Granite Nightmare (pictures to prove it)

Rick and I went through a terrible ordeal almost exactly 2 years ago to date.
It was supposed to be the final stage of our DIY Kitchen Makeover, however, things got ugly.
We decided on granite to replace our old kitchen counter tops because
of it’s natural stone beauty, and because of it’s durability.
Granite is popular because it’s non-porous,
scratch resistant, and high heat resistant.
I love my granite counters, but if I could go back in time I would have researched installation.
Hopefully, our story will help prevent this from happening to others.

I was so excited the day the granite was being installed.
My appt. was at 4pm, which I knew was late, but I figured they would be done by 8pm or so.
When they showed up late, I was still so set on having the granite installed that day,
I allowed them to begin.
I knew I may have another issue when the man argued with me on how to get the granite inside the house.
He told me we may be charged extra because they had to go through the dining room.
Crazy, right?
I made it clear that we were not paying extra.
By this time, I was extremely annoyed.
Then, I began to slowly realize that the holes for our sink/cook top were not pre-cut in the granite pieces.
I assumed this was ok because I had heard they cut on sight at times.
Plus they knew what they were doing, right?
Next, I noticed them bring an electric saw into the kitchen.
So I asked, “Isn’t this going to be a little dusty?”
His exact response, “Ohhhh, it will be fine, just cover a few things up.”
I became very concerned, but hey, I’m getting my granite today-this guy is a professional.
I can trust him, right?
So, my Dad (who happened to be here) and I, quickly began covering everything in our kitchen.
Then, I waited in the next room with my girls after my Dad left.
Within 2 minutes of hearing the saw cutting the stone,
I could see large swirls of stone dust circling in the air below my recessed lights that were on in the hall.
I knew immediately, this was not good.  I grabbed the phone, and called my husband.
He says, “Why are they cutting it in the house?”
I knew I had to take action.
I got the dog and my girls out of the house immediately because the entire house was filling up with the dust fast.  It was a thick fog at this point.
Next, I sat on the front porch deciding what to do.
I was torn between “Is this the way they do it?” and
“Should I tell them to stop-the damage has been done?”
I called the kitchen company to speak to our “designer” and she was in shock.
She asked to speak to the head dude and they started ARGUING on the phone in front of me.  It was awful.  She apologized to me.  I told her, “It’s getting dark, my kids are hungry, we have homework, and I am stuck on my porch while your guys ruin my house, so sorry isn’t going to cut it.”

After my husband rushed home, he and I had a few choice words with the guys, and decided we needed to go to a hotel.There was no way I was going to let my children or dog breathe that in.

Yes, we snuck the dog in the hotel.

I’m still concerned to this day what damage we may have done to our lungs.

Here are photos of what we came home to the next day
(don’t forget we just finished painting our cabinets ourselves):

(*see note at bottom)






You can see there is granite dust EVERYWHERE.
The biggest issue is that it got in the air, got into the furnace/central air ducts,
thus spreading throughout the entire home.
It may seem like just some quick vacuuming and a mop would do it.  Not the case.
 There was a fine coating on absolutely everything in the house
from the walls to inside our drawers.
We felt as though we lost everything (like a fire) we had worked so hard for.
Serv Pro, Rick, and I spent days & days cleaning.
We had to wash every dish, cup, shirt, rug, towel, pillow,
you name it-we had to wash it.
All of our opened food like cereal had to be thrown out.
I had to wash rugs, and we had to have larger rugs washed by a dry cleaner.
We had to clean the walls through out the entire house.
The ducts had to be cleaned.  Rick had to miss work.
I spent days at the kitchen sink washing things that I haven’t seen in years because they were in my cabinets.
I had to direct all of the Serve Pro people
(who were excellent by the way) where things went.
So, in other words-we had to do all of this labor as well as the cleaners
because it was our personal stuff.
They even had to remove my screens and clean my windows.
At one point the dust wouldn’t stop coming out of our drawer when we pounded on it because it was stuck in the crevices.
All of this cost our insurance company $34,000.00 in damages.



