Question for the stone experts

divamumDecember 21, 2007

Hi there...

As you may know, I'm rehabbing a kitchen on an extreme budget. Due to some lucky finds on Craigslist, however, I've come up with some great materials, including some used-but-in-new-condition Cambria quartz countertop (complete with attached Blanco undermount sink).

Basically, it's all gone great - the existing pieces fit better than we could have hoped, and my wonderful GC did a very good job of fitting them into our space within the limitations of the pre-existing sink placement and surrounding measurements (which had very little wiggle room because the space is so small).

My only disappointment with the entire project is that the caulking/epoxy/silicon/whatever-it-is-you-use-between-pieces is much lighter than the surrounding countertop and thus sticks out like a sore thumb. The seam is straight, smooth and aligned, it's just more obvious than I would have hoped. He didn't use clear because he felt the width would result in that being a black line, and went with one he thought would be a closer match, however... (!)

The width of the seam was unavoidable due to the lengths of counter we had available to us (again, with sink placement, we had to fudge a litle, hence why they're on the wide side) and I can live with that, but I would LOVE to put something else in there that is a closer match to the counter itself so it doesn't scream "LOOK AT ME!!" quite so loud :)

The wonderful pcjs posted a link to e-counters where they sell colour-matched caulk for Silestone - is there anything similar for Cambria? Or is there a Silestone caulk which would be close enough for Cambria's Becon Brown (probably 3-5 years old)?

Or any other suggestions (colour-related or not) that you can offer to improve the *look* of it would be warmly welcomed. And please don't fault my GC as somebody who "should have left if to the experts" etc etc - this project has been entirely collaborative, he did what was possible within his own skills (as clearly described to me), and my (extreme) budget limitations meant subbing out to a specialist fabricator was NOT an option. We're working together to make it as good as it can be, but "perfection" is not sought - I'm just hoping to find a way to make it "not quite so obvious"!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have!

Here's the picture:

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glad

your resourcefulness is paying off with some good finds!have you checked out the cambria web site or tried emailing them about the caulk?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:05AM
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susan4664

Divamum, I know you asked for a stone expert, but I don't think you need an expert to tell you that there are better caulk colors that could have been used in this seam besides pure white.

You can always see a seam, but when my granite guys installed my countertops, they mixed a few difeerent caulks right at my house until they reached the best match. I'm sure you could find it yourself at Home depot, or a paint store, or maybe even a tile store or granite yard. Good luck, I'm sure there's an improvement to be found.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:10AM
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divamum

Actually, believe it or not it's NOT pure white - that's why it came as a surprise to me when I came home and saw it! I too thought it was going to be a closer colour match...

I guess I need to know what KIND of caulking one would use, given that it's for food prep. What sort would I look for?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:12AM
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divamum

meaning that the surface is for food prep, not the caulking! BWah - writing too fast.... :)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:13AM
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pcjs

Oops, I thought you had Silesstone.

We have some nicks and I called the installer to come fix them and a crack - the crack isn't going anywhere and is solid and barely noticable so we aren't worrying about it abd they said they can give me some epoxy to fill in the chips as he didn't bring any with him as he was more worried about the chips. One of these day's I'll go over there, but I've been watching the stone advice forum and one of the guys talked about bonestone repair kit - they have it for $33 and you can order extra tints to mix it to your color. You should be using an epoxy, not caulk. Although, they did a lovely caulking job. Lowes has a medium brown caulk that would look better if you insist on caulk - I used it inbtween the cabinets as I'm too anal to use white even though no one would see it to hid the light shining through the bottom molding and the cabinet. I'm probably going to buy the repair kit as it comes with white, off white and black tints - the colors we need.

Link to the comment:
http://www.stoneadvice.com/forum/granite-dust-t10571.html

Link to the kit:
http://www.nsraweb.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=25

Now I just need to figure out which pads or sandpaper to finish it off....

They have all color tints to make the colors you need.

Liquid Tints:

http://www.nsraweb.com/store/cart.php?=product_detail&relate=1&p=40

Or you can buy it all seperate and get more quantity, which I may do as we don't need the razor blades and stir sticks. I just don't get what is special about their epoxy vs. the epoxy at HD or Lowes yet... that's what I'm trying to figure out as our stone is very soft so I'm sure it's going to be an ongoing issue with chips.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:33AM
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pcjs

Or call Cambria and see what they recommed or one of their local installers.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:35AM
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pcjs

You know, if you want the caulk, go somewhere that sells both and look at the samples and see which one matches more closely to Silesstone... some places will give you tiny samples of the Silesstone or Cambria to take home... tell them you are shopping vs. installing.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:38AM
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pcjs

You can find almost anything online -

Here, this talks about how to do it - they have a special epoxy.

