Joint Location in Countertops

One of the biggest concerns for our customers is joint location in their countertops. Joints are more work for our installers which is why we do not like to put them in however they are necessary in some situations. Joints are necessary under the following circumstances:
1) Size of the slab: Granite slabs and especially quartz slabs are limited in size. Therefore joints are necessary because of the countertop being too large. This tends to be an issue when it comes to islands. Many people, understandable, do not want joints in their islands. Therefore it is important to get the size of the slab when designing the  island if you think this will be a concern. Quartz slabs tend to be around 120″ long unless they are a “jumbo” slab. Granite can range from 110″-137″. Recently we completed a project where the island was 136″ long. This took a lot of coordination between the contractor and our organization. A special trailer was needed due it not fitting in a normal cube van. Also the island was designed for no joints, which means the designer knew the length of the slab when picking the cabinets.
2) Access: Access can be an huge contributor to joint location. Even if the slab is long enough it may not be feasible to carry it into the space. Many times stairs and hallways can be a contributor to this. If the countertop needs to be installed in a basement or upper level the access needs to be taken into account. We look to to see if it is possible and make sure our employees will be safe. Granite or quartz weighs roughs 20-25lbs a square foot, which can lead to a dangerous situation when access is limited. If the countertop needs to be installed in an apartment complex then the elevator has to be measured because it will limit the size of the countertops.
3) Stability of the countertop piece: Here at Italian Marble we do not like to put joints at the sink section of a countertop. This is due to the fact that the sink section is the most vulnerable, therefore there is a greater probability of the joint “popping” at the sink. This is due to the sink, with dishes and water, pulling at the seam. Therefore we do not put the joints at the sink and we put a steel rod in the reinforce the sink section. However if a customer has a large peninsula and an undermount sink but does not want a joint there is an increased chance of the stone breaking during installation. Therefore during the layout process we look at the access and sink location on a per customer basis to determine if the stone can accommodate no joint.