Granite Replacing Laminate Countertops

April 1, 2012 Off By Torin Dixon
Questioner: Sean Q.
Category: Kitchen Design/Remodeling
Private: No
Subject: Granite Replacing Formica
Question: Hello Torin, I have removed all of my Formica countertops and will be replacing with granite.
I have approx. 60 square feet. Fortunately all of the cabinetry is completely level and I didn’t lose one tile from the backsplash when I removed the formica. My problem is that there is a 1/2 inch gap between the top of my sample piece of granite and the bottom of my first row of tiles/backsplash. I would like to know what is a good corrrective measure to address this gap before the granite is installed? I was thinking of tacking down a thin piece of plywood on top of the cabinetry so whe the granite is installed it will be nice and tight up against the tile. Alternatively, I am considering letting it go now and address that gap issue after the installation with either grout or silicone. I have fairly large grout lines on the b/splash so the grout approach might be doable. ¬†Anyway, just wanted to get your professional opinion on what the best approach would be here. ¬†Thanks much Sean
Answer: Hi Sean,
You have indeed come up with the proper solution regarding adding plywood. I would only suggest that you use 3/8″ (or 1/4″ depending on the grout width you want to match on the splash) plywood as granite slabs are not always uniformly the same thickness. The industry standard is +/- , 1/8″ in 8 linear feet. It is always easier to have the granite installers shim up to your tile rather than be too high. Also they need to use an adhesive that sometimes can make the counters higher as well. They can adjust to give you the correct joint gap between the granite and the tile splash.Make sure you use a silicone or latex colored caulk at this joint as it will certainly crack if you use grout. The weight of the granite counters often causes the cabinets to settle even though this is a remodel and much of the original settling has already occurred. You will need to trim out the facing edge of the plywood with a piece of moulding that matches your cabinets if there is not drop edge from the granite to cover the plywood.

If you have any further questions feel free to follow up.

Best regards,