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Old 09-28-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Remodeling our kitchen. Existing cabinets are in good condition and we are going to repaint them. Existing countertops are tile and we want to replace with granite.

Existing, from top to bottom, are:
  • 1/4" thick tile
  • 3/4 mortar bed
  • 3/4 plywood base
  • cabinet
The question is what to remove -
  1. Tile only and have the granite laid over the mortar bed
  2. Tile and mortar bed and have the granite over the plywood base
If option (1), then there is 1.5" (plywood plus mortar bed) under the granite's 3/4" thickness - affecting where the drop in range abutts the countertop - and affecting the coverage of the typicaly 1.5" bull-nose granite edge - and making the counters a bit higher than the normal.

If option (2), then there is a huge amount of work and mess to remove the mortar base. But it does appear doable as I removed a small section to see what the construction consisted of.

Thoughts and recommendations?
Other considerations I have not thought of?
Suggestions on how to easiest remove the tile, or tile and mortar base?

Thanks!
Vince

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Old 09-28-2008, 09:04 PM   #2
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


To install the granite, you need to remove all the existing countertops and substrates. The granite will be placed directly on top of the cabinet carcasses.

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Old 09-28-2008, 09:35 PM   #3
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Agreed,You might have to install a cleat on the wall behind the dishwasher if you have one.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
To install the granite, you need to remove all the existing countertops and substrates. The granite will be placed directly on top of the cabinet carcasses.
You are saying to remove the existing plywood as well? That runs counter to what my granite installer wants - from their instructions "Counter and horizontal surfaces to receive slab have rough top preinstalled. 5/8" thick plywood, installed flush with cabinet face unless noted otherwise."

Last edited by vsheetz; 09-29-2008 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:54 PM   #5
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


That is very odd, and is not typically how granite is installed. But, they're the installer, so give them what they want. The problem is now you have to worry about concealing the raw edge of the plywood under the countertop's overhang. Easily done, but not an attractive detail.

I'd absolutely love to hear the installer's reasoning behind this requirement.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:09 AM   #6
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


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The problem is now you have to worry about concealing the raw edge of the plywood under the countertop's overhang.
The bullnosed laminated edge will drape down to cover the edge of the plywood - no?
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:02 AM   #7
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


i gotta hear this 1,,, a ' laminated edge ' on granite c-tops ? ? ? far's i know, directly on cabinets.

the bride 'n' i've been looking at granite for 2 wks now ( if it were my decision, we'd have been done on the 1st stop ) & NO ONE's mentioned ANY laminate,,, probably 'mite & bob're waitin' for this, too ? ? ?
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:23 AM   #8
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


I have seen Laminated bull noses edges on two cheaply fabricated tops. That's the only thing I can think of for the plywood base. the top dose look like crap with the seam running along the bull nose.
all my granite tops are 1" thick with no laminated edging.and sit right on top of the base cabinets.( with no plywood) BOB
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:42 AM   #9
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Most tops are 1" thick. Corian and other engineered stone installers often do what the OP's talking about with a thickened edge, but it is rare in granite, and it looks like hell when they do it with most granite.

Your plywood will show if not covered up by something. Better ask your installer how this will be treated.
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:10 AM   #10
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yesitsconcrete View Post
i gotta hear this 1,,, a ' laminated edge ' on granite c-tops ? ? ? far's i know, directly on cabinets.

the bride 'n' i've been looking at granite for 2 wks now ( if it were my decision, we'd have been done on the 1st stop ) & NO ONE's mentioned ANY laminate,,, probably 'mite & bob're waitin' for this, too ? ? ?
I should have said granite edge laminated (glued), rather than laminated edge.

With more research I see the two ways of doing the edge - also appears that a edge laminated with a overhanging piece is more common in the west (thinner slab), and just the edge done is more common in the east (usually a thicker slab). With just the edge done the granite indeed must sit directly on the cabinets.

That said, it appears in my case I am better off leaving the plywood as I am concerned of damaging the cabinets during it's removal. Also there is a drop in stove - removing the plywood would drop the finished counter height down and perhaps causing a differing height problem with where the stove and the countertop abutt.

Does this sound right?


Edge options...

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:26 AM   #11
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


are you getting this done by a legit dealer or is it a sub contract from Lowes or HD ??? cause this dont sound right to me or anyone else from what I am reading
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:52 AM   #12
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


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are you getting this done by a legit dealer or is it a sub contract from Lowes or HD ??? cause this dont sound right to me or anyone else from what I am reading
Local outfit that does their own measurements, templates, fabrication, installation, etc.

OK, let's make sure we are looking at this from the perspective if a retrofit to my existing cabinets and not a new cabinet installation. If I remove everything down to the cabinets: 1) I am concerned of damaging the cabinets, 2) I am removing about 1 3/4" of material - this will drop the finished height of the top of the new granite countertops creating a concern for matching height to the drop-in range. Are these not valid concerns?
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:19 AM   #13
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


The only problem that i see is the drop in. you will have to remove it for removing the mud and tile . so see if the drop in base shelf could be lowered a bit.

Last edited by buletbob; 09-30-2008 at 05:38 PM. Reason: shelf
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:15 AM   #14
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


can't judge your fabricator/installer's method/work/final product - that's on you,,, if they're using epoxy to attach an addl granite pc & they can polish out the adhesive line/jnt, more power to 'em,,, just because i never saw it doesn't mean it isn't possible.

cabinets normally have screws into the laminate c-tops from corner clips at the cabinet top corners,,, might possible have const adhesive, too.

note bob's advice.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:59 PM   #15
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Granite kitchen countertops replacing tile/mortar countertops - what to remove?


Warning!!!! If you do not maintain the standard 36" countertop height, many slide in and freestanding ranges will not fit.

I learned this the hard way after all granite and backspash tile was done and my new 1300 dollar slide in had to be replaced with a 3500 dollar freestanding (yeah that sucks but it was dual fuel and they ain't cheap). Otherwise we would have had to tear out all the granite and part of the backspash.

Moral of the story, please be careful that the top of your granite reaches the 36" standard countertop height or you might have range/stove problems.

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