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Old 12-24-2009, 11:56 AM   #1
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granite hearth cracked twice


Hi--we have a big problem and don't know what to do. Our granite hearth cracked after our first fire, we had it replaced and it cracked again. It's a 1 and 1/4" slab of honed black absolute granite, placed on top of our wood floor. Our fireplace is normal-sized and we burn average pieces of firewood. We think the problem comes from the unfinished edge of the granite heating up (the edge that extends the width of the fireplace), expanding the granite, then creating cracks since the rest of the granite is cold and doesn't expand. But--are we the only ones with this problem? I thought people used granite slabs frequently for hearths with no problems!

We're not sure if the next slab should be lowered into the wood floor so it's level with the floor, thus keeping the edge from being exposed to the heat, or what. Help!

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Old 12-24-2009, 12:37 PM   #2
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granite hearth cracked twice


I bought a used piece of granite & had the same thing happen
I know its there, most people will not notice it
My hearth is raised, so direct heat hitting it

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Old 12-24-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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granite hearth cracked twice


A thicker slab will help. But setting on a wood subfloor is the biggest issue creating the problem. Now the granite and the subfloor expand and contract at greatly different coefficients. Set it on concrete as it should be and you will have no problems.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:30 PM   #4
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granite hearth cracked twice


Thanks for the input. I was researching this further and saw that there are also flexible underlayment materials like Micore board. It looks like cement board. Do you think this would work?
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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granite hearth cracked twice


no. it will most likely cause more cracking. What you want is to install over Ditra. This membrane works as a decoupler to help movement in the sub base being tranferred to the slab. It is this movement that is causing your problems.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:49 AM   #6
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granite hearth cracked twice


So glad to find this thread. Having the same issue.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:47 AM   #7
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granite hearth cracked twice


When you say it's laying on the wood floor, do you mean it was just brought into the house and put in front of the fireplace on the finished floor?
This stone needs to be "installed" on a proper setting bed.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:30 AM   #8
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granite hearth cracked twice


I believe Mr. Mariani hit the nail square on. There is no way that differential heating of the granite would be causing this problem. If the granite is not locked in position, it would not crack. The slab must be restrained on all sides, preventing movement, so when it heats the slab cracks rather than moves.

Installation using thinset or conventional mortar over ditra should solve this issue, just make sure the sides of the granite are not restrained. You may need some elastic caulk along the edges, when we did our stone kitchen floor we purchased colored caulk (I think it was polybutyl) that formed the 1/2 inch edge, allowing movement of the stone. Worked really nicely.

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