Cutting Granite Countertops in Place Cutting Granite Countertops in Place
Cutting granite can be a valuable skill to have if you are considering countertop installation. However, it is also one of the trickiest skills a DIY person can attain. Granite is generally very heavy and therefore may require more than one person to complete the job. Shaping granite also requires diamond blades as other saw blades will not hold up to the task. These can be purchased at almost any hardware store, but they can be expensive. It is also wise to invest in collars for the blades to minimize vibration. This can mean the difference between a pristine cut and a disaster.
Step 1: Preparing the Granite
When cutting granite, you need to know that more dust is generated during dry cutting. You should wear a mask to avoid breathing in too much dust, which can cause respiratory irritation. Using a hand-held radial saw with a vacuum attachment and a diamond cutting blade will reduce the amount of mess to clean up later. Laying a drop cloth down under the work area can make clean-up even more efficient.
Step 2: Measure Carefully
Because of granite’s cost, measurements must be accurate. Mistakes can be expensive and discourage you from further work with granite. Make sure to include spaces for appliances as these are often flush with countertops.
When taking measurements, it may be wise to have some of the granite shaping done for you. Cutting granite to match things like sink holes and putting curves in can be tricky. It might be worth the extra cost to have a professional prepare this part of the job to avoid having to replace a granite slab. Be sure to calculate delivery costs if you choose to go with this method as granite is very dense and heavy.
Step 3: Cutting
Carefully double check your measurements and begin the cutting process. If one of your marks becomes unreadable to you while using the saw, stop and redo the markings. The marks from the carpenter pen will guide you through the proper cuts with the saw. Also make sure you are wearing a mask while the saw is running. There will be a substantial amount of dust that can cause irritation. Also use safety glasses to protect your eyesight while employing your saw.
When using your saw on the granite, it is recommended that you apply collars on each side of your blade. These act as washers and reduce the amount of vibrations during sawing. The reduction of vibrations will result in a cleaner cut.
Step 4: Polishing
Cut granite, no matter how carefully you have done it, will have rough edges. Since you are creating cabinets, you will want to polish the edges very carefully. The high density of granite makes it hard to polish. This is a step that requires a very expensive piece of equipment, an automated edge shaping machine. It might be more cost effective to hire a professional to do this part for you.
If you have the patience and the skill, cutting granite yourself can save money and provide you with the satisfaction of having conquered the rock.