granite countertop seam. paid for full piece


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Old 07-07-12, 10:10 PM
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granite countertop seam. paid for full piece

Hello,
I paid for a 1/2 slab of granite for a 114" countertop for my condo kitchen. The installers were well aware that I wanted my counter installed in once piece. The day of template I missed the appointment. (I am usually pretty conscientious but I have a 1 year old and my husband works so...) They called me 15 min after when the appointment was supposed to start and I told them I would be right over. They said no bother they had already finished just come by the shop and put down a deposit; no mention of any new cutting. Then the day of install I find that they have cut my counter at the sink claiming that it would not fit in the elevator. This is crazy because I had explained that there was a trap at the top of the elevator that would allow for the counter and that everyone in my building that still has the original kitchen footprint has a counter in one piece. The building contractor that I used to assemble my cabinets confirms this. So anyway, I paid them because I am an idiot like that. I'm always way too nice and give away my money too easily. Then I complain to the company and after a little arguing they say no problem we will come out with a template and make you a new counter. So we meet at the condo again and they corner me in the kitchen getting kind of aggressive and tell me that all they are going to do for me is give me half my money back or come in a polish the seam which they claim is a service that costs $700. They also claim that it wouldn't fit in the elevator anyway without even opening the trap to test it.
At this point my feeling is that whether it fits in the elevator or not is irrelevant. They should have contacted me a) to tell me that there would be a seam and b) to ask me where I would like it.
I am an aspiring designer/stylist and I wanted to use my own kitchen to showcase my talent. I ordered a Vola danish design faucet designed by Arne Jacobsen in the 60s that cost as much as the whole countertop. My plan was to photograph my counter and faucet with various current china or kitchen odds and ends you know to style it and showcasing it on design blogs. How am I supposed to do that with a giant seam down the sink. Who does that? I mean puts a faucet that pricey on a crappy seam. The worst part is the countertop people where aware that I was ordering the faucet and everything. Wouldn't they have thought I might want to place the seam somewhere else? The fact that they didn't even ask makes me feel this is a case that I could take to small claims court. The fact that they are offering me half my money back is an admission of guilt if you ask me.
What do you all think please?
ps they blame me that I missed the appointment, but I offered to come over. Missing the appointment does not give them the right to cut my slab where they want to by default. I don't think they have an argument.
 
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Old 07-08-12, 04:18 AM
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Do you have the one piece specification in writing?
 
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Old 07-09-12, 04:36 PM
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I doubt it. I have yet to dig up the contract since we are moving and its buried. Do you think I have no case then if it doesnt?
 
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Old 07-10-12, 04:10 AM
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It's harder to prove something that is only verbal - but I wouldn't give up without a fight.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 04:50 AM
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In my mind the bottom line is that you should have made sure that your requirements were spelled out in the contract. Bottom line #2 is that if this was so important, you should have been there when the template was done.

Don't assume that an offer of compensation is an admission of culpability. A small claims court will quite likely see it differently. The installer will argue that his offer is simply a matter of trying to satisfy a demanding customer. If the offer is not in writing he might just deny an offer was made and then it's he said she said and you will lose. If you have the one piece requirement written into the contract take the installer to court.