You can see the 2 different lights over the island.
We were in the middle of switching those.  Everything stopped for 2 weeks.
You can see me and how happy I looked.
So. . .this is why we decided not to have granite in our master bath (view master bath “here“).
Just too many bad memories.  Learn from our mistake.
Get references from family and friends.  Investigate companies.
The company that did this to us is still out there, and yes, they have been reported.
The granite is gorgeous, but I would rather have my old counters and not these memories.
Lucky for us life goes on and we continue to grow and learn from our mistakes.
*note: If it is absolutely necessary for the installers to cut the stone in your home, be sure that they seal off the area with “zip walls”, or other means to contain the dust.  Shop vacs should also be used during/after cleaning it all up as they cut.  I have also been told that they can cut the stone “wet” so the dust doesn’t fly into the air.


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43 Responses

  1. Lisa-Maree says:

    Your Kitchen is so beautiful now, what a shame a few minutes of careless (no) thought on the part of the “professionals” cost you so much in time and bad memories. I’m going to get granite benches in my kitchen, will definitely learn from your experience. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Joanna Bielecki says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. We just bought a house with beautiful granite counter tops, I am thinking of installing r/o filtration system which will require cutting a small hole in the granite, I will definitely do my homework and take all the precautions before I get anything done.
    I had no idea cutting granite creates so much dust.
    By the way, you have a beautiful home.

  3. Patricia says:

    I have been there too and still getting dust out of cracks where the draws fit, also the smell of the glue we had to leave the house.
    We love the granite but now realize we should have done some investigaton into the company.
    We have a problem with the outer border surrounding it all, we have called repeatedly but have had no luck in getting them to come back. The border is not shiney at all, real drab and the granite has pock marks in it like it hasn’t been sealed

  4. luigi bojiovanni says:

    What happen to you was just wrong. Did you hire a licensed contractor. Or just go for the lowest priced installer. I hear about these thinks all the time, where people don’t hire a licensed contractor.
    And this is what happens all the time. Or they go through a design company and the design company uses unlicensed contractor with out letting the home owner know. Again sorry that happen to you

  5. Susan says:

    Just curious….when I watch a lot of home remodeling shows on HGTV, the granite I see installed comes to the house with the cut outs already done. Was this even an option for you or did they not give you a choice. I am so glad I read your article! Very informing! BTW, I have dreamed of doing black cabinets for over 10 years and still haven’t gotten up the nerve, but yours look so beautiful, I may move forward. I also was thinking about using quartz instead of granite, but I feel it would be the same situation dust wise. Thanks so much for sharing. Sorry you had to have so much joy taken away getting a dream kitchen, but hope you are able to put the awful memories behind you as you move forward!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you Susan. Happy to know you are aware. No, they did not give us the option. They just did it, and told me to cover everything when they arrived.

  6. David says:

    Hi Julie,

    I am a licensed natural stone fabricator and I wanted to assure you that there are times when we have to cut granite inside a home. Your pictures however do not have to be the result. If we take our time, seal things off with zipwalls and use multiple shopvacs to capture the dust as we go we can contain nearly all of the dust.
    Unfortunately I have a customer that happened upon your website and has decided regardless of what I tell her that no real professional would ever cut granite in the house. We installed the kitchen one day and I had told her we would be back in the morning to set up and cut her sink opening. She met us at the door the following morning to tell us she googled it and found this site and that we could not cut in her house. There is NO other way to succesfully cut her sink out so now we are at a standstill.

    Please take the time to educate everyone to the fact that it is sometimes necessary and that it does not have to make such a mess.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, David. I have updated my post with this side note.
      *note: If it is absolutely necessary for the installers to cut the stone in your home, be sure that they seal off the area with “zip walls”, or other means to contain the dust. Shop vacs should also be used during/after cleaning it all up as they cut. I have also been told that they can cut the stone “wet” so the dust doesn’t fly into the air.

      • some guy says:

