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Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

Posted by simbasue (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 23:10

I never associated the term Buyer Beware with Home Depot until now and wanted to post photos of my granite so that others can make a more informed decision than I made. Simply put, I have been locked in a nine month nightmare with their fabricators. During most of this time, Home Depot has left it to me to resolve my own issues with the fabricators scheduling gal. The bottom line is all of this, is that Home Depot has finally agreed to refund my money and collect the countertops. On September 3rd, it will be nine months since I purchased my stone.

The seam speaks for itself. What you can not easily see in the photo is that they chipped the bottom section of the eased edged on both sides of the seam--about a half inch each side. They dimpled face of the edge when they tried to hide the repair.

After 8 weeks of waiting, they came back with the identical pieces in the identical condition and tried to install them again.

They cracked the pantry slab in front of the sink and tried to hide it with some kind of gunk that I could scrub off with a kitchen sponge. I selected Leathered finish and the fabricators ground the texture completely off.

The overhang on the end run of the cabinets was 1.5 when I specified 3/4 of an inch. They forgot take the rim of my undermount sink into account and had to cut into the front edge of my vanity with a Sawsall. The bathroom vanity was installed off square.

Every thing was damaged or wrong. Since I am only allowed to upload one photo, I will include the others in subsequent posts.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

When my granite arrived there was a curious mark in the front of the sink. It almost looked like a grinder mark and there was a slight ridge. When I looked carefully, I could see that they had filled in and covered up some of the leathered finish. When I scrubbed with my kitchen sponge I discovered that they had cracked it and then tried to cover it up. This is not a seam, but the stone has been cracked. The floors are still unfinished plywood and I know it makes the photo seem confusing.


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

What city are you in?


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

I also would like to know the city (or region) in which you are located. I placed my order with HD for granite (Antique Brown - believe that's what you have as well?) on Saturday. Now I am very concerned. At least it is not too late to cancel. Thank you.


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

I also would like to know the city (or region) in which you are located. I placed my order with HD for granite (Antique Brown - believe that's what you have as well?) on Saturday. Now I am very concerned. At least it is not too late to cancel. Thank you.


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

I'm getting the same stone from a local stone yard (not big box) but have some concerns over the fabrication of this stone. I did not know HD would sell this...I looked far and wide to find my leathered antique brown. I'm paying a lot for mine, as the shop has them graded "high". My fabricator says "no problem" but I worry about chipping and difficult seaming, as you seem to have experienced. I got 4 fabricator quotes, and they were 5800, 6200, 7800, and 9400 for the exact same slabs (need 2). Ended up choosing the guy my contractor works with since I trust his recommendation and he's more invested in making it right. (6200). I hope you find a better place to work with, as your install and subsequent service was so terrible. Are you looking for the same stone elsewhere?


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Oh, after 9 months I know so much more than I did going into this.

Home Depot appears to have a national contract with Dal Tile to provide the stone. I selected my first slab at Dal Tile Denver in a snow storm. When it went to be leathered, it was rejected because it had a fissure
(another word for crack) and they said that it could not be leathered. But, if mine had been a normal install, it would have been okay. Hmmmm. I don't like the sound of that.

I went back to pick a second slab in Febuary and I looked at 17 slabs. They went from bad to worse. They looked like nothing on the Home Depot sample wall. Most had veins, which is not actually a deal breaker in my mind. But, the rest had these strange spider web formation and huge bits of white. I was not happy with the one I finally settled for, but I was told I had NO other option.

When I went back in July to pick a third slab (CTI was paying for this one) I was told that Dal Tile had NO stock nationwide, that there was none on order for Denver ( it would have been a 4-6 month backorder, with NO guarantee that it would look any better ended up having these strange "mica bursts." I asked what would happen when there were leathered and I was told they would be "pretty." In the pantry, they ended up looking like patches of dried egg white and look every strange.

I found a lovely slab with no veins and no mica bursts at another supplier and it had JUST been unloaded. I looked all over Denver for ten days. I have seen the finished stone and it is fabulous and nothing like what I was made to settle for. After seeing the 3rd slab, I finally understand why everyone raved about it on this site.

I had enough leathered material from the slab but was afraid that it would have looked too industrial in the bathroom, so I allowed them ( they don't let you visit...which should have been my first clue) to pick out a small piece for the bathroom. Big mistake, but you will see what I am talking about when I say spider webs.

