Granite countertops are a beautiful, timeless addition to any kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, vanity, etcetera. The stone is a popular choice due to its durability: heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant. While you could go with the laminate imitation of granite, it’s just not the same thing, nor does it offer the same benefits.
If you’re considering incorporating granite into a space in your home, you probably have a list of questions. While we can think of dozens of granite-related questions, we’ll focus on one of the most essential questions: how are granite countertops attached? If you’re wondering the same thing, continue reading to learn more!
Can I DIY Granite Countertop Installation?
Granite countertop installation can be tricky, particularly if you’re a once-in-a-while or once-in-a-blue-moon DIYer. If you know your stuff and have experience with the whole DIY thing, you’ll probably do just fine. If you’re rather clueless about the entire thing, it might be best to hire a contractor to handle the process for you.
The installation procedure can be complicated, particularly if you choose to incorporate a floating island, have a massive countertop area to cover, or simply don’t know what you’re doing. Ample countertops (over 10 feet) generally have to be divided into sections to make them easier to handle, which means you need to glue and seal the seams together.
To do that, you’ll have to match your epoxy mixture to the color of your granite slab as perfectly as possible. Otherwise, you’ll have two beautiful slabs of granite joined by a strangely-colored goo.
Essentially, our answer to “can I do this myself” is variable based on your experience and motivation to tackle the project.
Do Granite Countertops Get Glued Down?
Yes, granite countertops are glued down to the base cabinets below. Since granite is a natural stone that you cannot screw into place, special adhesives are necessary. The installer applies adhesive to the cabinet edge then lines the countertop up over the top of the glue.
Then, they’ll carefully place the on top of the supporting base cabinets. Once the adhesive dries, the granite countertop is firmly in place.
What Adhesive Is Used For Granite Countertops?
Generally, epoxy is used between the countertop seams to seal the granite pieces to each other. While this may not be necessary for a single, small chunk of granite countertop, larger counters generally require several pieces.
The epoxy mixture is usually blended on-site to match your new countertops as closely as possible.
Mastic glue, general adhesive, and epoxy glue are common choices for cementing granite in place. Mastic glue and general adhesives are usually sufficient for smaller pieces of granite, such as granite tiles.
However, granite slabs (as in your countertop) require a granite adhesive. Usually, this is an epoxy mixture with resins and hardeners.
How To Attach Granite Countertop To Islands
Granite countertops help create a classy, modern theme in your kitchen. Here are the materials you’ll need:
- Granite slab
- Wooden corbels (as necessary)
- Putty knife
- Thinset mortar
- Notched trowel
- Masking tape
- Epoxy cement
- Utility knife
- Vacuum powered seam puller
To install granite countertops on an island, you need to start by choosing a large slab of granite. Go with the biggest slab possible to avoid any seams. Typically granite slabs are available up to ten feet in length. Any larger, the slab may be too brittle and heavy to carry. Note that seams may be unavoidable in some situations.
Next, you’ll need to calculate the overhang based on the installation area and thickness. You may need wooden corbels to support a more significant overhang.
Remove the existing countertop. Start by locating the anchor screws holding it in place, then use a screwdriver to remove them. If the countertop is glued, use the putty knife and hammer to break the bond. Wedge the knife’s blade between the seam of the countertop and below cabinets, then strike the knife with the hammer. Repeat the process around the island.
Once the old counter is removed, apply a thin-set mortar with the notched trowel. If the countertop is in chunks, ensure the gap between pieces is no more than 1/16 inch. The sides must be perfectly straight for the connection to look seamless.
Apply masking tape to either side of each seam to avoid getting epoxy on the counter’s surface. Mix the epoxy cement according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add color pigments as necessary to obtain the right shade. Fill the seam until it is completely full. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly. Once it’s dry, use the utility knife to remove excess epoxy that oozed out during the application process.
Set and hold the joints using a vacuum-powered seam puller while sealing the seams. To seal the seams, simply add some epoxy to the granite edges; the machine will take care of the rest.
Do I Need Plywood Under Granite Countertop?
The answer to this question is entirely dependent on what thickness of granite you’re using. If your granite countertops are 1 ¼ inches (or 3 centimeters) thick, you don’t need an underlayment of plywood.
On the other hand, if the granite has a thickness of around ¾ inches (2 centimeters), you’ll need a sheet of plywood underneath for support.
Given the sheer weight of granite, it will crack if it’s not adequately protected. Granite with a thickness of 1 ¼ inches is considerably sturdier than a ¾ inch thick slab of granite. The thinner granite may crack without the additional support of plywood, so it’s a must.
Areas Where Plywood Supports Are A Good Idea
Additionally, your granite countertop may need a helping hand over the dishwasher or on a bartop overhang. Over the dishwasher, the countertop doesn’t have the support of a cabinet beneath, so it needs plywood. Or, with a bartop overhang, you’re dealing with an unbalanced loading condition, so plywood is always a good idea to support the granite.