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Old 02-25-2014, 07:44 PM   #1
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Prefab Granite countertops?


I have been mulling this over for some time and have to make a decision in the next week!

I received quotes from $2200 to $3200 for approximately 50 sq ft installed. Difficult to compare apples to apples here as they quote different granite, but all is 2 cm or 3/4"

I looked at the DIY granite kits and find them too expensive, I wold spend the money to have a granite company install slabs for that price.

I could do granite tile, I have done it before but am drawn to the challenge of slabs.

I have found Baltic Brown 108" X 26" about 100 miles from where I live for $200 each. I like the baltic brown and think it would go good in the kitchen. I will need to buy 3 slabs and have more than 1/2 of one left (unless I screw something up). Then I may have $600 worth of garden path.

I see no issues with cutting and polishing for an under mount sink. I would like to find a 1/2 inch straight diamond router bit to fit a wood router. Which I am unable to locate.

The weight is the only thing keeping me on the fence, I am going to have to call in all my favors and owe some if I do this.

Any one done this? Am I missing anything? Any input, comments, advice or wisecracks greatly appreciated.
JIm

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Old 02-25-2014, 10:03 PM   #2
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Prefab Granite countertops?


This is gonna be good...

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Old 02-25-2014, 11:34 PM   #3
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Let me guess, you have never worked with granite before and have no clue about all that's involved in cutting polishing, fitting, but it looks like a simple job.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:58 AM   #4
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Prefab Granite countertops?


At one time in my life I had never drove a nail, painted anything, jacked up a house, built a house, welded anything, laid a brick, finished drywall, cut glass, wired anything, welded, did crown molding or built a bus conversion. Thanks to the help and support of some really good people I have been able to accomplish many things

This is a DIY forum where people help each other do the undoable. Not a you better not try that you will screw it up forum.

Thanks for the support really appreciated! JIm
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:05 AM   #5
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Using 3/4" slabs you'll need to double up the edges and where the sink will go unless you are OK with a thin counter top. Doing the edges will require grinding and polishing to get a nice finish.

Are you planning to use a router to cut out for the sink?
There was a thread within the last year that discussed undermount sinks and 3/4" granite. 3/4" isn't strong enough or thick enough to handle the weight of a sink.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:15 AM   #6
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Prefab Granite countertops?


I admire a DIYer who will tackle anything. Personally I have done a lot of DIY work, but I never considered doing my own granite for a few reasons. First, I have no experience and I don't know anyone who does have experience, so I had a bad feeling about the way it would come out. Second, I have no tools specific to granite, and the idea of purchasing them was unappealing. Third, we wanted the granite counters in the kitchen to come out looking professional, and I didn't think I could achieve that look no matter how much I read before trying. Lastly, when adding up the time and difficulty, I did not see how I would save significant money doing my own granite countertops.

I have built several granite tables and vanities, but I always had a granite fabricator make the top. I simply installed it, which is pretty easy. The templeting, cutting, grinding, polishing, and installing the cutouts, I prefer to leave that to professionals.

But no doubt you are made of stouter fiber than I, and I wish you the best of luck on your project. If you have any questions about installation, I might be able to help there. I also made one hole in a granite top for a sink soap dispenser, used a diamond coring drill, which went quite nicely. The secret seemed to be to go slowly, and follow the directions from the bit manufacturer very carefully about required lubrication during the cutting.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:09 AM   #7
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Prefab Granite countertops?


>>>>I could do granite tile, I have done it before but am drawn to the challenge of slabs

I've done several kitchens (family) using both 2cm and 3cm slabs and prefab granite

personally I find the slabs easier to install than the tiles ... matter of fact just consider the slab to be a large tile so you should have very little trouble
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>>>>I see no issues with cutting and polishing for an under mount sink

I prefer a top mount sink but as you've polished edges on the tile it isn't much different for the slab
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>>>>The weight is the only thing keeping me on the fence

I've had to use only two helpers to handle the 108x26 prefabs BUT with the sink cutout it becomes pretty fragile .. matter of fact it becomes verrrrry fragile

when I installed a 110x48 island slab it did take six strong folks to move it in, lay it over onto the island box and move it around to make it fit

the 2cm granite seems to be the thickness of choice in Fla so the weight is much less of a factor
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I have no comment about the price for the Baltic Brown for you but the only area I foresee using the prefab is making the bullnose mate at on the 90degree L in the corners .... don't try a 45 miter joint, use a butt joint but you'll need to think it through on the L shape corners with the bullnose predone
I have only worked myself with full slabs in the jobs needing a corner ---- and cut my own countertops pieces with a very minor roll over for the edge .... due to that is what my folks liked

I used a hypoid Makita with blades from granite suppliers *(didn't try big box stuff) with a homemade water applicator using a garden hose. Messy, messy and def outside work .... and I did use a rubber mat, rubber boots, and rubber gloves along with a GFCI cord

cut slowly, but you already know that from the tile experience

go for it ... it is NOT hard

good luck
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:10 AM   #8
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Prefab Granite countertops?


