granite counter-top seams ... are we being too picky?

rayjoAugust 11, 2008

Hi all.

We had our granite countertop installed yesterday. We paid a premium (highest quoted price) as a result of a strong recommendation from our cabinet guy (who warned us we may not be happy with a lower-quality job). The other quotes were between $3,300-$4,100 and our guy is charging $4,500.

The stone is Lady Orientale Dream 3/4" Granite: lighter colored stone.

A double thick edge was part of the order. Some of these edge seams look great, but some not so much (in our opinion). Our biggest concern, however, was the counter-top seam between two large pieces (the grain in the counter was poorly matched (color in the two slabs) and the seam itself seems quite visible).

Picture of the seam on the top of counter


Picture of the double-thickness edge seam


The contractor had the following excuses:

- the material was difficult to work with (and thus shows seams far more than other more consistent colored granites)

- the two slabs to be joined were very large peices and thus the contractor had little choice in the location of the join

- the contractor had to cut the slab again on-site due to an unexpected variation in the evenness of the wall.

- the material we chose chips more than other materials and has inconsistencies throughout the material, and so that's why the product has more glue in some areas of the seams (since the glue is filling out those seams).

- because of the large peices required for our kitchen, the granite was tough to work with.

If we'd been given this info prior to selecting the stone, we probably would have choosen a different product (slightly darker and less color variation). I suppose a buyer should be better informed prior to making a decision like this.

We have under-the-cabinet lighting that will shine right on the seam. As it is, the seam was the first thing I noticed when I walked in the room to inspect the finished job. I suspect the lighting will make it more noticable (once it's installed).

The contractor gave the following suggestions on how he could improve this top seam (but I'm not convinced this will be "good enough"):

- he could work on the countertop seam by using a lighter color glue and try to make the seam less visible. This will hopefully "help blend the transition better between slabs".

- make us a cutting board to put on top of the seam.

Any help on how to manage this situation would be much appreciated. Also, if you think we're being to picky about the job, please let us know.



Here is a link that might be useful:

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You aren't too picky. The seem looks pretty obvious to me too. and I wouldn't be satisfied with it either.
Not sure about what recourse you have, but I did want you to know that you aren't being difficult about this.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:13PM
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I'm no expert but I just had granite countertops put in my new house and the seam is barely visible on my counter. My pattern is similar to yours but with a little more color in it (Oro Venezia granite) and I was shocked when I looked at the photo. So I don't think you're being too picky at all. The crew that did mine used some kind of suction and a machine that pushed the two pieces together and then left the machine on for what seemed like forever. That's what I was most nervous about was the seam but I was so happy when they were done. I have some photos on line but nothing close enough to see the seam work.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:14PM
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My first thought in looking at the pics before reading the rest of your post was that the glue is too dark. He actually did a pretty good job of matching the seams (I believe it's called a book match) on the edging. You just see it because the glue is so dark.

Swirly granites like this are indeed hard to match. I just consider it part of the fact that it's a natural substance.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:18PM
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I know hindsight is 20/20 but that's why everyone should go to the fabrication place when they lay out the template pieces on the granite. That's when you have input on where the seams will go and you can see if it's a good match or not.
As to your question about being too picky - no, you're not too picky. The seam is unacceptable. I have crema bordeaux (similar to yours) and you can barely see my seams. But then I was at the fabricators for 2 hrs before we got all the pieces right.
Don't know what your recourse could be...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:23PM
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We are renting during our new build process and I think the granite in the rental is exactly the same as yours. The seams are so well done I had to search to find them and this isn't exactly a super luxury condo we're renting. You hired a professional and it doesn't seem they did a professional job for you. While I understand what suzie is saying about keeping an eye on the process---which we have been trying to do in all aspects of our construction---how is a novice supposed to know more than the professional? Maybe you can have a talk with your KD about the recommendation he gave and ask for advice on how to proceed to correct the problem.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 7:43PM
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No, you are not being too picky. (And I don't like that the contractor had set of excuses.) The seam is too dark!

