Liquid went down from back of countertop to cabinet below

strayerdarbAugust 10, 2014

No one will fess up, but someone under the age of 12 in my house spilled what I think was a whole cup of chocolate milk and cleaned it up without telling me. This morning I noticed that the bottom of the backsplash and the grout was stained. I looked under the sink and there was brown liquid spilled down the back of the cabinet and onto the cabnet floor.

There was enough liquid to still be sitting there wet on the bottom of the cabinet. There's a triangular shaped empty space right next to this cabinet into which I can't see of course. I think there is probably liquid down there also.

Now I have to find a way to clean the grount which I can do, but the bigger issue is that I know there will be more spills and such, so isn't that line supposed to be waterproof? What should I do to fix it? Can I ask the contractor to come back and redo that connection between the backsplash and the counter? And should I be concerned about the vacant area I can't see?

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Sophie Wheeler

Supposed to be caulk between the counter and backsplash.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:05AM
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jellytoast

Hopefully all of the liquid spilled to the inside of the cabinet first, preventing it from spilling on the outside next to the wall. Don't know how you'd find out for sure without taking something apart. The transition seam between the countertop and the backsplash should be caulked, not grouted. You can use a caulk that matches the grout. Before my backsplash was installed, I also caulked the seam where the granite met up with the wall which would prevent anything that might happen to get under the backsplash from leaking back behind the cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:09AM
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strayerdarb

Thanks, so the line between the backsplash and counter is scratchy, doesn't feel like caulk, feels like grout.

This kitchen was just finished a couple of months ago. Should I call the contractor? What should I ask him to do? I guess he can have someone caulk all around, but should I ask him to pull anything out to look for liquid that might have gone anywhere else? What is reasonable to ask him to do?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:15AM
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greenhaven

Oh, ugh! I hope you can get it straightened out without too much of a fuss. Your GC should definitely be notified right away.

Thanks for posting that, though, so I can be double sure to seal my countertop and wall properly. I will caulk the granite and drywall and caulk again when the backsplash and trim goes on.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:37AM
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strayerdarb

Thanks. I will call him tomorrow, Monday.

Can I get some advice on what is reasonable to ask him to do?

Was it the backsplash installer that didn't do the job right? I didn't like that person at all.

Advice please before I place the call. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:42AM
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romy718

It's crazy, isn't it? Because of GW, I knew that it was supposed to be caulk instead of grout. It never entered my mind I would need to tell him that. What does my tile guy do? Grout. I had him come back & caulk but I suspect he didn't remove the grout first. I believe I read here that the grout should be dug out & then it should be caulked.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:46AM
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strayerdarb

Ok, so of this possible list, what should I ask the contractor to do?

-- Dig out grout and replace with caulk? (How to do this without scratching/messing up my lovely granite?)

-- Somehow find out if there is liquid that went down behind the cabinet by the wall? (How to do that?)

-- Somehow look to see if liquid went down in the dead space (it's a 45 degree corner) that is between the 2 cabinets? (How to do that?)

-- Repaint the stained (doesn't appear to be damaged more than just stained) cabinet?

Please advice what is reasonable, and how in the world can he look for further damage without ruining/drilling holes in/messing up the cabinets and messing with granite above?

I'm distressed; DH out of the country and I can't even call him where he is, so need to handle it myself.

Thanks,
Sara

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:10AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, the tiler messed up and should have caulked the seam instead of grouting. Yes the GC should have had a bead of caulk between the counter and wall before the tiler started on the backsplash. Don't cry over spilt milk. What's done is done. If you can't access the pie shaped space between the cabinets and the liquid got in there, it will only smell for a few days before it dries out. Focus on getting the seam between the counter and backsplash free of grout so that it can be caulked properly.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Trebruchet

Not only should there be silicone, not latex caulk, at the plane change between deck and splash, there should be a space, usually the same thickness as the grout lines, allowed for the caulk.

This is why tile should be installed and grouted with a continuous shim between the deck and bottom row of tile. At completion, pull the shim and fill the gap with silicone color matched to the grout.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:33PM
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suzanne_sl

I wouldn't worry too much about what is spilled in the dead space or between the cabinets and the wall. If it was indeed a cup of chocolate milk, that's only a max of 8 oz depending on your glasses. It could even just be overflow from an overfilled glass. The majority of it would stay up on the counter - even grout will stop a waterfall and just allow the drips and drabs through, especially if the culprit did his/her best to mop it up off the counter. It's unlikely that that amount of milk will do any lasting damage.