Also, something I learned only after I had selected another fabricator here in town and they included sealing on their bid. I asked the store, why wasn't sealing ever mentioned or offered? "Oh, that is because all of our stones come sealed by the quarry."

Here is a photo of my vanity. Home Depot has offered to give it to me but it is so bad and also installed off square by a half an inch, with this strange 1.5 inch overhang on the open side and covered with silicone that I don't think I want it even though it would be free. I am having the new company templet on Wednesday, so I will go with their recommendation when it comes to trying to reinstall it square. Home Depot has offered ( and that has been their only offer and I am out hundreds of dollars on trim carpenters and plumbers) to turn the wall damage over to their insurance company.

I am located in Denver. For many parts of the US, HD purchased Creative Touch Interiors to do their granite installs. I hope I got a bad apple. After I refused the 2nd install, this location purchased a new saw. But, they continued to want to do an unsupported seam over my dishwasher and did not bring gorilla grips. Twice. This experience has changed the way I feel about Home Depot.


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I was just re-reading my post. Yes, Dal Tile has stock but it was the same stock that I had seen before. And I was told that no new stock had come into the US. And, even if I could find a slab at Dal Tile elsewhere, I would need to pay the shipping to Colorado

The problem as I see it with Home Depot and CTI is that CTI has a ready stock of customers sent to them by HD. Therefore, they don't need to buy new saws or send their installers out with Gorilla Grips to join their seams. The installers barely spoke English and my contact the entire time was with the gal ( very nice and very accommodating) that made the schedules out.

Now, with regard to Antique Brown/Marron Cohiba with a Leathered finish, CTI merely honed the edge. The new company will also leather the eased 3 cm edge. I have also discovered that the seam needs to be treated differently as well. You need special brushes to level out the highs and the lows. CTI tried to do it at my house and they burnished the top of the slab.

And as to the question of finding a new fabricator? Percoco Marble in Denver finishes the stone for every stone yard in Denver. I assumed ( I hope correctly) that their separate fabrication company (housed in a different building) are specially suited to also finish the seams.

The surprising thing was that they were about $500 more expensive than Home Depot ( and I had gotten it on a 10% off sale) for the kitchen itself with the 2 sink cut outs. However, they did not feel they could squeeze the bathroom vanity out of the new slab and needing new stone for the bathroom sent the price up an additional $1000.

Here is a photo of how the pantry sink was delivered. When I scrubbed off the part on the left of the ridge, I exposed an area where they had polished off the entire surface of the crack.


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I'm sorry you've had such an ordeal with HD and your counters. This kind of story makes me even more grateful that my own counters have been so trouble-free. Well, one minor thing, but it was resolved to my complete satisfaction.


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Sorry to hear of your nightmare. I live in Denver and have had granite installed three times, two kitchens (different houses) and one bathroom. All three were different contractors and all three were a real pain.

Unfortunately I know of no good granite contractors. If you have success with your new one please post it here as I would love to do my two other bathrooms but can't face the hassle.

Good for you in not accepting the bad work. The first time I accepted a backsplash in the wrong pattern direction because the slab I used was the only one left of that type. It always bugged me. The second time I didn't realize that their overhang on one side would cause a gap with the refrigerator cabinet. But they must have known that and didn't fix it. Grrr. The third time I had the contractors out 5 times fixing their initial install. I insisted they replace pieces and keep working on it until it was right. Still has a few flaws but overall I'm happy with it. Good luck!


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Mic111,

I just had Percoco Marble out to do the templet. The same fellow also installs. He was so much more detailed than the fellow sent by CTI. They have been in Denver since 1980 and I will keep you posted. Since they do the majority of the finishing for all the stone yards in town ( leathering etc) I thought they were going to be a good one to do my leathered seam. I was very impressed and will keep you posted. And, the amazing thing is that I had gotten a 10% discount from Home Depot and they were only marginally more expensive than HD.


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Wow, this is why I would never go to a big box store for big jobs like this. Shop local and give your money to people that care about their work instead of big box stores that only want your money. So sorry you had to deal with this.


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The big box stores do not have a fabricators, a fabricating department. They sub the jobs out. To your local shops. If you had hired the shop on your own, you would have no leverage at all, other than BBB, Credit card company if they even take that, Angies List, your lawyer. One little customer is a drop in the bucket for them.

You can ask who they use, so you can check their reputation out before ordering from them. Most of the horror stories here are not at big box stores. It is a problem in general.


