Chipping and edge detail issues for granite and quartz

oldryderJuly 20, 2013

I am a fabricator.

Recent posts and comments about chipping motivated me to provide some information that may be of help to people making a countertop purchase.

The edge profile has a significant impact on any materials susceptibility to chipping. Sharp corners chip more easily than rounded ones. At the very lowest quality levels a "free" edge is polished on a CNC* and untouched thereafter. Noticably sharp edges at the top and bottom of the edge profile are left by the CNC tooling. Flat edges and the Ogee profile are examples of edges that will be easily chipped if the sharp edge corners are not worked by hand after the CNC. (Note: generally, in the industry an untouched CNC'd edge has come to be accepted as "good" quality. It's not.)

A lower quality shop will give you edges with sharp corners because it takes less fabrication labor. Worst case is probably a flat or Ogee with a sharp corner on top. Best if it's a shop that doesn't handwork after the CNC would be a bullnose or demi-bullnose (radius = stone thickness)

If you are dealing with a typical "granite" or quartz surface then chipping should be an uncommon event that takes a considerable blow from a dense object. Some countetop materials like schist, slate, and ones with mica inclusions can be chipped relatively easily. A good fabricator will educate a customer on this as appropriate.

Softer materials like marble and limestone chip more easily as you'd expect.

Fabricators fix chips all the time so a chip in your top, even a relatively big one, need not be a cause for panic. A competent fabricator can usually repair a chip such that you'll have to look close to see the repair. A good fabricator will fix a chip, even in a countertop installation that is a few years old, for free as it's worth the good PR value.

CNC - a computer controlled machine that cuts and polishes stone using diamond tooling per a user supplied program. roughly $300,000.

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Holly- Kay

Thank you so much Oldryder. I appreciate the information you are kind enough to post. You have helped me to expand my knowledge base and it is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:14PM
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I wish we could sticky your posts.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:32PM
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I always tell folks the fabricator you chose will be more important than the choice of stone.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Oldryder - Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Great information! Thanks for taking the time to post it!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Connie K

Thank you Oldryder,
What about the edge around the undermount sink? If I am understanding you correctly, that edge needs to be finished by hand in order for it to hold up against chips. Am I correct?

My sister had Hanstone installed, and has a huge chip along the edge of the opening to the sink. I think I love Quartz, but want to avoid this issue. So if I understand you correctly, it really comes down to the fabricator.

I'm also not sure if I know if the fabricator is different from the installer. So much to learn.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Thanks for the information. I am one of the people who has complained about chips. But mine are on the flat surface, not on the edges. Unfortunately, I didn't deal with a good company - the fabricator was a subcontractor for a local store - and I can't get any response to my pleas for help fixing it. SO if you know any good fabricators in the DC area who might be willing to fix chips on counters they didn't install, let me know!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:18PM
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What do you think of this 1/4" gap? Only the back and half the middle is like that. The front goes all the way to the cabinet. They just measured wrong. 101' on front and 100 3/4" on back. Peke

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:27PM
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In the previous picture you can see that he cut the sheetrock to try to make the slab closer to the cabinet. Now it is off on the sink and by the coooktop. Sort of sideways....

This picture is the sink seam. I didn't need a seam because the slab was long enough. The fabricator wanted to put a seam there.

What do you think? Peke

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:33PM
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