Once you get over throttling your little darlings, you need to have a family meeting on the subject of accidents. Tell them that it's important to report accidents even if they think you'll be mad. This is particularly true if the accident happens when they're doing something they weren't supposed to. The "I may be mad, but I love you anyway" line may be helpful. [When I was 11, I cut myself with a scout knife at camp. I was using it in my bunk, which was not OK. I didn't tell and hid my cut finger. Can you imagine if it had gotten infected in a camp situation? Kids aren't known for thinking things through.]

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:50PM
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strayerdarb

OK, thanks to everyone. For the part of the grout that got stained, what should I use to clean that? The backsplash is marble, the grout is plain white, unsanded.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:39PM
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vdinli

I can see this happening at our house, including the

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:53PM
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crl_

I would not use vinegar on marble as it may damage the marble. Sorry I don't have any suggestions. Best of luck getting it out!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:41PM
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snookums2

The bs+vinegar might work. Tape off the counter and splash and try to scrub just the grout area with a toothbrush. I think it needs to sit, maybe baking soda is first ( which could work by itself). Can't recall, Google it for steps.

If you're going to have him replace it with caulk, I'd just wait until that is done and not risk any damage from solutions.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:28PM
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romy718

Maybe there is something in this post that will help. Also, google "marble stain poultices" & you'll find out what products are safe to use on marble.
Or-start a new thread asking the professionals for advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Vomited on Grout

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 12:49AM
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Trebruchet

This is not the first time I've heard of a non-confessional child, however, the last time it was the kids plugging a battery charger into a backsplash that leaked acid onto a section of a 12K quartz job.

Unfortunately, they convinced their physician father that the damage was caused by a candle that they had placed over the damage. Fortunately, he wasn't too fussy about the repair.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:31AM
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strayerdarb

Help! GC came and dug out grout and sealed with caulk. But yesterday I (not the kids this time) knocked over a glass of water and ALL of the water went down in the cabinet below! I don't understand. I hated my old kitchen but at least this didn't happen. I've been cooking in kitchens for almost 30 years and I have never ever had this happen. I know I spilled a few times like this in my previous kitchen. Once a whole vase cracked and all the water went all over the counter and onto the floor but NONE of it went into the cabinet below.

I just went out to the garage and looked at the caulk container and it says acrylic, not silicone. Is this why? I am really frustrated.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 3:07PM
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live_wire_oak

The counter itself should have caulk between it and the wall, before the backsplash is installed. The only way to remedy that if it didn't happen is to remove the backsplash. Or, the last row of the backsplash. Then the small gap between the backsplash and counter should be filled with caulk. If the backsplash is tile, then the sanded caulk that matches the grout should be used. So, it sounds as though the right material was ordered and used.

How big is the gap between the countertop and backsplash? If the gap is bigger than 1/8", you need some backer to stuff down in there before you caulk over the top to keep the water out. The caulk itself could be old, and have lost it's adhesion. I'd buy a new tube. And make sure that the caulk wasn't applied over grout.

The other thing to check is are you sure that the liquid isn't coming from a faucet hole missing a gasket? Or from the rim of the sink itself? Some towels, and some colored water, together with another adult to selectively drip that colored water can help you to see exactly where that water is coming from.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 4:31PM
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live_wire_oak

The counter itself should have caulk between it and the wall, before the backsplash is installed. The only way to remedy that if it didn't happen is to remove the backsplash. Or, the last row of the backsplash. Then the small gap between the backsplash and counter should be filled with caulk. If the backsplash is tile, then the sanded caulk that matches the grout should be used. So, it sounds as though the right material was ordered and used.

How big is the gap between the countertop and backsplash? If the gap is bigger than 1/8", you need some backer to stuff down in there before you caulk over the top to keep the water out. The caulk itself could be old, and have lost it's adhesion. I'd buy a new tube. And make sure that the caulk wasn't applied over grout.

The other thing to check is are you sure that the liquid isn't coming from a faucet hole missing a gasket? Or from the rim of the sink itself? Some towels, and some colored water, together with another adult to selectively drip that colored water can help you to see exactly where that water is coming from.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 4:32PM
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strayerdarb

I know there is nothing between the counter and the wall. I think the GC is going to give me a hard time about this. The job was done months ago and he has been paid. I have to gather my thoughts before calling him. I'm so upset. I wonder what else he did wrong?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 6:29PM
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