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X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Posted by Skyangel23 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 12:37

I posted this in the kitchens forum, and got a lot of feedback validating my feeling that this is a very poor installation and must be redone. I am contacting the supervisor tomorrow morning and requesting a meeting at the house to discuss the problems. I would love to be able to defend my position not just by saying "this looks bad" or "this is wrong", but WHY it is incorrect exactly and what it SHOULD be instead.

I don't know how wide the maximum gap between the wall and countertop should be. I believe the front countertop overhang should be 1.5" inches from my research, and this is also what I was told verbally by the kitchen designer. I did not get this in writing because I thought it was standard. However, it is clearly no where near that.

Some notes: I requested a template from the kitchen designer in three separate emails, was told I would get one, and never did. I did not approve this before installation. We did not want the built-in backsplash on any of our counters, and this was built into our contract and is on the engineered plans. We do plan to do our own tile backsplash but it may be several months before we get to it.

I also still have a few unresolved issues with my builder's cabinet installation, including uneven doors and massive fillers on two 45 degree corners, (full overlay door style, 3/8th reveals) that they insisted were needed and now clearly appear to be overkill.


The problems I see are 1) uneven countertop overhang in at least one place, 2) overhangs that barely cover the full overlay drawer front with not enough overhang to protect the cabinets, 3) too much space between the countertop and the wall that a bead of caulk will not be able to cover
4) clipped corner edges that are not lined up over the drawer corners and look bad.

Here is the clipped edge that doesn't properly cover the corner:

IMG_20140711_164622060

Here is the uneven front. Hard to tell from the pic, but it is visible to the naked eye:

IMG_20140711_164520404

another view:
IMG_20140711_163228824

how little the overhang is:
IMG_20140711_163149422

another view:
IMG_20140711_163343183

countertop corner doesn't line up with cabinet corner at all AND hangs over 4" for no reason.
IMG_20140711_163055510

another view:
IMG_20140711_163048232

here is the master bath, where it appears the countertop is just too long, overhanging at that end almost 3", with the clipped corner edge completely past the countertop corner:
IMG_20140711_162616212

again:

IMG_20140711_164214526

space between countertop and wall:
IMG_20140711_163741319

another one:
IMG_20140711_163452670

I really appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Yikes. Your concerns look completely valid to me. The only comment I have is whether your walls are straight? If the walls are not totally flat, which happens often, is it the countertop installers job to match the wall or vice versa, should the walls have been done better? Know what I mean? I honestly don't know, let us know what the KD says. The lack of overhang in the kitchen does not look right at all. Also, would adding backsplash help?


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

I think as you said 1.5 is standard, you wouldn't want it less than that. Just looking at those pics is enough to know its bad. The inconsistency in installation is alone baffling. The clipped corner short of the cabinet doesn't even need a defense. Even if the walls are not perfect I would think they could get closer than that. We have laminate in all baths and they are pretty tight and consistent (no jagged cuts).

It looks like it was someone's first installation without anyone giving them the low down on what is standard.

KD needs to see it. And, I think would be the one to direct the installer who should KNOW what the overhangs are anyhow. Is this the KD place's person? They should find it unacceptable too. If the installer wasn't experienced in doing the angled corners they should have gotten someone who was!

What a pain for you but judging by those pics I can't see them having a leg to stand on in saying they are good as is. Any reasonable person would see that.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Our master bath corner - if it helps.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Gaps at the walls are fine and will easily be covered by the tile backsplash. The clipped corners were a design mistake, because you have to have additional overhang to make them work, which you don 't like. That's just simple geometry which no one explained to you about the tradeoffs. You can't have them with minimal overhangs on the sides, because then it won't cover the corner, like in one of your pics. So, pick one or the other. Either minimal side overhangs with no clipped corners or more substantial overhangs and clipped corners.

The skill level of the person doing his would bet against the clipped corners for the redo if the same guy site fabricates like he did this. This isn't stone, and really isn't suited to some of how you're trying to use it with the add on edge. Looks like the builders carpenter did this rather than an actual countertop fabricator.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Hollysprings, we are not intending to do a tile backsplash right away, and would need the edge against the wall to look more like Autumn 4's, for example.

As far as the design choice being a mistake, we didn't make it. We were told overhang of 1.5" all the way around (except for seating side of peninsula) and clipped corners of 2" . We WANTED a 1.5" overhang (from face frame) and DID NOT request or desire the minimal overhang.

The overhang on the front of the cabinets varies from 7/8th of an inch to 1 3/8th of an inch, sometimes so rapidly that it is visible to the naked eye. Most areas it is 1 1/8" --ish.