With that said, did they screw up the seam? A good installer can make a seam nearly invisible. I don't know what a $700 seam polish would do that shouldn't have been done at install.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 10:40 AM
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tThanks for all the input.
The contract reads exactly like this...
"Granite Slab Kitchen Countertop
Materials: 3cm absolute black polished (OTM 1/2 slab collection)
Edge: Standard Edge Package
Sink: 1 undermount sink opening cut and polished and up the three faucet holes drilled at time of installation
Backsplash: N/A
Template+materials+fabrication+installation=$1,550.00"
There is no mention of a seam, but there is mention that I purchased a full 1/2 slab which is largely enough to make my counter in one piece.
I do regret that I was not there at the time of template, but I was told there was no need. I was only 15 minutes late. Moreover, I didn't even let them in myself. They went into my place, made the template, and called me to say it done and that there was no need to come by.
I think they are going to try to say it is industry standard to put the seam at the sink. The problem is 1) there probably shouldn't be a seam at all because I believe the counter fits in the elevator 2) if they were going to have to cut it the should have asked me where I would like the cut.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but the cut is located in the middle of the sink which is not supported. They should have asked me where to put the cut for aesthetic reasons, but it also would have been better in a place where the cabinets meet under the cooktop so the seam is supported by the walls of two cabinets rather than hanging in mid air.
I am thinking if it goes to court I should get an expert to testify that the seam should be supported. I don't see how it should go that far since in my mind its very cut and dry. Don't cut someones stone unless they authorize it.
Of course it is typical that I should see things my way. This is exactly why the input on this forum is so useful.
I decided not to take either of their offers and I have contacted the better business bureau.
Oh and also to answer your question if there is anything wrong with the seam...it does have a chip in the most visible part of the seam which is directly in front of you on the farther side of the sink below the faucet where it is visible. They filled this with some black product. It is still uneven and visible. Also the faucet hole is off center.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 10:46 AM
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I have not seen a lot of granite installations but I have never seen a seam right at the sink.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:08 AM
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oh great, I just looked up the better business bureau and apparently they are a joke. This must be another thread. Now I don't know what to do about my countertop problem though. I guess I should file with small claims. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:11 AM
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also in response to your question about if the $700 seam polish should have been done at the time of install. I wasn't given the option since I didn't know there was going to be a seam at all. According to the company that did the job the $700 is an upgrade to a regular polish that some demanding customers are willing to pay for. I was not offered the polish until after I complained so I guess they assumed I wouldn't want it. I would have thought if the option existed they would have tried to sell it to me when they decided to cut the seam which would have been great because I would have then known that there was to be a seam.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:18 AM
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Umm... have you paid the bill yet?
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:36 AM
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yes I paid foolishly at the time of installation
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:44 AM
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they offered to give it back to me. I was thinking about taking it, but I heard its like with a renter if you take a partial payment (or refund in this case) then they could try to argue that we had come to an agreement.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:47 AM
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Wait! They are willing to refund ALL your money?

Then whats the problem?

EDIT....I can't believe you got granite installed for only $1550? That seems extremely cheap.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 11:56 AM
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Old 07-10-12, 11:58 AM
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sorry they are offering to refund half of the total. I'll see if I can snap some with my iphone
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:04 PM
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Yeah, all or half makes a big difference in my mind.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:07 PM
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here is a photo of the counter. I don't know if the seam shows up[ATTACH=CONFIG]1747[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:09 PM
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Ugh. Yeah, I would have expected that to be one solid piece.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:16 PM
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I just went through all of my emails with the installers and I do have one from after they did the template where they tell me that they have been to the job and done the template and they ask me if I want to buy a sink from them and they ask me to come by and put down a deposit. No mention of a seam. It really is a case of he said she said, but in all the emails (and there are many) and also in the contract there in no mention of a seam ever. There is however mention of a half slab. Its too bad that I called him after he said he had found a half slab to clarify what a half slab was. I thought a half slab maybe meant that half a counter with a seam. They assured me no seam. A half slab is large enough for the whole counter. If only I had that conversation in writing I would be sure to win
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:19 PM
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About the only thing I can think of is to have another installer come out and ask if they could have done the job with a single piece - don't mention the elevator until they say 'yes' and then tell them the explanation you got for the seam was the single piece would not go in the elevator and see what they have to say then.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:40 PM
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My 2cents....you have at least a 50% chance of winning in small claims court. Without a signed contract, they don't have any better chance of winning than you. It'll come down to what a judge thinks.
There was obviously a lack of communication here, but since they're the experts at this and not you, they'll have to convince the judge this is standard and the judge will already know whether this is true or not.
If you accept a half of a refund, then you'll still be stuck with that countertop with a seam in it. You won't have much of a chance of winning anymore.
You're better off just going to court at this point unless they decide to replace it. Who knows, maybe when they get the letter telling them they're being sued, they'll come around and do the right thing.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 12:56 PM
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Thanks! I needed that.
I send an email to my correspondent with the installing company. The guy is really nice and he is the one who confirmed with me it was to be one piece. I also sent him a link to my designer faucet and he said it was really cool. He knew I did the skimming of the walls on this remodel and the finishing of the floors so I could afford this ridiculously expensive faucet. I asked him to do the right thing and tell his boss that he knew I wanted one piece and that if there had to be a seam he should have known to ask me and not put it right down my faucet.
We'll see what he says.
If I don't hear back I am going to try to talk with the owner in person. She at one point said she was going to give me a new counter. She had me meet her people to do a new template for it and it was they who said they never intended on giving me a new counter.
Perhaps if I copy all my emails and show her and explain that I called to confirm a half slab was not two pieces maybe she will do the right thing
 
