Challenges with stone installations
Stone World spoke with Laura Grandlienard of Rockin’ teriors in Raleigh, NC, about challenges she and her company face while installing stone
What are some of the challenging installations that you have completed recently?
LG: The first project that comes to mind was a bathroom vanity that we built out of quartzite material including a custom designed integrated sink and floating mitered panels. All back and underlit for added effect.
Another project we recently completed was an extra thick (5cm) marble kitchen island, which was oversized as well. We also added full matching backsplash to maximize the overall pattern of the material in the space.
What made them so challenging?
LG: The vanity project was challenging more from a plumbing standpoint than anything else. It took coordination with the designer to achieve this design and to make it fully come to life was very rewarding for all the individuals involved in making this. Additionally, it is sometimes a challenge with certain quartzites to miter them without chipping the stone, but our skilled fabricators really did an excellent job and produced a show stopper in the end.
The extra thick island was not our first, but they always pose a huge safety challenge when it comes to the installation. We take our men’s safety very seriously and to install an extra-large island like this one is something not to take lightly! The coordinating full backsplash was an added bonus and highlighted the beauty of this marble even further.
What are the things that fabricators should consider when planning out a huge miter installation?
LG: At the template, the key factor is making sure cabinets are completely level and squared. Cutting the 45-degree edges must be done at a pace that is not too slow and not too fast or the chance of chipping the stone will happen. Additionally, our cutter will spend the extra time to make sure the veining lines up as much as possible for a beautiful waterfall effect. Adding the proper amount of wood support underneath is also key especially where there is seated overhang. We make sure to wrap stone or wood underneath and then make sure it is flush and smooth to the touch.
What about using giant slabs as wall cladding?
LG: There are several factors that need to be considered before agreeing to a giant slab wall cladding installation. First and foremost is the ability to guide and fit the full piece in the home/building through doorways, hallways, elevators, stairwells, etc.
Once that has been determined, then the thickness of the material is a big consideration obviously for weight as well as handling the material as it is being installed. We generally try work with material that is 2cm or thinner for this reason.
We also make it a standard to use the right adhesive material to withstand the test of time and weight of the material. If we feel that the safety of our team would be at risk at the time of installation, we would recommend then that the wall piece be jointed to meet OSHA requirements.
How do you deal with second (or higher) floor installations?
LG: The above answer applies here, but also we have worked with our builder/contractors to have the proper scaffolding, crane or lifts available for our men to use to get in to these higher floors for install. Every install poses its different challenges, so walking the property in advance to ensure that the proper equipment is available, as well as ensuring pathways are clear and entryways can be accessed, is key to making the installation run smoothly.
Anything else that fabricators should look out for with difficult stone installations?
LG: As with any installation, we make sure we photograph or videotape the final product to ensure that should anything become damaged after we have left the property, we are not held liable. For difficult installs we normally will video not only for our selling purposes, but also for a record to show our OSHA compliance and safety standards.