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Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Posted by aklvdb (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 29, 14 at 8:59

So slowly putting our kitchen back together as per our insurance claim due to dishwasher flood.

Cabs are in (doors need to be adjusted, some replaced due to issues with the fronts). Then I notice my knife drawer is crooked (just put the utensils in today!) So I get the level out. Why did I get the level out?

This is ok, right? Within acceptable limits? Please?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

further back for context


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

And the other side of the kitchen.

Ok?


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Get a 48" level minimum, a torpedo level will not tell you much on an expanse that large.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Ok, thanks! I'll try later today.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

You also need to check front to back, as well as side to side. And check the floor below the cabinets as well.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Do the drawers function properly? If they do now they may not in the future so I would make whoever installed the cabinets aware of it and go from there. They may come right out and shim things right or tell you it's not a problem.
I'm a DIY and if it were my kitchen it would be a do over.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"This is ok, right? Within acceptable limits? Please?"

aklvdb:

Absolutely not. If you think that's bad now, wait 'till you put a 4 footer on that. It's really bad and completely unacceptable.

You not only need to check side to side and front to back, but you need to place a 4' level in an "x" fashion over range openings.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

I have no advice, but I can feel the pain in your post. I just wanted to say- I get it!
My floors were (are :/) terribly unlevel, but the cabinet installer got them all shimmed and level before the countertops. Did you have a GC?


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Gotta fix that now, I'm afraid.
Hopefully, also, before someone's final payment...


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Who puts granite on cabinets that out of level? And who installs cabinets that out of level? And who doesn't try to ID why the floor is out of level and try to level the floor before setting cabinets


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

That is pretty bad. I'm so sorry OP.

My floors are horrendously unlevel do to shoddy concrete work but thankfully, my cabinet maker, who installed my cabs shimmed them all and he brought me in the kitchen and laid a level on everything, including range openings and across both corners (I have a U shaped kitchen) to show me the level.

There was one cabinet that he couldn't get perfectly level, I'm talking the bubble was less than a mm towards the right instead of dead center. He spent prob 45 min trying to level that one cab, he could get it perfectly level straight across but front to back it was slightly off. He had to actually point out how it was unlevel b/c I didn't even see it at first, the bubble was still solidly between the lines.

My countertop crew used virtually no shims and remarked how they hadn't seen cabs this level square and plumb in the 20 years they've been doing counters.

Someone, somewhere, messed up. Cabs are supposed to be installed level, square and plumb. If they aren't, when counters are installed, the counters should be shimmed to make it level.

You might check your contract with the counter people. Mine specifically stated that if counters were not level, they would have to shim them and it might be visible and they weren't responsible for the visual flaw. If your contract states anything like this, you might have some recourse there.

Again, I'm SOOOO sorry, I wish I could mail you a case of wine and some chocolates. :(


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Dishwasher flood? Maybe it buckled the floor... :-(


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

The granite guys should have checked before installing the tops. The best cabinet installations are the ones where the cabinet installers use a projecting laser level that puts a level line all the way around the room. Cabinets installed with that laser line as a reference are perfect. It also makes the countertop installers job a great deal easier although a little shimming can still be necessary as the back side of stone slabs is not perfectly flat and slabs sometimes have as much as an 1/8" of thickness variation from one end to the other.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

If the level is accurate (check by seeing if it gives exactly the same reading when switched end for end) then you have a serious issue. Half-a-bubble is like 1/4" per foot.
Casey


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Looking at the picture of the cabinet, the reveals look pretty decent....much better then they would look if the install was a poor as the level indicates?

As mentioned I would ditch the dollar store level, get a 48" level and check it...flipping end for end as mentioned by Casey to make sure the 48" level is accurate


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"Who puts granite on cabinets that out of level? And who installs cabinets that out of level? And who doesn't try to ID why the floor is out of level and try to level the floor before setting cabinets(?)" ~~ hollysprings

In my experience, just about everydangbody! People cringe when they see me coming with a level, but I am doggone determined - if I am there - that whatever it is, is going to be level. Having said that, I live in a house that Topsy built and I doubt there's a plumb wall in the entire house. Still, I try.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Who puts granite on cabinets that out of level? And who installs cabinets that out of level?

