Continuing saga of unacceptable seam

bbstxMarch 18, 2014

The granite guy spent several hours this afternoon working on the seam in my granite.

Before - up close

After - up close

Before - long view

After - long view

I am near tears, and if you understood how unusual that is for me, you could gauge the depth of my unhappiness about this.

The builder has said he will make the granite guy rip it out and totally re-do it. The problem will be finding matching granite. My kitchen is from 3 slabs that were cut 1, 2, 3. Plus, it took me forever to find the granite. Plus plus, I'm tired of screwing with this.

The owner of the granite company, who is a really nice guy but seems to know less about granite than a flea, said it passes the 2 foot test. This is not for others. This is for me, and I will be closer to it than 2 feet when I am working in my kitchen. I will see it!

He said what happened is that by mistake the edge got cut and polished and now they can't make a good seam.

btw, it isn't silicone caulk. It is some sort of resin. He couldn't tell me what sort.

Philosophically, I understand that this is just a d@mn rock and there are greater problems in the world than the seam in my kitchen counter. But I'm losing my ability to be philosophical.

Please help me put this in proper perspective. Mine is shot. Should I make him replace this one run? He'll have to buy another slab (I hate the idea of trying to make sure it matches the rest of the kitchen!), but when he does, there won't be a seam on that side of the kitchen at all. Should I make him totally replace all of the granite in the kitchen? The granite yard where I bought it has enough to re-do the kitchen. Should I suck it up and live with it? Is there another alternative I'm not considering?

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snookums2

Try living with it to see if you adjust. If not, have it redone the way it should have been. They installed a bad edge hoping they could get away with it. That is their problem. You are the one who has to live with it. They just get the cash.

Of course it is for you! Who cares if no one else notices.

Was it made flush? Coloring mottled? If not, what did they do?

Is this in a crud collecting work area? It's not just about appearance.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:58PM
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bbstx

It is now flush. It will not be collecting crud.

I made them remove their attempt at "matching." They had taken a Sharpie and drawn random squiggly lines ON the seam material. IT WAS OBVIOUSLY DRAWN ON! Once they hit it with a bit of acetone, it was gone.

Snookums, right now my house is a total mess, between some sheetrock problems that are being repaired; cabinet doors that have gone back to the shop for re-painting; and various and sundry other issues. I want it over with. Either I'm going to have it fixed now, or I'm going to live with it forever.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Mgoblue85

Wow Bbstx - I feel for you. I'd never heard of a 2 foot test before - that's interesting. I think reno fatigue has set in for you because it sounds like you have the solution already. They made a mistake and are willing to correct it (at least the builder is ready to make it happen), and the granite yard has the slabs available to get it done. Can you check to see if what the granite yard has currently matches the rest of what you have? If so, just replace that run - if not, re-do the lot.

If you are near tears then you should not suck it up. There are some mistakes that you can live with and others you can not. It sounds like this is one of the "can nots". You have the ability to have it fixed, so get it fixed. In the long run the additional time will be insignificant and you will be much happier. Good luck!!!!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Kippy

I don't post on this forum, but happened to notice this title.

You paid good money for a stone you loved and for them to install correctly. They blew it.

On a rental, we made them tear out and replace the entire kitchen for a smaller seam that the "stone guys" the contractor picked blew. In this case, they also blew the cut out for the sink and thought we would not notice. And tried to re cut it in the unit. (They also got to clean every inch of the rental due to stone dust)

Unless they worked to relay the stone to make that seam smaller and reduced the price, I would have the contractor replace all of the stone. Next time they will check 3 times and not just once.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:27PM
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isixpacku

Definitely have them fix it by replacing the countertop. They are willing to fix what never should have happened in the first place. If you are like me you will feel much relief and be happier once you ask them to fix it!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Muffett

If it were my kitchen, I'd fix it now - especially if additional slabs are available. Sometimes it feels like it's two steps back before things start falling into place and you'll be done before you know it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:30PM
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snookums2

Then get it fixed and over with asap. Counters are a big deal. You did not buy seconds so don't accept them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:32PM
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wannaflower

1st take a step back & breathe. We are remodeling so we can move into a house in a couple of days & it can be OVERWHELMING.

Now, this is not a cheap counter top. You paid good money for a quality product & for it to be installed correctly. Who cares if it passes the 2 foot test or the 20 foot test. You are the one who will be working in that kitchen, & every time you wipe up a spot near the seam, set something near it or just look at it, you will be miserable. They are the "professionals" hired to do this right. Make sure it is fixed to YOUR satisfaction.
There are many things we can settle on in life. Your peace of mind shouldn't be one. I think you will be happy if you take the time to do it right.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:14PM
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bicyclegirl1

Ditto on what the others are saying. You already know there's nothing more they can do to fix it, they've said they redo it, so I say redo it! If you can't match the granite from the other areas, then they need to replace all of it to match. It'd be silly for them to expect you to put a totally different piece in w/ others that don't match.

