My husband and I are renovating the kitchen of our 19 year old beach home. As we have plans to keep our second home for many years to come, we went fairly high end in the kitchen, particularly with the granite. It is Bianco Antico, which I am told is more commonly known as White Diamond. The granite is stunning. However, when fabricated, the granite counter area by and around the sink – about 100″ long and standard 25 1/2″ counter width, plus there is in an “L” section where the counter curves toward the range, but is part of the 100″ length – was cut into 4 pieces – a large one to the left of the sink where the “L” is, a large one to the right of the sink and two small strips in front and in back of the sink itself. We are extremely disappointed to have the 4 seams in the sink area.
The fabricator made no real attempt to match up the abutting pieces and claims that the stone was fabricated that way because it kept breaking up on them when they were trying to cut out th e hole for the undermount double sink. The stone does have quite a bit of quartz in it – and is “meshed” on the bottom – which is why they are saying it kept breaking apart. The sink is fairly standard size – 31 5/16″ long by 20 3/4″ wide (the larger bowl; smaller one is 15 3/4″ wide). The templater had discussed one large piece for the entire sink area including the “L” and we were not remotely prepared to be looking at 4 seams around our sink. The installers simply showed up with the 4 sink pieces at installation. We have discussed this issue with other granite companies near our primary home, where we recently installed granite in our kitchen as well, and with other granite fabricators in the area of our beach home too. Not one of these companies has indicated they would have treated this particularly stone in that fashion. Every one of them has said they would have cut it in one piece.
My husband and I have a few theories – 1. Not enough manpower. Only 2 men in stalled the granite (in constrast we had 6 at our primary residence, and the granite is not nearly as “fragile”). 2. The fabricator did not order enough stone to begin with. or 3. The fabricator has never worked with this type of stone before and butchered it as a result. As we did not directly hire this fabricator (our cabinet company is acting as GC and did a fine job with the new cabinets), we are at a loss on what to do other than continue to argue with all the parties involved. That seems to be going nowhere as we’ve all dug in our heels. The fabricator says they did everything by MIA standards, which we don’t dispute, but it doesn’t make the seams look any better. Any experience with this stone? Should we just keep quiet and live with the seams? Incidentally, I will also mention that there are many nicks around all the counter edges, not just the sink side counters, that were not properly filled in and the granite was not sealed. We were told we would have to seal it ourselves. My husband and I are sick to our stomachs over all of this especially considering how much we paid (only half up so far though). Thanks for your input! – Maria
First let me say that I know the stone very well and have installed it myself in Southern California. It is a beautiful but delicate stone with some inherent factures; however, with normal professional fabrication and installation experience it can be installed perfectly. After looking at your photos, I would have installed your kitchen with one seam at the inside corner or perhaps no seams at all if the sink wall is less than 8 feet long. I can not tell how long it is in the photo.
That being said, you have not been treated fairly if there is more than one seam in your entire kitchen, especially if it was not disclosed prior to fabrication. Furthermore, two seams at the sink is an unprofessional method used to save material. It is not first quality for a custom kitchen project. Furthermore, the MIA would not stand behind this procedure in a custom residential kitchen application.
The seam at the sink is a very poor match as you know. Not only is it a poor match, but utilizing the ‘spreader’ piece concept mentioned above makes it even easier to find a part of the slab that matches! Shame on this installer, I say.
Here is what you should do. First, ask them why they cut it this way (in so many pieces). They will probably say that it is because of the size of the slabs. Then, ask them where they bought the slabs and call the supplier to confirm the slab size. You will probably find that the fabricator cut the slabs vertically instead of horizontally in order to save material. If they had cut the pieces horizontally then the sink piece would have been long enough to stretch to the corner.
After a little more research, you need to get a local experience fabricator to write a little report for you. Get someone with at least 10 years of experience. Then, present the report to the contractor. You should also check with your state contractor’s board to know your rights. You have more rights than you think and a contractor is not going to fight you when his subcontractor has not complied with industry standards.
Regarding the chips in this granite, they can easily be fixed by a fabricator with the proper experience.