uneven countertop heights & subway tile

dbm451January 13, 2014

I searched for a thread mirroring our situation, but could only find one where the tile line would end at an uneven ceiling. Our problem is that our cabinet heights are uneven on either side of the range (by 1/2") and we're trying to decide whether to start w/2 1/2" high tiles to the rt of the stovetop (to maintain the tile line going around the corner) or start w/whole tiles and fudge the grout lines as we go up. I don't see how adjusting spacing going across wouldn't be MORE obvious than starting w/shorter tiles on the higher countertop. The range is level, but the window sill isn't (as w/most of the kitchen- due to old house settling and poor DIY cabinet installation by the previous owners).

We're also considering a solid/no-line backsplash- such as a white backpainted glass or acrylic. Anything too busy would compete for interest w/the countertops, no?

I'll post a couple more images. Thanks!

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... another angle

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 4:21PM
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... and a wider view.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Fix the problem instead of the symptom. Level the cabinets. I'm really really surprised that anyone would install stone on top of that. Most stone pros wouldn't.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 4:29PM
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I agree completely with hollysprings.

It looks like these cabinets may be older built-ins. If that's the case you can run continuous shims on top of the lower cabinet to bring it to level with the high one.

You may have to install molding to cover the shims, but the difference in the distance from the drawer tops to the molding will be much less conspicuous than the stove sides being off and the impossibility of level tile as existing.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Thanks. By running continuous shims, are you talking about REMOVING the countertop, shimming, and re-installing the stone? The stone installer already ran shims all over the place and all corners of the base cabinets were so off (by an inch in some spots) that they did what they could do. The higher corner section is now level, but the side on the left was so much lower, the shims & caulk are nearly 3/4" bet cabinet tops and stone.

They installers weren't the same guys who did the template, so the installers were shocked at how unlevel it all was. I figured the cost would be way too high to have the cabinets leveled, so as long as the countertops were level... Then, I noticed the height difference on either side of the range.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 12:07PM
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They did not do everything they could do or the tops would be level. The installers had a choice. They could have told you the extent of your cabinet problems and let you evaluate whether or not to have the cabinets properly leveled with the understanding that you would incur an additional trip charge.

Or, they could have shimmed the tops to level and let you wrestle with how you would cover the shims.

They did neither.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:09PM
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If these are full boxes and not stick built in place I would consider shimming the left hand one up from the bottom toe-kick area and reinstalling it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:14PM
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