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Unread 07-25-2009, 09:50 PM   #1
Neil V.
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Granite Tile Counter Install - General Questions - DIY'er

Hi, all!

My original plan was to have Home Depot come out and install the new High Definition formica countertop for $1,200. Then, a couple weeks ago it struck me that maybe I COULD have granite at a reasonable cost, if I used tile. Ever since i've been planning and reading and thinking and even dreaming about how to get this done. My projected project cost for 45 square feet of countertop space is between $700 and $1100. Still well worth it in my mind. I've found this forum to be the absolute beginning and end on tile how-to. However, there are still a couple issues that aren't yet clear to me.

Attached are two pictures of what I will be tiling. It's a small kitchen of approx. 45 square feet of countertop. Cabinets are new. There will be a bar with a planned 10" overhang over the blue tarped area. The stove goes between the small 12" stand alone cabinet and the corner, and a refrigerator goes one the left of the small 12" stand alone cabinet. The sink will go in the bar area.

My plan, in this order:

1. 3/4" ext. grade ply - bought - will attach to cabinets from bottom via L-brackets, or corner brackets, or 1 1/2's x 1 1/2's. not sure.
2. thinset - plan to buy cheapest available at home depot, probably white
3. 1/2" hardi-backer - bought - will attach to ply from above with 1 1/4" hardi-backer screws, every 4"
4. thinset - I still need to find out the right color (light or dark) and was advised by a tile shop to use a special/premium brand that will not be visible through the tile and will not stain.
5. Granite tile - 3/8" thick, 12"x12" Color: New Venezia Gold from The Tile Shop. It's a few dollars more per square foot, but from what i've heard about the potential for variation in size and surface, it seems to be worth it to go through a specialty store and get what I *think* is a higher quality stone.

To finish the edging of the tiles, I am planning to have a local shop profile or round the top field stones and round the inner/outer corner 2" facing pieces. Cost: $7-10/linear foot.

Backsplash will be 3" or so high. I plan to purchase matching granite pencil molding to cap it. Not sure how thick that comes, so my backsplash backer will be either just Hardi-Backer or both Hardi and some ply.


Q1. The second attached picture is of the different types of brackets i'm considering to use to secure the 3/4" ply-wood to the cabinets. Any recommendations on which works best, or what to avoid? Perhaps i'm in overkill mode. I'm picturing making at least four connections per cabinet (approx. 22 in all).

Q2. I have a run of 24" for a dishwasher that has no support. I'm guessing a 1 1/2" x 2" piece of lumber covering that span from left to right will fit behind the dishwasher, at the top. Will this provide enough support?

Q3. I also have a run from side to side of 30" (sink) and 36" (blind corner cabinet) that have supports only where there is cabinet wall. Should this get some kind of additional support? (not sure this is even possible in the 30" sink cabinet)

Q4. What type of overhang support is recommended? I was just at home depot and saw the wood 'L' shaped supports. They looked a little flimsy or decorative. Any best practice here?

Thanks in advance for any help and guidance. Sorry to be so long winded!
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Unread 07-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Neil. I would go with two sheets of 3/4 plywood. That will give you more strength and more edge for the face piece.

I don't know how deep you cabinets are but it's a good idea to either hang the plywood over the cabinet edge 1/2 to 3/4 or add a piece of CBU to the front. We always try to get the finish granite out flush or beyond the drawer fronts.

1. The brackets are fine, which ever seem to work best. We usually nail down thru the plywood into the edge of the cabinet plywood. The brackets sure won't hurt anything.

2. Use a piece as big as you can that won't get in the way of the dishwasher.

3. Add support where you can. With two layers of ply, you should be okay.

4. Corbels are used sometimes for supporting the overhang. Make sure nobody sits on the edge.
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Unread 07-26-2009, 09:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Davy!

I kind of procrastinated the day away, so no cuts were made to the ply. I did order the dishwasher from Best Buy. Decided to wait until i could put it in place before adding support around it. It should be in in a few days. Also purchased a new saw blade ($6) and a 5' straight edge ($10) for making my lines on the ply and hardi, whenever that may be.

