How to Avoid Cracked Stone Countertops

A cracked granite countertop is the homeowners equivalent of a car wreck to an automobile owner. After spending a substantial amount of money, an owner may walk out to the kitchen one Saturday morning and find a hairline crack in the narrow strip of granite in front of the sink. After some hyperventilating, perhaps, he decides to call the Big Box store where he purchased the countertop, but their counter guy isn’t available because it’s the weekend. By Sunday, his hairline crack has spread and may eventually reach from end to end. 

If a hairline crack is left untreated, it could go the way of a California mudslide, and the broken edge drop off the counter entirely.

The answer to this potential calamity lies in the way the counter is treated before it ever reaches the home, in a process known as rodding.

What is rodding?

Rodding is the process of inserting a rod the length of the countertop to prevent cracks. A stone saw is used on the underside of the counter along the edge to cut a channel. The channel is hewn right into the stone. Then a metal rod the length of the channel is inserted into the groove and glued with a polyester-type resin into the groove.

How does rodding help?

The cutouts where the sink and other areas where there are narrow strips of granite along the countertop have a propensity to weakness and cracking. 

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Rodding supplies an additional strength to the areas, which may keep those thinner parts from cracking.

My counter was rodded, and I heard it can crack anyway! What about that?

As time goes by, the caulk seal of an under mount sink may loosen and allow water to permeate the wood counter support. Moisture, in turn, will cause the rodding to rust. The rusted rodding results in some expansion of the metal.  Because there is no ‘give’ in granite, this swelling can create a pressure crack. A cracked counter can be repaired. The secret is to catch the break early. 

New rodding is made of fiberglass, but homeowners with older granite counters and under mount sinks should be aware and mind the caulk seal of their under mount sink to prevent this from happening. The Marble Institute of America now recommends rodding of granite countertops, and when one considers the substantial investment a granite countertop represents, it’s easy to understand why a little bit more work is worth the effort.

It’s also worth the effort to keep the caulk seal of an under mount sink in good condition since it only takes a small amount of moisture to start or hasten rust. It’s extra steps like rodding which offer the homeowner a higher-quality product and make hiring a quality stone fabricating company a long term investment which pays off in the end.