On the peninsula, the two clipped edges are both 6"--which was never discussed with us at all!!! The overhang on that long end of the peninsula is 5 3/8ths.

That being said, the countertop fabricators and installers are one and the same and they are part of the same company that also does the cabinets. So the same company is responsible for cabinets and countertops.

Mfatt, thanks. I don't think the walls are uneven, at least not too much. I would think the countertop installers could figure it out.

Autumn, thanks for the pic and the feedback. Very helpful. On a side note, any issues with having the laminate go straight to the wall with no built-in backsplash? We are planning the same thing but getting some flack from the builder who thinks we then need to put the builder mirror all the way down to the countertop to protect the wall and carry the weight of the mirror.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

No. We don't have a single backsplash installed yet. It will be probably another couple of months before we do in the bathrooms and even longer in the kitchen. We are doing it all ourselves and it's not top priority right now.
It's on 'the list'. :)

Couldn't you just put some caulk at the seam for the time being if it is a serious concern? The walls are painted and I am not worried one bit about them.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Autumn, that's exactly what we want to do too. We will do the tiled backsplashes ourselves, and since we have several other things we'll be doing first, it'll take awhile to get to them. I would think caulk at the seam would be fine for now.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Give us an update after you talk to the Kd, I wonder how they will fix it.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

It's a do over. Don't accept it.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

It also doesn't look like your cabinets are sized appropriately for the adjacent walls they die into. In your second/third picture the counter sits proud of the adjacent wall with the slight bullnose corner. It even looks as though your face frame sits slightly proud, which feels like a design error. The cabinet & counter should be recessed such that they die into that wing wall.

Also the end panels are badly sized as you can see the face frame/box corner between their end and the doors. And it doesn't look like you have overlay cabinets but rather face frame. European overlay cabinets have no face frame - the doors attach to the inside of the box and are adjustable after install.

How much of this is spelled out in your contract? If this were my kitchen I'd be sending the counters, cabinets and everyone responsible for design/manufacture/install for a long stroll off a short pier.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Alright Caben,
Thank you so much for taking the time to post but I'll need you to talk down to me here. I am pretty smart in a few areas but this isn't one of them. :-) By "proud", do you mean that it is sticking out past the adjacent wall?

It is not a European style overlay, but the Americanized version? It isn't even as full coverage as other overlay brands, as the reveal is 3/8th of an inch. It's more expensive and more coverage than their "traditional" doors. These are Merillat Classic cabinets, the only choice we had through our builder.

I also think they used way too many and too large of fillers that were unnecessary, like this 45 degree angled one where there is 3" of filler on each side. I have brought this up to them as well and have no response right now.

The type of cabinets and the layout (in 2D black and white) were specified. I questioned things such as all the fillers but I was told they were required for door clearances. Countertops were beveled edge and 1.5" overhang. There is nothing else explicitly stated in the contract.

I need the proper language and labeling to explicitly state what is incorrect, why it is incorrect, and what it should be. It is very frustrating for me because they are the professionals and should just do it right the first time.

You can see the big angled fillers here:


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Ok, the kitchen designer is meeting me either later today or tomorrow morning to discuss both countertop and cabinet issues. Any last minute advice GREATLY appreciated!


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I don't like the sink and sink cabinets placement in relation to the windows. Was this where it should be? I would think it would be centered with the window in the middle.

I like things to be in balance and the uncentered sink different sized cabinet doors would make me crazy.

The overhang of the countertop on the Right side is not safe. I can see bad head injuries on children and bruising on adult torsos from that overhang.

I would take pictures and write down everything discussed at your meeting and have the rep sign/date it and changes to be made. Don't pay anything. This may end up being a small claims case so start gathering evidence.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Unfortunately we already paid via the builder.
However, great point on that ridiculous overhang being a safety issue as well.

And great idea of having the rep sign/date it right then and there. I will also take pictures. Thanks.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

ok, update. KD and countertop manager met with me at the house. I really wish the building super was there too as I felt outnumbered and out of my element. They agreed to replace all damaged doors and drawers which is good. They will redo that peninsula end and take off the 6" clip and massive overhang. The KD tried to say that's what I said I wanted. Thank goodness I printed out the emails to whip out and show her her own message stating the clip would be 2".

They said the gaps between countertop and wall are less than 1/4 inch and will be fine when caulked. I am not an expert so okay I guess?

They agreed the countertop depth varied and will make it even to 1/8th variance.

HOWEVER, the KD claimed she never said she would do a 1.5" overhang and that their standard is 1 inch. I do not like it and want it longer, but they are refusing. "we only do 1 inch".