Double layers of 3/4", eh. Not what I was hoping to hear. 'Friend withTruck' did his good deed for me last week and helped transport the ply and hardi-backer. Not sure i'll be able to do this. Was planning on single layer of 3/4" ply- based off what the tile shop promotes as the 'preferred system' for installing their tiles. Hmmm.......

I believe I was thinking the same overhang setup as you describe. I wasn't sure how far the ply would need to come out, but in doing the math a 1/4 inch sounds about right to end up with a 1" overhang (except where the tile meets an appliance, in which case it will need to be recessed 3/4" or so in order to keep it flush with the cabinet). A 1" overhang SEEMS about right to me.
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Unread 07-28-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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Dimension Stacking

It's cut plywood and backer board time. I'm a little nervous. Was hoping to get some feedback on whether or not my dimensions seem right. I'd like to know ahead of time to ensure I don't end up with a 6" tile or a 2" thick backsplash. Also, it's imperative to know now so I can get the areas touching appliances to be exactly flush. You guys know, the usual concerns (from a newb).

Note: in my diagram I am keeping the 3/4" ply flush with the cabinet (again, except where it will meet an appliance, in which case it will be recessed a distance equal to the length of the overhang).

Q1. Do my mortar thicknesses seem right? This seems very difficult to manage, especially on the caps/sides.

Q2. Any other concerns or issues with the drawing? Something I might be missing prior to cutting the ply?...........like I said, i'm a little hesitant...

Thanks in Advance!
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Unread 07-28-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
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That looks pretty good to me, but you should use Redgard over the Hardi to waterproof it.You wouldn't need the thinset between the plywoods either,maybe gorilla glue if you want.Are you able to polish the edges of the granite overhang yourself or can you have it done,or re you gonna leave them raw?
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Unread 07-29-2009, 05:21 AM   #6
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Thanks, Davestone!

I will look into/read up on the Redgard over lunch today. Not sure what that is exactly, or it's thickness. I've heard it's name quite a bit here in the forums.

As for the edges, I am planning to take the tiles to a local shop to polish. I considered doing it myself and purchsasing the equipment but decided to outsource. If time were a little less of an issue I might still tackle it. I would love to have the tools and be able to help friends out with projects.

The tile I am planning to purchase offers a nice ogee edge that gets glued on, but it will DOUBLE the price of the tile material. I will go with either a rounded edge top tile, or a bevel cut. I was leaning towards bevel but saw Davy's bullnose he did for someone with an undermount sink and it looks pretty darn good. So now i'm reconsidering the finish. I'll have more questions regarding the softening options of the inner/outer corners as I get closer.

I understand to each his own, but Aesthetically speaking, are there any general recommended dimensions for:
1. Overhang
2. Thickness of Counter
3. Thickness of Backsplash
4. Bar Overhang Length
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Unread 07-30-2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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Ah, Redgard, paint on water-sealer. Of course. Maybe a little dab on the ply above the dishwasher too, for good measure. Thanks!

For what it's worth, I think I would have purchased my underlayment a little differently it I had to do it again. I'd go with two layers of 3/4" ply (as I know see frequently recommended on here) and one layer of 1/4" Hardie Backer. I thought I had done my homework, but apparently I was swayed by the tile shop and other website recommendations.

I'm bracing the heck out of the counters where I can, but don't have to many choices at the sink and dishwasher (which are right next to each other). I think I need to choose wisely the type of overhang support I use.
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Unread 07-30-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
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Here's a pic of some of the reinforcement i've added to the cabinet. It's pretty intense in my opinion.
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Unread 08-03-2009, 10:05 AM   #9
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First layer of ply is cut (3/4").

Any tips on how to address reinforcing the countertop from sagging over the dishwasher and sink?

