There are some condos going up in Regina being built by a firm from out of town. Now there are a handful of local and capable people to fabricate and install the granite for their condos. Instead they chose to get everything pre-fabricated in China, shipped to Regina and installed by whatever general labourers they can dig up.
Unfortunately many of the countertops arrived broken. And what wasn’t broken was occasionally getting broken when the guys were moving it around. And even if they managed to get the granite installed in one piece there are gaps and bad seams and just all around poor work.
So they call us up wondering if we can repair their broken granite. We spend a couple of hours with them today to look over the project and see what was fixable. It didn’t look good.
I sent the company a letter explaining the issues. It looks like we got a “thanks, but no thanks” on out offer to help. Which is fair, but unfortunately there are going to be some disappointed condo owners once they take possession.
Here is the letter, I thought I’d blog it because I spent so much time drafting it without any return on investment! Well, maybe they’ll come around and decide to do things right!
I had a chance to meet with E*** today and this is what we went over. Unfortunately your guys over there are in a tight spot. We definitely would like to help you out.
Unpacking – Some of the product is already damaged as it sits. It is important that the small chips are saved from the broken pieces to maximize the chances that we can repair them. Having our guys help unpack and install might save you a few of those products.
Installation – Some of the pieces that are slightly damaged or even undamaged are being broken during installation because the material is not being handled properly. Increase the chances of getting the material into place by having our people help.
Cracks – Any piece with more than two cracks is unrepairable. Pieces with the cracks right through the sink area might be repairable. However we do not guarantee we can repair them, and even if they are repaired the granite might be rejected by the customer. How much money do you wish to invest in repair as opposed to replacement? My advice is to replace anything with a crack. I estimate that we will spend 3 or 4 hours trying to repair each unit that is cracked.
Seams – The seams that are done are not very good. I recommend that our installers do all the seams that are not done, and re-do the seams that are done. The number one complaint when it comes to granite is a wide, uneven seam. Some of the seams that are done do not even match the colour of the granite. Each seam should take us about an hour. At present your joints do not fit within the required standards set by the American Marble Institute or the Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada. We have a special tool to pull those seams tight, you may not even feel or see the seam once we have worked on it. Presently I would have rejected every seam that I saw at that building.
Shims – At the same time as the seams we should take care of whatever counters are not sitting flush on the cabinets. What you have now in a few cases are floating countertops that are held up with shims and giant gaps between the gables and the granite. The problem will arise when someone steps on the granite or a heavy object is placed on it, especially around the sink. The granite will crack, because there is no support under the granite, only at the ends. That is classified as a warranty repair if that happens. We will do this at the same time as we do the seams because we require the granite to be flat and stable before finishing the seams.
Sinks – The good news is that most of the sinks look like they are installed well. You should have no issues just siliconing the sink up as they are large (which is what is causing grief with the shipping and handling of the slabs) and the sinks look like they are sitting on the gable ends, which means that they will never come off. You do not need clips. For the sinks that are not going to rest on the gable ends you need to silicone plus add some polyester epoxy adhesive around the underside after it is mounted with silicone on the lip. You will not have a failure if this is done correctly.
Overhang – In certain units you have more than 10” of overhang. This is not within industry standards as the American Marble Institute recommends support AT 10” or more. The Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada recommends that any overhang over 200mm (8”) is reviewed to see if support is required. We recommend supports, and that is something we do not install. You will probably get away with no support, but if there is a failure and someone is injured you may be liable.
Cleanup – The finished tops that you have there are dirty and full of glue and all sorts of crap. I recommend that you let us clean them and remove any foreign substances and then professionally seal every single piece. This will make each top look perfect and shiny, and the sealer will reduce any warranty issues.
Recuts/replacement – We do not guarantee that we can repair the cracks in certain pieces. And even if they are repairable we do not guarantee that the granite will be rejected by the customer afterwards. Our policy is to replace anything that has a crack. That is what I recommend. Once we know the scope of the damage I can provide prices on replacing whatever you need. We have the Giallo Ornimental in stock. The others are in stock at our supplier and we can have the slabs here usually within a few days. We would be willing to produce the tops immediately for you, given that we have other projects on the go, we can fit the replacements into our schedule just as quickly as we can.
Unfortunately it is my experience that even if the customer does not reject the granite immediately, once he has seen his neighbour’s granite that was not cracked or one that has been replaced, he is going to call and demand that his is replaced too. So repairing cracks is a very risky operation.
In speaking with E*** we agreed that if you are going to bring material in from China for your next units, it would be profitable to have us look after all of the installation. Our crew knows how to handle granite and you will save a few of those pieces that your present crew is breaking simply because of their inexperience. Plus, it will be easier to seam and level properly as we are installing the granite rather than afterwards. The cost of getting us to do it properly is going to be much less than having your inexperienced crew make a mess. And it is going to be much easier selling units that have perfect granite.
I am prepared to provide a unit by unit price to do the following:
1) Repair cracks
2) Seam joints (goes with #3)
3) Adjusting and levelling to prevent floating (goes with #2)
4) Clean and seal
5) Replacement where necessary
6) Installing future units including all of the above for each new unit.
Please advise where you would like us to start, what prices do you want and how you would like to proceed.
I do have a two man install crew available half days this week.
Stone Age Granite