Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:07 am

After almost two months, we are back in our house with a beautiful new kitchen. Even having went with the best reviewed, top tiered kitchen place in town we still had the typical challenges and headaches. One major issue we're trying to resolve now is the Silestone quartz countertop installation.

The reason I say it was "botched" - we picked a stainless Kohler farmhouse sink (K-5415-NA). It's basically sandwiched between the cabinet and the countertop (not under mount). Once the countertop is on, there is no way to remove it. This sink has a lip that goes around three sides that is meant to be caulked prior to putting down the countertop. Like dummies, we were not present when the countertop fabricator was at the house doing the installation and assumed they knew this and would caulk the lip. We only arrived later to find out that they didn't caulk it. There was a large enough gap that you could see into the cabinet area, so maybe 1/16" to 1/8" all around.

The kitchen contractor came in and caulked around the sink and countertop (almost as if it were an under mount sink), but obviously they couldn't reach the back to where the lip is. We were very upset with the "band-aid" given the price of whole remodel. We sent a few choice words to the kitchen and countertop contractors basically telling them we weren't going to accept the work unless it was done per Kohler's directions or that the work was warrantied via an addendum. We are still holding the remaining 10%, so there is still incentive on their part to get this resolved. And just this past Friday the countertop fabricator and countertop manufacturer reps came out to see what could be done. And just like the kitchen contractor, they have no idea why it wasn't caulked. We do....inexperienced workers.

Photos: https://imgur.com/a/Ty2Xn33

The countertop fabricator indicated that they want to try to fix the issue and offered options #1 and #2.

1. Complete lift
They offered to pretty much remove the backsplash and lift the countertop, take it back to polish the seam and re-install it. The issue here is that it is a large L-shaped piece that goes around the sink. The pro here is that it will be done right as it should've been. The con's are numerous: being without a countertop for several days with children, damaging the quartz and having to wait 1-2 months for a replacement (currently on backorder), trying to remove the outside edge of caulking around the sink/countertop seam. There is also potentially damage to the cabinets.

2. Partial lift at the sink
Another idea they had was to try to lift the countertop only around the sink. The fabricator and manufacturer believe they it has enough flex to allow them to wedge the quartz up off the sink to allow them enough room to caulk the outside edge on all three sides. This lip isn't accessible from the side cabinets because of a wood divider that separates the sink cabinet from the other cabinets. The risk here is damaging or flexing the sink or even the cabinets and even then I'm not convinced that they can get a caulking nozzle back there. The quartz is about 30 lbs per square foot, so easily 300-500 lbs for this section.

3. Leave as-is
Do nothing and simply monitor the caulking more carefully. Although when the faucet splashes, it makes it seem like Niagara Falls, it doesn't constantly stay wet and we make an effort to wipe up any standing water. The only monkey wrench with this option is that when the sink was caulked around the edge, a very small but noticeable tear of about 1/16" was created when they ran their finger around to smooth it out. So the question with this option is how to patch this small gap. Caulk won't really adhere to existing caulk.

Even though any damage would fall on the fabricator, I'm just not convinced that after Option 1 or 2 that the cabinets and countertop will be the same. There is silicone in multiple parts along the cabinet where they adhered the quartz, so it's not like it will simply pull off. There is also the issue of scraping off the existing caulking. At the beginning of this quagmire I wouldn't have accepted less than Option #1, after our meeting I was leaning towards Option #2 since it was more realistic. But having thought about it this weekend, Option 3 seems like the simplest and safest option.

Looking for advice and voice of reason from the BH community. Thank you in advance!
Last edited by MangoMama on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
dwickenh
Posts: 1410
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by dwickenh » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:35 am

I do not profess to be an expert at counters or sink installations. I have been a problem solver for several corporations. I always ask myself one question "Is the cure worse than the problem". If you answer this honestly, you will have some direction on the next step. The next step may be to do nothing or to start over on the complete project. Good luck on your decision.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7988
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:36 am

What would do: Let them fix it per spec and have the Kohler inspect it. I don't care how they do it. Whether they have to remove the entire piece or work around it or turn the house upside down....that's not my concern.

