Seam granite countertops the right way or suffer with a cleaning issue and an eyesore. Granite seams are often a point of concern. How many seams are normal? How should they look? How can you make sure your fabricator is capable of producing a "perfect" seam?
Seams in your granite tops are inevitable to get continuous runs of countertop out of material that is limited in length. Granite countertop seams are an issue of concern for many buyers of granite counters. Marble and granite slabs are generally not wider than 10 or 11 feet. Most are less than 10 feet wide.
If your kitchen countertops are longer than 10 feet, chances are they will have a seam. But seams should not cause you concern. Here's why . . .
A seam is the transition line that forms when two granite tops come together. The void between the tops should be filled with epoxy or polyester glue, colored with pigment to match your granite tops.
Some installers use silicone so the countertop pieces can move. I find silicone seams to be impractical and a poor choice.
What is a seam?
What's a good seam?
Granite countertops need to be leveled at the seams. You should feel no difference in the height of the two countertop surfaces. Also, the tops should be no more than 1/16 inch apart. Here's what to look for in overall granite quality for your countertop installation.
The installers should be talented color-matchers (see Choosing Granite Fabricators), able to mix pigments and produce a pleasing color that matches or complements the stone.
Every slab of granite is unique with colors that can't be easily matched using pre-mixed seam pigments. I've seen installers re-mix seams 3 or 4 times until they are happy with the color match. Granite Repair Kits come with all the supplies needed to make a good seam.
How many seams are needed?
The number of seams in your granite countertops should always be kept to a minimum. Certain factors will determine how many seams you will have. For example . . . Some marble and granite slabs are small. The smaller the slabs, chances are, the more seams you will have. Some countertop configurations and shapes require more seams in order to get the tops in place.
Besides the size of your slabs, the configuration of your cabinet layout will affect where you seam granite and how many seams you have. You can't place seams over dishwashers or over other below-counter appliances that offer no support for the granite tops.
Cooktop cutouts are good seam locations. You can save stone while minimizing the size of the seams.
It's best to place granite countertop seams in areas that aren't seen much.
See Granite Support Guidelines for considerations on supporting your stone stops and how seams effect this. Also, Granite Sealer for proper sealing of your seam.
When dealing with contractors of any kind, quality referrals are your best way to avoid the frustration and hassle. And it's why you should consider a referral source like Angie's List to help you find any kind of contractor, not just granite fabricators and installers.
Seams should not be less than 6 inches from the edge of a sink cutout. This can leave the top weak and subject to breaking during installation. You can put seams in sink cutouts, but this may make the seams more obvious and constantly under use and stress.
The skill of your installer and the quality of your fabricator will determine how good your granite countertop seam will look. If you know what a good seam should look like, you can have an impact on what you get.
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