Granite Cracks – Why Wait for a Repair?

Ok, another article about granite crack repair! I promise this is new information.

We have had several clients call with rusted rod cracks that are not large enough to break and extract the rod and may not even be large enough to perform our proprietary 1 year warranty injection method to recoat the rod with epoxy, grind, an polish the surface.

I looked at a crack in April that was 18 inches long and about 1/8 inch wide. The crack began near the center of the sink and extended just beyond the right side of the sink. The crack was in the center of the rail with no tributary cracks extending to either side of the rail. The entire kitchen was only about 40 square feet with a standard bullnose. The customer had agreed on a $1000 price to make the repair. Like most of these repairs, we evaluated and bid it over the phone based on pictures that our customer sent. Due to the number of calls we receive, to provide timely estimates to each caller, we can’t see every project in person.

Granite Crack Before Repair
Granite Crack Before Repair

During the in-person evaluation that occurs at the start of each repair, in April, the customer concluded that the repair cost went a long way toward cost of total replacement for the counters in his small kitchen. As a courtesy I referred him to a local fabricator, refunded his deposit, and wished him luck with his project.

Seven months later he called again asking for the repair. For financial reasons he had to put aside his replacement project and as the months passed, the crack expanded and moved toward the bullnose. While the crack became more severe, the prospect for a successful repair actually became more certain. From the new pictures it appeared that we could break the sink rail, cut out the rod, and fit everything back together. After grinding and aesthetic adhesive repair, the crack would disappear.

We arrived in mid-November to perform the repair. After clamping the sink rail on a spot that could be used as a fulcrum to break the pieces apart, the rod was cut and extracted where possible and covered with epoxy where it was still embedded in the granite above the subtop. Breaking the counter when possible, instead of cutting them saves material and allows us to put the pieces back together more seamlessly.

Once the rod was removed, the pieces were cleaned and prepped to be glued back in place using a true two part fast setting epoxy resin. The pieces were carefully glued back in place and clamped to make sure they stayed true and level during the curing process. The finishing process can then take place which includes grinding and polishing, and well as chip and hope filling.

Granite Counter Crack After Repair
Granite Counter Crack After Repair

I teach an in depth online class for these repairs that can be found here:  https://stonecareedu.com/collections/professional-services/products/granite-repairs-crack-repair-seam-repair-other-misc-repairs

The videos below illustrate the two types of repair techniques. While we prefer to break and extract the rod, the more common repair is the injection method.

Here is an example of a project that allowed us to remove the rod:

If the rod can not be exposed, cut, and removed without causing further damage, the Epoxy Injection Method is used. The crack is cleaned out, dried with a torch or heat gun, and epoxy is injected into the crack in an attempt to coat the rod and hold the counter together. We use a real two part epoxy adhesive for this. Beware companies that use “flowing” or “penetrating” resins. These are not real epoxies and will break down around water.

Here is a video discussing three recent Injection Method repairs.


Ted is the owner of Sureshine Care and Restoration Services, Inc. in Orange County California with an office in Morgan Hill, California. Ted has been polishing and restoring natural stone and tile since 1987, has written a book on the subject and teaches a four day intensive hands on seminar to teach interested students the stone restoration trade. Most recently, Ted was instrumental in the completion of the new Stone Restoration Standard by the Marble Institute of America. For more information on the stone restoration standard click here.

If you are in need of services in the Bay Area or Southern California, please call us at (800)378-0266 or email repairs@sureshinecares.com.

Granite Crack Repairs Explained

Granite Cracks Explained

We receive several calls per week regarding cracks in the front and/or rear edge of under mount sinks. Occasionally there is a crack by a drop in sink as well but it is rare. It is rare because of the cause.

