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Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Posted by BlackChamois (My Page) on
Sat, May 10, 14 at 20:44

Thought I'd start a new thread. OP is linked below.

Update on the NEW job: Found another contractor/fabricator - a well respected and reputable one. Visited the showroom (twice), was given refernences and had extensive discussions regarding craftsmanship, my prior experiences (including pictures) and my concerns.
They templated a few weeks ago and installed yesterday. While they "appear " fine, there are a few things that disappoint me a bit:

1) At templating, I had talked with them about the projection past the face frame and we agreed on 1.25". However, some areas are 1.25" and others are 1.5":
- The short ends of the sink counter (to the left and right of the sink ) - the projection is 1.25"
- The sink edge is 1.5"
- The counter to the right of the range projects past the face frame 1.25" while the projection of the counter (peninsula) to the left of the range is 1.5" (My cabinet maker and I did check and the cabinets are plane so the variance was not to accommodate for unevenness of the cabinets.) Hopefully with the range in between the variance won't be noticed.

2) The peninsula overhang over the bookcase end varies by almost .25" from end to end. And about .25" of the subtop at the range opening is exposed.

3) We also discussed the thickness of my tile backsplash (with a sample on hand), however, the gaps between the wall and counter are almost twice the thickness of the tile. I'm hoping that this will be a non-issue once the thinset is factored in.

(see pic for general layout: The large piece is shaped like such '[' and the counter in the lower left is the peninsula and is bascially a big square piece)

Not sure why the variances if the template was done accurately and followed during fabrication.

As I said, it "appears" okay ... but WHY is it so difficult to get something done right?!

I REALLY REALLY don't want to go through another tearout and redo ... is it justifiable to ask for a discount?

Advice? Thoughts?

Here is a link that might be useful: Help! My perfectionistic tendencies ... (OP)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

No discount. This is one of those things you will never notice next year. Don't know what you do for a living, but can you imagine being judged for 1/4 inch? I have never had a new kitchen (three with granite) have the same exact overhang throughout.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

When fabricators require cabinet maker's tolerances to be within 1/8 inch, I think it's fair to expect the same from them.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

jellytoast - I agree. And when the guys came out to template they themselves were checking to ensure the cabinets were plane Iwhich they are) for this very reason - so they would know if they had to compensate for any variances ... yet they still got it wrong.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Sorry for all the trouble you are having. How did the fabricator measure? It would seem with laser measuring / templating they could have done a more consistent product.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

They made the template using thin, light weight wood strips. I understand there are various methods to creating a template. They don't use a laser.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Since this is your third time around I will ask you this: if you had not taken a measuring tape to the overhang would you have noticed?

Not everyone is like me, but if it were me I would just say screw it, good enough. A quarter inch is hardly anything, and given your extensive experience with shoddy workmanship it seems unlikely you will get any better than that. Unfortunately.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Black Chamois:

It appears from your picture that you have no filler on the right side of your dishwasher opening. I'm hoping it just hasn't been installed yet and that you will have 24" when it is. If not and especially since your cabinet doors are overlay, the overhang and gap problems are going to be the least of your worries.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

There is no way I would ever notice that and I have decided after reading this that I will NOT be taking a tape measure to the overhang when my new counters are installed in a few weeks. If it looks fine...if you wouldn't have known had you not actually measured...if the counters function as they are supposed to...then what is the problem really?


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Green - yes you are very right. I'm sure I am hypersensitive based on my past bad experiences. And, yes, had I not measured I probably would not know however without the doors and drawers on it's hard to tell so I wanted to make sure I wouldn't have an issue.

Tre - yes there will be a filler currently the opening measures 28 inches.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

dc - One of the reasons that I was measuring in the first place is because I have a slide in range and wanted to ensure it was going to fit properly on both sides. Also, when they took the template they made a point to explain how if the cabinets were not plane then they would have to compensate somehow in the overhang. The fact that the cabinets ARE plane and there are variances in the overhang I just thought was odd.

Thanks for the feedback all!


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

BlackChamois...I have to apologize for my post...after I went back and re-read what I wrote it sounds a little snarky. I truly didn't mean to belittle your concerns and I completely understand expecting to get what you paid for.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Black Chamois:

Whew. I was sweating that opening for a minute.

