Countertop Installation Products

September 2, 2008
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Just as stoneworking technology continues to evolve and advance, the products used for countertop installation are also on the rise. Products for transport, protection and sink installation are available from a number of recognized stone industry sources. The following is a sampling of some of the products on the market today.

The Weha Folding Cart is available exclusively from Braxton-Bragg. This cart has heavy-duty construction and non-marring casters, with two 6-inch locking swivel casters in the front and two non-locking casters in the back. This makes traversing from outside the home to inside the kitchen much easier, the company reports.
The uprights on the cart fold down and lock in place for easy storage in the fabricator’s truck, where space can be limited. The carry handle can be used to hang the cart on the wall of an enclosed truck or even in the shop. When a countertop is placed on the cart, the upright rails can be adjusted from 31 to 42 inches in height, and a security catch prevents the stone from being accidentally tipped off the cart.
The aluminum construction allows the cart to be lightweight, while incorporating a professional grade capacity. The cart can be used for stone tops weighing up to 550 pounds, making island moving and staging easier.

When it comes to templating countertops, calculating in the overhang for a raised bar, peninsula or island can be challenging. But when taken into account during the templating process, the CounterBalance or IslandBalance brackets from Chemical Concepts were designed to simplify this process. The CounterBalance plate is designed to attach to stud walls, supporting overhangs on raised bar countertops. Meanwhile, the IslandBalance bracket is designed to support overhangs on island and peninsula countertops. Both of these products eliminate the need for corbels, can support the weight of granite and install in minutes, reports the company. The CounterBalance is made of 7-gauge HRPO steel and provides invisible support for a clean look. The IslandBalance supports overhangs of up to 18 inches and is designed to work on the left or right of cabinet walls. These countertop supports intend to simplify the templating process by taking the guesswork out of overhang calculations. 

Granite City Tool offers a range of products to assist in material transport. The DP Carry Clamps allow users to safely lift and carry stone without hurting one’s back, the company reports. The clamp design uses the weight of the stone to provide clamping action. As a result, heavier loads result in more clamping action. The clamps are sold in pairs, with a maximum opening of
1 ¾ inches.
Cross carry straps from Granite City Tool allow the user to lift with their legs, and they shoulder the load for vertical or omni-directional movement.
Rock blocks from Granite City Tool are made from non-poly composite and can have a 500-pound load capacity. They can grip stones ranging from ¾ to 1 ¼ inches.

The Granite City Tool installation cart can be used to transport countertops into a home with minimal effort, the company reports. The top tilts 80 degrees to get the countertop through doorways, and top rollers help ease the stone countertop onto the cabinets. The base is 2 feet wide, and the height is 36 inches. The tilting operation has a braking control. The cart can be easily maneuvered with 8-inch, omni-directional caster wheels with brakes. Dimensions are 48 inches long x 24 inches wide x 36 inches high, and the capacity is 1,200 pounds.

Granite City Tool also offers several products to help with undermount sink installations. The company’s undermount sink installation tool will hold the sink in place so the permanent mounting hardware can be installed.
The tool allows undermount sinks to be placed before silicone starts to set and eliminates the rush to get the mounting hardware in position. According to the company, most sinks can be installed by one person instead of two using the tool, which is rubberized to protect the sink from being chipped or scratched.
Granite City Tool’s sink undermounter kits can be used with any sink, including ovals and rounds, and they can be used with stone or solid surface countertop materials. According to the company, the kits eliminate the need for wood supports, and they can be used side to side or front to back. The kits are fully adjustable and removable, and they come in 25- 36- and 50-inch lengths that can be trimmed to fit any cabinet size.
K-4 and K-6 universal sink undermounter kits from Granite City Tool were conceived as a quick and versatile system for installing sinks. The K-4 includes: 1 tube of quick set epoxy; 4 clips; 4 bolted anchor plates; 4 washers; 4 wing nuts; and an instruction sheet.
The Edgemarc AC-DC Seam Master from Granite City Tool offers countertop installers the opportunity to “fine tune” the level of a seam using adjustment knobs. The seam leveler allows for full access to pull the seams together, allowing the installer to smooth the glue before it hardens. With the level spacers set apart, overflow glue is not a problem, the company reports.
The product has a vacuum pump with clamp for quick setup, and operates using an included 110-volt adapter and 9-volt battery. Users can add up to two more bars for cooktops.
The manual Seam Master from Granite City Tool is available with 4.5-and 6-inch suction, and offers installers the chance to “fine tune” the level of a seam using adjustment knobs. As with the AC-DC version, the manual Seam Master allows for full access to pull the seams together, allowing the installer to smooth the glue before it hardens.