I know how you're feeling, building & reno's are so stressful. Try & stay focused & hang in there. Go get a massage! You need it & you deserve it! When it's all over, you'll be glad you pushed for this to be correct. Good luck. I'll be watching for your decision & final pics of the new & improved countertops!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:23PM
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bbstx

After consideration of the problem, I believe that the minimum necessary is to change out all of the granite to the right of the range. I'm told it can be one piece with no seams at all (then why wasn't it before?).

So, now the question becomes, how do I assure that the one run of granite is sufficiently similar to what we have that it won't look odd? While replacing all the granite is a possibility, I don't want to do that unless it is absolutely necessary. I'm angry, but I'm not punitive.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:28PM
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bbstx

HA! bicyclegirl, DH gave me a gift certificate for 2 massages. Time to use one!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:30PM
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romy718

Ditto-even if it delays the project, you'll be happier when it is redone, whatever they have to do to make it right.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:33PM
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gr8daygw

I would not be happy with that but I do understand what it is like when you are the one facing the owner and workers and made to feel like you are asking for the moon when all you really want is what you thought you were getting!!! It would annoy me every time I would wipe down the counter. If it were me I'd really want that to be one piece with no seam. If he has to buy another slab, he can sell the remainder of it on another job. It's a popular one and very pretty. I would not want them to redo the entire kitchen at any cost. Even if I picked out another solid color for that one run such as a black, gray or ivory. I really like using two different types of granite in a kitchen. That is if it is a stand alone area of course. Our kitchen is a U shape with the refrigerator and a doorway at one end so it separates the two perimeter counters so that I could put a different counter on the one full run on one side. I've seen it done in lots of homes and it looks interesting. Maybe he has a remnant or part of a slab you could use for that if you had any interest in doing that. I feel for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:48PM
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wannaflower

1st take a step back & breathe. We are remodeling so we can move into a house in a couple of days & it can be OVERWHELMING.

Now, this is not a cheap counter top. You paid good money for a quality product & for it to be installed correctly. Who cares if it passes the 2 foot test or the 20 foot test. You are the one who will be working in that kitchen, & every time you wipe up a spot near the seam, set something near it or just look at it, you will be miserable. They are the "professionals" hired to do this right. Make sure it is fixed to YOUR satisfaction.
There are many things we can settle on in life. Your peace of mind shouldn't be one. I think you will be happy if you take the time to do it right.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:01PM
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renov8r

I feel your pain. You will never be happy with it so get it redone. Good luck

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:18PM
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bbstx

Just sent an email to the fabricator, GC, and construction supervisor telling them the seam is unacceptable and the entire run will need to be replaced. And, if it can't be matched with stone so similar no one can tell, then all of the kitchen countertops will have to be replaced. Done!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Trebruchet

All this stone doesn't need to be replaced. Simply remove it, run both edges with a Seam Phantom on site, and adhere the seam. If they set the fence on the Seam Phantom a little heavy on the rear, it will scribe and fit perfectly.

Sure, it'll cost them $1,700.00, but then they'll have a great tool for the next time they screw up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seam Phantom

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:55AM
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bbstx

Cool tool , Treb! I'm sure there are some who could wield it like a finely tuned instrument and get beautiful results. I'm fairly certain the bozos the GC has hired do not fit into that category.

The GC and his supervisor and I are meeting this morning on that very topic - are these guys competent do the re-do?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:19AM
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strayerdarb

On the matching issue, can the stone yard tell you if the slabs they have in stock are from the same bundle as your current slabs? Would that increase the chances that they would match? Seems like it would because the slabs would have been near each other in the mountain.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:39AM
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bbstx

Strayer, I'm not sure if they can or not. I picked my slabs last October, so there is a possibility that they've sold out of the lot mine came from. The good news is I took pictures of the tags on my slabs, so they will have something to work from.

I'll call when they open this morning and discuss it with the young lady who helped me at the stone yard.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:48AM
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bicyclegirl1

Good luck bb. I'm glad to hear you've decided not to settle. It's not fun having to deal w/ these sort of yahoo mistakes, but you deserve what you pay for. Hopefully you'll be able to find another slab that'll work w/ your originals. If you can't, do consider a full redo. You'd be bummed to keep seeing that seam, as well as, mismatched granite. I'll be anxious to hear what they decide to do to help you. DH sounds like a good guy. Obviously he sees how this is stressing you out. I say use one of those massages as soon as possible....like after the meeting w/ these bozos today!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:33PM
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Trebruchet

bbstx:

Place a level/straightedge across the front edge of that seam to see if the joining sides are on plane, please. If the pieces were cut square to the front edge, but installed with the pictured tapering gap, that would be impossible.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:12PM
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teachertile

I personally think the after looks A LOT better. It still doesn't look perfect, but it is a big improvement. I would try to live with it for awhile & see if it still bothers you.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:27PM
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bbstx

Treb, I put a level on it, and it is level. I think the tapering you are seeing is an optical illusion. It is a hair over 1/8" in the front and almost exactly 1/8" in the back. Not really what I would call a taper, although I can see what you are seeing in the photo.