We had a Corian countertop put in and there was a problem with a seam. Corian came in and agreed that it was not correctly. They came back and did something and fixed it. What did they do? I don't know and I don't care. I'm not a countertop installation expert. Are you? You did the right thing getting an opinion from the manufacturer. Leave it to the expert. It isn't your decision how to fix it. Don't pay until it's done correctly.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:07 am

@dwickenh - having spent a barge-load of monies into this kitchen, I wasn't willing to accept a band-aid solution - especially since everyone tried to tell me it was fine, no reason to have the additional caulk. After my S.O. talked me off the ledge and having been in the house for about a week now, I'm leaning towards possibly leaving it as-is. The con's definitely outweigh the pro's. But it's hard to make a decision because it's such a specific issue, not one you can easily Google or YT.

@Jack - Kohler doesn't really have much skin in the game. Their sink will be fine no whatever what we decide. My main concern is possible future leakage in.....2 yrs? 5 yrs? Never? Since the visible outside caulking is exposed, it's always one of those maintenance items similar to a tub. But now it because the first and last line of defense to stop the water.

Nearly A Moose
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:28 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:41 am

In no way an expert or very experienced here. But if you go with as-is and accept their word that the band aid fix is adequate, they should be willing to warranty it for a long period. I'd insist on that.

But from your description, I'd go with a permanent fix to spec and ask them what they'll do to make sure you have a functional kitchen while it's being repaired, however long that takes. Perhaps they can at least put something cheap in temporarily.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3518
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:03 am

After googling a picture of your sink, my advice depends.

If the countertop completely covers the flange on all three sides, I would just buy a small tube of silicone caulking with a fine tip and caulk the seam myself with clear silicone. I think you would be able to get a good enough seal that you wouldn't have to worry about leaking and the silicone would adequately seal the gap to protect from splashing water. (With the edge break on the bottom of your countertop surface and edge break on the sink, the bead of silicone would be large enough to stay adhered and not get worn away from regular wiping when cleaning the sink.)

If some of the 3 flanges of the sink is exposed, i.e. a flat surface for water to collect, I think you have to have it done properly. How the countertop company chooses to do that is up to them but I would insist it is done properly.

criticalmass
Posts: 675
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by criticalmass » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:31 am

Can you post a photo that shows your issue?

I’d be on the side of letting them choose the repair that leaves you with a properly installed kitchen.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:35 am

criticalmass wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:31 am
Can you post a photo that shows your issue?

I’d be on the side of letting them choose the repair that leaves you with a properly installed kitchen.
I should've posted pictures earlier. It's hard to tell from the pics, but the sink is every so slightly under the countertop, so technically there isn't a flat surface for the water to sit on except for the front apron area:

https://imgur.com/a/Ty2Xn33

So with Option 1 or 2, this existing clear caulk will need to be scrapped off somehow.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14405
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:36 am

I have a hard time picturing what is going on but could they get a slightly larger sink that would cover the entire opening? They would of course have to cut a slightly larger opening to fit it in there.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:42 am

The installation directions. The part in red was skipped, but the second bead where the two meet was put in:

Image

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:44 am

Sink prior to countertop install:

Image

Housedoc
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm
Location: Alabama

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Housedoc » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:52 am

Your major exposure is a mostly filled sink getting waves of water seeping in on back of sink under counter top. If a good industrial grade of kitchen and bath silicone bead is in place you should be fine. I would suggest asking for an extended warranty on counter top and labor including the seal around the sink. A high probability exists of scratches in the sink itself or warping of the sink flange should a fix be attempted. I would say new sink new counter top order and replace. Use existing setup till new top and sink are ready for installation. If you can live with it, leave it alone. If it will piss you off every time you walk up to sink, replace it.

zkzkzk
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:32 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by zkzkzk » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:53 am

Man, I am a freak when it comes to details like this. There is no way I would accept anything other than lifting that counter off and correcting the install. You paid good hard earned money for that work and you didn't get what you paid for. I'd make them eat it. I'd also ask for a cheap laminate to be put in place while the work is complete and we haven't even started talking about a discount for all the trouble. Tired of people not doing the right thing and then trying to skate out on the responsibility.
Sorry but just recently got hosed on a deal like this by being the nice guy.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:00 am

