Tips and Best Practices
We've been around long enough to recognize common problems and pitfalls that relate to our scope of work. Allow us to share a few with you to help your next project run smoother.
If the framing, tub/shower base, or drywall is installed incorrectly you may end up with exposed dam lips. Drywall must be installed over the dam lips so that when the panels are installed, they sit directly on the tub deck. The product will break if required to bend over dam lips. This is the most common issue we see with quality surround installation. The best solution is to inform the plumbers and drywall installers ahead of time to ensure their installation won't create problems.
For projects with more multiple stories vertical transportation must be provided. For renovation projects this is often an elevator. For new construction, this can be an aerial lift or a temporary construction elevator. If an extension lift is used, it is easiest to move the material directly to the cutting area on the floor through a window or door opening. If this isn't an option, other means should be provided.
Material Handling - By Lift
Stone and marble products are quite heavy. A crate of stone can way thousands of pounds. Care should be exercised when moving with a lift. Additionally, some crates of panels, especially cast marble panels, are quite long. If short forks are used to unload or handel long crates, breakage is likely to occur, especially hairline cracks in the bottom panels.
Material Handling - By Hand
Both natural stone and cast marble products must be moved with care. If transported incorrectly or carelessly you'll end up with a lot of breakage. Panels and tops should not be carried horizontally, always vertically. Often times the weight of the product will cause it to break if carried incorrectly.
Unfortunately, custom installation of both natural stone and cast marbe requires cutting - a dusty process. A well placed cutting area can keep the dust down and reduce cleanup. A good cutting room is well ventilated, has easy access for staging material, and is in close proximity to the install area. Typically, our installers will identify one room on each floor for staging and cutting.
Our granite, marble and quartz products are fabricated and shipped directly from china. Lead times for granite and quartz average about 8 weeks. Mincey Marble (cast marble) products are manufactured in the US and take 6-8 weeks to process. Be sure to leave time for planning and ordering so product can arrive on schedule.
Installation of vanity tops and shower surrounds should not be performed until walls and ceilings are painted and wall coverings are complete. Our work can be completed before or after flooring. If our scope of work is scheduled to run concurrently with flooring crews, there must be good planing to ensure each trade has rooms to work in without hindering each other's work.
Field measuring should be done by\ someone familiar with the scope of the project. A common mistake is to attempt to measure for an exact fit or to assume similar rooms will have similar measurements. Either of these approaches often lead to a poor fitting end product. Almost all field measurements will be stretched to accomodate cutting in the field.
Another issue related to field measuring and product installation is the fitting of the actual product. Walls are seldomly sqaure enough to allow a stock, uncut product to be installed. Each top, panel, sill etc, must be measured to fit the individual room it is going to be installed in.
In most cases, extra product is stored in the yard until needed for installation. Product should be placed on flat dry ground and in a location where it won't be knocked over. Due to the weight of the product, crates placed on uneven ground may lead to warping and breakage. We suggest minimizing the movement of material around the jobsite.
Many public area tops require holes for cord access. Shower/tub surrounds also may require holes for shower or safety accessories. Hole placement for surrounds will be based on existing plumbing. Hole placement for stone tops must be clearly designated by the customer. If holes aren't planned until late in the installation, there will be additional cost and dust.
The most important measurement on window sills is the front to back measurement. Window sill ordered too deep will require rip cutting (additional charges). Window sills ordered too short won't cover the wall opening. Also, window sills must be installed on a clean level substrate. If the base beneath the window sill is not straight and level the window sill won't fit well and you may have larger caulk gaps.
Wood vanity bases are increasing in popularity. If you are planning on using wood vanity bases, be sure the plumbing is designed and installed so that it fits within the base. Any alterations to the base will increase install time and cost. Also, some bases are designed to hide plumbing.
Vanity Top Plumbing Timing
Our vanity tops must be installed after plumbing has been roughed in but before most of the plumbing has been trimmed out. However, some trim can be done before install such as escutcheon plates, shut-off valves and even down spouts. If the plumber is available to do this trim ahead of time it will save him time and effort.