My soapstone has a 20 inch crack!

bayareafrancyJanuary 13, 2008

I'm so cursed, it isn't even funny.

Ok, maybe it is a little funny?

Maybe not.

I could just barely see the crack before oiling. But after oiling...

The big problem is that my Santa Barbara soapstone is very even and regular. It almost looks like engineered stone. So this crack isn't in the category of "only I would notice it." Anyone who looks at the counter will see it right away. It is about 20 friggin inches long, and goes from the edge, almost all the way to the backsplash (my counters are 24 deep). I can see it on the underside of the overhang, so it goes all the way through the stone. Basically, the stone is a uniform black, and there is a very obvious white crack (it was a faint white when the stone was gray, but now that I oiled it, it is white on black). It was the first thing I could see when I walked into the kitchen this morning.

Here are some photos.

The front edge (you can even see a little pit in the crack):

Closeup (the whole 20 inches looks like this):

The whole thing (edge of counter starts at the left). Depending on how the light hits it, it either looks white (as on the left), or like a black smudge (as on the right):

There is NOTHING I can do about this, is there? I bought the slab at M. Texeira in August. I don't know if it had the crack. It sat at a different fabricator for 4.5 months. I don't know if they cracked it. I have 2 photos of the slab during the layout, and I can't see any crack when I zoom in on the photos. But the photos aren't that great. The crack might already be there.

But even if either the fabricator, or M. Texeira agreed to redo the piece, how on earth would it come out without destroying my cabinets, or my undermounted fireclay sink?

There just doesn't seem to be anything I can do. It is ironic that I chose a stone with amost no movement. On a veiny piece of soapstone, the crack wouldn't be so noticible. As it is, it pretty much says "Helllooooo! I'm a 20 inch crack!!!!!!!"

I guess I need to find the humor in this:

I'll just refer to my "20 inch hairless crack."

Francy (saying some very bad words right now)

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I'm so sorry about this! Maybe you can see if there's a way to resolve it by obtaining a new slab? Your kitchen is gorgeous, still! I'm hoping there will be a way for this to be remedied as quickly as possible to your satisfaction...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:48AM
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Oh wow...that is so unfortunate.

I would still contact both the fabricator and M-Tex and ask for a never know...they might just do something about it.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 2:28AM
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Is this a crack or a repair? Seems to me like a crack would not have remained white after oiling.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 3:27AM
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I can't see the pics b/c I am at work-
but I know when M Tex installed my soapstone they said something about using ss dust mixed with epoxy that can fill in bad dings- maybe something like that would help? I don't know- I think maybe you need some advice from florida-joshua. Definitely speak to your fabricator. I feel so bad for you. Hang in there girl.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:46AM
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Do you have a pic of the fracture from a distance that shows
where it is in relationship to the sink, d/w & adjacent

From one of your posted pics, it looks as though the fracture
line is to the right of your sink and drain board - am I right?

Also - are you sure that this is true soapstone?
From your current pics, the material looks more like honed
Granite, but I may be wrong.

Just thinking out loud here, but it looks to me from
what I'm seeing so far, that the fracture could have been
caused from your cabinets not being perfectly level - more pics
will help rule out this theory.

Take some more pics and post them - I'll be watching for 'em
and post my opinion.


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:08AM
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Wow--you just have the worst luck in the world, don't you?! After your glee about getting the stone installed, this has to be a huge blow. Maybe one of the experts here will have a solution for you. If not, take some solace in the fact that I don't think it looks bad. In fact, I would just make up something geological sounding to make it sound like it's there on purpose. ("Oh that? That's just a hydrothermal expansion schist in the basalt deposit influx region. I chose this stone specifically for that rare feature.").

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:22AM
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Francy - This is so sad for you. I've seen you fall in love wth soapstone on these forums and now to have this happen! Let me ask you, when you run your finger over the crack, can you feel it? I have something kind of similar on mine and I can't feel it. I had the fabricator back out here to look at it and said it was not a crack, but natural to the stone (i.e., a vein). Mine has more veins than yours, but still not a lot. I know how you feel, because it makes me absolutely crazy. I've taken to positioning my cutting board over it. Because whether it's a vein or a crack, I don't like it. (Otherwise I love my soapstone!)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:24AM
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I'm not an expert, but with that pit and the location, it seems liek a crack to me, and I would suspect something in fabrication, transportation or installation. The location near the sink and drainboard would be a vulnerable spot. I would want it replaced.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 10:35AM
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I hope someone has ideas about repairs if you can't replace it. My head is aching for you! This is just soooo sad. debs


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Francy - check out a discussion I had with Joshua in another thread on this topic - I don't know how to link it, but it was called "Soapstone; leathered or brushed/antiqued" and it's approximately 3/4 of the way down. I think you'll have to have your fabricators come back out and take a look (according to Joshua). Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 10:51AM
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That's just got to be replaced. Ask them if they'd use that as a display of their work?

azstone, a question for you: re the cabinets not being level, possibly--wouldn't that be something the counter installers should check for before installing, and use shims or whatever else to get them level? Or is it incumbent upon the cabinet installers? I would *hate* to think that the counter installers could get out of it entirely by saying "well, your cabinets weren't level, and we don't have to check them"...thanks for any light you can shed on this.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:23AM
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Oh no! Here's hoping for a quick and (relatively) painless resolution....

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:29AM
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Please call your fabricators. There are things they can do that we can't imagine. Our installers couldn't get the dishwasher into its place and I called my soapstone people to see if they could remove the stone. He said "things can always be fixed." In the end, the carpenter got the DW in so we didn't have to do anything with the stone.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:01PM
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Wow, Francy, that is really sad, especially knowing how long you've waited for this.

I'm with some of the other posters: talk to the fabricator and M. Texeira first to see what they have to say. Stay calm. You obviously did not cause this crack, and I don't believe they would want to sell such a product with this kind of defect. Try to stay optimistic that once they are informed of the situation, they will want to try to resolve it for you.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:01PM
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So sorry this is happening. Hope they fix it. Love your sopastone.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:01PM
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More pictures to come in the daylight...

Kevin: you are right about the location. The piece is a small one--only a few feet long. The seam is in the center of the sink. Here is the whole piece (unoiled). The crack is past the runnels, over the dishwasher, just past the handle. I don't think you can see it in this photo, but this is one entire piece of soapstone.

The cabinet was not perfectly level (I say 'cabinet' b/c it is all one long unit), but the fabricators said it didn't have to be. Their policy is that they install the counter level, unless told otherwise. So the guys had their big 8 foot level on the counter, and they put in teeny shims where needed.

I think it is pretty definitely a "crack." My stone doesn't have any veins of this kind. And, it goes through to the underside.

In these photos, it does look like granite, doesn't it? But it is really soapstone. Purchases from M. Texeira, who only carries soapstone.

I emailed this thread to Joshua...

I don't know if M. Tex has more of this stone. They categorize it as "rare."

The fabricator has the following clause in their contract:

"While we stand by our work 100%, we cannot and will not accept responsibility for client supplied material. Once material is delivered to us we will inspect it for visible sign of defects or the possibility of problems that may be inherent in that stone and inform you of any problems along with possible options to make the stone work, along with any pricing for such options, if applicable. Should the stone break during cutting or fabrication, we will not assume the responsibiltiy (unless the damage occurred due to our mishandling of the stone) as the possibility of fissures not readily visible are a common occurrence in natural stone material, albeit not a frequent occurrence in good quality materials."

I still owe the fabricator the final 50%.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:05PM
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logic is indeed a crack. That said, our cabs are mid range...5 years old when the SS was installed...and IMO, they are probably not exactly even...usually nothing is.
That said, we have had Ice Flower now for over two cracks at all...a good number of veins...but none look like what is in your slab...which is why I believe it is indeed a crack.
This seems to be either a defect in the slab from day one...or, something done during the install that caused it to crack....perhaps even after the fact...due to uneven stress.
Either way...I would definitely contact M. Tex to see if they have a solution...especially if an epoxy/stone dust mix would your cabs and sink would then be safe.

Also, I don't think I have ever heard of SS cracking before..which does make me wonder if it is true was questioned above..

Nothing ventured...nothing gained.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:07PM
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That piece is one with more stress on it -- the sink cut out (or 1/2 of it) and the drain runnels. The crack looks like it is just about half way across that piece -- a spot most likely to want to snap if mishandled (there or the corners of your sink).

My fabricator had to remove a piece of marble because I could not live wth the seam. They told me the sooner the better. The longer the adhesive cures, the more difficult it becomes to remove it. He also tld me they removed an entire kitchen of granite for a customer that wanted to take it with them. They were able to remove them all in tact -- until the last one, and this was years after the installation.

They may claim the defect was there, but they shouldn't have put it in the middle of a piece with that fabrication and stress on it. And you can have fissures without veins. I doubt either of you could provewith much certainty how or why it happened. I hope you can work together to find a solution.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:21PM
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DO NOT PAY the other 50% UNTIL this issue is RESOLVED!

You are in Cali - Right?

Contractors in Cali & here in AZ - HAVE to be liscensed (sp?)
and are accountable not only to you, but also the
state registrar of contrcators.

Yes, YOU supplied the stone, BUT...
THEY are the professionals - NOT YOU -
AND, that being said -
YOU relied on THEM to install YOUR material in a professional and sound manner.
It appears to me that this may not have been
the case in regards to this fracture.

My opinion - it is a fracture that most likely occured
during installation - and the degree of your cabinets
being out of level probably had something to do with
the fracture taking place.

Why is this significant?
Because when a contractor sets his tops on ca-ca,
he is ACCEPTING said ca-ca for it's own condition -
he's taking responsiblity for the lack of level in the cabinets.

It's easy to say "should've-would've-could've" at this point-


What he SHOULD have done AT TEMPLATE - was to have said:
"Francy, Your cabinets are out of level - they need to be
prefectly flat with no high spots or low spots - CALL ME

That would have reduced or eliminated this issue....


hope that helps


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:24PM
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FRANCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, I am SOOOOO SORRY! Where is the justice???? I am hoping that come Monday you post that the fabricators came out and they will take care of it. I know you have some stone left - is there enough to use in that section??? I just canNOT believe this has happened to you. I must say that you are a trooper and I really respect how you've handled all of the setbacks with a bit of good humor and patience. I know you will keep us informed and we are all crossing our fingers and hoping for the best possible outcome! GOOD LUCK!!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Francy, how is it standing up to the oil test Joshua described in the thread coleen3201118 mentioned? If it's a crack, it should have held oil more than the surrounding stone. It may have already been long enough since you oiled it to start seeing a difference if there is one. It definitely looks like it could be a crack, but veins do go all the way through the stone, so that alone doesn't mean that it's not a vein.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Oh gosh, I'm so sorry. I know you probably have to wait until Monday to get a resolution, so I'm hoping you can enjoy your Sunday anyway. :(

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:20PM
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Thank you Kevin!

And thank you everyone else too!

My two boys are having tantrums, and are desperate for my attention: they just don't seem to understand why I am taking 50 pictures of a crack, and then downloading them all. So I'm going to go and play with them, and I'll try to come back later tonight with any additional info that might be useful.

