Kitchen Upgrade: Installing Granite Countertops/Tile Backsplash

Published: 10th March 2009
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In the previous segment, Kim Chaney laid large travertine tiles to accentuate the kitchen floor. In this segment, Marc and Kim leave the installation of heavy pre-fabricated granite countertops to seasoned pros, and then get back to work by adding a beautiful stone tile backsplash.

flat bar
epoxy adhesive
power drill w/hole saw bit
grooved trowel
wet saw
hot glue gun
plastic template
paint roller

Granite Countertops and Granite Tile Tips:

When choosing a countertop, think of the abuse it will be subjected to. Natural stone is very desirable, but is porous and stains and scratches easily.

Be sure to seal natural stone counters regularly to best prevent staining.

Be sure natural stone tile is sealed before installation because grout is very difficult to remove from the porous surface of untreated stone.

Undermount sinks allow the most flexibility when it comes to positioning faucets. If you are using a self-rimming sink, check its number of faucet holes to be sure you buy a faucet that will fit it.
Safety Alerts:

Always wear latex gloves when handling caustic grout.

Always wear protective eyewear when working with power tools.
Countertops and Tile

Because pre-fabricated granite starts off cut to standard depths and bull-nosed, fabricators only need to make room for sinks and cut each piece to length (figure A). By submitting templates and selecting pre-fab granite over large slabs, the Chaneys save money in total fabrication costs. The total cost for fabrication and installation = $725.

When the installers arrive, Adam lends a hand as they carry the largest piece of granite into the kitchen. After applying an adhesive to the tops of the cabinet, they slide it into position (figure B). Next, they spread an epoxy adhesive (figure C) onto the top of the new sink and press it underneath the granite countertop using a long flat bar and clamps (figure D).

The installers also take time to drill holes for a new faucet fixture using a special cutting bit (figure E).

The professionals install the remaining smaller countertops and then spray on a protective granite sealant (figure F). To increase the longevity of the granite, the Chaneys make sure to apply this sealant annually.

Next, Adam and Marc move onto the installation of a beautiful stone tile backsplash. At a total cost of $568, the stone tiles are a pricey option, but one that adds a classic touch to the kitchen.

Starting in the middle of the wall and working outwardly, Marc spreads thinset onto a section of the wall with a grooved trowel. Then, he presses sections of tile onto the thinset (figure G). To fit the tiles around the windowsill and outlets, he measures and cuts tile sections using a wet saw (figure H). After setting a few sections, Marc supports the individual tiles from shifting out of alignment by inserting pieces of torn cardboard in between the seams (figure I).

To finish, Marc rubs grout into the seams of the backsplash (figure J). Along the perimeter of the backsplash, he applies beads of grout-colored silicone caulk for a fine-edged look.

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