It does look better, but it still doesn't look acceptable. I asked the GC if he would like his name on this and he wouldn't. It is getting replaced. I'm not getting a lot of push back from the GC or the granite fabricator.

Fortunately, I took pictures of the tags on each slab. I had slabs 1, 2, and 3. The granite fabricator called the stone yard and they believe they have slab 4 in the same lot. I'm going to go look at it tomorrow.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:21PM
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snookums2

I don't think we can really see from the photo. The before long shot has high contrast, the after is much lower so ypu can't see the detail as well.

You are lucky they are taking care of this without conflict. Good luck with the next go! It is very tiring but soon it will be a memory and you can enjoy your home and get back to a normal life.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:51PM
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bicyclegirl1

That's great news bbstx ! Keeping my fingers crossed that the 4th slab is from the same batch. That would be fantastic. I'm glad to hear things are going well. I look forward to your reveal.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:39PM
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Errant_gw

I'm so glad you are getting this fixed. Like you said, these counters are for you. You deserve to be happy with them :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:01PM
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canuckplayer

"It passes the 2 foot test" is similar to what my DH says when he hasn't done something to the level I think it should be: "a blind man would be happy to see it". I'm not blind and you will certainly be within 2 feet of it.
The fact that they used a felt marker and hoped you wouldn't notice, says a lot for their professionalism and integrity...none. It appears that even on the fix, they didn't mix any resin to make the seam blend.

Best of luck with the second go round! I really hope these bozos get it right this time.

Make sure we get photos of re-do.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:52PM
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Trebruchet

bbstx:

Sorry perhaps I wasn't clear. I wanted you to check the front edge for plane, not the top for level.

Draw a straight line on a piece of paper. This represents the straightedge. Draw a square "L" on the right and a backwards "L" on the left above the line with the vertical line of the "L's" parallel and the bottom of the "L's" parallel to the straightedge. This represents a properly installed top with a seam.

If there is a gap in either the top or bottom of the vertical section of the "L's", the bottom of the "L's" (the front edges of the tops) cannot be in plane and parallel to the straightedge.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Linelle

Good for you bbstx. You paid good money for a well done counter. I'm glad your GC was amenable to replacing it. You will be living with this counter long after your GC has moved on to other kitchens. All the strife will fade away. I ended up hating my GC and now I'm hard pressed to remember exactly why. I ended up with a kitchen I like and he's out of my life.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:10PM
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bbstx

Treb, I'm having spatial perception problems with what you are describing. However, I put a straigtedge across the front edge of 2 pieces at the seam line. I could see light in the area of the seam. In other words, it was concave on the front edge where the seam is, meaning, the two long portions of the Ls are not parallel, which I think is what you were expecting.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Trebruchet

bbstx:

Actually, I was expecting the opposite, that the straightedge would touch at the seam and show light at each end. Either way, you now know what to look for when they remake the seam and reinstall; a tight seam and no light when you hold a straightedge to the front edge.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:40AM
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bbstx

Treb, they are not going to remake the seam. The entire 90 degree run is going to be re-made with no seam - that is provided that the slab I'm going to go look at in a couple of hours is truly the next slab after mine and is acceptable.

I am hereby publicly apologizing to the granite guys for calling them bozos in this forum. It was unkind. My frustration does not excuse it. The shop owner and the GC are bending over backwards to make me happy. I am grateful for their attitude.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:58AM
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ajc71

bbstx:

Nice of you to offer the apology, it gets very frustrating hearing people on here contractor/subcontractor bashing on a daily basis

I am not sure where these people find the contractors they are using, but in my experience most of the contractors I have dealt with always try to make things right if given the chance

Now if they had taken your money and ran for the hills that would have been a different story!

Tre, you seem to be the resident stone expert...what is this 2 foot test, is there such a thing? Are there standards that stone fabricators/installers should be theoretically following, similar to the AWI for woodworkers?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:12AM
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raee_gw

ajc71, I would say that you have been lucky. My experience has been that most contractors don't do things right the first time if they can save time or money and think that they can get away with it, and make it right only with arm twisting of one kind or another. I have had a FEW contractors who delivered exactly what they promised. The rest have had to be called back to finish or fix sloppy work.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Awnmyown

Not to hijack the thread, but I'm with Raee here. It's so often the stomping and stamping and threats of the home owner that get the contractor and subs to fix their errors, not them doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and desire to do a wonderful job. If they could get away with their errors, my experience is that the majority would. And I built a whole house, so I can promise you I have the experience dealing with so many of these folks.

