You might have seen a dozens of granite countertops from different homes, and chances are they were all from slabs. However, you can actually get granite countertops using tiles or modules. Granite tiles are similar to ceramic tiles in terms of size variations, except that it is made of granite. Modules are larger than tiles, but smaller than slabs. It is possible to DIY the installation of granite countertops using tiles and modules. The problem using tiles is it produces more seams than using modules.
Modular granite described
Granite modules or modular granite are min-slabs. They are usually 12 inches wide and 24 inches long, which is the depth of a standard base cabinet. The pieces are larger than tiles, but thinner than slab, so they should still be light enough for one or two people to handle for DIY installation.
Typically, you get modular granite in kits that, when assembled, should be enough to cover standard kitchen countertops. These kits come with accessories to provide a 1-inch overhand with bullnose edge and backsplash, and come with prefabricated cutouts for sinks. The modules are also pre-sealed, so there is no need to seal it after installation.
Assembling the kit is as simple as laying them side by side. The modules have a waterproof substrate on ½ or 5/8-inch cement board or plywood attached by thin-set adhesive to keep them stable. However, preparing the base cabinets and installing the assembled kit will require some tools such as a drill, straight edge, level, and a granite tile saw.
The most obvious pro of modular granite is the cost. It costs about half of that for a similar sized solid granite slab, roughly costing per square foot between $25 and $80. If you have a pro install it for you, add about $10 to your cost per square foot. That still gives you a total cost of less than slab granite.
Another pro with modular granite is easy fabrication and installation. If you have non-standard countertops, prefab kits might not work for you. In that case, you will have to do your own fabrication. Because granite modules are thinner than slabs, you can actually make cutouts using regular drills and wet saws. It still requires some skill, of course, preferably experience in laying ceramic tiles. However, it is definitely DYI-friendly. You can then install the fabricated modules on the prepared base cabinets.
Modular granite is still granite, so it will have the same scratch resistance as slab granite. However, because it is thinner, it will more easily crack than slab granite. You can avoid this by careful handling, but that is not always possible.
Another issue is the numerous seams that are inevitable with using granite modules. They will definitely be visible, although some people think it imparts a unique charm to the countertops. While this might be true esthetically, it is definitely a drawback in terms of maintenance.
The range of options may also be restricted, as granite modules are only available from a few sources and in certain colors and patterns. Countertop specialists typically have warehouses full of granite slabs that you can visit at any time and pick the ones that catch your fancy. The only choices you can make with modules are what manufacturers offer, and the range is not wide. You will also have to stick to bullnose edge profiles, as other edges are not typically available.
Finding a reliable source for modular granite might take some research. You might be able to request it from big box stores as a special order if you are willing to wait. Online suppliers are also available, but these are unlikely to be local companies. Even if you find a color or design with which you can work, you will probably have to pay for considerable shipping costs. Some local granite suppliers might be able to offer remnant slabs as an option to modules, or fabricate them from whole slabs to make it more DIY-friendly, at least with installation.
Finally, most people are not impressed as by modular countertops as they are of slab ones, even if they are the same type of granite. The multiple seams might look fine in a modern kitchen, but might seem off in traditional and classic kitchens. Modular granite countertops will therefore not add the same impression of luxury and value to your home as slab granite countertops.
Modular granite might seem like a great alternative to slab granite because it is more affordable and DIY-friendly. However, if you look more closely at the drawbacks, you quickly realize that getting a hold of it is quite difficult and the return on investment is not so good. The bottom line is slab granite countertops is still the more practical option in the long term.
If you need help or advice for your granite countertops, get in touch with us. KNC Granite is a local company with a large collection of natural stones. You can check actual granite and marble slabs in our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
We deal directly with stone manufacturers and fabricators, so we can give you the best prices possible. In fact, we have a best price guarantee. Additionally, you only pay for what you use, so it does not matter how big or small your project is; you will not be forced to buy a whole slab.
We also distribute and sell engineered quartz stone from the top brands in the industry. These include Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We do not only supply top-quality stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote!