Mismatched Granite Seam over Dishwasher--Need Advice

dianeoceanFebruary 16, 2014

I hired a pre-fab granite company to install my granite. I told them I didn't want the seam to the left of the sink because that is where I do all my prep work. They ended up putting the seam, unsupported, above the dishwasher. There is about 14 inches of unsupported stone on one side. If my 5 year old were to climb on the counter to get a plate in the upper cabinet, it could snap. In addition, the matching job is horrible.

Also the undermount sink is not well-supported--no glue, you can see light through the front of my sink cabinet into the sink. There is nothing holding the sink up in back on the 40% side. Finally, they didn't insert shims in the front of the sink, and there is up to a 3/16" gap between the stone and the cabinet, so I think if I set a heavy pot of water on the front of the sink, it could crack. The question now is, what do I do?

I paid half up front, but after my contractor who built the rest of the kitchen told me about the bad installation job, I stopped payment on the check for the other half. When I went to the installer and asked them to fix the work, they told me there was nothing they could do now and that my contractor could find ways to support the seam over the dishwasher. They also told me the match job was normal. And they only offered to place some caulk in the front of my sink to fill in that 3/16" gap.

Advice? Fire the installer--have them pull their granite and demand my money back? Hire another company to fix the issues (except for the mismatch)?

Sorry for the sideways picture.

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I would tell them to come get their granite and pay them nothing. Find a good granite place that knows what they are doing.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 6:28PM
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Do you have any pictures of the issue with the sink, as well as pics from further away that show the entire installation?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:05PM
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I'm no expert, but that looks...not good. Trying not to be too harsh in case you have to live with it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:15PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, it's completely unacceptable, but other than going to a better fabricator for 2x the price (and skill set) there isn't a lot that can really be done. Prefab is low price and low skill. Which should have led to low expectations on your part. You're not gonna get any better with that material and fabricator. If you can have them remove it, you'll at least have a clean slate for a different counter. Even laminate would be a step up.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:04PM
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It is pathetic! I would cry if that was my countertop.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:12PM
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I'm posting a picture of the sink gap--you can see the light through the counter. There is only a silicone bead between the sink and the stone. In the back, there is nothing supporting the 40% sink side. The 60% side is held up by the back of the sink cabinet. The gap is a little harder to see because it is dark. I will post another picture, as requested of most of the sink.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Too bad you paid by check. That is so ridiculous that I doubt they will be cooperative and just give your money back. I would go that route though and ask them to refund then remove. You might have to go to small claims though, and see if they care about BBB.

Did they have a showroom? I' m not sure all prefab has to be a disaster. Maybe just a bad or inexperienced company. How did you hear of them?

That particular stone pattern also might be a problem with prefab where seams are involved. Not sure exactly how it all works.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Here is a picture of the sink, dishwasher, and the seam. I thought the cost savings was mostly in the pre-fab granite. Even low budget installer, though, should have known better than to put an unsupported seam over a dishwasher. When we set up the installation, the owner of the company only told me it would be harder to put a seam there. There was no warning about the lack of support.

But I've learned my lesson, and if I can get these installers to take their granite out and refund my money, I am willing to pay for professionals to do the job next time. And wait another 3 weeks for a functioning kitchen, I think.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Just curious, but didn't they put plywood down before they put in the stone? Just had two kitchen remodels (using quartz, not granite). They put in plywood, made a pattern for the sink and cut it out, installed the sink on the plywood, then installed the stone over. There's an edge at the front that hides the plywood.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Fogbound, that only works (and is only needed) if you're using 2 cm granite/quartz. 3cm does not need full plywood support....but that doesn't mean it doesn't need support at all!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:03AM
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One of the luxuries of self-employment is the ability to refuse to do what the customer wants. I would not let a customer dictate seam placement, however, I would present alternatives.

On a low-budget job, there is little selection for seam match "shopping". If you want the luxury of a nice seam match, you need several slabs from which to choose and there may be waste which the customer has to pay for. Considering the price and selection parameters, it is unfair to blame the fabricator for the seam match. He probably did the best he could with the budget and material he was given.

If there is a cleat on the wall behind the dishwasher and a support adhered below the seam, there isn't a 5-year-old on earth that's going to break that stone without a sledgehammer.

Remove the sink and silicone. Install a Hercules Universal Sink Harness and reinstall with new silicone. The HUSH essentially turns your sink into a 10" deep truss, so you won't have to worry about support/gaps at the front cabinet rail. The sink must not be allowed to leak because if the stone has been improperly "rodded" the leak can rust the rod and burst the stone. I've repaired several of these; it ain't pretty or inexpensive.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:00AM
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Diane, this company should know enough about their own business not to ill-advise you on the seam and to not sell a stone pattern that can't be reasonably matched/attractive.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:33AM
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Yikes that does not look good. Well sometimes seams can be stronger that the actual stone, so I wouldn't think it will break if you put any pressure on it. BUT, since you have several other issues going on there I wouldn't trust anything about that job. Sadly you might have start over to get what you want.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:24AM
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I must see things a little differently...

