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Thread: Is this a lousy granite installation?

  1. #1

    Default Is this a lousy granite installation?

    As of last weekend we had the granite installed in our new kitchen, and a number of issues have come up. I know about cabinets, but as this is the first time I’ve had granite installed I don’t know if I’m making too much of a fuss, or whether I have reason to feel aggrieved at the results.

    To begin with, I went out of my way to tell the guy who came to do the measuring two specific points –

    1) that the edge of granite lining up against the wall oven cabinet had to be perfectly in line with it as we didn’t want to have any kind of facing on the woodwork (granite backsplash, tile, etc)

    2) To be careful with his measurements because both walls that made up the L of the kitchen were not straight.

    In short, I couldn’t have gone more out of my way to highlight the fact that there were issues that could throw off the installation, and mess up our desire for a clean line along the oven cabinet. We even called the owner of the business to reinforce our point, and also asked him to try and make sure that the separate pieces matched up as closely as possible at the joins, because we were well aware that the granite we chose had some strong patterning that could pose problems lined up together. The guy admonished me over my concerns with ‘Sir, we are professionals and do our job properly!’

    Well, the measurer came back a second day, and to ensure he got the measurements rights used some cardboard strips, which he glued together to create a template. Suitable impressed, I thought that everything was going to be okay. Then Saturday arrived and I sat there thinking ‘What the hell are they doing’ as I watched the company’s installers do their work.

    Firstly, I’d always been led to believe that a bead of silicone or some sort of adhesive was put along the top of the cabinets prior to installing the granite. These guys just sat the granite straight on top. (They also came close to causing some severe damage by trying to stand the edge of the heaviest piece, the corner, on the weakest points of both the sink cabinet and the cooktop cabinet – I had to hurriedly tell them not to do so in order to prevent them cracking the cabinets and possibly dropping the slab as well.)

    When they’d finished installing the four pieces I couldn’t believe it – after everything I had said, and after being told how professional they are, they’d still contrived to screw up one of the things I had asked – to make sure they measured the cut along the wall oven cabinet correctly so that there wouldn’t be a gap. The granite touched the cabinet at the front, then gradually receded away towards the back, leaving an unsightly gap of about 3/16ths. The installers just looked at me like I was being an SOB when I asked why it was there after I’d been assured it would be taken care of. They then filled it with tinted epoxy resin, and followed up by sticking a thick bead of silicone, half an inch wide, along the granite and cabinet edge. I hurriedly wiped the latter off before it had a chance to set, because I sure as hell didn’t want the whole thing made to look even worse by an unsightly gob of silicone permanently on show. I’ve also been told that silicone can stain granite?

    After they left I took a close look at the job and just found their work to seemingly be a testament to sheer sloppiness and lack of professionalism. They’d left so much silicone sticking out from the under mount sink that I’d have had a half inch bead left showing permanently had I not gone around and tidied it up. The end piece at one end of the kitchen was so mismatched color-wise that it looked almost like it came from a different type of slab altogether – yet had they simply turned it around before making the cutout for the sink the all-important front edge would have made a slightly better match to the neighboring piece. There was a noticeable unevenness as well, a ‘bump’ of sorts, where the two pieces met, and it was quite noticeable from even across the kitchen. When I looked more closely I figured out the reason – the smaller slab to the left was about an 1/8th of an inch thinner than the other piece, so that while they’d been able to shim it level on top, they couldn’t do anything about the bottom edge and had tried doctoring it up so as not to show. The back corner of the same piece, on the very end of the cabinets, was sticking out from the wall by ¼” and they had tried masking it yet again with another big gob of silicone following right round the contoured edge.

    I also found out, with the use of a ruler, that they’d mislaid the whole thing and had obviously not heeded my warnings about the walls. Towards the corner of the L on one side the granite edge was sticking out from the base cabinet underneath by nearly two inches, yet 6 feet away the depth was the more standard 1 ½ inches. The mismatch in measurements on the other part of the L were almost the same, telling me that the whole thing should have been lined up slightly differently. Had they done so the gap along the oven cabinet would probably not have been an issue. I just sat there asking myself what the heck the templates had been for if they’d messed the situation up so much and ignored all my warnings?

    The owner of the business came out and basically, in his glib, fast-talking fashion, tried claiming that there were no issues and tried throwing it back at us by claiming everything and anything he could think up that made it our fault. The mismatched piece was fine, my gripe about the gap along the cabinet was me splitting hairs (despite their assurances that they could do it), the bulge and difference in thickness at the join was also something he just laughed off, while the gap at the back corner was blamed on the very same walls I had instructed them to take heed of. The whole process got reduced to a joke when I pointed out a spot where his installers hadn’t been bothered to clean up some of the epoxy on the oven cabinet, and he repeatedly kept claiming he couldn’t see what I was talking about – I finally had to put a pencil up to it to point out what anyone could have seen from yards away.

    So I leave it to you guys, as I’m no expert on the matter. Do we have reason to feel aggrieved, or not? It’s not like we expect perfection, but if I ask for something, receive repeated assurances that all will be well, only to see exactly what I had worried about come to fruition, I feel like I have reason to be ****ed. Same with the color match. I didn’t expect them to go cherry picking through slab after slab just to give me a perfect color match, but within the two slabs we set aside I would have expected someone to map and plan the cuts that would have given us the best match.

    Also look at the cutout for the sink – are there limits to what kind of radius cuts can be made to follow the contours of a sink, or could we have expected better with regard to what we got with ours?

