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timbo59 01-27-2011 10:13 PM

Is this a lousy granite installation?
As of last weekend we had the granite installed in our new kitchen, and a number of issues have come up. I know about cabinets, but as this is the first time I’ve had granite installed I don’t know if I’m making too much of a fuss, or whether I have reason to feel aggrieved at the results.

To begin with, I went out of my way to tell the guy who came to do the measuring two specific points –

1) that the edge of granite lining up against the wall oven cabinet had to be perfectly in line with it as we didn’t want to have any kind of facing on the woodwork (granite backsplash, tile, etc)

2) To be careful with his measurements because both walls that made up the L of the kitchen were not straight.

In short, I couldn’t have gone more out of my way to highlight the fact that there were issues that could throw off the installation, and mess up our desire for a clean line along the oven cabinet. We even called the owner of the business to reinforce our point, and also asked him to try and make sure that the separate pieces matched up as closely as possible at the joins, because we were well aware that the granite we chose had some strong patterning that could pose problems lined up together. The guy admonished me over my concerns with ‘Sir, we are professionals and do our job properly!’

Well, the measurer came back a second day, and to ensure he got the measurements rights used some cardboard strips, which he glued together to create a template. Suitable impressed, I thought that everything was going to be okay. Then Saturday arrived and I sat there thinking ‘What the hell are they doing’ as I watched the company’s installers do their work.

Firstly, I’d always been led to believe that a bead of silicone or some sort of adhesive was put along the top of the cabinets prior to installing the granite. These guys just sat the granite straight on top. (They also came close to causing some severe damage by trying to stand the edge of the heaviest piece, the corner, on the weakest points of both the sink cabinet and the cooktop cabinet – I had to hurriedly tell them not to do so in order to prevent them cracking the cabinets and possibly dropping the slab as well.)

When they’d finished installing the four pieces I couldn’t believe it – after everything I had said, and after being told how professional they are, they’d still contrived to screw up one of the things I had asked – to make sure they measured the cut along the wall oven cabinet correctly so that there wouldn’t be a gap. The granite touched the cabinet at the front, then gradually receded away towards the back, leaving an unsightly gap of about 3/16ths. The installers just looked at me like I was being an SOB when I asked why it was there after I’d been assured it would be taken care of. They then filled it with tinted epoxy resin, and followed up by sticking a thick bead of silicone, half an inch wide, along the granite and cabinet edge. I hurriedly wiped the latter off before it had a chance to set, because I sure as hell didn’t want the whole thing made to look even worse by an unsightly gob of silicone permanently on show. I’ve also been told that silicone can stain granite?

After they left I took a close look at the job and just found their work to seemingly be a testament to sheer sloppiness and lack of professionalism. They’d left so much silicone sticking out from the under mount sink that I’d have had a half inch bead left showing permanently had I not gone around and tidied it up. The end piece at one end of the kitchen was so mismatched color-wise that it looked almost like it came from a different type of slab altogether – yet had they simply turned it around before making the cutout for the sink the all-important front edge would have made a slightly better match to the neighboring piece. There was also a noticeable unevenness, a ‘bump’ of sorts, where the two pieces met, and it was quite noticeable from even across the kitchen. When I looked more closely I figured out the reason – the smaller slab to the left was about an 1/8th of an inch thinner than the other piece, so that while they’d been able to shim it level on top, they couldn’t do anything about the bottom edge and had tried doctoring it up so as not to show. The back corner of the same piece, on the very end of the cabinets, was sticking out from the wall by ¼” and they had tried masking it yet again with another big gob of silicone following right round the contoured edge.

I also found out, with the use of a ruler, that they’d mislaid the whole thing and had obviously not heeded my warnings about the walls. Towards the corner of the L on one side the granite edge was sticking out from the base cabinet underneath by nearly two inches, yet 6 feet away the depth was the more standard 1 ½ inches. The mismatch in measurements on the other part of the L were almost the same, telling me that the whole thing should have been lined up slightly differently. Had they done so the gap along the oven cabinet would probably not have been an issue. I just sat there asking myself what the heck the templates had been for if they’d messed the situation up so much and ignored all my warnings?

The owner of the business came out and basically, in his glib, fast-talking fashion, tried claiming that there were no issues and tried throwing it back at us by claiming everything and anything he could think up that made it our fault. The mismatched piece was fine, my gripe about the gap along the cabinet was me splitting hairs (despite their assurances that they could do it), the bulge and difference in thickness at the join was also something he just laughed off, while the gap at the back corner was blamed on the very same walls I had instructed them to take heed of. The whole process got reduced to a joke when I pointed out a spot where his installers hadn’t been bothered to clean up some of the epoxy on the oven cabinet, and he repeatedly kept claiming he couldn’t see what I was talking about – I finally had to put a pencil up to it to point out what anyone could have seen from yards away.