Under mount sink rails are especially susceptible to these types of cracks because of the break down in the caulk sealant around the sink. As the caulk erodes water enters the space between the wood suptop and the counter causing the steel support rod to rust. A suptop is a 5/8″ – 3/4″ piece of plywood that in installed between the cabinets and the counter to provide structure and support to the counter. Recently, within the last five years, the granite fabrication industry has moved away from steel support rods to fiberglass and other materials, but steel has been the rodding material of choice for twenty years.

How Granite Cracks Happen

One of the biggest geographical differences between the West Coast and the rest of the United States is the thickness of granite counters and the need for support. Still, many granite and quartz counters installed on the West Coast are 2 cm in thickness. The fabricator laminates to pieces together to create a thick edge or bullnose. The sink can be between the suptop and the counter or installed under the counter using a sink setter or straps. It is common for the sink to be sandwiched between the granite and the suptop. Because of this arrangement the intrusion of water is a particular problem. The support rod is usually encased in a polyester rodding glue that breaks down under prolonged contact with moisture. This breakdown along with the absorption of water into the underside of the granite creates all of the conditions necessary for the rod to corrode and begin to expand. The expansion is slow and steady and acts like a spreader pushing the granite apart.

It begins with a small crack usually on the right side of the sink. If you have a crack, look at the inside of your sink rail. You should see a crack or void in your sealant where moisture has been allowed to enter for some time. Unfortunately, your counter has already begun its slow failure. The best thing that can be done now is to reduce or retard the corrosion as much as possible. To do this, remove the caulking, and stop using your sink until the moisture is gone. You can speed the drying by directing a torch or heat gun into the crevice to remove as much of the moisture as possible and reapply a waterproof sealant to the sink. Silicone is recommended. This will not completely remove the danger of corrosion but will slow it down.

If the crack on the sink rail is large enough to see a gap between the pieces, a repair must be performed by an experienced stone restoration professional. The process for this typically includes filling the crack with a flowing epoxy, grinding the surface flat, and filling again with aesthetic adhesive so the appearance blends with the rest of the counter.

Removal of the rod is not always possible

Of course the most permanent solution is to remove the rod. This is much easier to do on the East Coast were 3 cm granite is used without a subtop. When this is the case the sink is installed using straps, sink setters, and other methods. This allows a repair technician to drop the sink and see the rod and in many cases remove the rod without too much effort. A repair of this kind still takes time, but the removal of the rod offers a much better long term value to the customer by saving the counter.

West Coast repairs are limited by the subtop and the severity of the crack.  Recently I was called to the project were the client let his counter crack to the point that is was falling apart and rust was being pushed to the surface. In this case I was able to remove the rod and glue the pieces back together.

20160831_101649 20160831_121023

You can see how corroded the granite rod is and the stain that the oxidation left in the granite. This photo was taken immediately prior to re-installation of a white silicone sealant around the sink.

It still amazes me however when a counter has been allowed to crack to a point almost beyond repair. Further still, these repairs still may not allow for the removal of the rod due to the numerous cracks and the crumbling of the top and the presence of a suptop. Filling the large gap with a flowing epoxy, grinding, the surface, and polishing is an option but as I said, it is not a permanent repair. An example of a repair of this kind is in the video below.

The bad news is that so many counters were installed during the housing boom in most parts of the country using steel for rodding support. I estimate that there are 10,000 rusting rods in the American Southwest alone. My company receives 2-3 calls a day now for these types of repairs and we repair 4-5 per week. We expect this number to double in the coming years.

The good news is that reputable granite fabricators no longer use steel for their rodding support. So you can rest assured that the industry is policing itself. You should ask a lot of questions of your fabricator to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Consider using a member of the Stone Fabricators Alliance and the Marble Institute of America. Both of these organizations hold their members to stringent codes of conduct.

About the author:

Ted is the owner of Sureshine Care and Restoration Services, Inc. in Orange County California with an office in Morgan Hill, California. Ted has been polishing and restoring natural stone and tile since 1987, has written a book on the subject and teaches a four day intensive hands on seminar to teach interested students the stone restoration trade. If you are in need of services in Southern California, please call us at (800)378-0266 or email info@sureshinecares.com.

