Disappointed with new granite countertops

rogercOctober 12, 2013

Granite countertops for our kitchen remodel were installed yesterday. We paid a premium for a higher-end granite we fell in love with and asked the fabricator for a 2.5" square mitered edge. A mitered edge results in a single, solid cut of granite along the face of the edge; creating the look of the countertop having been made from one very thick solid slab.

The fabricator suggested a laminated, built-up edge instead. The granite has some patches of crystal in it and he thought if any crystal chunks happened to end up at the corner intersection of the mitered joint, they might be too fragile and could easily break if impacted. (The material gets thinner at the corner of a mitered edge). We were further encouraged to go with a laminated, built-up edge when we were told the laminated layers "would blend well on our busy granite and really wouldn't be noticeable". Sounded like the better option so we went with it.

Unfortunately, not only is it quite noticeable, but with our extra tall edge the laminate took 3 layers of slab to create... so in some places the edge profile actually has two distinct horizontal lines (one between each laminated layer). In places where you can clearly see all three layers it looks like the edge profile has 3 distinct horizontal stripes. This really makes the countertops look cheap.

Of course the slabs are ruined and we can't start over. So I'm wondering if there is any fix for this.

Can granite be dyed or stained? I don't mean the whole slab... just wondering if I could minimize the impact by selectively hand-staining to blend some areas of the more aggressively contrasting spots; where the two slab colors are the most different from each other. If I could stain the lighter cream-color spots so they better match the immediately adjacent brown-grey of the crystal patches, I'm hoping we might end up with something not quite so embarrassing.

Has anyone ever heard of anything like this being done?

This post was edited by phxphun on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 18:39

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Oh, for Pete's sake. I think you should get your money back and be able to start over some place else. They can use it elsewhere. That's ridiculous and an insult to your intelligence. Or maybe a sign of theirs.

So sorry you have had this happen to your beautiful stone. I know how hard people work on these things and it's so heartbreaking and nerve wracking. Hope it is resolved to your satisfaction.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 19:23

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Kathy Rivera

That's obscene that they would let it out of the shop looking like that!! That's not even possibly the same granite on the bottom as the top two layers?!

Tell them it looks ridiculous and refuse to pay the balance until they give you something that looks nice. I mean, if the bottom layer at least looked like it was remotely in the same granite family as the top two layers, I might understand the visible lines more, but come on!?!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:53PM
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Your idiot fabricator couldn't miter, that's why he stacked the edges. That works for solid surface, obviously not for stone.

This is a do-over.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:14PM
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A laminated edge on granite can work out quite well, as with our last kitchen counters. The granite was busy, yet you could hardly tell that it had a laminated edge unless you looked for the seam.

That fabricator really did a poor job. It looks even worse with such a thick edge. I'm not sure why you would want such a thick edge anyways, as that just ups the odds for a mismatched seam.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:30PM
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I know it seems hard to believe the top two layers are from the same slab as the bottom, but they actually are.

The problem is, there are large chunks of crystal here and there throughout the slabs. These crystal chunks are a more consistent color with little variation, whereas the rest of the slab has a lot of light/dark variation.

Wherever an edge slice happened to cut through those solid, darker-colored chunks, the contrast becomes extreme when they end-up laminated to the lighter cream colors. Here's a solid section of a backsplash area, about 4 feet wide, that better shows the slab variation, and the patches of crystal.

Before agreeing to the laminated built-up edge, we discussed how it would look with the fabricator. His opinion was "...it wouldn't be a perfect match, but it wouldn't be noticable because of the busyness of the granite".

It's true the granite is busy and actually, when the layers happen to line-up with stone taken from where both layers are the busy light and dark pattern, you don't see the seams and the join looks pretty good there.

Unfortunately, in giving his advice I think he failed to consider the large patches of solid dark-colored crystal. When those solid areas line-up with light-cream colored, or high-light/dark variation patches, it really draws the eye right to the sharp horizontal line of the high-contrasting edges. Because there's a lot of those, the overall effect is the edge is 3 stripes.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Not a granite person but that looks like it falls into the category of 'fubar'. How disappointing for you.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:44PM
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So can this laminated edge be removed and then redone as a mitered edge? Even if he agrees to have someone else with the skill do it?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Your granite is gorgeous but that is the worst looking edge I've ever seen. Tell them to change it. See what your options are. I wouldn't get mitered because he is probably right in that some would break off. Find out what is advisable with that type of granite. You will probably have to give up the extra thick edge idea. Just about anything else is better than what you've got.

Edit: If he had cut off the edge strip from the counter and flipped it he may have gotten this to work with book matched seams.

This post was edited by mic111 on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 21:09

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Im not a granite pro, but mic has an excellent point, and one that could help solve your problem, depending on how wide the build-up fragments are (i.e. how much overhang there is).

So the built-up edge is in your contract, etc... you don't think you can have him re-do this at his cost - is that correct? You want to find a way to salvage this?

He really should have book-matched the end fragments. It looks as though he almost did with the top two pieces. So question 1.) is: have you shown us the worst edge, and how long is it? 2.) could you live with a double built up edge instead of a triple one? If so, can you remove (gasp) that bottom piece? 3.) If there is enough width to the fragments, might he remove (gasp) the bottom two fragments and cut a third frag from the width of that not-too-bad middle piece?

It's beautiful stone. I hope you can save it. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 6:24AM
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I am a granite pro (I am a fabricator) and that edge is crap. I also think the argument about chipping was bullshirt. At a minimum the fabricator should have made the attempt and shown you what he could do.

Its true sometimes the stone is chippy and makes it harder to do the 45 degree mitre cuts. However, there are a couple of machine options to create the miter and in my experience the biggest drawback of a chippy stone is that it takes more hand finishing to round the "point" of the miter joint to grind the joint back beyond the chips.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:25AM
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We had our hall bath remodeled this spring. The GC was highly recommanded by coworkers. We accepted the GC's proposal of building up counter top and I specified 45 degree (mitered) edges. We paid above market rate to his fabricator to ensure good workmanship.

When the counter top was installed, they used the laminate edge instead. I was very unhappy about the ugly edges. The GC gave the exact BS excuse as our slab has crystals so mitered edge could not be done. Our slab is a high priced quartzite, in the entire slab we could see two crystals in the inner part of the slab, each is appx. 1/2 - 1 cm wide.

It was our first granite counter top, we did not know better so we did not press the issue. Subsequently we learned more about the hard surface counter top edges and realized the fabricator is incompetent, and the GC is irresponsible. In retrospect, we should have asked for a redo or refund labor and material.

To answer your question, no, these edges cannot be painted, or altered. The damage is done. You need to ask them for refund for labor and material and find another fabricator to work on your counter top.

It has been 5 months, I hate the counter top every time I walk in the hall bath. We are just glad it is in a hallbath instead of being in a more important room such as kitchen or master bathroom. Ask for refund, find a different fabricator, do not repeat the same mistake we made.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 10:22AM
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