So I leave it to you guys, as I’m no expert on the matter. Do we have reason to feel aggrieved, or not? It’s not like we expect perfection, but if I ask for something, receive repeated assurances that all will be well, only to see exactly what I had worried about come to fruition, I feel like I have reason to be pissed. Same with the color match. I didn’t expect them to go cherry picking through slab after slab just to give me a perfect color match, but within the two slabs we set aside I would have expected someone to map and plan the cuts that would have given us the best match. As a friend of mine said when he looked at it, he considered that the the two pieces looked like they came from different types of granite.

Also look at the cutout for the sink – are there limits to what kind of radius cuts can be made to follow the contours of a sink, or could we have expected better with regard to what we got with ours?

Pictures can be found at Photobucket here –Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket

PS – One solution proposed for the gap we’re not happy with along the oven cabinet is to sit a single piece of granite, 3” high, on the counter top against the cabinet, like a backsplash. I just thought it would look weird having a single piece there without a matching backsplash going right round the rest of the counter. We didn’t want a granite edge along the back, which is why we were so specific about wanting a clean edge along the oven cabinet. Any thoughts on the point?

oldognewtrick 01-28-2011 05:57 AM

First off, welcome to House Repair Talk and sorry to hear of your install problems with your counter tops. Big question is have you paid them yet? Holding their money will give you leverage. The link you have posted to photo bucket doesn't work. You can attach pics here real easy, simply scroll down on the message page till you see manage attachments and you can upload from your computer.

timbo59 01-28-2011 07:11 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Oh, sorry about that. I'll attach them below.

Unfortunately we have paid in full, so it looks like we'll have to go through the court system to get the money back or have the situation resolved.

It's just our bad luck we happened to try this guy first up, as he's round the corner from where we live, and got caught out.

Daryl in Nanoose 01-28-2011 09:51 AM

this is definitely not a acceptable install, I have never seen a color match so far off and the radius cut should of been a lot closer to the radius of the sink. Way to much gap, they simply did not pay attention to detail. The problem is right now there are so many company's doing Granite that think they know what there doing. I sincerely hope you come out on top during this.
Did you try a stop payment on the cheque?

timbo59 01-28-2011 04:14 PM

Hi again,
Yeah, we did, but as luck would have it we were a day late trying stop payment.

Our problem was that we just didn't know for sure if we were right in our grievances or being overly fussy - like I said, this is our first time round with granite. We try to be fair and honest people, and handed over the final installment under pressure and to just get the guy out of our house - I was just getting really steamed at the behavior we were having to put up with. We were definitely not happy with the results, but the guy just kept hammering away that there are limits to how accurately you can cut stone, match it up, etc, etc - just wouldn't take a backward step and made it all seem as if we were being utter bastards over the matter.

I've since found out from various sources, both here on the net and from people we've had come around to take a look at the work, that we were perfectly justified in our concerns and that things like the color mismatch are certainly not the norm, as this guy suggested. Just wish we had been a little more sure of our position from the beginning.

Daryl in Nanoose 01-29-2011 07:32 AM

It's to bad this had to happen, they really took the fun out of this project. I wish you all the best in getting this fixed up. Keep in touch we wold like to here about how your making out with this. :)

LHall 01-29-2011 07:46 AM

Wow - an eye opener for me. I'm getting ready to do my kitchen next month. I'll now be super picky about getting references for the installers.

Hope you can get some resolution on this. Totally unacceptable.

granite-girl 01-29-2011 11:00 AM

Oh my! That is definitely unacceptable work. At the oven cabinet - is there an "ear" at the front edge ? It'd be the front frame & 3/4" th. & the box of the cabinets attaches to it about 1/4" in from the edge. That could be causing your gap & where a backsplash would cover that up. I know you didn't want one there, but it's either that or they notch out the granite around that. Don't know if that's common practice, though.
The sink cut out could have been a little closer radius cut, but I know those are hard to match exactley & maybe the template from the sink was off a little. You're walls being out of square or uneven... granite can't be cut uneven - it's a straight cut no matter what. That's what backsplashes are for granite or tile, if there was that much of a gap - they should have explained to you & suggested a granite backsplash.
I'd say you have some grievances, but don't really know what you can do about it now.
Good Luck - keep us informed.

granite-girl 01-29-2011 11:02 AM

Oh - yeah that color match at the sink NO WAY! And to do it right there at the sink front & center. Come on man!

simonk 01-30-2011 01:14 AM

That is definitely NOT acceptable work! Do whatever you can to get your money back AND the job done correctly by someone who knows what the heck they're doing! Good luck! :)

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