Keep us posted,

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:37PM
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No you are not being too picky. Now I'm getting nervous. My granite is being installed tomorrow, and it too has alot of variations (persian gold). I spoke to the fabricator today, and was told the seam will be at the sink. So hopefully it won't be noticeable. I would make the fabricator re do it. If he doesn't do it to your liking I would take him to small claims court, at least you might re coup some of your money. Or file a complaint with the BBB

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:56PM
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it doesn't look good.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:31PM
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I hate to say it but, this is just awful. Lighter colored glue or filler or paint would help a lot. The best thing would be to un-do the double edge but I doubt that is possible.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 6:11AM
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Rayjo, first let me say I am so sorry. I know how much time and effort goes into this process and I can only imagine how disappointed you are. I hope that something can be done to camouflage the seam. You're not being too picky, it's your kitchen, you should be happy with it!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 7:09AM
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"- the contractor had to cut the slab again on-site due to an unexpected variation in the evenness of the wall. "

The thing that bothers me the most is not the seam (although it's not so great), it's the pattern not even coming close to matching! If a defect in the slab made it impossible to match, that is not your is their problem and they need to fix it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 7:54AM
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I am sorry they made such a mess of your seams and lams :( Lady's Dream is not an extremely difficult stone to match and it can be done much, much better than in your pictures.

Have you had a meeting with the company owner yet? When you mention the "contractor" - was this the installer?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 8:42AM
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I wasn't 100% happy with our granite install either - we got a slightly higher backsplash - about 6" and it seems our walls are bowed a little. So there is a big gap at the end of one run. It really bothered me at first, not so much now. But the seam of our granite is barely noticeable.

But here is our gap:

That glue ended up drying clear. Our granite is also called Lady's Dream.

It is really a hard thing to deal with and in the end we are living with it but most people don't notice that gap as it isn't in a high traffic area. I thought our seam was going to be much more apparent as I thought since the 2 pieces come together at a 90 degree angle, the pattern of the granite would also be at 90 degrees, but I guess our space was small enough that they were able to match it up.

I think the granite is the jewelry of the kitchen and something you will see and bother you everyday - and fixing it is probably required. Good luck. Just remember you aren't the first nor the last person to have problems like this...if that helps...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 9:14AM
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The seam isn't what comes forth when looking at the pic. (and that can be fixed with a lighter color.) It's the mis-matched granite pattern. I'm sure the fabricator could have matched that up better keeping the continuity of the pattern. Were you there when they layed the template out on the granite?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:15AM
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The color of the epoxy used in the seam is outrageous! They should have used more color variation in the epoxy to match the surrounding stone.

on the other hand, matching grain and continuity is not totally their fault. you need to be present during templating and cutting to see if you like the (dis)continuity of grain. if you dont like it, then you need to buy more (bigger) slabs to ensure that. or purchase bookmatched slabs and have enough to get the grain you want.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:17PM
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I can't wait to see the cutting board they are going to make that will cover up the dark line all along the front edge!


I know how you feel! I went with the supposedly "premium" company, and got totally scrod!!

Good luck!!


    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:41PM
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Wow, I was shocked when I saw your pictures. I would be throwing a fit!
Our new granite counter tops are in the same color range as yours. We just had our granite installer back to fix seams. He took out the epoxy and replaced it with a lighter color. Then dabbed darker color into the epoxy to match the look of the granite. Result,seams almost vanished. Regarding the different slabs of granite not matching, fixing the seam would make a huge difference. Also, your back splash does not appear to be polished very well, the corners appear rough looking, almost jagged in your picture. All my corners are smooth to the touch, as well as the top of the backslash. Knowing they cannot do anything about your bowed walls, maybe you could trim out the back splash with small tiles to hide the gab? If your installer will not work with you to fix the flaws I would contact your state contractors board and see if they can help you out.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 1:58PM
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All: thanks for the great advice!