Housedoc wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:52 am
If it will piss you off every time you walk up to sink, replace it.
Sigh, unfortunately it will and I think about it every time I use the sink. My heart literally sank into my stomach when they said "No" to sealing the flange. Their reply was "we never caulk these type of sinks, only undermount sinks."

zkzkzk wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:53 am
Man, I am a freak when it comes to details like this.
So am I and I totally dropped the ball with this part. Kitchen was 95% complete at this point and I even had clear caulking ready to go. This is what happens when you trust the "experts".
Last edited by MangoMama on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

goodlifer
Posts: 438
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:50 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by goodlifer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:01 am

I would have them redo it properly and ask for some consideration for your extra time and aggravation. Things like this drive me crazy.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 5379
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:05 am

Thanks for the pictures. Helps a lot.

Absolutely #1 with no compromises.
Or it will haunt you forever.
Have it stipulated in writing that the contractor will be liable for any damages from the redo project.
Insist on 100% Marine Silicone or 3M Marine 5200 caulking/sealant (nickname is 52 forever). If using Marine 5200, be sure the installer knows how to use it as it is very difficult to remove any mess ups or "goops". I had zero callbacks after switching to this sealant.

Good luck.
j
(retired General Contractor)
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
randomizer
Posts: 1539
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:46 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by randomizer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:07 am

I'd love to give you a counter-example but I see photos were already posted earlier in the thread....
87.5:12.5, EM tilt — HODL the course!

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:09 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:05 am
Absolutely #1 with no compromises.
Or it will haunt you forever.
Have it stipulated in writing that the contractor will be liable for any damages from the redo project.
Good luck.
j
(retired General Contractor)
As a former GC, what are your thoughts on the sealant around the flange? There's definitely long term risk, right? Especially since there is a small gap in the outside caulk already.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 5379
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:16 am

MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:09 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:05 am
Absolutely #1 with no compromises.
Or it will haunt you forever.
Have it stipulated in writing that the contractor will be liable for any damages from the redo project.
Good luck.
j
(retired General Contractor)
As a former GC, what are your thoughts on the sealant around the flange? There's definitely long term risk, right? Especially since there is a small gap in the outside caulk already.
Again, start all over, do it right.
Don't let the builder cut corners on the fix even if it requires new everything. There's a lot of potential long term water damage to the cabinetry, etc. Surface or caulking "after installation" is not going to be the same as during install where the sealant is "through and through". Surface caulking is only temporary. The caulking is not only a sealant against moisture but an adhesive that bonds the elements together.
I have also been hired to redo installer/contractor mess ups that were not addressed during proper installation and resulted in water damage to the cabinetry, etc, etc.
This is not a cosmetic issue.
Again. If it's not done per spec the first time, insist on doing it right the second time.
Good luck.
j

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:20 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:16 am
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:09 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:05 am
Absolutely #1 with no compromises.
Or it will haunt you forever.
Have it stipulated in writing that the contractor will be liable for any damages from the redo project.
Good luck.
j
(retired General Contractor)
As a former GC, what are your thoughts on the sealant around the flange? There's definitely long term risk, right? Especially since there is a small gap in the outside caulk already.
Again, start all over, do it right.
Don't let the builder cut corners on the fix even if it requires new everything. There's a lot of potential long term water damage to the cabinetry, etc. Surface or caulking "after installation" is not going to be the same as during install where the sealant is "through and through". Surface caulking is only temporary. The caulking is not only a sealant against moisture but an adhesive that bonds the elements together.
I have also been hired to redo installer/contractor mess ups that were not addressed during proper installation and resulted in water damage to the cabinetry, etc, etc.
This is not a cosmetic issue.
Again. If it's not done per spec the first time, insist on doing it right the second time.
Good luck.
j
Thank you and to others' replies. It's been challenging to get second opinions on this from friends, family, or even a former GC friend. Hearing this makes the right decision easier to demand. It's definitely been a roller coaster of emotion......anger, disbelief, and acceptance. Currently on "scorched earth".

WaffleCone
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:48 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by WaffleCone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:10 am

I hate silicone as an exposed caulk. It stays tacky and attracts dirt. I would not accept that as is, even to my DIY eye the caulk job looks like a hack but it could be the pictures.

