Seaming granite and engineered stone can be a bit tricky. There are dozens of methods available and sometimes itís best to just stick to the plain old basic procedure. This monthís Stone Shop will explain one such procedure.
Many fabricators have no problem producing top quality granite or engineered stone countertops. However, where many have trouble is with installation and especially getting a really tight seam. The following is one of many procedures that I use to get a tight seam on most granite and engineered stone installations.
To get started you will need a seam-setter, flowing grade transparent polyester, color kit for polyester, single edge razor blades, denatured alcohol or acetone and clean white rags.
the countertop is in place you are ready to level and fill the seams. Here is one procedure
to do this:
1. Place the seam setter device(s) across the seam.
2. Apply the suction cups and lift the seam setter device to see if it is attached. If it is not attached you may need to clean the top with some acetone or denatured alcohol to get a better grip.
3. Once the seam setter is in place, use the leveling adjustments to adjust the stone pieces up or down so that both pieces are level to one another. Use a razor blade or your fingernail to run across the seam to check for levelness.
4. Once you are satisfied that the pieces are properly level, shim under the countertop if there is room to do so.
5. With the seam setter still in place, move the adjusting knob so the seam opens up to about a 1/6 in.
6. Take some polyester and add the proper amount and shade of color to match the color of the granite or quartz surfacing. In some cases you can use a clear polyester in place of the transparent and you wonít need to color match.
7. Add the hardener to the polyester and fill the seam with the mixture using a razor blade, putty knife or Popsicle stick.
8. Once the seam is filled with polyester, close the seam setter by adjusting the knob until the seam is tight. This will force the polyester out of the seam. Take a razor blade and remove the excess polyester. Try to clean as much polyester as possible off the stone. This will make clean-up a lot easier when the polyester is set and has hardened.
9. Once the polyester is set (five to 20 min.) remove the seam setter.
10. Take some denatured alcohol or acetone and clean any polyester residue from the surface. You may need to scrape it with a razor blade if it is on too thick.
11. Double check the installation, making sure it is sound
This should work as a basic way to create a proper and tight seam. As mentioned above, there are many methods to set a seam including using different glues as well as vacuum powdered seam setters. Whichever method you choose to use, be sure to follow the manufacturers directions for the best results.
About the author: Frederick M. Hueston is a worldwide expert on stone installation, failures, fabrication and restoration. He is the founder of the National Training Center for Stone & Masonry Trades (ntc-stone.com) and Stone University (stoneuniversity.com) He can be reached at Fhueston@aol.com.