Granite Counter Polishing and Repair

Granite Counter Polishing and Repair

Granite has steadily become the surface of choice for stone counters. Granite is easy to clean, does not etch with acids, and if sealed properly will not stain. But there are times when when your granite surfaces need attention.

Over time a heavily used granite counter space can become dulled by the constant abrasion of porcelain dishes, metal hardware,and other impliments. When this happens the surface needs to be polished. This is done using specialized tooling and polishes. Once the surface is brought back to a polish it is detailed and sealed. Your newly polished granite will last for years.

Cracks around the sinks can happen when a steel rod has been placed in the granite for strength around the sink hole. Water intrusion causes the steel to expand as it rusts. These cracks run parallel to the sink and in many cases are not permanently repairable. At Sureshine we have a developed a method of repair that will extend the life of your counters. The cracks are filled with flowing fast curing epoxy then ground flat. Once flat the surface is filled with aesthetic adhesives to make the repair look as natural as possible.

Services Offered:

1. Granite Counter Clean and Seal – Removal of all residues and debris from the surfaces, application of the highest quality sealer, buffing to remove residues and polish.
2. Granite Counter Polish, Clean, and Seal – Mild abrasive restorative polishing prior to detail cleaning and sealing.
3. Granite Counter Repair – Includes Cracks in front and behind the sink, holes, and seam repairs. Please call us for more information on these services.

Examples of our Work
 Granite Crack Repair - Before  Granite Crack Repair - After and ready for use.
Granite Seam Repair in Porgress The perfect polish

Cracked granite counter to be repaired
This crack is caused by a rusting steel rod cut into the underside of the granite.

Granite Crack Repair and Clean and Seal
Granite Crack Repair and Clean and Seal

Get the Most From your Investment:

1. Keep areas around fixtures clean and dry
2. Put soap and other cleaning products on trays away from the surface
3. Blot spills with a paper or microfiber towel and use Easyoxy to remove residues
4. When cleaning the surface do not use dish soap or other highly concentrated cleaning agent. These product attract dirt and build-up that can be hard to clean over time.
5. For polished surfaces, use Ultimate Stone and Multisurface Polish periodically (Weekly or semi-monthly as needed).
6. Do not cut directly on the surface. Use a cutting board.
7. Periocically check the caulking around your sink and backsplash and repair if necessary.
8. It is generally not advisable to set hot pots directly on the counter. Using trivets can prevent damage.
9. Use a your favorite daily cleaner regularly to remove residues.

Products to buy:

Easy Oxy
Ultimate
Stain Remover

Honed Granite Absolute Granite Refinishing

Honed Absolute Granite Refinishing and Honing

Recently, we refinished honed granite kitchen counters for a very good client. Though honed absolute black is a terrific counter top material that delivers years of useful life, it does tend to need service from time to time. We refinished all of the spots off the surface and deep cleaned it to remove any oils and grease.

Granite Counter Before.

 

       Black Granite Counter
 Black Granite Counter - Close-up before refinishing
 Black Granite Counter
 Black Granite Counter

Granite Counters After Refinishing and Honing

 

The granite surface was wet sanded to remove lines, marks, and swirls. The surface diamond polished to a nice satin finish then color enhanced to both darken the surface and seal it to reduce future issues. This kind of service must be done once every three or four years.

Black Granite Counter
 Black Granite Counter
 Black Granite Counter
 Black Granite Counter

 

About Ted McFadden

Ted is the owner of Sureshine Care and Restoration Services, Inc. in Orange County California with an office in Morgan Hill, California. Ted has been polishing and restoring natural stone and tile since 1987, has written a book on the subject and teaches a four day intensive hands on seminar to teach interested students the stone restoration trade. If you are in need of services in Southern California, please call us at (800)378-0266 or email info@sureshinecares.com.