seam in countertops - where should it go?

momorichelNovember 8, 2008

I am about to sign on for C-stone countertops and wondering where the seams should go. My kitchen is u-shaped, and the current (ugly) laminate seams are at the bend of each "arm" of the U - if that makes sense. They're barely noticeable.

I was at someone's house yesterday whose seam bisected the sink, back to front - sorry if that doesn't make sense, I'm not sure what the right words are to describe it - but I didn't like it. It was too obvious I thought - but she was pleased and highly recommended her fabricator because she thought that was such a good move. I'm trying to decide if I want to use that fabricator - hence my concern.

So the question is: What is the conventional, correct place for the seams? Thanks all!

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ccoombs1

Granite is a pretty fragile material until it is installed (I assume C-stone is probably the same) which is why many fabricators prefer to seam it at the sinks. Since the sink cut-out leaves only a few inches of granite at the front and back of the sinks, this is a really weak spot unless it is seamed there. Some fabricators will put the seams elsewhere and use plywood and C-clamps at the sink cutouts and have no seams the sinks. Personally, I am thrilled that my fabricator seamed at the sink. Instead of a 25" long seam, I have two small seams that are barely noticeable. And the one corner that I do have is unbroken by a seam.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 10:09PM
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maydl

I have only one seam in my U-shaped countertop and it's at the sink; it's virtually invisible.

Here's a sketch of my layout:

Each of the two corners of my U were cut from an individual slab of stone; we used three slabs total: one for the run left of the sink and one each for each corner. We used leftover stone for our bar countertop and the windowsill above the sink.

Your fabricators will have recommendations about where your seam(s) should go, and you can discuss your wishes with them.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 10:23PM
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momorichel

Maydl and ccombs - thanks for your responses, and sorry to be dense but I am not understanding what you are saying - ccombs, where in that photo is the seam? i dont see it. Does it bisect the sink?

Maydl: likewise, when you say it is "at the sink" = where at the sink? I don't see it on the drawing. Does it bisect it or run next to it?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 12:07AM
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ccoombs1

In my picture, there is no seam. That's the beauty of seaming at the center of the sink. Here's one of my seams....at my cooktop. With a pattern as busy as this one, it would be impossible to make an invisible long seam, Seaming at the center of sinks and cooktop makes the seams much shorter and less noticeable.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 8:29AM
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lyno

I have the same questions as you do, momorichel. MY DH and I were just discussing which countertop to use. We, too, will have a U-shaped kitchen. I was hoping to use C-stone or another quartz countertop, but my DH is concerned about the seams and wants me to look at other possibilities.

I read in a post here that C-stone slabs are 120" x 52". Can anyone confirm that? I thought that might help you determine what is possible in your kitchen.

I hope you get lots of answers and maybe some pictures of seams of C-stone could be posted too.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 8:55AM
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ccoombs1

In my picture, there is no seam. That's the beauty of seaming at the center of the sink. Here's one of my seams....at my cooktop. With a pattern as busy as this one, it would be impossible to make an invisible long seam, Seaming at the center of sinks and cooktop makes the seams much shorter and less noticeable.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 9:03AM
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lyno

Ccoombs - your granite is beautiful.

All - let me correct what I said above, "...pictures of seams of C-stone OR granite". I wasn't trying to exclude granite! They do seam about the same.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 9:05AM
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ccoombs1

well, that is strange....I wonder how my reply got posted twice? Odd...

Anyway, one of the granite guru's here recently posted that some fabricators don't like bringing out large "L" shaped pieces because they are hard to transport. If the legs of your L are both really long, the fabricator may insist on seaming in the corner or right past the corner.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 9:06AM
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momorichel

Oh, I see. That is all very helpful, thanks ccoombs - just one more thing to discuss and watch over with the fabricator...

lyno - I don't know about the sizes of the slabs but that's an important point. It's probably on their web site, or if not - again - a good question for the fabricator. There is a very helpful long thread on here somewhere that is filled with info about countertop materials - it might be in there too.

Now if I can just decide which one I want ;-). Thanks all for your input!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 12:54PM
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kidshop

I have zodiac and a u-shaped kitchen. I only have one seam, it after the bend on a straight run over the dishwasher. I don't think it all that great a seam, as I can feel it but it doesn't really bother me. It's narrow enough.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:39PM
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ccoombs1

Here's the big long stone advise thread. It has a lot of great installation information!

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone advice thread

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:58PM
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ccoombs1

Here's the big long stone advise thread. It has a lot of great installation information!

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone advice thread

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 4:08PM
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susan4664

I felt the same way you do about the seam at the sink. I understand that the fabricators prefer to seam at the sink because it is narrow and weaker in those areas so it makes it easier for them to install and less chance to break. I also understand the logic behind the shorter seam, however, when I go into a kitchen with a seam at the sink, my eye goes directly to it! To me it is the central location of the entire kitchen.

I had my granite seam placed about 15 inches to the right of my sink. Yes, it is a long seam, but it is in the back of my kitchen and nobody ever notices it. It would drive me crazy if I had to stand in front of the sink, seeing that seam daily. If you think it would bother you, don't seam at the sink. I went with a longer, but less noticeable seam and am thrilled with it.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 4:25PM
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momorichel

This is helpful - thank you all. I agree with susan - really find it obtrusive at the sink, even though it makes sense. I will try to have it placed elsewhere, and it's so helpful to know all the logic behind it all.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 10:51PM
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maydl

Sorry, momorichel, that I didn't return to this thread sooner. The drawing above was made way before demolition, so I didn't know then where my granite seam would be placed. It's about 5-6 inches in from the left side of the sink and, as I said in my original response, it's virtually invisible. It's probably less than 1/32" thick; the epoxy the fabricators used blends perfectly with the stone. My granite, Dakota Mahogany, is fairly dark and consistent with no veining at that point, so the two pieces just blend into each other at the seam.

I think seams are a lot more visible in stones that have complicated veining.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:59AM
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sue_ct

Actually, if done well, quartz seams are usually a little less visible than granite. That is because it is a man made material that can be cut more cleanly sometimes, but also because it is more uniform in color and consistency so the seams don't show as much. Here is a close up of my Zodiac seam:

Keep in mind, seams in more consistent colors of granite will usually be significantly less visible than one with a lot of color contrast and/or movement.

Sue

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 2:54AM
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petra_granite

Texas: my installers 'Never' put a seam down the middle of the sink. my installer 'Never' put a seam by a dishwasher. and my installers 'Never put a seam where there is not extra support under the cabinet.
They never use plywood under granite as well. (leveling issues)
Sink: undermount sink: too weak to put a seam and accessable to constant water.
Dishwasher: no support:
L shapes: are ok to transport: although sink cut outs on an L shape during transport 'could' crack. (weak)

In all the years of doing business of installing granite/ 10+ years: this is what our installers practise.
They do put seams down the middle of stoves: but the stove cut out is done on site at customer's house.
There should never be a big gap on the seam with a lot of epoxy showing (The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothened, leaving only a very thin line visible).

Hope this helps: if you do have a seam by the sink area: behind and infront: KEEP SEALED WELL.
only my advise to others.
(My installer always go over seam placement with our customers to keep them aware and content with no surprises the day of install) I get approval on seam placement.
If you have the correct measurements: you could have a seamless kitchen. Buying one more slab is an option. Or find a granite that comes BIG: (granite from India comes very large! example: 128x78 I have seen myself: installed in a 60 sf kitchen with one slab used: and enough to do their bathroom vanity with left over granite from kitchen)
Best of luck to all.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 4:37PM
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