Series: An 80's Kitchen DIY Reno- {Part 10-Installing Marble Counters}

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

If  you've read this far in the Kitchen Reno Series, thank-you!   I'm chronicling the remodel from last year, to document the process of a DIY reno and share some of the challenges I faced.  This was my first remodel, and some of the challenges were unique to it being an older home. Today's post is a long one, even after saving my 'review' of marble for another post.  

For countertops, I always knew I wanted marble.  I did the research, even testing lemons and pasta sauce on marble tile to see what the etching was for myself.  Everyone said, "Are you sure you want to put marble in a kitchen?"  I think they are supposed to ask you that.  I did look into the other options.  One option was to try for a 'white' granite, which is grayer than most, but none of them had the unique look of marble.  I wasn't interested in quartz, because it's not completely natural.  And no matter how hard they try, I can always tell the difference.  But it can be a great alternative if you couldn't live with the etching of real marble.  A final option is quartzite.  It's said to be harder than marble and more resistant to etching.  That would have been a great option, but it costs 2-3 times more than marble, so it was not in the budget for me.  

With picking out slabs, I'm particular, so I went to probably 4-5 stone yards looking for the perfect ones.  I needed two for my kitchen.  I waffled between honed and polished.  Honed will show etching less, because it doesn't have a high sheen.  And if there was one thing I might do differently, it would probably be to go with a honed marble. I will do a separate post about our experience living with marble, for anyone considering it.  

This was a honed slab of Bianco Carrara from the first stone yard I visited.  I carried those paint and tile samples around to all of my visits.  I would definitely recommend shopping around when making an investment in any type of stone. Have them pull slabs out for you to view.  You think marble is all the same, but the veining and shades of gray vary, so I wanted to make sure my samples coordinated.

After a million visits to stone yards, I initially ordered the honed slabs you see below. But when they were being templated, the installers found a crack in one of the slabs, and advised not to use them because it could break over time. 

I had already been having second thoughts because there was a set of polished slabs from another stone yard, that I couldn't get out of my mind.  So their phone call wasn't too disappointing.  Below are the slabs from Levantina that I finally went with.  They were also one of my favorite stone yards because their slabs are stored indoors, and they have a way for you to view the bulk of their inventory online.  Of course, your fabricator does the actual installation.

Before the stone is cut, they have to come to your house and create the template your countertops.  My fabricator picked up my sink that day too, so they could also template it for cutout.  Before the install day, I removed the countertop and backsplash on the side where the cooktop would go.  I didn't want my freshly painted cabinets to get scratched.  I also put up thick plastic dropcloth on the side walls to prevent them from being scratched.  I didn't want to take any chances on my freshly painted cabinets getting scratched.  And it did the job!

The counter was installed first, then the cutout was made for the cooktop.   

Then the sink side was done.  The sink cutout is done at the shop since the edges need to be polished.  Since this countertop run is so long, I had to have a seam.  Initially I didn't want it at the sink, and was going request it be over by the microwave.  I'm so glad they talked me out of that.  It would have been far more noticeable over there.

The stone installers installed the countertop, attached the undermount sink, and drilled cutouts for the faucet, sprayer, and soap pump.  Then my plumber came later to hook up the drain and faucet pieces.

The installers ran into an issue installing this side of the kitchen.  There was a bump, created by the drywallers, over the outlet below. Instead of fixing it, they added more mud. So the countertop wouldn't sit flush to to the wall.  The installers ended up having to cut into the drywall, almost the entire length of the wall, to get it to sit flush.  I was worried, but they knew how to fix it.

It was so amazing to finally see everything coming together and to finally be close to having a functioning kitchen again.    

Next up is tile, and since this post has already gotten pretty long,  I will do a separate post for it.  Let me know if you have any questions about marble, and I will try to answer them in my post about living with marble.

Appliance and Sink Sources:  Cooktop | Vent Hood | Double Oven | Faucet | Sink | Sink Strainer | Soap Dispenser

Post a Comment