D. Joints:
1. Joints Between Adjacent Pieces of Quartz Surfacing:
a. Joints shall be flush, tight fitting, level and neat.
b. Securely join adjacent pieces with Cambria Two Part Acrylic Adhesive.
c. Fill joints level to polished surface.
d. Secure adjacent quartz surfaces with vacuum clamps until adhesive hardens.
2. Joints Between Quartz Surface and [back splash] [wall] [tub] [shower] [other]:
a. Seal joints with Â50Â year silicone sealant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cambria

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 9:45AM
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divamum

I did some phone chasing (Cambria website dealer info led me to a Cambria dealer who referred me to the Cambria dealer's fabricator! Geez - it was like pre-internet research lol) and this is what I've learned so far:

- it's silicon (which is what my guy used, so we're good on that front).

- Cambria doesn't have purpose-matched stuff that they knew about and their fabricators generally use clear or, if necesary, mix their own.

- Silestone's product is the same composition (ie silicon), just premixed

- the existing silicon can be dug out a little to leave room for new stuff and, as I hoped, a bead of closer match stuff can be run across the seam without any problem. He suggested masking tape on either side of the seam to prevent any possible staining from oozing, and also to keep it tidy.

I'm still interested in some of our resident experts' suggestions/advice on this, but this sounds like a plan for the time being. I can take my stone sample up to Lowes, find the closest match in Silestone and then order some of the stuff you found on e-counters. A $5 would be great!

Tx again pcjs - really appreciate the info :)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:12AM
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live_wire_oak

Somebody's pulling your leg or not understanding your question. Matching silicone caulk is available for seams between the backsplash and countertop. Seams in the countertop between stone pieces (natural or engineered) are filled with a two part epoxy that can be tinted numerous colors via universal tints. Any art store will have universal tints, but I'm not sure where you could find a small enough quantity of a two part tintable epoxy for just a seam.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:52AM
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divamum

Well, the fabricator I spoke to seemed to understand that I was talking about a seam between two pieces of counter - he was quite specific that it should be silicone, not epoxy (and asked some specific "diagnostic" questions to ensure that what was already in there was silicone).

However, I'll keep researching - thanks for the added info! This is EXACTLY why I want to hear from as many people as possible - knowledge is a wonderful thing! :)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:57AM
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pcjs

You can buy the two part epoxy's at HD or Lowes or even Target/Walmart - my question is are the same or different from the ones than the granite people use.... I was going to order online to fill in our chips or use crazy glue (CA). You can get a small amount either online at the big box stones.

I would think you want epoxy vs. caulk there as caulk isn't as strong as an epoxy.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 11:23AM
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divamum

Quick tutorial required, obviously... :)

Difference between silicone and epoxy? And why does it need to be strong? The counter is glued down and its own weight means it's certainly not going anywhere!

::scuttles off to google to go learn about construction adhesives::

Just curious in the never-ending quest for knowledge.... :)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:39PM
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biner

not sure if this applies and i am certainly no expert but we are building our own concrete counters and the recommended filler for any voids or cracks is a 2 part epoxy called PC 7 or 11 which can be tinted to any colour. i bought a small amount at our local hardware store and it was about $18 CDN.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:57PM
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bill_vincent

divamum, what I'm about to suggest is if ALL ELSE FAILS!! The material in that joint SHOULD be epoxy, so the stuff I'm about to suggest will bond real well, being it's also epoxy based. Try using a grout colorant. Tape off the two edges, so you don't have to scrub it clean afterward, and paint the jjoint with a grout colorant that comes closer to the color of the countertop. The link to buy it is below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Aquamix Grout Colorants on line

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 5:01PM
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tom999

Live Wire is correct. Its a two part acrylic or polyester based "epoxy" that is used in seams. Caulk is just that, caulk, used mainly for splashes. Silicone on a seam, especially next to a sink would not last long. Each time you were to clean the top, you would be pulling some material out, or, you would be contaminating the silicone with dirt.
There is no unique "epoxy" made for any quartz product (or stone). It may be color matched for a particular color, but its all the same basic product.
I don't understand why you needed to have a wide seam in that area. Couldn't you "fudge" the other end, not near the sink?
Good Luck !

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 5:47PM
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divamum

thank you both so much! This is just the info I needed, and I'm sure we can improve on things with this. And, in fact, thinking back on this (sorry, it's been a rough week - I'm not thinking all too sharply) I DO remember my GC originally discussing epoxy for this and *I*
asked him to consider something else because DH is allergic to cyanoacrylic fumes.

The wide seams are because the piece came up just fractionally short and, due to the space limitations and where the sink had to line up on them, the cabinets couldn't get squished together more!

Again, my sincerest thanks to you all - knowledge is a wonderful thing and you are all ensuring that I know what I need to!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 6:20PM
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pcjs

Tom, so for us to do some minor pit fill in's, would any of the two part epoxy's work fine or is superglue better.

Divamum - have them do it early in the morning and air out the house - ours didn't smell that long surprisingly as I was concerned too. Or go away overnight on the night they are doing it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 8:31PM
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