Having natural-stone countertops installed is an investment in your home. It’s important to understand what you should expect during the installation process, as stone installation is not a fast or easy process. Granite, marble, and travertine installation should always be done by a professional for a flawless result without damage to your home or the countertop itself. Here’s what you should expect and how you can prepare for your new countertops.
What to Do Before Installation
Before trained installers arrive at your home, there are several steps you should take to prepare. Make sure there is a clear path from your kitchen or bathroom to the nearest entrance to your home, as this will reduce the amount of difficult maneuvering the team must do to carry in the heavy stone. Small children and pets should not be allowed in the area while the stone is being carried through your home. If a cooktop will be installed, covering nearby furniture and belongings is a good idea, as there will be dust.
Existing Countertop Removal
Some stone installers require the existing countertop to be removed before their crew arrives to install your stone. If removal of the existing countertops is included in your installation, the installers should do their best to avoid damage to your walls and cabinets. Sometimes a bit of plaster from the wall is removed when laminate countertops and backsplashes are removed, but these defects can be patched up or covered with your new backsplash.
Once the slabs of stone are laid on the bare countertops, they must be leveled and secured. It’s essential that the cabinets are as level as possible before heavy stone is put in place. Any unevenness in the cabinets must be counteracted with shims under your new countertops. Epoxy is used at the seams of your stone to cement the granite, marble, or quartz pieces to each other. Epoxy is typically blended and colored on-site to match your countertop as perfectly as possible. Blocks are used to further secure the stone to the cabinets.
Cutouts, Backsplash, and Sink Installation
If you have a cooktop rather than a slide-in range, a hole will need to be cut. It may be risky to attempt to transport stone with a hole this large to your home. Holes for the faucet and soap dispensers may be drilled on-site or ahead of time. You can expect there will be some dust from the stone, although experienced installers will take steps to minimize the dust and clean up the mess. Assuming you choose an undermount sink, it will be mounted to the underside of the stone slab with clips. Silicone will be added for a watertight seal. This will need to cure for about 12 hours before your faucet and plumbing are connected.
After installation, the sturdiness and levelness of your countertops will be evaluated once more to ensure your counters last a lifetime. Once the seams dry, the excess epoxy and dust will be removed with denatured alcohol or acetone for smooth seams. From start to finish, you can expect stone countertop installation to take about 3 hours if you have a small, simple kitchen. A large or complex kitchen could take up to 7 hours. Once your counters are ready to use, make sure to clean them regularly with a specially formulated granite countertop cleaner.
You can also purchase a granite polishing kit from Granite Gold®, which includes a few of the key products you’ll need to maintain the natural beauty of your stone. If you’d like to learn more about caring for granite, slate, travertine, and other types of natural stone, give Granite Gold® a call today at 1-800-475-STONE.