        re: wet cutting
        That is accurate. Wet cutting would be feasible for the sink holes, edges and cutouts while the counter is in place, but not for cutting granite located directly above any supporting plywood, as there’s no way to catch the water and it’ll make the plywood swell and probably interfered with the granite bonding to the plywood.
        If they plan on cutting faucet holes inside, it should be quite easy to plumber’s putty around the hole location, place some water, and drill using a diamond core bit. (the bits are only 10 bucks on amazon)
        Any done-in-place straight lines SHOULD be done by a wet 4-5″ circular saw for the portion for which that’s possible, and for the remainder, they should employ a helper to hold a slowly spewing water hose along the hole while they use their angle grinder and turbo diamond blade to do the rest.
        As for edge polishing or top polishing, that’ll make a mess unless significant protections are put in place, as the disks spin at about 4500 RPM and will send watery granules of dust flying out in all directions.
        But frankly there’s little excuse to be cutting inside someone’s home; if they can’t lift a slab of granite, take it outdoors, and cut it, then they really shouldn’t be working in the granite installation business.
        There are many retards and sleazeballs working construction. It’s really arduous, stupefying work. I work construction, so I have a fair amount of first-hand experience.
        These processes WILL make a mess, but only locally and not globally as is true with dust deposits. All surfaces which are not waterproofed will need to be covered.
        I’d reckon that the damage from breathing granite dust for a few days pales in comparison to not exercising one’s lungs, but I haven’t looked into what these rather inert seeming constituents cause. Here is a link which shows what materials are in granite:

  7. David says:


    Thank you,

    I can tell you take pride in getting things right and I appreciate that!

  8. Sherri says:

    Julie, I wish I had read this BEFORE this just happened to me..yesterday. The granite people don’t want to take any responsibility,besides they would give me $200 for cleaning. The cleaning on the carpets is that much. Before hand, they told me to just cover the inside stuff in the cabinets. I have granite dust in 3 levels of a house. Can you give me any tips..I’m afraid of ruining fine furniture, antiques, and art. Wood floors? Please help…

  9. tammy says:

    Wow! This is awful! Did the installer have to bear any of the clean-up costs? I would be so worried that my insurance would be cancelled or premiums would increase if I had to file a claim for this type of preventable damage. Sorry it happened to you. I adore your kitchen, it is gorgeous, I can only imagine how sick you all felt after all of that work!

  10. Amy says:

    I so wish I would have read this before my nightmare as well. Just this week I had new granite counter tops installed in the kitchen and master bath. They cut the granite inside for the sink and stove top. I cleaned for hours only to see the dust appear again the following day. Companies just do not take pride in their work. Does the insurance companies really reimburse for cleaning? I already cleaned up a lot of the dust without pictures.

  11. JANN says:

    Dear Red Head fabulous DIYER, make over QUEEN!
    I just read your post about your granite. Good Grief! I am sooooo very sorry you had to go through a that. I have built 9 homes, my 9th being the one we will remain in for a long time here in Idaho. I have had granite in the last 7 and have NEVER had any granite cut on site. They always cut it in the shop and fit it to your cabinets in your home. Always using a good vacuum system when then do the final fitting on site. It looks like they “honed” it at your house and polished it and that is so unfortunate for you It is always suppose to be polished and finished at their shop….never have I even heard of a company doing that at a home on site! I think what you have done is FABULOUS! I have finished or redone many kitchens and think you have done a SUPERIOR job in doing yours. I am just so sorry that you had to go through that mess. What a hassle for you that was totally un-necessary. The cabinet color is the same as mine and I have LOVED the black. Thank you for sharing the details of such a GREAT remodel as you did and for sharing all the info on your products. I commend you and feel for you because of your time and efforts. And you are TOTALLY right….companies have such less regard to their customers anymore. Be well of heart and know that you have done a FABULOUS job…and we all here that have read your posts appreciate it so very much…..thanks again for sharing……….Idaho Smiles

  12. Joyce says:

    Hi Julie. You just helped me decide to not get granite. I am in the process of selling our home and our realtor requested new granite. It’s not happening!! She has put me through enough already this past month by hanging new drywall up and down in full basement!! People really don’t care about you being put out just what profit they can make off your labor and $$ spent! Thank you from another redhead from the Midwest too! Joyce

  13. Shirley Cotton says:

    I had all new cabinets and counter tops put in my kitchen about 3 years ago Lowes put everything in order the guys measured for the granite and it took about 3 weeks to get it ordered but they did no cutting in my house They set up in my back yard and the only thing that couldnt be prevented was the smell of the glue and it wasnt that bad and I am a copd patient You just got some sorry contractors and they should been sued I hope your insurance company got every penny and then somefrom that sorry company

    • Julie says:

      Don’t worry Shirley…all the damage and hours of labor we put in were covered. Our insurance co. (State Farm) was amazing.

