- You'll need 3/4" plywood, cut in the shape of the countertop; fasten this with 1" screws into your cabinetry. This will be the base for your granite countertop.
- Apply a glue compound to the surface of the plywood.
- Carefully lift the granite countertop into place. You will need two or three people for any piece larger than 3 feet - although granite is extremely strong, it easily snaps under its own weight due to the thin cut used in countertops.
Once the granite countertop in place, attach the backsplash and install the sink along with any faucets and electrical outlet facades. Do not use the newly installed granite countertop for 3-6 hours, depending on the instructions on your glue compound. This will prevent the granite countertop from shifting.
Enjoy your work, and start using that kitchen - but of course, not before a sealant and polishing job!