This clipped corner in the pic below? They said it is SUPPOSED to look like that. I didn't even know how to respond. But it's not covering the cabinet??? Nope it's fine. That's how it has to be.

It was left with them saying they'd fix the one side peninsula overhang and the uneven overhang throughout, but it will still barely cover the cabinets and that corner looks bad in my opinion. They will 'fix things' but refused to outright replace it.

I can complain to my builder again, but it doesn't seem like they are on my side.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

It will cost them an arm and a leg to redo it right, because they can't reuse what they have... They cut everything too short, for the most part (not deep enough). You can't fix that without starting all over.

I wish you the best of luck!


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

I don't know what to say - at some point you would think common sense would prevail?

Dig in deep girl. Do not settle for that. It will get dinged, stuff dripped on it, etc etc, besides the fact that it just looks wrong. Come on people, get with it! That is ridiculous for them to even insinuate that is 'normal' or 'right'.

Cost - laminate isn't that costly that it's like they'd be eating a huge amount of cost. They need to do it right.

1" overhang, the big issue (for ME) is if it's short like that you walk up to the counter and stub your toe on the base moulding. Ask me how I know. My granite was set 'off' and I couldn't figure out why I kept bumping my toe. Well I measured and sure enough - it's off just enough and I believe it is 1" instead of 2.5". I'd have had it inched down to split the difference (don't really care that the sink would be off a teeny bit) but the pendants were set off the faucet and that would be obvious. I think when they fabricated they were just off a bit on the sink cut out. Not major but my poor toes..........


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Ugh, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this! When we were building, there were a couple of times where things weren't done correctly and I would feel just like you-- 'Why can't people just do their jobs correctly?!?'. I abhor confrontation, but also didn't want to settle for something subpar, so I would call in my secret weapon...my husband. He has no problem with demanding things be done properly. No one really took it seriously when I would say, "welllll, I'm not sure that looks right...", but they would certainly listen to my husband's words/tone. Do you have someone that can make it known that you won't be settling for this work? I think that clipped corner with the cabinets sticking out underneath is just not acceptable and it's crazy to hear that someone would defend that.
Sorry you're going through this. And sorry you felt cornered and outnumbered. That's terrible.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Just my .02 but my experience is that almost everyone connected with construction doesn't take kindly to being called out/corrected about something that is a mistake by a woman no matter how knowledgeable she is about technique...and the bigger/more obvious the mistake, the crappier the job then they get their backs up even more...

too bad your husband wasn't with you--
I think they are nuts to tell you that the join between wall and counters is fine to go with--that caulk line will stick out like a drunk in church...
and why should YOUR backsplash need to cover up their mistakes...

Anything they don't take care of now will be a lasting thorn in your side as much as you will be in your kitchen...

Long time ago we bought house being built in another state--
bought at framing stage w/contingency for selling the house we were moving from...
The closing was moved prior to our walk through--instead of after to check for punch list items...
we didn't get the message from the realtor--went to house--no builder==
found out calling our realtor--
no time to stick our feet in because we had a truck packed with our furniture on the way...
Once we closed and saw the house we saw why the closing was before the walk-through...
there was vinyl sheeting on the kitchen floor (normal for that time/price) that had been cut and pieced by guy who was drunk at the time--from what the guy said who came to try to clean it up--
flooring should have been relayed for that half the room---but we had closed--no leverage...
that was only one issue...but it grated every time I was in the kitchen and saw the badly misaligned sections...

I can't believe you don't have some leverage with the builder at this point--
you surely haven't closed on this house or paid 100% of the cost up front???
Threaten to write a letter complaining to Better Business Bureau--
talk to the guy who owns the countertop company vs the installer
talk to the KD's boss if there is one...
Maybe threaten to print photos of their work and deliver to anyone having a house built in this neighborhood to warn people off...

The builder should have a dog in this fight...he should care
if he doesn't then you likely will have other problems to worry about since there is no quality control...


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Agree with what they said above and believe you me - if you leave it, forever you will be bugged/irked/insanely internally ticked about it. FOREVER. This is not one of those - oh I'll get used to it things.

We are finished with our build as you know and I feel like I need a self help group to work through letting go of a couple things myself that didn't turn out as I had intended/pictured - and they aren't even blatant errors....just sayin.

That corner is what the 1" overhang got you. I can't fathom how they would agree to do that corner and then stick to 1" and say that's how it should be. ???

At any rate - they are supposedly the experts. So if you ask for something they should at the very LEAST say - okay but at 1" it will expose the cabinets - is that what you want?