The Gorilla Grip seam-setting tool from Monument Toolworks utilizes an electric vacuum pump that provides an extremely powerful and consistent attachment to the stone, releasing only when needed. Slightly porous countertops have little effect on the Gorilla Grip. New cam adjusters allow installers to level the seam perfectly, including tops with a slight crown, according to the company.

A small but necessary part of any countertop project, shims are used to ensure that the installed countertops and other components are level and sufficiently supported, and two common varieties are offered by Nelson Shims.
According to Nelson Shims, most fabricators still prefer the bulk pine wood shims due to their feathered tips (1/32 inch), consistent quality and price. Nelson’s Bulk Pine shims use wood of optimal quality, the company reports, which allows them to be cut easier and snap better.
According to Nelson Shims, composite shims offer a few advantages over wood. They have a greater load-bearing capacity than wood and are water, rot and insect proof. Furthermore, the company’s patented pre-scored design allows for a quick, clean and easy snap every 1/8 inch by hand. The water resistance also makes these shims useful during the fabrication process itself.

The Omni Cubed Pro-Cart AT1, currently available exclusively through GranQuartz, is constructed from aluminum tubing, so it is strong and lightweight at only 46 pounds, the company reports. Important for climbing stairs, the cart stays attached to the countertop when lifted, and the 8-inch casters allow resting on stair treads. Pneumatic casters dampen vibration and enable travel across rough terrain such as gravel or lawns. The wheelbase makes the cart very stable, even with large tops, and the cart’s high ground-clearance allows “popping of wheelies” over larger curbs, the company reports.<br><br>
In many cases, one person can push and maneuver the cart by themselves. Tops are secured by clamps located on each side of the cutout to reduce breakage in the middle. The optional upgrade kit enables the cart to be folded for easy storage (reduces cart width to only 9 inches). All Omni Cubed products are engineered, manufactured and assembled in the U.S., and are covered by a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

Sink Hole Savers from Omni Cubed are designed to protect countertops from breakage during lifting, moving and installation. Omni Cubed manufactures three models of Sink Hole Savers (available in 4-, 6- and 8-foot lengths) and two accessory attachments to cover all types of installations.
The Original Sink Hole SaverTM (SHS) is suited for keeping tops in once piece during installation, but the innovative edge-clamping design allows it to be used for other applications, such as for lifting stone off CNC and waterjet machines. It can also be used during manual fabrication, as it strengthens the top while cutting, and with A-frames to protect the countertop during transport.
The Sink Hole Saver TM VC1 features thumb-pumped cups, and the Automatic Sink Hole Saver TM VC2 features an automatic vacuum pump that operates on a 9-volt battery. Both secure to countertop surfaces with durable 6-inch vacuum cups. These vacuum cup rails are used during installation of curved or “bump-out” countertops, and they are often combined with the Original Sink Hole Saver (clamp version) for added versatility during tough installations.
The SHS angle bracket allows protection of “L,” “bat wing,” or any other angled countertop during transport and installation. The bracket connects two Sink Hole Savers of any length, allowing zero through 270 degrees of rotation. The product is suited for inside and outside corners, making it especially helpful for the installation of fragile “L-shaped” countertops.
SHS Vacuum Cup Attachments are added to an existing Original Sink Hole Saver (clamp version) to enable installers to “flip” between two systems. The install crew can use the mechanical clamps for countertop transport on the A-frame, and then they can “flip” the same rail to the vacuum cups side for the final installation.

The Seam Setter VC1 by Omni Cubed was designed as an innovative “three-in-one” installation tool used for joining seams, leveling seams and stabilizing backsplashes. The product features durable hand-pump vacuum cups, which provide full-contact reliable hold. If needed, the cups can be re-pumped without losing the remaining vacuum. The two leveling components slide on rails for custom placement on each side of the seam, and they feature non-spinning, leveling feet with vinyl caps to prevent scratching of countertop surfaces. The extended rail-ends have soft vinyl caps, which make the tool a solution for backsplash stabilization.
The product is made from long-lasting, anodized billet aluminum and stainless steel components. Omni Cubed offers two sizes of vacuum cups for varying material applications: 6-inch cups, which are recommended for natural and engineered stone, and 4.5-inch cups, which are recommended for solid surface materials.

