In mid-2016 we decided to replace our old, laminate kitchen countertops with nice new Quartz. We have a moderately large kitchen, so this would not be a cheap undertaking.
This saga begins by shopping around at the local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, to see what they carry in stock and how much they charge for their installation services. Why Home Depot and Lowe’s? Well, they’re large chains and will stand behind their work, if anything goes wrong or you’re not satisfied with any aspect of the job. I don’t know if small, specialty contractors will do the same, though this is their specialty and perhaps they would do better work.
After visiting multiple Home Depot’s and Lowe’s, since some of their displays and samples are different, we discovered that all of our local stores use the same installation contractor. So it didn’t matter which chain we bought from, we’d get the same installers either way. So it came down to selection of material and pricing.
In the end, we opted to go with Home Depot because they had the style that we wanted. The material is by Silestone and the pattern that we picked out is named Snowy Ibiza, which is a Home Depot Exclusive pattern. Pictures don’t really show the pattern, but it’s very reminiscent of marble, as the image below may show.
So with our material selected and paid for, it was just a matter of having the old countertops removed and the new ones installed, which would be a 5 to 10 day job, from start to finish… or so we were told.
We contracted Home Depot’s cabinet crew to remove our old countertops, level the cabinets and build a support wall next to our dishwasher (which is under the countertop). This support wall was a requirement due to where a seam in the quartz would have to be placed. With out the support wall, the seam would have no support and would be prone to breaking.
Below, is a day by day log of our saga. It begins on February 18th, 2017 and as of the typing of this article (April 18th), the Saga continues. We are hopeful that it will come to an end soon though so that we will finally have a functional kitchen back after more than 2 months without one!
The day of the installation, all was going well enough until they discovered that the ‘waterfall’ piece that they brought with them, had been cut too short. So that would have to be re-cut and brought back in ‘phase 2’ of the installation. The installation required two phases because they could not get accurate measurements of the backsplash under the bar top, until the old bar top had been removed. So they would get those measurements during ‘phase 1’ and finish everything a few days later, in ‘phase 2’.
Here are my day to day log entries, detailing the progress (or lack thereof). I’ve removed the names of employees and the name of the sub-contractor that Home Depot uses:
Saturday, February 18, 2017:
• Countertops removed, support wall was to be built next to dishwasher for Quartz seams, Lazy Susan supports installed and spacer piece re-installed into cabinet to the left of the Refrigerator.
• Work not completed:
• No support wall was built next to the dishwasher for the Quartz seams.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017:
• Install of Quartz countertops and measure the bar area backsplash for exact measurements. Bar top to be installed in Phase 2 of install.
• Problems with Quartz countertops:
• Bar top could not be installed because knee wall is shorter on one end than it is on the other, making it difficult to make the backsplash. So the Bar top, which had just been glued down, was taken back up and returned with them to their shop for installation in Phase 2.
• After install, we noticed that the sink portion was a darker color than surrounding countertop sections, by a couple of shades and needs to be replaced to match.
• Waterfall section of countertop installation was cut too short, not accounting for the miter joint, so it had to be taken back and re-cut.
Thursday, February 23, 2017:
• Emailed pictures and video to Home Depot for her review of the darker sink section of countertops.
Friday, February 24, 2017:
• Re-Install of sink, dishwasher and cooktop was scheduled for early afternoon.
• Visited Home Depot to speak with **** about darker sink section and were told that ******* had received the pictures and video, and were reviewing them. **** called to put the re-install of the sink, dishwasher and cooktop on hold until quartz problem was resolved, and to ensure that the support wall would be built, as originally agreed upon and paid for.