OR - okay at 1" it will expose the cabinets - we can do a larger overhang to allow for it but it would change the overhang to - hmm - X. Are you okay with that?

Agreed to 'doing things right' and that the builder should back you here. 100%.

Good luck and continue to update.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Thank you guys so much for the support. Autumn, they never talked about it with us at all, is the problem!!! And I asked to discuss it. They always clip corners, and they always do 1 inch overhangs, is their spiel. Well, I don't think the small overhang and clipped corners work well together. I would LOVE to have more of an overhang. And if you start a post-building support group I will be the first to join it!

chilibeans, unfortunately hubby was home looking after the kids cause I can just imagine the stress two little kids would have brought to that meeting. Plus, my husband hates confrontation more than I do! He is getting pretty worked up about this though, so maybe bringing him will help in the future.

Loves2read, wow. What a horror story. I am so sorry that happened to you. I happen to believe in doing a good job every time and in being proud of my work. It seems like, generally, in this line of work oftentimes this is not the case. Of course there are many, many quality contractors but the bad apples seem to ruin the barrel. Also, love your drunk in church line. :-)

The builder says the issues will be addressed and they will fix it. I need to be patient and it will be beautiful in the end. They will take care of it. But to what standard will it be "fixed", is my question. So I guess we just wait and see what they do. If it is not "fixed", then we will start on Love2read's great list.

Thanks for the support.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Oh, the KD just sent me the list of changes that they will make to the countertops, and this is what she wrote in her email: "I have attached the complete list of adjustments and replacements I am making to accommodate your requests."

Maybe I'm just feeling really tired and snarky today, but that sounds an awful lot like she is putting this on me as *I* am the one making the requests she is *choosing* to accomodate, and not "I'm so sorry we $#% up your countertop and here is how we are going to fix it."

Ugh. Thanks for listening.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Perhaps a response of, ''thank you for the list of adjustments and replacements needed to rectify multiple KD errors and materials not made to specifications.''


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Yes, to mdln.
AND
"please be sure to refer back to the emails and original designs as agreed upon prior to first installation."

I'd not accept anything other than a redo. I hope you are keeping some money out.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

you aren't being snarky--that is a passive/aggressive response which does seek to minimize her responsibility and that of the installer---whom I guess have an ongoing relationship with the builder and don't want to see their costs impacted by shoddy work and lack of oversight...

Have you contacted the builder himself re these issues--

I would look at other work done in his houses at this stage of construction--
hopefully for anyone buying those homes the work was done properly...
if you can show proper vs yours then one picture is worth 1000 words...


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

I think you did everything right, makes you wonder why they didn't provide the drawings as asked (I had read your kitchen post too). What I also don't get is what the big deal is to do the overhang as you requested. I mean you were asking for industry standard for goodness sakes. Some things/people will just never make sense!

Hang in there. That is not snarky - not one bit! You have asked for more communication which ultimately is what avoids these sorts of things. Geesh. Since they are going to make it right-I say find some pics and or just tell them on every single edge what your expectation is and exactly what is acceptable. Maybe you need to right it on your drawing. Hate to treat them like they aren't capable but they have proven just that!

Haha! I may have to start a group! I am a detail person all the way so I am working hard in stepping back and looking at the big picture which is a very nice house that we put a lot of ourselves in. :). Letting go of the things I over analyzed for so long is tough. ;)

Side note: granite fabricator told my dh that he put only one guy on my kitchen because he knew I was particular and knew what I wanted. (Blush)
But, he also said he would rather have it that way because he knew my expectations and normally my type of customer ends up happy vs. the one who says oh whatever is fine and on the other side of install decides it's not what they thought/wanted. My anal self was happy.

So keep right on telling them what you expect and don't settle!!


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Thanks--
I would just suggest to the builder that you
1--understand his frustration at not being able to be on every job site every day to prevent issues like this from becoming problems that ruin relationships...
2--look forward to his memo to the installer, counter-top supplier, KD outlining the steps they need to take to remedy the problems which are not acceptable with a timeline for implementation...
3--you appreciate his support and anticipate a short turn around to correct the problems before more time is wasted...


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Autumn4--that is so hits-the-nail-on-the-head--
#1--knowing what you want is more than half the battle--
#2--being able to get the other people to understand that is a good 30%--
installation/implementation becomes an issue only if people don't get the 1 and 2 points right...


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

LOL mdln. My husband would never let me send that ...


