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This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why plz

Posted by deedles (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 14:07

Starting at the end of the story: I've called the counter place and told them the sink install is not okay. She's sending them back to fix it.

Guess I'm looking for some words of wisdom as far as what they should have done and what to reasonably expect them to be able to do at this point. Or, if what they did passes muster and I'm off base but I don't think so.

So, when they installed, I noticed the guy shimming under the side of the sink. It didn't occur to me to question him (working night shift, I was exhausted and it was 7 pm by the time they got finished).

But something was bugging me and I've held off sending the final payment until I could figure out exactly what. Sitting in the LR looking into the kitchen I noticed a large gap b/w the counter top and the cab on the right side of the sink.

Then the caulk job started to bug me, it just looked clumsy and messy the more I looked at it. And then I realized my drain grooves didn't really drain unless they were overwhelmed with water.

Okay, so just now when washing the sink a big ribbon of caulk came off at the back of the sink.

There is a definite uphill rise on the left front corner of the sink/counter that I can sense when I look at it.

I called the lady and she said they'll come back out to fix it but here's the thing: The backsplash is full height and glued to the wall now and it's been applied after the counter so this is like one big monolithic counter/backsplash thing.

Here are the pics, what on earth should they have done and what on earth can they do now to fix this mess? I'd appreciate any thoughts/info/advice.

Underneath counter, left side of sink, shims and globs of caulk visible.
 photo 100_1688_zps1d121637.jpg

Right side of sink. Can you see the widening gap from back to front?
 photo 100_1689_zpsac0767c2.jpg

Left side of sink. Same widening gap back to front.
 photo 100_1690_zpsdbb71538.jpg

Closeup of caulk at left front... 1/4" gap b/w sink and counter top filled with caulk.

 photo 100_1691_zpsbc11e0ed.jpg

Right front closeup. Smeared and messy.
 photo 100_1693_zps8400bc09.jpg

Caulk missing along back side from being washed with a hot soapy dish rag.

 photo 100_1692_zps8b022c25.jpg

Cabs to the right of the sink. Gap above trash pull out but no gap on drawer base right of DW.
 photo 100_1694_zps461c01ae.jpg

Closeup of trash pull out gap.
 photo 100_1696_zpse30bf589.jpg

Closeup of no gap over drawer base.
 photo 100_1697_zpsd21072cf.jpg

Seems to me like some material should have been removed from the underneath of the counter or maybe the front of the sink should have been shimmed, rather than shimming the crap out of the counter and leaving it like this?

DH says the sink cab was way higher in back than the front and he had to cut the cork away underneath the back of the cab. He says when he was done, it still had a 1/8" rise from back to front but that the sink itself is dead on level if that info helps.

Thanks for any help on this. I don't think I want to live with this kind of install. What should I insist upon at this point?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Did the installer not check for level cabinets before placing the counter? Did you? I know that is one of the things that I checked and double-checked before having my granite put in.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

I don't have any advice for your but to tell you your expectations are not too high here. They did an awful job with your beautiful kitchen, and I would be super defensive after something like this.

I hope they send someone who knows what they are doing this time. Good luck!


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Deedles, WHY weren't the cabinets leveled? As much work and sweat as you've poured into that kitchen, omigosh. That's on your cabinet installer, and that's where the problems originate. A level sink in an out of level cabinet is gonna have gaps and shims. The cabinets should have been leveled. It's gonna take a lot to get this tweaked. Perfection in the counters can't happen unless it goes on top of perfect cabinets against perfect walls. Right now, it's a series of compromises.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Sounds like more than one person messed up. Your cabinet installer should have made sure the cabinets were level. Your countertop installer should realized the cabinets were not level when templating and stopped everything right then.

So sorry this is happening. Hang tough.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

"DH says the sink cab was way higher in back than the front and he had to cut the cork away underneath the back of the cab. He says when he was done, it still had a 1/8" rise from back to front but that the sink itself is dead on level if that info helps."

So I'm assuming DH installed the cabinets? You can't install tops with cabinets off 1/8" over 2' and not expect trouble.

A couple of good guys could fix everything in a day. Pull the splashes (if necessary), pull the tops, level the cabinets, and reinstall everything. This is a do-over. It's the only way.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

deedles - I'm so sorry. I hope it all gets worked out. Sounds like it might be a multitude of issues that will need to be addressed...hopefully not and it all gets resolved easily.