Joshua's "oil test" won't help me right now, b/c I put Bee's Oil on. The material is beautifully black, and Joshua had earlier told me that the Santa Barbara can hold the oil for a few weeks!

Unfortunately for the fabricator, it would cost them so much more to replace it, than the 50% I owe them. My counters are tiny, and this stretch is only 4.5 feet long, by 2 feet wide. But to get a slab of the uber-expensive Santa Barbara with a section big enough...Ouch. I feel really bad for them. They did such a nice job in so many ways. But the crack is so ugly. I don't want to keep it. *sob* I'll call them first thing tomorrow. If I were in their shoes, I'd say that a replacement is more trouble and money than it is worth, and I'd tell me to keep my 50%. And my crack.

I have this joke stuck in my head that was popular on the playground when I was about 8 years old. I wonder if any of you have heard this one. Be warned: it is lewed in an 8 year old sort of way (contains references to one's behind). It goes like this:

A woman bought herself a house. She was so excited about it, she decided to name her house. She said, "I'm going to name my house after the first thing that I hear on the radio." She turned on the radio, and the first thing she heard was "hairy butt." So she named her house "hairy butt." [Note: suspend disbelief regarding why one would hear that on the radio!] Then she bought a dog. And she said, ""I'm going to name my dog after the first thing that I hear on the radio." She turned on the radio, and the first thing she heard was "crack." So she named her dog "crack." One day, her dog got lost. So the lady called the police station, and told them, "I've looked all over my Hairy Butt, but I cannot find my Crack."

Thinking of calling the counter HB, for short...


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Francy -

How very frustrating for you, especially given how attentive you've been to all of the details associated with this project. It looks as though your stone "snapped" and was subsequently repaired - which is still a bit mystifying, as it seems like it would have been apparent to you from the very beginning. Very honestly, your soapstone looks more like granite on my monitor, especially given the uniformity, flecks, etc. It looks much like what we once had (black impala) - which had more of a charcoal gray color to it. Very beautiful - I hope you'll let us know wha the remedy ends up being. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 2:36PM
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When I wash my SS w/ dish soap and water the bees oil comes off, and I have to re-oil. If you wanted to lighten it back up.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 3:24PM
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In a nutshell, this sucks! Your countertops are so beautiful and the runnels delicious. If it weren't a crack, merely a vein, I know you could learn to love it (even though you wanted as uniform a color as possible -- no veining). But a crack is structural and dangerous and at the end of the day, totally unacceptable in a brand spankin' new countertop!

Good luck with your boys and their tantrums: maybe you could join them and have one as well? Goodness knows you deserve it!

I'll be thinking of you and keeping my fingers crossed for an easy and satisfactory outcome tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Even though I chose one of the busiest slabs of soapstone I've ever seen, and love it, I would be heartbroken to find a crack in it not as much for the appearance, but for the loss of structural integrity.

I am so sorry this happened to you. I don't have advice beyond what's been written above, but I will be sending positive thoughts your way and hoping you get fair resolution soon. Good luck tomorrow!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 7:25PM
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It looks like you have the concensus behind you...
Hopefully your boys behaved better for you today
when you weren't in the kitchen, and that probably helped
keep your mind off your dilema.

The only other thing that I'd mention that you should remember
(and it sounds to me like you are a very sensible young lady)
is that you should try to be nice - but assertive.

Also - when you're going into a knife fight, it's always
better to have a .45 in your back pocket - JUST so things
don't get out of hand - AND you can keep a tactical advantage...

Here's a ".45" for your back pocket in your rumble tomorrow-
it's the link to the California State License Board - similar
to AZ's Registrar of Contractors.

ANY contractor will do ANYTHING to protect his licesnse from
being revoked - the CSLB is there for YOUR protection.
Check it out and use it to your advantage...

Keep us updated..OK??


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Oh francy, I am soooo sorry for you! I was very excited seeing your lovely soapstone and thought for sure your kitchen was not only taking shape, but was well on its way to being a completed and sweet-looking kitchen. I wish you the best in getting a favorable resolution when you speak/meet with your soapstone people.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:45PM
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I have thought about you all day. I am so sorry. I am sure you can get it all worked out but even the best option is like a long hard hill to climb. Stick with it. Prayers to you.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:51PM
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Gads Francie,
There is a pimple next to your hairy B, and as I recall, there is also a pinkie underneath it??? how much worse can it get?

For what it's worth, remember you were recently talking about slicing directly on your soapstone. It is going to develop a patina. Mine is fairly pristine after around 5 months but patina is still on the way even for my very dark stone. Just a couple of teeny blemishes, and I'm not concerned, since mine has a fair amount of light veining.

Here's one story: we always absolutely must make cranberry orange relish using an old hand crank meat grinder. The old iron kind you have to oil to prevent it rusting, know the one? This is a thanksgiving tradition that must not be altered despite progress in kitchen technology. This year, the big question was "what to fasten the grinder to, now that the nasty pull out bread board is gone?" Well, my son thought he'd be super smart and very careful. He went over to our little soapstone desk area and put bubble wrap between the grinder and soapstone. He screwed it tight and tighter.... As we all know, bubble wrap is soft where there are bubbles, and flat where there are none. That's the biggest ding/divet in the whole place. Luckily, the little desk is usually pretty cluttered!

At least there is potential for a story behind the patina!

Good luck resolving the situation, but remember this new kitchen is not only beautiful, it's new functionality will potentially change your life (mine did). The worst case is that you keep the crack. With a cute little kitchen like yours, and considering the improvement over what you've had, this is still pretty dreamy. Try to relax while you work it all out. You'll be fine. You could say it was from an earthquake... Maybe not, since we know you ARE kitchen cursed!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:56PM
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I, too, am so sorry, having read of your many trials during your kitchen remodel. It seems wrong for you to have to accept this: it's not your fault. I would definitely want it replaced, after all, it's brand new!! I don't know the best way to handle it, but persistence and, if nothing else works, threats, will pay hopefully pay off.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:16PM
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Some of you might recall that last month, one of the fabricators played a joke on me: I called to verify one of the measurements (which was incorrect), and he told me that the guy who did the template got fired after I pointed out his error. I felt so horrible; and then mad when I found out he was only kidding.

But today it hit me: could the very nice young man who installed my counter possibly lose his job over this crack? He has a new baby! There is no way that my counter is worth his job! He is a sweet, young guy. How much trouble could he get in? I would never sleep well again if he got fired!

So now I'm not sure...My husband says he can't imagine someone getting fired over what, in the grand scheme of stone fabrication, is insignificant.

Kevin: are mistakes like this built into a company's overall costs? Would someone ever get fired over something like this?

First, I'll call M. Texeira tomorrow morning to see if they even have any more of the Santa Barbara. If they do, I need enough for a 4.5 x 2.5 piece. Which I'm afraid will be a giant slab (they sell by the slab). Then I'll call the fabricator. Unless the dear guy who installed it could get in big trouble. In which case I won't.

Sleepydrj: how funny!!! That was a laugh I dearly needed. And, worst case scenario: I say the crack happened during an earthquake decades ago. After all, I want my kitchen to look like it has been in the house since 1929!


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:35PM
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Maybe it wasn't that guy's fault. Was he the ONLY ONE handling the stone? Like you said, it MIGHT have been there before...there is no way of knowing is there? You are BEYOND sweet to worry about him (and I would too), but I just cannot imagine that the blame could fall squarely on his shoulders, and his alone, unless someone witnessed him dropping it before it got to your house and noone told you! I guess there could be some blame if it is because of leveling problems, but even so, I would imagine this is built into their overhead and profit and it wouldn't be ALL his fault. Was he the templater too? Didn't Kevin say that the templater should have told you that the cabs needed to be perfectly level before installation? Our templator was not the same guy as the installer, so in our case (if something like this happened) there would be enough blame to go around that you couldn't just point at one guy. Stay nice, but stick to your guns. This is your dream kitchen and this is their business.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:20AM
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Oh no! Francy I'm so sorry to hear this... and to see it, and that really looks like a crack. I hope that the support that you are getting from GW will help you as you deal with the fabricators.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:38AM
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I just want to say I am so sorry you are facing this. Scratches and chips are one thing but a 20 inch crack is another. I would be afraid it would continue. I am wishing you a a speedy resolution to the problem.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 7:50AM
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Dang it!!! This should not have happened after all you've been through. I am going to keep an eye on this thread in the hopes that it all gets sorted out without anyone getting fired and to your satisfaction. (Must also add that I doubt the installer would be fired over this. This job may be small but I am sure they have other HUGE jobs so losing a bit of money over yours isn't going to break the bank for them)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:12AM
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Wow! ! !

Sorry to hear all of this, and sorry for my late reply.

The problem with this problem is where to point the finger.

The fabricator will point the finger at the stone supplier, and the stone supplier will ask why this issue was not brought up before fabrication??

I always inspect the stone as soon as I recieve it from my supplier. If there are any issues at that point they are discussed with the stone distributor and the customer. If a fissure or crack gets to finished product I would say it's my fault. This is because I missed it or I didn't address it right away. . . now it's too late to take pictures of the slab after it was shipped and the pointing finger game starts.

I can't give a perfect solution to this situation. I think it could have been avoided if it was a problem with the stone. The fabricator should have caught it. M Tex would have replaced it. If it is a fabricator's problem, he should take responsibility for his work.

I hope you find a solution to this . . .

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:19AM
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I didn't want to jinx things, cuz if you've got the East Coast curse, I have the West Coast version, so I haven't commented: I mean really, what could I say? But, as you're so many hours ahead, I'm hoping you've heard back from the fabricators- yuck what a horrible call to have to make...Please let us know what has happened.

Hugs and fingers crossed from way over on the other side,


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:50AM
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Thanks Joshua.

I just called the fabricator, but they aren't open yet...

As far as number of folks involved...

2 very nice young men, call them F and D did the template. They came back to do the install. I don't want either of them to get in trouble!

Re: levelling, the policy seemed to be that it was not a problem if the cabs weren't perfectly level. I told them this many times: we have a sloping floor, and the cabs aren't perfectly level. No problem, we'll do all the necessary shimming. You can shim where needed, I asked? Yes, they said.

And the piece of stone in question is less than 4.5 feet long. If it were a stress crack from the installation, what kind of force would it take to crack such a short piece? On such a short piece, I would have thought you could use it as a diving board without it cracking. The crack doesn't go all the way to the wall. Almost, but not all the way.


Joshua: does my Santa Barbara look right to you? I started to panic when folks asked if I was sure it wasn't granite (b/c of the flecks and uniformity). My pictures used a flash, so all the flecks showed up.

Time to call again...


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:55AM
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oh Francy, you so don't need this. Your soapstone is gorgeous and even if you could somehow "fix" that crack, you'd always know it was there.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Francy, when you talk to the stone supplier, they may also be able to check with fabricators who have used this stone recently to see if any of them have remnants that might work for thay small piece. Thew stone yards may also have a broken slab -- one of the shipments of soapstone I saw looked like the whole bundle had been dropped and there were cracks across all the slabs. A partial slab like that might work perfectly for you -- and they have other locations they can check. It may turn out to be a 3 or 4-way solution. Hang in there.