I've noticed that you repeatedly say what you discussed with your fabricator, unfortunately you don't say what is written down, contract or email. This is important because it gives you leverage. They may have no memory of your showing them the tile, but they can't deny an email stating the tile thickness.

"Hopefully with the range in between the variance won't be noticed."

Unfortunately it will be more noticeable, because a range, especially a slide-in, connects the two sides. The installed range will provide a visual reference point on each side. The reveals will be off 1/4".

You may gain 1/8" from the thin set, but no where near another tile thickness. There are several ways to compensate; you'll have to pick your poison or have another do-over.

If you'll indulge me please, pull a string tight from the left inside cabinet corner to the end of the peninsula and watch for any bows or gaps along the way. This is a much more accurate way to check for plane than a 4' level over the appliance opening.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

dc - No apology necessary! I didn't take it as snarky at all :) and I hope my reply didn't come across that way either. This whole process has made me a bit crazy! :)


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Tre - I will do the string thing :) as soon as I can. I am getting ready to head out of town and in a bit of a rush.

re: "Unfortunately it will be more noticeable, because a range, especially a slide-in, connects the two sides. The installed range will provide a visual reference point on each side. The reveals will be off 1/4"."

Totally true. In my case the right side of the range will be where a gap would show and it's in a corner so at least it's not on the side that one would see entering the kitchen. (Just trying to find the silver lining.) :)

Thanks so much for all the feedback and advice!


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Tre - "If you'll indulge me please, pull a string tight from the left inside cabinet corner to the end of the peninsula and watch for any bows or gaps along the way. This is a much more accurate way to check for plane than a 4' level over the appliance opening."

I taped a string to the left end of the inside cabinet (the cabinet to the right of the range), pulled it past the range opening and to the end* of the peninsula cabinet. (*I could not pull it totally to the end as there is a panel installed on part of the cabinet/bookcase the thickness of the drawer/doors, so I pulled it to right where the panels start.) And the string is touching the cab face frame and is straight (no bowing).


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Also, Tre - "I've noticed that you repeatedly say what you discussed with your fabricator, unfortunately you don't say what is written down, contract or email. This is important because it gives you leverage. They may have no memory of your showing them the tile, but they can't deny an email stating the tile thickness."

I do not have an email or anything written down by me other than the notes I took on my checklist of questions. When the fabricators came to template, they asked me what my backsplash would be. I had a tile on hand and gave that to them. They put it up against the wall and marked it on the template.

I did not think to follow up in email regarding the overhang or the tile thickness as I figured they had it in their notes which I observed them writing these things down. I know that does me no good, but lesson learned on my part.

I hope it's not inappropriate that I share this (if so please tell me and I will edit out), but this is the response back from them yesterday when I emailed about my concerns:
"We do in fact not only pride ourselves on the quality of the work we do I can guarantee if there are variations in the edge overhang the cabinets are likely out of square.

As far as the gap between the top and the wall, you have to keep in mind that the top has to have somewhat of a gap in order to be installed especially as one piece as you requested. You also need to keep in mind that it is not just the thickness of the tile to consider but the mastic used to adhere the tile that covers that gap. I assure you that xxx has extensive experience in tile installation and would not intentionally leave a gap that the tile would not cover.

Between xxx and xxx they have a combined 30 plus years of fabrication and installation experience. You will not find better in our field. Part of their job as installers is to take imperfections like bowed walls, cabinets that are out of level or installed unevenly, floors that are uneven, etc and make all of those components come together to make a nice coutertop. Sometimes in order to make that happen without having to have homeowners have to adjust cabinets, floors and walls we have to make adjustments to things like the edge overhang.

It has also been my experience that people that have had something go wrong with another contractor are looking for something to be wrong when there in fact is nothing wrong, and I mean absolutely no disrespect in saying that. It just seems to be the nature of the situation.

Having said that, I will speak to xxx and xxx on Tuesday. They are both on an out of town job until then. I will relay all of your concerns so they can address them after Thursday per your request."

This post was edited by BlackChamois on Sun, May 11, 14 at 16:10


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Well, I would say that the note sounds a bit condescending, but it is often hard to judge the tone of a letter. This part seems entirely unnecessary:

"It has also been my experience that people that have had something go wrong with another contractor are looking for something to be wrong when there in fact is nothing wrong, and I mean absolutely no disrespect in saying that. It just seems to be the nature of the situation."