We had shimming issues too...this is not my post, so not going to horn in to share my issues...ours appear to be much less than yours, but know that you aren't alone. If that gives you any comfort at all.

We hire these professionals to do a job and if you're like me, you try to give them the room to do their job. But then it seems like that comes back to bite you in the rump. Hang in there.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Yes, DH installed the cabs (basically) since the cab builder can't move his hip joints. All the cabs were level except the sink cab as I said.

Trebuchet: are you saying they can remove the back splash? Without ruining it?


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Deedles, I'm so sorry, I hope that there is a quick easy fix for this issue and you can remove the backsplash and sink without any damage. My fingers are crossed for you it gets resolved quickly and easily.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

OR, since this is an apron sink that is just sitting on the cab, could we shim under the flange of the sink itself and then reset the counter?

The templater was messing with his level when he was here and said it was 'pretty good' and that everything was in plane. He said he's seen way worse and they could make it work. Don't remember him specifically commenting on the back to front issue and when he was here, though. There was 1/4" plywood on the cabs and that was definitely NOT level or even attached. He didn't remove the plywood when he was doing his thing, if that factors in maybe?

So, it sounds like the responsibility is shared between us and them both?

I feel bad for DH in this thing. :(


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Stone counters are supposed to be installed on level cabinets. The counter people screwed up royally by not scoping/prepping the job first.

I thought unlevel counters could crack, the critical reason behind making sure they are installed level.

Unbelievable.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

This is solid surface, not stone but still. What a pain.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

As I have found out, everything starts with a good foundation. Your floors need to be perfectly level to set cabinets, and if the floors aren't level, then the cabinets need to be shimmed so they are perfectly level.

If your cabinets aren't perfectly level, then your countertop will need to be shimmed to make it level.

It sucks, it really does but if the final layer (countertops) is that far off then you have to work backwards to the root cause.

I'm soooo sorry you are going through this deedles, I can relate.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and wh

Oh I thought it looked like a quartz top. Yeah, still. Counters are supposed to be level and an undermount sink is coming next. I would think any sink must be level to drain properly too. And the drain board doesn't work right. The foundation is the starting point for a good counter install. What's wrong with just saying "these cabinets need to be leveled for me to do my job". Coming back later and saying, "well your cabinets weren't level" doesn't cut it.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

I don't want to speak for Treb (couldn't if I tried), and I can't see your tile in the post, but I think you're going to have to remove the backsplash, and no, you probably cannot re-use it. You may not have to remove the full height of tile, though, so that's something.

"could we shim under the flange of the sink itself and then reset the counter?"

Probably not. How you got the sink to be level when the cabinet holding it is not I cannot begin to guess, but it's not the sink making the counters funky, it's the cabinet. And you really have two issues here: A.) The sink cabinet itself is higher in back, lower in front, so essentially, it's tipping forward, and B.) The sink cab is not level with the adjacent cabs (how could it be). Ideally, you need to get those boxes leveled (I'm guessing this is your high spot in the floor) then have them put the counter tops back on.

Now, could they "raise" the rest of the cabinets by 1/8" with an underlayment of some sort? Probably. Treb would know. They might even be able to make up for the tipping forward of the sink cab, but you'll see the gap/no-gap and they're still going to have to uninstall and re-install the counters.

See what your fabricator recommends...

Gorgeous counter, and super gorgeous sink. I've been told the last mile is the toughest... You're almost at the finish line.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Oh, dearheart, how difficult!
I feel for your DH, too. I don't, however, understand where the idea of "level" went out the window!

As one living in and repairing The House of Good Enough for now, even 1/8" can wreak havoc. As you're seeing.

I do think your sink and cabinets are beautiful! This will all work out. I'm glad you noticed now, rather than 6 months from now when they'd do nothing about it!


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

I'm not sure what the heck the disconnect was with DH on this. He wasn't here when the templater showed up unexpectedly, only I was and I didn't know to mention the 1/8" back to front issue. I told DH that the templater said he'd seen way worse and actually he said "it's pretty good" and they could work with it. I don't think DH or I expect them to 'work with it by leaving it like this'. I agree, they should have said this was not going to end up well with the cabs out of level, we could have done something.

The backsplash is the solid surface material, not tile. It's 18" of solid suface glued to the wall.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

To me, the problem may not be the 1/8" front to back (that *IS* a problem) so much as that your trashpull out and drawer bank don't appear to be the same height!

