Marble Countertops Help!!

monikaxpNovember 29, 2012

I have recently decided to purchase a spec home and got it in time to customize a few finishes. The big change was going from the builder standard grade granite to a white Calacatta honed marble countertop and island. When I saw the final result I was extremely can see a distinct grey line in the middle of the edge. None of my prior research of white marble countertops have this finishing.

I feel this is unacceptable, shoddy work that makes my expensive marble look cheap.

The builder is claiming " This is the correct island edge. No builder does a mitered edge on any natural stone countertops and I have never heard of anyone doing it. Jonathan and I have built over 50 homes between us, every one of them with natural stone, marble, granite, quartz, and silestone and we always have done a laminated edge just like every other builder in Houston."

See for yourselves...and please any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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Another close up of the 'finished' this the standard? Am I being unreasonable by finding it unacceptable?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:36PM
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I agree with you. Here is a link to a Houston area company that shows the different edge options. Note, they don't recommend the type of edge your builder gave you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Company I'm not affiliated with :)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:57PM
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I believe they call that a laminated edge and it's one of the cheaper ways to do it. Check your contract and see if they mention it anywhere. They should have explained that to you. Does "laminated edge" ring a bell? Or did they say anything like "The stone is thinner so we'll blah blah blah the edge"?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:51PM
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For most "builder grade" granite, the pattern is uniform enough that the lamination would be nearly invisible, so that's how they do it. That's how my custom builder does his granite edges.
Unfortunately marble and larger patterned granites won't look uniform with this technique. They should have warned you, but unless you were paying for mitered edges, what you got is builder standard.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:04PM
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No, there was no mention of what the edge would look like. I had actually viewed a completed house that was identical in structure to the one we ended up buying that was upgraded with beautiful white marble countertops - and they did NOT have a laminated edge - there was no obvious line. The builder knew we were inspired by this house, hence I did not think it unreasonable to believe that my marble would look the same. There was never any mention of what the edge would turn out to be, but I never expected it to look like THAT.

Would a different color glue (white?) make it look less obvious?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:45PM
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I notice the seam but then I stare at the two different 'panels.' It would bother me that the 'grain' or movement is so different and do not line up at all.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:05PM
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I ran into this same problem with my counter top fabricator. I let my contractor sub out the fabricator and I did not have any personal involvement in discussing the edge (mitered vs. laminated). I just told them I wanted eased edges and didn't realize there were options as to how the stone is pieced together. I ended up with a semi- noticeable laminated seam along the edge of my Madre Perla quartzite. I couldn't stop staring at the seam when I was in the kitchen. I polled the GW'ers here and it seems like the seams in busy stones are more noticeable, esp. lighter stones.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW thread

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:48PM
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Those are the prefab countertops that they import. Go out to Hempstead Rd and you will see blocks of them. They are very inexpensive compared to fabricating a slab.

Nancy, who searched Houston for marblae slabs

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:51AM
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How thick is the counter top now? Did you discuss the fact that the marble was going to be too thin to use as one piece and would need a build up, or was the built up look what you were going for? It doesn't look quite thick enough to be a deliberately built up piece, but I can't tell from the pic.

When I've seen stone stacked to add a thick beefy edge it has always been done with a fancy edge to help conceal the line.

We wanted a thick island slab but DH doesn't like a fancy edge so we had ours mitered which was more expensive than building it up with the fancy edge.

I think a lot depends on what you discussed. If you asked for marble and came home to that I would not be happy. However if you had discussed a build up and insisted on a simple edge then I'm not so sure. Mitering does cost more (I thought mitering/ laminated edge were the same thing, where you wouldn't see a line).

I have a very hard time believing that a custom builder doesn't EVER use a fancy edge for a build up. To me the only way that is acceptable is if you insisted on both a build up and a very simple edge.... and then the builder should have explained how it would work. If you didn't know it would be stacked at all and just thought you were getting a simple slab of Calcutta then it's even more disappointing.

I'm sorry you are having this problem - I wouldn't be happy with it either. Is it noticeable from a distance?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:56AM
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I missed your last post somehow. Was your inspiration house done by the same builder? Did he see it with you?

