DIY Granite--yup, I tried it, and survived

14 years ago

In my bathrooms an kitchen, I did DIY granite from DIY Granite with DROP IN sinks for and effective price of $20/sqft (with an extra discount and free shipping) and about $7/sqft for installation ($5/sqft in the bathrooms, $10/sqft int he kitchen).

I actually highly recommend it for bathrooms with only straight edges and with drop-in sinks as long as the wall is very flat or you're going to install a backsplash of some sort or a long mirror. It's amazingly simple to work with, just quite heavy. (For undermount sinks, I recommend a FULL prefab place like Marble Master. If your workers will install a special-order fake-stone counter from a box store, they'll install this one!) THe DIY Granite will take cutting, and many workers will shy away from that, but it's not nearly as hard as you think to use a Skil saw to make sink openings for a drop-in sink. First, you cut an X inscribed in the circle or oval of the sink. Then you inscribe a t. Then you cut straight lines connecting the arms of the Xs and ts. You continue cutting off the corners left over until you have a sink cut out. Someone with a spray bottle can keep a diamond blade nice and wet, so you can cut the sinks in situ, though I'd cut it to length outside.

I have also now done a kitchen (I'm flipping a house) with granite from DIY Granite and don't recommend it if there are any corners in the counters because it can be such a PAIN to make them fit right. And the granite is HEAVY!!!! If you want to do it anyway, I'd recommend Marble Masters over DIY Granite (fewer seams--I have two extra because I went with DIY Granite, but I don't mind since I'm selling the house) first check you walls and corners to make sure they're really 90 degrees or VERY, VERY close, order enough to do full 45 degree angle cuts in the corners, and make sure you have at LEAST two, preferably three, strong people to move the granite. And MEASURE WELL!!!! Also, you'd better be REALLY, REALLY good at using a diamond-blade Skil saw. Install for my kitchen cost me $600 for the time of two guys--I was the third laborer. Make sure your 3/4" plywood under the granite is INCREDIBLY level, and make sure no plywood seams match up with granite seams. Then use clamps and heavy weights if the granite still isn't perfectly level after gluing it to the substrate while the glue dries.

I hadn't heard of any reviews for DIY Granite, and many people said that granite is a job for pros only, but I decided to risk it. If I failed, I'd eat the cost of the kitchen granite (about $1400) and just tile the suckers, but I was certain that the three bathrooms would work great, each of which had 6'-8'3" counters. I saved more than $6,800 on my granite this way, so it was worth the risk. Still, there were several moments of kitchen install that were touch and go! Follow the tips above to make it easier for you.

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