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Tego
08-10-2004, 02:50 AM
Hello all,
First let me thank you for all the wonderful advice I have found in your forums.
I will try to be as thorough as possible, please let me know if you need any other information.
My new home will be completed in a few months. Since the builder quoted an unspeakable cost for granite slab counters, it will have a tile kitchen counter. I have located a distributor that sells pre-fabricated counters from China crated, and shipped with a very competitive price. The kitchen has one long counter along the wall (rectangular shaped) and a center island with a 30deg kink on one third of it (I have schematics and dimensions if it helps). The island will have to be in 2 pieces, with the seam at the center of the kink.
The kitchen cabinates are being installed in the new house in the next 7 days or so, so I have the opportunity to measure the top board before they lay tiles on it.
I am debating between 2 granite colors (moss green & St. Cecilia- attched pics). I visited the seller and saw some samples. It comes pre-setup complete with bull-nose and under-mount sink cutout (unless I instruct to leave them out)
1st question: Should I remove the tile or install on top of it?
2nd: Any recommendations between the 2 granites?
3rd: I have found resistance from local installers who want to sell the slab in order to install it. So I am considering doing it myself, my background is a lifetime of DYI and a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
4th: I am research freak, any advice, links, or books you can recommend will be happily consumed.

Again, thanks for your help.

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mrbill5
08-10-2004, 04:39 AM
Go to http://www.natural-stone.com/phorum/list.php3?num=1&

Lots of info on "granite" slabs. It is a real eye opener.

Do a search on how to pick "granite." It is much more involved than just
picking out a color. Has to do with acid etching and stain resistance.


mrbill5

Steven Hauser
08-10-2004, 07:44 AM
The interesting thing is that the Santa Cecelia is Brazillian.

Most of the lighter color stones have a higher rate of absorption.

I'll tell you this.

First, I own a a natural stone and Zodiac fabrication faclity.

Second, You might as well plan on installing the material without a shops help. We wouldn't want to get involved either.

From a moderators position. I will tell you that there are many many complaints about prefabbed counters.

Practically it should go like this.

If you can get the material and not have to modifiy it then I think you can do it. Treat it like glass, carry it on end and make sure it is supported in the middle.

Be sure that every thing is flat.

If however you have to modify edges, corners or make lots of cuts then I say don't do it.

I don't understand the question about tile counters. If the cabinets are not installed just tell the builder to not install the tile.

Tego
08-10-2004, 09:29 AM
Steven,

Leaving the tile off the counters is not an option. Housing in our city (Fresno, CA) is exploding through the roof, which has resulted in builders having more business than they can take. And in return they have become less and less flexible or logical. I also wanted the floor tile off, and I didn't ask for a refund, they still wouldn't do it.
So that's why I am asking if I can install it on top of it (maybe removing the edge tiles, or its better to remove it all and come down to the wood board?

Thanks for your insight by the way.

Unregistered
08-10-2004, 09:36 AM
Hi Tego,

I installed 43 lin ft of pre fab granite in our house and I can give you a bit of DIY'er perspective.

I purchased the granite from a place in the Oakland Ca area called doityourselfgranite.com If I ordered a minimum number of slabs shipping was free and cutting tools were included. These were inexpensive tools that have a limited life span but were effective in cutting. The slabs were 8' long so I HAD cut to fit. I also received 2 grinders a conical stone for use with the grinder, a couple of diamond coreing bits for the faucet holes and a number of diamond blades were thrown in. I purchased polishing pads that are designed for use with a air powered, water fed grinder. These are around $200 for the set. I purchased a variable speed disk sander and a smaller backer pad to match the size of the polishing pads.

First off this stuff is very heavy. If you are cutting and polishing you will need to put together a table to work on. I used a couple of saw horses, 2 4x4's a piece of plywood from the crate the granite came in and covered it in styrafoam. I didn't invest in any water feed tools so I rigged a reducer from the garden hose down to some 1/4" tygon tubing and aimed it at the cuts. Cutting and polishing is very time consuming. Have the sink hole done for you and you save a bunch of time and effort. I spent 3 days on 2 undermount sink holes. All this work with water makes a mess on you and in the yard.