That being said, I'm happy that bbstx stood her ground and asked for the replacement. She should get the kitchen she was promised, but it SHOULDN'T have happened with her needing to go through the stress and battle she was subjected to. They should have bought the replacement lot when they screwed up that edge, recut it, and delivered it to her on that day with an apology. Or called her when they screwed it up to ask how she wanted the mistake corrected. This is about stepping up to bat when you screw up, not trying to hide it with felt markers and caulk.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:49PM
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teachertile

Make sure to post a pic when you get it all fixed!! GL!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Trebruchet

"..what is this 2 foot test, is there such a thing? Are there standards that stone fabricators/installers should be theoretically following, similar to the AWI for woodworkers?"

ajc71:

The 2 foot test is some arbitrary number that someone picked to be the distance from which a seam shouldn't be too visible. It doesn't appear in any of the MIA standards linked below.

Customers are to be educated that seams are to be inconspicuous, not invisible.

Here is a link that might be useful: MIA

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 20:17

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Kitten1313

Ohhhhhh that's just terrible. And no, you should not have to settle. It will bug you forever. I'm glad they are willing to make it right and hopefully they can do it with just one slab.

And don't ever feel bad about venting about "just a countertop" when there are bigger problems in the world. This is a kitchen forum, THESE are our problems!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:48PM
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hellonasty

I have never been thrilled with the seam in our Silestone (color = Gedatsu). I would have been way happier with no seam at all but that was not possible. The seam never upset me tooooo terribly but it was a little bit of a sore spot for me for a bit after the remodel. Now going on 4 years later I only notice and think about it every now and then, not often at all. And when I do I think, Oh that darn seam, I would be great if you weren't there! And I move on. So many other great things to concentrate on, I won't let that blasted seam ruin everything else. I hope this helps?

AND while we're talkin', something I never wrote about is the fact that the underside of all the silestone wasn't polished! It is a chalky white. You can't see it unless you bend down and look up so it's not a big deal at all, but I really would have been much happier if they polished the underside! Anyone else have theirs unpolished? Was I to request it be polished? Did they screw us over by not polishing the underside?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Trebruchet

"Anyone else have theirs unpolished?"

Yes, when I had estone.
"Was I to request it be polished?"

You could have, but you would have been charged.

"Did they screw us over by not polishing the underside?"

If you didn't pay to have it polished, you haven't been screwed.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:48PM
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bbstx

Here is the new countertop and its seam. The seam shows up much more in the photo than in real life. When DH and I returned Saturday evening (we were gone the week while they made the repair), we thought it was one solid slab. It wasn't until Sunday morning when we went over it with a fine tooth comb, that we discovered the seam.

I'm glad the builder and the granite fabricator stepped up to the plate and repaired the problem.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:59AM
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bicyclegirl1

I was wondering if the other slab at the yard was the same as your current slabs. Obviously it was! This is fantastic to see everything turned out great. I see zero seam! They did you well bb. One of the lucky ones!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Kitten1313

Took me a long time to find the seam. Great job!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:24AM
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romy718

Really had to search for the seam & expand the size of my photo to find it. You must be so glad that you didn't settle for any of the alternative fixes. Your stone is beautiful & it looks perfect. Great job on your part to see this through as I know reno fatigue can make you want to just give up & accept things you shouldn't.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:51AM
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bbstx

I'm tickled pink with the results, but I have to wonder why they just didn't do it right to start with.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:29AM
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annkh_nd

Beautiful job! I know it was a pain in the neck, but a result like that is worth waiting for.

Perhaps it wasn't the same individuals doing the work the second time. I hope the crew who did it the first time around watched the second crew do this install!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:50PM
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greenhaven

It looks fantastic! I am so glad you stood your ground and got it done right. That gives me the confidence to be straight with the installers right up front. I will have high standards, it will be done right, and if it is not I will be making them do it over. Hopefully this will be enough to make them pay attention the first time and avoid all the heartbreak of a do-over.

Canuckplayer said:

"It passes the 2 foot test" is similar to what my DH says when he hasn't done something to the level I think it should be: "a blind man would be happy to see it". I'm not blind and you will certainly be within 2 feet of it.

That made me laugh. Our go-to excuse line is "Good enough for government work."

But never to be used when professionals are being paid to do a job, only when we ourselves are doing it and the effort to fix it outweighs the benefit.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Mgoblue85

I had to really look to find the seam so if it's even less conspicuous in real life that's fantastic.

So glad this has a happy ending for you!!!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:46PM
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