Once granite countertops are installed, they are nearly indestructible, but in transit, granite is quite fragile. Most granite shops provide installation services that include transportation. Handy homeowners can save money by installing the counters themselves. With the right equipment and preparation transporting granite can be effortless.
Granite is a rigid, natural stone. When properly supported, it is sturdy and resists cracking. Cabinets provide equal support under the counter, evenly spreading the weight. Without this support, granite is susceptible to cracks. Like glass, granite is transported vertically on its edge. If granite is laid flat, it will likely crack over bumps in the road.
To support the stone, professional installers use A-frames, wooden structures in the shape of the letter “A.” Leaning the granite against the slope of the “A” gives it even support. A-frames are built with 2″x4″s at a 10 degree angle. Horizontal and vertical supports connect the two A-frames and provide a surface for the clamps and straps that hold the granite in place. Placed in the bed of a pickup truck, an A-frame can support enough granite for a large kitchen. However, smaller A-frames can be built to fit in a van, SUV, or trailer. Many granite shops have A-frames and clamps available for a returnable deposit.
Most granite counters have a cutout for the sink. Under-mount sinks, which are the most common, require a polished cutout that is safe for transport. However, other cutouts are vulnerable to cracking. Cook tops, drop-in sinks, and faucet holes may crack on the road. For this reason, your granite shop may advise you to cut these holes at the installation site.
For small bathroom vanity tops, it may be possible to transport granite without an A-frame. The same principles apply: the granite must be vertical on the unpolished edge and must be secured to keep it in place. Rest the bottom edge on a flat, even surface. If possible, put down the back seats. In minivans and SUVs, one of rear seat may be put down while the remaining seats are used for a support surface.
Due to liability concerns, granite shops are often unable to load the granite into your vehicle. Two people can carry most counters, so you should bring a friend to help with loading. Like in the car, the granite should be carried vertically. Lift both ends at the same time to ensure even support. Inspect the granite carefully before loading it into your vehicle. Once the counters leave the shop, they become the liability of the homeowner.
Home installation is a great way for do-it-yourselfers to save money on granite counters. With an A-frame, clamps, and the proper vehicle, homeowners can transport their granite without hassle.