Need feedback asap- Please?

boone_2009August 21, 2013

After much to-and-fro'ing between fabricator and DH and me, we thought we had everything sorted out, including having radii at 4 corners of cooktop cutout ( as we have a Silestone countertop and online fabricator forums say that radii are recommended in the Silestone manual, otherwise the surface may potentially crack ( if straight, angled corners are cut). Fabricator, when he came to template, first said he would do straight corners, then said, "ok, if you want I'll do a slight radius".

Contract was gone over yesterday and fabricator has included $200 *extra* in the contract for 'cooktop radius corners'. We haven't signed yet as I wanted to get feedback regarding this. I thought that if the manufacturer recommends radii, it is done as a matter of course without customer being charged extra.

For thos of you with Silestone counters, what kind of cooktop cutout corners do you have; and have you had any problems with straight angled corners cracking the countertop?

For all you fabricators on this forum, please advise me: Is this extra charge "usual"?

Thanks a lot.

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boone_2009

Just checked my contract again - it's 240 dollars extra.

I'd really appreciate any feedback asap - I have to sign the contract today ( hopefully).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:12PM
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herbflavor

I had thought a cutout of anysort for a cooktop involved a charge....do you have a previous charge for cooktop cutout? what was the charge? if there is no other charge for cut-out I'd pay for this.....if the two charges together are 400-500 I'd want a discussion to negotiate this. It just depends on how they itemize the work....be looking at your total price and their willingness to give you what you want.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:34PM
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snookums2

Businesses vary in how they charge/itemize for the work, but any tooling of the stone is a service (with inherent risks and overhead involved). Sink cutout, type of edge, rounded corners.... they are all work and skill. You will often see them itemized separately, as customers want different options. Sometimes not, sinkout is inlcuded say, but it is surely rolled up into the per foot cost or something else.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:44PM
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boone_2009

Hi, herbflavor - many thanks for replying. We have already paid for the cooktop and sink cutouts along with the required slabs and installation.

He added the extra cost for the ogee edge ,which is of course expected and due to him, as the final cost would depend on whether we chose the ogee or not.

However, he also added the $250 additional for the "radius corners for cooktop". We did not expect this at all as he made no mention that there would be an extra charge (when we spoke in person while he was templating).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:50PM
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boone_2009

snookums2 - thanks for your feedback, that helps a lot.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Fabricators that I've dealt with usually start a cooktop (or topmount sink) cutout by drilling the 4 corners. That's usually enough of a radius to work. Then they support the cutout and cut in between the holes. It's no "extra" for the radius, just the standard charge for an unpolished cutout. The price for an unpolished cutout varies from free to $150.

Adding an extra $240 on top of the standard fee is ridiculous, IMHO. I'd suggest paying them a nominal fee for coming out and doing the template, (say $100) and finding someone else who doesn't have such an issue doing something so routine.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:01PM
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boone_2009

hollysprings: Thank you for your response. You once asked me why I didn't trust my fabricator.

Well, the long and short of it is that we are going through Lowes for our cabinets and countertops.

They have been fantastic with the cabinets - the KD is great ( we lucked out) and the cabinet installer was superb.

Then we were ready for the countertops. Unfortunately, our luck seems to have run out there.

The company they ( Lowes) contract with for Silestone is brand new to them ( the Lowes store we are working with); Silestone itself only recently was stocked at our Lowes.

So this fabricator has been so hard to work with from the get-go. For starters, no one can get hold of him or his office when we need to; DH and I actually were the ones who alerted them to the fact that the slabs were all tagged and reserved and ready for them to pick up - this after they kept saying they had heard nothing from Silestone and after we made the long trip to the yard and back, twice.

We have been running in circles trying to get decent responses from the fabricator/owner of the company and so have Lowes. He either does not answer our or their phone calls or answers very late; when asked a direct question by me in regard to the sink reveal, he never replied despite repeated requests for clarification from me.

Lowes has only this one fabricator for the Silestone; their other company that works with granite is good and established. So we are stuck with this company, to our frustration.

This guy apparently has been in business for 20 years but I don't know if he is the original owner as there is a co-owner listed as well on the license. They seems to have 3 different addresses, 3 different email addresses and 3 different phone numbers. And yet, it is hard to get hold of them.

