Christmas party mishap: out-of-oven mac & cheese cracked granite

KevinMPDecember 24, 2012

Doing what I do every day, I removed my mac and cheese from the oven and set it on my counter over the blind end cabinet and thirty minutes later noticed a crack running from the edge of the granite two thirds of the way back toward the backsplash. Naturally, I freaked out (while at the same time thinking how I wanted to get more calacatta gold anyhow to match the wall unit and backsplash I just put in). The freak out was mitigated by the fact that I was about ten glasses of punch in at that point. But this morning I went back to it again. It seems to look worse at night than during the day.

I'll post a picture, but in the meantime, has anyone else had this sort of experience after years of doing the very same thing without anything bad happening before? How'd you fix it (repair, replace, etc.)?

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breezygirl

Ooiuuhhhh..I've heard of this very tragedy happening when people start talking about putting hot from the oven food directly on granite or marble counters here and the few of us (me included) warn them not to do it for this very reason! So sorry it happened to you.

Here's hoping you can find a good fix for it. Even if it's only to drink more punch. ;) LOL!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 1:11AM
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ljwrar

Kevin, I've had this happen with Pyrex dishes. The heating and cooling creates small cracks that eventually lead to a failure. Same thing can happen with stone, concrete or other brittle materials.

I hope your counter can be repaired.

Lisa

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 1:37AM
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oldbat2be

Oh no! Sorry to hear and thanks for posting. We all need to be reminded of this, ESPECIALLY those of us who aren't secretly hoping to swap out some of their granite. Please remind us what kind of granite you have in place. Good luck, oldbat2be

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 6:53AM
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localeater

So sorry to hear about a mishap in your lovely kitchen. I have never heard of this happening, I've heard it can happen of course, just never about it actually happening.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 7:07AM
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juliekcmo

So sorry to hear this happened to you.

I did start to wonder if your area of the country had as much drought as ours has recently. Our home (from the 1930s, so been here for a while) has had some settling over the summer. In particular, where new additions have joined into the older structure.

Can you check with a level and see if your floor, counter and wall on and around this area plumb and level, or have shifted?

I bring this up, because it would be a shame to replace the slab and then have this happen again if somehow these changing conditions were underpinning the failure.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 7:36AM
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gsciencechick

Oh no, I am sorry to hear. I was reading the news story about the "exploding" Pyrex, and one of the things they mentioned that could cause this was to take a hot dish and putting it on a stone counter which is naturally cool/room temp or wet sink. It seems from your incident it can affect the counter, too. We always use potholders and trivets and definitely will continue to do so.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 7:47AM
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may_flowers

It happened to my plumber. He was canning tomatoes directly on the counter. His counter was replaced--his wife is related to the owners of the granite company. ;)

Black granite, wet Oregon.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Fori is not pleased

Perfect spot for marble. :)

I recall being told while shopping once that blacker stones tend to be more prone to cracking under heat stress.

It can probably be repaired, but is that what you really want? Don't you want that calacatta gold?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 2:04PM
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KevinMP

I do, but my bank account does not.

Here's what it looks like. It's hard to see in daylight, but you can make it out. It begins in the corner and goes sort of diagonally back.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 3:47PM
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a2gemini

Bummer :-(
I will try not to duplicate this trick. Hope the can fix it for you. I wonder if insurance would cover...

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:24PM
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scootermom

Bummer about that crack. I made "exploding Pyrex pork tenderloin" last week (and since no one was interested in eating it, followed up with emergency cheese omelets and mashed potatoes - weird combo but it worked at the last minute.).

I suspect Santa will bring me a METAL roasting pan in the morning. (Think before you add cool liquid to a hot Pyrex pan, people!).

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 1:59AM
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michoumonster

sorry this happened to you! i always lay hot trays on my counters too. i guess i should stop! fwiw, the crack doesn't look too bad. is it just surface cosmetic, or will the counters shift? maybe someone can epoxy it?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 4:56AM
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rollie

Sorry this happened to you Kevin..

Repaired? Sure,, for professional results, hire a professional..

Will it ever be perfect again.. possibly, but probably not.

There is a lot of difference between setting a hot muffin pan, or a hot skillet that you just fried hamburgers in, and setting a 5 quart casserole, or a pan of boiling potatoes on top of a countertop..