I spoke to the contractor today and he's going to try two things tomorrow:

- Lighten the epoxy color for the seams (both on top of the counter and on the nosing), including hand-blending the colors where they are darker in areas.

- As for the color difference between the slabs (where they meet), he will try staining the lighter stone with a coloring compound to make the transition between the two slabs less noticeable.

I'll let you know what happens (and post pics of the results :)


    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 5:50PM
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Fori is not pleased

I think the edges would look good if the glue were the right color. The big seam though...I dunno. Good luck--I hope they can fix it!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 6:33PM
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The epoxy color should be fixed.

I don't understand the excuse about having to cut the slab on site due to unexpected variation in the wall. That is what templating is for. Templating shouldn't have been done until walls were complete so it should have taken the wall into account.

But no stone guy has a slab stretcher. Sometimes the lengths needed limit the way templates can be placed on a slab. We had that situation - one leg of our L was a little shorter than the length plus the width of our slabs and the other leg was longer than the width though shorter than the length so the only way we could do the counters with one seam was to have both legs go the long way on our slab. We were able to place the templates on the slab so they were in a swirly area of the grain and get a pretty good match but it isn't a perfect match.

Maybe your granite could have been laid out for a better match at the seam but maybe that was the best that could be done with the material available.

Sometimes buying an extra slab (if you are working with someone where you buy the slabs and pay for the fabrication separately) allows more choice in placement for a better match, but at a cost.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 11:34PM
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I have to wonder IF it was truly necessary to put a seam where they put it...why not in front and in back of the sink or more in the corner or do you have a seam there too? I'd like to see pics of the entire counter. My seams are nearly invisible except one small area in front of the sink. It is not a perfect match, but since it isn't a long seam it isn't really noticed. My granite fabricator told me at the time of template they try to do seams in areas where it isn't so noticed. I do hope they can correct this for you to your liking. I would be unhappy with it as well.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 1:12AM
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My granite was installed yesterday, and I love it. My dh and my GC both think the seam is very good. I was hoping it would be invisible, but I guess I'm too picky. It's on the front and back of the sink, the back seam won't show at all when my faucet is put in. The fabricator even put some different color epoxy in the seam to mimick the different colors in the stone. So I guess it's just me. I'll learn to live with it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:49AM
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Hi all.

Happy ending: the installer came back and fixed the epoxy on the countertop (lightened it). He also darkened the lighter areas of the granite (where the two slabs meet) with an oil staining agent. It didn't darken too much, but the overall effect is the seam between the slabs is much less visible. He gave us the option of ripping the countertop out, but we accepted the job (with a small cut in price).

Many thanks for everyone's input and feedback.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 2:36PM
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rayjo - So glad you had a happy conclusion! Any chance you can post a final/after picture for those of us who have been following along?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:31PM
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Hey! Now, you can't tell us that and not post a photo of the new look!!


So glad it worked out for you!!!


    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:39PM
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Does anyone know if there is such a person as a Granite inspector, I had granite installed and I believe they used two different color granites, it is a mess, wavesrun in opposite directions at the seams.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:51AM
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To fabricate and install granite takes years of hands on experiance.I will say the work is poor,The laminated edge is awfull.1st the epoxy should have been flowing,he used knife grade.The flowing would have made the seam alot tighter,bad color as well,the backspash is cut to short,the edges should have been aged that would have matched the top to the edges,since most slabs come resined now.There are alot of guys out there that think they have the (bull buy the horns)but this industry is full of hacks.These people are attracted to the money they think they are gonna make lol.It is a feild that takes a artist passion,and a drive for quality work and to do it right.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 2:20PM
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It looks like you posted this years ago, but I would like to know how you resolved the situation because we have a similar situation. Our countertops look ridiculous. I don't know how to upload pictures here to show you.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:53PM
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How about this one? Just installed. What do you think of this pattern matching/seam placement job? We're not happy.

A link to the photo is below, but how do I insert the picture right into the post?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:38PM
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