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This is my first question on the DIY stack so be gentle with me!

Background

We just had new quartz counters installed in our kitchen renovation. We have done everything else our selves, but we figured we would use professionals for the counter top since we wanted to make sure it looked perfect. It is a medium sized L shaped counter area and due to the size of the counter the installer informed us that it would require two seams and gave us a few options for where they could locate the seams. We were a bit concerned about this but he assured us that you would not notice the seams unless you really looked for them.

Fast forward a few weeks to the installation date. The counters looked FANTASTIC as they were being installed. Unfortunately, once the installers finished and were ready for us to sign the satisfaction form we took a look at the seams and they are very noticeable. We refused to sign the satisfaction form at this point in time because we wanted to investigate it further.

Question

How noticeable should the seams be for a quartz counter installation? Obviously this depends on the texture and color of the counter, but is it something that should ever be painfully obvious? Do the pictures below illustrate what can be expected for this type of counter?

Wall and counter seams Wall seams jagged Wall and counter seams 2 Counter seam Counter seam

Update 1

Based on the feedback I received from this site, as well as a few other companies I contacted for consultation, I have determined that this is NOT the normal for this type of counter installation. The general consensus is:

  1. There is a pretty serious shade difference on either side of the seam which is not acceptable.
  2. There should only be a single seam for this type of installation.
  3. Most likely the company was trying to cut costs by using a single slab of the material.

I have contacted the company that provided the counter tops and they are sending someone out to take a look at the counters and see if there is anything they can do. I will update this post again once we get to a final solution.

Update 2

The company has been great to work with to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, because the counter was already cut they couldn't do anything about the double seams, which is annoying. However, they did have their crew out to my house twice to get the seams as minimal as possible (both look great now) and to fix a few chips in the counter. I would leave the following advice for anyone else having a counter install:

  1. Be sure to ask that the the company installing your counter use as few seams as possible. This is likely going to increase the material cost for the counter but is well worth it in the long run.
  2. Ask for opinions from the installer on your counter selection. The color we went with in this case is very difficult to install because the seams are very visible and it is difficult to mix the filler to match. This is the consensus we received from multiple installers. If we would have known this, we would have definitely gone with something that is easier to install.
  3. Think twice before going with Quartz. We went with the top of the line Quartz so it was very comparable from a cost standpoint to granite. We were sold on the fact that it is zero maintenance and is supposedly as durable as granite. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is very difficult to clean well and it chips extremely easily. We have seen small chips from dropping a very light weight ceramic plate on the counter from ~1 foot. The plate didn't even chip or break!
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    Googling "Quartz Countertop Seam" this appears to be par-for-the-course. Do remember, though, that you will likely have things on top of your counter, so the seems might not be all that noticeable in the long run. – DA01 Mar 27 '15 at 22:11
  • Ya I have found some questionable seams on Google as well. It seems like the professional articles are on both sides of the fence though. Some say that noticeable seams usually show up on poor quality cuts which cause the gap to be larger than normal. Others say this is to be expected anytime you have multiple slabs. – Shawn Lehner Mar 27 '15 at 23:20
  • Clearly they were not being truthful about having to really look for the seams to see them. They do look great,That being said, this is a case of you get what you pay for. I am not saying that your counters were cheap, but this is a case of expensive to you and expensive to a wall street banker. Each square inch, in each direction of a rock has its own personality, be it diamond, counter top or skipping stone. Even the 2 sides of a single cut look different, because the saw blade was traveling clockwise for one side and anti-clockwise for the other.Any flaw looks worse when polished – Some Guy Mar 27 '15 at 23:42
  • Your counter top looks great, the seams are good and they are finished/polished well. The counter guy should have not have over promised. But the rock itself, it is just showing how unique nature makes things. Enjoy them. – Some Guy Mar 27 '15 at 23:46
  • @SomeGuy I completely agree about rock, but note that Quartz countertops are man-made, so, at least in theory, should have a more predictable 'grain' in the pattern. – DA01 Mar 28 '15 at 1:41
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I wouldn't sign the form if you were told that you wouldn't be able to notice the seams. As Jack says, they are in horrible locations. But the #1 thing I am thinking about is I have had granite and quartz installed on at least 30-40 kitchens, with at least 15-20 Ls. You have two sheets, not 3 and your seam is in the corner. If they are using smaller pieces they could easily be using leftovers from other jobs, maybe really costing them nothing more than labor. I would have never allowed them to install 3 slabs there. That is the biggest mistake.

