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June 29, 2020

5 Tips to Beautiful DIY Granite Countertops 

granite countertopsAs kitchen granite countertops can come with quite the hefty bill, many people are choosing to take the do it yourself route to achieve the same attractive finish, but at a fraction of the cost. 

Though this may sound impossible, there is a trick to making it achievable.  Instead of using solid slabs of the stone, you can use tiles instead.

Tip 1 – Know what is involved

A home craftsman of intermediate skill should be able to accomplish this task without too much difficulty, but it will require you to do a significant amount of planning ahead of time in order to accomplish the project within a short amount of time and with a minimum amount of cash.   Keep in mind that a granite countertop project using tiles will require a good deal more than simply laying grout and tile overtop of the existing counter.  Contrary to the way vinyl tile is laid on a floor, putting in new kitchen granite countertops requires you to take out the old counter, as well as your sink, faucets, garbage disposal, and drain pipes.  You’ll even need to move your refrigerator and range.

Tip 2 – Use the right tools

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the right tools to accomplish each step to build your granite countertops.  By using the wrong tools, your project will take much longer than necessary and it will be a much larger struggle.  You also risk damaging the stone if it is not treated properly.  While buying all of the professional tools that are used by a contractor would cost more than the granite countertops themselves, many home renovation stores offer these same quality tools for rent, so that you can still tackle the job yourself without having to call in the pro.  You’ll likely need to rent tools such as a saw and diamond saw blade for cutting the tiles, a diamond-tipped drill bit (for faucet holes, etc.) and diamond polishing pads for the surface once it has been installed and grouted.

They key is to obtain all of the tools that you will need before you start to take the old counter away, so that your kitchen will remain useable for as long as possible.

Tip 3 – Use the right supplies

Of course, those tools are only useful if you’ve purchased the right supplies to make the type of granite countertops that you want.  The basics will include the stone tile, as well as the gluing, grouting, and sealing supplies, such as thinset mortar, unsanded grout, color matching caulk, plastic spacers, and a roll of fiberglass mesh for taping the seams of the tile backer.  Most of these, as well as the lumber and tile backer you’ll need for your decking, will be readily available at your local home reno supply store.

The best sized tiles to use for granite countertops are usually 12”x12”, so you can calculate about two and a half tiles for every linear foot of the counter, so that you can figure the number of tiles that you’ll need for both the top and the backsplash, as well as the front edge and any visible sides.

Tip 4 – Begin with the right base

With the old counter out of the way, you can install a base on the top of the cabinet, made out of ¾ inch plywood and tile backer.  You will be gluing the tiles to this surface in order to create the granite countertops appearance.  Also, this surface can be used for measuring out the tiles so that you can cut them to the right size to fit the counter perfectly.

Tip 5 – Start gluing, grouting, and sealing

Once you have the tiles cut to the right size, you can begin gluing them down and grouting between them, so that you will start to build the actual granite countertops that will become the finished product.  With that complete, you can seal the surface and then wait for it to thoroughly dry.

By taking the time to plan your project carefully, you can ensure that your granite countertops will not only be gorgeous when you install them, but they will remain that way for years to come.

Related Articles:

- The 6 Most Common Questions Asked About Installing Kitchen Granite Countertops
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Choose Prefab Granite Countertops
- The 5 Steps to Choose Granite Countertop Colors
- 6 Steps to Understanding What Granite Countertops Cost

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