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Absolute nighmare


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Mad Dog
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Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:04 pm    Post subject: Absolute nighmare Reply with quote

First off, great site guys. Laughing You do a great job of answering the questions posted.

Here's the issue. Our builder provided tile/countertop people installed, at our request, absolute black granite for the kitchen countertops. During the remainder of the construction phase, the counter tops were left exposed and scratches soon appeared. The installation company sent out a man to "polish" the scratched areas. As you may have guessed, we now have an even bigger mess. The places where he polished left a visable haze yet the surface is smooth to the touch. The explaination was the granite "might" be resin filled and had clouded. I've checked using a bit of acetone to see if the stone was oiled but it came back clean. Clearly they had no idea if it was or not.

A bit later, (2 months) we noticed a cracked had developed between the faucet and the sink (Single hole faucet). they "think" they can fix both problems and after reading the logs, it might be true but I'd like the answer from the experts so I have some legs to stand on.

After viewing the posted pictures, it's clear to me your work is far better then what I have had done here.

So now you have the background. Here's the question. Do I let them try and fix it or should I stand firm and have them replace it?

Yes, we know black shows everything including small scratches, but we're OK with that so long as it all has the same sheen to it. Makes it easier to see exactly where to clean! Cool

Any ideas?
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Antonio Almonte
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Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mad Dog, I would let them come back and try to fix it to your satisfaction. If it isn't acceptable to you, then I would have them replace it. Absolute black is one of the tougher stones to restore back to factory shine but it can certainly be done. The crack though is tougher. No matter what they do to fix the crack on absolute black, you will still see it Crying or Very sad so if you could live with that, all is not lost.
Can you do a little test for me? Put a few drops of lemon juice or lemon wedge in a inconspicuous spot on your counter. Wait about 15 minutes and wipe off. Is the spot lighter than the rest of the counters? If it is you have doctored stone.
Good Luck!

Antonio
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Mad Dog
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Joined: 20 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick reply. I sure can try the lemon juice test. Give me 15 minutes and I post the results...
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Needless to say, this is not the result I wanted to see. Sure enough, the lemon juice test shows up as a slighlty lighter spot. Further more, I did not mention at the time the unexplained rings that showed up during construction. We are VERY careful to keep the counter clean and this now explains the problem.

So now I know the stone is doctored, now what?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You paid for absolute black, and that's not exactly what you received....what's next is up to you, but I don't know how far you could take it.
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed. The next step is mine and I will take action. Clearly, I did not get what I asked and paid for. We used 3 slabs of AB in this house and clearly corners were cut.

AB can come from just about anywhere and the quality varies by region. It also goes by many different names so you can never be sure what you are getting. (Yes, the name game again Surprised )

Can someone help me identify the AB I have? It appears to be slightly more gray and grainy then a sample AB tile I have. I will need to be very clear with my builder so they understand I'm not making this stuff up. I don't want to get into a "you know what" match with them but rather state the facts so it's clear.
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Jeff Leun
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lemon juice is to test for etching, the stone has some calcium in it, thats why its lighter. The AB from Zimbabwe is usually more grey over the indian. Ive seen problems with both stones in regards to calcium content although the Z tends to be the bigger offender from my experiences.
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LJN
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the lemon juice could also be taking off the color enhancer or dye, i have seen that... that is no good!! if that is the case have the guys replace it for the real deal.

If there is a calcium content in the stone you can just polish the stone back up and you wont be able to see any of the problems that you mentioned. you do need a reputable restoration guy though, if your guy cant polish a dark granite he has problems... That is just my opinion.

Lou
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're both right. It's most likely a Z granite, t's dyed and it looks like,....

Clearly the people they are using are not first rate fab guys. I've seen some of the pictures many of you have posted and the work is outstanding. Even the laminated bullnose thye did is poorly done. They claimed that was normal. I know better but needed just a little more data to call the bluff. If I can get good pictures, it may be a candidate for the Hall of Shame.

From the begining we spec'd the AB. It wasn't a problem until they found out it might be more costly. Big mistake on their part. We went back and forth but we insisted on the AB. Then one day, the cost wasn't an issue. I was told the reason was AB was in the same "group" as the other stones and there wasn't a price difference. Seemed strange at the time but they insisted it was on the up and up. Now we know otherwise.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of distributors these days are dyeing lighter colored stones to sell at higher AB costs. If you stone is dyed, then someone is pulling a trick on someone. Whether it's the fab guys knowingly selling an inferior product or the suppliers themselves, someone is at fault.

I wonder if there's a way to get together MANY AB owners that have been duped by the dyeing and form a class-action suit
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be great except the industry is largely unregulated. Not to mention the time and effort involved. If enough people read this and suffered the same injustice, then I maybe we would have a case. Let's hope a lawyer was caught in the same scheme. Laughing

If it's not AB, sell it as something else. Who knows, it may be just what you're looking for.
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Scott M
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fairness, if the stone is doctored, I doubt your fab guys knew it. It probably isnt doctored, just an inferior stone. This is a tough one if this is the case. The crack however should be fixed or replaced to your satisfaction. Reputable stone guys would take care of you. Let's just hope yours are.
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brian briggs
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a job where I specifically told the supplier to send me TRUE AB and no doctored crap. When the slabs arrived my guys took MEK and a white rag and swiped it across a slab, no discoloration and no black on the rag. We fabbed the job, installed it and it looked great. 1 month later we got a call from the customer Confused there is a grey ring on the island Shocked The only people that had been in the home were the wood floor guys. I called the supplier that sold me the stone, C&L Stone out of Orlando, Fl. and told them about my dilemma.