But I find it hard to believe that the only solution is a complete counter reinstall. What's securing the sink besides the caulk they put on? I would think they can shim the counter just enough to open the joint wide enough to seal. They don't need to get the caulk nozzle in, just wide enough to force caulk in. Maybe 1/8".

I'm not familiar with that type of sink, but I think I'd want a brite siliconized acrylic caulk around the joint regardless of the silicone seal underneath. That seam will always be getting splashed and will get dirty. A bead of caulk will be easier to clean and give it a nice finished look.

This issue should not be a major fix or head-scratcher for an experienced contractor.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:17 am

WaffleCone wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:10 am
I hate silicone as an exposed caulk. It stays tacky and attracts dirt. I would not accept that as is, even to my DIY eye the caulk job looks like a hack but it could be the pictures.

But I find it hard to believe that the only solution is a complete counter reinstall. What's securing the sink besides the caulk they put on? I would think they can shim the counter just enough to open the joint wide enough to seal. They don't need to get the caulk nozzle in, just wide enough to force caulk in. Maybe 1/8".
The sink sits on a cabinet base that supports it under the flange. So it's not a traditional under mount that can be lowered. That's why I'm not confident that they could wedge something to slightly lift a 300 lb slab without damaging the sink and/or cabinet.
I'm not familiar with that type of sink, but I think I'd want a brite siliconized acrylic caulk around the joint regardless of the silicone seal underneath. That seam will always be getting splashed and will get dirty. A bead of caulk will be easier to clean and give it a nice finished look.

This issue should not be a major fix or head-scratcher for an experienced contractor.
I'm not sure what they put on around the seam, but I'm guessing it was silicone. Whatever we go with, it will have to be removed and we'll take a look your suggestion for the acrylic. But you're correct, caulking was very amateurish.

jminv
Posts: 592
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by jminv » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:32 am

I would go for option 1 instead of 2. I really would not count on there being enough flex in the countertop to do option 2 and would actually be more concerned that it would lead to damage than option 1. I’d be concerned about cracks in the countertop from trying this and also the more probable damage to the cabinets themselves. When they use a wedge to try this, they’re probably counting on the wood to compress, not the countertop to flex, which could lead to damage underneath. If they do break anything under either scenario it’s an opportunity for further discounts given the hassle they’ve caused you.

Option 3 isn’t really an option for you, else you wouldn’t have posted about it.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:47 am

jminv wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:32 am
I would go for option 1 instead of 2. I really would not count on there being enough flex in the countertop to do option 2 and would actually be more concerned that it would lead to damage than option 1. I’d be concerned about cracks in the countertop from trying this and also the more probable damage to the cabinets themselves. When they use a wedge to try this, they’re probably counting on the wood to compress, not the countertop to flex, which could lead to damage underneath. If they do break anything under either scenario it’s an opportunity for further discounts given the hassle they’ve caused you.

Option 3 isn’t really an option for you, else you wouldn’t have posted about it.
Bingo. Any compression or flex would be "hidden" to the customer and they could declare victory and move on.

Option 3 seemed like a possible option this weekend until I posted this morning. Mainly because the whole remodel and this issue has taken a toll on me and my spouse.

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:52 am

After seeing the pictures you posted, there is NO WAY I would rip out the counters to redo the installation.
- The countertops fully overlap the sink "flange"
- There is only a tiny gap between the top of the sink and the bottom of the counter

I would do as suggested below (and is specified in the instructions you posted).
Only a tiny bead of caulk is needed, and you can push it into the crack with your finger while you are smoothing/cleaning the caulk line.
The chances of splashing water getting by this first layer of caulk and damaging the cabinetry are slim to none, meaning the second layer of caulk that is missing on the flange isn't critical.

You are going to cause much more mess, hassle, & problems (broken countertops, gouged cabinets, dinged up walls, ect) than it's worth to add one bead of caulk. Just inspect the caulk once/year and touch-up/replace as necessary. I bet you will go a decade before having to touch it.
lthenderson wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:03 am
If the countertop completely covers the flange on all three sides, I would just buy a small tube of silicone caulking with a fine tip and caulk the seam myself with clear silicone. I think you would be able to get a good enough seal that you wouldn't have to worry about leaking and the silicone would adequately seal the gap to protect from splashing water.

