7/24/2011 3:38 PM
Granite and Quartz Countertop Seams - Top 10 Tips
Most residential kitchens do require at least one seam in their countertops. Many clients want to know what they should expect in terms of the quality and visibility of the seam. Here are some tips to help ensure good seam quality.
- Realistic Expectations - Have realistic expectations of the material. Although a good seam should be inconspicuous, do not expect it to be invisible. A seam in granite and quartz countertops will always be something that you can both see and feel. (Seam quality in picture to right is unacceptable.)
- Color and Pattern - The color and pattern selected can make a difference as to the appearance of the seam. Light colors (white, beige, light grays) with a solid or very small pattern will have more conspicuous seams than a material with multiple colors and patterns.
- See a Sample - Be sure to have your fabricator show you a sample of their seam quality. A fabricator should either have a showroom that you can go to and view a seam or they should be able to provide a list of past clients that are willing to let you come to their home and see the quality of work that has been installed.
- Seam Location - There is some controversy as to whether a seam should be put in the middle of a sink or cooktop cut out. Some fabricators feel that the seam is more vulnerable to breakage in those areas. However, if you prefer to have a seam in one or both of these locations ask your fabricator if the material can handle such a small seam.
- Seam Layout - Seam layouts should be done prior to cutting material. Your fabricator should know the length and width of your material and should be able to determine the exact position prior to cutting. If you have a preference, discuss the seam location when the fabricator is making the pattern (template) for you countertop. Be sure to be present while they are doing final field measurements so you can discuss seam location.
- Epoxy Seams - Countertop deck seams should be bonded with an epoxy that is similar in color(s) to the granite / quartz material. Deck seams should not be bonded with silicone.
- “Industry Standards” - This is a fancy term used to say the seam is “Good Enough”. Industry standards recommends deck seams can be up to 1/16” wide with a +/- tolerance of 1/64”. Veteran fabricators work to achieve a much tighter fit.
- Lippage - A good seam should be level. Many times fabricators encounter un-level cabinets, varied slab thickness and bowed or warped material. This requires the fabricator to shim the countertops, or modify the material in order get a quality seam. Even minor amounts of lippage are noticeable and sometimes unavoidable due to permanent warp in the material.
- Final Positioning - When your fabricator comes to install your countertops it’s not typical to have the seam fit together perfectly the first time. Most fabricators will layout the tops and do a “dry fit” the first time and then take the tops out of the house to make slight modifications. This may need to be done multiple times to achieve a great it. This is normal and you should not be alarmed.
- See It Yourself - Be sure to be present on the day your fabricator installs the countertops. If you have any concerns about the appearance of the seam it can be addressed immediately before countertops have been permanently set in place.
Copyright ©2011 Andy Graves