countertop installation - comedy of errors - please help

skaunMay 17, 2014

This is really the first time I've done any form of remodeling and this only confirms why I've put this off for 6 years.


After researching some companies in the Chicago area, I picked a company that I thought had a good record. I already knew what I wanted as I picked out the stone a couple years ago and it was just a matter of measuring and installing. I will provide the new sink and faucet and have someone who worked in my building install those as the granite guys only touch granite and do not install sinks, etc.

They took measurements on the 30th and we exchanged messages regarding the sink size as I was providing my own sink. I just had to get to to them 3 days before installation. When they came out to measure, I asked about support for the bar because this is something that came up with another installer. He said I don't really need it, but maybe just 1 support bracket for the shorter piece that starts from the wall.

The dimension for the L-shaped raised countertop is 132" x 19" and there are 2 pieces: the shorter is 29" x 19" and the longer piece is L-shaped which is 103 x 19. The base of the L is 8.5" wide and 45" long. Hope this makes sense. The overhang is about 12".

Before installation, he said I will need just 1 support for the shorter piece as the overhang of the L shaped piece will be supported by the base of the L. I had wanted to use invisible brackets, but did not have time to purchase as I only found out about my installation date on Saturday and could not find any place locally to purchase them. The morning of my install, I bought 2 plain L brackets from Lowes - 8x8 that I thought could be painted to hide them. Oh yea, the night before the install, they tell me the installers DO NOT INSTALL the brackets. Someone has to do it. But they'll bring wood pieces - who knew what they meant!

I had planned on getting my maintenance guy to just drill them in/glue them to the granite but then there were other issues. Long story short, the brackets were not installed - which explains the sticks supporting my counters for extra measure.

OMG - I can not believe this is happening. It's funny and crazy at the same time.

They will not install the support because they don't want to be liable for it even though that's the impression I got beforehand. He even apologized for the miscommunication.

Also, the person I had been communication with did not show up on the job, but I did speak to him that day because I had another issue.

Before the installers leave, he tells me just to get someone to install the brackets and I will need about 6 or 7! Not just 1.

As there are other issues with this job including 2 RIDICULOUSLY UGLY SEAMS - I'm wondering what my options are. Ideally, I would like the pieces removed and this time installed with hidden brackets (I'll hire a carpenter for that)
and also get the seams fixed. Is this reasonable? Please help.

I will update with the issue with the sink, but that's too funny to hide in this super long post.

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I recently had to support an engineered stone top that had failed seams and the picture shows how. 1" square tube aluminum is cut about 3" shy of the edge and is let into and screwed into the top of the wall. I even ran additional screws through the top plate framing into the studs to create the most rigid installation.

I'm not a fan of the 1/4" plates sold for this purpose. They'd probably work fine, but metal has much less strength on the flat.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:01PM
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With a cap on the end, the square tube is inconspicuous. As originally installed, the wood corbels did nothing.

Four, maybe 5, of this type of support would be adequate for your installation.

I'd need to see a picture of your seams to answer your question. They should comply with the Marble Institute of America's Residential Standards. Google it.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Sat, May 17, 14 at 15:10

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Thank you.

The problem I see now is if the granite guys refuse to remove the counter, I can't have invisible brackets and will have to use angled bracket. Is that right?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:29PM
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What is the material on the face of the wall, is that drywall/plaster or is that cabinet material?

If drywall you could remove a section, install some blocking and install steel "L"' brackets and re-drywall

Any welding shop can make the bracket for you, we usually make them with 1/4" X 3 material, 12-14" on the wall leg and a couple inches short of the front of the counter…depending on the overhang we weld in a small gusset at the inside corner to stiffen it up a bit more…3 would be more then enough for this run

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 4:44PM
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"The problem I see now is if the granite guys refuse to remove the counter, I can't have invisible brackets and will have to use angled bracket. Is that right?"


It depends if you still owe them money. If they've been paid, they can refuse more easily. Only you can decide how big of a stink you want to make.

It isn't too difficult to find the studs in your wall and mount standard brackets to them and the bottom of the counter.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The GC on the job is responsible for dealing with the nebulous issue of which trade is responsible for the counter support, and it's method. Despite Treb doing the carpentry work there on that job, he is very much in the minority of counter installers that will even touch cabinets. Most will not, because of liability reasons and needing a different skill set. Most paper GC's call a cabinet guy to do that job. A hands on guy would just take care of it with no muss. Your GC missed nailing down that detail, so the fix is on his head to come up with.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:20AM
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I was also surprised that anyone would expect the counter installer to work on the cabinets (including supports). Ours definitely would not, but they did tell us in advance exactly what was needed, and our GC could call them/discuss with them at any time.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:04PM
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I did not see mention that the OP had a GC...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 1:09PM
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I did not have GC and did not think I needed one because I went to place I thought would do it all. They did tell me that all they did was install the sink, but I would need a plumber to hook it up. I live in a condo and the on-site staff were going to take care of it.

