Disappointed with Granite Countertop & Vanity


  #1  
Old 07-26-05, 12:00 PM
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Angry Disappointed with Granite Countertop & Vanity

I contracted with a granite shop to fabricate and install granite in my new kitchen and bathroom. I did a great deal of research and was extremely careful in selecting the right outfit for the job. Upon request, this company provided me with a lengthy reference list of customers. I probably called at least 15 people on their list. I was astounded by the fact that they all gave rave reviews and glowing recommendations. Some people emailed me photos, while others invited me to their homes to see their granite. I actually took one person up on his invitation and the granite was indeed beautiful and flawless. The one seam at the sink was so tight, you could barely see it. I even visited the shop (over an hour's drive each way) to make sure I was dealing with a legitimate entity.

My experience has been altogether different and very disappointing. I spent innumerable hours picking out just the right slabs for both projects. The total cost of three slabs was @ $3,000. My general contractor installed true 3/4" plywood on top of the base cabinets per the fabricator's instructions. Then one of their guys came out to create a template for the countertops and vanity. He also took the kitchen sink template with him, but did not take the kitchen sink itself.

I was very excited and anxiously awaited the day the granite was to be installed. Yesterday was the day I had been waiting for. I had no doubt that I would be thrilled with the finished result. What a disappointment! Both the kitchen and bathroom pieces have the following problems:

Kitchen: The one seam at either side of the double s/s undermount sink is too wide and very noticeable. In addition, there is a high point where the two pieces butt together at the seam creating an unsightly unlevel effect above and particularly below the counter edge at that spot. There also appears to be a small nick in the granite at the top front edge. This was filled with epoxy or whatever they used to seal the seam, but remains visible.

Bathroom: I noticed that the Kohler oval undermount sink did not look like it was centered properly in the sink hole. The installers had already glued it, but they managed to reposition it somewhat to try to remedy the problem. However, the sink still looked crooked. There seem to be two problems with the sink itself. 1. The oval is not symmetrical and 2. The overflow hole does not line up with the sink center thereby visually throwing the whole thing out of whack. I also suspect that the sink hole that was cut in the vanity top is also off-center.

Right now, I'm very depressed and disappointed with the whole mess. I called the owner of the company and he came out to look at the problem areas while the installers were still there, but he was dismissive about my concerns. He said the plywood on the kitchen cabinets was not level thereby creating problems with the granite installation. My question is this. Why didn't the guy who came out to template notice this potential problem and call it to my attention so it could be corrected prior to the installation? Why did the installers proceed with an installation on an unsuitable surface that would affect the finished result? As for the bathroom vanity, I don't blame them for a defective sink, but I personally delivered the unopened box containing the Kohler sink & template to their shop. The owner personally opened the box in my presence, took measurements, examined the sink and never mentioned any flaws or imperfections. He now claims that all cast sinks are imperfect and no two sinks are alike even though they are the same brand and model number. He also says that while they reference the paper template provided with the sink, they rely on the sink itself to actually create the final template for the sink hole. If this is the case, then I may be stuck with a sink hole that was created for a defective sink! I had them remove the bathroom sink awaiting my locating a better one.

I have so many questions that I don't know where to begin! I'm going back there today with my digital camera to take pictures of both botch jobs. One more thing, I put a stop payment on the check I gave him yesterday. At this point, I don't know how this mess can be resolved. Any help or comments from you granite folks out there would be appreciated. Thanks for reading this very long post.
 