Better question is 'Who trusts a torpedo level?'

Waaaay too many people. This post reminds me just how much I hate torpedo levels.

Go buy a 48" level (after you check it for accuracy) and then post another pix with the new level on the counter top.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Now we're supposed to go out and spend $50 on a 48" level to check their work. Is anyone still working there? Someone ought to have one around to check it when they are there.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"Better question is 'Who trusts a torpedo level?'

Waaaay too many people. This post reminds me just how much I hate torpedo levels.

Go buy a 48" level (after you check it for accuracy) and then post another pix with the new level on the counter top."

While I agree that checking with a 4-footer is in order, I'm sure the results aren't going to change much. That's because of the generally flat nature of stone tops. Were this a solid surface installation, or even an older stone installation where the top could conform to dips in the cabinets, a longer level would be essential. Because the tops are new, flat, and rigid, they are turning the torpedo into a 4-footer by default.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

What homeowner doesn't already own a 48'' level and a modest assortment of other tools? I may have to go off on a tangential rant to Christine's HGTV one.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"What homeowner doesn't already own a 48'' level and a modest assortment of other tools?"

What granite fabricator/installer doesn't own a 48" level and USE the dang thing? Unbelievable that homeowners have to go behind the people they have PAID to do the work.

"I may have to go off on a tangential rant to Christine's HGTV one."

I hope you are going to direct it at the contractor and not the homeowner!!


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Oh my, when I left the forum on Friday, I didn't think much of anything, and here there are so many responses! Thank you for taking the time!

Ok, I did not measure it with a long level yet as I do not have one! But I can borrow one. I did put our little level on the floor and it was level, but I get how it's so tiny it's hard to get the full picture.

So the cabs are new, put on shims, then the counter was installed, then the floor was installed.

Sigh. I'm away until tomorrow. The drawers are crooked, and the carpenter says that's how it'll be, and the GC I guess-the owner of the restoration company- says they will end up straight. How, I'm not sure. The carpenter is blaming the cab people (who manufactured them, he installed them). Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Just had 2 cookies, might have to add a glass of wine.

Thank you all, so much for all the wisdom of the boards!


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"Ok, I did not measure it with a long level yet as I do not have one! But I can borrow one."

Interesting. I notice the presence of a General Contractor on this job, and yet there are still problems! We hear a lot around here about how GC's are worth every penny that they charge, and yet this homeowner has to go out and borrow a level to determine if her job was done properly. Something is wrong with this picture!


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"What homeowner doesn't already own a 48'' level and a modest assortment of other tools?"

Please elaborate why we need a 4 foot level.

I agree with Jellytoast, I'd like to see each and every worker I pay using a level. Customers should not have to go around checking for level; besides I guarantee those workmen are not going to appreciate it and who wants to deal with that.

Unnecessary rework like this costs us homeowners a lot of money, time, inconvenience and aggravation. Maybe we should be compensated too, for our losses and supervision.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Aug 31, 14 at 21:31


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Now we're supposed to go out and spend $50 on a 48" level to check their work.

You mean, to make dead certain that your $200-$400 a lineal foot cabinets onto which you plan to install $25-$75 or more a square foot stone counter tops that you've invested untold hours & $300 worth of gas searching for--that those cabinets are level? In a project that is costing multiple thousands of dollars? To make double dead certain that you're getting the quality workmanship that you're paying for?

To save yourself from getting egg on your face when the contractor's $150 level reveals that your 98 cent dollar store torpedo level isn't all that accurate?

Do you double check your Visa statement & balance your checkbook with the statement from your bank?

