Granite sink stress

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sinkdistressed, Nov 21, 2008.

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Is the beauty worth the risk?

Poll closed Nov 26, 2008.
  1. Go for the granite.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Stick with Stainless.

    7 vote(s)
    77.8%
  3. Either is a good choice.

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  4. Neither is the best choice.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. sinkdistressed

    sinkdistressed New Member

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    I just purchased an Elkay granite composite sink from a custom design showroom to install in our currently being built custom home. Builder gave the go ahead as did my contact person at the granite company which would do the installation. I reviewed different brands and heard only good things. Because we chose a well respected name brand also black I was not so concerned about stains and with the temperature ratings felt I was covered. However when I walked through the door of the granite company today to deliver my well crated beautiful black granite sink the installer entered the showroom to view what was in the big box and asked if I was really in love with that particular sink. He began to list all the reasons I may not want it and the love quickly dwindled. He was not eager to install the sink but would do whatever made me happy. He went into his workshop and brought out another brand which could be purchased at a local home improvements store and showed me a stress fracture in the corner. He shared his on personal experience although few in number that were none good. So I came home and found some discussion on this topic. My greatest concern is the hurry fashion in which I cook for a large family. I do not have time to be concerned as to whether my pasta is too hot to strain or if a large frying pan can be rinsed to accommodate a choice between scrambled or fried. But this black granite sink would look so beautiful in my Santa Cecila granite!!
    The granite installer encouraged me to stick with 18 gauge stainless and see if I could get my money back on the granite. While custom building a home I am use to daily stress and haven't cracked yet ..... I don't want my sink to crack under stress or I may do the same.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Have you had the granite slab checked for radon levels?
  3. black granite sink

    if you are actually talking about the sink itself that is attached to the undermount of the granite kitchen top, I would certainly go with Stainless steel....

    no way would I have anything else ...


    black is also much harder to keep clean
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I've installed the black granite as an undermount for people.
    I haven't heard that it's been a problem, but then I'm a plumber and not a counter installer.
    My experience on them is a bit limited.
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    You have already stated why you should not go with the granite...install stainless...a sink that looks good but ends up giving problems in the future will not look so good when the problems begin...you will live with what ever decision you make so choose wisely
  6. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Because granite emits radon I would not use it in my home.
  7. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

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    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    The water coming out of one's faucets would be greater source of radon in your home than one's granite countertops. For that matter, outdoor air would be as well.
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Are you saying that their is a higher concentration of radon outside in the air while I am taking a walk, than in my kitchen baking cookies with granite countertops?
  9. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

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    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    No, but I am saying that your tap water (0.01 pCi/L typical) has a greater effect on indoor air quality (4 pCi/L max recommended) than granite countertops (0.00000074 pCi/L for 70 square feet). Outdoor air typically contributes about 0.2 pCi/L. These values were calculated using an exchange rate of .5 to 1 times per hour; the minimum recommended exchange rate to maintain indoor air quality is .35 times per hour, BTW.
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Why contribute to making the radon level even higher by adding granite countertops?
    Plus, there is no known safe level of radon or radiation, any exposure increases your health risks.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  11. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Because it's not worth worrying about.

    There is paper on the subject authored by a rather well respected geologist, Dr. Donald Langmuir. In conclusion, he suggested if one were really concerned about radon, they should "build an air-tight house out of granite countertops." I'll add that the house should be sans running water.

    I don't even think it's possible to actually measure the radon given off by a countertop; it's too low. No safe level of radon? That's like saying there's no safe level of sunlight. Oh wait, you already said that too... Using this definition of safe, there is no safe level of exposure to the planet Earth as it is a natural source of radiation.

    I think I'll be quite now; this thread has all the makings of two water softener salesmen squaring off.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I already have cancer, I think I will err on the side of caution. I advise others too, also. Some of the granite levels are HIGH. By the way, 4 pCi/L is still the equilvent and risk of smoking a half of pack of cigarettes a day.