It has to do with residual heat capacity.. With a muffin pan, or a hot fry pan with very little in it, the countertop will cool it as fast as the pan is trying to heat it.
With a large casserole, or a pot of boiling water, there is a tremendous amount of residual heat that is being dumped into the countertop, that the top has to absorb. Placing this in the middle of a run, is less dangerous, but to set it in the corner, is a perfect recipe for what happened..

Simple physics sets in when the corner is superheated, and the expansion occurs at a different rate than the surrounding tops, and also at the weakest point,(inside corner).

I would have it repaired to begin with... you may be surprised.. Ultimately, the two pieces want to be together.. That makes it lots easier to start with..

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Linelle

I'm sorry this happened to you, Kevin. I've spent my whole life *not* putting anything from the oven or stove onto my counters that I couldn't ever imagine doing it. Maybe if I had stainless counters...dunno if even then. Even though I don't live in an especially cold climate, my quartz counters are COLD to the touch in the winter. I'd be afraid coming into contact with something several hundred degrees warmer could spell trouble.

Hope the crack is easily fixed and this will be just a cautionary tale.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 1:44PM
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smaloney

My mother once did the exploding Pyrex thing, with 15 lbs of her special mashed potatoes, made the night before and refrigerated then placed inadvertently on a hot burner. The noise and the flying debris was really incredible, but worse was that my Irish mother was heartbroken at the idea of Thanksgiving without her trademark dish. Some cleanup and a few calls to local restaurants fixed that, and it's one of my favorite holiday memories, especially now that my mother is gone.

Kevin, I know that your damage is probably a lot more difficult and expensive to fix, but it sounds like it was a great party, and I hope after all is said and done it may be one of those stories about your lovely home that you can look back on with a smile.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 2:27PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
The heat may have been the cause or just the trigger. Since it's at a corner, it means it's at converging cabinet planes. So not-level cabinets or settling issues have to be investigated. I would expect the crack to spread to the edge of the top at some point as other stresses are actualized on the material.
Casey

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:52AM
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a2gemini

Check out the Joseph Joseph accordion trivet. I bought one (ok 2 but only admit to one) it expands to fit a pie plate or a full sized roasting pan. Thought a bit decadent when I bought them but now will be fastidious in using them.
iPhone errors... Stuck at airport

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:06PM
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oldryder

color the crack with a black sharpie, then smear the ink with your thumb and wipe away the remainder. this should make the crack disappear.

for a pro repair you would warm the stone with a blow drier and then apply crazy glue to the crack. It will wick into the stone which is what you want. after the glue sets use a razor blade to scrape away the excess and then color the crack as above.

in a couple of thousand jobs I've only had this happen once and it was from multiple lefsa burners left on the top for several hours. I've never heard of it occurring from just a pan of hot food so the previous suggestion that you have a settling issue is a good one that should be investigated.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:30PM
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desertsteph

" (Think before you add cool liquid to a hot Pyrex pan, people!)."

you're saying I don't think? Who had time to think? are you one of my kids? my sister? must have been that pup squealing on me again...

lol!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 2:03PM
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marcydc

Really? I'm not the only one to have a lefse burner crack their granite? (Solution: We ignored it and then moved :)

Sometime just after installation and during the install of the hood i think, someone cracked my current granite. It was along the corner of the cooktop cutout. The fabricator fixed it so well that no one will ever be able to find it unless they knew what they were looking for. My son also chipped a piece on the edge of the island. Fabricator was also able to fix that.

And I even had the exploding pyrex last year. It was at a vacation rental. And no, it didn't go onto the granite straight from the oven, but was put on a burner which was turned off (and hadn't been on) - so pretty much a trivet.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 2:54PM
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threegraces

***wrong thread

This post was edited by threegraces on Sun, Nov 10, 13 at 12:31

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:30PM
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gpraceman55

We had the exploding pyrex experience. Put the dish on a stove burner that was turned off. It exploded all over the place. Ruined the linoleum floor of our apartment, as hot pieces of glass melted the spots they landed on.

With our granite, out of habit, we do grab a trivet or hot pad to place things on. Placing them in a drawer close to the cooktop and oven help.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 2:40PM
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snookums2

Is this Pyrex issue the same for the clear glass cookware -- where regular correct usage creates tiny cracks that will eventually fail, ie explode? What about ceramic?

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Nov 10, 13 at 14:54

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 2:53PM
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