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(Musings of a Stone Designer)
Wednesday, March 14 2012
I would love to share with you a note I received from an unhappy customer. (Unhappy with another fabricator—not with us!) He contacted us seeking advice; unfortunately, our advice did not come soon enough. I decided to publish the dialogue below to help others avoid the same situation, before it is too late.
I came across your website today. I'm trying to help my father with a legal case against a builder that did an absolutely horrible job installing the granite counter in their kitchen. I was searching for examples of bad installations and was pleased to find your blog. I was hoping you might take a peak at the attached photos and perhaps write me back with your opinion. If it's ok I'd like to reference the documents in arbitration. I know this is a lot to ask and will understand if you decline. I'm in Vancouver, Canada and there's likely no chance of getting an install job from me.
Anyhow, thanks for your time and creating your blog. It's a great reference for examples of poor installs. Feel free to use these photos on your blog if you wish. The veins run in completely different directions. The color also doesn't match! I can't believe the builder is trying to argue this is ok. He says it's a natural product and has to be accepted as normal. I'm in the glass mosaic tile business and think that's like trying to say a pebble stone mosaic floor would be ok with stones that were sharp enough to cut your feet.
Anyhow, any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here is one of the photos Carl sent. This is not the worst seam I’ve ever seen (yes, it's true--I've seen worse!) but there is definitely room for improvement. Apparently, Carl and his father had higher expectations than did the fabricator in question.
Sorry to hear about the bad experience your father has had with his granite company. Many people think that all granite businesses are the same, and it makes no difference who does the fabricating and installing. Like you, they find out the hard way that not everyone is a craftsman, and not everyone is willing to go the extra mile (and pay the extra cost) to create a beautiful finished project.
I agree that the countertops in these photos you sent look less than perfect, even disappointing. Unfortunately, I doubt that you have any legal grounds to fight it, unless there was a conversation (and documentation) up front about expectations for the finished top. Because you work in an artistic field, you probably have a good eye for beauty, and for when things just don’t look "right." Many stone fabricators, especially the "low-cost leaders," don't share this value. Unfortunately, in the end, it is subjective.
Sorry we can't be of more help.
Good luck to you and your father.
Pete & Marlene
*Here is a closer view of the same corner. Notice the position of the seam on this countertop? It runs directly into the corner.
This method of seaming is another practice that is considered unprofessional among most stone fabricators. This type of seam creates a very sharp, unfriendly corner that is more difficult to clean. In addition, it doesn’t allow the edge profile to meet evenly in the corner. For some fabricators, this may be the default method because it is easier to fabricate—especially when using automated equipment, and it frequently requires less material. To most, however, this method is not preferred--it is even unacceptable. If these kinds of details make a difference to you, be sure to educate yourself, and by all means have those conversations with your fabricator before signing on.
Pictured below is a small gallery of corners from kitchens we have fabricated. I dare you to see if you can find any seams or any awkward inside corners.
Beautiful flowing inside corners that look seamless.
There is a seam right in the middle of this run...somewhere!
Another seam nobody would ever know is there!
A smooth, seamless, & professional inside corner.
Whenever possible, it's best to avoid interrupting veining patterns--no interruptions here!
Take a look at this perfectly smooth inside corner. You should expect nothing less.