Help! Moving a granite shower curb

clarettekimMay 17, 2013

Help! I have a vanity set against a knee wall right by the shower curb. Turns out that the bottom drawer does not open all the way because it hits the granite shower curb, which has about a 1/4" overhang. See picture.

Our options are:
1) Cut a little corner out of the drawer face to allow the drawer to fully open. This would look a little bad, but might be the easiest fix.
2) Move the granite in 1/4" toward the shower so that it is flush with the outside curb.
3) Just live with the mistake. The drawer opens about 4" but it happens to be my deepest drawer and it's hard to live with this mistake in my brand-new (and very expensive) remodel.

Currently, we are trying to have the granite moved in, but it's getting difficult to coordinate the tile and granite guys. My tile guy (who works for our GC) refuses to touch the granite since we got the granite from a different sub. My granite guy insists the tile must be cleared out of the way. so far, my tile guy removed one big tile but there is still grout on the side and bottom of the granite piece. Is that enough for the granite guy? Is all of this even worth it?

What would you do? Any tips on moving a granite curb? I think it may be attached with just silicone. Is it something I could do myself and avoid the contractor headache?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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catbuilder

I hope your curb is set with more than a bead of silicone. It should have been installed with thinset. I would not want to risk compromising the waterproofing by removing the curb, if you have surface applied waterproofing. If your waterproofing is underneath, it might not be a problem. There shouldn't be any grout on the bottom of the granite piece. However, I see this as more of a cabinet mistake. Who designed/ordered the cabinet? They should have taken into account the protrusion of the curb. I can't tell from the photo what kind of drawer front you have. Is it overlay? If so, it might be possible to order new drawer fronts (assuming there is more than one, they all need to match) that are narrower and clear the curb. Notching it will look more than a "little bad", in my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:31AM
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clarettekim

Catbuilder, thanks for your response. I am pretty sure the curb has a waterproof membrane underneath (Pro Flo liner). So hopefully it is ok to move the granite.

The cabinet was already installed before the granite went in. Problem is we didn't have the drawers in when we measured for the granite! It is a lower than expected quality semi-custom cabinet (btw, don't ever use Merillat Classic--the quality is so disappointing), so I don't think ordering new faces will be possible.

The curb has some type of thinset on top of the ProFlo liner. The granite is glued with something, we're not sure what (not grouted down). I just meant there is grout at the corner seams.

I agree, this is not worth compromising the waterproofing in the shower. But I'm not sure what is required to keep the curb waterproof--does the granite need to be glued with something special? Will removal compromise the waterproofing?

Thanks for any advice anyone has!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:04AM
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GreenDesigns

Your vanity should have had a filler between it and the wall. Remove it and add the filler and the clearance issue will be resolved. You do NOT want to be moving the curb.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:41AM
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mongoct

The curb structure? The membrane should be lapped over the curb. Over the membrane, "it depends". Me? Since no nails can go through the membrane in the inside face or top of the curb, I'll wrap metal lathe (an unverted "U" shape) over the membrane and curb for structural integrity, then mud that.


Photo linked to Harry Dunbar of Ontario Tile

That gives a nicely mudded and properly shaped curb to tile upon. The granite curb then gets thinsetted to the mud on top, and tile gets thinsetted to the mud on the sides of the curb.

Taking it apart to move the curb? It can be done. And your subs are correct, the bottom course of tile on each side needs to be pulled before the curb can be popped. They are also correct that neither will want to touch the other guy's work.

The problem is that in cleaving the granite off the top of the curb, it might come off cleanly, or the mud and lathe might stay with the granite and delaminate (so to speak) off the membrane and be pulled up with the granite.

Alternative alternatives? In no particular order:

1) Leave the curb where it is. Your stone guy can use a diamond blade to cut 1/4" off the face of the curb. That'll remove the radiused edge and get rid of the polished surface. He can then re-establish the radius and polish the front edge of the stone to match the top. You'll also lose your overhang on the curb, and that might look cheesy. Or it might not.

2) In your photo, the black of the vanity is "very black" and all blended together. I can't tell if the drawer front is inset into a face frame, or if it's an overlay drawer front. Is it possible to remove the drawer front, cut 1/4" off the right edge of the drawer, and then add a 1/4" strip to the right side of the face frame of the drawer opening? You'd need to do that to all openings on the right side of the vanity so they all match. That might create interference with the drawer slides, depending on how the vanity is built. But there are ways around that too.

3) If you don't want to notch the drawer front, rather than dickering with the curb, how about pulling the entire vanity, skinning that right wall with a layer of 1/4" drywall, then taping, mudding, and painting that new drywall, then resetting the vanity.

That will solve all of your problems but create another, since and wall sconces and mirrors on the vanity wall will now be off-center by 1/4".

Any junction boxes on the thickened wall can be handled with 1/4" box extenders.

A lot of work and worry for 1/4"!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:19AM
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raehelen

I concur with what GreenDesigns said. I am guessing you guys bought and installed the vanity yourselves before the shower went in? When we had ours custom designed, the carpenter put in the filler strip, something we hadn't even thought of! That is why kitchen/bath designers or a good carpenter who knows his stuff are worth hiring...they think of the details we just don't.

I suppose your granite? top is already installed on the vanity? Not sure what is on your other side...is it even possible to move the whole vanity over 3/8" or so? If you have enough overhang on the other edge of your vanity, it'll be a bit off-centre, but I don't think anyone would ever notice. Otherwise, I'd be trimming the drawer front (the whole side, not just a notch), and if you have to, ie vanity is exposed on edge, glue a tiny filler strip in on the side of the drawer box. I would definitely be trying a fix with the vanity before touching the granite threshold on the shower!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:46PM
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clarettekim

Thank you all for your responses! Based on your advice, we decided not to mess with the curb. I was a little worried about the granite installers' work anyway, seeing as they already installed the countertop crooked (they were supposed to cut the piece to fit our not-square walls but somehow got the angle backwards or something) and had to come back to fix that.

We would love to just move the vanity, there is plenty of space to move it, but we don't want to mess with the granite top or have the sink off-center.

We may consider notching the drawer, but I think we might just live with it as is for now. It is an 8-drawer plus 1 door cabinet, so I am hoping I don't have THAT much junk to store! All in all, if this is the worst mistake from our first-time reno project, I'm still pretty pleased. Better than moving the granite and risking damaging the curb.

Hopefully this will be a lesson for anyone else reading this! If you have a vanity against a knee wall, make sure the drawers can clear the space before tiling/adding granite etc.

Thank you again for your input.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 1:19PM
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geoffrey_b

Simple solution - cut off the entire right edge of the drawer - so it has clearance to open. Glue this cut off piece to the inside of the cabinet. Fix up the cut edge with some paint/stain.

This is assuming the drawer front sufficently overhangs the interior of the drawer.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 2:12PM
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