Atlantis Stone Ltd - your stone solution

DOING THE JOB RIGHT, EVERY TIME...since 2006

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Natural stone is a collective name for thousands of different types of stone, found and quarried throughout the world...

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This page has been created to post information that applies to "OUR EMPLOYEES ONLY" and inform them about various topics, which are mainly Project Management & Human Resources related.

Jobsite Preparations for new countertop

Preparing for Your New Stone Countertop...

Natural stone countertops are a lifetime purchase. If they are properly fabricated, correctly installed, and properly cared for, they will last longer than your home will. So it is important that care be taken in every aspect of the ordering and preparation process, to ensure that your new countertops are a perfect fit.

Before you even order your countertop, you need to be sure that your existing cabinets can support the weight of natural stone. If you are unsure, you may ask your contractor or a local carpenter to evaluate them. If they are not strong enough, they may need to be reinforced. Laying a subtop of plywood is the easiest way to reinforce your cabinets, but before you do anything on your own, make sure your contractor, project manager, or stone fabricator knows what is being done.Leveled Counter

When you are ready to order your countertop, you must prepare for templating. Virtually every fabricator makes use of templates instead of measurements, to ensure an exact fit along walls which may be uneven. For templating, you will need to have everything that will be in your new kitchen on hand, including your new sink, faucets, stove, cooktop, appliance garages, and anything else which will have an effect on the countertops. If your contractor is installing a countertop-to-cabinet backsplash, your upper cabinets will need to be installed.

On template day, make sure that your existing countertops are completely clean and cleared of all appliances. Your contractor or fabricator will arrive to make templates, either of wooden strips glued together, or rigid plastic cut to fit. They will likely want to see the sink which you will be using and the faucets, to know what size holes to cut for them, as well as for cooktops.

Between template day and installation day, all the plumbing and electrical work in your kitchen must be completed. If a backsplash is being installed, any under-cabinet lighting requiring direct-wiring behind the walls will need to be finished. The plumbing for your new sink(s), and any extras like one-touch boiling water, should be ready to go. You should have all the mounting hardware for your sink(s).

You may be responsible for the demolition of your old countertops. If your countertop installer isn't responsible, make sure it is done well ahead of the installation date. This way, if there is any problem with the cabinets beneath, there is time to correct it before the installers arrive. Cabinet reinforcements and subtops should also be completed, if they are needed. Get a list from the installer of everything you are responsible for taking care of before the installation. Each installer has different policies.
On installation day, make sure that the kitchen is clean, that the floor is clear of obstacles all the way from the door to the kitchen, and that the area is well-lighted. If the installer is doing demolition of the old countertops, bear in mind that this can be a dusty affair. You may wish to seal off other rooms in the house with painters' plastic. Designate an area for garbage and debris.

Once the installation of the new stone countertops is complete, you may be responsible for installing sinks, faucets, and the plumbing hookups to them. Whether or not this is included in the installation should be stated in your contract. If it isn't, be prepared to finish the installation yourself, or have a plumber on call to do it for you.

Make sure you communicate with your contractor or fabricator about the maintenance of your new stone countertops. They will likely need to be sealed periodically. And your fabricator can explain how to deal with stains and scratches, should they occur.

If you have any questions or hesitations, be sure to ask them before the installation date. It is better to inconvenience your fabricator with a phone call than with a wasted trip to your house, only to discover your kitchen is not ready for installation! Communication is the key to a picture-perfect installation of your beautiful, new stone countertops.

Templating & Installation Guide...

Atlantis Stone Ltd has very fast turnaround in the industry. After the client picks the stone and sets up an appointment for a template we are able to turn out a countertop within a couple weeks of the order. Our turnaround of 1-2 business weeks from the time the template is made makes us one of the fastest in fabricating and installing a project in the Lower Mainland area.

Gluing template
Our installation teams is ready to go six days a week to meet your demands with quality and satisfaction on every job. Our technology makes the difference in the time we turnout our client's projects, but it also enhances the quality of our work. This enables us to be at the cutting edge of the industry. Home owners with a busy schedule can be safe and sure that their kitchen can be ready within a 7-10 days of their order. This turnaround makes Atlantis Stone Ltd the number one choice of professional contractors and kitchen places as well as independent homeowners.

Templating:Templating

Any information not available to the templater at the time will in most cases delay the manufacturing of your new worktops. We will call you a day or two prior to templating to make sure everything is ready for us, and to confirm what time we will be with you.

The templater will provide you with all the information you may require about your worktops and also answer any questions you may have regarding installation and after care of your stone.
We aim to install your stone one to two week after templating in normal circumstances.

To enable us to template your granite worktops the following conditions must be adhered to:

  • Existing worktops must have been removed.
  • Sinks and hobs must have been removed.
  • All base units (cabinets/bathes/vanity units, etc.) must be fixed in their final position and perfectly leveled.
  • All appliances (sinks, hobs, taps, etc) must be available on site.
  • Heavy range cookers should ideally be fixed in their final position prior to templating.
Area to be templated must be cleared and easy to access.

 

Installation:

 

To enable us to fit your granite worktops the following conditions must be adhered to: Countertop Installation

  • For fitting of breakfast bars any legs that may be used must be on site on the day of fitting.
  • Sinks and hobs must been provided for our fitters.
  • Water and electricity must be provided for our fitters.