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Snookums2,

You hit the nail on the head. Clout was precisely why I went to Home Depot. I agree with you completely. I assumed the fabricators were local subcontractors who had a vested interest keeping their lucrative Home Depot contracts.

However, what I learned was that Home Depot bought Creative Touch Interiors in 2004. According to the CTI website, "CTI has 50 design centers, presence in 24 states and service functions in 32 states."

So, it appears that CTI is assured a steady stream of customers regardless of their level of expertise. Which results in a job such as mine.

I want to be clear. I acted as the Owner/Builder of a custom home. Mistakes happen. It is not a perfect world. Where I have an issue with my install was not the chips and the breaks themselves. But, the dishonesty and deceit. I have an issue with the cover-up and the completely unethical business practices I witnessed.


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I did not know they were buying fabricators. Not sure what is going on around here. I will have to inquire!

I agree that it is not a perfect world and it is the decit and dishonesty, lack of ethics, that are so troubling and difficult for laypersons to deal with.

I hope that CTI gets weeded out, a management overhaul.

Good luck on your project! Seems it takes a healthy dose of that!


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

Simbasue,

Thanks for keeping us apprised of your install. I will watch for your report on how it came out and how many times they had to come back and fix issues. I hope it goes smoothly and the answer is none.

In my own experiences with local shops, shops where the owner does the work, shops where a crew is dispatched and large shops with their own yard I find that I never get a good install so I have to conclude that the common denominator is me. Except that I know enough people in our older neighborhood who have put in granite and nobody ever gets a good install right off the bat without alot of hassle. I don't think you made a mistake by going with a big box. It didn't work out but then the odds of it going well seem to be low no matter who you go with. The good thing is that you got your money back and get to try again. Hopefully this next one will be much better.


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Wow. That really is awful and I hope HD makes things right.

The only big box store I'd go with (if I went with one) would be through Costco (they have agreements with vendors); they have countertop kiosks in their warehouses. I'm pretty sure the Costco guarantee still applies in those cases.

Has anyone gone through Costco that could speak to the guarantee?


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

I would trust Costco too. But HD has agreements, contracts for the work, with vendors also! Maybe they are buying some companies up now (per above experience) but that was how they operated in the past (around here). HD has their guarantees too, so .... nothing really different there, as far as business arrangements to.

Costco does a great job though. I'd give them a shot if I were in the market and they had what I wanted. They are very responsible and customer oriented.


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I found my stone fabricator through Angie's list. He had tons of rave reviews. He did my small kitchen, a fireplace surround, and a diningroom hutch counter -- all with two book matched slabs. The master bath counter was done at the same time and used 1/2 slab of a different stone. All work done with no problems. HD puts their mark-up on top of the customary charges of any independent they subcontract. Why would I willingly pay a good markup just to use HD? I also researched and found my independent cabinet installer when HD came back with a ridiculous price. When I complained to HD, the response was that the contractual agreements vary by region.


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This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 16:54


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This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 17:04


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This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 16:50


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

Years ago, I went into one of the fabricators that Lowes used. I was just browsing and asked some prices. They were much, much higher than the Lowes price. For big box customers, he directed me to a special area of the yard, obviously with stones set aside that he was willing to discount for them. At that time Lowes had a really large selection of samples available (and more than HD did). Not anymore. Prices have come way down at the yards too.


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This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 17:08


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This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 17:11


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

Apparently "stuttering" is possible when one repeatedly receives error messages that the message did not send and one continues to attempt to resend. My apologies to the forum.

This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 17:00


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You don't say. Didn't know you could stutter online.


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"I assumed the fabricators were local subcontractors who had a vested interest keeping their lucrative Home Depot contracts"

Basically, depending upon your area.... HD and Lowes either hire subs willing to work with the pricing HD and Lowes sets forth. The profit margins are zero to none....Lowes for example...if they order something wrong...and countertop fabricator eats it, not Lowes. Jobs are done quick as possible for the box stores...and not done with the same type of quality as if you were to purchase it directly from the fabricator. Its the "Get in, get out" situation. Even with the amount of volume they may purchase from the fabricator the profit margin are so small...fabricators actually lose money, so its not very lucrative for them. Hence poorly fabricated jobs.


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If they were to get zero to nothing for the jobs, they would not be taking them. They are in the business to make money, period.