And I don't think any good worker would lose his job over a single problem. Habitual problems, yes, but I think this guy is playing with you and probably does it because he thinks it's funny and it may keep his complaints down. My fabricator said they couldn't hire enough good workers, so I know they wouldn't fire anyone without significant cause.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 12:36PM
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I called the fabricator. They are trying to get someone to come look at it today. Otherwise tomorrow morning. They will call me back. TheHusband was mad that I didn't insist they come immediately, b/c he says every hour the epoxy continues to cure and harden.

In the meantime, I called M. Texeira just to see if they still have Santa Barbara. They have a few large (95 x 58) slabs left. But the woman told me they aren't as "clean" as the Santa Barbara usually is--they have more veining. At this point, that would be fine with me except then the piece to the left of the sink wouldn't match the new piece. Which means both pieces would have to be replaced. Which the slab would certainly be big enough to accommodate...

So I guess that would be my ideal solution. Don't know if the fabricator will do it... It seems like a lot of money to me, but I suppose it is small potatoes to them (slab is about 2,000.00).

I'll keep you posted!


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Francy - I really hope for your sake that they make it out today. I don't want you stressing another night, waiting for answers. That is the worst feeling. We are all behind you, rooting for you, and bearing the stress with you!!! GOOD LUCK! I'll keep checking back in and hoping that you don't have to fight too hard a battle. Let's cross our fingers that they are a stand-up company that does the right thing!!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 2:09PM
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Fori is not pleased

Poopy. Good luck getting it replaced!

If you can't and it's structurally OK (which is a requirement), it will certainly add to the "old kitchen" look, if you can convince yourself of can tell people it was reclaimed. Or that it was original and you found it in the crawlspace.

Anyway, they aren't gonna fire anyone over this. These things are part of the job. They happen. And your cabinets will be OK. (Good thing they aren't painted yet, though!)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Francy- My house is 100 years old. Not one room in the house has even floors. The kitchen is so bad we can roll a marble down it in one area. My cabs have shims all over the place on the bottom and top below the soapstone. The soapstone has been in since October- I have a softer stone Santa Rita- and I have no cracks. I know you are trying to be nice, but girl- you paid good money to have this done. There would be no way in hell a crack like that would be acceptable to me. I don't think you should settle because of someone elses mistake. It just went in on Friday for goodness sakes- it should NOT have a 20 inch crack. It is very obvious that it is a crack. Even though they were "nice guys" they made a mistake, and they should be held accountable, why should You have to pay 2 grand for something someone else did?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:07PM
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Well, I finally talked to one of the fabricators (I don't think he cut my stone though). We went back and forth for over 10 minutes. Basically, he says they aren't responsible for client supplied material. He'll come look at it tomorrow (with the 2 installers), and if they are responsible, they will fix it. But there is no way to prove they are responsible.

Also, he kept saying, "can you feel it?" Because, he says, if I can't feel it, then it isn't a stress fracture. It was already there. But, I told him, they sanded the surface. So it is all pretty smooth. He insisted you can't just sand away a crack--if it were a crack, I'd feel it.

So. I think I had my hopes up a bit, because I suddenly feel really sad. I'll get over it. It will be ok. I'll make up a story for the crack. Incorporate it.

Do I pay them the final 50%? It seems like I have to. But I will make a point of shedding some seriously large tears when I hand over the check.

Actually, I do want to keep a good relationship with them. They are willing to store my extra pieces (small pieces) for as long as I need, so I can use them in the future. And then they will fabricate them for me. If things end on a bad note, I guess I'd better get my pieces...


20 friggin inches!! Come on! Why not just 6 inches? That would be fine. I'm wanting to say some very bad words right now. *raising my fist to the kitchen gods who have cursed me*


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:56PM
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francy, what is the name of the fabricators? They need to stand by their policy in public if they're going to do that. AZ stone consulting will put his name out there, other professional fabricators and tilesetters have done so--they shouldn't be afraid to.

To me, that's some seriously short-term thinking, trying to weasel out of helping you be happy with something that at least one professional expert says is not your fault...Please share the business name so folks from your area will know a little something about their willingness to make things right if a problem arises.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:11PM
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Francy your soapsotne is fine, the person who told you that it may not be soapstone obviously doesn't work with soapstone. This quarry has been around for years and produced alot of soapstone over the years. I doubt this stone will be around in the future because soapstone quarry's are small and only last for short amouts of time. This of course is in comparison to granite and marble which can produce for a very long time. Which is one reason why this industry is so special. . . but not everyone is aware of this indusrty.

The container of santa barbara I received looked exactly like that with more veins. Here are some pics to prove it. The sink is a close up shot, and the flash brings out everything. To the natural eye it does not look like this. The second is a full slab. I do wish people that really didn't know would just stop and think so it doesn't confuse people even more. And remember there is wisdom in a multitude of council, so don't take one persons word for it. . .

Hope this clears that end up.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:15PM
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Lord, but I love that vein across the front of the sink, joshua :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:16PM
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DON"T BE A SOFT HEARTED PUSSYCAT! Be a MOMMA BEAR and FIGHT for your right to a counter that is not cracked.

Every fabricator we dealt with here in Chicago got their supply from someone else whether I supplied it or they bought it themselves. It was there JOB to make sure the piece they received was in good condition. Their RESPONSIBILITY. Ask them if they did it? If not, why not? If they noticed the crack during fabrication, why didn't they bring it to your attention? If it was because it wasn't there then what caused the stone to crack? Make them take responsibility! That's what you paid them good money for. DO NOT BLITHELY HAND OVER THE BALANCE! Make them work it out to your satisfaction.

And oh, 6 inches would NOT be fine LOL, it would just be better than 20" but if it really is a stress crack what's to stop it from cracking all the way through?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:20PM
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UGH! FRANCY, this is SO not fair! I would be utterly deflated too, but don't lose all hope yet. They haven't come out and assessed it, and until they do you still have a wee bit of hope.

Now it seems to me that if they are willing to fabricate other people's stone, they should take resposibility if they damage it. Yeah, yeah, they'll say that you can't PROVE they did it, but IF THEY DIDN'T do it (and it was already there), they would have noticed the crack when they were fabricating and they would have called you and said, "Hey Francy, we've found a problem with your stone and we want you to know about it beforehand because we can't be held liable," or something to that effect.

It seems to me that no fabricator in their right mind would think you WOULDN'T notice a 20" crack, and if it existed before they installed it THEY would have noticed, right? And if they noticed, and they knew you'd notice, they would mention it to get themselves off the hook financially. They would want to let you know to, at the very least, make it sound like it was a flaw in the SS and not their mistake. Make sense? I just can see no way this existed prior to installation. No way. There is no way a fabricator would not notice a big old crack while fabricating (are they blind) and if they DID see it, there is no way they wouldn't mention that the stone had said big old crack in it. I just can't fathom it. Am I missing something?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:26PM
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Before paying them the remaining balance, if you have any doubt I think you should bring in another stone expert to determine whether it's a crack or a vein. That way you'll have some piece of mind. The money that you owe them is the only leverage you have - tears are worthless - unless you're Hilary Clinton :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Here is the tricky thing (that helps let the fabricator--Creative Stoneworks--off the hook). When the stone was gray, the crack was very, very, very hard to see. After they installed it, I kinda noticed it, but immediately dismissed it from my mind. On a huge slab, I can easily see it being missed. I really can.

I called them back and asked them to please bring all my extra pieces tomorrow. I have a photo of the layout, and there is a scrap piece from under my cracked piece. If the crack is on the slab, then we know it was always there. And then maybe M. Texeira will replace it?? And if it isn't there, then the fabricator did it.

So we need to analyze that scrap! (I feel like Qunicy.)

If all that fails, Joshua, can we do anything to change the color of the crack? The oil is not turning it black. Aside from a sharpie marker, how about an enhancer, just on the crack??


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:42PM
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I don't know. It seems to me that they, as professionals, would have being using their professional eagle eyes on the stone while they were fabricating, especially the edges. Even if they hadn't noticed the crack (if it existed at that point) prior to cutting, it seems they would have noticed once it was cut and they were fooling with the edges... I'm glad you asked them to bring the pieces though. That way you (a) can analyze the pieces to do some detective work and (b) if you don't want to work with them again you don't have to go begging for your leftover pieces. Are they coming over tomorrow?????

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Socal hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. There's no way they wouldn't have notice a crack that wasn't their doing, and would most definitely have told you so! Hang tough, girl. You might mention the name of this forum and all the bad (or good!) publicity you are bringing them; yes, you did mention their name in a previous post, tho I can't remember it right now.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 5:18PM
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Fori is not pleased

Sounds like you can at least sort of get kind of an answer about when it happened with the scraps. Have fun Quincying! And while I don't think it looks like the veins on the pictures above, be open to the possibility that it could actually be a vein in which case you WILL be required to love it.

A crack they should have noticed. I'm not a stoneworker, but isn't the stuff usually machined wet? And doesn't the crack stand out wet? So they'd have to either be incredibly oblivious, think it's a vein, or trying to pull one over on you. And I'm not sure which is better!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 5:28PM
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Yep, socal's completely right--they should have noticed it while they were fabricating it. It's something professionals should be able to notice. As they say about tile, installation (or work by professionals with the material) implies acceptance of the materials. The fabricator/installer (that would be Creative Stoneworks in the bay area of Northern California?) is supposed to inspect it before it's worked with, after it's delivered, to find any flaws. If the flaw wasn't there then, it was put there in the course of fabrication/installation.

Creative Stoneworks is engaging in some creative evasion of responsibility, IMO.

Creative Stoneworks, did you know that when your company name is googled, g'web results come out near the top? So this will be one of the first things people this how you want to be represented?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 5:43PM
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A "crack" is a fracture NOT caused by God - ie; a "fissure"...
God Makes Fissures to agrivate us Fabricators - Cracks
happen when WE make mistakes - GOD DOES NOT (make mistakes that is)
I'm sure your Fabricators did not wake up the morning
of your install and say...........
"How can I screw up Francy's tops today..huh???"

IMHO - They made an honest mistake and now...
they need to make an honest effort
to repair or replace it - honestly!

Hang tuff and don't back down - DO NOT PAY YOUR BALANCE
until YOU are satisfied!!!

Seriously - Remember this:

YOU - Not your Fabricator - are going to have to live with this
countertop in YOUR HOME and IF you "cave" - That crack
will be there to remind you of your defeat EVERY TIME YOU
LOOK AT IT... And - it will JUMP OUT at you - cuz you'll
KNOW that it's There....

OK - NOW...My "Irish" herritage is commin out...

hope that helps


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 7:55PM
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(((Francy))), I'm so sorry to hear of this. You've waited so long and had so many other headaches to deal with. I hope you can get things resolved to your satisfaction. Will be hanging in there with you on this. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Francy, I'm in a fightin' mood today (more kerfuffles [and four-letter words!] chez nous), and I am just about ready to put on my son's Batman cape and fly out there to kick some Creative butt!

