Granite Worktops - Time for some heavy lifting!
Installing granite worktops involves shifting a lot of weight. Our densest stone for worktops – Nero Assoluto – weighs 95kg per square metre at 30mm thickness, and many other materials aren’t far behind that.
How do you install kitchen worktops in a material that heavy? How can you carry granite countertops?
Carrying a granite worktop run in Blue Pearl.
Our main warehouse gantry crane
Within and outside the workshop, cranes and clamps do the heavy lifting. We have a powerful gantry crane (from the appropriately-named AG Cranes) that does the indoor stuff, and we use forklifts for the outside work.
Both the forklifts and gantry cranes hold the granite worktop slabs by means of gravity-operated clamps. These are an OLD invention – used by the Romans, the simple cam mechanism allows the weight of the slab to hold the crocodile jaws shut. Very clever!
A slab of Juparana Persa granite being lifted into the workshop
A clamp on the gantry crane
The slab clamps are obviously only useful for carrying slabs vertically. For horizontal slabs, and especially for moving smaller sections onto and off the various machines in the workshop, we make big use of vacuum lifters. As the name implies, these use suction and the upward pressure of the earth’s atmosphere to hold the sections in the air. We have one of these at the “business end” (Saw end) of the warehouse, fitted to the big gantry crane, and three more on jib cranes in the polishing shop. You may recall when we fitted the third of these some years ago.
Typical three-pad suction lifter
Spencer manoeuvring a slab on the jib crane
It isn’t all lifting, of course. Worktops in the making can be stood for periods or moved from one area of the workshop to another on various types of trolley. Here you see two quartz worktops awaiting their turn for finishing in the polishing shop.
Once the quartz or granite worktops are finished and ready for installation, there is still need to give thought to lifting. Our guys are very strong, of course, but for their own health and safety, and to avoid damage to precious worktops, we have to provide every possible means to make the journey from our factory into your kitchen as easy and uneventful as possible.
That means in the first place that our vans must be kitted out with racks and strong and well-secured webbing to hold everything in place on the journey. We have seen a builder drive away with some Supply Only granite worktops in an ill-equipped van and smash £2k-worth of lovely stone on the first turn into the road outside the farm.
But the vans are also equipped with handling clamps and roller sets and boxes so that off-loading and transfer into the home is as easy as possible.
Ready for granite – the back of one of our hard-working vans
Roller box, to set a granite worktop or island onto as it comes off the van
Clamp set, to make lifting easier – anything that helps to give you a purchase on a vertical granite worktop is a godsend.
Our latest bit of kit, designed to help the fitters in handling the very large granite and quartz islands which are currently the kitchen “must have” is this clever lift from Omni Cubed Europe. This can raise a slab by over a metre and allows tilting for installation to be carried out more safely and with less wear and tear on our fitters’ backs and arms. We are just learning how to use the beast, but we think it will provide valuable help in dealing with those big islands, and make granite worktop installation easier overall.
We are Affordable Granite, the leading installer of quartz and granite worktops in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. We are committed to looking after your stone and our fitters – efficiency, health and safety and staff morale all go hand in hand so far as we are concerned!
For samples, quotes and any questions connected with any aspect of worktop installation or kitchen design, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org/ .