When they say the cabinets need to be level, they don't just mean each individual cabinet level from side to side and front to back, but across the whole length of cabinetry. That your drawer bank is flush with the counter, and you have a HUGE gap in the trash pull out...
eesh.

I do think you need to hire the cabinet install done. And, you'll probably have to pay to have the counters reinstalled.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Well DH will be reinstalling the cabs, we won't be hiring it out. He'll have to make it right this time instead of relying on the counter guys to make it work who should have told us they couldn't make it work instead of this.

If we shim up the cabs in front, the feet will be off the floor and a gap under them, which is why DH didn't do that in the first place as he thought that would look bad.

I think DH was waiting for the templater to tell him something wasn't right so he would know how to fix it and the templater saying to me and me relaying to DH that it was 'pretty good and we can work with it, seen way worse" can DH a false sense of 'good enough then'.

Whatever. It's getting fixed one way or the other.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Everything starts from the floor up. If you didn't want to have to shim the cabinets, the floor should have been leveled before they went down. If you didn't want to shim the counters, then the cabinets shoukd be level in ALL planes before the counters are installed. Side to side. Front to back. All done to a level line from the high spot of the room. Using shims to achieve that levelness.

Counter fabricators DO deal with this all the time, and the answer to the issue is what you have that you don't like: shims. I'm sure that they've dealt with worse, as people put new counters on old settled cabinets all the time. Those counters get shimmed too. It's standard practice, because counters need to be level.

First thing, check under the house to be sure that all of the coming work wo't be wasted by a sagging beam or rotten sill plate. Remove the counters, and then the cabinets. Find that high spot. Then install all of the cabinets so that their tops are level to the high spot. Level in ALL dimensions. You may have gaps at the flor or rear wall where those arent level, doesn't matter. The cabinets have to be level.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Hollysprings: we know for sure there are no rotting sills or sagging beams but there is definitely an issue with the floor back there along that wall, obviously.

I'm just wondering how the counter top can be removed since the BS is applied on top of it, after the counter was set in place and the backsplash is adhered to the wall with whatever glue they use on this solid surface stuff. Will this ruin the backsplash?


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Find that high spot.

Hollysprings, what is the best way to find the high spot? Does it require a special tool (laser beam?) or can it be done with standard levels? It seems to be something we should all have in our repertoire so we can stay informed.

Deedles, I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but if anyone can overcome this bump in the road and prevail, it's you.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Deedles, I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but if anyone can overcome this bump in the road and prevail, it's you.

Exactly what I was feeling. Hang in there Deedles!


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

The back splash will have to come off as well. Once the cabinets are leveled and the countertops re-installed, the back splash won't be at the same height it currently is.

As far as gaps at the floor, you can use some trim, quarter-round or shoe molding to hide the shims.

Is your flooring already installed?


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Positive thoughts coming your way, Deedles.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Texas Gem: yes, the flooring is installed and is under the cabs. As I said, DH had to cut flooring out at the back of the sink cab and one around the corner as they were tilted forward.

Now, DH just did a whole bunch of exploration with the level and he is confident that he has figured out what happened.

The guys set the counter on the cabs and didn't check for level. DH says this would have been an easy fix at that point if they'd have checked.

The counter should have shimmed at the back about 3/16th of an inch but it wasn't and that downhill slope transferred the error down the counter and tilts the counter uphill at the sink.

Sitting here and looking from a distance, I can see the two sides of the counter ramp up towards the sink... like the two wings of a drawbridge.

Then they installed the backsplash with the counter out of level and then it was already too late, so they caulked 'er in at the sink, said nothing to us, called it done and got the heck out of dodge.

We are confident (and DH is relieved) that this is an installation error, not a cab out of level error. Well, okay the cabs were slightly out of level back to front but it could have been fixed with no problem had they leveled the counter top before they glued on the back splash.

One more nugget of wonderfulness: the counter to the right of the sink is completely unsupported for 3 feet... over the dishwasher and the recycling cab it is hanging in thin air with no shims at all. I can lift it up and push it down at the corner of the sink and it moves freely. It touches nothing after it leaves the drawer base on the far right of the sink.

I trust DH in his examination of the situation and I've sent the pics to the kitchen designer guy that subcontracted out to these people. I've suggested he show up Monday at 0830 as well since I hired him and he hired them. I have yet to hear back from him.

