Can My Granite Countertop Edge be Trimmed on the Sides Next to a Fridge and Stove?

Updated December 11, 2020
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Question by westielover: I need a 1/4" trimmed on off overhang on both sides of cabinets to fit a new stove, and a 1/4" to 1/2" trimmed off overhang of cabinet next to fridge. Can that be done with it installed, or does it have to be taken off?

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Answered by LCD: Hmmm - not many contractors would attempt that without taking the countertop off to cut it - that thin a cutoff can be trouble because the blade want to pop off the cutoff and walk out of the kerf laterally. And if it has integral backsplash than almost certain to be a removal job. And because this is almost always a wet cut with diamond blade, generally that piece (pieces) needing cutting will be taken to the shop to be cut - which can run $500/1000 range including reinstallation.

And talking 3 cuts - or maybe only 2 if reefer end is the other end of one of the stove cut pieces and that countertop can be removed and cut once (enough for both cuts) then remounted slightly offcentered from where it was before to properly align with both appliances.

A couple of other alternatives to this which I have done and sometimes cheaper and less hassle (and much less risk of countertop damge if a thin countertop (less than 3/4 to 1 inch):

1) move the cabinet on the "free" side of the stove (if there is a free-standing cabinet there) over enough to provide the stove clearance (maybe without removing the countertop) so you only have to do one cut - at the reefer end presumably if both on same wall (not knowing your layout).

2) get narrower stove if not bought yet or if not returnable - there are some models out there designed for a tighter fit which are 1/2-2 inches narrower than normal stoves.

3) depending on overhang at the ends, if a countertop dead-ends into the wall (without a joint with intersecting countertop) release the countertop (if possible) and pull loose, notch into dead end wall for the 1/2" or so you total clearance increase you need and caulk in, then for other side of stove do 1) above - which depending on configuration can be done with zero countertop cuts.

4) if the wall by the reefer (side away from the countertop) is non-load bearing and not utility laden, in most jurisdictions it does not have to be built with 2x4's - so I have seen and done this, which is easier than it sounds - remove drywall on the wall, plane or rip the studs and probably bottom plate narrower (in-place) to give the total space you need, re-drywall (which depending on location and code requirements, if protected by the reefer might even be reduced to thinner drywall to give more clearance, paint. You can easily gain up to an inch or two without unacceptable wall flexibility if non-load bearing - then combine that with 1) to move the piece from the stove to reefer (assuming that is how it is configured) over enough to give the stove clearance. Might be a tossup cost-wise, but if countertop was glued down or has integral backsplash can be easier to do than cutting coutnertop sometimes, and virtually eliminates the risk of breaking the countertop removing and cutting and reinstalling it.

5) EXPENSIVE diamond bits, but maybe combining with 1) to reduce the number of cuts, that small an amount of width can sometimes be removed with a diamond grinder or router on thinn countertop, in-place in some cases.

6) Not all countertop contractors do this, but some stone specialty contractors will (at least for 1/2" or more - maybe not for 1/4" width) diamond score the countertop top and bottom, reinforce it along the cut with STRONGLY clamped guides, and snap the excess off then grind the end smooth. Basically like cutting glass - I have seen it done on up to about 3/4" thick stone countertop, I have never dared go over 1/2" thickness this way - but combined with a starter cuts with diamond saw blade might be possible to do in-place if backsplash is not integral.

7) I don't know the safety clearances required to combustible materials or if they even do it in-house (I have seen it done on commercial jobs), but some stone expert shops have laser cutters which are portable.

8) call it impossible, jack up the house number, install a new house with correct dimensions (along with any other upgrades that might come to mind), reapply house number. (A variation of the jack up radiator cap, rollnew car in under, lower radiator cap solution to car problems).

To look at all these options would take a Remodeling, - Kitchen and Bath contractor or a Kitchen contractor which does both cabients and countertops maybe, if 1) gets into the picture. Of course, if 1) is used, you end up with small backsplash and floor areas exposed by shifting it over - easily covered but makes an additional work item to be done.

Of course, in talking to a couple or few contractors, bear in mind the cost of returning the stove/reefer for narrower ones which will fit (if new and unused) - though might be more expensive than the modifications, especially if talking reefer and range both.

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