When I had the company come in to take measurements, he told me supports were not really needed and if I want to be extra-safe, I could just one for the shorter side. But still, this was not something that I told I needed. This was my first big job and the rep who visited from the company even apologized the night before for the miscommunication and said he'll ask the installers to bring support wooden beams.

They have not been paid in full, so I guess I have some recourse there. I just wanted some input from you guys and what I can reasonably ask them to do to fix the problem.

I've seen a couple styles of brackets - L shaped ( and hidden ( These are about 2.5" wide.

Funny enough, these brackets below are what the guys from Lowes told me I needed. They were trying to sell me those flimsy shelf bracket and said I was being too cautious.

The problem is the information is somewhat confusing.

As far as the number of brackets needed, I saw info online stating based on the length of my counters, I will need 7. My counters are 132" in length and I needed to start with 2 brackets - 4" from both ends. Then I divide the width of the middle area by 24 and that determines the number of brackets.
Is this excessive?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 2:29PM
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Sounds excessive to me, below is my response to you from yesterday...just call a local welding shop and he will make these for you within a day or two...should be about $40 each

"Any welding shop can make the bracket for you, we usually make them with 1/4" X 3 material, 12-14" on the wall leg and a couple inches short of the front of the counter…depending on the overhang we weld in a small gusset at the inside corner to stiffen it up a bit more…3 would be more then enough for this run"

I personally don't think you have the right to hold back any money from the counter fabricator...should they have told you that you needed brackets?? Yes they could have....but this sounds to me like you didn't do your homework ahead of time

And I would never use those cheap Stanley brackets for this application...even if they were still made in the USA

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:15PM
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I really don't think that it is reasonable to blame the OP for "not doing the homework"; part of the reason we hire pros is to avail ourselves of their expertise. The granite installers should have known whether or not support brackets were needed and advised the OP not only of needing them but what needed to be done (and by whom) to get them. The OP did ask them about it.

Plus, they need to fix the seams.

So I do think that it is reasonable to tell the installers that they need to help correct the problem created by their "miscommunication"

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 4:29PM
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AJC71: I did not ignore your post about calling the welders - I actually had your post open on a separate tab so I can call the welders tomorrow as it's Sunday. I called Rebuilding Exchange - a company that sells reclaimed materials - but they did not have brackets.

As far as those cheap stanley brackets... those were the strongest brackets I could find after going to several home improvement stores. I did not want those wooden corbels or even the decorative pieces - I was simply looking for something simple and preferably one that could be hidden. I went to Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Menard's - they did not have anything I felt would be sturdy enough to support the overhang. I called fabricators in hopes that I could buy brackets from them and they said they did not use them. Made no sense to me.

The granite rep who did the measurements 2 weeks ago also told me I did not need them for the L-shaped piece(103" x 19") with 12" overhang. He said I only needed 1 bracket for the smaller piece. I found the stanley brackets at lowes on the morning of my install and that granite installers said I would need about 7 for my counters. These brackets are 8x8 and are 1.25" wide. Obviously, since I know I'll need a lot more than 2, I might as well get the right ones online.

With regard to not doing my homework, I did ask questions I thought were pertinent. If I had not done my homework and just took their word, I would not have realized I needed support brackets for the overhang. I even have a text from the person who took the measurements stating I only need support for the small piece.

Right now, the work is not complete because they have not installed the backsplash. Also, the seams are very visible and rough. Another issue I have is the sink cutout. I purchased a Kraus undermount sink with almost zero radius and they received the sink on Monday - 3 days before the Thursday installation. My problem with the cutout is it's only flush in the corners so there's a bit of a reveal and food gets caught on there. Is this normal? I don't know, but if undermounts are supposed to make cleaning easier, this just added more work.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Not understanding the details on a job is one of the chances you take when you self GC. There is no reason to withhold anything here. The fabricator did the job they were hired to do. They just didn't do more than they were hired to do because that job belonged to another trade. Get the metal brackets made, ad if you need to hire a carpenter to do the install, then do so. And hire the plumber to lower the waste arm so that the deeper undermount sink will actually drain. That's probably another detail that wasn't investigated.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:32PM
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Thanks raee. With granite, there are 2 ways to get the installation done - to my knowledge. One is to go to a company and pick out your slab and then hire a fabricator to do the work. In this case, you'd also have to purchase a sink, faucet, etc. I tried working with a fabricator, but he had other issues and his pricing structure was a game of Let's Make a Deal.

I decided it was much easier to get this done with a company that does it all. Looking back, there was no true benefit in one-stop shop because I used the advise of this board to purchase the sink and faucet.