This portion of the remodel probably took me 6-8 weeks. A lot of time spent just waiting for friends to become available to help move the slabs. And once they helped move one I didn't see them for while. A slab dolly might be a good investment.

I would not consider installing on top of tile. Too much work for potential problems. I used 3/4" ext grade ply on the cabinets.

After I started this whole thing I thought I mght be in over my head and tried to get some estimates for completion. 2 guys came for estimates but neither would take the job. They did give me some tips that helped though.

I purchased a sample set from the granite dealer and tried to stain and etch different colors before I made the purchase. Although color was the only reason we got what we got. My wife liked it and that was what she wanted.

This place has tools that you may need.
http://www.rossinimarble.com/

The only complaint I had with the pre fab stuff is that on my last piece to install the thickness (3/4") was not consistent from front to back. This made it impossible for the butt joint to match up to the adjacent slab and the seam was pretty noticable. I also had the bull nose snap off in my hand while moving 2 slabs. That may have been my fault though.

I'm not sure I would try a job that large again. The biggest problem is just moving the stuff. I did just purchase a 3'x8' "scrap" from a local stone dealer for the bathroom I am working on. When the delivery truck showed up with no crane on it my back suddenly felt sore....

Good luck
Tim

Tego
08-10-2004, 01:14 PM
Tim,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience, it was a real eye opener.
With that information in mind, I am inclined to order everything pre-cut and pre-drilled, so I do not have to do any work on the granite except seal it.
With presice measurement, and some pre-planning, I think I might be able to order everything so I can place it on the counter, glue it, attach fausset and so on, thats it. The vendor has no problem with delivering something that matches my CAD specs and will replace at his cost if it does not adhere to my dimensions. I plan on using a sink that has enough clearance between the edge and the fauset holes that I don't need to drill the granite to install it
I also plan on renting a suction rig that I've seen contractors use to lift heavy slabs or glass to help with installation. We used one in machine shop in Engineering School and seems like it made life easier.
Does this sound like a good plan?
I am still unclear on whether I can install it on top of the new tile, or I should remove it first?
And should I look at different sealer based on which of the two granites I use?
Finally, the green moss color is out now, and replaced with a choice of the St Cecilia or the Verde Ubatuba, any recommendations as to which is a better technical choice?

John Bridge
08-10-2004, 06:09 PM
Hi Fadi, Welcome aboard. :)

Stone expert I am not, but I agree with Tim that it's not worth taking a chance on installing over existing tile. You have no idea as to how well the tile might be bonded, etc. If I were going to go to the trouble of installing my own stone slabs (I wouldn't. :) ) I would want to start from the ground up as it were.

TimmyB
08-10-2004, 11:02 PM
Hey Fadi,

I missed logging in on my last post..I guess the new version/ server didn't remember me ...anyway

If you got drawings and the fabricator will work to them thats great. No real investment other that the granite and installation materials. I wish I had accurate drawings when I started my project. The sink holes were going to cost an additional $400 ea and I wasn't exactly sure where they would be so I went with doing it myself...He threw in the tools, it was my 3 days..I learned..

Definetly anything that makes moving slabs without you picking it up is recomended. They are heavy...

We purchased something called Uba Verde, which is very much like your attached picture but a tiny bit darker, lots of pearl chunks in it. I see it locally called Verde Ubatuba. It has held up well. No stains or etching of any kind. We purchased a sealer (Sprint) from the dealer that was very flamable smelling. I had fans going and all the windows open hoping not to blow up my new kitchen. We waxed after that also using a wax purchased from the dealer, (Bellinzoni). Wax and remove with steel wool ..it"s work but really shines when complete. We wax yearly,,,could probably do it after 9 months. Make sure you get the 2 part epoxy AND colorant for the seams. Our epoxy was also a Sprint product from Italy.

I will attach a picture tomorrow from work. I can't seem to reduce a picture at home.

Tim