Clear access through the property must be ensured as some pieces of stone can be very heavy.

Installation is carried out within 10-14 working days from template by our team of highly trained masons. All work conforms to industry standards.

NOTE:

"WE WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY STAINS INCURRED AFTER THE INITIAL COUNTERTOP INSTALLATION."

Stone Tiles Installation Guide...

If installed properly, natural stone will often outlast the structure of your home itself. Often, professionals are called upon to install natural stone. This is usually the case for specialty applications like granite countertops or marble steam showers. But many installations, especially those utilizing stone tiles, are well within the reach of the do-it-yourselfer.

The first and foremost factor to consider when installing natural stone is support. Stone is more brittle than ceramic or porcelain, and will break under far less stress. It is therefore critical that the support material beneath the stone have enough strength to hold the weight of the stone, and everyone and everything on top of the stone, without bowing or deflecting enough to cause the stone to break.Stone Floor
Stone varies in strength from type to type (i.e. granite is much stronger than marble, marble is stronger than slate) and even from variety to variety (i.e. Paradiso granite is generally stronger than Absolute Black granite). There is little practical way for the consumer to know the specific strength of the stone he has purchased and is going to install. Therefore, the Marble Institute of America recommends that all natural stone be installed over a subfloor that meets a minimum deflection standard of L/720 (meaning the floor will not deflect more than 0.02 inches or half of a millimeter when a heavy load is placed on it).
You can determine your floor's deflection with several online calculators. One is on the John Bridge Forum.
You will need to know the exact size of your floor joists, the spacing, and the longest unsupported span on your joists in order to determine deflection. If the deflection factor is below L/720, your floor is not strong enough to support natural stone, and if you choose to install it anyway, you will likely experience broken tiles within the first few weeks of use.
In order to strengthen a floor that falls below the minimum deflection, consult a professional carpenter about "sistering" your joists. Most homes built after 1985 have floors which are well above the minimum d eflection for natural stone, though some do not. Older homes often do not meet the minimum standard. Do NOT install natural stone without making sure your floor is strong enough, even if it means cutting a hole in the floor to look at your joists. Skipping this step may cause you to lose the hundreds or thousands of pounds you spent on stone tiles when they start to break as you walk over them.

Once you are confident that your joists will support your new stone floor, you will need at least 1" of plywood or OSB on top of your joists. Many professional contractors prefer 1 1/2". If you have the standard ¾" plywood floor, simply add another layer of 3/8" plywood, making sure the borders do not match up with the layer beneath. On top of this, you will mortar ¼" cement backer board, and secure it to the plywood subfloor with moisture-resistant screws.

Before choosing a size for your grout lines, consider practicality as well as aesthetics. In the past, many stone installations involved laying the tiles directly against each other, with no grout lines. While this may look attractive, most modern professionals recommend at least 1/16" grout lines in order to help secure the tiles and ultimately to provide a stronger installation.

Natural stone cannot be scored and broken like ceramic tile. Also, due to natural faults and flaws in stone, it often cannot be "nipped" like manmade tile without severely damaging the stone. A diamond-blade tile saw is almost a necessity, and these can be rented by the hour or the day. In instances where holes must be cut in the center of tiles for shower pipes or electrical outlets, trace the hole on the tile with a pencil and drill small holes around the pencil line with a masonry bit. On slippery polished tile, a piece of duct tape over the area to be drilled will help keep the bit from wandering. Once you've drilled around the perimeter of the hole, gently tap on the inside of the hole until the waste piece breaks out. Then smooth the edges of the hole gently with a file or sandpaper.

Due to unevenness in the thickness and size of natural stone tiles, it is often advisable to use a medium bed mortar, instead of the more readily available thinset mortar. Medium bed mortars can be laid thicker without losing strength, and thus accommodate differences in tile thickness. Using the trowel size recommended by the mortar manufacturer, spread the mortar onto the cement board. Set the stone tile into the mortar and press down, rotating back and forth, until the tile is set firmly into the mortar. Then pry it up and check for even coverage of mortar on the back of the tile. If the coverage is good, comb back through the mortar and replace the tile.

Floor Installation

As you continue through the installation, you may find it necessary to "back-butter" some tiles which are thinner than others. The use of a small spirit level from tile to tile will indicate if your installation is level, and will show if a tile needs an additional layer of mortar back-buttered onto it to raise it enough to be level with the adjacent tiles. Likewise, if a tile is particularly thick and seems to sit above the rest, a 2x4 wrapped in a towel can be rested atop the tile and hammered down to force the tile deeper into the mortar below.

Natural stones with dramatic differences in thickness, like slate or tumbled marble, may require the use of a 50- or 75-pound carpet or tile roller. Install the tiles as recommended above, then roll over the tiles carefully with the roller to flatten and level the entire installation. This procedure takes an extreme level of caution to prevent tile breakage. Ask at your equipment rental facility for specific suggestions.

If the stone you are installing is porous, like slate or travertine, it is highly recommended that you seal the stone before grouting, to make cleanup easier. Two coats of sealant may be necessary with extremely porous tiles.