He came once to our home to do the templating and that is when he started saying things like, "You don't need the sink template..it's wrong" "There will not be a positive 1/4 inch reveal" ( which is what set me on the quest for answers re reveals on this forum - I even called Vigo and spoke to a tech guy there who said what the fabricator was saying about not being able to do a 1/4 inch positive reveal was 'weird' as their template provides for such a reveal); "we use our own clips, not the clips supplied by the sink company"; he said a loud "no" when we asked if we could come to see the slabs being fabricated( because by this time we were nervous about this company).
We were supposed to finalize the contract yesterday but since he threw in the unexpected $240 and also another $250 for 'the sink" ( I don't know if that's for securing it to the countertop, as we have paid for the cutout already- we paid a sum to Lowes for material, installation, sink and cooktop cutouts, basic edging.. the only extra that was anticipated was a few dollars difference if the sq ft turned out to be a bit more or less than Lowes' measurements and also more than a few dollars if we chose an ogee edge).

Lowes has been trying to contact him/his secretary all day today. We had an appointment at 10 a.m with Lowes KD to sign off on the contract but that was contingent on the KD getting in touch with this guy and first getting answers to our questions, esp re cooktop radii. KD called this morning to say he cannot get hold of him; by the end of the day, he still hadn't responded. The KD is genuinely trying hard.

We are so fed up at this point; more relevant and important is the fact that we are very anxious now about having this company do our countertops. We have contacted the manager at Lowes and said they need to straighten this out and get things going. We also called the slab yard ourselves today, and they said they will hold the slabs only for another 7 days. ( They have already been holding them for 20 days now).

Basically, we are just waiting for this guy; he did the template on the 7th, sent a sample edging ( Lowes asked for it as he first was reluctant to make one) on the 16th which reached Lowes on the 19th. At the rate this is going, it looks like we won't have a countertop for weeks and weeks to come - and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it won't be a disaster on install day.

Everything else and everyone else has been on the dot- cabs are in, tile/installer lined up, electrical and plumbing work are set ( for cooktop light, under cabinet lights etc and for connecting sink and garbage disposer), appliances have already been delivered ( sitting in the garage except for the fridge which is in). But all this can begin only after the countertops are in.

We got a good rebate from Lowes for the cabinets and have applied it ( 2300 dollars) to the total sum for the countertop install ( total will come to around 6100 or so).

We don't know what else to do, now. In hindsight we wish we had gone with a private guy for the countertop install - but hindsight is always 20-20. Who woulda thunk that we'd get this fabricator after having had such luck and great service with/from the KD ,the cabinet company ( Schulers)and the cabinet installer? :-( :-(

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:14PM
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boone_2009

Just to make sure I am accurately quoting his added charges, I looked at what he wrote exactly, again:

Undermount Sink 245
4 qt- 1/2" radius cooktop 240 optional
2 qt additional faucet holes 40 optional

I had asked him when he was here if he could drill an extra hole for a future filtration faucet and he said he could, but suggested it was better I don't do it now. After DH and I discussed this we decided not to drill that hole. So the only holes above the sink will be 3 in number - one for pull-down spray faucet ( single hole), one for air gap, and one for soap dispenser.
I don't know why he wrote " 2 qt additional faucet holes".

I also don't know why he wrote " 4 qt 1/2 inch radius "; when we talked he said he would do a radius; I don't care what size it is as long as it is a radius and not angled. I she charging because he thinks I want a 1/2 inch radius ( as opposed to what?)?

Is there a 'standard" radius cut size? If so, PLEASE tell me!! ( He didn't).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:37PM
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localeater

I can't answer your questions about normal cut out charges. However, based on what you are saying about how he deals with you, how he deals with Lowes and the comments he made when he was templating, I would run.
I would lose my Silestone slabs. I would tell Lowes to give me my money back because they only offer 1 fabricator and they acknowledge they cannot get a hold of him. I would live with plywood counters until I made a new choice- either Silestone from somewhere else, or a different countertop all together.
Problems before installation are much easier to walk away from than problems after installation.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:14AM
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kksmama

I agree entirely with Localeater. Walk away, or run. Maybe you can get a recommendation for a new fabricator from the slab yard, or your cabinet installer. I'm sure that Lowes will find a way to refund your money and should do so promptly. Work up their chain of command as necessary.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:35AM
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boone_2009

localeater and kksmama: thanks. We have already been thinking of running!
I booted up my comp just now and a message awaited from KD who says that he got in touch with fabricator who was unavailable because he was doing a government job and was busy; that he ( fabricator) has agreed to drop the charges for the cooktop cutout; that he will do the 1/4 inch positive reveal but needs to take the sink, now, as that will help them template better ( he took only the template before).
So only questions left are the charge for the sink of 245 dollars - is this a normal charge to 'mount' the sink? We paid Lowes earlier for the cutout.
Thank you for your kind help. We can't get another fabricator recommendation from our cabinet installer he works for Lowes and does not know; we are going to call the slab yard now for a fabricator recommendation.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:48PM
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boone_2009