• Spoke with ***** at *****, she informed us that the sink portion would be replaced with the Bar top installation phase on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. We asked how they would match the colors without having seen the issue in person and without having the sections on hand, she tried to get ****** to come to the phone, but she was with another client, out in the yard showing them their slabs. ***** then explained that they have pictures and computer data on which sections came out of which slabs and could match the new sink section that way.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017:
• ****** arrived to complete Phase 2 of quartz installation, when work appeared to begin on the Bar, I asked about the sink and mentioned that if they installed the bar then the sink would be more difficult to replace. Workers were unaware that the sink section was to be replaced. Supervisor came in and said that he was only told to inspect the sink section, but was not told to replace it and was not provided with a new sink section. So the communication from ***** on February 24th was apparently a miscommunication. Supervisor, ****, inspected the sink section and took pictures and spoke with ******* about the issue. We were also told that this has happened in the past where their supplier has marked the slabs as being from the same lot, but color variations were off and our quartz shouldn’t be ‘THAT far off’. We were told that further discussions and investigations would be needed, and that there should be enough material left in the slabs to get the proper color match for the sink section. Waterfall section was installed, the bar top backsplashes were cut for electrical outlets and size, and dry fit into place as was the bar top itself. Complete installation would take place after the sink section was replaced.
• While using the electric outlet in the back yard, one of the installing workers broke the plastic cover off the outlet, so this cover needs to be replaced in order to prevent water and snow from destroying the outlet.
• Visited Home Depot for unrelated purchases, and spoke with **** about issues. She said that she would speak with ****** on Friday, March 03, 2017 and get an update on the issues and she would call us to let us know the status.
• Problems with Bar Top:
• The evening of the 2nd of March, I noticed multiple finishing flaws in the bar top as well as a rectangular stain, where it appears that a factory label had been adhered. Pictures were taken and emailed to ****.
• Called to speak with ****, but she had been told that she had to go home early due to potential overtime. Spoke with *****, status unknown until either ****** from ******* calls or until Monday when **** is back at work.
• **** at Home Depot said that she did not receive the email that I sent on March 2nd/3rd, so I forwarded that same email back to her. This one was received. She spoke with ******* and was told that because the bar had not been installed, they had not finished their buffing process yet. This does not take into account though that on February 22nd; the bar top had been fully glued down for final installation and was only taken off because the knee wall was uneven. Otherwise, the bar would have been completed as is.
• ******* told **** at Home Depot that a claim had been filed for the sink portion due to its color match problems. She hopes to hear something today (March 6th) or tomorrow (March 7th).
• 17 days without a kitchen, initially we were told that demolition would take place Monday the 20th of February, installation on Wednesday the 22nd and reinstall of plumbing and cook top on the Friday the 24th.
• **** from Home Depot called to let us know that there is no update as of the morning of the 7th. They are still waiting for ******* to resolve the issue with their supplier.
• 18 days without an operational kitchen.
Wednesday, March 08, 2017:
• No word from Home Depot.
• 19 days without an operational kitchen.
• Received email from ****** at ******* informing us that they will be replacing the color miss-matched sink section, and will correct the bar top deficiencies, but the installation date is March 20th, which is 31 days from the date of the kitchen demolition.
• Visited Home Depot to speak with **** and explained that this large delay, after being initially told that we’d have an operational kitchen within 5 days from demolition, was a big hardship. We’d prepared for 5 days, not more than a month. The dishwasher is growing mould and pre-prepared food costs are mounting because we can’t cook, nor can we wash dishes since we have no kitchen sink or an operational dishwasher.
• **** emailed the demolition crew to see if the dishwasher could temporarily be reconnected until the install is to be completed. Emailed ***** to follow up on 3/10/17.
• No word with regard to the temporary hook-up of dishwasher or sink.
• 3 weeks (21 days) without an operational kitchen.
• Because stove has not been installed, the vent is causing cold air to fill the house and heat to evacuate, causing heating to be more expensive. **** from the cabinet installation/demolition crew said that a temporary hookup of sink/dishwasher was not possible. We would have to wait until the installation of the Quartz was complete for them to come back and finalize their portion of the job (reconnection of plumbing and propane cooktop).
Thursday, March 16, 2017:
• ******* called to confirm Monday, March 20, 2017 as the date for replacing the mismatched sink section.
Saturday, March 18, 2017:
• 29 days without an operational Kitchen
• ******* arrived with replacement piece for sink portion. Worker came in with slats of lauan so that he can place the new piece on top of the existing section so that he can visually check to see if the new piece will match. Using this method, he said that it was hard to tell, but it did not look like it matched. He proceeded to cut the old section out though, and dry fit the new section into place. The new section was closer in color than the old one, but it still does not match. It is still darker than the pieces that it fits between.
