Marble veining doesn't flow

ZophieJuly 23, 2013

I'm redoing my master bathroom and have chosen polished white carrara marble counters and tub surround to go with the already installed marble octagon tile floor and white dove cabinets. I had a devil of a time finding a marble slab that I liked, in fact, I really don't like the heavy black veining in this slab but could find no better in Chicago. Seriously, I've been told by all the marble and granite people that this is what white carrara marble looks like from the part of the mountain they are currently mining from, but that's another story.
My fabricator told me that he could not install the tub surround in one piece, which, of course, would have solved my problem. So he made both the 3 piece tub surround and double vanity from one slab. I expressed to him that I was worried that the veining wouldn't flow nicely between the 3 pieces of marble around the tub. He said not to worry, that I'll hardly notice at all.
Boy do I notice!
Please tell me if I'm too picky or I should be getting a better result. I don't know if after a few months it will bug me or I will forget all about it. I think it's so prominent because the veining is so dark. The marble is in place but not yet completely installed.
Should I demand a better result?

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Here's a better photo showing the dramatic directional change between the marble pieces.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:51PM
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Had you not expressed a concern about the veining up front, this would fall under the "marble is a natural stone" caveat regarding the veining.

Since you expressed a concern, what he could have done, and probably what he should have done, was to lay out the cut lines on the slab and have you sign off on the proposed pieces.

There are certainly layout limitations when trying to maximize value from a slab. But there are sometimes opportunities to be creative.

I don't think what you have is horrible. The two pieces are of the same value and have the same degree and direction of veining. I'd say it certainly falls within the standards of good worksmanship.

Sometimes mismatches in a brand new installation like yours can create an "in your face" type of unhappiness. But what typically happens is that over time, just like the variations in the veining in your hex flooring, the variations in the deck slabs will become less noticeable too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:39PM
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I think it would be acceptable to most people. We had a fabricator tell us that our tub surround could not be done in one piece either. In getting another estimate, we found a fabricator who assured us it could be done in one piece. We paid a little more, but I'm glad that we made that decision. I think I'm like you and that difference in direction would have annoyed me.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I know your feeling of not getting exactly what you wanted . I have been dealing with this feeling throughout my MB Reno that has been on for 3 months now . What you should think of are what other options you have other then keeping it the way it is . Can you return it and face the trouble of looking for another slab and waiting for it to be fabricated ? I tried doing that in my project and that was a wast of time , and you already said that it took a long time to find this slab . I think you were lucky to find this nice white color in Carrara marble , I had to upgrade to calacata to get this white color . All the Carrara marble we have here is grey . If you want to save yourself a lot of trouble and effort just forget about it and put a nice accessory to cover it .

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:50PM
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Are you my husband disguised as an anonymous Gardenweb user?
Seriously, putting an accessory on top was exactly my husband's solution!
Another idea that my decorator just suggested is using a strong paint color to draw the eye away from this flaw.

It never occurred to me to use another fabricator, he did a nice job on my quartzite in my kitchen. My general contractor recommended him and after checking his price against a competitor for the kitchen installation, I just went with him again.

My fabricator never suggested, nor did it ever occur to me to have him do a layout on the slab as Mongoct wisely recommended.

I am beginning to think that I'm just going to have to live with this as is. The thought of looking for another slab makes me crazy! Once I decided to go with marble, I thought it would be easy to find a slab, silly me!

Thanks for all of your insights.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:24AM
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I don't think it looks bad but probably wouldn't be thrilled with it either. I did a fair bit of research before I bought my new counters and most people who were not happy with their natural stone fabrication loved the stone but not the seams and pattern match.

You will have to weigh the inconvenience, stress, and expense and figure out if it is worth it to get it redone. Perhaps your first step is to research and find out if there is a fabricator that can do it without the seams.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 7:51AM
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It looks like a good spot for a pretty sea sponge to sit!

Not *perfect* but I can see how he tried. The veins are running the same direction. Maybe it IS impossible for this particular job to be all one piece. If that is the case, I don't see how he could have done much better. The very dark vein shaped like a tuning fork is the culprit--it draws your eye there and can't be "continued". Also, your slab's veins have pronounced directional veining, which can difficult to piece together without purchasing an extra slab.

I think this is the sort of thing you won't notice at all when everything is finished and decorated. I also have strong directional veining in my new bath marble and noticed several strange spots immediately following install that I don't see at ALL, now.

Looks like it is shaping up to be a gorgeous bathroom!!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The only way he could have done better with the seams on this was probably to have you buy two whole slabs, with one entire one dedicated to the tub surround, and the other one for the vanity with a lot left over. That would have added a lot of expense to the job. Only you know if having the perfect seam would be worth another $1400 to you. But, since that was a concern of yours, he should have at least asked if that was an option that you would consider. Now, if you had made it clear that your budget was already taking a hit, he probably wouldn't have asked, and he did a darn nice job with a single slab.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:38PM
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No Zophie I am not your husband , I am another gardenweb member who is going through a lot of aggravations in my MB renovation . I knew from the beginning that It won't be perfectly what I want . However I went through more trouble than I expected . I am going into my fourth month in this renovation and I want to get done . Now I think of a way to accommodate whatever was not done the way I wanted it . If its a quick fix its good , but more time , effort and frustration is not an option for me . My DH urges me to finish with my disastrous so called GC and then we will fix what we can later .

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:27AM
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I find this interesting because I disagree with most here. I think I like the fact that the marble surfaces don't "match".

I think too much matching can be tedious. I have recently learned about a concept called "wabi sabi". Wikipedia describes it thus: "Wabi-sabi (ä¾Âå¯Â) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection."

Turns out that there are whole books written about this concept. It seems to largely be used when dealing with the "natural world" in design which I think marble is definitely applicable here. Kind of corresponds with Nate Berkus description of too much "matchy, matchy" is not desireable. Hopefully my words here make sense cause not sure what more I can say to describe.

I hope you do use some "pops" of color and a fair amount of texture elsewhere in the room- I don't think your walls that aren't marble should be totally plain and white - not sure where I'm going here since I'm not a designer but thought I would put in an opposing view if you hadn't thought of this.

I think the pictures you have posted seem to be taking you down the path of using a few "vintage" accessories. Not sure if that is what you would want but could be stunning.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:20AM
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I'm sorry you're not happy, but I just wanted to say that the marble you chose looks amazing. I don't have enough experience to say whether what you received is right/fair/acceptable, but my untrained eye says that it really looks pretty good. I think once they address the joint so you do not see the physical line between the two pieces and finish the walls, it's going to look pretty great. The carrara marble in my bathroom has lots of veins that abruptly start/stop, so I don't think having the veins start/stop at the seam looks bad. Also, your floor tile looks really lovely.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:47AM
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