  #2  
Old 07-27-05, 07:17 PM
irod
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wow- you just scared me to death-- we are in process of redo in kitchen and are planning on granite I will say that your price is about half of what it is around here(Indiana)- we are getting 2 slabs installed for 5600 with bull edge. we were also not told about the plywood you put in. were the cabinets level or were they old, also what did your General contrator say about the whole thing? The guy at HD says any irregularity you see like the seems you are describing should be with out question fixed by whoever installed the granite- that is why they come and measure and make the stupid template that takes an extra 2 weeks after your cabinets are in- otherwise they could just go off measurements, and it all be ready the same day. I hope they fix it all for you -lots of luck
 
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Old 07-27-05, 10:33 PM
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Granite Fiasco

Irod, the total cost of the granite slabs was @ $2K, not the $3K I posted. That was a typo. This price was for slabs only. The cost of fabrication and installation was extra. Two slabs of Juparana Vyara (kitchen) were @ $1K for both and one slab of Juparana Arandis (bathroom) was $1K for one. Big price difference in each kind of stone and they were purchased from two different dealers.

HD has a very limited selection of stones. I recommend that you locate some stone dealers within a 50-60 mile radius of your home and go visit different showrooms. You will be amazed with the variety of colors and patterns of different stones. I'm fortunate that I live in the SF bay area within a reasonable distance to several clusters of stone dealers. The process is time consuming, but well worth it. For me, it was like going on a treasure hunt. Quite an adrenaline rush when I finally hit the jackpot and found the perfect stones for my projects. All the more reason for my disappointment with this fiasco.

My kitchen and bath were completely gutted and everything is brand new. The kitchen cabinets are cherry spice and the bath are honey maple, both from HD's American Woodmark Townsend line. My contractor was not involved with the granite process at all. This was my project. If I had it to do over again, I would find a general contractor that would handle all aspects of the job (dealing with subcontractors, etc.), while allowing me to be heavily involved with the design and material selection process.

Good luck with your project. Don't be deterred, but do make sure that either you or your contractor are covering all the bases. You just can't be too careful.
 

Last edited by baylynx; 07-27-05 at 10:37 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 07-29-05, 08:06 AM
irod
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sounds like us- we have our whole house gutted ( husband did laundry ) due to flood. we have a general and he did everything but the flooring- tile carpet and cabinet and counter. so we have picked out everything and dealt with all the subs-- only good thing is the price break b/c generals add 10% to the subs price for their part witch has been basically calling and organizing. so we decided to limit his areas of control. I have spent hours debating and holding color samples of tiles and paint and cabinet to various stones. driving myself and everyone crazy. I taped off my cabinet layout and have gone through countless pieces of graph paper for tile patterns and kitchen layouts. imagination is not easy for me.
I did go to a stone fabricator and they had others but were even more expensive then hd for same stones- St cecilia and also new venetion gold but they said thier installers are much better then hd. so we may go with the extra price to avoid a bad seam like you are experiencing. we have decided to tile the floor ourselves which will give us the extra cash for the stone. still living on particle boards but eventually it will be nice. I hope have they done anythimg to fix your situation?? curious if they can take it off and relevel the cabinets and try again.
 
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Old 07-29-05, 10:36 AM
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I was advised by several other granite experts that the whole thing has to be scrapped and new granite has to be fabricated Stone is unforgiving. I have found a website that has a granite forum where you can get help on granite related issues. Again, good luck to you.

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  #6  
Old 10-13-05, 08:55 AM
dazednconfuzed
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My granite installer does not get paid until I sign off on the completed project. They are also making the plywood under-counter themselves, and doing their own templating.
That sounds like they are not standing behind their own shoddy work. The template maker should have inspected the plywood.
The granite to sink edge should be even all the way around, if not perfect. Making that cutout in stone is a "blind" install though, perhaps a granite install expert could explain better. I hoped they would compare the template to the real sink??
Some friends of ours just had granite installed, using Baltic Brown, a color with a little black to it, and they said there was a surprising amount of filler done to it, the stone itself is not glassy perfect, most of the little pockets were filled in on-sight, as well as seems. Your color choice may determine how much the tiny details, like seams will show.
From what you have explained, I think they are not doing enough to make it better, Don't accept the job as is!! Stay nice, calm, then say the magic words: "Better Business Bureau" or your state's board of contractors!
 
 

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