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

Thank you all for your kind words of support. On Sept 3rd, it will be a full nine months since I signed the Home Depot Contract.

When the other fabricator came out, he confirmed what I had suspected, that CTI had snapped the front of the counter in half, and ground it down to remove all of the leathering ( what were they thinking?) and then tried to "re-leather" the 3 inch flat spot with the epoxy by building it up like stucco. Except that it gradually came off with my kitchen sponge when I washed the countertop.

I am simply dumbstruck.

The new fabricator also said that CTI never attached the countertop to the cabinet. They put a thin bead of white caulk along the cabinet front to hide the gap and called it good. We were looking at how difficult it will be to get it out ( He will need to saw it in two) and luckily for me, they just laid it on the cabinets. I guess they thought that the faucet and the garbage disposal would keep it from tipping forward onto someone's foot. This entire install is beyond belief. And Home Depot looked me straight in the eye and said, " Oh, we have never had problems with CTI before."

Really?

Oh, I didn't tell you about the wall repairs. CTI beat the heck out of my walls trying to get the slab in the pantry. They tore the sheet rock right down to the cardboard.
The installers said it was mis templeted.

But, rather than measuring before they tried to install and grinding down the stone to fit, they just pushed so hard they snapped the sink edge in half. But, Home Depot agreed to turn the claim for my wall damage over the their insurance company. I am grateful, certainly, but now I will also have dry-wall dust and paint mess to contend with.

Oh, and here is a tip. CTI left gobs of silicone caulk all over the polished piece of Antique Brown in the bathroom. They managed to smear it everywhere. I haven't tried it yet, but I am told you can get off silicone caulk off granite with denatured alcohol.


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Ugh! What a mess! You should be able to pretty much pry off the silicon caulk with a putty knife.

I had to pull up a ton of it from my last granite install. They used a white caulk around the top of an off white sink that was undermount. Made the fancy undermount look elcheapo. I pulled it out and replaced it with clear which looks good.

They also used a brown caulk between the cabinets and the granite.The brown caulk looked good with nothing and it was smeared all over the cabinets under the granite. I pulled it all out.

Along one seam they put the brown between the counter and the backsplash while the others seams they did with clear. I had them pull the brown out and replace with clear before they left.

Turns out the seam where they used the brown caulk between the top and the back splash had a big gap in it. There were also 3 areas filled with epoxy. The clear went in white so I didn't see any of it until it dried. It was one of the many things they had to come back and fix.


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RE: Nine Month HD Granite Nightmare

I’m compelled to share my experience with purchasing granite from Home Depot since this, along with EFS’s post from back in March concerning Antique Brown granite, caused me many sleepless nights. It is clearly correct (as I’ve read on GW) that your experience with HD’s kitchen design staff/granite journey is regional and, in the case of fabrication/installation, dependent on their subs. I have used a local fabricator to fabricate and install Danby marble on our island and the countertop and backsplash on a small hutch area, as well as granite on a vanity in our guest bathroom. I had no problem at all with their craftsmanship, but their business model was another story altogether. I took a full three day’s (separately) vacation for them to work at my house only to have them not show up; each time they’d call around 7pm to apologize and say they were stuck on another job; one time an installer showed up on a Saturday when I had no idea he was coming; no one would commit to scheduling or selling me anything without talking to the owner first, etc. They exhausted me; friends who’d used the other local fabricator had horrible work done...pieces of granite turned willy nilly and seams that weren’t remotely matched, etc. I told my husband we might as well try HD for our perimeter cabinets (I knew I wanted Brown Antique to go with the color we painted our existing cabs and the Blue Box didn’t carry it) and solid surface for our laundry room.
Literally EVERYthing HD and their subs did was professional and timely in every way. I received phone calls to schedule each and every step...and the appointments were kept! - as well as confirmations (measuring, viewing/selecting slabs, install, follow up after install) and the craftsmanship is impeccable. You cannot see the seam in the Antique Brown if you are standing anywhere in the kitchen other than right over it and looking for it. It is even better than doonie’s. Such a relief. I hope that everything has worked out for simbasue. Meanwhile, I live in KY, 40 miles south of Louisville, but their granite fabricator is KBR and the installer was Top in Counters in Cincinnati. I couldn’t be more pleased. My only complaint is I received my first speeding ticket in over 15 years on my way to select slabs :-( … they were very gracious about me being late for my appointment! Sorry for such a long post, but what a RELIEF!!!

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