You'll just have to take my word for it (foul-mouth butt-kicking description aside), I am not a confrontational person. Hate it. Scares me. But inevitably, every time after I kowtow I get so hoppin' mad and even angrier, at the situation, at the people who took advantage of me and mostly at myself for letting myself be taken advantage of (for being "the good girl").

I hate to pull the gender card, and I know your husband is a busy fellow, but could he become the sole person Creative Stoneworks contacts from now on? When you wrote that he was ticked that CS won't be out until tomorrow (did I read that correctly?) it made me think he may have the vinegar necessary to get some results.

Now, I know nothing about stone, but look at all these sage souls who have responded to your note, to a one telling you that it's not your fault and that this should not have happened. It is not your responsibility to suck it up. You did NOT pay all this (money and energy and time) to have a cracked countertop.

I mean, this is crap! They cannot do this to you! You're our Francy who deserves the unblemished countertop of her dreams!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:42PM
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But when I play it out in my head, I'm not sure that it ever comes out with my getting a new counter. We could refuse to pay, but....

I don't know.

Btw, their website is Maybe I should send them this thread?

I agree with Kevin that they made an honest mistake. Unoiled soapstone hides its flaws, and lots of oiled soapstone does too. Even if I find the crack on the scrap tomorrow, I don't know if M. Tex will replace it once it has been installed.

It was an honest mistake that turned out badly for me. As Kevin pointed out, I'm the one who has to live with it for the next 25 years. My teeny kitchen: their smallest job in 3 years they said. And I get the 20 inch crack. When they came to install, they told me they had been in Pacific Heights the previous day. Ritziest neighborhood in San Francisco, where homes go for 15 million. The kitchen they were installing (green quartzite) had an initial budget of 180k, and was up to 250k. And the owners didn't care at all! Yet we saved up for 2 years to have soapstone. And now a few thousand dollars stands in my path. Not fair. Not fair at all. Grrrrrrrr.

Time to relax with a glass of wine.
Or a few shots of vodka.

I'm hoping to have TheHusband here tomorrow...

Thanks so much for your kind words and support (and jokes!). If I end up having to keep this, I'll certainly need more jokes about my HB.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:43PM
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My soapstone arrived in a number of pieces more than it should have. Biiiig breaks. My GC epoxied it; I can see the cracks, but my stone has a lot of veins, and I think that most people would never notice them unless they were looking for them.

Do they bother me? Sometimes, but not a lot. I love the slab, and I love the veins. If I'd had another top made, I don't know if I'd have gotten the same look. So I live with the cracks.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:55PM
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"It is about 20 friggin inches long, and goes from the edge, almost all the way to the backsplash (my counters are 24 deep). I can see it on the underside of the overhang, so it goes all the way through the stone."

I don't know nuthin' about soapstone, but if it was like that before they installed it, how did it not fall apart? If the crack is almost from edge to edge and all the way through to the bottom, that seems like it would be very vulnerable to coming apart at that crack during manufacturing, transport, lifting and installing.

Which to me, indicates that it couldn't have been present through all those stages (or at least it is very unlikely). Is it possible that this happened during the installation?

Best of luck in getting a satisfactory resolution Francy - you deserve it! I hope that your hubby is there tomorrow, cause I think you're a really nice person and that may work to your disadvantage. Maybe you should have those vodka shots before they come over tomorrow. ;)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:12PM
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I have to tell you this - you are handling this whole
bucket-chocked-full-o-stress...with a ton of class!!!

I go out on complaints to inspect (as an expert witness
and as a disintersted "third party") and you are dealing
with this alot better than most of the folks I inspect
problem installations for.

Your attitude on this whole thing has been one to take a lesson
from, and I hoe that other folks that run into troubles
of there own, will take note of how classy you are handling
yourself throughout this episode.

I had thought about suggesting that your now infamous 20inch
long countertop crack could be filled with glue and re-surfaced,
however, since the stone has already been oiled, glue may not
bond correctly... I have not had an instance like yours in
all of the soapstone projects that I have installed over
the years, so I can't comment on a suitable repair - IF that
is the route that is taken - perhaps my Brother Joshua from Florida
will chime in on this and share his thoughts on a suitable
approach for a repair - or even if it's feasable - it appears that Joshua has
worked with the exact species of soapstone that you have - as I have not...
(or at least can't remember back that far if I did anyways)

anyways - I tip my hat to you Francy - you are showing
a ton (and I mean that sincerely) of "class" in the way
you are handling this unfortunate experience.


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

PS - Go easy on the Vodka,
and remember the words of wisdom that Michael J. Fox said:
"Be Kind to your Colon
your Colon will be Kind to YOU!!!"

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:12PM
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Okay, Francy, now that the immediate horror has passed and you're tiddly and relaxed, dare I say that they told you not to lie on it?

(Looking for the humor in a heartbreaking situation. OH! Did you buy it with a credit card that has a purchase guarantee? It's probably not covered, but just in case....?)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:04PM
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'Twere a big joke and had no smilies :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:12PM
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Don't give up. Don't give in, Francy. Stand up and fight! You have waited and saved and researched and planned and denied yourself for years until this moment in time when you felt ready to go for the kitchen of your dreams. Don't settle for a 20" cracked soapstone countertop now!

At the very least, withhold the balance of the payment until they replace the slab and reinstall a new one to your satisfaction or else. "Else" may mean filing a complaint with the state licensing board, local consumer affairs and the better business bureau. Don't be deterred by their phony contractual claim that they are not responsible for stone that is supplied by others. They are nevertheless responsible for warning you of defective stone prior to installation. But, of course they did not do that because the stone was fine before they touched it! All of us can see that and so will the licensing agency and a small claims court. If that's not enough, make these characters understand that you are one tough TKO (who has a whole community of other GW TKOs standing behind her) and that the cost to their business and reputation won't be worth holding out on making you whole.

In the end, and if they are intelligent business people, they will be the ones to cave -- not you. The loss they will incur from being responsible for their own mistakes is small potatoes. They will file a claim with their own insurer and move on to the next customer. And they will make sure to get the job right next time. Fight back!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Olga--interesting point. Or I wonder if a preexisting "fissure" can behave in this way? Although I can see the crack on the underside of the front edge, I don't know if it goes through for the whole 20 inches. My dishwasher is under it, and I would have to pull the dw out to inspect (I'm not skilled enough to do that by myself).

Kevin: thank you very much for your kind words. There are usually a few "larger issues" weighing on my mind, and they tend to help me keep things in perspective. For example, a dear friend just had a late term miscarriage. How can I be crying over a stone when she is crying over something far more dear? Sure, I have moments of getting really mad, and feeling like this is just so unfair. If we were rich, we'd throw a few thousand more at the project (or fight it out in court). But in the grand scheme of things.... The sad story of Jaiden Tlapa is at the front of my brain. It puts things in perspective.

We'll give it our best shot. I hope things will end in an honorable way. I don't want to be unfair, nor do I want to be trod upon. I want to feel good--or at leat ok-- about the resolution, whatever it is. What I don't want is for them to try (as they did on the phone) to convince me it is a vein, or just a normal part of the natural product that I chose, and certainly not caused by them, etc. That would be insulting indeed!


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:19PM
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Plllllllog! Thanks for the big laugh! I needed it! I'll add that to list of "explanations for my 20 inch crack."


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:23AM
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Unfortunately this thread isn't coming up in google yet, but it will.

Tell yourself: the only good ending is that this is done correctly. A crack doesn't equal correctly. Do you think they are more concerned about the evil in the world and so they want to make this right? Nah. They're hoping you'll cave, plain and simple. They've lost whatever gentlemanliness they may have had before and should be treated *strictly* business. Everyone makes mistakes, but it's how people *handle* those mistakes which shows them to be decent upright professionals or the opposite.

They'd really better not act in a way unbecoming to the industry, if for no other reason than because folks *will* hear about it. In case you're interested, gardenweb has worked its collective magic on certain problematic folks who needed encouragement from outside to do the right thing...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:57AM
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"When the stone was gray, the crack was very, very, very hard to see. After they installed it, I kinda noticed it, but immediately dismissed it from my mind. On a huge slab, I can easily see it being missed. I really can."

this is your honest impression of the situation; it seems to me that they were banking on this, it was hard to see and thought you would not notice.
Or they thought you had seen it and was ok with it.

good luck with all of this and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:50AM
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Francy, if they try to tell you that it's a vein or natural part of the stone - and not a flaw - tell them that you have shown pictures to several professional soapstone fabricators (Joshua, Kevin) and they have confirmed that it is indeed a crack and needs to be replaced.

The advice you've been given here is excellent. I would only add the following. (1) many of us (including myself) have gorgeous slabs of soapstone that we feel passionate about. We don't have cracks in our soapstone and you shouldn't either. (2) This is not something where you can just give it your best shot and then move past the disappointing results with grace. There are things in the world like that - things that you can't control - but this isn't one of them. Change your goal to this: "The stone needs to be replaced or repaired (at my option)." Francy, we know you on this board. Even if you made the intellectual decision to live with it, your heart won't let you. Every single time you'd walk into the kitchen, your heart would break a little more. You'd get a wave of sadness. In contrast, once you get his thing fixed, you will walk into the kitchen and feel not only thrilled with your soapstone, but also triumphant at the way you handled the problem. (And what a great model for your boys!) (3) I don't agree with comparing this to a tragedy as a way of saying it doesn't matter. Thankfully, it's *not* a tragedy: it's a simple problem that needs to be solved in a straightforward and expeditious way. But no matter what, it needs to be solved. These sorts of problems happen all the time and they get handled. Sometimes it's a messy situation (like yours is probably going to be); sometimes it's not. (4) Please let go of the notion (maybe you already have) that you need to maintain a good relationship with the fabricators. They've already established (with that phone conversation) that they don't care about maintaining a good relationship with you.

I'm a lawyer and while I don't do this kind of law, I can certainly help you write some letters and get started in pursuing other options if it gets to that.

You are in a good negotiating position because you haven't paid that 50%. There is no way you are paying the 50% until the issue is resolved. Worst case, they don't fix/replace the soapstone, you don't pay the 50%, and you use that money to go to M. Tex (where I have found the customer service (at least on the East Coast) to be excellent) and replace the slab yourself.

Best of luck today. I will be checking in frequently for updates.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 7:35AM
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Francy - I've been reading this saga and you've gotten such good advice that I felt there was no point in my adding a "me, too" message. But know that I am here behind you and agree with everybody else on this wonderful forum: there will always be evil and tragedy in the world; that doesn't mean you have to live with a crack in your soapstone. The two are not mutually exclusive: stand up for yourself, listen to everybody here with expert stone and legal advice and know that we are all 100% with you. There is strength in numbers - so play your trump card and stand firm! There WILL be a happy ending here!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:42AM
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My husband is starting to ??? my sanity as I'm obsessed with your "crack" and how the situation will be resolved. PLEASE listen to aunttomichael and tell your fabricator that one of you is going to get another slab from M Tex and fix the problem.
I've been a junkie of these posts for only a short while and it's obvious that the soapstone and this whole remodel is important to you. DON'T make the remaining payment so that you can follow through (using their $$$ to fix the problem) or settle for second rate work from the fabricator; you've given nothing but first rate vision to this project and you need to see it through!!!

