Granite, Marble, Soapstone Countertops - Buyers Guide
Do It Yourself?
Is Do It Yourself Possible or Even a Good Idea?
It can be done if you have some reasonable carpentry-type skills and you can order ready made countertops off the internet. But beware - granite is very heavy (a typical slab weighs over 1000 lbs) and shipping costs can add up quickly. You'll also need a lot of help to install this heavy material and unless it is handled very carefully it can crack and break, particularly around sink and cook-top cut-outs. You'll also need some specialized supplies and tools and diamond blades and polishing discs get expensive very, very fast!
Then there's the problem of making accurate measurements. All professional installers will make templates of your actual kitchen or bathroom rather than rely on simple measurements. Heritage Stonecraft uses a digital laser-based system. That's because very few homes, walls and cabinets are actually square, especially if it is more than a couple of years old. There's also the issue of ensuring your cabinets are completely level and straight to make sure the granite won't bend and crack. Professional fabricators also embed strengthening rods into most granite at cut-out locations to strengthen the countertop and minimize the risk of breakage during transportation and installation. Plus you have to address seams, or joins, in the granite. This takes a lot of care if you want a professional job. And.... the tools to work with granite are very costly. A simple diamond core bit (to drill a faucet hole) can cost more than $100!!
So – it can be done, but find someone to at least give you good advice and even assistance. Don't rely only on the advice of the company wanting to sell you a pre-fabricated countertop over the internet! They will tell you it is easy.
A new innovation in the marketplace is for granite suppliers to import pre-finished countertops from overseas, but is only usually effective for large scale commercial work.