Cracked granite countertop

gilbert_2007May 11, 2010

I picked out my 2 slabs of giallo napoleone at Daltile, and I negotiated a rate of $45/sq for 65 sf from a fabricator. I was in Lowe's today with a sample of the granite, looking at sinks, when their countertop people started to pitch me their services. They asked: What are you going to do if 2 weeks after your granite is installed, you develop a crack? They said that neither the fabricator nor the granite yard would "guarantee" or repair/replace the countertop.

My questions are :

1) Can a granite countertop spontaneously crack and if so, does this represent an installation error?

2)The fabricator wants a check for 50% up front (which I figure covers all of the cost of the slab and part of the labor.). If he breaks the granite while installing..what does he do?

3) Do I get to keep the extra granite if I want?

Thanks in advance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"What are you going to do if 2 weeks after your granite is installed, you develop a crack?"

Who is installing it? What does your contract say about your purchase - are you purchasing the slabs or what is fabricated?

I paid about $50/ sq ft and it includes the slabs, fabricating, templating and install for White River granite with 2 sinks/faucets and cooktop. Any mistakes they would have to fix since my contract is for the satisfactory install. I've paid nothing upfront. I make the payment to the installer upon final inspection.

You might want to get some prices from an installer and look at their work. I was quoted $2k - $8k and I found a lot wrong with the $8k work.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As far as keeping extra pieces of granite - it depends. Some places make you buy whole slabs so in that case you could keep the extra pieces. In my case I was charged exactly the square footage of what I needed so that I wasn't entitled to any extra pieces.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since we picked out our slabs at the stoneyard, we paid our fabricator a downpayment to cover the cost of the slabs. Our contract specified satisfactory installation and had clauses/fine print on what would be done if the fabricator messed up or broke the slab. They would have been responsible for the replacement if it broke during their installation or while they had it in their shop.
We would have got to use any remnants from our slabs since we purchased the whole slab. We really didn't have much left as we had an oversized island put in. We have just a small scrap piece that our fabricator is turning into a lazy susan for us for no extra charge.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The conditions should be in your contract. If you have a reputable, experience and established installer, they will work hard to preserve their reputation.

I think it was very unprofessional of Lowe's to try to steal your business. Avoid them like a plague. They sell contractor-grade stones. I'd be more worried about Lowe's doing a lousy job.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Also, any fabricator will point out potential flaws or cracks in your stone before they install, so to let you know what you might be up against. I had a crack in mine and the installer strenghten the back of my granite with resin and mesh (at no extra cost) and did a superb job in installation.

I get the feeling that Lowe's installers are the rejects from the prime installers.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 6:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are 2 worlds of granite. One is bigger outfits that do the whole job. They work a lot for builders and on commercial jobs, where no one is going to tell them how to do the layout. Some have excellent reputations (but not all!) and many go for big volumes. They contract with HD, Lowes, Costco, Ikea, and give discounts. But you usually can't pick your slabs or direct your layout. This works fine for stone with more consistent smaller patterns. They probably do most of the stone work where I live.

Smaller stone yards can give you more service and individual attention, but it comes at a price.

Stone breaks sometimes no matter who does the install. The only question is who will cover the cost of that and does the business give good service.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 7:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cabinets that are installed improperly can break stone; if there's a high spot that nobody sees, it could cause cracking.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have seen cracked granite. It's very rare if it's installed correctly. At least on the ladies' kitchen gossip circuit. (No professional experience here.) The theory is that localized thermal shock can expand microfissures and lead to cracking. So can twisting forces in a strong earthquake.

According to my tile setter (an expert who often oversees installation of granite), even the thermal shock kind are down to bad installation of some kind.

If the cabinets are installed properly, the granite is supported properly, the fabrication is done properly, and you don't abuse it with things like the football team using it as a stage to practice their can-can dance, you'll be fine!

And if the contrariness of Fate should choose you to make an example of, and serve you up a crack for defying her, your good fabricator should be able to do a mend which will be nigh on invisible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, my granite did crack within weeks of installation. The installer INSISTED we dropped something very heavy on it. Just ridiculous - it happened on a part of the counter that doesn't see any use at all.

I'm convinced it was a weakness in the material. Anyhow, he sent some guys out and they did repair it. You can't see it and it hasn't spread, so it worked out fine. My granite is very dark brown with lots of crazy white lines in it, but I don't think it would have worked out so well with most granites. I shudder to think what might have happened if it had to be replaced.

I had a KD who I'm sure leaned on the fabricator to get it fixed, even though we had a Mexican standoff as to whose "fault" it was.

Left a really bad taste in my mouth though.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ask your fabricator if the install rods in the sink and cooktop areas for reinforcement. It is not difficult but takes a little time. If they do that they probably have good standards elsewhere.

Is this 2cm or 3cm stone.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is 3cm. I am not picturing the "rods" in the sink and cooktop area. Can you expound?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My daughter's contractor dropped the new hood on her granite counter in the last days of her remodel, removing a rough triangle ~8 square inches. The granite installers returned and repaired it in such a way that it is invisible to all but someone who knows where to examine it. Contractor ate the cost, of course. After 4 years it seems to be as strong as the rest of the counter.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" I am not picturing the "rods" in the sink and cooktop area. "

The back side of the granite is grooved and steel rods epoxied in place to add additional strength.

Thins sections of granite (front and back of sink cutout typically) are not strong enough if the material is not carefully handled and correctly supported when installed.

Some granites have enough invisible weak spots that it is better to reinforce them than wait for them to break.

Really bad granites get resined to prevent problems during cutting to size and finishing. (They are often the most attractive stones though).

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:45PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
thoughts about Grabill and/ or Superior Woodcraft kitchen cabinets
Hi, everyone. Does anyone here have experience with...
Large cove moulding?
I am looking for large cove moulding. I can't find...
top cutlery tray on Kitchen Aid Dishwasher
Is the extra (3rd) cutlery tray on the higher model...
New build Kitchen – layout for this space?
So, hi! Popping out of lurk mode because I’d really...
Week 44: Spring, spring, SPring, SPRING dreams!
I am having spring fever. I can't wait until it's...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™