Preparing Your Kitchen for New Granite Counters

When you decide to swap out your existing kitchen countertops for ones made of granite, it is easy to imagine the end result. Seeing your small kitchen electronics neatly lined up on a stunningly attractive countertop is something no homeowner in his right mind would turn down. Granite countertops can take your kitchen from dull to designer in the time it takes to install them.

But as a homeowner, you may have questions about how having new kitchen countertops actually works. For example, how should you prepare your kitchen for new granite counters? And what can you expect during each step in the process? After all, something has to happen between the time you buy the countertops in the retail showroom and the time you get to use them in your kitchen.

The secret to a successful kitchen renovation that includes installation of granite counters is in the preparation. Some of the things will fall on your shoulders as the homeowner, while others will be the responsibility of the contractor. Here are some things you can do as the homeowner to make the process easier for the installers.

  • Make sure all cabinets are permanently installed and that they can sustain the weight of a granite countertop.
  • Have your sink delivered and ready to be installed. This will allow the installers to make the template to the exact specifications of the sink for a perfect fit.
  • The same goes for faucets. If space needs to be cut for them, then they will need to be on site before the day of the countertop installations as well.
  • Double check the height of your counters. Not everyone in your family is the same height. Some tasks require standing. Others, like eating at an island, might accommodate sitting at a counter-height stool.
  • Ensure that empty spaces such as alongside appliances like a range or refrigerator can support the weight of a countertop. Another frequent trouble area is where a countertop ends over a dishwasher. Moving two large slabs together can be tricky, and the seam often has to be done onsite to guarantee flushness.

How to Choose a Slab

Choosing our granite countertops was probably a one-time event for us because we don’t plan on changing our countertops any time soon, if ever for that matter. If you’re planning on granite for your kitchen the following points we picked up from our experience might help out.

  • Choose The Slabs That Will Go In Your Home
    Don’t rely on small sample stones to make a countertop choice. They’re useful for understanding the predominant color and/or pattern for a given price point but they don’t tell the whole picture. If there’s any way to choose from a selection of slabs, do so. That way you’ll know exactly which stone is going into your home.
  • Don’t Choose Stone Slabs In Bright Sunlight
    Some distributors have their slabs out in the open. We found it difficult to perceive the actual colors of the granite when the slab was in bright sunshine. We verified this by seeing the same type of stone indoors. Outside the colors can tend to get washed out. If at all possible, try to view the slab in indoor lighting which is how you’ll see it in your home.
  • Put Blinders On If You’re On A Budget
    There are affordable granite countertops out there but they may or may not be the kinds of colors or patterns you’re looking for. It’s easy to get lured into the higher-priced granites when you see what’s available. It’s sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to forego the budget and go for the wow! factor.
  • Size A Kitchen Island For A Single Slab
    If possible, size a kitchen island to accommodate the availability of slab sizes in the style of granite you want. Our island is 10 feet long and will just fit a 123 inch slab. Kitchen islands larger than available slab sizes will require several pieces and a seam between them. Seams on granite countertops can look anywhere from inconspicuous to very noticeable depending on the color and pattern of the granite.