Oh, and we don't even have plywood counters - that was supposed to be done when they came to install the countertops.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:49PM
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lavender_lass

I'd get a new fabricator, too. Find someone, who you can contact...what happens if the install is wrong? Countertop cracks...any other problems? Is there any other countertop you like at Lowe's with a better company?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:53PM
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boone_2009

lavender_lass: unfortunately, we didn't like any other countertop at Lowes. We did go to Walker Zanger and liked a quartzite we saw there but that was before we chose the Silestone. Lowes does not carry that quartzite.We do like the Silestone, though ( Lagoon).

Lowes says if anything is wrong with the install, they will take care of it and will make sure the fabricator does it to our satisfaction. This fabricator did give us 3 references ( after pulling a lot of teeth, though) and they were all pleased with him, but two were contractors he works with and one was a residential customer but not through Lowes. Apparently he does a lot of work for corporate clients.

I think we have so much fatigue now after all this that the very thought of going through the process again is depressing us. But I know what you all are saying.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 2:18PM
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iroll_gw

Yes, run. At least they haven't installed anything, or damaged anything.
I'd get on Lowe's back as well, they need to find someone else, ideally, several someone elses to install Silestone for them. Meanwhile, I can't see them blaming you for cancelling, when even they can't get ahold of their "own" contractor.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:01PM
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boone_2009

Thanks, iroll.

Update:

Our Lowes KD said they unfortunately don't have any other Silestone fabricator and we would have to go with another retailer if we are unhappy with this guy. The other company they contract with does only granite and other stone countertops.

DH called Silestone ( our local showroom/yard) and they said this guy is on their list of fabricators. They gave us some other names as well, but those work with different companies. We have gone through a long process and to have to start a search for another company and fabricator at this point.....

Also, KD spoke to the fabricator - Lowes said there will be no additional charges for the sink.

They asked the fabricator about why he didn't want to use the clips that came with the sink and he said he "would need to see the sink and the clips; that typically the sink is secured in a plywood subtop but once he sees the sink/clips he can determine what is best."

Lowes said they would ship the sink to the fabricator at their cost via UPS.

I don't know, but am hoping, that this is a case of good fabricator with poor social skills.

With the rebate from Lowes, we *are* getting a great price for the Silestone of our choice - so it's tempting to stay with Lowes and hold them to their assurances/contract that if anything goes wrong they will rectify it at once. I do believe our KD when he says that, as he is truly a dedicated, competent person.

:-(

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Holly- Kay

I would also believe Lowe's but do you really want to go through this whole process yet again if the fabricator screws up?

Maybe it will go fine but man the warning signs are all over this.

Good luck to you. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:33PM
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boone_2009

holly-kay: No, I would not want to go through the whole process again :-(

But we talked it over, DH and I, and we are keeping our fingers crossed , too and hope all will go well. I was all for running but DH says it will "be okay". Sigh. I *told* him that all of you have warned me...

DH went and met the KD this evening and they wrote down everything we wanted in specific words, in the contract.

Thank you all for your generous help and advice; even though we are still going with Lowes and their fabricator ( only because we are this far along and it's really hard now to switch while trying to manage our own daily schedules as well; plus monetarily, it does make a difference to our budget) we know your advice was from the heart and very considered... thank you and I hope it won't come to a point where you'll all have the definite right to say, I told you so!

Gulp.

Thanks for keeping your fingers crossed, holly-kay.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:16PM
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CEFreeman

boone, did you get Lowe's committment to anything after the fact in writing?

I have followed this and am sorry you're not hightailing it into the sunset from this guy.

No one will tell you, "I told you so." It would be, "You knew what you were getting into..."

I'm crossing my fingers for you that he's just a jerk, but a jerk that does good work. It's unlikely he'd want to screw up a Lowe's contract, but weirder things....

How did he end up geing a Silestone contractor if he doesn't know anything about it. Did anyone ask about his Silestone training? Seminars? How he got on their list?
I'm having all these after-the-fact questions for you.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:03AM
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boone_2009

CEFreeman: Thanks for your concern- I really appreciate your words.
Yes, DH spent FOUR hours at Lowes yesterday and they typed out everything we wanted, on the contract. They said we have final say on inspection after the job is done and if we don't like anything, we don't sign off until they get the guy to correct it or they get it corrected ( like getting another slab). They were pretty good with us yesterday.