I am SO glad I didn't send that final payment. So much for my uppers being installed Monday. :(


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

It`s also my understanding that the cabinet installer is responsible for creating a level and solid structure for the counters to rest on. When you`re DIYing it - like dh and I are - that`s a little intimidating. I know that just installing the first 3 (already assembled) cabinets starting from the corner took dh most of a day!. He installed them all, did all the shimming, and decided they were overshimmed and started all over from scratch. Carpenters do this stuff every day and it`s a piece of cake for the good ones. DIYers have to be ultra careful if they want to achieve decent installation.

Hoping you can get this figured out.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Crossing my fingers that the fix is relatively painless, Deedles :)


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Good luck, Deedles. I'm anxious for you to post a reveal, but much more importantly, I'm anxious for you to be happy in your new kitchen.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

One more nugget of wonderfulness: the counter to the right of the sink is completely unsupported for 3 feet

Our fabricator/template/installer told us where we needed support, but it was up to us to have our contractor provide that - our countertop people don't do that.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

The reason it's unsupported is because the counter ramps uphill to the sink, it isn't touching the cabinet that would be providing support if it was, well, touching it.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Deedles, that's great news. I'm so psyched that it's a solid surface bs! They can absolutely pop it off and pop it back on when all is fixed. There's a silver lining for you. And even if the height has to be tweaked a little (I bet it'll be fine) it's solid surface. No problema (the extent of my Espagnol)!


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Well, the kitchen guy wrote back and said he forwarded my pictures on to the owner of the fabrication company and then apologized saying "usually, they do a good job." He also raised the question of the cabinets being out of level and said the guy coming Monday would be checking for that.

I still don't get why, if the cabs were out of level, that the counter guys wouldn't check for that and then say something to us before they did the install? They never said one word about level or not level or anything.

Well, we'll have to see on Monday I guess. Thanks everyone for the good info and well wishes.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

EAM! Is that for real that they can get it off? How do you know that little tidbit of info anyway? That's really great to hear, I was so worried that it would be wrecked in the process.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

"The counter should have shimmed at the back about 3/16th of an inch but it wasn't and that downhill slope transferred the error down the counter and tilts the counter uphill at the sink."

deedles:

A shim in the rear would level the counters, but since cabinets are square boxes, this still means the front of your cabinets are out of plumb by about 3/8". 3/16" over 24" = 3/8" over 34 1/2". +-.

You have very serious cabinet installation issues. You may continue to sleep with your cabinet installer after you've fired him. And fire him you must.

Pulling the splash will depend upon how well it is adhered. I'd hot melt some 2x4's across it longways and drive progressively larger shims between it and the wall until it lets go. You may have to remove upper cabinets to do so. Don't panic if you break it; it can be repaired inconspicuously. Good luck.

On second thought, if the splash doesn't give up easily, it can be trimmed in place. Pull the tops and reset the cabinets. Put the tops in place and check for level. Draw a pencil line on the splash and remove the tops. Measure the distance between the edge of the base of a laminate trimming router and the edge of a 1/4" double flute or spiral straight cutter. This is the distance you will hot melt a straight edge parallel to the marked line. Holding the router base against the straightedge and the splash, make several passes gradually increasing the depth or you'll burn up the router. A larger more powerful router won't fit. You'll have remove the router base and freehand any corners. Good luck.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 17:59


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Trebruchet: I really do appreciate your information, thank you. It's always so nice for you pros to share as you do on here.
I don't mean to sound dense but here I go into the deep, dense end: If the counters are made level with some shims, why does plumb matter? I guess I don't understand. I know what a plumb bob is and what it does like wallpaper-wise, but I'm having a hard time translating that into cabinets.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Level has three dimensions. Front to back. Side to side. And up and down. You need a pro cabinet installer. What you have there fails two out of three.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

deedles:

If you can't see it, I guess plumb doesn't matter, but 9 times out of 10, if the cabinets aren't plumb and level, they probably aren't on plane and are likely "racked" or pulled out of square which causes the doors not to shut properly.

I know you don't want to hear this, but I owe it to myself to tell you the truth, no matter the bitter taste. I don't do my own taxes, cut my own hair, or fool with programmable lawn sprinklers. Why? Because I don't know $*!t about them. I'm lucky enough to know what I don't know. Unfortunately, your DH does not. He is not competent to install cabinets. Like me, you're going to have to hire this done. He'll only pout for a night or two. He wants to put this behind him ASAP, believe me . You're doing him a favor. Girlfriend, please.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Oy. Them's rough words there. Well, we'll have to see what the counter fix it dude says on Monday morning and go from there. I'll keep your comments in mind and suggest it if it seems to get to that point. Thanks for your honest input.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

I'm so sorry to hear this and have been following along.

