Planning for Your Countertop Installation
Colors & Styles
Granite is a primordial stone with naturally occurring variations in color and pattern. These variations, referred to as ‘movement’, should be expected and are the source of its natural beauty. Also, keep in mind that the veining in the granite can effect color perception. Sometimes two different grain sizes occurring in the same slab will appear to be of a different color. Mineral concentrations may cause patches that appear darker or lighter.
Every slab of granite varies somewhat within any given color and pattern. If you are unfamiliar with granite, a granite slab ordered may not be identical to a sample you are shown. While the samples are intended to represent the quarry’s product, each slab may differ slightly in color and veining. Indeed, even a single granite slab will have color variations from one end to the other. This lack of predictability gives the product its unique character and adds an element of nature into human-designed spaces.
For this reason, we recommend that you take the time to select the slab intended for your countertops. We will escort you through the granite slab warehouse where you can choose the best granite slab for your countertops. That is the only way to make sure you get exactly what you want. While color options are numerous, it’s usually best to choose a slab that is in stock. If a slab has to be special ordered the lead time could be pushed several weeks and in addition to that the customer would have to agree to accept the color and markings sight unseen.
Fabrication and Finishing
Fabrication costs can significantly affect the final price. Generally, the more complex the shape of the project and particularly the shape of the finished edges, the higher the price will be. Fortunately, a single thickness eased polished edge makes an excellent appearance and most customers choose this standard. We include a pencil round also known as an “eased edge” however GCU offers decorative edges at additional costs. Please include a link to the edges after that if you can.
There are 3 types of sinks used at GCU. Your most common now is the undermount sink, then the farm sink and lastly the drop-in sink. Sinks may be stainless steel, composite, or a number of other materials. When choosing a sink, it is vitally important to make certain that the sink will fit in the cabinet in which it is to be mounted. Keep in mind that the cabinet must always be wider than the sink, i.e. a 30″ sink will not fit in a 30″ cabinet. There must also be ample room available for the faucet of your choice and any other accessories you may select. If you as the homeowner are going to provide your own sinks please have the sinks on site before templates.
If a cook top is to be installed in the granite, be sure that there is room inside the cabinet to hold the top and any pop-up vents that will be installed with it. If the top is replacing an existing top, be aware of the differences in thickness of the two materials.
The sink and kitchen appliances built into the countertops like a cook top or drop-in range must be on the job site before a template can be made.
Granite Countertop Installation Considerations
All ordinary cabinets with frames that are securely fastened to the wall will easily support granite countertops. The weight of an average person standing on the cabinet puts more strain on the cabinets than a granite countertop.
Counter tops are measured in much the same way as other solid surfaces. First, a template must be made to use as a pattern. For this reason, base cabinets must be permanently anchored in place before measurements can begin. They are to be installed only by the fabricator who will assume responsibility for a proper fit.
It will take 3 to 4 weeks to complete the installation after measurements are taken, so be sure to allow sufficient lead time for the project to be completed.
The backsplash is usually made from the same granite used for the counters, but it can be ceramic tile, or some other product. It may be attached to the counter or to the wall, but in either case the seam between the counter and the backsplash will be sealed with caulk. The standard height for a backsplash is 4″, although they’re frequently made higher if the customer desires. A tall backsplash is sometimes used behind the kitchen range or sink to protect the wall from grease splattering or other stains.
This may be modified to suit personal taste, but it must be stipulated before the template is made.
Edges and Overhangs
Most counters are installed with a standard overhang of 1.25-1.5″. Granite overhang can be added to bars, peninsulas and islands without extra support as long as the overhang is 12 inches or less from the cabinet. Any additional overhang will require supports. GCU can provide metal supports for an additional costs. This will be assessed when the template technician comes out to take final measurements.
Dishwashers should not be attached directly to the granite countertop, they should either be side mounted to the adjoining cabinets or top mounted to the cabinet. Special brackets are sent from the dishwasher manufacturer for this purpose. GCU can help the homeowner with this process as long as the dishwasher is on site.
On new construction, the base cabinets must be permanently anchored in place before a template can be made. On a remodel project, existing tops may be removed prior to measurement. Any sinks, faucets, cook tops, or any other item that requires a cutout or a hole in the top must be on site and readily available at the time the template is made. The fabricator may need to take some items with him to complete the fabrication.
Please note that any delay in acquiring the accessories may also delay the installation, the countertop installer will not normally be responsible for connecting of dishwashers, cook tops, or plumbing, and no changes can be made once the installer takes his measurements and makes the template.