User avatar
mrc
Posts: 1219
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by mrc » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:01 pm

I detest visible clear silicone sealer wider than a hairline. The cove of silicone on the cheek corners and finger smears along the side (or back) of the sink is not a professional installation. There is way too much caulk used.

If this can't be redone and made a more flush install, I would be surprised. I would insist on that. Cleaning silicon from the stainless will be hard, but that isn't your problem either.

I am sorry for your situation, it must be unnerving.

Edit: I've seen gas station bathrooms with less caulking. I don't mean to be harsh, but that fourth picture (of the front corner) is revolting. It will be impossible to keep clean. Silicone is spongy and rough and collects things.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:15 pm

mrc wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:01 pm
I detest visible clear silicone sealer wider than a hairline. The cove of silicone on the cheek corners and finger smears along the side (or back) of the sink is not a professional installation. There is way too much caulk used.

If this can't be redone and made a more flush install, I would be surprised. I would insist on that. Cleaning silicon from the stainless will be hard, but that isn't your problem either.
I wonder if re-doing the caulking correctly, asking for an extended warranty, and a discount is Option 4 at this point. Options 1-3 seem like no-wins for us.
mrc wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:01 pm
I am sorry for your situation, it must be unnerving.
Extremely frustrating to say the least.
mrc wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:01 pm
Edit: I've seen gas station bathrooms with less caulking. I don't mean to be harsh, but that fourth picture (of the front corner) is revolting. It will be impossible to keep clean. Silicone is spongy and rough and collects things.
Well said. I'll be using this in my follow-up email to all the parties involved.

Option 5 at this point is to sell the house 8-)

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:40 pm

MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:15 pm
I wonder if re-doing the caulking correctly, asking for an extended warranty, and a discount is Option 4 at this point. Options 1-3 seem like no-wins for us.
This is the only sensible solution in my opinion.

But I would go a step further and tell them that YOU will re-do the caulk yourself. That is the only way to ensure it is done correctly.
It will only take you ~15 minutes to remove and another 15 to re-caulk (assuming you/your husband have done this before).

If need be, they can come inspect your to ensure they honor the extended warranty.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:41 pm

I would take the sprayer hose and spray it all along the 3 sides of the sink at the lip. If you cannot see any water in the cabinet, I'd let it go. As others said, lifting that countertop poses a bunch of other risks. People install things wrong all the time. Usually we just don't know it as it is hidden. I'd ask for a discount and keep an eye on the caulk redoing it as needed.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:53 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:41 pm
I would take the sprayer hose and spray it all along the 3 sides of the sink at the lip. If you cannot see any water in the cabinet, I'd let it go. As others said, lifting that countertop poses a bunch of other risks. People install things wrong all the time. Usually we just don't know it as it is hidden. I'd ask for a discount and keep an eye on the caulk redoing it as needed.
This isn't really an option because we already know there is a tear in the caulking right under the faucet. It WILL leak if sprayed, maybe not right away but maybe after 15-30 sec. It's just not visible at this angle with the camera, but it's there. (please ignore stain to the right)

Image

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:55 pm

researcher wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:40 pm
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:15 pm
I wonder if re-doing the caulking correctly, asking for an extended warranty, and a discount is Option 4 at this point. Options 1-3 seem like no-wins for us.
This is the only sensible solution in my opinion.

But I would go a step further and tell them that YOU will re-do the caulk yourself. That is the only way to ensure it is done correctly.
It will only take you ~15 minutes to remove and another 15 to re-caulk (assuming you/your husband have done this before).

If need be, they can come inspect your to ensure they honor the extended warranty.
I think it will take much longer than 30 min to redo it. To scrap it off properly could easily turn into an hour. I'd rather watch them do it since there is, at minimum, a one year warranty on everything.

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:29 pm

MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:55 pm
To scrap it off properly could easily turn into an hour. I'd rather watch them do it since there is, at minimum, a one year warranty on everything.
OK. Just be prepared to be disappointed in the results again.
I wouldn't be surprised if they scratch up your sink/counter during removal, then over-apply the caulk again.

