Thursday, 27 September 2012
I bought granite a couple of weeks ago to replace my kitchen's ugly 45-year-old Formica countertops, which you can barely glimpse in the above photo from 2009. (Xanga editor is being particularly annoying today; I've tried several different means to put this photo elsewhere in the post.)
Seconds & Surplus sells eight-foot granite pieces with three finished edges for only $150 each (depending on color). You can see their bins of granite beyond the truck. They also lend you a rack to stand them in the back of your truck or van. I needed two since my counter is about ten feet long. I strapped them down so they wouldn't move.
I tore off the old counters a week ago, and a friend helped me work with the granite. Our first attempt was a fiasco; after we cut out the sink hole (using a nifty little circular saw with a water-hose attachment to wet the blade, $80 from Lowe's), the granite broke when we picked it up. We figured we could glue the breaks, so we carried it inside... and discovered that I had marked the hole in the wrong spot!
On our second try, we cut rectangles to go left and right of the sink, and strips to go in front and behind. I used construction adhesive to fasten them down, then clamped the seams so they would be level.
What a difference! I should have done this years ago.
Today I bought backsplash strips ($40 per seven-foot piece) and installed them. Extremely easy: just line the back and bottom of the piece with adhesive and push against the wall. I had thought of just tiling, but figured the backsplash was worth the expense for the finished look.
I had to patch once because the pieces are only seven feet long, and then I had to cut the shorter piece again right under the outlet to wrap around a bend in the wall. The piece on the right wall starts just behind the curve of the front edge of the countertop.
I caulked the most obvious seams using a gray sanded caulk. Then I set the sink. It's acrylic and fiberglass, and you just caulk it down with silicone. There is no way to clamp it. Cheapest thing Home Depot had ($99) but it looks fine. I'll put a soap dispenser or dishwasher drain vacuum break in the extra hole, since my faucet's pull-out hose is built in.
I took inventory of my miscellaneous tiles to see what I had. I'm going to buy cream-colored tumblestone like you see in the foreground (25 cents apiece at Seconds & Surplus) for most of the wall, but I can't decide between black marble and green slate accents. The black looks good with the granite. The green would tie this side of the kitchen in with the gorgeous green tumblestone I put around my cooktop years ago (which you can see in the first photo). I'll probably go with the black.
On the right edge of a lot of these photos, you can see the cabinet I made to fit the old fridge spot. I need to make drawer fronts for it and shelves to go above. I hate the thought of painting nice new wood, but I suppose it needs to match the rest of the kitchen. If I were staying, I'd get all new cabinet doors made of maple, to match the Home Depot cabinets I put in the breakfast and family rooms.