6 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW/DO BEFORE INSTALLING NEW KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
Bonus: Infographic checklist at the bottom
Stone countertops are a hot home improvement item in 2016. Granite, Quartz, and natural stone tile counters are every homeowners dream upgrade. Stone is a timely process from production to fabrication and installation yet well worth it at the end. Here is a comprehensive kitchen countertop installation checklist with bonus infographic to ease the process for you.
Picking out a Slab
This is one of the most crucial steps in the whole process. Slow down, don’t rush, take your time. Visit a slab yard that is recommended by your fabricator or installer, and that has a wide variety and selection of different options. Before visiting a slab yard spend some time on Pinterest or Houzz and narrow down the exact coloring and pattern you want (save these images). Take pictures of the slabs you like (for record) and compare with what you are looking for.
Tip: Make sure you know the type of stone material that is right for you. Marble stains easily and is never recommended for a kitchen area. Granite and quartz are the go to material for kitchen counters. Although porous granite can often stain and etch as well (run your hand down the stone to ensure it’s not too porous). Spend some time researching stone materials online. Know the material that’s right for you before you invest tons of money.
Templates are an important step in the stone installation process. Stone being as pricey of an investment as it is makes the template process very detail oriented. As one small mishap can potentially cost thousands of dollars. Before your fabricator comes out to do a measurement and template ensure that the following items are taken care of (from your end). To make the process easy and as quick as possible (for everyone).
- Make sure countertops are installed (if new), level, square, and secured to wall/floor
- All appliances and sinks must be in place for accurate template
- Existing countertops are clear of any items and clean ready for template
The fabricator/installer will schedule a date and time that is convenient for you to come out and template your counters. This is done in one of two ways, some installers/fabricators still use the old school method by creating a physical template of your countertops while others have begun using a digital approach (digital scanner that measures the dimensions and creates a digital template).
This is the easiest step for you, since you don’t have to do anything (hopefully). After taking measurements and creating a template for your countertops, your fabricator will begin working on fabricating the stone that you have selected prior when you visited a slab yard. After the fabrication is done the stone will be ready to install on the day you have selected.
Tip: Find a fabricator/installer that is willing to help you from A-Z; picking up the slab from the slab yard, creating a template, fabricating, and then installing. Having one installer or fabricator that can do everything will save you tons of headaches. Stone countertops are heavy and delicate upon transportation and thus will require professional attention. You don’t want to work with someone who only helps you with one piece of the puzzle and leaves the rest up for you to decide.
Preparation for Installation
Prior to installation there are a few things that you should take care of to prevent hold ups and make the installation process easier for both you and the installer.
- Remove your old countertops (if this isn’t something your installer agreed to help with)
- Disconnect and remove your sink (plumbing included)
- Disconnect and remove appliances that are in the way
- Make sure the area is clean and clear… ready for installation
By taking care of the above four things, you will guarantee that the process is easy and hassle free for everyone. You already know that the process is laborious, don’t make it any more difficult or expensive than it already is.
Words of caution: Having a clean and clear area is important, it will safeguard against accidental breaks and cracks of the stone during installation. The cleaner the surface and work area the less likely any damage will happen to the stone.
During the Installation process
This is also something you shouldn’t worry too much about. Hire a trusted professional and this process will be worry free and taken care of for you. Here are a few things to watch out for or do that will be helpful for yourself and the installer.
- Cover vents and doorways to living areas; stone installation can be a dirty and dusty process and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind not having it spread all over the house.
- Also consider covering furniture that is surrounding the work area to keep dust away.
- Move expensive things away from work area; appliances, electronics, antiques, personal items.
- Keep kids and pets away, the work area can be dangerous and harmful.
After the installation is done, it’s not over yet. All of the appliances that you moved out of the way must be put back now. The sink must be put back in, the plumbing reconnected, and all of the electrical work reconnected. Make sure you have this arranged prior to completion of installation so you don’t have to wait. After the completion of a stone slab installation there may be dust surrounding the work area. This should be wiped up and/or vacuumed as soon as the job is completed.
Don’t forget to discuss warranty information with your fabricator and installer before you sign any contracts or agree to a job. Know your facts, know the manufacturers warranty information on the specific stone slab you are purchasing and know what the warranty covers. Since Granite and many other stones have natural fissures these will not be covered under a warranty. Stains, etching, and discoloration are also generally not covered by warranty. Ask these questions of your fabricator and installer so that you know what you’re covered for before you invest tons of money.
One more thing: Now that you have a brand new stone countertop, please take care of it. The biggest thing that homeowners fail at is using cutting boards or trivets. Just because it’s a natural stone doesn’t mean it won’t damage. Keep hot pots and pans off the stone, and your new stone counters will serve you for ages.
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