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Countertop Rodding

Rodding Stone Countertops

Countertop rodding is a technique that is used for making a stone stronger. Many professionals make use of rodding stone countertops for a variety of specific reasons. In this article we will look at why this practice is used. We will also consider how to rod natural stone and what is needed to properly rod a countertop including blades, rodding, and rodding glue.

Reasons to Use Rodding On Countertops

The purpose of rodding natural stone is ultimately to strengthen areas that have been weakened in some way. We will talk about a couple of them in this section of the article.

Non-resined Slabs With Cracking

One reason to use rodding is that some stone slabs have cracks and fissures in them that can result in weak points in the stone. These cracks are often injected with a resin to strengthen those areas. However, this is not always true. Rodding stone that has not had resin injected into it for strengthening is a way of insuring that the stone is not weak due to non-resined cracks that do not go all the way through the slab. This is often not necessary, but at times it may be. So, be sure to find out if the stone has been reinforced with resin.

Sink Hole Cutouts Weaken Stone

Another reason to use rodding is that virtually all projects will have a sink. When a section of stone is cut from the slab, narrow strips of material bordering the cutout will be weak. Thus, there is a need to strengthen the strip of stone. This is done using rodding.

Why Rodding Stone Countertops Is A Good Choice

Some may wonder why rodding stone countertops is a good way to go. Rodding stone is one of the stone reinforcement techniques in the guidelines from the Marble Institute of America used to strengthen stone countertops. There are also benefits to rodding stone slabs.

Benefits for Fabricators

One important benefit of strengthening stone slabs for the fabricator is less waste. How so? Countertops break during handling. Material handling equipment makes transporting coutnertops easier. Yet, breakage is still a concern. It stands to reason that a stronger stone is less likely to break when it is being handled or transporting it. The fewer breaks, the less waste there is.

In addition to material waste, breaks can lead to other negative results. A weak stone that breaks because it was not reinforced could set off a series of events that end up with the reputation of the fabricator being hindered. So simply doing the best job possible and providing a strong slab is itself a benefit to fabricators.

Benefits for the Countertop Owner

The fabricators and installers are not the only ones that realize benefits. The owner of the countertop also receives benefits. Yet, they may never even know it. The benefits of rodding stone countertops for the owner lies in their not having a crack occur in the countertop. Even though the installation may be performed correctly and the stone may be just fine at the time of install, houses settle. Surfaces inside the home may move in unpredictable ways; a little at a time. These movements can cause cracking and breaking. A rodded countertop stays together and the repair is easier because there is less damage.

There are many ways of performing installs and each install is different. However, many professionals choose to use one or more reinforcment techniques on each countertop they install. And others will use reinforcement techniques for very specific situations. One technique used frequently is stone rodding.

How to Strengthen Cracks Using Rodding

Strengthening a stone that has cracks using rodding is pretty straightforward. The idea is to use rodding that is clean and free of rust and completely coat the rodding with resin so it will not rust afterward. Here are the steps:

  1. Cut a groove perpendicular to (that crosses) the crack using a rodding blade.
  2. Prepare rodding for insertion (if using steel rodding, clean the oil off using an appropriate cleaner).
  3. Put some resin in the groove to coat the underside of the rodding.
  4. Insert the rodding in the slot that you cut and press it into the groove, displacing the resin.
  5. If needed, put more resin in the groove to fill it to the top or a tiny bit higher.
  6. Remove excess resin using a straight edge.
  7. Allow the resin to cure fully.

Once the resin dries, the stone is now reinforced by the rodding.

How to Rod Stone Countertop Sink Cutouts

Rodding stone around sink cutouts follows the same process as we mentioned above with some minor differences. Reinforcing sink cutouts in stone countertops using rodding is done as follows:

  1. Determine where in your slab the cutouts will be including the sink, cooktop, faucets, outlets, notches, and dispensers etc.
  2. Decide where on the slab you will place your rodding. Rodding is usually placed so that it runs between the sink cutout and the edges of the slab.
  3. On the underside of the slab (after turning it face down) use a rodding blade to cut a groove that is about 1/8" deeper than the rod you are using.
  4. Make your cut extend past the end of your sink cutout a few inches. You want your rodding to sit down into the stone and to allow room for the blade's curve.
  5. Prepare rodding for insertion (if using steel rodding, clean the oil off using an appropriate cleaner).
  6. Put some resin in the groove to coat the underside of the rodding.
  7. Insert the rodding in the slot that you cut and press it into the groove, displacing the resin.
  8. If needed, put more resin in the groove to fill it to the top or a tiny bit higher.
  9. Remove excess resin using a straight edge.
  10. Allow the resin to cure fully.

What Rodding and Adhesive Products to Use

There are a number of products used for rodding stone countertops. The adhesive, blades, and rodding are available through distributors of fabrication tools. Let's briefly consider some of the products for rodding stone countertops.

Rodding Blades

Diamond rodding blades are available in a variety of diameters and the one you select will be affected by the size of channel you are cutting. Additionally, the cutting environment will impact your decision on which blade to go with.

Rodding Options

As mentioned earlier the rodding you use needs to be free of rust. Oxide jacking can result in the countertop cracking due to the rust building up in a compact area. There are various materials used for rodding. Some of the materials used for rodding are:

All of the rodding in the list above is effective. However, since steel rodding does rust, it comes covered with oil to keep the rust from forming before it arrives. The oil needs to be cleaned off completely and when the rodding is seated in the groove, it must be completely covered in resin so it will not be exposed. This prevents it from rusting after installation.

Rodding Adhesive

Many adhesives work fine for rodding. However, some are specifically formulated for use as a rodding glue. Additionally, applying the adhesive using a cartridge gun has other benefits too. Benefits of using a rodding glue cartridge include:

  • Faster - using a cartridge gun to apply the rodding glue is easy and the glue can be dispensed in a targeted bead rapidly.
  • Less Waste - adhesive cartridges reduce waste because there is no need to mix a "batch" to use since the cartridge mixes the resin and the hardener as it is dispensed.
  • Productivity Boost - since applying rodding glue using a cartridge is faster and more efficient, more can be done in less time.
  • Increased Profitability - a boost in productivity is conducive to more work in the same amount of time which generates more money.

As we have seen in this article, rodding stone countertops is a technique that has benefits. It is used in more than one circumstance and it is a good technique to know about. Knowing what to look out for and which tools make it easier will increase productivity and even profits.

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