Asked on Nov 4, 2012

stone countertops

Straight Nails ConstructionWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comBrian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry


We were at Lowe's today and the girl helping us in the kitchen cabinet department said that even with stone countertops there was a visible seam and there was no way to cover it up. I have not noticed the seam in friends homes. Is this true? Can you cover up the seam...I think they are ugly and you pay so much for the stone, I would think there'd have to be a way.
16 answers
  • LandlightS
    on Nov 5, 2012

    Are you speaking of "Natural" stone,ig: granite ? If yes, there will be a seam but if installed by professionals, the seam will almost be invisible Solid surface counter tops can be made in lengths up to 10 or 12 feet long and when joined, the seam is "welded" with chemical materials that erases the seam. Remember, this is coming from an electrician and I'm sure you will get better technical answers to your questions. Gary

  • Gary is correct. Seams if done properly can be hidden quite well. All depends upon the type and color of the stone, location of the seam and the quality of the contractor doing the job. Most seams tend to be on corners, or middle of sink. This way only a few inches are seamed as compared to the full 24 inches. In most cases the seam is less then a 1/16 inch in width and using the proper color epoxy you have to look pretty hard to see the seam. The only way to go seamless is to find a stone that is oversize as most come around 12 feet. And a stone that is 12 foot long and two foot wide can run several hundred pounds. And sometimes is to heavy and long to get into the house so it has to be seamed.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Nov 5, 2012

    The counter lay our also has a lot to due with a simple galley kitchen could be done with two straight runs of moderate length. work areas broken by an appliance garage of full height "pantry" can also be used to work around slab size limitations. Again as mentioned above the skill and detail mind set of one installer may far exceed those of another...I have seen dozens of seams that were near invisible and others that stood out...the pattern and color of the material contributes to this as well. Uniform pattern and dark colors tend to hide better.

  • Jodie, I can't think of much to add..Gary, Robert and Kevin have pretty much nailed it. The beauty is in the stone itself and unless the job is butchered, seams don't take away from the beauty of the top... seams are expected. Tim

  • Try checking with a local independent shop. There is granite shop in my community that can make the seam, well, less seemly! The layout really makes a big difference.

  • Jodie Ramsey
    on Nov 5, 2012

    Thanks everyone! I really do apprecaite it. We went to Home Depot today and theirs looked alot better and I felt alot better. I sure will be watching when they install it tho :). Again, thank you!

  • This goes to show that you should shop around when making major purchases, get multiple bids and ask for references. It sounds like Lowe's was covering their butts, cause the large HI stores cannot control who the installer is. Find a local craftsman(woman) who has been doing this for years and can provide references that will provide positive feedback on their work and how they handle their customers. Of course, this will not always mean the lowest price, but in this business, the adage "you get what you pay for" is usually always true.

  • I would not say they cannot control the installers, but the ones that tend to work for the big box stores are discount type companies willing to forgo what it really costs to do the job, making up for it in volume.

  • Actually most big box stores have only one installer for a particular service, so they know who does the work. I installed cabinets and countertops for a big box. I got every install the store sold. I can also say my work was as good as any other shop, but it was not any cheaper. You don't actually save money buying cabinets or counter tops from Lowes or Home Depot... if you compare apples to apples.

  • LandlightS
    on Nov 7, 2012

    As Woodbridge state...quality is compromised at the big box stores: Do you really think HD and Lowes only pays the floor installers $37.00 to install a whole house of carpeting? (the going advertised price in Georgia) Not only is it reflected in the cost of the product, but the quality of the labor.

  • @LandlightS What you are talking about with that carpet install is a "loss leader." Lots of business use that tactic. Get people in the store with a promotion and see what else you can sell them that you actually make money on... like granite counter tops. They won't be loosing money on granite. Both the product and the install make them money there. I can't speak to the quality of carpet installing specifically. They pay well enough for countertop installs to get good installers though. I used stone dust from the fabrication of a specific top to make a color matched epoxy that was a perfect match, rather than rely on a prepared product that was a close match.

  • LandlightS
    on Nov 7, 2012

    Brian..... I've been involved in the flooring business for over 30 years, and even spending more time on flooring (I'm getting too old to pull wire through attics and crawl spaces) and I even ran the flooring department for HD for several years and trust me, they do compromise not only the installation but the product as well. There is more than one way to calculate the "face weight" of carpet......and I have personally witnessed horrendous installation that would pass an inspection by the average building inspector ( no seaming adhesive prior to the seaming tape, straight cuts where a commercial, glue down, carpet is seamed or no 30 pound felt before the nail down hardwood floor). There too many aspects to quality flooring installation to discuss here. Gary

  • Hi Gary, My guess is that kitchens pull in high enough dollars that the quality is generally good or at least fair... since you get what you pay for and all that. I would recommend a good local cabinet and top shop for anyone that wants the best.

  • Another thing to consider is that Big Box stores are targets for predatory consumers. These customers will find something "terribly wrong" with a product or installation and insist that they will not pay for it and ask the store to remove a granite top because a seam is "unacceptable" etc. They assume, often rightly so, that by playing this card, that they can get a substantial discount on the product by raising a stink over something actually inconsequential. This is the flip side of the coin. Most often you hear stories about the incompetent contractor, but contractors have plenty of stories about homeowners from the "hot place" too.

  • Brian you are spot on with the predatory consumers. I ran a HVAC business in the early 80's. Worked for Sears as a sub. I had a lady that almost every day had a complaint into the store about one thing or another that we did this or that wrong. Drove me nuts. She had a painter in the house doing some work, cut his finger really bad, bleed all over her white carpet, We had set drop cloths down to protect the carpet for our use, he pulled the drop cloth over the blood stain and left. The next day I got a call from Sears telling me that they are going to have to pull the carpet out and replace it because we damaged it. She also had a hot water heater installed for nothing. We told her that the one she had was leaking, and it was, She wanted one installed, We provided her a photo copy of the item which she purchased through Sears. When we put it in it was Blue. Not the white color that was shown on the copy and refused to pay for it. They let her have it for no charge. I quite working for them about three weeks after.

  • Brian, it sounds like you are the exception to the rule. Thanks for being one of the "good guys" that care about quality when it comes to working with people. But, I have to say that most HI stores use multiple contractors, and they will "rush" through projects to meet their quota, thus skimping on quality. (At least here in the Southeast)

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