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How to cut granite worktops

Granite worktops have become hugely popular in kitchens throughout the UK, but if you’re installing the kitchen yourself, you’ll need to understand how to cut granite worktops properly.

Granite worktops have become hugely popular in kitchens throughout the UK, but if you’re installing the kitchen yourself, you’ll need to understand how to cut granite worktops properly.

In this guide, we’ll look at the best way to cut a granite worktop, as well as some top tips and how to cut drain grooves in granite.

Before you start cutting a granite worktop

Cutting a granite worktop may not seem complicated, but it requires precision and the right tools. And, most importantly, you’ll need to have a clear layout for your kitchen – including worktop templates.

Reasons to hire a granite worktop specialist

Installing a ready-made kitchen is one thing, but cutting a granite worktop yourself to then install is a bigger task – and one that is often best left to an experienced professional.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Granite is a heavy material to work with and often requires multiple people to cut and handle even the most basic granite worktop successfully
  • Granite is a brittle material that is prone to breaking if mishandled.
  • If you damage your granite while cutting, it’s expensive and can take weeks to replace.
  • To complete your task to cut granite properly, you will need to buy or borrow specialist tools and equipment. This outlay of expense may make this project uneconomical.
  • Granite worktops need to be cut to the exact millimetre of the kitchen layout so that sinks, cabinets and other kitchen elements fit properly.
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How to cut a granite worktop

Smooth granite worktopIf you’re confident you’ll be able to cut granite yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to cut a granite worktop:

  1. Prepare a stable work surface and clamp down the piece of granite.
  2. Using your worktop template, measure and mark the lines to be cut.
  3. Cover the cut lines with painter’s tape to protect the granite from chipping, then remark the lines on top of the tape.
  4. Before cutting, put on your dust mask, safety goggles, and ear protection.
  5. Set up a straightedge guide along the first line you want to cut.
  6. To avoid the granite chipping or breaking as you complete a cut, back-cut the granite first by cutting a 2-inch section at the finishing end of the cut line.
  7. Cut slowly and precisely along the cut line using a circular saw or angle grinder, making sure that you always keep the tool moving (but don’t force it) – if the tool is struggling, you can cut in two passes.
  8. Let the dust settle once you’ve finished cutting, remove the tape, and then wipe the granite edges with a damp cloth.
  9. Using an angle grinder, smooth down any rough or uneven edges of your granite worktop.

Top tip #1: Take your time. Cutting granite is a slow process, and you’ll want to stop at regular intervals to apply cutting oil to your drill.

Top tip #2: Regularly spray the top of the granite with water to keep the dust at a minimum.

For more tips, check out our guide to cutting a kitchen worktop.

How to cut a hole in granite worktop

If you want to cut a square or rectangular hole in a granite worktop, you need to follow similar steps as above.

Start by preparing your granite with cut lines marked on and covered in tape. Wear your protective equipment before starting, and then slowly cut along the lines using a circular saw.

To help when changing directions, drill holes in each corner of the hole you want to create in a granite slab. To get going, you’ll need to start with plunge cuts to enter the granite surface with your saw or grinder.

For round holes, it’s a more complicated process, and you’ll need to use a diamond-tipped hole saw.

Press gently down on the hole drill and pull the trigger, keeping firm pressure but not forcing the drill – it will cut more cleanly if it’s not pushed too hard.

Make sure that any hole you make is at least an inch away from any of the granite edges so that the granite doesn’t crack.

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How to cut granite worktop in situ

Cutting a granite worktop in situ can be complicated, depending on the size and layout of the granite and any in-built elements such as sinks.

If you need your granite worktop to be cut in situ, we would highly recommend hiring a professional to do the job. Even a small mistake when cutting granite can be hard (or sometimes impossible) to repair, so it’s worth getting an expert to avoid the messy and potentially costly task of doing it yourself.

How to cut drain grooves in granite

Granite with sink cut out and drain groovesTo add useful drain grooves that will allow excess water to flow into the sink in your granite worktop, you’ll need to use a flute wheel. A flute wheel will allow you to grind the draining grooves themselves and polish them to leave a smooth, sleek finish.

As with cutting the granite, it’s helpful to regularly add water while grinding or polishing the grooves to minimise the granite dust you create.

How to cut granite for sink

The process for cutting granite to house a sink is the same as cutting any hole in your granite worktop. You’ll need to have a clear template for the cutting lines that match the exact dimensions of the sink.

Start by drilling a hole in each of the four corners of the sink outline and the plunge cut to enter the granite to start cutting.

How much does it cost to replace a granite worktop?

The average cost for replacing a granite worktop is around £1,700. For more information about prices, check out our guide to the cost of replacing kitchen worktops. If you’re open to an alternative to granite, take a look at our granite vs concrete countertops cost guide.

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What tools do I need to cut granite countertops?

Here’s a list of all the tools you’ll need to cut a granite worktop:

  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Earplugs
  • Tape measure
  • Painter’s tape
  • Marker pen
  • Clamp
  • Stable work surface
  • Circular saw
  • Angle grinder

Can I cut a granite countertop yourself?

Yes, but you need to take care and work slowly. Cutting a granite countertop requires attention, precision and a steady hand.

If in doubt, or if you’re not confident with precise DIY, we recommend you hire a professional to cut your granite worktop for you.

Can I cut granite with a grinder?

You can use a hand grinder to cut granite. Again, you’ll need to be confident and have a steady hand.

How do you cut granite by hand?

Granite can be cut by hand but, due to the brittle nature and the expense of granite, we wouldn’t recommend hand cutting granite if you’re not experienced in granite work.

Instead, hire a professional to cut the granite for you to avoid any mistakes or costly damage to your granite slab.

If you are confident in working with granite, here’s our quick summary of how to cut granite by hand:

  1. Clamp your granite slab to a clean, dry, stable surface.
  2. Mark the cut lines using a wax pencil and ruler – add an extra ¼” to account for the chisel and blade width.
  3. Hold the chisel with the point resting against the granite and gently tap the head with a hammer or mallet.
  4. Chisel a groove at least ½” in-depth along the cut lines, ensuring they’re in a perfect line.
  5. Using a diamond-tipped hand saw, cut the granite using the groove as the guide to work along the cut lines – wetting your blade regularly to help avoid dust accumulating.
  6. Polish the granite using a diamond-wheel grinder.

What is the best tool to cut granite?

The best tool to cut a granite worktop is a standard circular saw or a wet-cut circular saw. Both will do a good job, but you’ll produce less dust if you use a wet-cut circular saw.

How do you cut granite with an angle grinder?

You’ll need to be patient when cutting granite with a hand grinder, but it can be done by following these steps:

  1. Make sure you have the right cutting blade for your angle grinder – you’ll want to use a diamond blade for cutting granite
  2. Secure your granite slab to a stable surface, preferably outdoors if possible, and make sure you’re wearing protective equipment (safety goggles, dust mask and earplugs)
  3. Mark the cutting lines and place painter’s or masking tape along the cut lines to prevent chipping
  4. Start by making small shallow cuts, and work slowly to cut along the marked lines in sections – don’t try to cut the whole piece of granite in one go.
  5. Take regular breaks to cool the blade with a wet sponge and clean the granite with a damp cloth.

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