What are the Standards for the Fabrication and Installation of Stone Countertops?


What is the industry standard in regards to seam placement for granite countertops in the kitchen? I just bought a new construction house 4 weeks before its completion. I paid to upgrade builder grade countertops to granite. I was not told that the countertops would be seamed in the front and the back of the sink. I’ve been told by several other granite companies that granite should not be seamed less than 6 inches from a water source unless there are “extreme” circumstances and the buyer is made aware of the seam placement beforehand. What is the correct way?


ANSWER - There is no mandate on where seams can or cannot be placed on a stone countertop, although the standards do state that the layout of the joinery of the countertops is extremely important to the overall appearance.

Layout of joints/seams can be driven by the size and type of stone being used.

The Natural Stone Institute's Dimension Stone Design Manual shows in their Drawing 17-D-1 where the seams near a kitchen sink are in front and back of the sink on both the right side and the left side of the sink.  The drawing notes that there should not be any seams in the countertop over the dishwasher area. They do recommend installing stainless steel reinforcement washers embedded in a resin at each of the front and back joints at the sink.

The span between supports for 3/4" (20 mm) thick stone is limited to 2 feet and 3 feet for 1-/14" (30 mm) stone.  Stone cantilevered beyond the supports (overhanging) shall be limited to 6" (150 mm) for 3/4" (20 mm) thick countertops and 10" (250 mm) for 1-1/4" (30 mm) thick countertops.  But never cantilever a a portion of the stone that represents more than 1/3 the width of the countertop.  Otherwise use corbelled supports.

Lippage at stone joints should not be more than 1/32" (0.8 mm).

6 thoughts on “What are the Standards for the Fabrication and Installation of Stone Countertops?

  1. Jeff Turner says:

    I am researching what may have caused a cloudy line to appear along the bull-nosed edge of a client’s 19 years old granite countertops. Any ideas?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If it is a two piece bullnose then it would have been glued together. So maybe you are seeing the glue?

      Many of the granite slabs today come with a coating that enhances the stone color and sometimes it can become smudged if a solvent of some from came into contact with it.

      The good news is that granite like other stones can be restored. You can have a professional stone restoration company come and grind and repolish and seal the stone.

  2. Jacquelyn Brown says:

    I have a bet with my sister, she is taking me out for dinner, I hope. The question is: The distance between a granite countertop and wall should be no more than 1/8 inch. She says 1/4 inch. What is the answer. I want this dinner badly.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      There is no standard that says there is a maximum allowable distance between the horizontal stone countertop edge and the adjacent wall. The only recommendation is that the face of the vertical back splash stone provides a minimum of 1/8″ of coverage/overlap of the horizontal stone counter top.

      Generally speaking a 1/8″ or 1/4″ gap is acceptable gap between the edge of the stone countertop and the wall. Normally you will have a stone back splash that is 2 cm (3/4″) thick that covers that joint so you can’t see it.

      The gap between the bottom of the granite backsplash and the horizontal stone countertop recommendation is only 1/16″ wide.

      So you are both wrong since there is no maximum, so I guess you have to buy me dinner… 🙂

  3. Alan Iwanicki says:

    We had a new kitchen countertop put in but where the stove cutout is there is a 3/16” difference in height and our flush mount stove has one side higher. Is there a standard for this that I can have my contractor fid this or is this an acceptable tolerance

    • Donato Pompo says:

      The Natural Stone Institute Dimension Stone Design Manual doesn’t specifically address how an appliance should align up with the surface of the stone countertop. Although the standards do say that a level countertop substrate or the stone surface shall not vary out of plane more than 1/8″ in 10′. So if the appliance is level ? and the countertop is level then you would expect the the height between the the two sides should not be noticeably different. Seams are not suppose to have more than 1/32″ lippage (variation from both sides of a joint, so I wouldn’t expect that the height between the two sides of the stove would differ more than that.

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