The picture far away doesn't look bad (as far as the seam goes) - granite has character and that character doesn't guarantee the seam will look perfect and flow perfectly.

You told the guy you didn't want the seam where you do your prep work. Did he tell you where he was going to put the seam then? If not, then how is it his fault where the seam is? I don't know how many granite slabs you bought but sometimes fab. can only cut so much in order for layouts to fit on one slab.

The gap under the sink is barely noticeable. I would just have them caulk it so water doesn't seep out.

I think it looks fine. Granite with movement is always more noticeable where seems are then granite that is uniform.

It sounds like you got what you paid for.

I hired the cheapest guy when I got granite and it turned out fine. Sure, I could have nitpicked every little thing I didn't consider to be "perfect" but I didn't.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:53PM
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Thanks for all your advice. Everything I've read says not to put a seam over a dishwasher. Trying to put support in from the back might help the support issue. I've talked various options with my contractor, and gone to another fabricator who said he could groove the rock underneath and insert 1/4" dowels to support the seam.

I didn't expect a perfect match on the seam, but it looks like it is almost a perfect mis-match--light meets dark. Since we had 2 slabs, and there was a lot leftover (which they took away without asking), they could have tried harder to match the seam.

I'm not sure how you would remove the sink without cutting more of the cabinet beneath it. They drilled in pieces of wood on either side to support it, and those could be removed. The sink sits a little on the front and back on the 60% side, but the 40% side is not held up in the back. Maybe it could be taken out and the harness installed.

I am going to run down costs today to start over, and then send a request to remove the countertops to the first company and a request for my money back. I hope I am successful.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:02PM
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Yes, with two slabs they should have tried harder to match up where the seam went along with a safer place to put the seam. They probably are going to try and reuse the remnant pieces to make $$$...

I hope it all works out for you. If you're that unhappy then hopefully they'll remove it (without any cabinet damage) and return your money. Then you can start from scratch. Post some pics if you get new slabs installed :)

Good luck

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:33PM
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I did get most of my money refunded, and they came and removed the counters yesterday. The non-refunded part was to pay for the bathroom vanity I used leftover stone to do, and was done fine, and to pay for the kitchen sink, which they left. I will post pictures when it's redone--in about 3 weeks. Thanks for all the advice I got here.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Thanks for posting your outcome dianeocean ... always nice when that happens. Glad it worked out for you!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Now that you've gotten most of your money back, what's next?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 4:33PM
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This really scares me. I'm going to pick out slabs today, and I believe we are using the same color (River White?). Seeing how awful that seam looked makes me very nervous!

Mine won't be pre-fab, so I'm hoping for a much better outcome.

I'm glad you were able to be refunded, but sorry you've got to start the process all over again. I've only been w/o a functional kitchen for 4 days, and it's already driving me bonkers :o

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 4:54PM
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Errant, as many posts on GW attest, don't assume that you will be getting a good outcome simply because you are not using pre-fab. Be informed ... ask questions, check references, see examples of their work (edges, seaming, sink cut-outs, etc.), read the contract, etc.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:05PM
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"see examples of their work"

Excellent point. There seems to be a lot of problems lately with people being disappointed in their granite fabrication. I have to really hold back in posting things like "did you see examples of their seams? did you discuss the edge? Did you see this or that? Did you pick out the slab, the layout? Did you bring samples home to test and to see how it looked in your house" etc.

You should ask for references and actually go see installed granite in a home.

I actually asked our salesperson (yard and fabricator, all in one shop) if we took the longest and was the most PITAs. She laughed and said No of course. I visited the shop 4 or 5 times. I had numerous samples I kept for months. I saw granite in their showroom on each visit. I saw granite installed in a home. It was actually a friend of mine who had used the place but if I had not seen hers I would have asked for a reference and asked to see the installed granite. I called repeatedly and asked lots of questions, even speaking to the owner. Reviewed the contract in detail. I spoke at length with the templater and then the installers. Watched every move. BTW I visited and got estimates from eight different shops before choosing the one we used.

Maybe this was done before....but a thread on how to purchase granite might be in order. Starting at the beginning....how to find a fabricator, what to ask for, what to expect, etc.

How we handled the granite decision is how we handle EVERY decision. I know most people (not all) that I know IRL say they just don't have the time or patience to spend the time we do on these things. But they are the ones who call us when they need advise.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:44PM
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