And no way will it take anywhere close to an hour to remove the caulk.
$5 worth of tools (plastic razor blade, plastic putty knife, painters 5-in-1 tool) and 15 minutes.
Then use a blue Scotchbrite pad and IPA to clean up the residue.

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:31 pm

researcher wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:29 pm
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:55 pm
To scrap it off properly could easily turn into an hour. I'd rather watch them do it since there is, at minimum, a one year warranty on everything.
OK. Just be prepared to be disappointed in the results again.
I wouldn't be surprised if they scratch up your sink/counter during removal, then over-apply the caulk again.

And no way will it take anywhere close to an hour to remove the caulk.
$5 worth of tools (plastic razor blade, plastic putty knife, painters 5-in-1 tool) and 15 minutes.
Then use a blue Scotchbrite pad and IPA to clean up the residue.
Point taken, I'll give this some more thought. Thank you!

AZAttorney11
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:12 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:53 pm

This would drive me absolutely insane, and I'd never be able to move past the imperfection. For better or worse, I'm hard-wired that way. I would insist that the GC and his subs deliver the project in perfection condition. I don't care what hard costs or soft costs they have to eat -- the installers were negligent and messed up. That happens. But leaving you with anything less than a properly installed sink with counters is unacceptable. No way in hell I'd agree to some "easy" or "not that big of a deal" modifications or imperfections.

You find out a lot about your contractors when something goes wrong. Let's hope you chose one of the good ones.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:59 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:53 pm
This would drive me absolutely insane, and I'd never be able to move past the imperfection. For better or worse, I'm hard-wired that way. I would insist that the GC and his subs deliver the project in perfection condition. I don't care what hard costs or soft costs they have to eat -- the installers were negligent and messed up. That happens. But leaving you with anything less than a properly installed sink with counters is unacceptable. No way in hell I'd agree to some "easy" or "not that big of a deal" modifications or imperfections.

You find out a lot about your contractors when something goes wrong. Let's hope you chose one of the good ones.
My Father, who is an avid DYIer and helped me on several projects, always says if you think because someone does something everyday or calls themself a professional the results will be perfect, you will be disappointed. They are human beings. That being said, there are obviously different levels of quality. We notice it most in visual aspects of construction like paint, drywall repair, tile, etc.

I used to be like you and obsess about every tiny imperfection. Somehow now, I tend to not.

theplayer11
Posts: 515
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:55 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by theplayer11 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:24 pm

don't have input on your specific situation, but would just like to add that we had an expensive kitchen remodel 7 years ago and there were a few imperfections that seemed major at the time...but as weeks and then months passed, we never gave them a second thought.

z91
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by z91 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:24 pm

The whole thing needs to be corrected. Looking at that caulk would annoy the heck out of me, especially given the amount you probably spent.

I had some windows installed a few years ago. I wanted X-O and they bought O-X windows (handing on the wrong side). They offered a few hundred bucks back and I took it. Every single time I opened the windows I thought about how it was on the wrong side. Luckily we sold the house, otherwise I would have eventually had all the windows re-done again!

MangoMama
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by MangoMama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 pm

I really appreciate everyone's replies and comments. We tallied it up and the majority is in favor of a Lift & Redo. We will be discussing tonight.

Wish I had posted earlier :oops:

User avatar
mrc
Posts: 1219
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by mrc » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:31 pm

For the record, that recent picture of the caulk goober gave me hives. Good luck!
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:48 pm

MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 pm
We tallied it up and the majority is in favor of a Lift & Redo.
I'm struggling to understand how so many people could possibly recommend the 'Lift & Redo" option.
How can you possibly justify all of the work/mess/problems just to fix one missing inner bead of caulk, when there will already be a protective bead of caulk in place?

Here is what is going to have to happen...
- Rip out the backsplash: How is this going to be done without damaging the wall, breaking the backsplash, or chipping the counter?
- Lift the counter off the cabinets: How are you going to keep from damaging the lower cabinets when you pry up the counter? How do you keep from breaking the counter in the process?

The high likelihood of these negative consequences far outweights the very limited benefit of a second bead of caulk.

