Now what? Again! Painters broke granite at cooktop cutout
So last week I posted about how our fabricators showed up unannounced with our Leathered Titanium granite and told us it had already been sealed when they had previously told us it would be sealed on-site. That problem was resolved, we think, when the owner called the next day to check on the install and told us the slabs had NOT been sealed, only enhanced. If this is true (how do we know for sure?) then we're happy since we'd decided not to seal them. We also had a few other problems that he's coming to look at this week - a weird machine mark that runs along one side of the sink cutout and an area where they scrubbed to remove a white grease pencil mark from around the cooktop cutout that left a pale circular area. The edges are also not very smooth - perhaps because of the leathered finish - but we're starting to not mind them. We joked we could tell people it's a new edge profile called "Rustic" :-)
Anyway, the granite was installed Thursday night and our kitchen was painted yesterday. Last night, I was cleaning the counters so I could finally put out a few things, i.e. the coffeemaker, and as I wiped across the front of the cooktop cutout I felt something grab my paper towel. Upon closer inspection, the granite is broken in 2 places - as you can see in the photo. Both cracks go all the way through the slab.
We feel certain that one of the painters (a crew of 3 and the owner) must have somehow put some weight on the front edge of the cutout. The broken piece is lower than the surface of the slab so obviously the weight came from above. They were working on ladders painting over the cabinets and it was difficult to lean from the ladder to get to the wall so we think maybe someone used a foot to balance themselves or they leaned on that piece while painting the backsplash area.
Whatever happened, the fact is that no one came forward to report that they'd broken it. I guess it's possible that someone could have done it and not noticed it but I think it's unlikely. So we'll be calling the owner this morning to discuss this but we're certain it will be a surprise to him and that it will probably get awkward because we'll essentially be accusing one of his guys of being deceptive. Or of committing an "error of omission", if you will.
I assume that we'll be asking him to cover the cost to repair the crack and/or to replace the piece of granite. If the area can be repaired to our satisfaction, we'll be fine with that but if not, we'd want it replaced - which would be about $900. I'm not sure if our painter is insured or not because we hired him based upon the fact he painted for the previous owners for 15 years and has also done work for most everyone on our street. We've used him off and on since we started our whole house renovation last summer and we have a good relationship with him.
With regard to repair - is it possible? I'm sure they could try to epoxy it back in place but since the finish is leathered, how would they "polish" the rough edges? The fabricators will also probably say "I told you so" because when they were drawing the cutout for the cooktop, we had them move it forward to conform with the installation specs of the Thermador induction cooktop. They had drawn a 4" setback from the front edge and we had them change it to 3" because they had less than the minimum cutout in the back. They only had 1.5" which would have resulted in only .5" space between the cooktop and the wall and wouldn't have left enough room for our tile backsplash. Although we had some language issues, we believe they were concerned that the smaller setback would be more prone to damage.
Our greatest concern now is what happens when the owner speaks to his crew and they all deny causing any damage. He may very well accept responsibility anyway but what if he doesn't? We can't prove they did it but when the crew first arrived yesterday morning, we spent about 10 minutes with the owner as he admired the granite and we explained what it was and where we found it. Obviously, if we'd known of the cracks at that point we'd have told them to be cautious around them.
Anyway - any advice or suggestions as we deal with this today would be greatly appreciated!