Granite countertop: production of artificial stone, granite chips for the kitchen, dimensions and installation of granite countertops, IKEA catalog
The granite countertop in the kitchen is a beautiful piece of natural stone. A granite countertop looks aesthetically pleasing in any interior, brings an element of luxury to the design of the room. In addition, it is practical, reliable, durable.
Among the wide variety of possible materials, many opt for granite.
Granite countertops in the interior of the kitchen
In modern kitchen design, stone countertops are very common. Such products become an adornment of any interior – both classic English style and ultra-modern: loft or minimalism. They give the room shades of good quality and solidity.
A presentable granite countertop will add an elegant antique look to the kitchen. At the same time, a wide selection of granite colors allows you to choose the option that best fits into the overall interior of a particular room.
Due to the excellent combination of metal and wood, the granite countertop fits perfectly into the kitchen interior with household appliances and furniture.
It is better not to match the color of the countertop to the kitchen furniture. In this case, beautiful material will simply be lost against the general background. The stone should be combined with furniture, but at the same time attract the eye.
Feature of Natural Granite for Kitchen Countertops
The working surface made of stone can be made in various shapes – round, oval, rectangular, asymmetric. The standard thickness of a granite slab is 30-50 mm, but if desired, a countertop of a different thickness can be made.
The pattern of granite countertops is always unique and inimitable. All blotches, stains are the creation of nature, so each plate has its uniqueness.
There is an opinion that granite is radioactive. In fact, residual radioactivity is present in any natural stone. Even concrete emits radiation no less than granite. At the same time, the level of radiation is ten times lower than the PDN. But, to be sure of your safety, you can use a Geiger counter when buying material.
Granite countertop looks stylish, sophisticated, and modern
They try to make the surface of the stone countertop seamless. But some granite blanks are limited in size. If large dimensions are required for the dining room kitchen in a private house, the countertop is made of several parts. To do this, the joints are carefully adjusted, then reinforced and processed. As a result, they become almost invisible.
Granite countertops can be:
- polished to a glossy finish;
- with a polished structure (matte and softer to the touch) – the pattern and color of the stone are clearly visible;
- canted (giving a noble old look, retro style);
- with heat treatment – the plate is roughened by a jet of high temperature gas.
According to the configuration of the tabletop, several options are made :
Countertops made of artificial granite (cast stone) are also offered. This is a material obtained from granite chips using polymer binders. It is warmer to the touch and can have a wide variety of colors. At the same time, such granite can not be distinguished in appearance from natural stone.
Granite goes well with wood and metal.
Granite is a very durable material with a unique structure of patterns. Its texture can be fine-grained or coarse-grained, and the colors can be varied, from light shades to black. Granite goes well with wood and metal. It is very difficult to scratch such a countertop due to the high hardness of the material – granite is second only to corundum and diamond. The plate is not damaged by cutting food on it without a cutting board.
It’s better not to do without a cutting board, because the knives will quickly become dull on a hard stone.
Granite is not afraid of either heat or cold. You can safely put hot dishes on it. In addition, it has such advantages as:
- abrasion resistance ;
- durability ;
- resistance to dirt, easy care.
If part of the countertop is damaged and needs to be replaced (which is quite difficult to achieve), then it will be quite difficult to find a suitable stone slab. After all, granite is a natural material with a unique texture and shade.
Another important drawback is the high cost of countertops. The labor-intensive and expensive manufacturing process, as well as the delivery and installation that require professional assistance, make granite countertops one of the most expensive ones, but if you want to save a little, order an acrylic countertop for the kitchen.
Granite is very hard. Fragile, poorly assembled furniture may not withstand the load of a block of granite. For the installation of such a work surface, the services of several people will be required. It will be difficult to move such a countertop during the renovation of the kitchen with your own hands.
If the countertop is not polished, the pores of the stone will absorb grease and moisture. Stains from them are difficult to remove. Such a countertop needs careful handling, timely cleaning, processing with protective agents.
What to look for when choosing
Before you buy a granite countertop, evaluate the quality
Manufacturers offer a wide range of designed models of countertops, and also provide the opportunity to create products from a stone block with a unique design of the most complex shapes at the request of the customer.
If you want the slab to look massive, but you don’t want to overpay, you can order gluing with a strip of the same stone.
It is best to choose a simple edge profile option – a roller, a semi-roller. This will ensure ease of care, and germs will not be able to accumulate in hard-to-reach bends.
When choosing a stone, take an interest in its resistance to mechanical damage, resistance to moisture, and temperature changes.
