Installing granite in your kitchen or bathroom is one of the best investments you can make for your home. However, it’s anything but easy. The process of choosing and installing granite can be very confusing and misleading. I’ve done a lot of granite installations and have learned how the process should work. Follow along here and get a few tips to help you maximize your investment as well.
Visit the showroom
Typical price ranges per square foot:
- Low end: $35 to $45
- Middle: $55 to $60
- Exotic: $65 and up
Choose your sink
The most common sink is a stainless steel undermount sink. I recommend buying a 16-gauge sink rather than the typical 18-gauge sink. The 16-gauge sink is a little thicker and will resist dents. Undermount sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes; think about your kitchen habits before choosing one.
Choose the edge profile
The edge profile is the design installed on the outer edge of the countertop. Different edges have different prices.
Decide on a backsplash
Decide if you would like to have a granite backsplash. The most common height is a 4-inch backsplash. Most kitchens today have a tile backsplash that starts at the countertop and continues to the upper cabinets.
Think about your faucet layout
The granite fabricator will need to know how many holes to drill in the granite, and may need to see a specification sheet on the faucet you choose. This photo shows an air switch disposal button. Pushing this button activates the disposal, eliminating the need for a standard switch. There is also a soap dispenser. I like to put the faucet in the center of the sink and the other items at the corners, just like in this photo. This way when you turn on the faucet, it will not feel cramped.
Visit a stone supplier
Go to a stone supplier to choose your slab. Your granite fabricator will locate full slabs of your selection, and you can pick out which stone will go into your home. Often these suppliers are not directly affiliated with the fabricators and they will not tell you the price of the stones you are viewing. This is why it is important to go to your fabricator’s showroom first or bring a price list from your fabricator with you.
There are larger granite companies that have large supplies of slabs in their showrooms, eliminating the need to visit a stone supplier. Personally, I prefer working with smaller companies and am willing to put up with this additional step.
The fabricators will visit your home and make a wooden replica of your new countertop. Here fabricator Andres Lenis shows how a template is constructed. It is important that you are there while the fabricators make the template. The fabricators will discuss where they will be putting seams, where the faucet will be located, how much of an overhang you would like and what type of radius you want on the corners. There are always questions that come up that no one has thought to ask yet.
After the template is complete, the fabricators will take it back to the fabrication shop.
Take another trip to the fabrication shop after the template is made. You can tell the fabricators which parts of the stone you want to use. In this photo, Soma Stoneworks manager Ron Miller and Lenis display which part of the stone they plan to use. This requires more work on your part, but it is definitely worth it. Don’t take the easy way out and try to do it through email and pictures. You will not be able to get a true view of the stone. You can also discuss the best ways to join the seams.
The fabricator will bring the slabs to your home and set them in place. Miller and Lenis are installing a small piece here. Larger slabs will require a direct line into the house, minimizing the distance the installers will need to carry it.
A standard kitchen will take a few hours to install. You will usually have to wait about 24 hours before you can install the faucet and connect the sink drains.
Enjoy your new countertops
Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come.