Installing Granite Overlay Countertops on Your Own
If you have your heart set on granite counter tops but you know slab granite is just not in your budget, you should consider granite overlay countertops. Granite overlay countertops are similar to granite tile countertops and just as easy, or even easier to install. You don't need to be a professional to install granite overlay countertops, you just need to have some time, a place to work and all your supplies ready an in order.
Safety first, and when installing granite overlay countertops it is no different. Remember to always wear eye protection especially when using power tools and you should wear protective gloves and not let your skin come in contact with grout or other chemicals that can burn your skin. Knowledge comes second when installing granite overlay countertops. Remember that you will need to seal your granite before installation. You can purchase sealant at any large hardware store. You should also keep in mind that granite can be scratched and stained, and is most vulnerable during installation. Luckily if you have really sealed your granite well, the odds are greatly diminished. An additional reason to seal well is so grout will not stick to the unsealed granite. It can be extremely difficult to remove from unsealed granite as opposed to sealed.
Once you are ready to install you will apply some kind of adhesive to the top of the cabinets. You should try to attach an underlay of plywood or cement backer board if possible. You will need to epoxy the large pieces and begin to put the granite pieces together like a puzzle. At some point you may need to install a sink into the countertop so make sure you are leaving room for that. Faucet holes may need to be installed as well. You will need a special drill bit to drill through granite, so make sure you aren't using one of the ones you already have. It just won't work!
Once all the pieces are put in place with epoxy, you can begin installing the back splash. Though this is certainly not a requirement, the back splash can make a beautiful accessory to your granite overlay countertops. When installing the back splash pieces you should start from the middle and work your way outward to both sides. In small sections, apply thinset, making sure you are grooving the cement with a trowel. When ready, place the back splash tiles one by one into the thinset, making sure to use spacers or even thin pieces of cardboard between the tiles. Once you have placed all of the tiles and they are relatively dry, you will need to remove all of the spacers and grout the areas between the tiles by hand. Don't forget to wear your gloves as wet grout can be caustic, like bleach.
The final step of installing granite overlay countertops is to once again, seal every piece, this time you are sealing it as one countertop. You will need to do this about once a year from now on to protect against staining and acid, which can eat away at granite.