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Question DetailsAsked on 9/7/2016

What is the best way to level cabinets after the granite countertop has been installed?

Granite countertops were installed on existing cabinets. The cabinets were not leveled before the granite was installed. The old countertops were removed, 3/4" plywood was screwed to the cabinets and the granite was glued to the plywood. Countertop is approx. 17' in length with a slide in stove dividing it. It is out of level by 1:. What is the best way to level the countertop without cracking the granite. The home is built on a concrete slab with a tile floor that was installed after the cabinets.

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2 Answers


What has been installed can be de-installed, and seperating the granite and adjusting the countertops then regluing is probably the right way to do it.

That said, if it were me, I would probably cut the glue under the granite, and try using some wooden door shims from the hardware store to cheat it. They're like tiny wedges and can be stacked - just place the thin end at the crack between the granite and the countertop, and GENTLY tap them in. You may be able to remove at least some of the gap without having to redo the whole thing. This may not work depending on whether there's a sink in the side you're trying to raise, because sometimes sink plumbing doesn't have a lot of 'give' in it. If the drain is a slip connection, and the faucet uses hoses, then you should be fine though.

Again, go slow, don't miss with the hammer and hit the granite.

Answered 3 years ago by Richter12


I think Richter12 read this as a normal economy countertop installation - where the countertop is fastened down to the tops of the edges of the cabinets with epoxy or anchor bolts embedded in the bottom of the countertop, so (except with some of the very thin new granite materials which are around or under 3/4-1" thick as opposed to normal 1-2" thickness) can be unscrewed or the glue cut through with a sawzall to free up the countertop, the countertop reshimmed to correct height, and refastened.

Because yours was glued down to 3/4" plywood (which gives a much more stable base and greatly reduces the chance of cracking over the long run), I can't see being able to feasibly cut the countertop free of the plywood. Normal solution would be to free the plywood from the cabinets by cutting through the screws with a sawzall, carefully and progressively over its length put in shim wedges to level it, glue in trim strips to support it, and refasten it back down - with anchor bolts into the plywood, or with epoxy.

Another way I have seen a couple of times, in situations where the plywood could not be accessed everywhere to cut it free (can be quite an issue at the back edge, for instance) was to remove all fasteners holding the cabinets to the wall, then carefully (bit by bit progressively) using shims under the edges of the cabinets to lift them up to level, then using shim strips glued in or levelling grout to provide adequate support under the cabinets, then adjusting or replacing toekick or cabinet base to meet the tile right again. A lot more risk of breaking the countertop this way than by cutting the plywood/countertop free and releveling only it.

Whichever way your Countertop guy goes, there is almost always an issue at the backsplash - commonly requiring its removal/replacement (depending on type and how fastened on) to break the countertop free of the wall, and to remount/replace the backsplash so it meets up with the countertop correctly. Unless the backsplash was also out of level the same amount, usually this means total replacement of the backsplash to provide a good joint with the countertop and a level top to the backsplash.

Also, it is pretty unlikely the countertop guy will guarantee against cracking - usually at the sink cutout. Depending on how the countertop overhangs the inside of the cabinets, he may be able to epoxy glue framing wood or resin countertop strips to the underside of the countertop to reinforce it with a double-thickness lip before trying to relevel it.

And of course as Richter12 said - don't forget to free up the piping before this is attempted so it does not hold down the countertop at the sink area or result in broken piping. Water piping is usually flex tubing so may be able to handle your 1" or less of lifting, but drain piping should definitely be freed up first.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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