Quartzite Installation - ok or not?

ADinTXSeptember 4, 2013

Hi all GW TKOers!

Newbie delurking after many months - first of all, thanks to all who unknowingly helped me along the way! Your experience and knowledge have been very valuable.

I have a question on quartzite fabrication. I had Taj Mahal put in - required 2 slabs. I knew it would require a seam on a long island - irregular shape - 80" run with bar top above, 2 curves to the left at 45 degrees to each other. Total run 129". I bought my stone, went to fabricator, approved templates laid out by fabricator for bookmatch (had slabs 11 and 12), and it was installed last Friday. This island separates the kitchen from the family room. In addition to this island, the cooktop area is also done in Taj Mahal. The only thing taken from the second slab was the area with the 2 45 degree turns.

After installation, when I asked about why the veins did not line up, the owner said bookmatching is impossible at a 45 degree angle. I was very disappointed. Is this true? If so, I'm not sure why the fabricator could not tell me that at the time. He said the sink was too close to the turn to make a 90 degree cut/seam. I think they did a nice job on the seam, and I know this is not the end of the world as I know it, but I am nearing the end, am exhausted and it threw me for a loop. It is in a visible location for the most part, especially when standing at the sink.

We have been going back and forth by email - there were some other problems as well with the sink installation. I know it is still beautiful, and the natural variations of stone will not be perfect, however, I do feel the placing of the template changed after I left and I am not sure why.

So, I'm asking if you all have any experience/input? I can't find too much info on the Net about bookmatched 45 degree angles.

Thanks in advance!

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and another pic close up:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:19PM
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and one more - thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Lovely stone and cabinet color! And I have the very same style and color drawer pulls, for now ;)

If I went to the trouble to get bookmatched slabs, and to be present for templating, I'd be upset the templates were changed afterwards. I hope someone can help you understand why your expectations weren't met.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:36PM
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I'm sorry that happened to you. Since you are nearing the end of your project I know you are probably sick and tired of thinking, deciding, stressing, and over thinking everything. Especially when you get an expensive stone such as taj mahal. If it were me, I would be a little disappointed. You were probably so excited to see the counter installed, and what a let down. That being said, it is NOT awful, but it is not perfect. I don't know enough about fabrication to know if it is possible or not when dealing w/45 degree angles but if the template was changed and this is not what you agreed upon, then that is really the point. I hope you get a resolution that is acceptable. The stone is still beautiful:)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Knowing that Taj Mahal is not an inexpensive option and that you purchased 2 slabs, I would be very disappointed in that result.

There seems to be a breakdown in communication that needs to be explained by your fabricator.

It doesn't seem to add up that you purchased 2 slabs to allow for the seams to be bookmarked when the fabricator is suggesting that a bookmarked result was never really possible with your seam layout.

I hope you are able to come to a good resolution, the stone you selected is wonderful and happens to be one of my favorites.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:22PM
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I too am orderig a quartzite. I asked to be included when templated, and also to have pick of the remainder of the 2 slabs. I felt I was being shooed away. Itmakes me wonder if the fabricate for US, or to have leftovers for THEIR use.

So, speak up. What I loved about Taj Mahal was that most of the movement was in the depth, less in the movement. It is still gorgeous, but let them know your feelings, and ask to see or have the remainder. that is my skeptical point of view.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:47PM
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I think I too would be disappointed. And these comments are accurate. It is by no means a disaster...but you were looking for closer to perfection. By the way, I just had my Taj installed via two slabs and I love it. That said, I am starting to obsess about the veining. Guess we just need to break in the kitchens and get back to regular day to day stuff . But, we are quite fortunate, aren't we :)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Thank you all for your support and suggestions! I did get to keep all leftovers, and there is a significant amount of it.

The owner does not feel I have any basis for disagreeing - the seam was done at a 45 degree angle, and according to him, that makes it impossible to match. Until I can come up with support otherwise, there is no discussion. He was not present when the template was laid out.