One question...if you remove the counters and reinstall the cabinets do you run the risk that the counter will no longer fit the same since it was templated off the original install?


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Hi Dee. Treb may be correct in that it depends on the adhesive, but I've seen a solid surface splash removed and it pulled paper off the drywall, but there was no significant damage to the surface or to the wall. A little skim coat and Bob's your uncle, as they say. Certainly no need for a router in that case, and I hope, in yours.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Deedles, I feel for you here. It is really difficult for DIY people to get cabinets installed level in all dimensions, especially when this is the first time they've installed cabinets. We installed our first bank of cabinets three times before figuring it out.

The floor in our kitchen, while flat, slopes almost 3/4" over 17 feet. We used adjustable feet on the cabinets to get them perfectly level then ramp cut our own toe-kick to cover the gap at the bottom. We know it slopes and you can see it in the toe-kick if you get down on your hands and knees to look, but nobody does that. You may need to do something similar to get your cabinets level.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

"One question...if you remove the counters and reinstall the cabinets do you run the risk that the counter will no longer fit the same since it was templated off the original install?"

1929Spanish:

This is an excellent question. Yes, when cabinets are made plumb that were out of plumb it changes their relationship to the countertop. You may have had a 1 1/2" overhang and now you only have 1 1/8". This may be overlooked, but if the cabinet and top aren't flush at a range opening, that can be a real problem.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

EAM44:

Removing the splash also depends on the thickness, 1/4" or 1/2", and whether or not corner cut-outs are radiused properly. A 90 degree corner with tool marks is much more likely to rip during removal than one cut with a router with the bit radius left in place.

I'm not seeing much upside to removal in this case. If cut in place it will be perfect and no risk of damage to wall or splash.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

My DH installed our cabinets and I remember is taking some time to get them level in all directions. One or two cabinets had to be pulled out and started again.

What ever it takes get it done right and you will not regret it.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

Is there any place that I can put a level right now and see what's up with either/both level or plumb. The counters as they are now aren't level or flat so I'm guessing no point to putting a level on the countertop?

Here is a pic of left to right on the floor of the sink cabinet. It's not dead center but looks darn close to me, which I suppose darn close isn't quite close enough, right? Or is this good?


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

And. Is it not possible that perfectly level and plumb cabs can have the install screwed up anyway? I'm still not fully in the camp that these guys didn't mess up the install and it isn't the cabs (DH) issue OR that a little bit of appropriate shimming under the counter BEFORE they stuck the backsplash to the wall might have mitigated any cab level issue.

They never checked the level of anything that we remember and if they did there was no mention about a problem to us.

Do counter installers not check for level before they install or do they just go forward assuming everything is level?

The thing that really sticks in my craw about the installers abilities/ethics is how they left the counter to the right of the sink unsupported for 3 feet and it's just suspended in air over the sink flange with a glob of caulk to close the gap, no shims at all anywhere even. If they are willing to do that there knowing it is wrong what else did they do just to get the job done? I mean you can't have 3 feet of solid surface counter cantilevered over nothing, right? Doesn't that void warranty or lend itself to breaking or whatnot?

 photo SINKSUPPORT_zps6342a232.jpg

I guess I have a lot more faith in DH's abilities (him having done a wonderful job on 90% of the DIY here)than in the ability of almost all the people we've hired for this house remodel and I'm not fully ready to lay this on the door step of his cab install.

I've just seen too much slipshod work done that he's had to fix, I guess.

But, I also know and he admits that he dislikes finish type stuff and has a tendency to get impatient and rush through things once it gets past the 2x4 stage, so that is also possible here.

If it is the cabs then I feel bad for him but again, I'm not there yet. The jury is out til Monday morning and then we'll see.

I hope you are right Trebruchet that the counter can come out without damaging the splash. We had a thin coat of plaster on the drywall behind all the splash. I hope that helps and doesn't hurt possible removal.

What was that saying? "If everyone on your block throws their problems out in the street, you'll probably run to grab your problems back". Guess I'll take this one over other possibilities, right? :)

Whatever needs to be done we'll do that and maybe there is a lesson in this mess, too.


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RE: This sink install is messed up, right? Tell me what and why

"I mean you can't have 3 feet of solid surface counter cantilevered over nothing, right? Doesn't that void warranty or lend itself to breaking or whatnot?"

Correct on both counts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corian Fab Manual


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