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Granite counter tops

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Oct 02, 2012, 08:54 AM
Granite counter tops
We are getting ready to renovate our kitchen and will be adding granite counter tops. We have hear 2 different opinions from contractors 1. doing countertops with granit and NOT putting a 2" backsplash made of the granite 2. putting an extra piece of granite on the back (backsplash area). This contractor is telling us that this will then not allow the granite to move and cause a space between the granit and the wall/title. We have seen it both ways but more often without the additonal piece. Which way should we go?
Oct 02, 2012, 01:12 PM
I don't understand the issue. Once granite is installed it stays in place, it's heavy. We have some 4 inch backsplashes in the family room and we have granite in the kitchen without any granite backsplash, which is meant to have a tile backsplash. I've always considered this a matter of style. Ask Chicago Stonepro, he's an expert on granite and stone.
Oct 03, 2012, 03:36 PM
I've seen it both ways also, but usually when advising a client we just do the tile backsplash that coordinates with the granite being used. A design colleague of mine in AZ did a gorgeous granite backsplash of the same granite on the countertops but it was very asymentrical and looked sort of like an outline of hills - it may sound awful, but it was truly beautiful and unique.
Just one word about the granite you use - and you may already know this - be sure you go to the granite yard yourself and pick out your own slab(s) - they will tag them with your name and the name of your fabricator so you'll know exactly what is going into your space. It's impossible to pick out a slab from a tiny sample because it varies so much slab to slab, especially if there is a lot of movement and color in it.
Oct 04, 2012, 09:28 AM
Chicago Stonepro
Hi Gutzy,

The contractor is talking about the line where the wall plane and countertop plane meet. The filler in this line always cracks, unless it's flexible. The way around this is to use color matched caulk, not grout.

Most times, the tile guy will grout the line, and after the grout has set and dried, will caulk over it with clear silicone. This doesn't keep the grout from cracking, but it usually keeps the grout in place.

A slab backsplash will still expand and contract differently than the tile in the same plane, so you'll still get the crack in the line where the tile meets the slab backsplash, but it's a smaller effect, so initially the crack is smaller, any grout tends to stay in place longer.

Realistically, anytime you have a change in material - e.g., wood to tile, glass to stone, tile to slab - that line needs to be filled with something flexible. It's just physics.

The contractor seems to have an incomplete understanding of this.

Basically, it's a design issue, nothing more.

I like those creative splashes too. Sometimes, the designer wants them to remain broken-edge, which also looks nice. There's a showroom just north of Chicago that first showed such a piece about 20 years ago. Not for every design, but where it works, it's spectacular.



Natural Stone Info & Advice
Oct 04, 2012, 09:43 AM
Chicago Stonepro
One more thing, Gutzy,

I agree, going to the slab warehouse to select your slabs isn't optional. You have to go, and bring a door front, if you can.

Then, bring samples home, to test them in the light in your home.

In addition, make sure you have pieces broken or cut from the actual slab you are considering, because you need to test the material that's actually going to be installed. You're going to do a lemon test, to make sure the stuff is okay for your kitchen.

The test is easy: Slice a fresh lemon, half or slices, press it onto the surface of the stone sample, leave it on the stone for a couple hours, or even overnight. If the material is right for a kitchen, it won't matter how long you leave the lemon slice on the stone. Remove the lemon, rinse the sample, wipe it dry.

If the lemon left an impression that is lighter than the surrounding stone, the stone is sensitive to food acids, and you should find another material. If the stone is darker where the lemon was, that's just liquid absorbed into the stone. You can leave it dry out for a day or two, and it should lighten. If it stays darker, that's probably just oil from the lemon peel.

You can seal stone against oil. You can NOT seal stone against etching. If it etches, stay away from it.



Natural Stone Info & Advice
Oct 04, 2012, 12:54 PM
Sounds like a design issue to me, Gutzy so don't understand the contractors' involvement. Up to them to properly install it - not make design decisions, IMHO.

One concern I had from reading your post - is the contractor upcharging you on the granite/materials?

Personally, I would go with a full-sized (not merely 2") tile backsplash. You can always enhance that with glass or marble tile as your budget permits, to your taste.

Or, again, if you prefer and your budget allows, go with the granite backsplash, understanding the installation issues involved so you can supervise the project, if necessary. (Do you have a gc? Project Manager? Someone overseeing the subs?)

Definitely agree - you must go to the stoneyard and select your slab.

Good Luck! All, JMHO.
Oct 04, 2012, 09:49 PM
Chicago Stonepro
The price difference between 2" and 3" or 4" splash is nothing. To me, it seems rather silly to think someone is getting ripped off because of this difference.

As I posted above, the contractor has a viewpoint, rooted in reality - cracked and missing grout where the tile meets the top - but the solution is really to use color matched caulk, regardless of which design detail is installed.

