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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Services

Worpress

Lorem ipsum dolor amet consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc mi dui placerat eu faucibus vel, efficitur quis magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada.

Read More

Web Design

Lorem ipsum dolor amet consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc mi dui placerat eu faucibus vel, efficitur quis magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada.

Read More

Ecommerce

Lorem ipsum dolor amet consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc mi dui placerat eu faucibus vel, efficitur quis magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada.

Brand Now

SEO

Lorem ipsum dolor amet consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc mi dui placerat eu faucibus vel, efficitur quis magna. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada.

Read More

Our Team

Testimonials

  • I am so happy with the service provided by Steve and Sureshine. I had some marble floors and a shower that were in desperate need of some TLC. I called for an estimate, and Summer was very pleasant to talk to and scheduled an estimate within a couple days. Steve came out to do the estimate. He was very professional while being super friendly at the same time. The estimate was a better price than the other quotes I'd gotten, and they had time in the schedule to get it done soon, so I scheduled the appt. On to the actual work. I was amazed. Literally. I guess when you live with something so long you get used to it.  I could not believe how good my bathroom looked when they were done.  I looked brand new again. So shiny. It was all polished up, the grout cleaned, and sealed. I really was blown away. But even better, the crew had shown up on time, finished the work (beautifully) in the time estimated, and best of all, the left the place so clean.  I've had other contractors in my home, and they weren't the tidiest.  The Sureshine crew left the place immaculate. They protected my hardwood floors that meet up with the marble floor, and the baseboards, and completely cleaned up. Steve checked on the job when it was done, and had the crew put a little more work in removing a bit of product residue in one corner that I hadn't even noticed. Basically I couldn't be happier with the whole experience. Thanks Steve! I'll definitely be using you again when we need more work done.
    Yelp Customer
  • When we bought our house we were looking for someone to bring our stone back to life, it was dull,scratched and had no life. We contacted sureshine to come out and give us an estimate, we spoke with the office and they were very helpful determining what services we needed and scheduled a bid. Steve came out and ran through the project in great detail, we ended up restoring our travertine entry to a high shine, grout staining and sealing the stone. In addition to the entry we had them clean, caulk and seal the ceramic showers and vanities. We would highly recommend sureshines services they were very easy to deal with and exceeded our expectations. Thank you Becky Puma
    Yelp Customer

Our Partners