Quibbling about a $50 investment strikes me as being penny wise/ pound foolish. And, for most of us, a level isn't a one-time use tool. BTW, for the purposes here, you can buy a perfectly adequate level for less than half of $50. You check it for accuracy before you leave the store. And, once you own one, you might be surprised when you find yourself using it again, and again. Just don't let your cheap ass neighbor know you own one or you won't see it again.

While I agree that checking with a 4-footer is in order, I'm sure the results aren't going to change much. That's because of the generally flat nature of stone tops.

Treb, that's assuming that the red & black no-name torpedo pictured at the top of the thread is accurate. From my experience, those little things are notoriously inaccurate. And I certainly hope that you aren't relying on only a torpedo level for your work!!

OP's original complaint was that her knife drawer was crooked. Several other possible reasons for that other than cabinets not being level.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Anyone who wants to hang a picture, or put up drapes, or a thousand other things, needs 4' level. In other words, anyone who owns a home. Unless you want to be helpless and pay a mint for other people to do even the simplest of jobs.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"To save yourself from getting egg on your face when the contractor's $150 level reveals that your 98 cent dollar store torpedo level isn't all that accurate?"

Well, I sure hope the contractor shows up soon with his $150 level and proves her wrong. I'd much rather have egg on my face than a kitchen full of out-of-level cabinets or granite.

No one is doubting the handiness of a large level, but to somehow turn this around into customer neglect seems a tad unfair.

"OP's original complaint was that her knife drawer was crooked."

OP's noticing that the knife drawer was crooked is what motivated her to drag out the torpedo level and discover that the granite was possibly out of level. Why should she have to "discover" anything on a job where a GC is supposed to be in charge?


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"You mean, to make dead certain that your $200-$400 a lineal foot cabinets onto which you plan to install $25-$75 or more a square foot stone counter tops that you've invested untold hours & $300 worth of gas searching for--that those cabinets are level? In a project that is costing multiple thousands of dollars? To make double dead certain that you're getting the quality workmanship that you're paying for?"

It appears a small level indicates there is a problem. But my eye would probably be telling me too just by looking at it. Other things might also be evident. That's as far as we consumers can go with it. Personally, I would not be embarrassed if something were wrong with my level and all was fine.

To date, I have functioned fine with a small level. And on top of all other expenses and losses, no, I don't think we should need to buy a $50 tool to verify the work of professionals. Like I said, that wouldn't be too good for morale either. I guess we'd need to hide it somewhere and make sure no one knew.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

"Unless you want to be helpless and pay a mint for other people to do even the simplest of jobs."

In this case, the OP is paying someone to do this job. She has a general contractor. He should be supplying the level. And he should be using it at every step of the job. When she has to hang curtains, she can supply her own level. In this case, she paid for the right to be "helpless" when she hired a GC to oversee her job.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

So let me get this strait.

ITT, we have the pros, the ones generally berating DIYers and telling them to "hire pros b/c pros are worth it", telling all homeowners that they should be more like DIYers and have these tools and check up on the "pros" to make sure they're doing their job?!???

I'm a strict DIYer, and out of all of my friends, acquaintances, friends parents, etc., I'm the only one who has a 4 foot level.

Guess what? Your average homeowner is going to hang her pictures and drapes using a standard carpenters level. One generally doesn't need a 4 foot level to hang a picture.

Honestly, I'm shocked at the vitriol being spewed by "pros" on this thread who seem to think that every homeowner has the same tools they do.


It reminds me of being shocked, as a "cook" going into my friends pantry/spices and finding that they didn't stock what I consider to be "necessities" such as flour, baking soda, baking powder, oregano, parsley, etc.

To me, as a cook, these are necessary requirements, much like to a DIYer/ remodeler, things like a 48" level are "mandatory".

Not everyone conforms to your " ideals."

If they did, there are many "pros" who wouldn't have a job.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

If that top is that much out of level, round things would roll right off it. Spills would not bead up but run off as well. If you tried to fry something in a pan all the oil would run to one side.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Perhaps we should have a separate post all about levels. Which one to use where and when, what size is best for small things (cover plates come to mind) and which for things like medicine cabinets, large pictures, ranges, countertops, fridges, etc., etc.. It drives me nuts if a picture or mirror is 32nds of an inch off. How best to level all this stuff?


