After some years with my granite countertop, I found that I needed some changes. However, I got torn between getting a complete replacement or an overlay. So, I did some digging about both options.
You might be in a similar situation. And your question is, what are granite countertop overlays?
Here, I’ll explain what granite countertop overlays are. Then, I’ll tell you what you need to know between choosing overlays or total replacement.
What Exactly Are Granite Countertop Overlays?
It’s just like the name suggests; you lay new granite countertops over your existing countertops. This way, your countertop appears all nice and attractive again.
Usually, these overlays take the form of a large slab that your installer has pre-cast. However, they are thinner than regular granite countertops. You then place this light countertop on your existing granite countertop
For this to work, you’ll need a stable and robust counter that can take the overlay. Even more, you’ll need this base to be level and without any form of variation. This is because the overlay is usually thin, and any variation will affect it.
Alternatively, you can remove the existing granite countertop. Then, you can place some plywood as the base. Afterward, you can then set the overlay.
Typically, with a granite countertop overlay, you get certain features. These features include:
- An overlay thickness of about 13 millimeters
- A mildew and mold resistant countertop material
- It comes with an apron or front overhang
- You can get a wide variety of edges ranging from eased to rounded to straight and beveled
Pros and Cons of Countertop Overlays
When making any choice, one thing I consider is what I stand to gain. And, of course, what I stand to lose with my choice.
This is the same when you’re considering getting a granite countertop overlay. Well, so you’re fully informed, here are some pros and cons.
One thing you stand to enjoy with countertop overlay is a quick installation. You don’t have to wait days to get it installed.
Typically, you can get it placed within a day. Then voila, you can get back to using your kitchen as soon as possible.
Since overlays are thinner than the standard countertop, they are cheaper. You’ll find them for less cost compared to full granite countertops.
Even more, you can avoid the cost of disposing of your old countertop. So, less price and excellent quality. Fantastic right?
You’ll usually have your countertops sitting in landfills after you completely replace them. Well, this causes pollution, among other environmental issues.
Well, with countertops overlays, you can now avoid filling up the landfills. You retain your countertops, improve them with overlays, and keep your home looking good.
You’ll find it quite challenging to get a countertop overlay. This is because few companies offer countertop overlays for sale.
For instance, over the years, various manufacturers like Lazy Granite, EZ Granite, and BuildDirect’s Panda have left the industry. So, you may spend considerable time finding a quality brand.
Even if you were to find, installation is somewhat tricky. And you might find yourself paying more for the cost of installation.
With countertop overlay, you enjoy less flexibility in various areas.
First, there’s less flexibility in your choices. While you’ll get a variety of styles and colors with standard granite countertops, overlay comes with limited options.
Also, there’s less flexibility in the installation process. While your standard countertop will fit into most surfaces, this isn’t the case with overlays. Usually, slight variations in your base will make it impossible for you to install overlays.
While your overlay comes with its beauty, it’s nothing compared to standard countertops. This is because the installation of overlays is somewhat complicated.
In turn, this may lead to some seams staying visible. Well, this makes your countertop less beautiful.
Countertop Overlay Installation Process
While you can complete the actual installation within a day, the process takes longer. And this can span as much as two weeks.
So, here is the process that takes up this time.
- First, your installer measures the surface area of your countertop using a tape
- Then, they contact an overlay authorized dealer who visits your home for a more accurate measurement
- Sometimes, another representative may need to visit your home to estimate the cost of the overlay installation
- Then, fabricators build your overlay based on your home’s specifications
- Afterward, and before installation, plumbing gets disconnected from the area
- Finally, your installer arrives and installs your countertop overlays within that day.
Why Standard Granite Countertop Are A Better Alternative
Now that you’re well informed about countertop overlays, you must know, it’s not the best bet. Yes, it comes with certain advantages that make it seem fair. However, the cons of the process mean it’s best to find an alternative.
You’ll even be more convinced when you understand its history. So, the thing is that overlays came up due to the limited number of granite manufacturers at the time.
So many orders came in, and there were only a few companies available to attend to them. As such, it made sense to go for a less hectic option that made it easy to meet customers’ demands.
Well, this isn’t the case anymore. Various companies can attend to your standard granite countertop needs. So, you have no reason to manage the disadvantages that come with countertop overlays.
Guess what; a standard replacement provides flexibility that you won’t get with overlays. And at a cost-effective rate.
Even more, you don’t have to get a reduction in the beauty you desire: no seam showing, more color and styles, and ease of access to manufacturers.
It’s not a bad idea to want your countertop looking all good again. Well, I’ve been there, so I can tell you it’s a great choice.
However, this only works well when you make the right repair choice. And for that, you might want to get a complete standard granite countertop replacement.
How Much Are Granite Countertops Overlays?
The cost of a granite countertop overlay ranges between $40 and $60 for slabs, $25, and $40 for modular and $5 and $15 for tile. Note that this cost is calculated per square foot.
Can You Remove Granite and Reinstall It?
Yes, you can remove your granite and later reinstall them. However, it’s not ideal as you might incur an additional cost, the slab might break, thanks to its complicated installation.
Can You Lighten Your Granite Countertops?
You cannot lighten the color of your granite countertop as you cannot bleach it. Even paint will ruin your countertop in the long run as it won’t hold up.