    Pictures can be found at Photobucket here –http://s1007.photobucket.com/albums/...view=slideshow

    PS – One solution proposed for the gap we’re not happy with along the oven cabinet is to sit a single piece of granite, 3” high, on the counter top against the cabinet, like a backsplash. I just thought it would look weird having a single piece there without a matching backsplash going right round the rest of the counter. We didn’t want a granite edge along the back, which is why we were so specific about wanting a clean edge along the oven cabinet. Any thoughts on the point?

  2. #2

    Default Color Match

    I've never had granite countertops and I don't really know much about installation standards. But, from the pictures, to my eye, the worst thing is the poor color match at the joint in the vicinity of the sink. If the colors are accurate in the pictures, there's no way I would accept that job.

  3. Smile

    The poor color match is enough for me to have them come back and get their product. The entire surface should have come from 1 piece of granite so the color was a constant. The radius around the sink looks like they did not use the sink template properly. You did supply them with a sink cut-out template?

    I would call out another company and ask if they can do an install that improves on the current one.

    Some of the gaps seem to be normal for granite but usually most granite is left slightly over-size and cut-in at the jobsite.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Living in, not from North Carolina
    Posts
    1,436

    Default

    That color match is horrible, most granite slabs are 6'x10', counter tops are 24" wide so normally the joined sections are cut from the same piece.
    The 1/8" thickness issue would have not been one if they had used the same slab.
    I've never seen a cardboard template, the company I use always uses 2" strips of ply glued in place on the cabinets.
    The sink cut out looks like they didn't use the right sink template.
    The areas on either end you mention with bigger gaps on the back (or front) to me a 3/16" of a gap really is not a biggie, the problem really comes from if the cabinet is not 100% square to the wall, even if the template reflected the angle, how do you get it in, the installer would have to lift the granite slab up and then place (should never slide granite on cabinets) the piece in position all while leaning over the cabinets, I don't know a man alive that could do that with a counter top.
    Almost always the granite or tile back splash covers this and any wall deflection issues.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I would call the company and try to get a refund. The company around here I sub my stuff out to doesn't use templates anymore. They use a box looking device which a pencil type stylus attached with a string. They mount the box and proceed to touch various points of the cabinets. Best part is I can actually see the cad design on the laptop before they leave. First few times i was skeptical, but after confirming their measurements I was a believer. By the time they leave after measuring I can see exactly where the joints, miters, edges, etc are going to be so there are no oh sh*t moments when they arrive. The kitchens I have done that don't have a backsplash the tops have fit perfectly. I also think a lot of the precision comes from how they fab their stuff up. Seems to me a lot of places still using plywood templates or templates of that nature are fabbing their stuff by hand, ie hand grinding edges, hand polishing and the like. The place I use uses all CNC machines. I have gotten lucky a few times and have had measurements taken on Monday and tops installed 3 days later.

    As for the color matching issue unfortunately you're at their mercy, but you can always go their shop or go with them to their supplier and pick out your slabs and go over how they plan to match the grain before they start. If they give you a hassle find someone else. I passed on 2 companies before using the current company. Both of the previous shops said the same thing we know what we're doing and do good work. Well for me I'm not going to spend thousands of dollars on their word.

  6. #6

    Default Pictures

    Timbo,
    I was unable to retrieve the photos you posted of I could see them I could definitely tell you what's normal and what is not ....

  7. #7

    Default Pictures solved

    Timbo,
    I was finally able to access your photos, to start ill tell you that I have been templating and installing granite countertops for 6 years now with 5 years of experience in composites previous to that, so I have seen hundreds of countertop installs. As for your kitchen after reviewing the photos there are a few things I think you should know .... The granite that you chose does have a tendency to have a large amount of variation in color,and also thickness from o one side of the slab to the other . However the difference in thickness can be remedied on site by grinding the bottom side of the thicker piece and feathering it back to make them appear the same. As for the color variation at the seam that is a layout problem that they should have looked into before they cut the slab. However sometimes there is a situation where there is not enough stone in the budget to allow the saw operator the get around putting two dislike colors together. That said you should have been informed before cutting and fabrication. Moving along to the sink, it appears that the incorrect template was used to cut it out ..... That can be fixed but they would have to remove the tops . As far as the figment of the countertop the cardboard templates are enough to explain the entire problem , most companies use 4" strips of luan, and staple and glue them together. The company that I work for has gone completely digital. Back to the cardboard template,9 usually templates are actually physically used in the cutting process by placing them on the stone and cutting around them, the problem with the cardboard is all stone saws are wet saws so as soon as the cardboard gets wet..... You guessed it they swell and fall apart so the fact they got as close as they did is a miracle if you ask me . That being said I would not let the sink problem slide or the fitment at the refrigerator but you may have to let the color variation slide because that is problem it seems they in no way could get around in my opinion without purchasing an entire extra slab, and that would most definitely effect your cost . So it appears that the company that you hired we're not complete hacks but are also not exceptional craftsman. So to sum up I would make the fitment at the refrigerator, sink, and thickness problem your sticking points and as far as the color variation I would let that slide and I believe you would have a countertop that is in the top ten percentile as far as good granite work goes ..... Hope this helps and I didn't overstep ..... GOOD LUCK!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    4,870

    Default

    Original thread is 2.5 years old. I hope the issue is resolved by now.

  9. #9

    Default Oops

    Guess I mixed up the date with a different thread ..... DUH on me

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