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Old 10-31-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
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DIY Granite counters


Has anyone tried DIY granite kitchen counters? Not talking about the modular granite or tile. Cutting out for under mount sink and such. Where did you buy your granite? I can only find one online source, build direct. Any and all input greatly appreciated. JIm

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Old 10-31-2012, 05:46 PM   #2
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I wouldn't think real granite countertops would be a DIY job. Any savings by doing it yourself would probably be more than offset by the special tools you'd have to buy or rent. My wife and I built our log home by ourselves, but there's no way we would've tried to do our countertops.

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Old 10-31-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response.

You would not do it Yet!

How many people would tell you you can not build a log home by your self?

JIm
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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Please price the special diamond tools before going off on another cost saving tangent with us. Is this another instance where you have made up your mind you are going to do it yourself and just want affirmation you probably will not get from many of us?

If you must do your own countertops, I would look to something like concrete. A couple DIYers on this site have pulled those off to look reasonably nice. I would use an artisan myself though.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:36 PM   #5
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How many people would tell you you can not build a log home by your self?

JIm
Obviously, having done it, I wouldn't tell anyone that. But granite countertops require special knowledge and tools not useful for anything else. I already have enough single-purpose tools I'll likely never use again.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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Building a log cabin is a Herculean under taking, requiring vast knowledge in many fields and many special tools. Far beyond the abilitys of most people.

The Romans built magnificent structures with no power tools. How hard can a little piece of granite be?

It's not so much about the money as doing it. Tools can be bought, new or used and resold. Good financial decision, time will tell. Fun to try, hopefully. Maybe I will end up with a pile of granite chips? Won't be the first time I shot myself in the foot.

Maybe after some research I will say, that was a dumb idea.

Right now I am looking for someplace to buy the granite. I have found one but they appear to want to sell in 10 slab lots. I will only need three, I will poke around and see if there is any interest in the other 7 slabs, if so I may buy all 10.
JIm

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Old 10-31-2012, 10:46 PM   #7
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Most cities have a "granite exchange" where commercial shops can purchase slabs. In Massachusetts, there is such an exchange in Methuen. In some cases, the exchange will sell to the public, provided you purchase an entire slab, which can be quite large. Of course, you then have to transport the slab, cut the slab to size, dress the edge, make the cutouts for the sink, and install. I believe you are thinking more on the lines of purchasing a premade countertop from an on line fabricator, and then you install it yourself. Or maybe I misunderstand your plan?

In any case, when we had our granite countertops done (by a professional shop), they came in, templated the cabinets (which I built myself), and we selected the slab from the granite exchange, which the shop then fabricated into the counter. I have done a lot of DIY work, but I would not touch granite work, the pieces are heavy, the tools are all diamond, and there is a lot of knowledge that I do not care to acquire by installing a poor looking counter. But to each their own. I cannot offer any suggestions for on line granite purchase, personally I was very interested in seeing the actual slab first, and I would never trust an on line store to deliver a near flawless piece. Of course we paid a premium price for a professional install, but the fabricator accepted 100% liability for templating, cutting, and installing, and by the way they did a great job.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
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Right now I am looking for someplace to buy the granite. I have found one but they appear to want to sell in 10 slab lots. I will only need three, I will poke around and see if there is any interest in the other 7 slabs, if so I may buy all 10.
JIm
We were able to save a bundle on our countertops because we found some granite we liked that was left over from another job. Was just enough to do our kitchen.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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as my nickname indicates, I'm indeed oldncrazy and operate on the no fear basis

I've done two kitchens using slabs which I templated, cut, edged (simple roll over edge as that is what my wife wanted) and cut out for surface mounted sinks (again, as that is what she wanted)

the ONLY problem was the weight .... had to have several helpers at different times for the process of cutting and installing

as to the costly one use tools for the polishing and cutting --- for that I purchased 7 in diamond blades, a grinder/cutter for the sink openings. and diamond polish pads for the edges

tools from my shop for example
saw ----- a hypoid Makita
grinder and edge polisher ----- multiple speed 7in Milwaukee
guide ---- eight foot straight edge and furniture clamps for long cuts
water cuts ---- water hose with spray used on ALL cuts and polish
cutting/grinding/polishing table ---- handmade 2x6 frame on saw horses

as far as I'm concerned the only major difference in cutting a granite slab and making the cabinets upon which the top will go is the speed of the cut and the slow time to polish the edge

first kitchen was about 26 linear feet with a double sink

second one was about 40 linear feet with a double sink and a bar sink along with a 48"x96" island --- now that was one heavy chunk of rock

I've done a few more smaller jobs and find that 3cm makes for a nicer look than 2cm --- but, the weight is more

had no trouble finding a supplier for the slabs ---- I looked a more than a dozen locations in Dallas that sold to the public ---- I bought 4 slabs of Uba Tuba at $15 bucks a sq ft.

but, as I said, I operate on the no fear basis and am oldzcrazy

I'd guess that my blades, cutter, and polish pads cost me no more than a couple of hundred bucks and I saved more than three grand on the last kitchen .... my time is free
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:10 PM   #10
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May the DIY God's smile on you and your descendents for generations to come oldncrazy!

The naysayers had me starting to wonder.

I will build my own cabinets and want to try the marble. I have done some scouting and the tools are available and not prohibitively expensive.

I have made templates and assisted in installing but never seen the actual tooling done.

My counter will be much smaller than yours about 16 lineal feet or 34 square feet. Does not need to be one continuous piece, will probably be 3, so easy to work with.

Did you "rod" your sink cutout or split it. If you rodded it what did you use for rod? Did you build a guide for the sink cutout or free hand it?

I can not find an exchange in this area, will be looking in Tampa and Miami. I've bought my rough cut oak from Tampa and split the minimum 1000 BF order with other DIY'ers. That has worked well.

JIm
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:12 AM   #11
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as I set the granite countertops ontop of 3/4 plywood I didn't feel that added strength was need from rodding and I simply cut out the sink opening using the wet Makita and rounding the inside corners with a 2" grinder

using a top mount, rather than an underneath mount sink saved me having to do any polishing on the edges so it never entered my mind (feeble at best) to split cut the top ......

I'll see if I can find any info on the grinder and post it ..... seems as if it was somewhere around twenty or thirty bucks and I surely didn't wear it down much

all in all I found that the mystery surrounding the diy use of granite was much overblown .... for as I said, the no fear outlook suits me well ..... <gggg>
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:01 PM   #12
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I used a product called lazy granite, you order it online. lazygranite.com
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:44 AM   #13
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I looked at Lazy Tile, nice product. I have acquired a granite counter top, took 5 people to move!! I am going to chop it up and experiment with a bathroom sink before I commit to doing the kitchen.
JIm

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