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers; stay strong. The tragedy in the situation is that they are taking advantage of your "niceness." (Is that a word???)
Hugs... Peg

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:00AM
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My teeny kitchen: their smallest job in 3 years they said. And I get the 20 inch crack. When they came to install, they told me they had been in Pacific Heights the previous day. Ritziest neighborhood in San Francisco, where homes go for 15 million. The kitchen they were installing (green quartzite) had an initial budget of 180k, and was up to 250k. And the owners didn't care at all! Yet we saved up for 2 years to have soapstone.

Francy, this is the WHOLE POINT. Your job is a drop in the ocean for them. You can't afford to replace the stone, but they can and, if the crack was caused during installation, they should.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:11AM
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Nanapeg: are you obsessed with my crack? *blush*

I think I've figured out a big part of what is holding me back from insisting that this be fixed:

What will removal do to my brand new cabinetry? It is "new" wood (birch), and kinda soft. Will it get shredded? What about my fireclay sink? Will it get chipped? The 30 inch Shaw's sink is backordered for months...

Can this really be done? I don't want to damage anything else.

Oh, sh**.

Oops. Pardon.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Francy!!! What time are these guys coming? If you present like this - indecisive, open to suggestions, worried about removing the counter, anticipating more problems - they are going to take advantage of you completely. You need to be resolute - the problem needs to be solved and if there is collateral damage, well, that is THEIR problem too. I don't know anything about removing soapstone but THEY should. (And I'm sure people on this forum will weigh in.)

If I were you, I'd right now call M Tex - tell them about the issue, say that at this point is appears to be a problem with the installation and not with the original slab (although you are not sure - leave open the possibility that it's their fault) and say, putting aside the issue of who's at fault and who's going to pay for it, what is your advice as to the best way to remedy the problem? If they say to replace the soapstone because of potential structural issues, then you say, can that be done in a way that won't damage the counters?

You need to arm yourself with information because it appears that you can't trust CREATIVE STONEWORKS (of the Bay Area of California).

You need to be prepared and confident.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:57AM
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You asked:
What will removal do to my brand new cabinetry?
if they take their time and are careful - probably nothing.

It is "new" wood (birch), and kinda soft.
yes it's softer than oak

Will it get shredded?
no - chances are that the cabinets will be fine

What about my fireclay sink? Will it get chipped?
Again - it they take their time and are careful, you should be
fine. What you have going for you here, is that the job is
still "green" - the glues and adhesives sometimes will take
up to 30 days to reach their full "bond strength" - so
the soomer the cracked piece is yanked out, the better (IMHO)

IF your fabricators used Alex-Plus Latex caulk to set the tops,
you should have no worries at all - if they used Silicone or
T-2000 setting epoxy, the tear out will be more difficult, but still do-able if they get on it ASAP.



Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:05AM
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My SFA brother (Keven) is right, after oiling the stone, fixing it would be near impossible. I don't think it would come out good enough to be satisfied in my opinion.

It should not have been fabricated until this issue was discused, if indeed it was present before. Work with everyone involed, talk to M. Tex see what their policy's are, don't release the money if the issue is not resolved, completly. Don't make it personal either, a job done right is worth every penny, a job done wrong is not worth a dime. Also their are alot of assumtions here until it is all talked about in the open between all parties, so keep it in the open and discuss how it can get resolved. Don't focus on blame so much, but hold them responsible for allowing it to get this far. Maybe a solution is for both parties involved to compromise a little. . .

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:36AM
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I am just hopeful that the owner/fabricator will show up and admit it wasn't there when stone was fabricated it happened in transit (certainly this could happen) to your home and they will make it right for you. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:40AM
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Francy, I had a piece of my marble -- one that butted up to 2 walls in a corner, removed and it was over a weekend before they could come out and redo it. There may have been a holiday too -- I don't remember. I was frantic about the delay and the cabinets. It came out just fine. The cooler weather probably helps. That fireclay is a durable surface and they can probably do things (solvents) to that fired surface they could never do with your cabinets. They just need to be careful, and this is a semi-regular part of their jobs. They should be used to dealing with problems and correcting them.

This really is something special for you and your kitchen. You should have it right, and they should want it to be right.

Now, one thing I haven't seen mentioned, but I know with my marble and what granite I have seen fabricted, they wet the surface when they cut or grind. Dothey not do that with soapstone? Not even wipe it down to clean it or check as they work on it? I would think that a crack in the slab would have been noticed if they did.

I think you will get it worked out -- it's a pain to have to go through this to get there.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:53AM
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Oh Francy, I agree with Aunttomichael, you can NOT sound indecisive and wishy washy about this! You must NOT provide them with ammunition and excuses ("well, it was hard to see...maybe they didn't see it", etc). If they didn't see it, they SHOULD have. It is their JOB. You are a nice person and none of us are asking you to be anything else, but you can be strong as well. The two are not mutually exclusive. As professionals it was their responsibility to actually LOOK at the stone as they were fabricating. If there was a preexisting crack, they should have told you. I would assume if they did NOT see a crack then there was no crack until installation. Simple. Let them figure it out. But stand firm and don't say too much. Stick with the facts. You picked out a slab. You are not a professional, but to your untrained eye it looked solid and crack-free. They received the slab. They fabricated the slab. Either they did or did not see a crack. It is their JOB to notice this sort of thing. They brought the slab to you and lo and behold it is cracked. YOU didn't crack it. So, either they cracked it or it was already cracked, but in either instance they bear some responsibility. How are they going to help you fix this issue?

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Francy, I feel your pain! I had a very similar problem with cracks in my granite which I didn't notice until after they were paid and on their way. To make a very long story short (I have already posted about this a while back) They agreed to replace the granite. I don't want to worry you more than you already are BUT I do want to tell you that you have a reason to worry about the replacement! First of all in removing my granite they tore huge gashes in the new drywall which they apologized for but of course would not fix. Second, they RUINED my great Ticor sink ( the co. eveyone raves about on this site)by scratching it beyond belief! They replaced it with a "comparable" sink made by Eclipse which I have no idea of its quality. I also had sink grates that came with my first sink that I now cannot use, so I have none. Third, the replacement piece of granite does not really match the rest of the granite--its not as polished looking or as rich in color as the other one. I hope you do not have as bad of an experience as I have, but I certainly did not expect so much problem with the replacement. You are wise to at least be concerned about these issues. Best of luck to you! Amy

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Once again - my Brother Joshua in Florida is offering
truely golden advice...there's great wisdom in what he is
saying - especially this:

"Don't focus on blame so much,
but hold them responsible for allowing it to get this far.
Maybe a solution is for both parties involved to compromise a little. . ."

I think it's human nature to let our emotions get wrapped
into the mix in situations like this, so I gotta give
props to Joshua for this incredible pearl of wisdom!

Joshua - I am really glad that you are involved on this
thread too my Brutha!!!


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:14PM
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I promise I won't write anything more on this (my employer will appreciate it since I'm at work!) but I just want to say that you have a plan of action now. Thanks to Joshua and Kevin, you now know that the slab has to be replaced, not repaired (since it has been oiled) and so you will accept nothing less from the fabricators. If they are careful, the cabinets will be fine.

I completely agree with what Joshua and Socalthreems said about your approach - - stick to the facts, don't talk too much, don't openly blame anyone. The focus here needs to be on the solution, and the solution is that they are going to replace that slab at their expense. That's it and you will not waver.

Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:27PM
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I hope you get a resolution you are happy with. I have to admit that I'm not totally convinced it's cracked. It looks a lot like some of the thinner veins in the picture that Joshua posted (they go over the edge as well).

If you are letting oil sit on it, and it still stays white, wouldn't that mean it's a vein? Wouldn't oil seep into the crack and turn some of it black? It's so hard to tell from pictures, though.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:36PM
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Thank you!!!!

Ok then.

They should be here any time now. I'll be back to update you.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:39PM
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I rarely ever post here, but lurk alot. Delurking to throw you some support, Francy!! The day you posted pictures of your new soapstone my 8 year old was walking by the computer and she said "what are those pictures of mom?" and I said "It's this lady's counters. She's been waiting for them and they are finally installed. I'm excited for her"...and now I'm glued to the crack thread. BTW, thought your "hairy crack" story was hilarious, but since I have an 8 year old I'm way into that humor.....

Good luck with this, stick to your guns, you've been given great advice!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:41PM
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Oh Francy, I am so sorry you are going through this!
I hope you are able to get this resolved quickly.
Sending tons of >> and BE TOUGH thoughts to you & ~Be GOOD to Francy~ vibes to those "charming" men at Creative Stoneworks.
You paid good hard-earned $$ for this passionate stone of yours. GIVE IT TO THEM FRANCY! In a nice classy way, of course! ;-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Question for the pros:

Rereading the fine print on Francy's contract, what do you all think of this part?

"....Should the stone break during cutting or fabrication, we will not assume the responsibiltiy (unless the damage occurred due to our mishandling of the stone) as the possibility of fissures not readily visible are a common occurrence in natural stone material, albeit not a frequent occurrence in good quality materials."

Do you think there is any circumstance in which the company would admit mishandling of the stone, when they could "stonewall", as it were, and say that it was a fissure that eventually broke, beyond their control, and their work was not to blame, so live with it?

Trying to think through worst-case and how Francy could handle it...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Okay, I can't resist responding even though I promised not to post anymore.

If these people whip out the contract and start parsing language and denying liability, then I think Francy should say, "I am very disappointed and surprised that this is how you deal with customers. If you are going to try to absolve yourself by pointing to a limitations of liability provision in our contract, then it is clear that I am going to have to speak with a lawyer. Which means that this whole episode is going to go in a very bad, unpleasant direction. I have saved for two years for this soapstone and I am not going to back down. I have to believe that we can resolve this without resorting to lawyers."

If it actually comes to a question of contract interpretation and liability (which it won't, because the amounts are just too small), someone will have to analyze the contract carefully. But from what you've quoted, I'm not impressed. :-) First, they can't just get away with saying they didn't mishandle it - the crack came from somewhere and the court can draw reasonable conclusions as to the likely cause. Second, as so many of you have pointed out, at this point it's not just as question of who's responsible for the crack; it's also a question of their responsibility to examine the stone and point out that the crack was there (if it was pre-existing). Third, we would argue that it's an adhesion contract. I'm sure there's more but these are my off-the-cuff thoughts.

(It seems like these guys are not specialists in soapstone, and that the contracts were drafted with granite in mind. I'd be curious what Joshua's and Kevin's contracts say about cracks/fissures.)