  14. Joyce Langston says:

    The question I had was there is always dust on the underneath part of my granite counter tops that sit over my silverware drawer,spice drawer,etc.I am wondering if that dust falls down in my drawers is that dangerous as far as eating off my silverware etc.????? Never thought much about it but when I put my hand up underneath the counter tops above my drawers my hands are covered in dust.Almost seems like there should have been a sealant or something put on the bottoms.Any info would be appreciated.Joyce in Wisconsin

    • Julie says:

      Hi Joyce, I would clean that really well with a wet rag and try to get rid of it just to be on the safe side. Maybe vacuum it first?

  15. mike says:

    You’re still misinforming people! First off you have a drop in sink not an undermount. And under mount sink will leave you about 4 inches of granite in the front As opposed to maybe 2 1/2 inches for a drop in sink or cooktop cut out. Meaning this would break when caring or even during transport. Please talk to professional granite fabricators and installers for information

    • Julie Fiato says:

      The sink was pre cut and was brought in, in 2 separate pieces. It was done correctly. The cook top was the one they had to cut. If they had to cut in the home, they use a WET SAW and they make a tent. None of this was done. I am definitely not misinforming people. The damage they did not only cost 34k, it cost us our sanity, days off of work to clean, and who knows what the damage is to our lungs. If you can’t leave a respectful comment, don’t bother commenting. It will not be published.

  16. Bell says:

    Hi Julie,
    I wish I had read your post first too. Last week my granite guy laid granite in 4 rooms with 5 sink holes, four which were cut too small that he decided to cut out more in place. Huge terrible mess! I am still suffering. I wash and the dust accumulates again. At the time I had to leave the house and take my pets out. I have video of the whole thing. I wore a dust mask and handed them out to the workers. It has been awful I now have a cough, croaky voice and sinus infection. I had no idea it would be so bad as I too trusted the granite guys. I had granite installed before in another house and never had this mess as they cut tap holes etc. outside then brought the granite in.
    My insurance company won’t pay to help clean. The granite guy said he would help pay, but so far a week has gone by, I am getting sicker and no help cleaning given. I bought two air filters, a heater, to avoid turning the central air on. My visitors next week have had to book hotel rooms. $500 spent so far on cleaning supplies and air purifiers. My brand new carpet, less than a week old is now filthy,a my new paint the entire house is trashed. I had just had new, expensive Pottery Barn sofas delivered. Duct Cleaning can’t be done for 2 weeks costing,me $400. I got a disaster clean up crew to check the house and two days later still no price quote. all my food, clothing, bathroom items have been covered in dust and thrown out as many can’t be washed.
    The granite guy and the contractor act as if I am just making fuss over a “a little dust”. I still owe about $5,000 on the job, have paid about $5000 to them already up front. The Better Business Bureau has been no help and just said to take them to small claims court if they don’t pay…
    Thanks for sharing your story and listening to mine. I had no idea that this could ever occur. The granite guy apologized and said I was his 4th install that day and he’d been tired and overworked and he should have been more careful.
    As I am still in the early phase of this do you have any more advice for me about actions I can take and how I can get my insurance company to help me, let me stay in a hotel for a while till it is all clean etc..
    Thanks again!

  17. Sharon says:

    What a horrible experience! I’m so sorry for you. I had a problem with quartz installers. There was one seam and you could look at it and see it and certainly could feel it. The installers told me I was being “too picky”! I bought the countertop thru Lowes and reported it. Lowes said I was not being too picky! The men came back and its now beautiful. About 6 months after my kitchen was finished, I was cleaning the sink and must have run my hand under the rim of the undercounter sink just right and found a big chip out of the quartz! I am the only one who knows about it- doesn’t show and can’t leak but it made me furious. I reported it to Lowes and the dept manager offered to have it replaced. I said no, that I didn’t want to have my kitchen torn up again but wanted Lowes to know about the contract company they use to install.

  18. Sheryl says:

    I went through this today! We have waited a month to get our new granite counter top. I was so excited, today is the day. They showed up at 10:30am. I see the piece on their truck, look at it to make sure its what I picked. I noticed it was a solid piece, no sink cut out but I went on my way. About 10 minutes later he says we have to cut the sink opening in here. I said, why? You took our new sink when you came to measure for the granite. He said, we cant take a chance of it breaking it. I said, okay. I dont know how it is done. My husband at work. I am here to watch my kitchen become a pile of dust. I couldnt believe it. They ask me if I have a shop vac and plastic. Huh. Why don’t you have that!? I found a sheet to cover the opening to the living room. After they were done. I wanted them out. The granite is beautiful but its now 7pm and I am still cleaning the mess. Never will do it again!