Before the installation, they did tell me I needed a plumber to reconnect the water and change the pipes as I was going from a 2-bowl sink to a 1-bowl sink. There was a bit of comedy with this situation, but this had nothing to do with the granite guys.

Home improvement is pretty much a game of trial by fire. You can prep as much as you can, but there's not much you can do with you don't have the info you need.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:36PM
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Hollysprings, there is no guarantee that a GC will know all the details (or attend to them) either. Take mine, for example. He is a licensed electrician, but didn't know the ins and outs of installing retrofit LED lights on a dimmer. I had to figure it out myself (why they weren't working properly). Nor did he circumvent the problems with the wall repair and subsequent problem with installing the cabinets which led to uneven overhangs on the counter. And he nickel and dimed me in various ways, some I didn't mind, others I did, but they all impacted the quality of the job and in some cases I did the work over myself.

Having a GC is not the answer to everything.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Regarding the reveal on the sink, what reveal did you specify? Did you not get what you spec'd?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:15PM
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I was not asking them to do more than their trade. I asked them what I needed and followed their advice. If I knew a GC was needed when I hired a company to install granite, I would have hired a GC. I had 2 people from their company who came to my home to take measurements and was told supports were not needed. Even after asking them a couple times, one guy said if you really really really want it, go ahead and get a bracket for a the small piece - you don't need it.

The day before my install, I spoke to them and said we may need to reschedule because I think I need support brackets and will need to order them because I could not find any locally. My concern was based on info I found here stating anything over an 8" overhang needs support. At that point, I thought my overhang was 10". He said it's not needed because it was an L-shaped piece and the base of the L supported the length. Like I said earlier, he even sent a text to me the next morning saying only the small piece needs support.

This is not a matter of making myself GC - if I was told I needed one, I would have hired one. I went to a company that specializes in flooring, counters, etc, not a one-man shop.

Maybe it's just me, but I find it odd that anyone would install something that's unstable. It was during my phone call with him the night before the install that he said we could not cancel the install but he'll have his guys bring 2x2s the next day that way I have something until I get someone to install the brackets.

Like I said, I don't want to be unreasonable. The work was done on Thursday(has not been completed) and I wanted to get advice on what's normal.

1. If the sink cutout is to be expected, fine. It's not ideal and it won't be perfect, but I can live with it.

2. I've seen posts here saying the seam should be hard to detect. Prior to the installation, he said the seam would be very hard to detect especially with the stone I have - black galaxy. Well, it's not. This seam width is 1/16" and it's not smooth at all. You can see this seam from anywhere in the room. Not only is it visible, it's very rough and one end is more raised that the other. I even had to call him when they were still here because this did not look right. The final product is nothing like I expected.

3. Based on this site and info online, I know I need support brackets. According to the rep, I only need one. According to their installers, I need 7. According to Trebuchet, I need 4 or 5. Looking at the picture posted, I think that's because the brackets are about 3 feet apart not 2 feet.

If they'll have to remove the slabs to fix the seams, then I can have a carpenter install Centerline hidden brackets. If they don't need to remove the slabs, I'll go with L-brackets. Not ideal, but I can live with those. I'm not a fan of corbels or those decorative pieces are only good for banging your knees - I'm 5' 11. The less obstruction, the better.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:23PM
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I did not even know I had an option. All we talked about was getting an undermount sink. He mentioned the sink types they had, but their 16 gauge was over $500. I knew I could get a better deal online so I did not order a sink from them.

This was my lack of knowledge. I just said I wanted an undermount. I guess it's their style of cutting because it's consistently silly - flat in the corners, reveal on the sides. I know they used a CNC machine (he mentioned this in an email when I asked about the cutout piece) so I'm a bit puzzled. Is this a style or some newbie's lack of expertise?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:29PM
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"(103" x 19") with 12" overhang" puts your countertops out of the MIA's Residential Installation specifications which allow a 10" cantilever (unsupported) but disallows more than 1/3 the width of the countertop to be cantilevered without support. See "Spans and Cantilevers" at the link below.

When you cite the specifications of the stone industry's 70-year-old trade association, it stops being an argument between you and them and becomes one of them and the MIA.


Here is a link that might be useful: Spans

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Thanks Trebuchet.

If this is an industry rule, clearly, the guy who took the measurements really has me puzzled. When I researched the company, there were even reviews raving about him in particular. Even another contractor recommended him and their company. I just don't get it.

A couple times, he forgot about my layout and I just assumed he was really busy. But he responds to emails, phone calls, and texts which is why I'm not slamming him. The whole thing is just odd.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Check if your fabricator is an MIA member. If he is, this puts him in a particularly tough bind because his membership depends upon his work meeting the MIA standards.

I just did a consult for a customer, researched the fabricator, and bingo. She saved about $1,200.00.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:56AM
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