    I don't live in a bubble, infact, what I have to do takes intelligence, common sense, and courage. My comment still stands on not using granite in ones' home. Why take the chance. There are only acceptable levels of radon and radiation, no known safe levels.
  13. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Found under Granite and Radon in Remodeling

    There is another thread on Granite and Radon under Remodel Forum.

    Al Gerhart [​IMG]
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Posts: 1


    [​IMG] What a great thread on this subject!
    Hello,

    I am pretty deep into this subject, and can answer a lot of questions on the subject if anyone has any. Keep in mind that I am helping many of the researchers looking into this, so I have some stuff available that isn't published yet.

    There are studies out there on the Radon emanation from granite, ranges from nothing to thousands of pCi per square foot per hour. The record was Stan Liebert's find in the Sugarman home in up state NY, the case used for the NY Times story. As to research papers, well, even the Marble Institute's study done by Dr. Chyi found a .27 pCi/L increase in a homes level if a small amount (13 linear feet) of Crema Bordeaux is used in a 2,000 square foot home. Now, there were many problems with that study, as it was paid for by the MIA, it was expected to support their position, but it shattered their previous claims of no Radon from granite, or immeasurable amounts.

    At the AARST conference (American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists), there were two studies specifically on granite countertop radtiation and Radon, and two discussion sessions on what to do about the problem.

    One study, by Bill Brodhead, showed over 500 pCi/sf/hr of Radon coming from one of the samples I provided. Bill calculated that in the right circumstances, a small tight home, a small countertop, the Radon levels could hit 4 pCi/L. Now most granites aren't his bad, they range from very little, say 8 pCi/sf/hr and up. But no one is concerned about the safer granites, it is the hot ones that need taken off the market.

    Another study was by Dr. Mike Kitto, who showed several startling discoveries. Mike had accepted a grant from Sensa, a natural stone company (also owned by Silestone, or C & C North America to be precise), and studied thirty or forty stone samples and some of the quartz products as well. The study was set for peer review after the conference, but then something happened.

    Back in May, I had shipped a sample of Niagara gold granite, from a remnant purchased from one of my competitors. At 220 uR/hr, it was pretty hot but I had no way to test for granite. So I sent a large section to Brodhead for testing, who cut it in half, sending half to Dr. Kitto at the NY state Health Dept. Broken in shipment, half was tested, the other half appreared in the NY Times story and on the CBS Morning show a bit later.

    That Niagara Gold sample hit over 500 pCi/SF/hr, which convineced the researchers to keep looking. Later I sent more samples to both Brodhead and Kitto, as well as other scientists leading the effort. So Kitto stopped the peer review, reopened the study to include samples other than what he was provided with initially by the stone company.

    Another amazing result from Kitto's study was that one could put a high Radon producing granite slab under a low Radon producing slab and the Radon from the lower would penetrate the upper slab easily. What we think as "solid rock" is anything but. As a fabricator, I can tell you that water soaks right through, so I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise.

    On the radiation issue, well the hottest found to date was around 17 mR/hr, with one hot spot cored out (2.5" diameter core) that hit 1.080 mR/hr. One hundred hours of contact, or less than 30 minutes a day for a year, would put you over the 100 mR per year additional radiation dose recommended by the experts.

    The average granite out there is under 20 uR/hr gamma, or around .2 or .3 mR/hr if you count all radiation. If you look at it in terms of background radiation, the "safe" granite will double, triple or quadruple your radiation that you get from natural sources all around you. As a granite fabricator, we have a limit of 25 uR/hr gamma, mainly out of concern for our workers.

    Sensa has used this as a marketing tool, 300 cpm or around 53 uR/hr gamma is their limits for fabrication and sale.

    Sorry for the long post, but I felt the info needed to be out there. Let me know if I missed anything. I'll end my saying that many of the granites out there are perfectly safe, but the problem is that we don't know which ones are dangerous.

    For more info, solidsurfacealliance.org solidsurfacealliance.org/blog

    Thanks,
    Al
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
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