If there was no discussion then I would be pissed.
Maybe this is standard procedure in your area, but it wouldn't fly here.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 7:12AM
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That's standard builder grade practice. What you wanted was an upgrade. Communication error. You assumed. He assumed.

The fix would be to put a different edge on what you received. You could disguise it better with something with a little bit more curve to it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:00AM
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I would not be happy. I'd be pulling out my Upgrade Sheet/Selections Sheet and see what was written on it. Did they show you a sample for you to sign off on, since it was a 'special order"?

There is probably a way to fix your slab, maybe build it a bit more and do a fancy edge on it to conceal the seams. Or, in fact, do what they were supposed to do in the first place. Don't let anything go any further, or they will say they can't fix it because blah blah blah has already been installed.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I am a fabricator.

"No builder does a mitered edge on any natural stone countertops" - thats actually ridiculous. it's done all the time on natural stone.

the line is not unusual but it was very avoidable. As long as the edges are all straight a quality fabricator will do a mitered drop edge which eliminates the line. YOu should have at least been made aware of the option even if it costs more. It's more work in the fab shop but it is done that way all the time because it looks a lot better.

if some of the edges in your kitchen are arcs then the laminate with the line is the only way to do it.

perhaps your builder was unaware of this.

for a laminate edge it looks like it's supposed to. Not a bad job.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Monikaxp........I'm wondering, did you have any conversations with the granite fabricator yourself? Template review? In dealings with the fab you can tell them what edge profile you want. I'm guessing you let the Builder handle everything. Builders don't fabricate granite/marble, they sub it out.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 7:59AM
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I feel for you Monikaxp. I just had honed carrara marble installed in my house 3 weeks ago. The edge seam is so noticeable. I have had several opinions on the job. All say it looks horrible. I have heard that heat can be used to release the bottom added piece of marble. I also contacted another professional who said that another piece of marble could be added to cover the seam. How did you fix or resolve your problem. Do you have any advice on how to get this fixed?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Drives me crazy that fabricators, builders....or whoever was in charge never thought to bring this up. I'm sure you would've been willing to pay extra for a different edge.

Can they re-do the edge? Once in our showroom, we had a top made for an island but the edge was so charge is drew blood, and of course chipped very easily! So our fabrication guys took the top off and back to the shop and re-routed the edges with a different edge.
I wonder if an ogee edge of some kind would HIDE this seam!


Is it possible now to UN-laminate them and stagger them like this photo below????

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:00PM
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What is the difference between a mitered edge and a laminated? I am looking to do a straight clean line bar. What would I ask for in that case?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:57PM
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Even cheap Chinese imports have a mitered edge option:

These are all laminated edges:

Here is a link that might be useful: Random Chinese prefab importer

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:16PM
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It can't be "unlaminated" without a very high probability of ruining the parts.

This is one of those problems that results from inadequate communication up front. However, it's not always the fabricators fault.

I had a similar compliant once upon a time and it was AFTER I had sent a drawing detailing the edge profile which showed clearly that there would be a seam. The home owner selected the edge over the phone on advice from her interior designer and did not come in to our shop despite our recommendation that she do so.

So, despite a thorough effort at communication I still had a very unhappy customer. The designer admitted she did not know that a "laminate" was different than a mitered edge.

I did the tops over with a mitered edge at my cost (several thousand dollars) mostly because the customer was a big builder and a repeat customer. I would not have re-done the job for an individual.

I did not believe I was in any way at fault. However, as a business manager I occasionally fix problems at my cost simply to keep a big customer happy even though I didn't do anything wrong. It becomes a marketing expense.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 3:31AM
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Thank you Kompe!Fantastic news! I am meeting with a stone restoration rep. I was informed that the bottom piece can be removed using a Mutilmaster tool. Then can polish the bottom edge to smooth out if need be. I did meet with my installer at his shop and he showed me the seam on a different material. I had a different stone in my former house and the seam was invisible. He did not have marble in his shop to show an example of the seam in that material. My builder referred this installer. So to anyone who wants marble please make sure they have homes to visit to look at their work or in the shop they have on hand kept examples of marble for instance in this case to show how the seam will look. I would have definitely gone with a mitered edge instead. Thank you for your comments.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:23AM
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