How to Avoid Granite Countertop Installation Problem with Trapped Backsplash
It is popular to replace your laminate countertops with granite countertops. When an existing tile backsplash comes down to meet the existing countertop, the odds of the new one just slipping right into place are very low. Here are some options to solve that dilemma.
How to avoid Granite Countertop installation problems.
“Granite Countertop Trapped Backsplash”
Trapped Countertop backsplash
When remodeling a kitchen it is common to want to replace the laminate countertops, but still keep the existing tile backsplash.
Once you remove the Formica countertops or other laminate counter you will usually find about a 1.5 inch gap between the cabinet and the tile. The new stone is most frequently 1.25 inches thick so the obvious answer is to build up the cabinets by ¼ inch and it should all fit just perfect. If the Formica has the 4 inch build in backsplash then you will find a 5.5 inch gap between the cabinets and the bottom edge of the tile.
It works perfectly in theory, but not at all in reality. Unlevel cabinets, inconsistent stone thickness, shims to level the stone’s seams or make up for settled cabinets are all contributing to why it is unrealistic to assume it will fit.
As a granite countertop fabricator, this is a gamble that we are not willing to take. The odds are stacked against us. Although, it does work sometimes, it is not often enough to embrace the practice as “okay”.
One solution is to pay about $300 to remove and replace the existing tile with fresh drywall. If you’re getting new counters get a new backsplash at the same time. It’s a bit of an up-sell, but it sure beats cracked and damaged tile by just hoping it will fit.
Replacing the first row, using a ¼ round ceramic, porcelain or stone trim to hide the gap or installing a 4 inch backsplash in front of the tile are other options. None are without their own challenges or costs, but should all be investigated before removing the previous countertop.
Other Trapped Backsplash Stone
The primary example of trapped stone is the 4 inch backsplash that is trapped between the counter and the bottom of the pre-existing tile backsplash. Another example is the fireplace hearth and accompanying surrounds may be trapped by the molding that is usually already in place. Finally, another frequent place to find trapped stone is in kitchen that has a raised bar tops. The piece of stone that sits on top of the counter but under the raised top is called a “Riser”. Risers may require a second trip. Two dimensional work is just length and width critical. 3D, or three dimensional stone work are length, width and height critical. When the stone to be installed is “trapped” it will require a 2nd template and 2nd installation over 75% of the time. It is safer to plan on the 2nd trips then to assume it will just work out.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan DiTomaso Stone Masters inc. 515 School House Road, Kennett Square Pa 19348