Any suggestions on this? I have searched the web, and the only info I come up with is mitered corners are usually reserved for heavily veined materials, but no pics and no further info. I'm going to call a few other places today to see how they handle it.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:53AM
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When you approved the template, was this marked out on the slabs for you to see? I had a seam in one of my counters where the two pieces of stone were not coming from the same slab. We discussed the template position at length and in the end they did a fantastic job matching the pieces.

Did you take pictures of the slabs with the templates marked out on them?

Your counters really are beautiful and once you are in there working eventually you will not notice the seam, but I do understand the let down feeling you have. My soapstone island needed a seam and I wasn't thrilled with the seam /vein match they made there (different fabricator from the quartzite). Almost 2 years later it's ok but at the time I was upset.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:15AM
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I get that they can't match perfectly at 45 degrees. It kinda defies the geometry of the thing. Still, your counter is really beautiful and the quality of the seam itself puts many to shame. The veins in the half closer to the edge actually have the appearance of matching and it's only the back half that clearly don't. I think the closeup looks more unmatched, but the wider angle doesn't look that bad.

Once you're all moved in and using your kitchen, hopefully you'll stop noticing it. Nevertheless, the fabricator should have been very clear that matching on a 45 degree angle could not be done for the length of the seam.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:23AM
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We only marked out on the stone with tape, not the white marker they use. If one part went up/down on the slab, she moved the other side to match. Unfortunately, I did not take a pic - my husband is shocked because I have been sooo anal over everythng else, writing it down and snapping pics non-stop.

Your perimeter counter does look fantastic! I can see what you mean on the soapstone, and glad to know it is okay for you with time passing. I think mine will be also.

I know it will not be perfect - it's just he was so highly recommended, and we had this, the sink we purchased through him has torn insulation, visible every time the door is open, the reveal was negative and I wanted positive - my fault for not specifying, and the cut around the sink for the reveal was uneven. They are fixing that next week.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:42AM
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I am a fabricator. I agree the seam couldn't be any closer to the sink.

Nice job on the seam ... but a very poor poor job on the grain matching. At a minimum the fabricator should have given you a better idea of what you'd get.

There is software some fabricators have that actually allows the user to move the parts around on the slabs and actually see what the grain transition looks like at the seam.

Even without the software you can do the same thing by printing out photo's and doing the grain match exercise manually by cutting and pasting.

We would have seamed it differently.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 11:22AM
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I just made a mock up with two pieces of paper out of curiosity. You can easily match the 45 degree angle but you lose a portion of the slab because you have to join them at that angle so you lose a wedge-shaped section of rock.

So did the fabricator seam it this way to save some rock? Did you purchase the whole slab, or what was the arrangement there?


    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:27PM
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I think he should have let you know you would not get a reasonably matched seam out of it. If material loss was the issue behind that, as karen-mt notes, that was not his call. I don't find it to be a particularly acceptable execution and appearance as others do. It's way too much money for such an obvious seam, imo. Stone counters are supposed to look like a slab of stone. Otherwise, it has a disconcerting effect.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:37PM
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I purchased 2 slabs and have plenty of leftover that I keep - the quantity is not an issue. From what I've read, 45 degree angle seams can be done, you just lose a section as Karin states. He called earlier and is coming out tomorrow to look at it. I just am not sure at this point what options are available - I can't afford 2 new slabs, and I don't think he should either - not sure what an ideal solution would be - other than to not be in this position in the first place ;-)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 4:33PM
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The stone is beautiful, and you will love your kitchen. But I can see why you were surprised and disappointed. We used two bookmatched slabs for my kitchen, and the fabricator and I lay the template together. I could see exactly what was going to match up (mine was simple, not 45 degrees). They should have pointed out to you how the seams would look. You wouldn't have been so disappointed if you hadn't been surprised. Or you would have been able to change it

So many times on GW, problems arise when the customer doesn't understand exactly what to expect and the contractor doesn't explain well up front. It happened to me, too, but not with something this expensive. No wonder we all obsess and stress out so much. If only we knew every question to ask in advance, we think, we could avoid these situations.