Francy, you need to remember that you have the upper hand because you haven't paid the 50%. That's your leverage. If you were dealing with honorable people like Kevin and Joshua, this wouldn't be factor, but with these guys it seems like it is. I know I shouldn't judge until I hear how it goes today, but the more I think about how they likely concealed the crack and worse, how they *argued* with you on the phone, saying it was a natural part of the stone *without having seen it*, the madder I get. Their first reaction when you called should have been, "Oh, no, Ms. Bayareafrancy, we are so sorry to hear there is a problem. We will be out there as soon as we can to try to resolve it." That would have put you in frame of mind where you would have considered a reasonable compromise. But the way they have handled it is so insulting and off-putting, and is just plain bad customer service.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 1:41PM
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aunt, I really appreciate your answer and feel better about Francy's chances--and Francy, I hope you read aunt's response in case they do try to whip out that contract language you quoted. I have now learned a new term for the day: adhesion contract :) Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 1:54PM
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Mr Aunttomichael Esq. is way more qualified than I am on the contract language -
as he is the real deal when it come to the legal stuff - you
have my respect sir, and thank you for your kind remarks.

I did not go to law school, or para-legal school -
(I went to Para-MEDIC school when I was in the Army
back in the Vietnam days of the early 70's if
that counts - which in this case - I'm sure it does NOT.. ha!
just a little levity there...)

I am just a Fabricator, BUT, I have been an expert witness
in enough cases to have learned that WHEN a contractor's
work is dependent on another's work or finish - the
contractor in question ACCEPTS the integrity or lack thereof
of the surface he is setting his tops on.

Example Illustration:

1. Francy had less than perfect cabinets that we will
presume had a "high spot" in the assembly -
to the right of the sink.
2. Countertop Contractor INSTALLS his tops on the cabinets -
ACCEPTING their quality AS IS -
without remedying the "high spot".
3. Countertop cracks over "high spot" as a result of the
"high spot" acting as a fulcrum in relationship to the plane of the countertop.
4. IMHO - Fault lies with the Countertop Contractor for setting HIS work on the faulty cabinetry.
WHY the cabinets were faulty and/or who's at fault
is inconsiquential to the issue at hand.

When you accept a bad substrate to install your
work on, you take responsibility for your work
AND the bad substrate.

This is a pretty commonly accepted pricipal in construction
logic - kind of like the "garbage in - garbage out" theory.

just my .02 cents worth - but Francy -
IMHO - the fault here does not lie with you....

If they are honorable,
they will fix this without delay
or added cost to you.


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Ok, they just left. They were here for about 45 minutes, and they were extremely kind and sympathetic.

Bottom line, for those of you who are at work, busy, etc. yet obsessed with my crack (can you tell I enjoy saying that?): The crack was original to the slab. And they were able to darken it to black so that you can't really see it.

Long story:

We got the scraps: the crack WAS in the original slab. It is a fissure. A really unfortunate one, as it is basically in the middle of the slab (not to the edges), but b/c of the way we did the layout, we ended up with the crack front and center, right through to the edge.

I can't figure out how to draw on this photo, but here is the layout. On the right side, see how there is a long rectangular piece at the top, and under it is the right side of the sink?

On that sink piece, see the X made with masking tape across that piece of wood? The crack starts right about there (under that wood, or next to it), and extends through that whole piece down into that whitish area (that looks like a galaxy). Then it stops, and it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the slab.

We are really unlucky. It was an honest mistake. When the Santa Barbara is gray, it is a hairline white line that is easy to miss. There are lots of little white streaks on the Santa Barbara, and they typically turn black when you oil them (unlike, say, Black Venata, where the lines stay white against a black background). We would need Joshua here looking at the pieces to say whether or not they should have seen it, and alerted me. Honestly, I think even Joshua could have missed it. The guys clearly felt bad about it. They pretty much agreed that they wouldn't use it in their showroom. But I don't want to have a big fight about it. We'd need to fly joshua out here to look at the original crack. Who knows if they should have seen it. I can only see it on the scrap because I know where it is.

If we could go back in time, we would oil the entire slab before fabrication. Then maybe M. Tex would have replaced it for us. At the very least, we could have changed its location. But we didn't.

LESSON LEARNED: OIL YOUR SLAB. Soapstone changes a lot when oiled. Water looks VERY different from oil. OIL IT people!!!!!!!!! I didn't oil our, because that takes time, and I never want to be a pain in the a$$.

The good news: they practiced on the "scrap crack" first. Then they cleaned it with acetone, and applied this black dye type goop. The crack turned black!!! Which is all I want: A BLACK CRACK! I don't care if I have to dye it once a week. And of course, that will be the tricky thing with soapstone: it is non porous. So the dye won't be a permanent fix. But that's ok. All I care about is that it is POSSIBLE to make it black. So now, while I can still see it, it is in the category of "only the TKO would notice it." I don't think a casual observer will. And I can't see it from across the room, as I could before. So, WHEW! They left me with a tube of the dye, and one of the guys gave me his personal phone number and said he'd come back and dye it again if I needed him too.

I suppose I could still call M. Tex. But suppose they said they would redo it all for me (ha--they never would--but just suppose). Then my beautiful runnels with the gorgeous vein going across them would end up in a landfill. At this point, I feel very attached to that vein.

So it is open season on my crack! I'm loading up on jokes and geological explanations, in case anyone ever dares to criticize my crack!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 2:31PM
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Now I can get back to my life! It's all your fault Francy, you and your crack- yup that's why I'm still sitting here in my nightie, and GG it's almost noon hour!

Enjoy the rest of your day- bet you're gonna take a nap, cuz I'm guessing you didn't sleep very well last night!

Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 2:40PM
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Are you okay with the outcome here, Francy? You don't want to follow-up with M Tex? Is there a concern about structural integrity? I won't give unsolicited advice but if it were me, I'm not sure I could rest until I spoke (at least) with M Tex.

But if you are happy and can live with and love your stone, then I am happy and relieved for you. And yes, grateful that I start thinking about something other than your crack. (I have twin 8-year olds so I get the joke very well.)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 2:45PM
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Hey, I want to see a photo of the fixed crack! Do you have one? As with the others, I feel so invested in this crack of yours. :)

I'm glad you are satisfied with the outcome, though I do hope (as Aunttomichael says) that you are REALLY okay with it and not convincing yourself that you are okay with it.

It still seems to me that during fabrication they should have noticed this issue, but I am certainly no stone expert and I do not have SS.

I do have Verde Butterfly and I, too, have a fissure that I am living with. It is longer than I would like, and I wish it were in a different location (say, on a perimeter wall turned toward the back side under the appliance garage!), but Verde Butterfly has fissures and that is part of the natural beauty of stone. And I am living with it. After the first few days I stopped noticing it every time I walked by. I know it is there, but I also know it is not a structural issue and so it shouldn't get worse. It is fairly tight and I doubt a regular person would think twice about it or even notice it in the first place.

Thank you for keeping us posted, since I have been checking in every couple of hours for the past few days for updating. My DH certainly thinks I am insane!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:05PM
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One more thing. If you decide not to pursue it with M Tex, I still think that the fabricators should give you an adjustment in their price. I know you say it's an honest mistake, and anyone could have missed it, but really, as others have said, they are the professionals and they should have examined every inch of that slab carefully. I understand that you've decided not to get into a fight with them and force them to replace the slab, but in exchange for that concession, they should give you a substantial discount. They will agree to this without much argument, I suspect.

I still think there is a strong possibility that M Tex would replace that piece (talk about a drop in the bucket for them), in which case I'll bet that you'd be able to get the fabricators to install it for free. Again, I'm not sure I could drop it if it were me, but it's not, and I need to shut up now, don't I? :-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:11PM
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I agree, aunt...I was thinking that as I read. As kind and sympathetic as they were, they didn't even offer a discount even though they admitted it's not up to their professional standards? I'd call M.Tex as well. I'm glad it can be "fixed", but it's not really right yet...what they did then was exactly what I was posting about, saying it was a fissure and thus they weren't responsible even for finding it when they were working. In a kind and sympathetic way, of course...

Ultimately, it's up to you and you need to be satisfied. Whatever makes you satisfied is what's right for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:22PM
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HA! And you love the vein across the runnels! Wasn't this the "blotch" that you were so worried about?

Toldja you'd love it.

Vicki, feeling smug.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:25PM
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Yup, Flyleft, you called this one exactly right. :-(

Francy, I'd toss that tube of black dye into the garbage can and get on the phone with M Tex and back again at those fabricators until my counter was replaced. But now I am going to log off for awhile because I think I am crossing the line into being non-helpful. This is about you and not me, and the important thing is that you are happy with your kitchen and your decisions. No matter what you do, it is clear from all the responses to this post that you have a lot of people on this forum rooting for you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Another stoner chiming in.

I am in agreement with the above posters who suggest that the fabricators give you a price adjustment.

If it is substantial enough, say, the 50% you still owe them, use that $$ to buy something wonderful for your kitchen that will offset, in your mind, the now-invisible crack.

Our fabricators templated with the sink template FLIPPED, so the small bowl was not on the proper side. In rectifying the situation, they were forced to seam oddly in a corner. We have a piece the size and shape of a 1' ruler jigsawed in one of the corners of the "U" of the countertops.

It is not ideal, but oiled, I would defy anyone but me to tell it was there. The seams are butted tightly with dark epoxy and though there are few veins in the stone, they were careful to line up the faint vein exactly, and it is the best of a bad situation. And, it is in a corner.

As a concession to their mix-up, they knocked some (we have 48 linear feet of countertop that was done perfectly- couldn't ask for much) off our install. We bought barstools with the windfall and never looked back.

Yours is in a far more visible location, and while it would be nice for them to write off the remainder of the amount owed, remember that if they do, they will feel NO obligation to come out later and fix/repair if something else happens.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:42PM
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Oh, Francy! I hope you get this taken care of, and with more than a tube of goo. I know you hate confrontation, but I have to say that I think you should at least call M. Tex. If they're not willing to do anything for you, your fabricators (who are trying to blame it on M. Tex -- shame on them) should at least give you a reduction in the fabrication costs since they didn't tell you about it (maybe that would have made you place your cutouts differently). I think they tried to fob you off with a tube of black goo, and that's not right.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 3:56PM
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Well carp!

Jooooooooshua: do you know the kind of hairline fissure I'm talking about? Would you always catch em? Should M. Tex have caught it?? They are the soapstone experts, right???????????

Who's calling M. Tex for me??

I have to go to my son's school now, but if I get home in time, I'll call them today.



    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:16PM
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Francy, don't call today. You are exhausted and enervated right now. Take the rest of the day off and put off the next step on the fissure until tomorrow morning.

I am thinking that maybe you should send an email first, with pictures and an explanation. Then say that they should let you know when would be a good time for you to call to discuss. It is much easier to put everything in writing. Do you have a contact at M Tex?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:36PM
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Francy- Your crack saga has become a soap opera for those of us that keep checking in to see how it all unfolds. I have to admit every time I walk past my laptop- I check to see what the latest is. Just a few words of encouragement: Call M. Tex- what's the worst that can happen, you may always regret it if you don't. Don't be left with a big "IF ONLY I'D..."
The guy who gave you his home number- do you think maybe he's feeling guilty because he should have noticed something like this? Oh and one more thing- I dealt with the M Tex in NJ- but when we were picking our slab- I distinctly remember the guy who was showing them to us saying how he could tell the difference between veins and other things in unoiled stone. If this is true, your fabricators should have at least worked around it when doing the template. I would think they at least owe you a bit of a discount. I can understand living with the crack, and dying it- but not getting a price break?? You at least deserve that for all your trouble. Or you can call the guy at home and ask him to dye your crack every week- then maybe he would wish he'd given you the discount- and not his home number :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 4:50PM
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I want to weigh in here briefly and "stir the puddin" a bit.

