What is a seam?
A seam is a necessary evil that Merriam-Webster defines a as a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.
The truth about seams
On hard surface counter tops, seams are not invisible and you are going to be able to feel them.
Seams can be camouflaged by using a color matched seaming compound, making it difficult to see the seam even when you are standing right over the stone.
You will feel a seam, even if it is tight and the color match is perfect. When you rub your hand across the abutment of two pieces, there will be a transition.
The most difficult material to seam is white quartz.
ABOVE ALL ELSE, SEAMS ARE CONTROLLED BY “JOB SITE CIRCUMSTANCES.”
A job site is the area in which construction is occurring. Every project we work on is classified as a “job site” and every job site has a set of circumstances that is unique to the job.
Is your job is on the 14th floor of a high rise? And is the elevator too small to accommodate your pieces?
Your project site could be a bungalow with difficult access points.
Maybe the cabinets are build specifically to use as much of the stone as possible, but there are walls in the way so your stone will not actually fit into the house.
We have encountered many jobs where the client’s desire for seam free kitchen has resulted in the use of heavy equipment. On one project, the client hired a contractor to remove two windows because there wasn’t another way to access her residence with the equipment necessary to boom her island into the house. But, it is important to r
ecognize that these are special circumstances and not every project has this kind of challenge.
Normal operating procedure
There are many instances in which a job will not require seaming. If your job is less than the length of the slab, you should be able to escape the dreaded seam.
A typical bathroom vanity is an excellent example of a job that does not require a seam. Let’s say you selected Prestige Quartz White Perfection for your vanity – this slab is 120″ long. If your vanity is shorter than 10 feet, we can fabricate your top without any seams (yay!).
Smaller galley style kitchens can often be installed without seams.
What to expect when you are expecting (a seam)
In the beginning, seams should be discussed. When you are shopping for colors and prices, speak to your fabricator about seams. Seams should be tight and as inconspicuous as possible. When it is possible, seams should be kept out of the primary work space and in an area where they have ample support. Seams should be included in your workmanship guarantee. A seam should never be larger than 1/16″ and the abutting stone should be flush on either side of the seam. Seams should be almost unnoticeable when inspected from 36″ away.
We don’t like seams either
The only thing harder than talking to a client about a seam, is setting the seam. Setting seams is the hardest part of a stone installation. Not only do you face the challenges of your job site, but you also face the expectation of the owner. Stone shops take great pride in their ability to set a tight seam with an excellent color matched compound. But what we like better than a job with a tight seams, is a job without seams.