Remodeling the Kitchen

Hot Under the Collar

You know that saying.  You’ve probably said it.  But trust me, you have no idea what it really means unless you are a post-menopausal woman who’s just heard her husband blamed for a problem he had nothing to do with.  I am still mad!

We went to Reno today to the stoneyard, where we approved another pair of slabs.  As those of you know who’ve been following the kitchen renovation saga, the first time the granite countertops were installed, it turned out they were not cut to measurements, and they were incorrectly installed.  I don’t know who is to blame.  I do know that U.S. Granite, the company contracted by Home Depot to fabricate and install the countertops we purchased from Home Depot, tried to cut their losses by creating new pieces, from a new slab, for just three of the countertops.  They left two pieces in place.  And not only did the new countertops for the sink base and over the dishwasher still not fit, all the new pieces were several shades darker than the original pieces that were left in.  That is not what I paid for, and that is not what we are going to settle for.

We were told when we chose the second slab that the new pieces would lighten up as they dried out, which they did.  But because those pieces were cut from a different block of granite (from the same mine in Brazil) than the pieces cut from the first slab, they were very much a mis-match in color.  That means that the countertops for the whole kitchen, both sides, have to be re-cut.

After we approved the newest slabs today, we talked with the scheduler/manager of this branch of the company.  He seems a nice young man, but I was very upset with him today.  He mentioned that they are going to send the templater down again with thin wooden templates cut out to the measurements the templater took originally with a digital camera and program that encodes the information so that it can be fed to the cutting machine digitally.  That sounds good.  Then this nice young man says, “And you’ll sign off on the templates, and then we’ll come back and set the stones.”

Whoa.  I am nice, but I am not stupid.  I held up my hand.  “What do you mean, sign off on the templates?  Then if there’s a problem with the countertops, you’re absolved of responsibility?  I don’t think so.”  I told him straight out that we were not signing off on anything until the job was done and inspected for quality control.  And I told him a few other things, such as whatever crew he sent down to this job had better have the right equipment to control the stone dust, because I already have it all throughout my house, and I don’t need to be breathing it or cleaning up any more of it.

He said, “Well, we have to make sure that no one is moving slabs and causing a problem.”  What? It turns out the installer told the manager that Dennis had moved the slabs, and that was what caused the problem.

That’s when I got really hot under the collar.  “Honey,” I said to this youngster who could have been my son, “there is no way this man was moving those slabs around.  You know yourself how heavy they are.  You think he has one of those suction thingies they use to move those slabs hiding out under his tee shirt? There was no moving of slabs by anyone but your installers, so don’t let anybody tell you different.”  I must have sounded like his mother, because he backed down on that point and on the idea of us signing anything before the job is done.  And it had better not come up again.

Believe you me, Home Depot is going to get an earful from me tomorrow morning.  I am still steaming.

 

 

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Remodeling the Kitchen

Wrong Again

I’d hoped by this time to be able to report that the replacement granite countertops were in, and that we were moving on to tiling the backsplash.  We bought the backsplash tile several weeks ago, just after the first countertops that were cut wrong were installed.  We’ve just been waiting for the second, replacement installation to start tiling.

On Friday, just before I left for my big birthday weekend, the countertop installers from U.S. Granite in Reno arrived to put in the new counters.  And guess what?  They still didn’t fit!

The installers brought in the new countertops, put them down, and they didn’t fit right.  The measurements appear to be off.  Fortunately, the installers did not glue them in this time, except for the 6’ counter along the fridge wall that forms my baking station.  And then another problem was discovered.  The new granite is several shades darker than the slab off the first block, so the new counters didn’t match the two corner pieces that were being left in place.  The installers removed the sink base and dishwasher countertops before gluing or cutting and took them back to Reno.  Phone calls between the installers, the manager, and Dennis were flying back and forth when I left for my trip.  Truthfully, I was glad to escape.

So, here we are waiting for another measuring session and for new slabs to be brought in, which we will have to approve, and new counters to be cut and installed.  The previous mistakes had already added a 5 week work stoppage to our renovation, and it will probably be another 5 or 6 weeks before the third round of countertops are installed, and if they are right, we can finally go ahead with the backsplash.  Now, it is really crucial to choose slabs that will look okay with the backsplash tile, because we can’t take that back.

When we chose the slab for the second countertops, we were told by the stone supplier, Dal-Tile, that since it had been raining, the granite had absorbed water and darkened. “It’ll lighten up as it dries out,” they told us.  It was raining on Friday when the installers brought in the countertops cut from those slabs. Dennis was worried about how dark they were. “They’ll lighten up,” the installers also said.

The replacement countertops haven’t lightened up and are significantly darker, more beigey-brown than the original slab we chose, and which we like the best.  The original slab had a lot more white in it, as you can see from the pics below.  This first one is of the original slab.

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This is of the only replacement piece that was left in on Friday, and it is definitely darker than the original.

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Fortunately, the backsplash tile I chose looks fine with both the lighter slab and the darker replacement, so hopefully, whatever we end up with in new slabs will also look okay. But it’s looking like they might have to replace the two corner pieces that we’d hoped to leave in, just to get a good match all around the kitchen.  The waste of it makes me sick.  However, we’ve talked them into leaving some of it behind (they’d better be doing everything they can to make us happy after all these screw-ups!), and I am hopeful that we can use some of it in the bathrooms and in my outdoor kitchen, if we ever get around to building it.