User avatar
sunny_socal
Posts: 1689
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:00 pm

My vote is firmly in the leave it alone camp. Sure - apply fresh caulk if you want, but I think tearing apart the counter to 'fix' this could easily make things worse.

A wise person recently told me: "Lower your expectations"

User avatar
sergeant
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:13 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by sergeant » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:09 pm

I would probably just do a better job on the caulk and not make it a major deal but totally support you're decision to have them do it to manufacturers specs.
Lincoln 3 EOW!

criticalmass
Posts: 675
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by criticalmass » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:15 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:00 pm
My vote is firmly in the leave it alone camp. Sure - apply fresh caulk if you want, but I think tearing apart the counter to 'fix' this could easily make things worse.

A wise person recently told me: "Lower your expectations"
If the installer makes thing worse because they didn’t install properly in first place, that’s on them, not the folks paying them good money to install properly who would face the after effects of years of water leakage.

The lowest expectation someone should have from a reputable contractor when paying them well to do good work is that they will receive the proper product, installed correctly. It once took a carpet installer 4 times to install my carpet properly. The carpet company chose not to have it done right the first three times. The fourth time they sent someone smart enough to avoid using Elmer’s glue on cement and know how to bring/use a carpet stretcher.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1492
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:16 pm

I'd ask them to redo it and let them know given the money spent for this project it had better be perfect this time. How they do it or how much it costs them to repair is not your concern and you should not involve yourself in that issue. The problem is 100% the contractor's issue to correct to your satisfaction, and involving yourself in the process makes you partially responsible for the decisions taken. Stay out of the logistics and simply state you expect the job to be 100% installed correctly.

I do quite a bit of volunteer construction work for our local HFH charity and when we discover something is not done correctly on a house we are building, we do what ever is required to repair it completely, and if necessary rip it out and redo it no matter what it is or what it costs to fix.

engin33r
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:45 pm
Location: North ATL

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by engin33r » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:59 pm

Add me to the list of people who thinks it's insane to consider redoing everything because of a missing caulk bead. You already know they do a crappy job since they didn't read the instructions and missed the initial bead. Why on earth would they do anything other than a crappy job during the removal and reinstallation? What are the chances they'll screw something else up (scratches, knicks, or worse) during such a process? Hint: it's 100%.

I am a fairly extreme perfectionist myself, but I have learned that in the trades, the level of quality is quite low, and no matter what, you probably won't get what you want done to the level quality you want . If I were you, I'd do the work myself of redoing their crappy caulk job, and there's no way in heck I'd consider removing the countertop to achieve this.

CurlyDave
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:37 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by CurlyDave » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:08 am

researcher wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:48 pm
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 pm
We tallied it up and the majority is in favor of a Lift & Redo.
I'm struggling to understand how so many people could possibly recommend the 'Lift & Redo" option.
How can you possibly justify all of the work/mess/problems just to fix one missing inner bead of caulk, when there will already be a protective bead of caulk in place?

Here is what is going to have to happen...
- Rip out the backsplash: How is this going to be done without damaging the wall, breaking the backsplash, or chipping the counter?
- Lift the counter off the cabinets: How are you going to keep from damaging the lower cabinets when you pry up the counter? How do you keep from breaking the counter in the process?

The high likelihood of these negative consequences far outweights the very limited benefit of a second bead of caulk.
This is a whole lot easier than you think.

1. Backsplash removal may damage stuff, but that can easily be corrected with a slightly larger backsplash. Say 8" instead of 6". This is on the contractor, he is the one who screwed up.

2. If I had to lift the countertop, I would do it with a number of bottle jacks. Take the drawers out of the cabinets where applicable and bridge from one side to the other with a piece of something like a 2x8 to put the force on the outside edge of the cabinets. Use another 2x8 piece as a load spreader under the counter and a section of 2x4 or 4x4 as a post to get the height of the jacks right. Then slowly jack up the countertop evenly. Once it is up, put shims in to keep it from falling. The weight is not an issue.

In less than an hour the countertop is an inch or 2 above the cabinet, with no damage.

3. Clean and re-caulk.

4. Remove shims and lower countertop carefully using the jacks.

This is not a great big deal. But, let the contractor do it his way so he is responsible for the result.

