Kitchen Counters Go Granite

We like our house but were not too pleased with the tile counters in both the kitchen and the bathrooms.  For one thing, the tile surface is not even, and for another, you have to be careful not to stain the grout.  Even then, they are hard to keep clean.

After putting up with the tile counters for 5 years we decided to replace them with granite.  There is a wide selection of granite, and rather than try and match the coloring in the kitchen and great room, we opted for the contrast offered by Uba Tuba.

New Uba Tuba Granite Counters

The picture to the right shows what it looks like once installed.

In the front, you see a rather large island.  That a single big piece, and it looks very nice.

It took four big guys to bring it in, lift it, and put it on there.  In the front, you can see the bumped-out radius so anyone sitting in those chairs can actually get their legs under the counter.  The tile version of the island cut a straight line between the ends, leaving very little leg space.

Below you can see what the original looked like (from when we bought the house).  Excuse the picture quality; I had to search for old photos and didn’t want to spend the time beautifying them.

Asi it was

If you click on any of the pictures you will be magically transported to the SmugMug album that has a few more views.  

Note: WordPress wiped out the links, so here’s the LINK to the SmugMug Gallery.

The next picture shows the other side of the island.  There I had them round what used to be a pointed corner.  I think it looks much nicer with rounded corners.

Other view of the island

The work was done by a company called International Stoneworks, out of Palmer Lake, CO.  I liked the company, and the people who run it.  In fact, if one looks at the picture below, one can notice the rather high backsplash going around the window sill just above the sink.

7" back splash

That was a mistake (the original backsplash ran under the window sill).  Because they had to notch out the piece around the window sill, the long piece had a hairline crack visible for the full height right at the corner of the notch.

The owner had come in to look at it and decided to redo all the backsplash at the correct height and throw in a granite window sill.  He did it not because I bitched (I didn’t), or because I begged (I didn’t), or because he liked me (I’m not very likable).  He did it because he thought it would look better.  Here is the finished result.

the redone back splash and new window ledge

There was some minor damage to the wall (paint touch-up; the original installation had left no damage anywhere), but nothing I would complain about.

With all that, they did screw up one thing that is causing me some headaches.  The bathroom faucet holes.  Here are the two bathrooms:

Main bathroom counters (Santa Cecilia granite)

Extra bathroom (Santa Cecilia granite)

If one looks at the pictures carefully, one would notice the hole for the faucet is awfully close to the backsplash.  So close, in fact, I could not use the original faucet I wanted because the handle could not go the full travel without hitting the backsplash.

I theorize they cut the hole halfway between the edge of the piece and the opening for the sink, forgetting to account for the backsplash.  Normally I would have been more involved with the process and might have given it some thought, but an unfortunate set of circumstances led to this project being down in the list of priorities and concerns.

I am trying other faucets, but even the last one I installed does not work; the wire to open and close the pop-up drain can’t be used because it hits, you guessed it, the backsplash.  I may try to install a push-button pop-up drain, but those are usually sized for basin sinks and difficult to seal when used on regular sinks.  We’ll see.

However, despite that minor glitch, I am very pleased with the work they did, and would not hesitate to recommend International Stoneworks (they do commercial installations all over the US).  Next year we plan to redo the lower level’s bar counter and bathroom.  Yes, I will specify where I want the faucet hole cut.  

One parting picture; if interested, click on it for a few more.  The album has 23 pictures.

It's all coming together

Edited To Add:  Dang!  I forgot the movie!