I am not a happy kitchen camper at this point, but it could be worse.  Dennis put the old laminate countertop back in so he could hook the sink up again (this makes three times now he’s taken the sink out and put it back in), so we have water.  We have a working stove.  I am grateful for that, at least.

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If there is a tip in all this, it’s that you shouldn’t choose your granite slab after prolonged rain unless the slabs are stored in a dry warehouse.  Even when they are sealed, they will absorb water, and it does alter the color, making matching difficult. And that can make it difficult to choose backsplash material and other things as well.

I’d also say choose your contractors carefully, but you really can’t know what’s going to happen.  I chose to do this part of the project through Home Depot because I didn’t want to have to deal with contractors directly myself, and because we don’t know anything about any contractors in Reno, and there’s no one locally who installs granite.  We trusted Home Depot to work with contractors who can get the job done right.  Now we’re talking with Home Depot about how they’re going to make things right with us, because this foul-up has caused some significant inconvenience in our home and lives.

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Remodeling the Kitchen

Of Countertops and Roll-Out Shelves

As some of you know, we discovered some major problems with our new granite countertops after they were installed.  Al, the templater that U. S. Granite uses, came out and checked all his measurements on Friday.  It turns out that his measurements were accurate, but the fabrication shop which cut the granite made mistakes.  The installer made mistakes.  As a result, at least three of our five pieces of granite (maybe four) have to be replaced.  The incorrectly cut and installed pieces were left in place, so that we do have a functional kitchen until the new pieces are installed.  Whenever that is.  We don’t know yet.  And until the granite is installed, we have to keep the floor covered.  Ugh.

In the meantime, over the weekend, Dennis installed the roll-out shelves I bought.  I had originally planned to buy cabinets with the roll-out shelves built in, but this would have added so much to the cost of the cabinets, I had to scrap that upgrade.  I already knew I could find after-market roll-out shelving much cheaper.  I planned to use chrome roll-outs on all the cabinets, but I failed to check and make sure that I could get them in all the sizes I needed for my various cabinets.  I could not get the chrome shelves in a 36” width to fit my big base cabinets on the fridge side of the kitchen.  What to do?

In a secondary search after the cabinets were installed, I found made-to-fit slide-out shelves from Slide-a-Shelf, sold on Costco Wholesale’s website.  Made to fit means that you measure your spaces and send the measurements off to the Slide-a-Shelf company, which then sends you your roll-out shelves made to your measurements.  And they are shipped within five days of ordering, so they must have some already made up in various sizes, right?

There are several choices of wood fronts ready to stain, so that you can match them to your cabinets, or you can choose a paint-grade wood front to match up to painted cabinets.  I chose oak fronts to go with my oak cabinets.  They came unfinished, of course, but all I had to do was slap on a coat of polyurethane (I have lots left over from the coffee table project) and presto!  I have roll-outs which look like they were made for those cabinets.  You can get these shelves in any size for one price through Costco, $79.99 for standard roll-outs, and $89.99 with the soft-close option.  That made these shelves for the big cabinets much more affordable than having them built in.  Shipping was free, another plus, because these things are heavy.  And if you’re a Costco member, there’s another $10 discount.

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I could have gotten double rolling shelves, but I had already decided, based on my scribblings on my cabinet renderings, that I wouldn’t need the upper shelves to roll out.  I did decide to go with the soft close option, because Dennis likes soft close, but after they were installed, I realized that as big as these shelves are, and as heavily as they are going to be loaded, soft close doesn’t work all that well, and I could have saved that $10, which will amount to $30 for all three big shelves.  All the shelves are rated for 100 lb. carrying capacity.  As for installation, one went in really easily.  The other one, for some reason, was a bear, but Dennis finally got it.  There is some assembly required with these shelves before they can be installed, but it is nothing somebody handy with a screwdriver couldn’t handle.  Installation requires a drill and screwdriver.

On the other side of the kitchen, I only have three base cabinets that need roll-out shelving.  One is the sink base.  I wanted to have two roll-out shelves on either side, but because of the plumbing and the garbage disposal, only one would fit.  Dennis has drilled the holes for that one, which will hold the kitchen trash can and cleaning supplies, but he won’t install it until after the next round of countertop installation, because he has to crawl under that cabinet to hook up the plumbing to the sink, and the roll-out would be in the way.

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The other two roll-outs hold pots and pans and plastic storage stuff.  On the stove side of the kitchen, I have tried to keep things in relatively the same space as they were before.  It drives us both crazy to reach for something and not find it in the place we’re accustomed to.  The older you get, the harder change is!  These roll-outs are from Lynk Professional, and I bought them on Amazon.  They are very affordable, very sturdy, and I think, quite nice-looking.  Dennis said these were a breeze to install.

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I could have bought made-to-fit shelves through Costco Wholesale for all my cabinets.  But with the one-price-fits-all-sizes pricing, I’d have spent much more on the smaller roll-outs than I did going with the Lynk Professional chrome roll-outs.  I spent about $140 on the three chrome roll-outs.  If I’d gone with the Slide-a-Shelf ones, I’d have spent at least a hundred dollars more.  I did get the shipping free on these from Amazon, too.

My roll-outs don’t match, but I’m okay with that.  They are functional and affordable, and I’ll take that over “a foolish consistency” any time!

 

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