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:35 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:08 am
This is a whole lot easier than you think.

1. Backsplash removal may damage stuff, but that can easily be corrected with a slightly larger backsplash. Say 8" instead of 6". This is on the contractor, he is the one who screwed up.

2. If I had to lift the countertop, I would do it with a number of bottle jacks. Take the drawers out of the cabinets where applicable and bridge from one side to the other with a piece of something like a 2x8 to put the force on the outside edge of the cabinets. Use another 2x8 piece as a load spreader under the counter and a section of 2x4 or 4x4 as a post to get the height of the jacks right. Then slowly jack up the countertop evenly. Once it is up, put shims in to keep it from falling. The weight is not an issue.

This is not a great big deal. But, let the contractor do it his way so he is responsible for the result.
You've just proved my point and completely contradicted yourself.

As you acknowledge, the backsplash removal is likely to damage stuff (the wall, backsplash, ect).
- The counter material is on a TWO MONTH BACKORDER! So your kitchen will be in disarray for 3+ months before a new backsplash is installed.
- A taller backsplash would interfere with the existing window (see pics) and look ridiculous, so that is not an acceptable fix.

Regarding jacking up the counter...
- It is a large L-shaped countertop that must all be jacked up evenly. What is the likelihood of something cracking/splitting? Is it worth being without countertops, and living in a construction zone for 3+ months, just to add 1 bead of caulk?

It is easy to say "the contractor needs to do whatever it takes to make it perfect." But the reality is, the homeowner is the one who will suffer the headache/mess/inconvenience of a misguided attempt to "make it perfect."

researcher
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by researcher » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:57 am

criticalmass wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:15 pm
If the installer makes thing worse because they didn’t install properly in first place, that’s on them, not the folks paying them good money...
I'd ask them to redo it and let them know given the money spent for this project it had better be perfect this time. How they do it or how much it costs them to repair is not your concern and you should not involve yourself in that issue.
This advice is only applicable for those living in a fantasy land.
It absolutely IS on the homeowner to figure out this mess and to decide "how they do it".
The reality is, the homeowner will be severely negatively impacted in this fairly tale quest for the "100% perfect" kitchen.

In order to add 1 internal bead of caulk to make it "perfect", here's how things could play out...
- Water must be turned off to the kitchen sink...plumber must come to unattach/reinstall...sink can't be used.
- Drywall is damaged during backsplash removal...must bring in another crew to fix the damage (lots of dust) and repaint.
- Counter is lifted (by a third set of strangers in your house), but cracks...OP says counters are on a 2 month backorder.
- Unable to use kitchen for 3+ months until new counters are installed & sink hooked back up.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3518
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:21 am

researcher wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:48 pm
MangoMama wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:29 pm
We tallied it up and the majority is in favor of a Lift & Redo.
I'm struggling to understand how so many people could possibly recommend the 'Lift & Redo" option.
How can you possibly justify all of the work/mess/problems just to fix one missing inner bead of caulk, when there will already be a protective bead of caulk in place?

Here is what is going to have to happen...
- Rip out the backsplash: How is this going to be done without damaging the wall, breaking the backsplash, or chipping the counter?
- Lift the counter off the cabinets: How are you going to keep from damaging the lower cabinets when you pry up the counter? How do you keep from breaking the counter in the process?

The high likelihood of these negative consequences far outweights the very limited benefit of a second bead of caulk.
+1

I would assume that the second install will be worst than the first assuming that they didn't break it into pieces requiring many more months of back ordering. What happens when they damage the wall when pulling off the backsplash? Are you going to pay someone to repair the holes and repaint or are you tackling that yourself? I doubt the countertop guys will do that for you.

barnaclebob
Posts: 3046
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Botched countertop installation - leave it as-is or risk the repair?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:47 am

Put me in the camp of making a new good looking caulk bead without the blob and monitor it. As long as the cabinets and counter don't settle a bunch it should be fine for many years and re caulking isn't that big of a deal. See if the company will give you a warranty where if it fails then they will do solution 1.

Like another poster said, those who expect contractors to make things perfect no matter what the cost are living in fantasy land. The less contractors are in your house the better.

Post Reply