Granite Countertops: What to Expect During Your Granite Installation

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 by Arch City Granite

Since granite is a long-term investment in your home, it’s likely you’ve never gone through the process before. You may be curious to know what goes on during installation or how long it takes to complete your kitchen granite or what are the things you need to do before our team comes to install.

For your peace of mind, here is a detailed article about what you can expect when our install team comes to install your beautiful new countertops.

Getting Ready for the Install Team to Arrive

Before our skilled installers pull into your driveway, there are a few things we need you to do:

  • Make sure there is a clear pathway between the job site (your kitchen or bathroom or basement whichever is the case) and closest entrance. Stone is heavy, so we try to minimize how much maneuvering the guys need to do while carrying the individual sections of countertop into your kitchen or bathroom.
  • If you have small children, for their safety, please make them not to come in the way of carrying the stone.
  • You may need to cover nearby furniture or article to protect them from dust, in case you have a cooktop cutout.
  • If it is a new construction site, other artisans may be working simultaneously. In that case you need to request them to stop their work at least until all the stone pieces are carried and placed on the cabinets.
  • Home owner or their contractor (who can make decisions on behalf of the owner) need to be present during the installation process. Our install team will go over the details of the install and take an approval before leaving the site.

What Should You Do During the Installation?

We want the installation to be as efficient as possible, but we also want you to feel comfortable with the process. If you have any questions, please ask them before our installers start bringing in the granite. They will of course be ready to answer any questions you have after the installation.

Installing stone countertops requires a lot of focus and precision. Our teams have developed proven game-plans that allow each team member to get their task done- trusting that their partners are following the time-table and preparing for the next task.

So, it’s best to allow our craftsmen to work uninterrupted. Of course, you are welcome to watch (we think it’s pretty interesting), and we even ask that you stay nearby to answer any questions that may come up during the process.

Removing Existing Countertops

If you have existing countertops and you or your contractor does the removal of old countertops, they need to be removed completely before our team arrives at your home. Make sure that the countertops are removed entirely including any sinks or cooktop etc. so only cabinets are visible.

In case removal of existing countertops is part of our project, our team will carefully remove them from the cabinets, trying their best to avoid any damage to the cabinet or wall. If you have laminate counters with backsplash, sometimes a bit of the wall plaster will come off with the old counters. Don’t worry; usually your new granite or tile backsplash will cover up those marks. If not, they are easy to patch by your contractor.

Carrying Your New Stone across the threshold

Once Arch City Granite and Marble’s installers have made sure the space is ready, they will begin carrying in the individual pieces of granite. Since granite is a natural material and very heavy, most kitchens will have several sections of stone that will be expertly seamed together during the installation.

Once it is laid on a level surface, you will never have to worry about your granite, marble, soapstone, or quartz cracking, but our team will use extra care in moving the pieces, since unsecured granite is not as stable.

Ensuring That every cabinet is Level and Secured

 It is very important that the cabinets are as level as possible and completely secured to the wall before the granite is put in place. In case of free standing islands, all the cabinets of island need to be securely anchored to the floor. This protects the stone from tipping hazard.

Our guys won’t need to spend as much time with the level tool if your cabinets are new, but this is an important step for any installation. If this step is done correctly, you won’t have to think about replacing your countertops for the lifetime of your home.

If cabinets are completely out of level, and the unevenness cannot be rectified by placing shims under the new granite countertops, then the cabinet contractor needs to level the cabinets.

Obviously it a very unpleasant situation for the home owner and a labor time wastage for granite company.

In order to prevent such unforeseen situations, Arch City Granite & Marble in St. Louis recommends the removal of existing countertops before the measurement is done.

That way the levelness and sturdiness of the cabinets may be evaluated well before the installation day, preventing the unpleasant last minute surprises.

That is why we put so much emphasis on maintaining a highly trained staff with years of experience. Any variations in the plane will be offset with small, wood shims as the granite or other surface is laid down (a shim is a thin, wood wedge cut specifically for the home improvement industry).

If you have chosen an under-mount sink (which is the most common type of sink installation), at this point one of the installers will attach our rail or clip system for keeping that sink nice and snug up under the granite.

Putting the Granite in Place, Setting the Seams, and Caulking

Once the cabinets are found to be within the permissible levels, our installers will lay the pieces of the granite in place on the counters. Then they will use an epoxy at the seams to cement the pieces of marble, granite, soapstone, or quartz to each other.

There are two types of epoxy: clear and a neutral color, which we color and blend onsite to carefully match your countertop color. As soon as the seams are dry, they will carefully skim off excess epoxy with a razor blade to ensure the seam is as smooth as possible. Then the granite will be further secured to the cabinet with onsite prepared attachment blocks called ‘bondo blocks’.

It’s important to note here that no wall is perfectly straight, not even in brand new homes. We capture the imperfections by our digital templating system while measuring your countertops and scribe the backside of the granite counters to match the imperfections of the wall.

But in-spite of these best stone fabrication methods, you may see some gaps between the backside of the granite counters and the wall.

It may bother some home owners, but good news is that your tile or granite backsplash will cover that up completely.

Backsplash & Cooktop Cutout

If you have ordered matching granite backsplash, the guys will probably need to make some minor adjustments to those pieces for a tight fit before installing them and setting the seams in the same way as the decks (the main, horizontal pieces of countertop).

If you have a cooktop (as opposed to a slide in range), the installers may need to cut the hole for it out on-site.

With many stones, it is risky to try and transport the stone all the way to your house with that large of a hole. So, our craftsmen back at the shop will usually create notches (get the cuts started). Then the installers will finish the cuts of cook-top inside once the stone is set on the counters. If we need to do it inside, we will use at least one shop vacuum to collect the dust as we cut.

Even though we clean up afterwards, you probably will get a little dust in your home around the job site.

That is why we advise homeowners to keep any nearby furniture or house hold objects to be covered and protected from the dust.

Wrapping up the Details and Cleaning Up

Once all the stone is secured in place, the team will use acetone or denatured alcohol to remove any excess epoxy, caulk, and any dust leftover from the cooktop or faucet hole cutting. We’ll clean and seal your counters, clean up the job site as much as possible, give you instructions on how to clean and care for your counters, thank you for your business, request you to sign the job approval  and leave you to admire your new countertops.

How Long It Takes from Start to Finish of Granite Installation

 It depends on the size, complexity and number of cutouts of the job. For smaller and simpler kitchens may take about 2 to 3 hours and large and complex kitchens may take 6 to 7 hours.

Average sized kitchens (around 60 Square feet of counter space) will take about 4 hours from start to finish.

Ready to Schedule Your Granite Install? Here’s How to Start

Ready for new natural stone or quartz countertops and a hassle-free quote and installation process? Call and speak to our stone designers at either one of our two convenient locations (St. Louis: 314-426-3100 or O’Fallon, MO: 636-329-8400).

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will give you all the information you need to get your project rolling. From first call to final install, we will be available to answer any and every question and make sure you have the full Arch City Granite & Marble experience.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite ready; we are still here to answer any questions and concerns you may have.

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