One of the final steps to installing granite countertops is filling the seams. Most kitchens, especially larger ones require multiple sections of granite to complete the installation. Fabricating multiple pieces and fitting them together is standard practice because the material is extremely heavy. Some fabricators got to great lengths when cutting the slabs of granite to align veins and match patterns. Applying colour-matched epoxy to the seams not only holds the countertop pieces together, it also helps to conceal their presence. A properly installed seam is barely noticeable.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Four-foot level
- Wooden shims
- Colour-matched epoxy
- Epoxy hardener
- Flat razor blades
- Pair of granite seam setters
Dampen a rag with acetone and wipe the edges of the countertop seam. This removes dirt, dust and other debris and helps to provide a good bond.
Level the countertops from left to right and front to back to match the seams with each other using a four-foot level. When adjustments are necessary, place wooden shims between the countertop and the top edge of the cabinets to level. It is important the countertops are flush with each other. Leave a 1/2-inch space between the two pieces of countertop to allow room for the epoxy.
Mix the colour-matched epoxy with hardener on a scrap piece of cardboard thoroughly using a wooden shim. Do not use too much hardener, as it will cause the epoxy to kick or harden too quickly. It takes about a 1/4-inch bead of hardener to a lemon-sized dollop of hardener. Refer to the epoxy manufacturer's instructions for exact amounts and mixing procedures.
Fill the seam completely with the epoxy mixture. Be careful not to get the epoxy on cabinet surfaces to avoid damaging them. Slide the countertop pieces together as tight as possible and align the front edge to make sure it is flush with the opposite piece.
Attach a pair or two of seam setters to the granite surface across the seam. Seam setters attach to granite by suction cups. Crank the setters handle to draw the two pieces of granite together. Use a wooden shim to remove any excess epoxy that squeezed out of the joint before it dries.
Remove the seam setters after the epoxy has started to harden, about 20 minutes but depends on the amount of hardener and weather conditions. Carefully use a flat razor blade to scrape any remaining film of epoxy. Examine the seam for voids. If any voids are present, repeat the process to fill them.
Dampen a rag with acetone and wipe the seam and countertop surface to remove any films or residues of epoxy.
Tips and warnings
- Set and align the two pieces of granite in their exact locations then slide only one piece to allow room for the epoxy. It is easier to adjust the smaller piece because it is lighter.
- Filling a granite seam for optimal appearance takes patience and a lot of practice. Without moderate granite installation experience, leave this project to a professional.
- Avoid inhaling acetone and epoxy resin. Use in well-ventilated areas.
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