update--more issues w/slab/fabricator? Need advice!

nobeesJune 21, 2013

So, here's an update one my slab that was sold. I ended up choosing another slab from a dif. yard. Fabricator matched price plus another $300 off.
Install was yesterday, and there are issues with sink installation and possibly slab. They will not admit any fault with the slab condition, and I have not yet discussed the sink issues with them as I want to gather my thoughts before I call/go in.
Here are the photos: 1st pic, you'd look where the light is, the stone is not a smooth, polished finish.

Do you feel this stone is etched? finish is defective? resin is etched? Or, is this the nature of the stone? It looks bad in light/dirty/spotted, etc. I tried my best to photo, but it's pretty hard to get the lighting right. I might get out my good camera.

I will post sink photos next. (Sorry, I don't have them hosted anywhere, so I'm just uploading)

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This photo, you can see some spotting within the light reflection (to the right). Then, above the light reflection, there's a strip that is whiter/duller. It's so hard to explain and show in photos. I just don't want to go argue if that's what my stone is supposed to look like.
My issue is the sample I had did not look like that (especially 1st pic) until vinegar was applied. All they keep saying is, "We don't have vinegar. Come here to look at the leftover pieces--they are dull too. We didn't pick this slab, you did. We could have supplier come look at it." (Those extra pieces also went through the fabricating machines-whatever those are called!)
I do see that some areas look like they might be the stone reflecting light differently, but others just look etched to me.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Kitchen sink was not installed as I asked (1/8" reveal, per Blanco's recommendations).

The faucet side is flush, and the opposite side is somewhere btwn. 1/8-1/4. With a great amount of extra silicone.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:03AM
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The bathroom sink is also uneven, even after I had them adjust it. At first it was about 1/2 inch further back on the back, right. There's silicone everywhere--very sloppy. Is that normal?

The cutout for the bowl was uneven on one side, and the installer tried to even it out the best he could, but you can still see and feel that the slight bevel is off.

Last, there are chips on some edges. I had them fix 2, but did not notice the last one until they left. It's at the corner of the bathroom backsplash. Should I expect chips in my material?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Now I just noticed that there is a full 1/2" gap on each side between my stove and countertops. From what I read, it should be 1/8" This is getting ridiculous! Advice??

I emailed photos and description of issues already.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 4:05PM
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nobees, that's a lot of issues to be dealing with at once, and having the fabricator tell you, "We didn't pick the stone, you did," isn't exactly helpful. If the stone was etched like that when they received it, they probably should have let you know before they started cutting it. Maybe the issue with the "etching" is with the supplier ... did they give the correct slab to the fabricator? I would call them first.

Using silicone requires a good amount of skill. There is a very small time frame to get it in and smoothed off before it starts hardening, and trying to smooth it off after that is impossible and just creates a bigger mess. It looks like that's what happened on your bathroom sink. You might be able to cut out the rough stuff with a razor and apply a smoother bead of silicone in the gap, but reinstalling the sink is another option ... hopefully by someone who knows how to use silicone. It's not "normal", but it happens to a lot of people, myself included. Our granite guys did such a horrible job on the sink install and silicone that DH removed it and reinstalled it himself.

Some granite installers like to "sandwich" the sinks between the plywood and the granite, which causes problems if you need to remove the sink. If your sinks are installed with clips underneath, you can do a re-install to get the sink lined up better and hopefully get a smoother bead on that silicone. I've seen a lot of sloppy sink installs, so you're not alone!

The 1/2 inch gap between your stove and countertops is way too much! And yes, it should be more like 1/8 inch. I don't see how your installer can try to get away with not fixing that!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:28AM
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I am a fabricator.

The variaton in the stone is quite likely normal, I say this because there is very liitle in the way of common chemicals that will actually etch the "granite" stone typically used for countertops. (limestone and marble are a very different story.)

regarding the install:
1/2" by the stove is a lot. Is the stove centered in the opening? typically the measure guy will end the stone flush with the cabinetry and, often, the stove is not in place when the measure is done so he'd have no way to know if an overhang was needed. this might not be a mistake.

the sinks, however, are nothing but sloppy work. in a 1st rate install you shouldn't even see any caulk by the sink unless the sink has a relatively large radius where it goes from the vertical wall to the flange on the top. In this case you fill the gap formed by the radius on the sink with caulk so it doesn't become a bacteria trap. In my shop we customize the sink cutout so there is a very slight (1/16") overhang so the caulk is completely hidden becasue, over time, the caulk cracks and yellows and looks horrible.

If you do see caulk it should be a very very consistent bead. A quality fabricator, even one without a CNC, should be able to make a cutout that matches the sink supplier template exactly (like, within + or - 1/32" of an inch). with a CNC the sink cutout will be within maybe 20/1000's of an inch.

It takes a lot longer, maybe an extra hour for 2 guys, to do a good job of caulking on a typical kitchen install if you include caulking the splash with a similar amount of care. slopped caulk is the mark of a mediocre or poor quality fabricator.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Thank you both for responding! The fabricator is going to contact the supplier about the finish. I'm hoping that maybe honing it can alleviate the etched look. I do believe that some of the reflection has to do with the minerals in the stone.
The stone is quartzite, but from testing, it seems to at least have some calcite within it. This is what leads me to believe that some areas may be etched.

The stove and old counters were both in place at the time of measure, so I really don't know how the gap got so large. I can see where the old counter ended, and it definitely was closer to the stove. The counter on my smaller cabinet doesn't even go flush with the cabinet edge on either side (it's a very small amount smaller than the cabinet.) The larger cabinet actually does have an overhang towards the stove. (When the stove is centered, there's about the 1/2" on each side.)

Unfortunately, I really like the section that was used over the smaller cabinet, and I don't think there's a nice, whiter section left on the slab to replace it. (I worked around a large dark area in my slab to leave it out.)

The sinks are mounted to the counter material, not plywood. There's no plywood under the counters from what I see (at least in bathroom). The fabricator would not even call for my slab to get shipped to them until they had my sinks, so that's just another annoying factor in why they should be right! Plus, while waiting for my sinks, the supplier sold my 1st slab--just another little stab! The exact day I dropped off the sinks is when the slab (held w/deposit) was sold.

I know mistakes happen, but when spending quite a bit on an expensive material, it's even more upsetting. Plus, after my first slab being sold, these mistakes just seem even worse.

Thanks again! I'll be calling Monday to see what their options are. This is a huge help to defend my case in the mean time!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Holly- Kay

I am sending good thoughts your way Nobees. I hope you get the issues resolved and it all turns out well.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:37PM
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Thanks Holly! Will update with their responses.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:30AM
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