I have had many many companies propose something like this, a couple with no-see guarantees. I took two of them up on it in the beginning and they both looked like yours. Got the first one at 1/3 cost and told them to take the second one out. Never did I go for the three slabs.

Now the other issue is the install itself. To me - and I am just seeing a picture - it looks like the slabs aren't exactly level with each other. They may be off by 1/128th of an inch but it looks like they are off. Then you have the epoxy filler which was not mixed with a matching sparkle nor was it sanded/buffed properly at the site. I have paid a lot for high quality quartz and don't have pictures but the seams are much smaller than yours and really you couldn't see them unless you put a spot light on them.

The question is did you get what you paid for. Did this cost you $500-800 and you are expecting better? If you paid full/normal cost you probably just need them to come take the counters. You obviously aren't happy now. Let me tell you by the looks of your seams, they aren't going to look this good in 3-4 years. So you are seeing them in their best state.

  • Should have read this prior to a long comment but fully agree.!+ – Ed Beal Dec 12 '18 at 3:05
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The seam is pretty good, they chose a really bad spot to put it. It should have been placed at the narrow spot in the first picture. Never in the middle of a cabinet front, where you look at it every time you open the drawer in the picture. That one should not even be there. This installer was trying to get by with out getting into another slab, or not good planning, IMHO. There has to some reason why the installer put the joint there, but whatever it is, the reason is not good enough. Seams should only be at corners where the countertop changes directions, or if the run is over 8-10ft long with no cutouts for ovens or sinks, etc... and those are usually placed over the edges of the cabinets. Sorry if I sound a little critical, this should not pass a quality work even if the joints are done well.

  • Cheap non matching pieces to save $ comes to mind this looks bad to me on several levels including not flush, different shades wide seam wrong color seam material, Wow did you notice the reflection at the seam? A goid job would not show the reflection shift. – Ed Beal Dec 12 '18 at 3:09
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The join is done very well, better than most companies out there. The problem is that the join should not be there at all. There should only be 1 join per "corner" of a bench. I.e. one join for a L shape bench and two joins for a U shape bench.

The only time when the above does not apply is when your benchtop length is over 3000mm long since most slabs maximum length is only 3000mm. Therefore, will need a join to extend the benchtop to over 3000mm. However, if this is the reason why there is a join in your photo, then the company should have informed you before they installed the benchtop so that you are aware of it.

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The seam is excellent. If people want no seam they need corian or staron both better products than quartz imho. The biggest issue here is how the product was sold. Some patterns seam very well ( but never invisible) also quartz chips very easily especially Caesar stone. Higher end quartz and pattern like pebble are very easy to repair. At least you don't have white it stains also. But again most sales people have no idea how delicate this product is.

  • Good feedback. That is the main issue here ... We were open to any product at any price level and we told them as much. They told us that Quartz requires 0 maintenance (sealing, etc ...) and is very chip resistant. This was the main issue. That and the fact they never even gave us the option for only 1 seam - We wouldn't have mind paying for extra product so they could limit it to a single seam. – Shawn Lehner Apr 4 '17 at 19:45
  • No the seam is not excellent! I don't do quarts but hire it this is not flush or even close to color matched from what I have had done. Gotta to sacrifice a - on that comment, did you have a worce job or do the install? – Ed Beal Dec 12 '18 at 3:14

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