I know all of you gave us the best advice - we took it all to heart. But a number of factors made us finally go with this guy - including the fact that Lowes is really invested in making sure we get a good installation done. ( Yes, we were also mentally and physically fatigued which I know is not an excuse but... ).

He has been installing Zodiaq, Dupont and Corian counters for a long time and also has installed Silestone for private contractors - We did call up two of them and they said he was 'good." We hope that is the case.

Silestone had him on their list - they said he was 'certified".
It's not so much that he doesn't know anything about it but more that he is hard to get hold of and tries to push his "views" on the customer. Lowes says he has 'done Silestone" for other Lowes stores in our state but is new to their store. I have been online searching Silestone for their certified installers and found nothing except the local phone number to call - which we did.

Do keep your fingers crossed - we are keeping our toes crossed as well.

KD is *on* it, though - so we feel a measure of comfort and assurance.
Thank you so much again.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:10PM
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kksmama

Congrats on your successful pushback on those up-charges! It sounds like you and your dh make a good team.

FWIW, I have thought that all the employees my GC has sent to my house are helpful, friendly people as well as skilled craftsmen - except the fabricator. He wasn't rude, but had an arrogance about him that reminded me of some stereotypical surgeons. I remember one surgeon explaining his specialty choice "I don't like people that much, I'd rather see them when they're asleep."

I know many humble, people-loving surgeons, and I'm sure most fabricators have better soft skills than yours (and therefore are too busy to take subcontract work fom Lowes). But differences make the world go around, and it isn't a bad thing that some people would rather pound rocks than hang around making nice with TKO customers. My counters turned out great. I hope yours do, too!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:59AM
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boone_2009

kksmama: Thank you for your kind words - they make me feel that things will go right after all, despite our decision to stay :-).
Lol@ the surgeon analogy - perfect!
Thank you for your wishes, kksmama - all of you on this forum have been so ready to help and offer support; it really boosts me when I'm having those "why-did-we-ever-think-of-renovating-our-kitchen" days ( which is on an almost daily basis, lol).

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:52PM
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boone_2009

OMG.

For all you kind people who have helped me so much on this thread, please have a look at my other thread "How is an undermount sink typically attached" ( I think this is the link - http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0820242722403.html)

and please give me your feedback there, as well. Please!

Thanks a million.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:23PM
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boone_2009

Hello, everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know that everything turned out beautifully! Our countertop was installed on the 20th ( 4 days ago) and I have only now recovered from the tension, lol.

The fabricator came through in the end( no doubt because we kept the pressure on, on him and on Lowes). No extra charges, beautiful demi-bullnose edge, radiused cooktop cutout and lovely positive reveal for the sink! Even the two seams on our countertop are beautifully done!
Lowes sent in their install manager and assistant to watch while the installation was being done and our KD came in, too. The 2 guys who did the installation were fantastic ( also very aware that the Lowes team and we - Dh and I - were all around, lol).
My fingers and toes feel so good uncrossed!

Thank you all so very much for your generous help and your kind thoughts and wishes.

I will be posting my 'final reveal' soon, after the backsplash is in; so I was planning to let you all know then ..but, today. I read Jellytoast's post about 'closure' and cringed. :-( Just know that I wasn't going to walk away!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 11:16PM
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bookworm4321

I've never heard of Lowe's sending in 2 people to watch an installation. I suspect Lowe's was evaluating the fab's performance to see if they keep him on their referral list.

Anyway, I'm glad it did work out.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 9:20AM
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kksmama

So glad this worked out! And thanks for the update (but don't worry, I'm sure jellytoast wasn't referring to you)!

I know what you mean about recovering from the tension! I find chocolate to be good for stress hangovers. And for the "why-did-we-ever-think-of-renovating-our-kitchen" days. I'm shocked that I haven't gained weight during this process - between the chocolate and takeout I should've gained 20 lbs.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 1:29PM
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boone_2009

bookworm4321: Yep, Lowes was on site to evaluate his work after all the trouble we had with him; Kd told me they would take him off their list if he didn't come up to par. But he did a great job, after all, whew.
kksmama: My weight has remained the same, to my shock as well! Actually, I was hoping I'd *lose* some weight with all the stress, sigh.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:16PM
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