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

aklvdb - My fingers are crossed that the next picture you post will show happier results. On the plus side, your countertop looks lovely with your cabinets.

I can't understand why there's any resistance to the recommendations for a longer level. We ooh and ahh over the right appliance because of how it functions, and enjoy finding out about new kitchen tools which have specific uses. Same concept here.

Tomatofreak, per DH, a torpedo level is for smaller spaces, for when you can't fit a larger level. Otherwise, he uses the larger level. That's one tool he does not let others borrow and which he protects carefully from breakage. I had never thought it through (why one vs. the other) but it makes perfect sense and I appreciate the information from the resident experts.

I could swear that the sticky at the top of the Kitchen Forum used to link to all sorts of great information (like the information in this post). OT - but can anyone tell me where to find that old thread?


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

I use a laser level for hanging pics. Reading this thread is making me think I should double check my cabs before the counters come. Judging by all the shims going on, I think they are prob level, but I guess you never know. Now I wonder if I own one of those extra long levels. Hmmmm....


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Oh my, all about levels! So I personally do not own a big level, but my dad who lives on our street does, so I borrow it on occasion. He has every tool known to man, and would probably beat me over the head with one of his 14 hammers if I bought a long level :)

I used our laser level to hang our new drapes (post is in home decorating!) and they are pretty darn straight. We are not the best DIY'ers, but we try to do things ourselves such as hang pics, and beyond the odd time needing the long level, haven't needed one.

I hope the long level will tell me these counters are straight! The drawers are not perfect by any means (I can post a side view when I get home!) and on the other side they stick.

Believe me, I am on these guys, but nobody's getting their insurance check until this is perfect.

Thank you all!


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Long levels are helpful but not necessary, if you have a 6ft straightedge + a torpedo level, you have a 6ft level. Torpedoes can be extremely accurate, provided the thing they are measuring is dead-straight (like a laminated beam, steel girders, gauged stone slabs, or cast-iron plumbing drains) You can't set a short level on a warped board or a wavy edge-knot, because that throws the precision off. The long straightedge is only there to average between the extreme points which it spans, and in that way it bridges the unevenness to give a truer reading of the relationship (level or plumb) of the disparate points.
A six foot level is just a straightedge with a level bubble mounted in it.
I keep harping about a six foot level because IME a 4 footer is not very useful for cabinets.
Casey


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

I've got a garage full of tools and accoutrements. I have grown to love that space. I'm not a DIYer other than hanging curtains, shelves and framed objects on the wall. I leave the rest to the pros.

I have a 4-ft. level and I use it. It's a little more unwieldy than my two 2-ft. levels, but I have faith in it. Thus far, it has not let me down. I consider a level to be part of a homeowner's kit for survival. It's a good investment.

I also have a tape measure in every room, plus the glove compartment of my car. You never know when you'll need to measure something. This kind of info is power.

I don't think homeowners should *have* to check the work of those they pay, but it would be foolish not to.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

On the day our granite guy came to template our granite, the first thing he did was to bring out his long level and check every surface that would receive granite in every direction -longways, shortways, and diagonal- to be sure it was level. If it wasn't level, he'd come back when it was. It was level, so he moved on to Step 2. I assumed this was standard practice.

So if we're going to assign blame, let's start with the cabinet installer who evidently didn't think level was sufficiently important to achieve it. Then we can move to the GC who hired that lazy person. Then there's the granite installer who also didn't check before templating. Nowhere on my list is the homeowner and check writer who doesn't own a 4' level and failed to double check all the "pros" work in progress.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

I seem to have a built in level in my head that drives my husband crazy. We are big do it yourself homeowners. (he hung a new kitchen pendant yesterday). Of course it was not straight and thank goodness we have levels to check.

