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Solid Solution Studios in Fresno CA

Provisions for TransportWhile precasting a countertop may ensure better quality control, it also means you'll need to haul your finished masterpiece to its final resting place intact. Special A-frames and racks are available for safely storing the finished countertop slabs in the shop and for holding them securely during transport in a truck.

Rhodes recommends approaching each countertop project with installation in mind. Don't make the slabs so big that they won't fit through the door openings or wind through the hallways, he advises. "We make templates of the job using 1/8-inch-thick plywood so we can figure out how and where to seam the countertops."

Buying tip: Steel A-frames and racks are often available from companies that sell equipment and accessories for granite countertops. Or you can save money by making your own A-frames out of wood.

Shims and Other Leveling DevicesWhen assembling the countertop sections on the base cabinetry, you may discover that one piece sits slightly higher than the other, resulting in an unlevel surface. To ensure that adjacent slabs are flush and level, youll need to use wood or plastic shims to adjust for these minor height differences. Shims also hold the slabs in place until the adhesive used to mount the countertops to the cabinets sets. When installing an undermount sink, youll also need some tools to ensure a snug fit with the concrete countertop.

Buying tips: Evan Lloyd of Solid Solutions, Fresno, Calif. recommends using special lifting clamps that you can stick in the sinks drain hole to pull the sink up tightly. Proper shimming of the sink is also important. Lloyd uses a mounting system called Sink Undermounter, manufactured by Vance Industries. It consists of metal rails with 2-inch adjusting bolts that can be turned as necessary to raise and level the sink flush with the underside of the countertop (get more countertop installation tips from Lloyd in his article How to Avoid Mistakes When Installing Concrete Countertops.). Be sure to seal between the countertop and sink with a clear acrylic kitchen and bath caulk, adds Jeff Girard.

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