A high-quality countertop does not leave stains from water
For a kitchen worktop, it is best to choose polished granite. Thanks to this treatment, the pores of the stone are closed, it becomes less susceptible to moisture and pollution. The stone should be as dense as possible, otherwise, stains from grease and liquids are possible.
To find out the level of density, granite can be tested. Pour water and oil on the stone sample, leave for 20 minutes. Then rinse, wipe and see if there are any stains.
It is better to entrust delivery and installation to specialists since it is quite easy to break the product. Transportation of stone requires special equipment.
Do-it-yourself manufacturing and installation
Making a countertop at home is not easy – after all, the material is quite durable and heavy.
You can make a countertop from a sheet of artificial granite with your own hands. The standard proposed dimensions of a stone slab are 3660x760x12.5 mm. You will also need special glue, silicone, strips of moisture-resistant plywood 30 mm thick for the substrate.
If the marks on the stone are hardly noticeable, make them on the glued paper tape.
- After measuring the furniture of the desired kitchen project, a drawing and a plan for cutting the stone are made.
- Then markings are made on the reverse side of the sheet.
- It is more convenient to cut with a plunge-cut saw, leaving a margin of 5 mm.
- Next, the edges are cut off for the ends (usually 35-37 mm), and, if necessary, for the wall ledge (usually 30-60 mm).
- The resulting workpiece is trimmed with a milling cutter or hand saw with a guide. Then the workpiece is placed face down and a groove is made for the edge 2 mm deep.
- The edge glued to the cleaned and degreased surface is fixed with clamps.
- Dried glue residue is removed with a chisel.
- A strip of plywood 70 mm wide is mounted along the perimeter of the table top with silicone glue. Step back 2 mm from the edge and then fill this space with silicone to the level of the plywood for sealing. Also, plywood strips are glued at the joints of the countertop for extra strength.
- The strips are fixed with clamps and left to dry for 6-8 hours.
- The edge, as well as the wall ledge, are rounded with a milling cutter.
- To make the seams of the countertop perfect, it is better to use a sealer with a selection of dye. It is prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions and quickly applied to the edges of both plates, filling the pre-made slots. The composition hardens within 15-20 minutes, after which the seam can be sanded.
If cutouts are planned for the hob and oven or granite sink, a second layer of stone is glued on the back side at the corners. Holes are easily sawn with a jigsaw with a diamond blade.
Do not forget to make a cutout for the faucet (with a diamond-coated hole saw). In the end, the front surface is polished with abrasive skins.
It is not so easy to make a countertop whole, see how to process the seams of a granite countertop:
Mounting the plate
Before installing the countertop, it is necessary to level the kitchen set – the stove must lie flat and not stagger. For this purpose, a building level with a length of at least two meters should be used. At the same time, the number of reference points should be sufficient for the large weight of the structure (usually 1 sq. M of a 30 mm thick granite slab weighs about 95 kg).
It is advisable to seal the front side of the countertop with a protective film to avoid damage during installation.
It is better to perform installation on silicone sealant – if in the future it becomes necessary to replace the countertop, the cabinets of the kitchen set will not be damaged during dismantling, as is the case with glue.
- When cleaning granite, it is advisable to use products with a neutral acid-base balance, otherwise the polished surface may be destroyed.
- The use of abrasive cleaners is not recommended as they may damage the finish. For daily cleaning, a damp sponge or soft cloth is best.
- Spilled liquids should be removed not by wiping, but by blotting.
- Drops of water from the countertop should be washed off as soon as possible.
- If this is not done, a hard-to-remove sediment may remain between the crystals of the stone after the evaporation of moisture.
- To get rid of the stain left by the liquid, you can try to soak it for several minutes with hot water, then cover it with paper towels soaked in hot water (at least 5 mm thick), cover with a film, put a load and leave overnight.
- If this method is ineffective, you can try using acetone.
- Granite is a porous material. It is advisable to annually treat the surface with a special sealant that closes the pores and prevents contamination and staining with products.
- The table top is considered protected if the liquid spilled on it is collected in balls.
Read how to make a ceramic tile countertop – a little stubbornness and your kitchen with a twist.
But despite the difficulty of maintenance, granite countertops are becoming more and more popular.
If the installation of the countertop is done correctly, the kitchen worktop made of granite will last for many years. The owner will only need to follow simple rules for the proper care of natural stone and respect for it. This is a very good choice for the kitchen, the biggest drawback of which is, perhaps, its high cost. But beauty requires sacrifice, right?