Between a Rock and a Hard Place - literally!

witgirlJuly 13, 2013

We are at the tail end of a much longer than anticipated kitchen renovation. We are about 90% done, but all of these annoying issues keep coming up which continue to dog this project - including this biggie: when the tile setter was putting in our backsplash, he dropped his heavy metal trowel with serrated teeth on our at-that-time-unblemished new Danby Imperial marble countertop which I hunted down over the course of two weeks. The trowel left a perfectly patterned row of smallish divots in the countertop. The "bruise" as my GC likes to call it, is about 10 inches long and has about 10 or so 1/8 inch size holes in a row. Now for the question: would you have torn out, at the expense of your contractor (who has acknowledged full responsibility), the entire countertop for this reason? The contractor is telling me that he has consulted with the "top" marble repair guys in my area - one of which came to the house to see the damage - who are telling him there is no way to fix the marble and have it look "good". So the GC is saying I should go back to the drawing board to pick out another slab which will be installed on his dime (and he tells us frankly that he is going to lose money on our kitchen - but still offers to cover this redo because he wants to do the right thing and get more work from us down the road). Factors I am considering right now in my decision about what to do are (1) we have been without our kitchen for 10 weeks, (2) we will be without a kitchen even longer if we have to get a new slab installed, (3) the pin holes aren't *that* noticeable, but I kinda wanted to put the first scratch in, and not have that *honor* stolen by another person, (4) common sense tells me it is ridiculously wasteful to get rid of 17 feet of otherwise perfectly fine marble because of a 10 inch line of pinholes which are noticeable, but not that bad, (5) imagine the damage to the cabinetry, backsplash and potential other things that could happen during the removal, (6) I dont really want to spend more hours trying to find this marble, (7) I love this slab. (8) I am not convinced that the GC has exercised all reasonable options about repairing the marble. One other thing I thought about was whether we could go "halv-sies" on this mistake with the GC - meaning instead of ripping out the top, just rehone/repair to make it look as good as possible, and live with it that way since there will eventually be any number of scratches and other dings on the countertop. We could negotiate with the GC for some more work done on our money pit elsewhere, or even get money off our final bill. So I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this issue - it is truly an internal battle at this point, weighing the beauty of an unscathed stone against all the things I mentioned about. Thanks for reading.

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Just sand it with scotchbrite. It will make it far less noticeable. Yes, everyone wants to be the first to apply the patina, but even further patina marks WILL occur. That's what marble is about and why you chose it (I hope!). Embrace the beginning of the patina! I wouldn't rip out the whole thing just because you weren't the first. That's kin to being upset that your fiance ever dated before you met.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:54AM
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I would not remove it. My remodel went like yours, and every time another sub came in, they damaged previous work.

The cabinet installers scratched the floor, the plumbers damaged the tile, the deck builder sawed through the new Sheetrock,and more.... and I finally said,"ENOUGH!!", and we finished it ourselves.

Can't wait to see pictures of the new kitchen!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Don't tear it out. Have them try to make it a bit better by honing again and ask the GC to give you a break on something else to compensate for your mental anguish. You will have more pits, chips and etches soon enough. I have calacatta marble and have all of the above. I have gotten over it. If you love the slab keep it. You won't even notice this in a few months.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:45AM
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I'm sure I'd keep the slab I love rather than experience the pain of the first ding all over again, and risk damage to other elements of my 90% new kitchen. You can be grateful to have a good GC without making him sorry you are his customer.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:32AM
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So sorry to hear about your issues. It's so great to hear that your GC has been so willing to work with you on this, especially after so many complaints that are posted here about terrible contractors.

If it's not that noticable, I think I'd leave it in and get some type of compensation.

Hope that the rest of it goes smoothly!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:54AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Your tile setter did you a favor. Now you can forever be frustrated with him--not yourself, or the first family member to ding the counters. ;)

I have a star ding from a claw hammer--my fault when the hammer fell off of a paint can. I don't even notice it anymore.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Please send a picture-Here are some facts to consider.
Pinholes and small surface holes, chips and scratches can be removed and repaired in most cases. Gouges or deep scratches can be an issue.
The problem you may have is if the if the trowel was heavy it may have caused stun marks. Stun marks appear as white marks on the surface of the stone. They are an explosion of the crystals within the stone caused by an impact of something heavy. They are pretty much impossible to remove as they can go deep inside the stone.
Stun marks only occur on true marbles.
You can google this for more detailed info.
So while the pinholes can be removed you could be left with stun marks.
In some cases we have been able to drill them out and refill with a different color other then white.
It is a very difficult repair to do.
On the danby a grey or brown wisp of color may work using a product(adhesive filler) that would match your finish(which is probably honed).
Bonstone makes a restoration morter that can be custom colored.
if you send a picture I can give you some more info.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Keep it. It's a great story to tell guests.

