One of the greatest features of granite as a countertop or a vanity top is that there is very little processing required. The natural material itself makes a perfect surface for these types of applications. But by the same token, granite isn’t naturally ready-cut for your project – this work must be done at the quarry, and in some cases on an installation job also. Check out the below information to learn more about how granite becomes countertop ready.
Granite is typically available in both slabs and tile, but is initially cut from huge blocks removed from the earth where the granite has formed over millions of years. It is removed by various means including the use of huge chisels that separate the granite from surrounding stone. This method involves loosening the granite at its natural joints, allowing it to be dislodged.
Cutting granite at the quarry
Once the granite is removed from the earth, it needs to be cut to size accordingly. This is typically done with wire saws that are often treated with a varying range of abrasives from sand to aluminum oxide to diamond, along with water which acts as a coolant. Other types of cutting devices are often used in tandem, or in the absence of these wire saws. Water jet cutting, for example, uses a focused, high-pressure stream to cut stone along specified cutting lines.
Once it has been established that the granite blocks are to be used for countertops and tile, they are cut and polished into the familiar forms for these purposes. The granite tile and slabs are calibrated to ensure that the thickness of the granite is uniform and gauged to make sure that they are square; tiles are beveled to produce their smooth edges. Once this part of the process is complete, they are ready for your project.
Granite at your site
Now that the granite countertops or granite tile have been obtained, they are ready to be placed on your base cabinets – the moment you’ve been waiting for! However, this involves a few steps to make sure that the granite surface is matched to fit your space – check the drawings and measurements of your installation space, and your sink and fixtures.
With regard to the granite slabs themselves, most of the cutting that has to happen will take place at the quarry, including spaces for sinks and fixtures, although sometimes it is done on site, or “in the field.” This can be somewhat of a messy job, if not for some key equipment used to cut down on the large amount of dust that comes from cutting granite for your countertop or vanity top.
Cutting equipment and me
One of the primary pieces of equipment the installer may use is a hand-held, diamond bladed radial saw with a vacuum attachment. This allows the installer to cut the stone with space for a sink and fixtures, while minimizing the mess created as the granite is cut. In the case of using granite tile for a countertop, a dry-run is often a way for an installer to measure what needs to be cut, and by how much. This means laying the tiles without fastening them to a base cabinet in order to make sure that the dimensions for a sink hole, for instance, are going to be accurate.
Templates of sinks and cook tops generally come with those items on purchase, and they will be extremely valuable resources for the installer in achieving the level of accuracy vital to a successful installation. Often, your installer will create a new template, based upon the measurements taken on site.
Once the measurements have been made, the granite countertop can be installed over a sub-counter that is usually fashioned out of plywood, with a vapor barrier between it and the granite. The granite is then held in place with the use of a grade 2-part epoxy, which can be mixed with the color resin that most closely matches your granite countertop, granite tile, or granite vanity top.
Ideas for leftover granite pieces
Once the job is completed, and if there has been some on-site cutting, you may find that there are some stray pieces of granite leftover. You need not consider this material as wastage; there are lots of ways to make the most of all of the granite, even the leftovers. For instance, many of these stray pieces of granite can be made part of a backsplash. Another great use of stray pieces of granite from your countertop project is custom-made coasters or elegant custom bread boards, once the edges have been honed to a smooth edge. Installers may have even more great suggestions along these lines, enabling you to make the most out of your investment in the granite you’ve chosen.
Granite is an extremely wise choice for countertops and vanity tops. Durable and attractive, granite countertops and vanity tops will add value to any property. When it comes to an attractive space truly reflecting refinement as well as one that will be long lasting, your granite project will definitely make the cut!Is granite the right type of material for your countertop?
Click here to take a look at our online selection of naturally beautiful granite countertops. Discover the right look for your kitchen or bath!