You will never install your own slab granite counters--ever. It is just not possible for the average DIYer. However, an unusual product lets you self-install something that closely resembles slab stone countertops. It is called modular granite.
With little more effort than it takes to lay a tile countertop, you can have a slab-like granite countertop for zero installation charges--because you do it yourself.
Slab vs. Self-Installation
Home improvement projects fall either in the DIY (do it yourself) or hire a pro category. Which fork in the road you take is a huge determiner of total costs.
Installation of slab granite countertops has always squarely been a "hire a pro" job for many reasons.
For one, granite is tough to transport. Consider the fact that slab granite is just that--a big hunk, a slab. The very point of slab granite is that it comes in big sheets, uninterrupted by seams. A slab of granite at 13 pounds/sq. foot is a mightily huge thing to contend with.
Even if you can get past that, slab stone does not yield to ordinary power tools that most homeowners may own. Handheld circular saws and even wet tile saws will not work. So you need a product that arrives in manageable chunks and is pre-cut. Enter modular granite.
Like Tile, But Really Big and With Practically No Seams
Modular granite is a strange and innovative hybrid that is not really tile, not really slab.
Tile stone has traditionally been the go-to product for homeowners who want stone and want to do it themselves. Any homeowner can pick up cartons of 12" by 12" tile granite and a wet saw at the local tile or home improvement store and begin installing granite counters in their kitchen.
The problem is that installing tile granite on kitchen countertops gives you hundreds of inches of seams.
Seams and cooking do not mix. Seams not only inhibit the chef, but they collect dirt and are difficult to clean. If that were not bad enough, home buyers hate tiled counters.
Modular granite slabs are nominally "tiles," but these tiles are so big that they have few seams, and these seams often run only from the front edge to the back (no length-wise seams).
Where to Get It
While modular granite may seem poised to dominate the world of DIY countertop installation, it has not quite done that yet.
Major home improvement materials company Build Direct no longer carries Pedra modular granite.
There are some outlets, though. Colorado-based Lazy Granite, though mainly a brick-and-mortar company, does sell modular granite online.
Also, Benissimo Granite, which sells grade A (not composite) granite in modular form. It does not sell directly to consumers. You first need to locate a local company via Benissimo's distribution wing, Surface Art, Inc.
Features of Modular Granite
- Comes in pre-cut "mini-slabs."
- Because it is designed for kitchen counters (not the raw granite tiles described above that can just as easily be installed on your bathroom floor), it comes in kitchen-ready shapes and dimensions.
- The widths are only twelve inches on average. Think of it - seams every foot again.
- Easier to transport and handle than slab granite. Boxes tend to weigh between 35 and 80 pounds, with most falling in the 50-pound range. Still heavy, but at least manageable.
- Less than the price of slab granite.
- DIY installation possible - as opposed to slab granite, which is impossible to install by yourself.
- Edge pieces have bullnose built in.
- Back pieces (near the wall) have built-in backsplash.
- Corner configurations available for sinks.
- Pre-sealed in most cases - no granite sealer necessary.
If you are praying for authentic slab granite, modular is not the answer to your prayers. It is more like a "souped up" version of tile granite. It will look nicer and install faster, because of the larger dimensions and added details.
If you decide to install the modular granite yourself, your installation costs will be eliminated. However, since modular granite is not available for pick-up at stores, your installation cost savings will be offset by significant shipping costs.