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Unread 12-18-2019, 09:02 PM   #1
rhttu
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Am I crazy? MSI stacked stone install isn’t starting off as imagined

Hello all. We started a renovation this week on our fireplace. We are placing MSI Durango cream stacked stone panels and corners along our fireplace hearth and all the way up the wall, filling in a previously annoying gap that was just drywall sandwiched between two lean columns of brick.

The contractor started out on the hearth, and at first glance, I am already seeing gaps. I just wanted to post some pictures here for you all to see to determine if I’m just being an outlandish ***hole.

All the literature I read states that this is likely due to edges that have not been sanded or cut prior to laying, or due to an uneven wall. My hearth seems straight just from a simple top down perspective, but I want to know if there’s anything else I can do to ensure I’m showing up for this install as best I can.

Thanks,
Richard
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Unread 12-18-2019, 09:21 PM   #2
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In the last photo, I’ve zoomed out to show a tiny makeshift spline that was fitted into place to fill a gap. This is present multiple places throughout.
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Unread 12-18-2019, 09:32 PM   #3
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Welcome, Richard.

I have personally never installed that product, but I would not be happy with that installation, 'specially that "spline" you indicate was used to fill an unwanted gap.

The condition of the substrate is something the installer must evaluate before accepting the project. If it's not suitable, he should tell you in advance what will be required how much it will cost to correct the situation. Once he's started setting the stone, the condition of the substrate is a moot point.

Same goes for the condition of the material he's setting. If the material is no suitable for the installation, he should have told you that and declined the contract.

Bottom line: If he accepted the job it's his responsibility to complete it in a workmanlike manner. I'm not sure he's doing that.

Can you show us a photo from farther back to show some perspective?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-18-2019, 09:33 PM   #4
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I used MSI stacked stone (the narrower stones than you used) and didn’t have to do any slivers to fill gaps. Yes, there were a few with chipped corners, but as to fitting side by side or top to bottom, they were pretty much as uniform in size in relation to one another as ceramic tiles are. Did a whole feature wall without the need for any fill-ins or accommodating cuts like you’re seeing.
Are you working with different lot numbers or seconds? As to the aesthetics of the little add-in pieces, some may think it adds to the rustic look, but not to my taste. Just sayin’.
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Unread 12-18-2019, 10:57 PM   #5
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Little gaps happen depending on the quality of the material, I usually go around after with a color coordinating caulk to get rid of the worst shadows. Never had them that bad though, looks unlevel and poor layout.
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Unread 12-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #6
speed51133
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your wall area may not have been square, but that should be addressed or at least evaluated before.

those little slivers to fill gaps is total amateur hour work. was this a legitimate professional, or a craigslist cheapest installer you could find?

the pieces could have been angle cut there and there instead of the slivers added.
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Unread 12-19-2019, 05:47 PM   #7
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Is there other material nearby you can dry fit together to see if it's the material itself? I have used this material for a fireplace with no gaps. All pieces fit together without any issues.
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Unread 12-19-2019, 09:50 PM   #8
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Pretty easy to look at the picture and see that piece on the bottom row could have been shimmied up and avoided that nasty gap. If there are corners on this project, that is likley the sliver is there. Some booger picker convinced someone the could steal their money, and here we are.
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Unread 12-20-2019, 10:25 PM   #9
rhttu
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Hi all, project update:

First, your feedback is VERY appreciated. It is good to get experienced opinions, regardless of the abrasive honesty!

I asked the work to be redone, and we talked about cutting off X centimeters here to fill X cm gaps below, etc, etc, but honestly I did not expect to have to have that elementary level of a conversation. But it is what it is.

The revised stuff looks a little better. Way better than it did, at least. I am still seeing a couple gaps, which you’ll identify in the photo. A previous commenter mentioned caulk. Think those gaps will clean up well?

My next question is.... does it matter that he started laying the stone before putting down the top/seating slab for the hearth?

Thanks,
Richard
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Unread 12-20-2019, 10:25 PM   #10
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Really sorry about the sideways orientation of the pictures BTW.
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Unread 12-20-2019, 11:45 PM   #11
Tool Guy - Kg
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If I were doing the job, I’d prefer to install the slab after...but I’d insure the exact height of the underside and top of the slab all the way around to ensure I wasn’t surprised with big gaps between the stone and slab.

Is that OSB to be tiled? Is that diamond lath nailed to it or something else? Is that going to be floated with fat mud? Any reason to not simply use cement board?

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Unread 12-21-2019, 12:32 AM   #12
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Those gaps look like product not installation, looks much better than first pics. Sure would look nicer to have the stone sit on top of the slab, I would pull the bottom row off on hearth area then cut and caulk to slab. The joints look tight and color coordinating caulking will likley take care of those shadows.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 12:51 AM   #13
Tool Guy - Kg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ded dux
Little gaps happen depending on the quality of the material, I usually go around after with a color coordinating caulk to get rid of the worst shadows.
What do you use to get the caulk in the gaps? Do you use a plastic syringe or something with a tiny nozzle to squeeze the caulk in the gaps and keep it from touching the face of the rough stone that would otherwise be super tough to clean off?

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Unread 12-21-2019, 01:57 AM   #14
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I use TEC for hiding shadows. Seems like the only stuff to just wipe off and not leave a residue on porous and uneven surfaces. I would be super nervous about using their products in a wet area, but I assume folks do it everyday with no issues, so who knows. It just cleans up surprisingly well with very little water.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 02:14 AM   #15
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I think using the caulk will work to hide the shadows but the right color will be critical.

Like Don said, I'd bust off the bottom row and install the slab, then cut the stone to fit.
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