The Automatic Seam Setter VC2 by Omni Cubed can be used to join seams, and it also levels seams and stabilizes backsplashes. A powerful, yet compact, vacuum pump maintains pressure for all cups and operates on AC Power or a single 9-volt battery (for installations where electricity is not available). The working area is easily accessible with the units in place, so removal is not needed in order to apply epoxy or scrape the seam. The seam levelers slide in tracks for custom placement on both sides of the seam, and they feature non-spinning feet with replaceable vinyl caps to prevent scratching of surfaces. The durable tightening handles are anodized, machined billet aluminum, and the large 6-inch cups are suited to handle heavy countertops.
Also available is the Multi-Seam Expansion Kit, which includes two additional VC2 seam setters with storage case and an accessory coil tube adapter. The expansion kit enables installers to simultaneously join and level two seams (up to 14 feet apart with use of the coil tube and only one vacuum pump), saving time during the installation process. Installers can also “chain link” up to four seam setters together for larger seams (i.e. longer island seams).

Regent Stone Products offers a vast line of tooling for countertop installations. Included is the Stone Pro Support System, which is designed for the transport of job pieces that require extra care, especially those with a sink or cook-top cutout, or material that is fragile and requires extra support during transport and installation. The Stone Pro lifters are cantilevered clamps that enable installers to lift pieces with two hands, giving them additional strength and support.
Also available from Regent Stone Products is a variety of installation tools, including “No Drill Sink Kits,” a “Sink Under-mounter” rail system for easy sink installation, the Abaco Sink Lock tool to hold the sink in place during installation and several different types of shims for the installer.

Tenax Ager offers multiple applications that can be applied before, during and well after installation. Ager is a stone color enhancer that works on practically all types of stone finishes, such as polished, honed, flamed, brushed or sanded. Ager allows the user to match the edge to the face of the slab, and it also serves as a sealer that penetrates deep in the stone to protect against both oil and water.<br><br>
By putting these two processes together in one application, the finished countertop is left with a polished “wet” look that protects the stone against household stains and allows the fabricator to leave the site with a countertop that is fully protected for the homeowner, the company reports.
Ager comes in 1-liter, 4-liter and 17-liter sizes.

Tenax Pectro is specifically designed to hide the “spider-web” look and micro-fissures on the surface and edges of a countertop. According to Tenax, it is particularly well suited for stones such as Ubatuba. Users simply pour a little Tenax Pectro on top of the stone, spread it out, let it dry and then remove the excess with either steel wool or a rag, and Tenax reports that it will make the fissures and spider-webs disappear.
The product comes in black or clear varieties for all stone applications.
For a more full application, users can apply Tenax Petrolux, which provides all of the functions of Pectro, but also performs as a light stone color enhancer, a wax and a sealer -- all in one. The products come in 1-liter cans.

Tenax Telux has been formulated as an “autopolish” to help countertop installers. The application provided a polish on marble, granite and engineered stone in a range of finishes, such as honed, brushed, flamed, rough, saw cut, etc.

Typical applications would include the underside of overhangs, hard-to-reach points, small job repairs, touch ups, etc. The application is fast for on-site use, and the product comes in 1-liter cans.

Tenax Tewax is a surface wax that is formulated to leave the installed countertop smooth and shiny. Users can apply Tewax, let it come to a haze and then buff it off. Tenax reports that it will leave the stone with a mirror finish that will “bead” any liquid. The product comes in black or clear for all stone applications, and it is packaged in 1-liter cans.

PolyTenax from Tenax has been formulated as a premium mastic suitable for gluing and laminating marble, granite and quartz surfaces. It was engineered to offer very strong bonding in a very short time, even in winter. The treated surface achieved is smooth, shiny and easy to polish, Tenax reports, adding that the product dries fast and colors the surface effectively.

On the jobsite, PolyTenax is used for laminations and joining seams during installation. The product comes in 1-liter, 4-liter and 17-liter sizes.                                                

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