I was thinking of using large metal 'L' brackets, 6" or so in each direction to cut down on the void (from 24" to 12"). Mind you, both the sink and dishwasher are on a peninsula. The dishwashwer does not allow room for anything more than a 1/4" pc. of ply to run across the top. The back allows for a 1x2 though.

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 08-03-2009, 10:25 AM   #10
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In regards to using 12x12 granite tiles and 2" or so cut tiles for the edging: I can't seem to find more than one photo example with a bullnose (rounded) or chamfer edge. Also, have not seen any picture examples of different inside and outside corners (miter, etc.) options. I'd really like to see the difference in each look.

If anyone could point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Unread 08-03-2009, 03:59 PM   #11
TileArt1
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Here you go Neil:

Granite Tile Countertop Installation in Fort Colliins, CO

I have inside, mitered corners, outside corners, just about everything on those counters. I just finished grouting so it has some "framing" going on with the grout lines. The granite looks MUCH better in my opinion with smaller grout lines but it's what the customer wanted - whaddya gonna do?
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Unread 08-03-2009, 04:04 PM   #12
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You may want to check out this company. I've talked to them about a project and they seem to be straight shooters and their site does all the work for you.

http://easygranitetile.com/
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Unread 08-05-2009, 10:28 AM   #13
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Thanks! to you both for providing the links. Some great examples! I have a better idea what the radius looks like now and how to optimize the look.

So I have yet to see a granite tile countertop with a chamfer edge. The tile shop I spoke with gave this as an option. Any pictures of this would be great, as I was leaning towards a chamfer with slight round.

Thanks again!
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Unread 11-23-2009, 11:14 PM   #14
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Granite Slab Installation Issues - Fissure, Crack, Chip, Dull Spot

Hi again. Well, I changed up my plans and decided for an extra $650 to just have granite slab installed. I sure did learn a lot making my attempt at the tile!

I have a little bit of a dilemma now though that I'm hoping the professionals here can can come through once again. I declined to sign the waiver of job acceptance or to pay the second half of the bill after the installation was complete due to some issues in material handling/fabrication. The company I am working with came highly referred through multiple people. I know of 4 jobs they have done for others that look great. The fabricator, who i've already called, wants to come out and take a look at the issues.

1) The main issue is a crack running from the inside sink edge to the front ogee edge. It's thin and noticeable only from certain angles. However, you can feel it with finger tips very well and with a nail pretty well. I can't see evidence of it continuing under the slab, just up each side and across. What makes me think it's a crack and not a fissure is that it runs in the opposite direction of the grain and that it just happens to be in the weakest part of the stone. ((((photos 1,2, 3))))

2) Another issue I was not to pleased with is a chip on a corner that was filled in on-site. I was able to take pictures prior to the installer fixing it. I will say he did a pretty darn good job concealing it, but it's still noticable. ((((photo 4))))

As a day or two passed the next two issues started to bother me as well....

3) The ogee edge is frustratingly dull over a 5' stretch. It looks like two different stones when looking at the edge and the adjacent top. I've read it's tough to polish an ogee edge, but since a nice shiny job was done on 75% of it, why shouldn't I expect it on 100%? Maybe someone can confirm that this can be better polished pretty easily on-site, making it a non-issue? ((((photo 5))))

4) Lastly, it appears the back splash was not cut from directly behind the counter top. One area has a large 'splotch' that doesn't seem to fit. I honestly don't remember if it was present on the stone I picked out, but it just doesn't seem to fit in it's current location. Not sure how prevent this or what one could do about it?

So I guess i'm asking if these items are justification enough to ask for the job to be redone? This is not my first choice, mind you. My thought is simply that I paid for a stone that was not chipped and was not cracked, and had equally shiny ogee edges. I believe myself to be a reasonable/fair person, so i'm looking forward to hearing your guys' thoughts. I will say that I pay more attention to detail than the average person, and at times this makes me think i might be overly critical. Thanks for any guidance provided!!

-Neil
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Unread 11-24-2009, 11:23 AM   #15
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(((Mods, please feel free to move this question if you think it doesn't belong here any longer. Thanks!)))
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