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It’s hip to be square with granite

Precut tiles offer beautiful countertop option

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Granite has long been a popular option as a material for kitchen countertops. Hard, smooth and durable, granite offers both practicality and stunning good looks for kitchens of just about any type, but comes with a pretty high price tag. An alternative that is growing in popularity are granite squares, which are precut like tiles and offer both a lower cost and the ability for an ambitious do-it-yourselfer to undertake the project. GETTING READY Installation of the counter begins with a smooth, solid base material called a substrate. The preferred choice of most pros is exterior-grade ¾-inch plywood, topped with a layer of ¼-inch cement board. The plywood is strong and stable enough to span the tops of the cabinets, and the cement board offers a smooth and waterproof surface that the tiles adhere to very nicely.  The plywood is cut to extend past the front of the cabinets slightly. The exact amount of the overhang depends on the type of edge treatment you're using, b...