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Thank you all for the support with this drama. I need it. So this KD's list of changes say only this for the countertop: "MAKE ALL NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS TO C/TOPS IN KITCHEN". So I wrote back, saying this leaves way too much open for interpretation. I would like specifics in writing, for both of our sakes and the builders'. Such as, the countertop overhang will be even throughout with up to 1/8th inch variance (now it's anywhere from 7/8ths to 1 3/8ths). And, the overhang will be a minimum of 1 1/4th inches, for example. Things we should have had in the first place, and what I wanted and requested, but they went ahead and did their own thing.

Her response: "We will make adjustments as necessary.
Please just let me take care of this, and I'm sure you'll be satisfied with the final results."

What???!!

I contacted the builder, who said, " I was assured they are addressing your concerns so we will move on to things we need to do at this time." The builder has been cc'd on the email exchange above, but has remained silent on whether they think it is a good idea for the countertop company to actually specify what they are going to do.

kirkhall, countertops and cabinets are already paid for, unfortunately. If this wasn't through a builder, I never would have paid for work 100% in advance. Also, I asked for specs and design in advance, several times, and never got them.

loves2read, we went through several of their houses early on, but none recently and I don't remember the countertops. I'm pretty sure if we asked now to go through a few houses, they'd know exactly what we were after. I've tried to find some pictures of laminate clipped corners online and was having some difficulties finding good pictures. So the way it is going is that the countertop people told the builder they would fix it, and the builder said "okay good", and that was that. I am the one asking for how exactly and specifically they plan to "fix" it.

Autumn, I thought 1.5" was industry standard too, and I think it is for granite. Laminate though seems to vary, and some places really do 1", although that makes no sense to me and I don't think it looks very good w/ full overlay doors. I called Home Depot and they said usually they do 1" overhang-- 25 inch counters.

So I fear I may be stuck with the 1" overhang if they do manage to make it even. I try to get everything in writing, but the agreement on 1.5" was verbal, and she is claiming she never said it now. Which is why I did request the design template, which she didn't give me.

ANYWAY, I feel you Autumn all the way as I am very detail-oriented too. It is really hard for me as well to let go, and I am especially hard on myself when I think I picked the wrong thing or let something go that I wished I hadn't, ect. And you DO have a gorgeous house. :-) Isn't perfection the enemy of good? The pursuit of perfection is also the enemy of happiness, in my opinion. Though I do it anyway....

The builder has been really good about fixing other sub mistakes. It is this KD, who is in charge of cabinets and countertops, who I've had issues with since the beginning. The builder's manager, who is our primary contact point, seems to be pretty good friends with her. And there is the issue right there. And why my battle is probably a losing one.

But just venting and having your empathetic "ears" has been so very helpful. Thank you so much.


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

OH MY gosh you are my cyber anal twin! I so get it with decisions and being so hard on yourself. Thank you for the compliment.

So after all that I have to say-industry standard or not-it's YOUR kitchen and if you do not think 1" will look good then they should respect your wishes if want 1.25 or 1.5 or whatever. I think it's so strange that they are adamant about the 1". I just don't get their resistance. It's as if you are asking for something totally off the wall.

I think the KD's communication is a bit patronizing and kind of condescending. AND, you trusted her to take care of It the first time so surely she would understand why this time you would like the clear plan spelled out to avoid further issues. I would put the overhang expectations in writing and they should do it. You don't have to be stuck with 1", no way. They work for YOU! Gosh I sound demanding don't I? Lol!


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Autumn4, LOL! My husband *lovingly* agrees with you. :-)

So countertops are gone!
KD wrote me this morning that they are completely redoing the kitchen countertops, and the manager of the countertop business will do the template, fabricate the countertop, AND do the install himself.

They are replacing nine doors/drawers and will adjust all the uneven doors. They will also do the filler overlays for us on those weird angled corners of the peninsula.

Thank you guys SO MUCH for your support and advice which gave me the strength to stick to my guns. On the kitchen thread too, but especially this one, I really felt better with each supportive post, and I couldn't wait to post new updates to see what my fellow GW folks thought.

Autumn, Loves2Read, Kirkhall, Chilibeans, thank you so much. i am so impressed with this website and the caliber of the people on it who give of their time, energy, and expertise to help others.

I will post update pics and I really hope they are good ones!!!!


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Can't wait for the updated pics of your install. So glad they are doing it completely over! And YES woohoo on the filler overlays.

There are enough other things with a build that don't turn out as you expect or visualize, you don't need this sort of no brainer junk muddying it up on top of it.

Sending good vibes for a smooth install #2!


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Give your builder kudos
Bet owner of countertop shop is involved due to builder's influence
Fingers crossed 4 u


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RE: X-Post: poor countertop installation help

Good for you for sticking up for yourself and making sure you're getting what you paid for! If you had just let it go, you would have regretted it every time you walked into the kitchen.


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