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Old 07-10-12, 01:32 PM
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I have been reluctant to comment, due to the heat of the problem. Many seams are made directly in the middle of the sink. This is because a sink opening is the weakest point of the granite. HOWEVER, in the ones I have encountered in remodels, the job is done so well there IS NO SEAM to the naked eye. You should have not been able to see the seam except from the bottom. Even if there were a seam and it was made invisible, I fail to see the problem. If it was not joined properly and the seam is quite noticeable, AND the company has offered a 50% refund, I would take the refund, hire a competent granite finisher and have them finish the seam and move on.
At present there is no case without written documentation. Their offer far exceeds what I would have expected them to do, and will allow you to continue with your remodel and not get bogged down with this problem area.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 01:40 PM
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omg! turns out the nice correspondent is the other owner.
after reading my heartfelt email they are offering to put a new counter in for $250.
Its like the old cliche you catch flies better with honey or whatever!
anyhow, $250 sounds negligible, but the remodel is over budget, my husband was fired two weeks ago (he got a new job but no paychecks have come in yet), and we have a baby so...um yeah I would be out $250 if I had em!
I don't know what else to do at this point but tell them the situation and ask if they can wait until my husband get a paycheck.
THEN there is the issue of the elevator. They want to put a new counter in, but they are still talking seams. I'm going to have to research the elevator situation and approach the conversation very carefully so they don't balk.
Oh boy!
 
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Old 07-10-12, 01:45 PM
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dear chandler, maybe the seam polishing was the $700 service they were talking about? I wonder if we can't get it in in one piece if we would be better off polishing the existing seams rather than moving the seam to the cooktop and then having it be visible there.
I wish I could see one of these invisible seams myself
 
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Old 07-10-12, 02:16 PM
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Vic - I think the install is only 19 s/f. That figures out to about $80 s/f. Probably typical for straight black.

I haven't seen granite seamed at the sink but I Googled granite slab sizes and it's possible that the slab they had was indeed a half slab i.e. 52"X54" not a typical half with the slab cut on the long axis. It's also possible that the slab was broken when they cut the sink and they seamed it.

I would not have expected a seam in such a small piece. Unfortunately, in order to convince a judge the OP would have to prove that a seam in htat location is not an acceptable industry practice.

In any case, I don't see any way that the OP could recover all her money.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 03:06 PM
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I was assuming a bit bigger I guess....should have looked more closely at the "condo" thing. Not known for large kitchens.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 03:21 PM
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It looks like the seam is supported by the sink cabinet. Am I missing something?
 
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Old 07-10-12, 03:44 PM
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Just a bit off topic but there are two ways to handle the elevator problem. The second which definitely requires a visit from the elevator company is to hang the load under the elevator car.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 04:21 PM
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Although this is solid surface and not granite, you are looking at 6 seams across the top (well not really, 'cause you can't see them) . Same principal is involved. I don't think you should have to pay for a perfected seam, IMO. It should be part of the install.

Attachment 1768
 
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Old 07-10-12, 07:46 PM
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses. This is great.
The seam polishing is amazing in that photo. Does this work on absolute black as well?

The contractor who is installing the cabinets suggested that the seam be under the cooktop to the right of center where two cabinets meet so the seam has support directly under it.
I see what you are saying though, the sink cabinet with the supports on either side is probably sufficient. Its granite not spaghetti!

I am very intrigued by the idea of calling the elevator company to hang it below the car. Woa! That is some New York style getting things done!
I am sure it doesn't come cheap, but I would be interested in what they have to say about it.

We checked the elevator with a template and it seems like the counter won't fit by two or three inches. There is what looks like a trap in the ceiling of the elevator that might give us more space however the building manager claimed that there is no trap when I asked him about it on a different occasion.

I guess I'll get in touch with the HOA tomorrow and ask them for advice and to get a straight answer about the trap. If I want to call the elevator company I will probably have to go through the HOA because I couldn't find their name posted in the elevator.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 07:49 PM
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Also @Ray
what is the first way to handle the elevator problem please?
Is this just making it fit as is obvious or am I missing something?
 
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Old 07-10-12, 09:05 PM
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alright now I'm calling piano and gun safe movers to see if they will carry it up 15 flights!
This is a forever purchase. We just bought our dream condo and we don't have a penny left but I don't intend to let that stop me.
I'm not going to settle and then regret years later.
I did the skimming of the walls myself and the finish of the hardwood floors just so I could afford this danish design faucet now I'm going to get a full piece of granite worthy of that faucet!!
 
 

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