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Old 10-25-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


I'll try and make a long story short. We just had 3/4" thick quartz countertops installed in the kitchen and bathroom with rounded edges. One of the edges sticks out 3 inches in one area. Some cheap kind of wood was put in underneath the quartz and it looked corroded. I looked at and touched it. It started peeling off and looked and felt rotten when I placed my hands underneath.

Same thing in the bathroom countertops.

I complained and the contractor basically said it was a done deal; that's the way they do. I got VERY angry, said it was unacceptable, blah, blah. He then said the wood wasn't necessary for one kitchen area, would remove it and reinstall the counter top in that area.

Our bathroom has no windows and gets very humid. I told him this wood would corrode and rot. He said no way could he take it out of there because the area where the wood was under the quartz is a ledge and the wood was needed to give it more support.

I asked about finishing the wood then, and he said he would paint it. I dont know much about finiishing, but is paint considered a protective finish to this kind of cheap wood?

Thanks so much for your help. I am so upset I hope I was coherent.

Sincerely, Joyce

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


p.s. This was a very expensive installation, so I guess I expected more. Why not good solid wood under the quartz? Am i missing something?

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Old 10-25-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


We don't have quartz countertops, but rather granite. Our overhang beyond the cabinets is only a bit over 1 inch, and there's no added wood. Why would there need to be? We're talking about solid stone. Ours is 1-1/4" thick, but I wouldn't think 3/4" would need any such extra support either. Unless you asked for it, a 3-inch overhang does seem excessive. It sounds like you got a total hack job. I hope you haven't paid this guy.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


Got a picture of what they used?
We have quartz tops but there sitting on 3/4" pine that's on top of the counter tops and there's a 3/4" over hang around the fronts that's all quartz so you can not see any of the wood. 3" is way to much.
There also only 1" over hanging the cabinets.
There needs to be something on top of the cabinets to lift the top up high enough so they clear the drawers.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:54 PM   #5
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


Sounds correct, your 3/4" quartz is going to need support. They added a particle board counter top to support it. It is not much but is enough.
I assume there is a added piece on the counter top that hangs down over the particle board and hides it. The rounded edge.

It would be considered normal, not many look under the counter top.
The humidity would have to be severe to affect it.

What does not sound normal, is you say you touched it and it was crumbling off.
This sounds like some scraps that were left out in the rain and ruined.
I could not imagine a installer using this.

It is common to use this material, unless specified otherwise that you want other material.
If you can take a small pocket knife or other sharp object into the wood and it falls apart, then is bad and needs to be replaced.

But if you just run your hands over the wood and got some fresh sawdust, is nothing wrong with it.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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Sounds correct, your 3/4" quartz is going to need support. They added a particle board counter top to support it. It is not much but is enough.
I assume there is a added piece on the counter top that hangs down over the particle board and hides it. The rounded edge.

It would be considered normal, not many look under the counter top.
The humidity would have to be severe to affect it.

What does not sound normal, is you say you touched it and it was crumbling off.
This sounds like some scraps that were left out in the rain and ruined.
I could not imagine a installer using this.

It is common to use this material, unless specified otherwise that you want other material.
If you can take a small pocket knife or other sharp object into the wood and it falls apart, then is bad and needs to be replaced.

But if you just run your hands over the wood and got some fresh sawdust, is nothing wrong with it.
Wow I would have never guessed particle board in a wet area like a bathroom, I guess I should have said unprotected particle board. It just seems like the sheer weight of quartz or granite would make particle board a bad choice. I would have thought even pressure treated would not be over kill. But hey what do I know.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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As much as I hate patical board it's used all the time under counter tops.
Pressure treated would or should never be used!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #8
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Particle board, depending on the type, can be surprisingly stable and supportive stuff. Just think for a minute all the cabinetry, office furniture, etc. made from the stuff. Moisture or rocking around fasteners are its enemies. I am not sure I would use it in an area prone to possible water contact unless it were sealed or coated. Luan used to be used a lot for these kinds of applications too and same problems.

It does sound like somebody used scraps that got wet if it is crumbling. The contractor should fix it.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #9
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


Agreed, myself I would use cdx instead.
But particle board is accepted as a industry standard. I see it a lot in new construction for counter tops.
Several years ago when all I did was finish work on new homes, the material was supplied and stocked in the house when you arrived on the job.

I think there are better choices for the material. I have been wrong more then once
But unless was specified what material to use, or can be proved to be defective when installed.
I think the contractor is right in this case, also one contractor I would not use again.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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Thank you all so much for your responses. I cannot thank you enough.

Yes, when I took my husband's pocket knife and tested the bathroom it was ok. The kitchen, like I mentioned was full of wood corroded and falling apart. I was shocked when I first saw this and the pocket knife experiment further confirmed.

After much screaming and persistence on my behalf, the contractor said it would be removed. But why in the world did I even have to go through this. Unfortunately, the signed contract is for other work to still be done as well.

We are having kitchen pantry installed made of mdf on the doors and particle board for the frame. They are charging us $2,000 total for the cabinet in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. They are pre-fabbed. Someone please tell me if I am being totally ripped off. I am sure I can cancel the pantry and bathroom linen cabinet.

This company, with a beautiful website they are so proud of and good reviews on Angie's List....I had such high hopes. I will never trust Angie's list again.

What bothers me is how much I had to fight about getting the wood removed in the kitchen, which is CLEARLY CORRODED. I am no carpenter, but even I knew that!

Any advice for when they return next week would be greatly appreciated. They are installing back splash tiles on our kitchen wall as well.

You folks are so helpful. Thanks advance for any additional advice.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:08 PM   #11
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p.s. When my husband comes back he will take a pic of the corroded wood and I'll try and post it. You will not believe how it is falling apart. We are not wealthy people and are spending quite a bit on this contractor to remodel our home which we haven't touched in 20 years. So what a disappointment. This is what we saved for.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #12
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Help! Don't Know if I'm Being Bamboozled by Contractor


I can not say on the cabinets.
I can make a plausible excuse for the counter top issue.
What happens is the contractor buys it by the 4' x 8' sheets. and has some left over for the next job and re use the scraps. This is fine.
What happened is they did not store it properly, was left in the truck and got rained on.
This ruined it and it should have been thrown away.
The installer used it anyways, now the contractor has to redo his work because of the crappy material used.
Will cost him 3 times as much as originally budgeted.
This scares me as he will be looking for ways to make up the cost.

Scares me even more if it was the contractor that installed the bad particle board and not a paid employee.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:56 PM   #13
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PS wood does not corrode it rots. Metal corrodes.

MDF and partical board tells me these are lower end cabinets.
Even midgrade would have real wood doors.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:00 PM   #14
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Thank you very much.

It was not the contractor who actually did the work - his hired workers.

I think you brought up an excellent point. I do believe we will cancel the cabinets as at this point, as far as I can see, those would be easiest to cut corners with, without our knowledge.

Thank you again for all your advice. More helpful, than you will ever know!
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:01 PM   #15
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joe!!!! Thank you!

We are definitely cancelling them. And thanks for the education of wood vs. metal. As you can see, this is not my forte'.

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