Don't you wish he had shared his philosophy with you BEFORE you gave him the job?

In all fairness, it has been YOUR experience that things ARE going wrong. Who ever wrote the note clearly has some preconceived notions ... that you are wrong and his installers never make mistakes and any "unintentional" mistakes that they do make are due to someone else's craftsmanship. Honestly, he should have come out and looked at the job before making any such statements.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

jellytoast - Thank you! I agree 100%. "I can guarantee if there are variations in the edge overhang the cabinets are likely out of square." Really? You can guarntee without even coming to check yourself? Just assume the customer is wrong and/or the other trade? So much for customer focus :)


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

You have my sympathies, BlackChamois. Instead of arguing with you, telling you that you are imagining things, and laying the blame on everyone but himself, he should just come over and see what can be done to resolve the issue. He has a lot to learn about customer service.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

In all fairness, if as a potential client you want to set off my double-secret probation alarms, tell me I'm the second/third/whatever guy to tackle this project.

I instantly begin assessing whether or not the potential is a nut or a victim, and I'm pretty good at figuring it out quickly.

Several years ago I had a customer bash her previous contractor and ask me for a material and labor breakdown, another serious warning. I choose to ignore both and it cost me almost a thousand dollars.

On the other hand, the customers for the jobs I've taken over or fixed are some of the most appreciative.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

blackchamois- i may it be understanding you correctly but it sounds like there is a gap between wall and counter that is noticeable? if it helps at all, i talked to two fabricators in depth about the template following the wall because i already knew my wall had a bow in it. one guys said they cut the counter straight and i would have to spackle the wall to fit the counter after install. the owner of the place i went with said that they have a certain kind of saw that lets them do curves but many places can only do straight cuts. my counter is very snug to the wall even in the wonky places.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Tre - "You may gain 1/8" from the thin set, but no where near another tile thickness. There are several ways to compensate; you'll have to pick your poison or have another do-over."

What are some of my "poison" options? I would like to avoid a do-over. Hoping my tile installer can come by to give me his assessment before I speak with the countertop folks again.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Here is a picture of the edge of the peninsula counter at the range opening where the subtop is exposed.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Oh my. What is the exact opening for your stove? Was the sub top out on extra long or something. Does the countertop edge line up with the cabinet it sits on? (View looking dead on).


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

You say you'd not have noticed it . . . if you hadn't measured it. If it takes a measuring tape to notice a problem, it isn't much of a problem!

Your real problem is your dishwasher's placement. When the door is opened, you're not going to be able to reach the upper cabinets.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

Mags - No, the sub top was not cut extra long. It lines up perfectly with the cabinets. Here is a photo from the front.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

MrsPete - That may be true re the overhang, however there are other concerns such as the gap and the exposed subtop that are visibly noticeable. Provided the variance in overhang doesn't make the range look askew, you're right ... that will be the least of my worries.

The dishwasher placement isn't an issue. It's been in that same spot for over 20 years and it's never been a problem for me.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

"If it takes a measuring tape to notice a problem, it isn't much of a problem!"

It's a problem when you try to fit something into a space and find out it won't go. It's a problem when you put your slide-in range into place and find out that the front edges don't fit properly.

Putting the tape measure to my overhangs prompted me to buy a different range that wouldn't show the differences. I did notice the difference (and it's less of a difference than BlackChamois is dealing with) which is why I bought out a tape measure in the first place.

Measuring things and discovering problems now is a way to avoid more problems in the future.

BTW, that exposed sub-top and cabinet at the range cut-out is ridiculous. What if you decide to change your range down the road? That really limits your options.


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RE: Third time's a charm? Not so much! Update on counters!

That looks a little short of the end of cabinet. Do you have the appliance on site? My countertop templating is in a couple of weeks and they requested stove on site. I wasn't going to do that since I didn't want stove marred in the process plus had no where to store the stove. Had 2nd thoughts and now trying to arrange and guess they'll need to install it too. I'm getting nervous now. I think I would have a hard time accepting some of the really 'less-than' things I've read. My DH says stay off GW. Ha! Won't happen.


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