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How to Avoid Granite Countertop Installation Problems with Trapped Appliances, Sinks and Backsplash

Knowing how to avoid problems is even more valuable than knowing how to solve them. If your considering replacing your countertops with new granite countertops, you are not alone. You may benefit by understanding and preventing problems before you have them simply by reading this article.

Granite Countertop installation problems and solutions

“Trapped Appliances, Composite sinks aka Granite Sinks and Milled backsplash”

Trapped Dishwashers  

Trapped dishwashers happen when flooring is installed “up to” cabinet bases, as opposed to having the cabinets set on top of the finished floor. An alternative is to use inexpensive plywood to raise the cabinets up to the height of the finished floor.  This is good for new installations but too late if your cabinets are already installed on the sub floor.

We get this call about once a quarter. It’s not an everyday problem. It is frequent enough to warrant awareness. Unfortunately the solution is always expensive. You have to sacrifice the counter or the floor in order to get the dishwasher out. After replacing the dishwasher you usually still have the same problem. Living in fear of appliance failure is not an easy feeling. Unless the cabinets are set at the same elevation as the finished floor this is a distinct possibility.

When your dishwasher fails, you will suffer a $500 or more repair or replace cost just for the dishwasher. The additional costs of flooring or countertop replacement can be avoided with proper planning. It’s like adding salt to the wound in that to correct the problem permanently, you have to tear the kitchen apart. Prevent this by insisting that the cabinets are at the same elevation as the finished floor.

Composite-Granite Sinks

Granite or composite sinks such as Blanco and Swan sinks require silicone instead

of plumbers putty to mount the strainer or other fixtures to the sink or the sink to the stone. The sinks can and do stain from Plumbers putty. The manufacturers themselves

will tell you not to use plumbers putty to mount the strainer/garbage disposer.


Some plumbers will use plumbers putty to mount sprayers, instant-hots and other

assorted deck mounted items. This will stain the stone. The answer is silicone.

Milled Backsplash

Customers that want thin (2CM) backsplash should select thin stone. Cutting 3 cm stone into 2 cm is risky and time consuming and expensive. Our stone is not priced to include thin milling. The reason why marbles come in 2CM and 3CM is that it’s possible. The reason why most granite species are 3CM thick is because if cut into 2CM slabs, the percentage that break under its own weight is too high for the quarry to remain profitable. If the quarry is not willing to make it in 2CM, why would we, or you, or your customer, want to take the risk?


1) Select a 2CM stone instead of 3CM. Understand the limitations of the material. Not all

    stone can be milled thin without breaking.

2) Cut and remove the drywall to recess the backsplash, by the thickness of the drywall.

3) Select a sink and faucet combination that actually fits the cabinet as opposed to

    cramming more items then actually fit the space.

4) Be honest with your self. If your bathroom is not big enough to accept a cabinet

    that is deep enough to allow the sink + faucet + the backsplash at the full thickness of

    the slab you choose. You may have to settle for a smaller than you might have liked

     sink bowl.

5) A tile backsplash instead of a solid piece of stone backsplash may match the rest of the

    bathroom better and solve the clearance problems?

Dan DiTomaso Stone Masters Inc. 515 School House RoadFeature Articles, Kennett Square PA 19348

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Dan DiTomaso Stone Masters Inc. 515 School House Road, Kennett Square PA 19348

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