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I live in southern California. I have granite countertops and over the years I've noticed grout cracks between my granite and the tile splash on the sink side. Could the constant water from washing dishes seep in through those cracks and cause wall damage? How can I find out if the walls are wet? I've checked the walls that I have access to and they don't feel wet. Could a leak detector find the source?

Plus, our neighborhood is prone to those nasty large roaches that hang out in moist areas. I'm not a fan of those damn pests and they do multiply like crazy. When I noticed the little 1 inch (baby) critters I start to wonder and now drive myself crazy trying to find the source. I had this problem in my bathroom shower when opening up the wall during the demo; thousands of those critters were in the wall from water damage.

If I have wall damage then I definitely need to repair the problem sooner rather than later. My problem is I love my granite and cannot afford to have this redone again. But then on the other hand I don't want to have those b______s running around my house. Can I remove my granite without damaging it? I'm a neat freak and yes I am bigger than the critters but Im just not a fan of those flying nasty rodents or water damage.

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Granite can be removed without it being damaged in 90% of all cases. We would need to see pictures before helping out with that. If granite is installed right it should be held in pace by a couple of wood blocks underneath in the corners - ensuring it can be moved if there is work that needs to be done. If it is installed like this it literally takes a few mins to disconnect it from counters. If it is glued to plywood or the cabinets it is much harder but still doable.

Notes:

  • Grout should never be used at the corner of a counter/backsplash. Even if you had a tile counter you would ALWAYS caulk where the counter hits the wall.
  • All counters are sloped. My kitchen counter reads true on a level. But if I spill water it might take a day but it will all end up on the left side. Sounds like yours are sloped back... which isn't good but not life altering.
  • You should check for water damage behind your cabinets. You can easily make a couple of cuts and take a peak and no one will ever notice.
  • If your walls are wet, they will dry given you cut out the leaking. Most water damage is no big deal. Mold and other fungi will die quickly without water. It depends on the severity of the issue. But temporary water damage is not usually a precursor to a kitchen gut.
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If you have cracks in the grout I suggest re-grouting. You need this to be waterproof otherwise you are creating a warm, damp and dark environment that is ideal habitat for creepy-crawlies. You shouldn't need to remove the granite countertop.

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If you need to inspect the wall below the countertop and behind the sink unit, you could consider carefully cutting a large hole in the back of the cupboards under the sink. Another option is to buy or hire an inspection camera (the sort used to inspect pipes) and make use of any small existing hole (e.g. for pipes to faucet or drain)

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    The key to preventing ongoing damage is to use caulk, not grout, at the joint between the counter and backsplash. Caulk can flex and won't crack, whereas grout will likely crack again. Grout is porous so it can seep moisture into your walls even if it isn't cracked. For these reasons, corner joints in wet areas should always be caulked with silicone, ideally one with some mold-resistant additives. – Shimon Rura Mar 11 '16 at 21:22

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