  19. Andrew says:

    Hi Julie,

    I’m not really a regular reader, but I really felt bad for you when I saw what the installers did to your house!! No one should have to go through an ordeal like that. I’m glad your homeowners insurance covered it, but I can’t believe the damage was $34,000 — that’s astonishing!

    Coring a hole at a customers house is a tricky thing because it typically makes a big mess — as you experienced! Its a really big problem.

    But there’s a new product that was just recently released that can prevent this. Its called the Vacuum Coring Template, and its made to suck up all the mess that coring makes when it cuts through the stone. Its a little block of plastic that attaches to the stone through suction, and then while coring the hole it sucks all of the stone dust and water (if they’re doing it wet) into a shop vac.

    I wish you didn’t have to go through that terrible experience, but maybe someone reading about getting granite counter tops can tell their installer that they have to use it for their kitchen. Compared to the damage that was done to your house, its a tiny fraction of a cost, and it can be used over and over again 🙂

    I hope that it can prevent the same problem for some other homeowners who have installers that need to core holes in the stone at their house!

  20. Ronald Becker says:

    We had same thing happen and are all physically sick only our homeowners (Security First) will not cover. Any recommitndations would be greatly appreciated.

  21. laurabun says:

    How absolutely horrible!! I don’t know what I would have done… Cost was the main reason we didn’t use real stone to redo our counters. I happened to find a company called Giani, who makes a system of painting counters that, after a few days, turned my hideous 70’s style Formica, into faux granite. And the biggest miracle, I did the work by myself! Me, with no talent, now has counter tops I love! It’s by far cheaper than other such painting systems too. Four years later, it still looks just as nice, no chipping or fading. If I could, everything in my home would be made of natural items, stone, brick, wood, etc. But until I win the lottery, I’ll have to stick with the diy versions! Thanks for telling us about your horror story. I’m sure you’ve probably saved many people a lot of heartache.

  22. Sherry Dietrich says:

    Wow, I would have been PISSED! I had a kitchen remodel, had a wall knocked out, all new cabinets put in (ours was from the 70’s and not salvagable). The granite counter top went in while I was at work, so I never saw what was or wasn’t done, but my husband was there. When I got home my kitchen was pristine, and we have a really large “L” shaped kitchen and an island with granite. I did have one small problem, I wanted squared corners and they rounded them, saying they didn’t want any kids to get hurt. I said I don’t have any small children and I asked for squared corners, and if I had small children it’s be my responsibility to protect them not you! That was 2 years ago, I’m still miffed about that.

    • Julie says:

      Oh Sherry…it took months to get over. Thank goodness our Insurance company sided with us. I have round corners and wish I had square! I asked for rounded and could kick myself. Thanks for sharing your story, Sherry! 😉

  23. Sharon says:

    Great information. Curious…..what did you use in the bathroom?

  24. Ivory says:

    OMG, this is wrong on so many levels. Your kitchen is a dream kitchen, and to think that someone would come into your beautiful home a do this horrible thing, well I cannot think of all the words. I am so sorry this nightmare happen to you, but I feel your outcome will be even more beautiful when you are done repairing this disaster. Good luck and stay strong. Remember you have many supporters that’s pulling for you.

  25. Tracy says:

    I’m sitting in my garage in tears as they cut and dust is on all my new stuff just bought this brand new house and granite dust is literally on everything I’m a mess just dreading how will I clean this up I’m gonna be left with a nightmare in there #so frustrated and worried

  26. Sarah says:

    Hello there! This same this happened to me and my family this week! I’m really sorry that it happened to you as well. I am in the process of cleaning all the dust off of everything but I am noticing that one application of soap and water, to things like the counters/refrigerator/doors/floors/walls, isn’t really cutting it. I realize I’m going to have to clean things multiple times to get all the dust off. I was wondering if there were any tips you could share to help the cleaning be more efficient? If there were any products you used or techniques? I just want to make sure the dust is pretty much gone before we really start using our kitchen again. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • Julie Fiato says:

      Sarah, the serve pro folks used a shop vac that had really good filters. Also, micro fiber cloths catch it good. I stood at the kitchen sink for days washing everything. Make sure you have your heat ducts cleaned. So sorry this happened to you, too!! You should contact your insurance company and take photos before you clean it.

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