Stone being Repaired-Need help. Any experts here today?

beekeeperswifeSeptember 6, 2013

Long story short....

Built new house.

Used fabricator that is not the builder's normal fabricator. I went with a better fabricator that did my last house. Paid a little more for them. They are really good. They are 1.5 hours away.

Chose Super White.

Installed in May 2012.

November 2012, heating season begins. Floor joists shrink due to builder not sourcing joists from place that dries wood long enough. Counter drops in one corner which results in one seam opening up.

Reported it to builder. They want to wait until end of heating season to call fabricator. Installation has one year warranty, I remind them, "better call and tell them".

They don't call to report the issue. (I did , but it needed to come from the builder, I guess).

June 2013-I finally get someone who has the "authority" to decide what to do come out from the builder. By now the seam has gone back together, can still see it is split a little, and it obviously is still split. It just doesn't magically grow back together.

By now, the 1 year warranty is up, this is 13 months after installation.

My fabricator's policy is that they are to be paid ahead of time to come out, we are 1.5 hours away for them. It was in their contract that the builder signed.

Warranty manager with builder states he refuses to pay for work ahead of time (and quite frankly, this builder refuses to pay for work, period. My cabinetmaker was supposed to be paid in 90 days, was paid 16 months and only when the owner went in to their office to find out why they wouldn't pay) Anyway, I digress..

The builder says he is having someone local come out to repair the seam. This is the company that when I saw samples of their seams in their showroom, I was horrified. This is one of the big reasons we did not use them.

They are coming out today to fix my seam. I explained to the woman setting the appointment on the phone the situation and told her I want to hear what his plan is before he touches my stone. I plan on hovering over him and peppering him with a million questions.

(I didn't make that too short did I?, well I did leave out a lot of the drama)

So, currently the seam is split, but it really doesn't look that bad, so what can I expect from this guy coming out today. What would you experts think is the right fix?

I don't want him to ruin my stone, damage my cabinets, or crack my tiles. But how the heck can he fix it without having it opened up wider to get the goo in there?

I'm also not convinced when winter hits again, that the joists will shrink again, and will the seam go again?

Thanks for all the advice on what is the right fix.

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Maybe he'll just shim up the counter and not put new glue in and you can wait to see if another Heating season causes more havoc with the seam.
Otherwise I'm envisioning wet saws and other devices to open the seam to put new adhesive in.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 9:41AM
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IMHO you ought to have the original fabricator do it, even if you have to pay for it yourself.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I'm afraid that the counter issues are symptomatic of the home's larger issues and that just addressing the counter won't correct the problem long term.

With the seasonal movement that you're describing, I'd want some additional cross bracing of the joists to create more stiffness to lessen that movement. I would want that to happen before any attempt to repair the counter happened. Or else when winter rolls around again, you'll end up with the shrinking wood pulling it apart.

You also want to address the humidity control in your home. Do you have a humidifier for your HVAC system? Are you using your AC in the summer? It is oversized, where it runs very little during the hour? It should run the majority of the time you have it on, not short cycle. (A common builder issue.) That can lead to humidity buildup, which causes wood to swell and move.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Have you found other areas of movement in your house, or outside your house? I ask because the issue could be the soils your house is built on. Do you know what soils you have? If it is heavy in clay there is a lot of movement within a year with shrink/swell, as it moistens and drys.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Let me answer some questions and address the excellent points..

weissman, this will certainly be our plan if I don't like what the guy today says.

Green, yes, they did address the issue when this happened, well sort of. The one gentleman they had working out in the field for them doing this sort of work was awesome, total ocd about construction. He checked all the joists and could not find that any had moved and needed to be secured any more, everything over there was done right. They already are cross braced. Our foundation is Superior Walls, so those aren't going anywhere.

We do have a whole house humidifier that we run in the winter, although last year it wasn't hooked up until very late in the Fall, after the counter snapped. The hvac guys forgot to run the water to it! We do run the air, it seems to run a lot, not constantly but it seems to be on whenever I check.

enduring, no not really. Well, except for the fact that somehow the use of 3 2x6's screwed together passed code to be used as a support for a steel beam. We asked about it but the foreman told us "not to worry about it". (he's dead now, and let's just say that the people in the office would have killed him anyway if he wasn't because he should have caught that). But that group of boards started to bow, and the house did drop in that area (opposite corner of the kitchen). It's been replaced with a steel post, and the house was jacked back up. When the ocd guy saw that, he nearly fainted. He went into a panic, and went out and came back almost immediately with stuff to secure it until the post was replaced. He really thought if we got a good amount of snow on the roof, it could have gone.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 1:42PM
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This doesn't sound like a counter warranty issue at all. There wasn't anything defective in the installation of the counter, rather the house construction is defective causing the counter to break apart. Therefore, I think this is the designer/architect/contractor's problem to fix, rather than the fabricator's.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 1:58PM
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sjhockeyfan, I'm not sure you are following my question.

I know it is not a fabricator issue, but the builder certainly cannot fix it himself. My issue is that he has chosen to use a fabricator to repair it (and pay this fabricator) vs paying my fabricator. If he would have called my fabricator when this was reported to him and just say, "we don't want you to come out now, please let's schedule after heating season", my fabricator would have come out, no problem. They stand behind their work and would be willing to do that. My fabricator is top notch. Instead he dragged his feet and did not contact them until it was too late.

Everyone believes it is due to the shrinkage in the joists due to not being dried enough before shipping.

The seam has been repaired. It is not nearly as thin as it was. They did not use any saws, just those gorilla things, but in reverse to open it up, put in the goo, and then close it. It is what it is.

We shall see what happens this heating season. Who knows how long we will be here anyway.....

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 4:22PM
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It sounds like it wouldn't have been repaired under warranty by the fabricator for free anyway - it wasn't defective work by the fabricator, he would have just been fixing a problem caused by the construction. So the contractor has the choice of paying your preferred (as he would have had to do even if within one year) or the less skilled person.

Seems like you could point that out to the contractor and insist on him paying the fabricator you chose and paid extra for.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Wow Bee, that is some unfortunate detail that they screwed up on. So glad the OCD guy was on top of things.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Have they checked the moisture content of the joists? It's not an infallible measure on a new build but it might give you an idea of how dry they are now.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:18PM
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What a headache, Bee! Sorry you are dealing with this.

Can you get assistance from your state's contractor's board? We filed a complaint with ours when our builder failed to come back to fix things he'd left undone after we moved in. Small things, mostly, but I wanted them finished. The state board was great about getting on our builder's case and we got the things taken care of in no time.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:50PM
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