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happyexpat
Countertops aren't flush with wall

I hired someone to redo a big part of my kitchen; he made the cabinets and installed them, moved the sink, installed the countertops I picked out, etc. The problem: the countertops aren't flush with the walls; at the worst places, there is a full inch of space between them. The renovator is acting like this isn't abnormal; he says it's because the walls were so uneven, but I can't believe the problem could be this severe. The old countertops fit against the walls; the renovator says it's because whoever installed them used a lot of caulking, lots of sanding, etc. He says he can move them, but then nothing will be squared off, the stove won't fit into its space, etc. I can't understand why he didn't tell me this when the problem came up.

I have a few questions. First, is this as big a problem as I think it is? Second, how could this happen? I think he must have made wrong measurements with either the countertops or the lower cabinets, but I can't be sure and he ain't sayin'. Finally, now what? He says I just need to build out the wall with drywall (and then tile) to meet the countertops; is this an acceptable solution? Since there will still be space between the cabinets and wall below the top of the lower cabinets, can I expect problems down the road (like insect infestation -- these are exterior walls)?

Thanks for any advice.

MLBSF
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall

sounds to me like the contractor didn't measure and dry fit the countertops properly. if you posted a pic or two of how it looks, maybe a few of us here could give you some ideas. the countertop (i'm assuming it's formica) usually has to be scribed to fit end walls because more often than not, they're out of square. there are several ways to fix the problem and having a few pics of how it looks would make it alot easier for us to help you out.

A. Spruce
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall

Agreed. Me thinks the contractor was lazy and has no eye for detail and is now trying to get out of doing it correctly. The cabinets are going to follow the line of the walls, regardless of whether the walls are plumb or square. Shims are used to make the faces line up straight. The countertop has enough of a lip on the back edge for considerable scribing to fit it to the conditions of the wall.

At this point, you may want to consider consulting with another contractor to give you a bid to install the tops properly and finish the job, and deduct the cost of having it done properly from the final paycheck of the guy who's telling tall tales.

havanagranite
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall
happyexpat wrote:

I hired someone to redo a big part of my kitchen; he made the cabinets and installed them, moved the sink, installed the countertops I picked out, etc. The problem: the countertops aren't flush with the walls; at the worst places, there is a full inch of space between them. The renovator is acting like this isn't abnormal; he says it's because the walls were so uneven, but I can't believe the problem could be this severe. The old countertops fit against the walls; the renovator says it's because whoever installed them used a lot of caulking, lots of sanding, etc. He says he can move them, but then nothing will be squared off, the stove won't fit into its space, etc. I can't understand why he didn't tell me this when the problem came up.

I have a few questions. First, is this as big a problem as I think it is? Second, how could this happen? I think he must have made wrong measurements with either the countertops or the lower cabinets, but I can't be sure and he ain't sayin'. Finally, now what? He says I just need to build out the wall with drywall (and then tile) to meet the countertops; is this an acceptable solution? Since there will still be space between the cabinets and wall below the top of the lower cabinets, can I expect problems down the road (like insect infestation -- these are exterior walls)?

Thanks for any advice.

Your assesment is probally correct. the first things I would do is grab a level and check to see if the counter top is level, also check the reveal from the front of the top to the face of the cabinet and no matter where you measure the measurement should be the same. somewhere between an inch to an inch and a quarter. then check the face of the cabinets and see if they are plumb. quite often what happens is that the cabinets aren't properly leveled when installed and the the front of the cabinets especially when they go past an opening like where the stove sets or a dish washer, they don't keep the face frames of all the cabinets in a straight line. so basically they make a zig zag and to hide that they have to bring the top further forward because the top is straight and to set it even on the ends it would be obvious that the reveal wasn't the same.

happyexpat
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall

Thanks so much for the validation and helpful suggestions; I'm on my way out of town for a few days but will post photos and take measurements early next week when I'm back.

John22
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall
Debra
Re: Countertops aren't flush with wall

Sounds like he didn't take the time to scribe the countertop to the wall.

I have to think that installing tile on a wall that wavy might cause problems but I would not agree that you should build out the wall to cover shoddy work.

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