I then went to the home and tried everything I could to fix the problem. When all of my efforts failed, I turned to the homeowner and told them " stone is a product of nature and this problem is out of my control. However, customer service IS in my control, I would like to rip out the island and replace it with a new one. The supplier has told me that they would give me the material to replace the island and I will do the labor at no charge."

The fabricator and supplier may not have been aware, that does NOT mean they are not responsible for proper customer service.
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Michael Shane
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Joined: 04 Aug 2005
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Location: Stockbridge Ga

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeh! What Brian said.

Just because they didn't know doesn't mean that they're not responsible. We as the fabbers have to take some CRap sometimes and move on. It sux but customer service is why we're still in business and hopefully this situation doesn't happen often.
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Brian. I'm not out to get anyone here but your point about customer service rings clear to me. While the fab guys may not have known, someone in the chain does. The fab company in question may not have known but the customer service from them has been very disappointing. My builder knows I'm not pleased and has a vested interest in keeping me happy. I just want the job done right and I believe they will do exactlly that.

After viewing the Hall of Shame, I can honestly say that with one or two exceptions, the tile and countertop installation done here makes those installations look great.

Thanks to everyone who's responded. You give the industry a good name. If you in the area, (Texas), I'll recommend you to the builder. Cool
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Eric W
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Location: Atlanta GA.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mad dog,

Sounds like you have done lots of research, and I hope it pays off for you.
also it sounds that you are being pretty fair with this matter, letting the builder and the fabricator re-do the problem area, a lot of homeowners would have called them out on the spot.


Can I ask a few question, how many quotes/bids did you take on this granite kitchen. Does this granite guy have any competition in his area. also what is granite going for, your side of Texas.

Good luck with your counters and your new home.
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words Eric. I've tried to research everything I could in the areas I didn't fully understand the differences. Appliances, roofing, lighting, foundations, you name it, I've either done it myself or found people who were the experts. I'm not an expert on the subjects but I can usually grasp the concepts. Wink

We love the house and the neighborhood and the builder has been upfront with us most of the time. The builder had complete control over the sub's and most of the materials. When it came to the tile and granite work, they brought in a new company and we were the first house to use them. I was assured by the builder that these people were much better then the previous people they had been using. I can't image how bad that must have been. Shocked This is not a track home built by some large, uncaring company. The people who built the house live in the neighborhood too thus the vested interest.

So I can't really answer you question about cost per foot because we never really saw the actual bill or bid the job ourselves in the first place. I can say the competition in the area seems to be stiff however.
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Rey Rodriguez
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mad Dog, where in Texas are you?
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Antonio Almonte
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the etch still smooth and with the same shine as the rest of the stone? If it is then the stone is doctored. If the stone had calcium binders the etched area would be a little rougher or different. I have run across this once and learned. I test every black stone I get and if it etches I don't sell it. I have six slabs of black absolute that is sitting in the back because of this and if a customer wants to buy it for cheap and knowing the problems, then and only then would I use it. It only takes 15 minutes of my time to test it with the lemon juice. I believe it is MY responsibility to make sure I sell quality slabs and I honour that.
I would get them to replace the slabs with true black absolute.
Good Luck!

Antonio
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rey, I'm north of Fort Worth in Trophy Club.

Antonio, the surface to the touch is as smooth, maybe even slightly smoother then the factory finish. If you look at it with indirect light, you can't see the problem areas. With reflected light, it's very noticable. I may try to take a picture of the cloudy areas and some of the other issue areas. I think you would all be appalled at the workmanship.
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the jig is up. The installer sent out 2 different restoration companies to look over the counter top. Both felt they could get the cloudy spots to shine again however neither would attempt to fix the crack. Not that I was surprised at all. Once I mention the "lemon juice test" they get a strange look and the meeting is over. Funny how that works.

They have now agreed to replace the top. The real question is when.

As a consumer, customer services goes a long way with me. The game plan was to come out yesterday and "break off" a piece of the countertop so we could match it in the slab yard. (That should be fun!) So far, they have been a no show for 2 days. Not a problem as I will get the right people involved and move this forward but I'm sure you can see what this is doing to the company's reputation.

Guys, keep up the good work out there. I'll keep you posted as the deconstruction and installation take place.
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brian briggs
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words. Stick to your guns and keep us posted.
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Michael Shane
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks agian for keeping us posted.
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Mad Dog
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK guys. Here's one for you.

The fab guys came out Friday and made a new template for the replacement top. Seemed simple enough. A few pieces of cardboard taped together and the top was traced from the bottom with a pencil. A few cuts with a utility knife in key areas where they need to match to another countertop.

Then the fun. We need a piece of the granite to take to the slab yard. Because of the layout, the only solution was to use a makita and take a chunk out that way. No problem except the mess. Even with a shopvac positioned as close as possible. OK, big mess but the cutting is done. So, we grab a hand sledge to knock the piece out (He didn't cut all the way). A couple taps with the hammer and out pops the chunk but the laminated piece which was not cut all the way remains attached to the rest of the counter, not the piece we cut! Needless to say, I was shocked.

After further investigation, it appears multipe slots were cut in an X pattern on the lamination piece and the epoxy was still tacky. From reading the the many great blogs, this does not appear to be a proper installation. The counters have been in for over 9 months so clearly the epoxy was not mixed correctly. It's amazing to me the lamination is still attached.

So my questions is around the scoring of the laminate piece. Is this a standard technique? In doing so, the slots are visible in the middle of the bullnose but filled in.
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Chris
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats not right! The lamination line should barely be visable like a hair, no holes from grinders. Shocked
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