If I was the homeowner and thought a drawer was crooked, I'd get out my torpedo too if that was all I had. Then call and ask them to check with their level.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

OP-To see if the drawers can be adjusted enough to suit you try one yourself. Attached is a picture. From the looks of your level they are just a little beyond the built in adjustment. Naturally doors will also need to be adjusted and at some point if things are seriously off it will show in the reveal at the bottom of the cabinets. A careful installer should be able to "cheat" reveals so things don't look bad.

Within the adjustment available there will be no impact on performance or longevity of the glides. Since you already have hardware installed adjusting drawerheads to boxes would be a headache and less than ideal.

Should they be off that much? -NO.
Is it a big problem?-with overlay cabinets not really but it is if you feel it is.
Will it affect the counter installation over time?- Tre or someone else could better answer that but if the stone is fully supported over its' length I don' see why. Better than a shim every 3 ft IMO.

Where/who is the problem?-First and foremost the cabinet installer - the job is to install plumb, level and square, then the counter installer AND the GC.
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Why not the mfg?- it is all too easy to rack cabinets during installation. It is also easy to straighten slight imperfections in installation (especially on pocket hole cabinets). That is the installers job- install plumb level and square.

Example- I handle two better brands of inset cabinets. One is doweled together the other is mortise and tenon. They always come dead straight and square. The cabinet is stiff compared to a pocket hole cabinet. The M&T cabinet has only an 1/8" reveal and mortised hinges that allow very little adjustment. I warn installers that they must back installation screws completely with shims and not to over torque them.
Every now and then I get a call that the cabinet door is rubbing. I go to the job levels in hand and something is always off. Most of the time all that is needed is to relieve the pressure on one or two screws, shim it and gently tighten it back up. Voila reveal magically is straight and true.

Levels- I'm with Mongrel on this- the only 4 ft I own is a masonry level that I wouldn't allow near a cabinet. I keep an ok torpedo, and quality 16" , 2', 3' and 6' (along with two on my phone, one on the tablet and a bubble lippage level for tile.) As a homeowner I use the 2 and 6 most.
As a KD the 16" lives in my "go visit bag". When I pull up to the home during installation the 16, a tape measure, and notebook go with me. The 6 ft comes along on measures, when a problem is brought up, or during installation if I didn't see one there to begin with.

Why should I have to check? as noted above even just a glorified cabinet salesman I need a couple of reliable levels at my disposal all the time. If your KD is not as pissy as me; then yes, you WANT to be able to check things. Folks are often asking here what to check BEFORE ordering or signing, well there are things worth checking DURING...It is a lot easier to take care of issues before completion than after. No one is perfect and you end up paying for it and living with it.

If money is tight send DH to buy it, be careful with whatever packaging, then when done, go back and return it. You can have fun making up a story that DH is all thumbs and was nuts to buy it :) First run around the house and check a few things just for fun.

oops, forgot to include adjustment info for you.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 13:20


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

Ha ha jackuvall! I got a bigger level, 24 inches, best I could do at this time. It looks marginally better? The floor is level at this point.


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

And here is the other side of the kitchen. The floor is slightly off as well on this side.

So what do I do now?

It was so nice going away for 3 days and not thinking about the house!


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

What??? aklvdb, do you mean to tell us that you've been gone for three days and didn't come back with a 48" level??? What kind of a homeowner are you???

:-) :-) :-)


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RE: Please just tell me this is ok, I can't take another issue!

jellytoast - sorry! I was shopping in the US, I could have picked one up but I thought for sure my dad would have one. And shouldn't the carpenter that comes tomorrow have one :) ?

I did buy some Cole Haan shoes for cheap, some runners and some candles at Sam's Club (love sams!). And some pictures at TJMaxx and Kohls. Does that redeem me? :)

I'll see if DH can ask the carpenter then take a pic, I have to go to work early this am.

Sorry to disappoint! 24 inches is better than the tiny one, no?

This post was edited by aklvdb on Tue, Sep 2, 14 at 6:05


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