Preparing For Your Granite Countertop and Undermount Sink Installation October 30th, 2009
Too often a new countertop installation is delayed for a reason that could have been avoided. Here are a few things for you to consider before your installation appointment with your stone countertop fabricator.
Be home for your template appointment.
In the best of cases, the countertop fabricator sends a person to the home to measure (or "template") the existing countertops and make a pattern for the new ones. It is always a good idea to have someone at the home to make sure the small details are taken care of at that time. Don't be shy, ask plenty of questions about the project while they are there. Also, this is the time to let them know of any changes in size or shape you want from the existing countertops. Don't call them a few days before your installation with ideas for changes. It will be too late then.
Your new countertop will probably be a different thickness than your current countertop.
Small angles, corners, and wood trim are all things that should be taken into effect at that time. Granite countertops cost too much money to get a surprise which could be avoided. Keep in mind that almost any new countertop, granite or other hard surface, is not going to be the same thickness as your existing countertop. This can create a problem where the wall paper or tile you are not planning to replace no longer meets the new countertop on the back wall.
Don't let them take your countertops... it isn't necessary.
Most fabricators use cardboard or a similar material to make the templates of your countertops. In some instances the fabricator will want to take the existing countertops back to the shop to use as templates. This doesn't happen often because it isn't necessary, and it leaves the homeowner without cabinet tops for up to two weeks. A competent fabricator will not leave you without countertops.
Don't wait until the last second to order your undermount sink and/or faucet.
If you are providing the sink and or faucet for the job, be sure to have it there in time for the template man to take back to the shop with him. He may not need the faucet, but he should take the sink with him. It is important, especially if you are using an undermount sink, that he check the template for cutting the undermount hole at the shop against the sink to make sure everything fits. If the hole for the undermount sink is cut wrong it can create a never ending list of problems. If you are ordering an undermount sink off of the internet, give it plenty of time to arrive. Our undermount sinks usually ship the same day they are ordered and should deliver within two to five business days. Inspect the sink when it arrives. When the fabricator needs the sink it is no time to find out that the supplier shipped the wrong one or that it was damaged in shipping.
Remove your drawers and watch your floor.
On installation day, before the installer arrives with your tops, remove the upper drawers from the cabinets and cover the contents in the lower drawers with old towels or something similar. When the old countertops are removed, debris will fall and the covering will make cleanup much easier. Make sure the workmen cover up the floor that will be traveled from the truck to the kitchen. Small pieces of stone in work boots will leave a nasty gouge in a nice hard wood floor. Before the install starts, tell them not to cut any stone in the house. It makes a very find dust which you will be finding for months after the install.
Do not wipe out the dust in your new undermount sink.
In granite installations, the holes for the faucets are often drilled on the jobsite after the sink is installed. This will make dust, but it is normally controlled with the water used to keep the temperature of the drill bit down. The wet dust runs down into the sink and needs to be sprayed out carefully and with plenty of water. The dust is a very strong abrasive and will scratch the surface of your new undermount stainless steel sink.
You might need longer screws for your outlet and switch covers.
If you are going to use any 3/4 inch backsplash, it is sure to be thicker that what you are replacing. If there are any light switches or electrical sockets to be covered, the switch plates will no longer fit using the original screws. The screws will all need to be replaced with longer ones.
This is just a handful of things to consider before your new countertop installation. The point is to plan ahead and don't be hesitant to ask questions. Get involved. With the best of planning there will be plenty of obstacles to overcome.
Good luck on your project!