Curing Countertop Cancer

Countertop cancer is caused by stone fabricator error and is completely avoidable with proper rodding techniques and/or top transportation methods.When stone fabricators improperly imbed mild steel round or rectangular rods (instead of stainless steel or fiberglass) in polyester resin (instead of epoxy) water penetrates through the stone or from a leaking undermount sink flange or both. Polyester is not as water resistant as epoxy and when the water breaches that barrier, it oxidizes the rod. The rusting rod expands and since no stone is stronger than rust, it cracks the stone. The cracked stone allows even more water penetration and subsequent oxidation, speeding the cancer.

The oxidizing rod must be removed. I’ve spoken with several reputable repairpersons across the country that disagree or mistakenly believe that their market won’t support the charges necessary for a rod removal, which usually involves removing and replacing a cabinet front and dust control. It is inconceivable that a rusting rod could be permanently encased in waterproofing, and even if it was, with the expanded rod still in place, how can the stone be properly clamped and adhered in the most inconspicuous manner? It can’t.Sometimes the cancer is too far along for rod removal and stone repair as pictured here:

After the drain lines and disposal are disconnected and the sink removed, the project begins with the Festool Rail Saw dry cutting the new sink opening with excellent dust collection. The stone has fractured past where the right side cut will be, but that’s not a bad thing:

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After decontamination, the broken piece is adhered with custom tinted methacrylate and clamped in place

Rod failures happen at or near faucets also:

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In these cases, often the most cost-effective cure is a sink replacement:

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