Also, your fear about the damage that might result from removing and replacing the slab with the dings is well-founded. These things can snowball on you.

And, you brought up the ecological insanity of removing a slab of marble just because it got a few dings before you got to put your own in it. One child tryuing to get a glass out of the cabinet can do a lot more damage.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Your list of reasons to keep the marble seems to outweigh the one reason to replace - you paid for new/unblemished, you want new/unblemished. You seem to be leaning in favor of keeping/repairing and that seems wise.

I feel for you. During our last renovation we had minor ticky-tacky damage done by subs and it infuriated me, mainly because it wouldn't have occurred if the GC, instead of being lazy, had honored the parts of his contract that called for protection for materials in place. We ended up with dents in hardwood flooring, a scratched toilet, chipped enamel on a vintage bathtub (yeah, guys, not a good place to throw construction debris) and a red-paint stain on an old marble shelf. I don't even notice those flaws now, but I was really angry at the time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 3:34PM
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I went w/soapstone on most of the perimeter cabs and know it's not a very forgiving stone when it comes to heavy hands and hard objects. I was a little disappointed to see that the guys who installed the range left a couple pretty good scratches on it. I forgave them and sanded it out a bit. Now 3 months later I've made plenty of my own scratches and dings in it which I don't even pay attention to anymore.
Like you I wanted to be the 1st to 'mark' my soapstone but in the reality of using it it's such a minor thing I just enjoy it for what it is and look at the big picture. I wouldn't change it, still love it and now think it's the only option for us in this place. I wouldn't consider another stone.
The marble on the island, coffee center and desk area are in perfect shape still. I actually find it very durable but use coasters and trivets more on it than the SS simply because it's so hard compared to the SS that I fear breaking a glass or cup on it.
If you love it let go and enjoy it. I can't imagine going back and trying to pick out another set of slabs, that was not much fun and took me a few months to find the ones I wanted.
All the best in your decision making.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:42PM
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It would be a shame to throw out a huge piece of marble. Since the GC will be loosing money if you choose to replace the marble, then try to get a discount on the final bill. It will be good for him too.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:45PM
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I'd keep it and live with it. (But then you can check out my thread on Cambria Shirebrook and see what I'm living with!) I'm not big on trashing resources, natural or manmade, unless it's just awful, or, as srosen points out, more damaged than is readily visible to the naked eye. Hopefully you can get that assessed. And I totally get that you are just wearing out with the process and want it over with -- sooo been there.

At the end of the day, it's just a thing. And that thing is gonna get damaged sooner or later. Sounds like a beautiful kitchen. Enjoy it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Holly- Kay

My DH and plumber put several dings in my new hardwood. I just could have knocked their heads together. Then when I took a deep breath I realized that it was becoming part of my home and developing patina. It sounds like you love your marble so I would keep it and love it!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:58PM
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I think I have found some peace with this - and my decision. Thank you to everyone for the sympathy (empathy in some cases) and your thoughtful comments. In the scheme of life, this is not a big deal, but like someone mentioned, when you pay for perfect, you want perfect and not damaged before you get to even move in and wreck it yourself. The comment about thanking the tilesetter - I hadn't thought about that, but I think it is absolutely correct - it does take the pressure off! and it allows me to curse him in absentia (I never met him) - so it is a win/win on those grounds. I am willing to accept the patina of living in my space - I never would have chosen the stone I did if I was going to go nuts over every little scratch or stain. I DO hope that some of the damage can be improved with re honing the countertop - we will see about that. Thank you srosen for looking at the damage - i will send another picture which is better for seeing it close up to assess whether there are stun marks. It would be so wasteful on many levels to start over with this, and I could potentially end up with a bigger mess on my hands! Why is that painting dubbed "Beast Jesus" - you know the one that was "corrected" by the amateur artist in Europe when it got damaged coming to mind right now?? In any case, I will keep the slab and work with it, and my GC. He has been really upfront about the whole thing - mighty big of him to suck up everything on this. I do think I will discuss a discount for "mental anguish" with him and also get busy researching marble restorers - that will probably be easier than finding a new slab of the Danby - that stuff is pretty scarce around these parts. Thanks again everyone - I will post pictures of the new kitchen when it is complete - many of my choices were based on my research on this forum, which I think is the absolute best.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:10PM
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