Monday House, week 22, a ton of granite

Everything has to be done by Friday. And that is the story at the Monday House too.

Here is a pic of the kitchen cabinets pretty much all installed. Extra wood plinths have been installed under the cabinet frames to provide more support for the heavy granite counter tops. The IKEA plastic levelling feet are supposed to be strong enough … but they are plastic …


Here’s the view into the delivery truck. Excitement builds amongst the crew and owners. Owners: Will the granite look as good as the sample in the shop? Carpenters: what will the finished kitchen look like?


Slabs are heavy; lifting is minimized to avoid injury. The installation crew has suction cup handles on the granite to hold onto the slab.


The simple long piece has a whole cut for the drop-in-range:


Put into place. Later, it is tipped up and silicone glue applied to the cabinets to make one large heavy unit and stop the granite from shifting.


Still out in the truck is the biggest, grandest key piece for the whole kitchen. It is the “island” top, forming the main counter along one side of the kitchen work area, and also is the cantelievered countertop breakfast bar, and the servery counter to the dining area. This weighs in at 600lbs.


Because of its weight, if it tips, or to just lift it up on the counter, it should not be handled by two installers. So two extra men are called in from another job site to manhandle the big slab into the kitchen. Note the complicated jogs cut on the slab.


The view from the dining and hall side as the slab is shifted into place. After a test fit, it is lifted up like a lid, and glue is put over the tops of the cabinets:


The surface of the stone has a “leather” finish with a notable texture to the handfeel. Yet smooth enough it won’t catch food or dirt in crevices or bumps.


The slabs look gorgeous in the kitchen, eliciting sighs of relief from everyone. This is the single most expensive design risk, one that cannot easily be changed without huge expense.


Here’s a detail of the island slab wrapping around the wall in a nice finishing detail:


The sinks are under-mounted, silicone glued to the underside of the granite countertop. Wooden sticks hold them in place for 24 hours while the glue sets:


The glue is outrageously stinky, probably dangerously so. The install crew wears breathing apparatus while the others scramble to ensure every window in the house is fully open:



There are actually three pieces of granite: the island, the sink run, and the stove top run. The two joints have to be glued together smoothly, so that there isn’t a crack to catch food or germs.

Where two pieces of granite are to be joined, powerful suction-attached white clamps are applied to the two adjacent pieces. The clamps are then attached to a compressor with an air hose.



The compressor moves the two slabs imperceptibly closer together til the join is all but invisible:


This looks straight forward in retrospect, but the site was crowded. There were two and sometimes four granite installers. The four Admirable carpenters. The yellow panel van below belongs the electricians, who were also on site to hook stuff up. And …


On the horizon appears another truck …


This is the new washer and dryer pair arriving for delivery and installation. It was supposed to be at a different time from the counter top folks, but life doesn’t always work out to schedule. So the electricians moved their truck, and


The W&D were to be installed by the Future Shop crew, but their install area has the dishwasher and other kitchen parts stuffed there to make room for the counter top folks. And don’t forget all those U Haul boxes stacked everywhere since the owners stuff was moved in last week. Not everything can be done at once, so the W&D got left in the driveway:


Four hours later, the carpenters got to carry in the boxes:


Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the electricians are scrambling to hook up the new stove top. It is suspended over an opening cut in the granite.

This is an induction stovetop.

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Induction heats up the pot via magnetic waves, rather than applying heat. So the stove top itself stays cool during cooking. Is this burner on high or what?

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Induction stoves are very energy efficient. The owners selected induction after comparing them to gas stove tops and talking to some chefs they were acquainted with. They both offer instant heat response, digital controls. But induction is easier to clean, safer as it is not hot, doesn’t use up household air, and has no combustion products. They work with any pan that will hold a magnet (eg stainless steel, cast iron) but not aluminum. Most new pots now comes with an induction-stove-ready metal plate welded to the bottom of the pot so they can be used on any element.

In theory, one could lay a sheet of newspaper over the stove top while frying, and then throw it out afterwards, much like we use parchment paper on pans today. I see a market here for precut template parchment sheets with a cut out window for the control panel. Hmm …

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After the house was encouraged to dissipate smells and fumes over night, the owners joined their furniture. After months of planning, financing, dreaming, selling the old place, wandering like hobos for three months … they were taking up residence in their forever home.

But wait, there is more work to do … so they will be sharing it every day with carpenters, plumbers, and electricians.



3 thoughts on “Monday House, week 22, a ton of granite

  1. Quebec City has instituted pedestrian scrambles ( that could be considered in Ottawa’s core and elsewhere. Theses are not only safer for pedestrians, but they also improve traffic flows at intersections with lots of turning movements and many pedestrians.

    Montreal has a “no right turn on red” rule for the whole island as does Manhattan; and Montreal has ped priority (no turns) at all signalized intersections and no need to push a “beg” button!

    I think its time to have senior staff be briefed on what other Canadian cities are doing to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and to learn their best practices.

  2. Great good luck to the family in their new home. A wonderful series Eric, thank you for the chronical.

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