Bay area, this is what happens when you the homeowner are allowed to purchase the material directly.

He states in his disclaimer straight out , he is not responsible. It sounds as if he has been more than gracious trying to work with you finding a solution.

Joshua will need to advise you if the Black dye will work.

Bottom line is he cut your material. did he miss the crack,maybe. did it occur while handling??? Is he liable now, I do not believe he is, and I know the storm of criticism is going to follow.

This is why we We strongly recommend getting an installed price material and labor. Then IF this occurs, you have every right to refuse it, and he MUST do so.

Kevin armed you with all the information to register a complaint. I do not believe you should.

Only my opinion.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:00PM
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A little levity is always welcome at a time like this - thanks Polly!

As for the situation as it currently stands, I would have to agree that getting a price break from the fabricator would be fair. I also agree that getting in touch with M.Tex would be a good idea. That said, I do recall you mentioning in a past post that you bought the stone quite a while ago and I'm unclear as to who has had possession of the stone all this time. M.Tex will probably say that their responsibility for the stone ended when it was removed from their premises. Your saving grace, however, is that the fissure/crack did NOT run to the end of the stone. If it did, they could argue that as far as they know, someone dropped it or damaged it in some way after it left their premises. But (if I understand correctly) the crack/fissure was INTERNAL to the stone (i.e., never ran to it's edges) so that any sort of dropping of the stone probably would cause the weakest points to break (the edges) and not the smack dab center of the stone. This, in my mind, only mitigates but does not eliminate the responsibility the fabricator had when they were fabricating SS with a visible (you saw it but ignored it at first) flaw.

I have to agree with AunttoMichael that writing an email to M. Tex is a great way to go. As a retired atty myself, I do find that I am more eloquent and much more concise when I write. I think this is the case for most people. That way you can edit (always critical) and, since the person will get the email before you call they will be prepared and hopefully be less defensive.

Again, good luck. Boy do I feel for you! I may be an attorney, but I also hate confrontation (I was not a litigator!), and I understand how hard it can be to put yourself out there. Like everyone said, what is the worst that can happen at this point?

Here's sending positive thoughts your way!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Francy, I have just sent you an email through your Garden Web page. Please let me know if you don't get it. (For everyone else, it's a suggestion about contacting M Tex.)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:27PM
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VRJames - I am curious about this. The place I selected my stone has the same policy as you just described. I selected my stone, but I had to have chosen a fabricator who then went to pick up the stone and (my understanding was) it is all actually priced through the fabricator. I was baffled at the time as to why it is done this way. I realize that all stones are different, so some are more expensive to fabricate even if they are common stones (thus, the $$ you saved buying more common material might be offset by the increased price to fabricate). Is this decided on a case by case basis after the fabricator looks at the individual stone (my fabricator was not there at selection). That didn't seem to be the case. As a consumer it almost seemed a bit veiled. You couldn't just find out a $$ for the stone itself, though they were grouped in "grades." I must admit it seemed like a somewhat "shady" practice even though this is a major company with great recommendations.

As for this particular situation, I'm not sure I understand how or why it would turn out differently unless you are saying that the supplier should also be the fabricator. Assuming you are not saying that, then the scenario is: the supplier has the stone, the consumer picks the stone, the fabricator picks up the stone, the stone gets fabricated and there turns out to be a crack in a bad location. Someone fixes it (hopefully). In this case, why would it matter whether Francy paid you directly (supplier) or the fabricator (assuming they are not the same) - and then the fabricator pays the supplier? Is it only because they have a business relationship and have come to terms with what happens (financially) when stuff happens?

I really am just curious. No doubt I am missing something (this is my first kitchen remodel and first time dealing with stone). THANKS!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:31PM
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I would have caught it. That's what you pay me for. You can see it in the pictures! ! I know where to look but you def see it. They should have caught it.

M Tex could have missed it. This stone has been such a solid stone free of fissures for a really long time. It was at the bottom of the slab and not eye level. Also you have to imagine you suppliers usually don't run their hands along every square inch of the stone like the fabricators do. Your fab guys may be really nice and understanding but they should have caught it. . . No excuses that's their job, it's what you pay the pro's for. They should have spotted it and you prob could have avoided it if you laid the stone out differently. . . They need to be held accountable for their negligence. . . M. Tex would have owned up to this issue, but after the fact it should be the fabricators responsibility.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:40PM
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Francy, I have nothing of value to add. You have a lot of experienced people advising you. I just wanted to comment on the extraordinary support you've received. When I just checked, you had 113 replies---maybe more by the type I finish typing this. I think it's wonderful that so many people are rallying to help you. I hope you end up with a resolution that leaves you completely satisfied. Hopefully, before too long, this will all just be a bad memory.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:11PM
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The only experience I have with soapstone fabrication is with the person who did my flawless installation, Tom Shadley, of Shadley's Soapstone. I distinctly remember he said that he checks the slabs for breaks, cracks, etc. and will not use a slab that has any. He even showed me one that he said he would not be able to use. His care and concern for every facet of soapstone installation are quite evident every day when I or anyone else views my counters. I would accept no less from any other fabricator, regardless of the type of stone used.

As for the black dye - I don't get that solution. Soapstone doesn't absorb anything so how is that a fix? Now if they are going to mix it with the epoxy, that's different. But just to apply a dye every now and then seems mickey-mouse.

I'm with those who say to speak to M. Tex and see what solution they suggest. I know you've been through a lot and you must just be ready to say "whatever!" at this point but you shouldn't have to be applying some dye carp to that beautiful stone!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Like francy, I would be ambivalent about demanding the stone be replaced. She bears some of the responsibility, in that she bought the material herself. If she had purchased the material through the fabricator, they probably would've added their markup on the material in order to cover exactly these types of situations.

Sure the material was "flawed" in one sense, but now that it's been cut up into a half-dozen pieces, can you really feel morally "right" about asking M.Tex for another one? "Oh sorry I destroyed the first one, but it had a crack so I want another one for free." Or can you feel right about asking the fabricator to treat you as if they had provided the material when they very specifically warned against exactly this thing? Clearly some of you do, but I would have some strong reservations.

Personally, I would chalk it up to lessons learned and get used to using the dye. Or if I really felt strongly about replacing it, I would see if some arrangement could be reached - but that arrangement would include me being willing to pay part of the cost of replacement.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Oh boy, do I feel depressed! I think I feel worse about letting you all down, then I do about my black crack!

Joshua: I didn't do a very good job of describing the crack location. It can't actually be seen in that photo of the layout--it isn't that big vein. It is a hairline vertical crack, and it's probably located right under that vertical piece of wood. Or it is right next to it. I could see it on the scrap piece from about 2 feet away, but any farther, and I wouldn't have seen it. All that said, you may well have found it. I'm very disappointed that M. Tex didn't find it.

For those who asked about the timeline: I went to Creative Stoneworks in august and asked if they could get stone from M. Tex. They said they used to, but no longer dealt with them (b/c of difficulties). They offered to try to get the slab for me at their price. They called M. Tex, who said "no" to any discount for dealing directly with Creative Stoneworks. So, I selected my slab. Then, I gave a check (made out to M. Tex), to Creative Stoneworks, and they drove there, paid for my slab, and took it to their warehouse. Kinda ironic, because although technically I supplied the stone, all I did was point to the slab I wanted. The 2 companies handled all the rest. I didn't see the slab again until December, when I went to do the layout.

I wonder if I should email Creative Stoneworks this thread. Or M. Tex? What do you think?

Here's a funny thought. My "kitchen curse" has gone like this:
1. Get brother in law to build cabinets. Cabinets are no good; have to replace them. Put brother-in-law cabs in the basement.

2. Splurge on fireclay sink. Sink quickly develops numerous pits in the front edge. Company won't stand behind it. Dear husband actually buys me another fireclay sink. Pitted sink goes into the basement.

3. [hypothetical] Get soapstone counter. It has a crack/fissure. Replace it. Put old counter pieces in the basement.

My basement is like the Bermuda Triangle of Kitchen Curses. I could get an entire (crappy) second kitchen going in my basement! Too bad we don't keep kosher!!

All I can say it, my gorgeous, perfect dishwasher panel had better not fall off!!!!!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 7:48PM
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"Oh sorry I destroyed the first one, but it had a crack so I want another one for free."

Destroyed? A bit exaggerated, don't you think? NO one has suggested destroying anything and then asking for something free. As for the dye, that is just silly. Why should someone have to keep dying a crack in their brand new counters, regardless of who's fault it may be. Besides, it won't work - soapstone is non-porous.

Francy, you are too funny. : ) It's wonderful that you can keep your sense of humor through all this. And please, don't feel you've let any of us down. We're here for you, whatever the outcome. We're Stoners, cracks and all. : )

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:07PM
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Fori is not pleased

Well, at least the courts have now decided that sentencing guidelines for crack should be the same as for...oh, that's not your crack problem.

I don't know what you should do about your crack. Are you at least confident it'll be stable? I don't suppose you could fill it with white goo and pretend it's a vein....nah. At least ask the SS distributer what they'd recommend.

What's in the tub of dye? Is it labeled?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Maybe you could build your imperfect kitchen in the basement with your refrigerator, and just keep the nice one upstairs for looks! :-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Out of curiosity, why didn't you use Teixeira to fabricate the stone?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Francy...I am amazed that you are retaining your sense of humor...keep that chin up and fight this with the fabricators and M-Tex. They count on people not fighting and accepting their product as is.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:25PM
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Francy - you are the best! I wish you lived down here in SoCal so I could come over and give you a hug and get a good laugh all at the same time. You are too damn funny! Good thing because, truly, you need a sense of humor to deal with this remodeling chaos!

BTW, are you still friends with the B-I-L??? :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:29PM
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""Oh sorry I destroyed the first one, but it had a crack so I want another one for free."

Destroyed? A bit exaggerated, don't you think? NO one has suggested destroying anything and then asking for something free. "

What's the value to the vendor when you return their product in pieces? They might be well-cut and nicely shaped pieces, but it's still in pieces. If the vendor was willing to give me a 50% discount on another piece, I'd happily take that deal. I wouldn't expect a replacement for free, though.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:31PM
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At this point, I just want my husband to quit calling me from work, asking, "Hi honey, how's your crack?"

Sharon: I chose a different fabricator for a few reasons: 1. I just wasn't wowed by the seams and cuts that I saw in the showroom at M.T., or that I saw in online photos. 2. They couldn't fit me in for a while (turned out to not matter as I had a 5 month delay). 3. They were mostly unknown to me, but an acquaintence had used Creative Stoneworks and was very pleased with them. So that's why I went that route.

Fori: I don't know what's in the goo (words are rubbed off the tube). It is some kind of epoxy coloring paste. Probably made in China, with lots-o-lead. I tried some sharpie marker in my crack (did I just type that?????), and I think it has more staying power than the goo.

