(United Granite, and Fairfax Marble)
This is an advanced tutorial for measuring granite countertops before fabrication. If you would like to take basic measurements to get a price estimate, please read our previous blog;
Measuring countertops precisely is not difficult. It takes time and patience. Taking good measurements, and having an accurate installation, partially relies on having the cabinets installed correctly; leveled and plumbed, and having square walls. If the cabinets are not leveled when they are installed, the best thing to do is to correct the cabinets first, then take measurements. Putting a level on the cabinets will give you an idea if the cabinets are leveled.
In this article, we will go over step by step how to measure countertops accurately, and what to be careful about.
You can use any kind of paper to make this drawing. However, it is better if you use graph paper and try to draw measurements by a scale as much as possible. It is not the end of the world, if the scaling is not perfect. But by drawing on a scale, you will have much a much better visualization.
In this step, measure the length and depth of each piece then note it on the drawing. Make sure to measure the pieces in the front and back, as the measurements can be different. Also, measure the piece on the far right side, (in the middle for long pieces) and far left side. These measurements can also be different. Measurements being different are usually due to walls not being completely square. How to check if the wall is square will be explained in the next step. It is important to show on the drawing where the measurement line starts and ends. It is particularly important on "L" shaped pieces. The measurement needs to show clearly if the measurement is all the way to the wall, or the angle.
You can check if your walls are square (especially important on the corners) by placing a small square shape on the edges and corners of the wall. If you do not have a square, you can use a straight piece of cardboard to see if you see any gaps. If your walls are not square, you should show this in your drawing.
The sink cut out location needs to be accurate for the countertops. When you measure the center of the sink, first determine the sink 's base cabinet and then measure it from right to left. Cabinets come in standard sizes; 18", 24", 30", 33", 36", or 42". After you measure the sink base cabinet size, mark the middle of the cabinet using a marker. After this step, make sure that the cabinet doors are in the same center as well. Sometimes the cabinet door center will not match with the sink base cabinet. If this is the case, you have a decision to make; whether to center the sink with the cabinet itself, or with the doors. Whatever decision you make, the result will not be much different.
You need to make sure that your sink is smaller than your sink base cabinet in order for it to fit properly. You should also check to make sure that there will be enough room for water fixtures after placing the sink in the cabinet. The easiest way to do this is to place the sink in the cabinet and see if it fits. If it does, check how much room is left in the back, and place your water fixtures in that space to make sure there is enough space. If all pieces fit well, make a note of the sink placement on the drawing. Water fixtures holes can be drilled after installation is completed so it may be best to leave them out till the end of the installation.
Repeat step 5 for the cooktop.
It is common practice to use the same granite for the back splashes. Backsplashes are usually 4" but they can be taller or shorter based on preference. First, mark where your backsplashes will go on the drawing. Second, measure each area to make sure that the height does not interfere with anything such as; electrical outlets, window trims, etc. If you are removing existing countertops before installation of the new granite countertops, it might be a good decision to make the back splashes a little taller than the existing ones, to cover possible drywall and paint damages. Do not forget to account for the thickness difference of the countertop materials. If you would like to use full height back splashes (back splashed all the way up to the bottom of the upper cabinets), it is best to measure those after the countertops are installed and leveled.
Assuming you have been measuring cabinets so far, you need to add some overhang on the exposed edges. It is common to add 1 1/2" overhang (from the face of the cabinet) if you have overlay kitchen cabinet doors. It is common to use 3/4" - 1" overhang if you use insert cabinet doors. The fridge side and stove side should not have any overhang. Check to make sure that sufficient room is allowed for the stove, fridge and appliances to go back into place. If more room than needed is allowed, you can add some overhang to make the opening accurate. Island, peninsula, and raised bar overhangs are based on space, and personal preference. Check to make sure that enough support exists, or build where you have large overhangs.
Mark on the drawing which edges will get polished. All exposed edges should get polished. If you would like to use a special edge (like rounded), mark the stove and fridge separately, as those edges should be flat polish only.
Exposed edges of granite needs to be rounded. It can either be a minimal round (eased), or more like 1". Make sure that your overhangs will cover the radius. If you have 1 1/2" overhangs on the front and side, a 1" Radius is ideal. Pieces where you have more overhang such as islands, peninsula, and raised bars may have a bigger radius.
Measure the slab you would like to use, and see if you need to place any seams on your counters. If so, place your seams. Read our article about placing seams on your counters.
Check to see how each piece can be installed. You will need some installation room to be able to place some of the pieces. For instance, a long piece in between two walls will need about 1/4" installation room. For example, if the measurement in between two walls is 100", you should make your piece 99 3/4" to be able to put it in its place. This will give you 1/8" gap on each side, which you should caulk after installing the piece. More room can be allowed on a job that has granite backsplashes. Granite is 3/4" or 1 1/4" thick, so you can allow more room for easy installation if you are using granite back splashes.
Some kitchen countertops are straight forward. They can be measured just using a tape measure. Some of the others are more complicated, or they have extraordinary shapes. If you are not comfortable with your measurements, you can always use a cardboard, wood, or plastic template to trace the shape, and then add overhang if necessary. Measurement errors are minimal when templates are used.
This article explained how to take accurate measurements for granite countertops without having professional tools. Granite Fabricators now use more advanced tools to measure countertops. Here at Fairfax Marble, United Granite Countertops Maryland, and United Granite Countertops NJ we use proliner digital measuring system to measure for countertops precisely.
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