As to "only" a 2" splash, I was actually on a site today, working with and advising a client whose kitchen was designed by Mick DeGiulio - and the backsplash was 2" slab, with tile the rest of the way up. The home is actually a small mansion, on a private subdivision, on a private golf course, in one of Chicago's old north shore suburbs.

I was working in the kitchen, master bath, and the bath/shower off the large heated indoor pool.

Here's a link to De Giulio's website:
De Giulio

Two inch slab splashes are nothing new. I've been doing them for Italian, Spanish, and French designers for more than 20 years.

If this client was ripped off somehow, it wasn't over the backsplash.

Myself, I've seen lots of remodeling contractors make great design calls, so I wouldn't be so quick to trash the contractor without knowing the job. I was addressing the technical justification for the design call - not questioning the design.



Natural Stone Info & Advice
Oct 05, 2012, 03:46 PM
Don't think Chicago stonepro is advertising one bit. He's been on these boards for a couple of years and in my estimation is doing a service by providing sound advice about products he knows so well.
Oct 05, 2012, 05:15 PM
Bob Fleming
Blueday, StonePro is a valuable contributor to these forums and I look for his inputs. I don't think he was being critical of you or Gutzy but was just telling us what he knows from his experience.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Bob Fleming,
Oct 08, 2012, 01:22 AM
Chicago Stonepro
Wow. Thanks, Bob and mamaspoon.

Well, Gutzy has two contractors under consideration. I don't know them, and I don't know her kitchen.

Gutzy is doing what we all do - homework, to make a better decision. This is one detail only, but it matters to her, and I respect that. Obviously, she wants to know if one of the contractors is blowing smoke.

I really don't know if the contractor is trying to blow smoke, because there IS something to the issue he raised. His solution may be the best he's seen, in his experience. I have some insight into the issue, have an opinion, and posted it for her. I hope it's of use to her, and others who will read this.

As to designers, project managers, general contractors, etc, I work with these all the time, and other posts of mine have recommended folks to use them, depending on their circumstances.

Gutzy will surely continue to do her due diligence.

Gutzy, the only thing I might add is this: If either of those contractors becomes irate and offensive and starts bad-mouthing the other contractor during a civil discussion, you're likely in the presence of someone you'd not want to invite into your home, and give your money to.

Funny how things come to mind sometimes.



Natural Stone Info & Advice
Oct 08, 2012, 10:21 AM
Wow! Sorry I really wasn't putting down either way I have just seen it both ways and was curious to know which way people prefer. An update: We have decided to not do the blacksplash and do all tile behind the counter. Also, we are actually going to go with Cambria vs. Granite.
Thanks to all of you for your opinions.
Oct 08, 2012, 08:49 PM
Good luck with your project, Gutzy. I'm sure you'll be happy with the Cambria.

Bob, I appreciate your sentiment but CS patronized me on a previous thread and then misstated my post to perpetuate the argument here. I've engaged and managed numerous gc's and subs so I have a highly developed bs meter.

mamaspoon, longevity on a public forum doesn't confirm competence, to me. In fact, the opposite may be true, IMHO. (None of our guys have the time to post on even one forum, let alone multiple ones.) If CS doesn't intend to advertise, then I'm sure he will promptly remove his standard signature lines and all other identifying information from his posts. He has absolutely no other valid reason to include that information on each post.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: blueday,
Oct 18, 2012, 04:14 PM
Hello, I've been reading your discussions here, although I am not really experts about the installation and house renovation but it did started my interest to it, when my husband did asked for help for my kitchen to remodel and redesign it. He went to an expert to asked for a help. It was Cumar, Inc., they installed a granite counter tops, I was amazed and then I realized that it is a fun hobby and the rest was history, my children also helped me a lot. I hope I can hear more interesting topic with you guys since I am still a newbie for this stuff. Thanks a lot!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: myratalena,
Apr 25, 2013, 01:24 AM
Aug 14, 2013, 07:49 AM
We have finished our project. I really like it and anxious to hear what you think. Here is a picture.
Aug 15, 2013, 11:56 AM
You forgot to post the px. Will you redo? We always like to look.
Aug 27, 2013, 12:12 PM
where's the pic? i want to see on how they did it,

Sep 23, 2013, 02:58 PM
"You can seal stone against oil. You can NOT seal stone against etching. If it etches, stay away from it."

Not according to
Nov 05, 2013, 07:15 AM
Would be great to see a picture after reading all the posts. Hopefully you will post it soon?


This message has been edited. Last edited by: AdamnWhite,
Jan 20, 2014, 10:47 PM
I definitely agree with 16paws, when said that granites stay in place as they are heavy. We have the same set up at home.