My wife and I built our current house by ourselves, from the foundation up. I did have to buy a couple of tools I didn't own, like a 16-1/4" circular saw for cutting the logs in a single pass. But we never considered doing the countertops ourselves, though we certainly could have. Just didn't want yet more single-use tools lying around. It was simply easier and quicker to let the pros do it. Our countertop is about 1-1/4" thick; I'd think 3/4" is too thin and prone to cracking.

Have you ever heard of a product called Lazy Granite? I've never tried it, but you might check it out.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:51 AM   #9
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Lazy Granite is granite tiles, no?
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Lazy Granite is granite tiles, no?
In a manner of speaking. You could think of it as very large tiles I suppose. Check it out: www.lazygranite.com
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:40 PM   #11
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Thanks for the input, always appreciated. I looked at the granite kits, i see them as overpriced large tile. They still require cutting and fitting, backer board, cement, groute etc. They do have the advantage of a sink kit.

Stouter fiber or less common sense?

There are 18X31" granite tile which are still an option can be ordered from a big box store. But I like the think of the slab as a great big tile.

The Marble Institute of America recommends 3/4" plywood under 2cm granite and reinforcing the sink cutout with rods set in epoxy. I plan on routing the plywood so the sink sets level with it. I also have an 1 1/2" angle iron to put across the front of the cabinet behind the face frame.

The laboratory tests measured the flexural strength of reinforced and unreinforced samples of granite. Test results indicated that threaded round steel rods significantly strengthen the stone by 50% in load and 600% in deflection

I would like a diamond router bit for the sink cut out, not to cut it but to square up the edges and tweak the round corners. The sink corners are one of my concerns with this.

I have been looking and blades and shapers and diamond sand paper seems to be readily available to the DIY'er for reasonable money.

One thing I do not get is the insistance on an absolutely level base and then setting the slab in gobs of silicone, does not compute.

The weight is my main concern, I am a well worn 66 and most of my helpers are older I have been chatting with them and getting mixed responses. Thanks JIm
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:37 AM   #12
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Quote:
Originally Posted by djlandkpl View Post
Using 3/4" slabs you'll need to double up the edges and where the sink will go unless you are OK with a thin counter top.
Not true. While my edges are doubled-up, my undermount sink only has 3/4" of granite over it. I actually asked my granite guy if he could double up on the sink edge. He wouldn't do it, and I now understand why. You would need an extra layer of plywood under the countertop, and you're not going to find the correct thickness of plywood, to allow everything to match up and sandwich correctly (since the granite slab is not actually 3/4")

Quote:
Originally Posted by djlandkpl View Post
There was a thread within the last year that discussed undermount sinks and 3/4" granite. 3/4" isn't strong enough or thick enough to handle the weight of a sink.
My undermount sink is NOT supported by the granite. The sink's lip sits on the plywood that is under your granite. The lip of the sink gets sandwiched between the plywood and granite. I'm not using any of those sink-mounting clips. I have a large 9"-deep undermount sink, and I've had some weight in it, without any problem.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:43 PM   #13
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Prefab Granite countertops?


We were waiting on a backordered sink for this island when 4 guys brought it in and laid it in place temporarily. When the sink came in, they came back, took the stone to the A frame on the trailer, and then cut the hole for the sink. And proceeded to polish it for the next 3 hours 3 hours. By pros. With the right equipment. And who had done it before. I don't think you're going to find a robust enough router to handle the cutting first of all, and then there's the polishing. That's the reason that most people who choose prefab do topmount sinks. Undermounting a sink is a skill that takes practice to do well, and you don't get any practice when you have to get it perfectly right the first time.

Call a local shop and ask what they'd charge to do the sink cutout and mount if you brought them the prefabs. I'd guess in the $200-$300 range. But, if you want an undermount sink, it'd be worth it. Otherwise, I'd recommend doing a topmount.

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Old 02-27-2014, 06:04 PM   #14
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Prefab Granite countertops?


Thanks for the input, always appreciated. The going rate in this area for an under mount sink is $150. But and it is a big but no one will do my granite. They will only do granite they sell.

I am asking around for a fabricator, but no luck yet. Then there is always the issue of finding a good craftsman.

I do not plan on cutting with the router, only trimming.

JIm

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