Installing Granite Countertops Outdoors? Have A Radiant-Heat Mat Installed

A great thing about having a backyard is the ability to install an outdoor kitchen. If you want your family and guests to sit at a bar while you're cooking, then having a granite countertop installed is the way to go. However, if you keep food dishes that you set on the counter warm, you'll need to install a radiant-heat mat under the counter. This guide explains who to call for help and how you can get in on the work by installing the mat yourself.

Step 1: Have a GFI Outlet in the Ground

Call an electrician to install a GFI outlet in the ground underneath the cabinet that the counter sits on. They will do a little digging in the patio so that they can run the electrical wires from the cabinet to the circuit breaker box.

Step 2: Mortar the Mat

Use a drywall trowel to spread thinset over the plywood that the contractor uses to set the granite on. Set the radiant-heat mat on the layer of thinset in the area where you think that most of your food dishes will be placed. Cover it with another thin layer of thinset.

Plug the mat's electrical cord into the outlet. Allow the thinset to dry and then turn on the mat from the thermostat. Hold your hand over the mat to ensure that it is working.

Step 3: Attach the Thermostat

Use a screwdriver to attach the thermostat to a portion of the cabinet that's out of the way. Set the thermostat to a position where it won't turn on.

Step 4: Have a Contractor Attach the Granite

Call the contractor and have them install the granite countertop over the plywood and mat. Once they give you the go ahead, turn the thermostat up to turn on the mat and test it once again.

Caution: Some radiant-heat mats can get rather warm. Get in the habit of turning down the thermostat when you're not using the counter. Doing so saves you money on your electric bill and prevents any overheating or electrical issues from occurring.

Consider using a couple mats if you want the entire counter heated or plan to be outdoors when the weather is cooler. Granite gets cold even on the inside of your home, so it can get colder outside. Radiant-heat mats allow people to use the counter and feel warmth on their hands when they touch the counter.

For more information about granite countertops, contact State Stone Corporation Inc. or a similar company.