Thanks socal! We saw the b-i-l at thanksgiving, but I forbade my husband from mentioning the kitchen to him. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. What could he have done? Offer to pay us back? He needs the money more than we do. Add it my list of "oh well..."

Given the teeny width of this crack/fissure, and that it was hiding below eye level in a giant slab, I just don't feel like the fabricator should be battled with. Ideally, they should have seen it. But they didn't.

But M. Tex? They are the experts on soapstone. Why did they sell me a substandard slab? Seems that if anyone owes me 50%, it would be them! Boy, that would be delightful! Then I could finally get my "dream hood" that I'm holding out for!

I'll show y'all my tinted crack tomorrow (I need to get pictures in the daylight).



ps THANKS AGAIN EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 12:21AM
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"Substandard", Francy, Stone is a natural product, sometimes cracks and fissures are in a stone.

Socal, in response to your query, If you buy a slab direct, the only advantage is to the Stone Supplier. They will charge a homeowner a "retail" price and make as much as 50% more for the material. The horror stories I have heard and attitudes from fabricators could fill an entire blog. Just like this one, only Creative Stoneworks actually had a contract, and are being considerate of Francy's feelings.

The short version is, a good fabricator will add %10 to the cost of the material on every job. In stone handling, this type of issue Breakage, undesirable crack, miscut occurs in 20% of the jobs. The 10% add in material cost in every job allows the fabricator to buy another slab when thes "Murphy's" occur.

So for a hypothetical, If Francy paid $30 a sf for the material, her fabricator, if they had done a good bit of business with the supplier, could have paid between $22 and $25. Marked it up to $27 into the cost of the job and been 100% responsible for this.

Buying the material direct saves you nothing and you accept most of the liability.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 6:43AM
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Oi Francy! I didn't get a chance to read yesterday and so reading this morning, experienced the emotional roller coaster from hilarity to despair that has characterized this event that began with the appearance of the infamously evil black crack! I don't have any advice to add, but just want to say that I think that I can both relate and empathize with how you feel.

You have already had to eat the cost of the cabinet re-do, the sink, and now are facing a possible counter re-do. I do hope that you get Mtex to give you another slab or a piece or something...and of course it's on the side with the runnels. That really sucks, and then there's the risk of damaging the sink and counters.

With our kitchen remodel we ate the cost of the following mishaps:

1) Contractors cut square openings in 2 very prominent places in our our 85 year old Douglas Fir floors. The floor boards are old growth fir and they are single planks that span the entire kitchen without any cuts. We feel that any patches would be noticeable so choose to cover with oak.
Outcome: $800 floor refinishing becomes $2500 new oak floor

2) Contractor doesn't want to be responsible for tile installation but had a recommendation for someone that he uses in his own house. We use his rec. but the guy does a poor job. We suck it up and hire someone else to demo and re-tile.
Outcome: $700 tile becomes $1400.

3) Breakfast nook benches are built incorrectly and do not fit space (built according to the contractors measurements) I had negotiated a $300 reduction in the original quote. Contractor is a real weasel here and won't admit to his mistake. I feel sorry for the cabinet maker who has to rebuild them and I agree to pay him the $300. In my view of it I lost the $300, but the contractor has lost my recommendation and I have had 2 friends already who were interested in using him.
Outcome: $1100 benches become $1400 benches

So that's $2700 extra that we paid because I was tired of fighting and my husband was reluctant to enter the fray.

We were lucky with the soapstone, and I second Angelcubs recommendation for Tom Shadley for anyone who lives in the Los Angeles area. His work was flawless (can't even see the seam behind the sink) and he's a nice guy to boot.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:41AM
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I, too, have been silently following your soapstone saga and I'm sorry you have had to endure more drama.

I'm curious about the structural/safety issue. The tube of black goo may hide the crack but it won't stop it from getting worse and it won't shore up the integrity of the stone. Did they reassure you that the crack (fissure?) is purely a cosmetic issue and doesn't pose any kind of structural or safety risk?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 12:00PM
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vrjames: the reason I chose to call it "substandard" is because apparently 2 soapstone experts, Tom Shadley and Florida Joshua probably wouldn't have used it. Now, of course, they haven't actually seen the stone. So this is conjecture. Soapstone is a different beast from granite. And Santa Barbara seems to be a differents beast within the beast that is soapstone. Too bad it is so very even and regular.

Decodilly: I forgot about your tile job! But I didn't know about the fir floor! OMG! I would have been heartbroken. I just love my fir floor! Your poor floor! Oh, give it a gentle pet for me. Misery loves company, and that story makes me feel better. My goodness: you have had a really tough time too!! Try to have a glass of wine or something at about 9pm tonight, and I'll drink a toast to your floor, and my counter!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 12:59PM
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I too have been following along. (Planning on Soapstone for my on kitchen)

"I'm curious about the structural/safety issue."
I was wondering the same thing. Will you run into problems with the crack/fisrure completely splitting based on the fact that it is directly above your DW.

Hope this all works out.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 1:06PM
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In my old kitchen I had a soapstone island that was roughly 7 x 4. I chose the slab in person at the stoneyard from the "stone guys" that my GC used -- I didn't know that soapstone had names, I just chose the one I liked. My only request is that I preferred less movement and the one vein that was there be cut around as much as possible and definitely do not put that piece on the island (use it somewhere else on the L perimeter)

Of course the large vein goes on the island, but veins grow on you and I decided I liked it. Maybe first week kitchen was done, I'm sitting at the island and I notice a crack -- I almost threw up. Was it the weight? Was it not installed properly, Were the brackets not right? Did I sit on it? I just could not deal. I'm not sure I even told my husband. I did not call the fabricators (same stone guys) I finally had my kitchen back -- I didn't want to rip everything up. It never became anything more. It was probably the size of yours but did not come to the edge and you could not feel it.

I did stop feeling ill about it. It was fine.

This time, this kitchen I think I will bring up the question before I sign or sign off on anything . . . then again I may just want it to be over alread (actually we haven't even picked a layout and I want it to be over already :-)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 1:38PM
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I thought if the photo of your crack was posted I might get some work done today (organizing my holiday stuff). But since it isn't, I might as well go to the gym so I can say I accomplished something. : )

Good luck Francy.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:12PM
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Yes! A toast at 9:00 for the counter, the floor and all of the other small tragedies that seem to come right along with updating! I was really sad about the fir. We do have it in one of our bedrooms and it is really pretty.

We also had to replace all of the oak floors in the front main rooms of the house because the previous owner destroyed them. Before he added wall to wall carpet he drilled hundreds of screws through them, I guess to stop them from squeaking. Some of them were even bolted under the house.

It was the first old house floor that our floor guy found to be completely unsalvageable and we had the luck to get it! So 2 positives are that the new floor in the kitchen matches the new floors in the adjoining dining room and hallway, and that the floors are really beefy and will outlast us!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:27PM
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One fissure does not make the whole slab bad, I would have just laid out the kitchen differently. And maybe talked with the stone supplier to get that part of the stone refunded. Say some sq. ft. taken off the overall slab price. If I couldn't have used the corner, that corner would not have been charged for. Obviously I would document with pictures for my case.

The fissure I thought I saw in the pic was to the right of the two water dots on the bottom. . . It may not be and it may just be a scratch, sorry for assuming.

Remember your Fabricators are professionals too, don't pin it on just one person. You shouldn't have let your fabricators off completely, you should talk with everyone to come to a final conclusion.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:38PM
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Fori is not pleased

If it was there when you moved in, you'd have found it a charming bit of character.

It's the having paid for perfect soapstone that's the problem! Argh. Good luck and don't be meek!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 4:12PM
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Sorry to keep this going, but I'm curious to know whether you're going to call M Tex. I have the feeling you'd rather let sleeping dogs lie so you don't have to deal with the possibility of ripping anything out, but it sure would be nice if they could refund some of your money.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:56AM
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I'm curious too -

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Dear Francy and Ben:

If M. Teixeira Soapstone had been responsible for templating, fabricating and installing your countertops, we would definitely replace your tops, or better yet, ensured to never have installed a cracked material to begin with.

From what you are describing, the slabs were purchased in August and only installed 6 months later, who knows how it was stored, how many times it was moved around, how it was handled, was it hit with a fork lift, cracked then repaired?There are just too many possibilities here.

We, as professional and exclusive soapstone fabricators, would not ever have worked with a cracked slab or installed a countertop after it was cracked, even if it was cracked in transit on the way to your home.

The fabricator/installer is fully responsible to inspect the material before it is installed or fabricated. Should this slab had been cracked originally, the fabricators responsibility would have been to contact the supplier(M.Teixeira) immediately to get the slab replaced.
Unfortunately we cannot be responsible for products that left our warehouse 6 months ago, specially if they were stored and fabricated by a third party, for the reasons explained above.

Because I am a human being, and can understand your frustration, I will authorize a considerable discount on another slab, should your fabricator decide to replace it. The Santa Barbara is our most expensive and least available material, it is a rare stone that is no longer being quarried, although we still have some stock left in our NJ and CA warehouses.

Feel free to call me directly toll free at 877-478-8170, should you need further assistance.


Rogerio M. Teixeira
M. Teixeira Soapstone

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:08AM
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What a man, what a man. Now on to the fabricator! Francy, this is really very considerat and professional of M. Texieira to read about their company online and respond. I am very impressed. I just hope your fabricator is willing to honor their part in this situation.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:44AM
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VERY CLASSY RESPONSE from Rogerio at M. Teixeira...

Many other suppliers would not have even bothered to
make a reply - let alone give you the response that he did.

And he's right... HOW can he be held responsible for a slab
that sat in who knows where for 6 MONTHS?

KUDOS to Rogerio & M. Teixeira!!!

Hopefully, your Fabricator will step up to the plate
and take care of the situation for you. and IF they DO.
let's give them kudos too for do the right thing - albeit,
a little late in the game, but just the same - the right thing...

my .02 cents worth


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 11:37AM
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Thank you for your reply here, and your email Roger. I really appreciate your help in this matter.

Note to all: I contacted the fabricator last Friday, and M. Teixeira over the weekend. The fabricator was angry that I discussed this matter on GardenWeb, though my husband assured him that I have been very, very fair to his company, and have not slandered his company in any way.

I will forward Roger's offer to the fabricator. But I fear that they will maintain that the crack was preexisting. Of course, there is no way to prove when the crack happened. Because of it's apparent location on the slab ("interior" to the slab, hairline, and not extending to the edges), it is hard to see how it happened after it was in storage (for about 4.5 months). But this is guesswork.

I don't know how much the fabricator will be willing to help me. But I will ask.

It is ironic that my tiny little kitchen could be the center of so much drama. The total cost of my little job to the fabricator was less than 2000.00. But it is money that we have spent. And we don't have any more. As you GW'ers know by now, we have been slowly saving and working on this kitchen for 2 years. It is ironic, to say the least. (And I could just kick myself now for picking such a rare stone! *kick*)

I wish we could afford to have M. Tex come in and replace the stone. I'm nervous about continuing to work with the fabricator if their hearts are not in it, so to speak.

I'll keep you all posted...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 2:29PM
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