What to Know: The Ins and Outs of the Stone Countertop Installation Process
When shopping for and purchasing new stone countertops, it’s important to understand the installation process ahead of time so you can fully be in the know about what lies ahead. A professional fabricator is typically hired to install stone materials such as granite, marble, quartz, and other heavy or specialty materials to ensure a proper fit and design. The challenging nature of countertop installation requires proper tools and equipment as well as knowledge and experience.
In this article, we will describe the ins and outs of professional countertop installation including how granite countertops are installed and if this differs from the marble and quartz countertop installation process. Once the materials are chosen and the kitchen surfaces have been accurately measured, the following is what to expect from the countertop installation process.
During the buying and hiring process, ask whether the installers will remove old countertops and disconnect plumbing and electrical fixtures. While Colonial Marble & Granite installers will take care of all action items, some installers will not, so it will be necessary to make an outside hire. If removal of the existing countertops is included, clear surfaces of appliances like coffeemakers, soap pumps, decor, etc. Keep in mind, you will not have access to your kitchen for several hours so you will want to remove the items you need for the day like silverware, food, telephone, etc.
Clear a pathway to the kitchen so installers have easy access, and keep pets and small children away from the work area. If you do not have a contractor coordinating the process, be sure all new sinks, faucets, and cooktops to be mounted in or on the countertops are on-site.
The amount of time it takes for professional installation will depend on the size of your project, design details, and material. For example, marble countertop installation will often take less time than tile considering the intricacies that come with the latter. The installer’s timeframe will depend on the complexities of the space including accessibility, custom design features like sink and cooktop cutouts, and countertop disassembly and removal. For natural stone countertops, plan on the installers being in your kitchen for anywhere from four to eight hours.
There is a general process for natural stone countertop installation. Slabs are either cut off- or on-site by skilled fabricators to fit pre-taken measurements. This includes crafting custom edges and making cutouts for under-mount sinks and cooktops. Regardless of where the slabs are cut and prepared, once finished, they will be laid upon the bare counters, leveled, and secured. Seams (where the two pieces of stone are put together) will be joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothened so that only a very thin line is visible. To further secure the stone to the cabinets, attachment blocks are used.
Note: It’s important that your cabinets are level and secured to the wall or anchored to the floor. If they are uneven, shims might be placed under the new countertops to level the surface areas.
The installers should have essential tools on hand to face many of the challenges that might occur.
Marble and Granite Installation vs. Quartz
You might ask: How is quartz countertop installation different than marble and granite installation? The answer is not much different. However, because quartz is engineered (manmade) into the same-sized slabs (including jumbo-sized) there is often less of a need to align and seal seams.
Additionally, quartz is nonporous so it never needs to be sealed, where granite and marble both need to be sealed upon installation and once or twice each year thereafter.
Cutouts and Sink Installation
With Colonial Marble CNC technology, we have the ability to perform any sink or surface unit cutout with computer-aided design files. Under-mount sinks (sinks that are mounted under the countertop to avoid showing any rim) are fully cut out and the inside of the hole is polished. The countertop is then flipped over and fitted with special grommets for your plumber to fasten the sink.
Some instances will require cutouts to be made onsite. This includes those for cooktops, specialty sinks, faucet holes, and more. Self-rimming cutouts are cut 6″ into each corner off-site, leaving some of the straight sections to be cut in the field to facilitate safe shipping.
If in-home fabrication is necessary, our team will take the greatest of safety measures to minimize dust and mess. Consider covering any nearby furniture to protect it from dust.
Your under-mount sink will be mounted to the new stone countertops with clips and sealed with silicone. Allow 12 hours for the watertight seal to dry.
Once everything is in place, sealed, leveled, dried, and quality-control checked, your countertop installation is complete. We will reconnect fixtures and wiring, as needed. Remember, other installers may not be qualified to reconnect wiring, so it will be necessary to hire an electrician. The lead installer will review the specific ongoing care and maintenance information for your particular countertop material. Granite varies from quartz which varies from marble, so be sure to know what use and care considerations you should take.
The investment you put into this project deserves quality installation. Visit one of our showrooms to further discuss how Colonial Marble can make your new countertop purchase (from beginning to end) smooth and stress-free.
Contact us when considering new countertops, vanities, jacuzzi surrounds, fireplace surrounds, and other custom designs.
“We have only positive comments to say about our experience with Colonial Marble. From the date we placed our order, everything went as planned. No delays or issues. We absolutely LOVE our countertops and the workmanship of the installer, Danny, is impeccable.” – Linda A.
“The installation crew was very attentive to detail, and the fit and finish of the countertop, sink, and backsplash met my expectations.” – Jeff J
“A great experience. From the sale through the measurement to the install the process went exactly as it should have. Very satisfied – Eugene L.