Is there a place in the leftovers that could make a better fit for that center piece?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 5:03PM
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Hi all -

Our fabricator just left. He admitted they made a mistake by cutting too high on the second slab. I took Karin's idea and blew up the pics of the two slabs, and cut them how we had it laid out, so he could see what I thought the flow would look like.

He was very nice, and gave us options ranging from living with it, with his work for free, to paying for a new slab. Hubby and I to further discuss later.

Thanks again for all your comments/suggestions!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Glad to hear he was flexible for a solution you can be happy with.

On a side note, muskokascp, those counters of yours are gorgeous too! Are they calacatta quartzite?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 1:33PM
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you should not have to pay to correct the problem. if a new slab is required to provide an acceptable transition at the seam that should be the fabricators cost. It was his mistake.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Now it is clear the mistakes are by the fabricator. What's good to get free labor and you end up with an expensive yet mismatched counter for the rest of the time when you have it? If I were you, I would want to have a redo; both the material cost and redo labor are on fabricator.

I see slab(s) to a counter as fabric to a garment. I don't understand the idea of " bookmatching is impossible at a 45 degree angle", if it is true, then how they make garments with perfect matched stripes and patterns at different angels and geometry?

I thought it is possible to match at any degree/angle if required material is available. It is why expensive garments have perfect matched patterns and stripes at seams, because it requires more material.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Earlier I posted that the angle/geometry wouldn't allow the matching. I was wrong. Later I drew some parallel lines on a piece of paper and started cutting and piecing them back together and discovered that it can be done. With the proper software, it should be easy to move things around to find out the best match. If the OP bought both slabs, it wasn't the fabricator's business to try to economize.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 2:03PM
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lcs - my counters are white macabus quartzite.Thank you for the kind words.

Quartzite is so expensive. I would be unhappy with a mistake that the fabricator made then be faced with buying a new slab so they can fix their mistake. I think he should fix the mistake - no cost to you. Don't be made to feel like you should accept their mistake or have any financial responsibility to making it right.

Of course the difficulty will be finding a slab with veins that will flow and look better than what you have now.
Its so frustrating to be so close to what could have been a perfect installation .

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:00AM
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We have decided to replace the slab. We don't want to "live with it" for that kind of money. He agreed to pay for it- now the challenge is finding a match! There are no more slabs from that lot, but we can take some leftovers up to help match. If we can get by without redoing the bar top, we'd like to. Even though it will drag out the reno, I think it is the right thing to do.

oldryder - I showed him your comment on the grain matching when he came out - I think that helped our stance as well. Thanks again for all your input!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Beautiful stone. I love the soft colors and beautiful depth in your stone. I am happy and relieved that your fabricator is taking responsibility.

Good luck, I hope you find the perfect match.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:45AM
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This has all been said before, but I am very upset at that seam. Well, the veining matchup that is. The seam looks great, but when I worked for a fabrication shop we did not do 45 degree angles on granite. The edges are too thin and break. We would have done the 45 and went around each corner at least 3" or better yet 6" for a 90 degree seam.
If this is not what you saw and what your ordered, I would make them redo it. 2 slabs is a lot of money for that stone, an exotic. Did they charge you for the entire slab or did they charge you by the square footage? That makes a lot of difference in the price you are charged and whether or not you "own" the remainder. If they charged by the square foot, the remnant belongs to the fabricator. If they charged you for the entire 2 slabs, then you own the remnants. With two slabs they should have been able to match the veining much better than we are seeing. I see people say you won't notice after you look at it for a while. Not so! It will anger you each and every time you wash dishes! I would also talk to them in person and not leave it up to emails.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:07PM
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ADinTX can you PLEASE share pics of your finished island? I am trying to come up with a similar design to maximize counter space from what we currently have

if anyone else has done something similar please send me pics! huneyb@aol.com


    Bookmark   October 24, 2014 at 3:10PM
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