Natural granite countertops offer a beautiful, unique twist to your kitchen. The stone is heat, stain, scratch, and chip-resistant, making it a popular choice in millions of kitchens around the world. Its hardy, durable nature makes it a solid pick for nearly any kitchen, especially if you want a unique, one-of-a-kind look.
When it comes to installing granite countertops, things can get a bit tricky. Large, expansive countertops demand seams, which can be hard to deal with if you’re not careful. If you’re planning on installing granite countertops, continue reading to learn the dos and don’ts surrounding granite countertop seams.
What Are Seams?
Seams in a granite countertop are the gaps where the edges of two different pieces of granite meet. After installing the granite slabs, the seam appears as a straight line running through the countertop. If you’re working with a large area, seams are nearly inevitable.
How Should You Layout Your Countertop?
When you’re planning the layout of your countertops, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to avoid wasting the expensive stone slabs and minimize the number of seams. Of course, some seams are entirely unavoidable, but it’s essential to plan the layout, so you cut the stone in the right way.
Usually, granite slabs come in massive sections between 9 and 10 feet long and 5 and 6 feet wide. In total, slabs of granite are typically about 45 square feet, but actual dimensions may vary depending on the specific slab.
When calculating how much you’ll need for your kitchen, consider slab sizing compared to how it’ll fit in your kitchen. If you decide to partner with a full-service fabrication business, they can simplify the process by accurately templating the kitchen. This will help you know what to expect in terms of the number of slabs you’ll need and seams.
Avoid placing seams near the sink and under countertop appliances. Although these may seem like great places to hide the seams, they’re not the best idea. The sink is an unsupported area that withstands the weight of dishes, pots, and pans, which can place stress on the surrounding countertop.
If you place a seam too close to the sink, you may compromise the structure’s integrity, potentially leading to issues like seam separation. Try to put seams at least six inches or more away from a sink cutout.
Where Is The Best Place For A Seam In A Granite Counter?
The best spot to place a seam is where it will get the least attention. Look for areas where natural breaks are necessary, like by the fridge, stove, etc. If you have a long, unbroken stretch of the countertop, try placing the seams in supported areas, like where two cabinet side walls meet.
Do All Granite Countertops Have Seams?
No, not all granite countertops have seams. If you’re working with a smaller countertop space, a single granite slab may cover the entire project. However, if you’re working with a larger area, seams may be unavoidable.
In addition, you’ll need a seam in the countertop where two corner pieces need to be joined. Since the slabs come in such large pieces, you may be able to get away with using a single slab on a smaller countertop, thus avoiding seams altogether.
How Do You Fill Seams In Granite Countertops?
In scenarios where seams in your granite countertop are inevitable, you’ll need to fill the seams. If you do the project yourself, you’ll need to fill the seam with epoxy, polyester glue, or resin. In order to create a seamless appearance, it’s essential to closely match the color and pigment of the filler with the color of the granite.
In some cases, fabricators will use silicone to fill the seams, but this isn’t usually a good choice. The silicone may allow the granite to move, causing issues with your countertop.
Most of the time, your natural granite slab won’t closely match a pre-mixed seam pigment. So, to get the perfect color match, granite installers can mix pigments with the filler to create the perfect fit.
How Do You Hide Granite Seams?
Hiding granite seams can be tricky, particularly when dealing with an inevitable seam in an area with high traffic, like in the middle of a long stretch of the countertop. Bad seams stick out like a sore thumb, so be careful when you’re filling the seams.
Try to select granite slabs that closely match each other, as this will help hide the break from one slab to another.
In addition, choose the epoxy colors carefully. Mix the pigments to match the colors in the slabs as closely as possible. This can help camouflage the visible seam between the two slabs. Darker colors and busy patterns help distract from the appearance of seams, so pick your slabs wisely.
If you carefully measure the space, thoughtfully choose the slabs, and enlist the help of skilled fabricators, you have an excellent chance of hiding the seams. This will help create the illusion of an elongated, unbroken granite countertop.