• Installation crew left the bar, backsplash, and sink section in place without fully finishing so that we could inspect the sink section in various lighting conditions. In the evening, it was still apparent that the section did not match.
• 31 days without an operational kitchen
• Emailed photo and video to ****, then went to Home Depot for in person meeting. She reviewed the picture and video. She wasn’t able to detect the color difference in the picture, but was able to in the video. She called the department Supervisor, *********, to ask him to come to her desk so that he could also see the video and review the situation. Upon his arrival, I asked that he not be told what the issue was so that he would see the picture and video without any prior knowledge of what he was going to see. He was unable to detect the difference in the picture, but in the video he immediately spotted that one section was darker than the other. **** emailed the district manager, *********, for installations and asked her to get involved in the situation.
• 32 days without an operational kitchen (after initially being led to believe it would be only 4 to 5 days)
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017:
• *********, district manager for installations and ****, installation supervisor for *******, came to the house to inspect the issue. Both saw the difference in color and determined that it had to be fixed, quickly. ********* said that if it could not be done within a short period of time, they would have the sink and dishwasher hooked up temporarily while we waited for final resolution. (Which we had previously requested be done on March 12th).
• **** said that he would investigate the possibility of getting a “Jumbo Slab”, in order to avoid having three separate pieces and thus decrease the possibility of having a color mismatch. He also took the cooktop section of quartz with him, so they could attempt to match it with what they have left from previous slabs.
• 34 days without an operational kitchen
Saturday, March 25th, 2017:
• **** came over to re-attach the sink to the quartz, so that if a temporary hookup is needed, it would be possible.
Sunday, March 26th, 2017:
• I noticed that a piece of laminate was broken off under the bar, on one of the corner accent pieces. Reviewing photos that I had taken from previous demolition and install days, this piece was not missing, so it appears to have occurred on Monday, March 20th.
• 37 days without an operational kitchen.
Monday, March 27th, 2017:
• Demolition Company called to say that they wanted to come ‘hook up the faucet’. When they were told that more than the faucet would need hooking up, that the sinks drain pipes had to be re-configured, the drain connected and the dishwasher hooked up, they said that they would double check and call us back. No call-back was received.
• We stopped by Home Depot to speak with ****, but she was still on vacation. So we spoke with *********, the department manager, and I showed him the photos of the damaged bar section.
• 38 days without an operational kitchen.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017:
• No word from anyone on the status of the quartz or the temporary kitchen hook-up. Went to Home Depot to speak with ****, but she had departed at 3PM.
• 40 days without an operational kitchen.
• Sink and dishwasher hooked up and support wall built for dishwasher and Quartz seam. However, we discovered that the sink drain leaks.
• 42 days without an operational kitchen.
• While running water in the newly connected faucet, I heard a loud hissing sound coming from behind the refrigerator, which is across the kitchen and away from the sink. I looked under the sink at the pipes, to make sure there wasn’t a bad leak and I discovered that there was a new line hooked to the water supply which should not be there. I then realized that this was a connection to a long discarded water line that used to connect an old refrigerator to the water so that the ice maker and water dispenser would work. This line had been disconnected 15 to 20 years earlier and must was apparently pushed through the cabinet, into the void between cabinets. The installation crew, the day before, must have discovered this line and assumed that it should be hooked up. However, this meant that the other end of the line was just spewing water freely behind the refrigerator. I shut the water off and removed the adapter that fed this line, and I reconnected the water supply to the faucet. I then cut the connector from the dead supply line, so that this could not happen again.
• 43 days without an operational kitchen.
• Approximately 6 PM, ******* arrived to install replacement sections. Due to a storm earlier in the day, our electricity had been off for about 4 hours so full installation could not take place. So a dry fit was done and we were told that someone would come back out on Friday or Saturday to finish the installation.
• Replacement pieces consist of the cooktop section and the sink section. These two sections were cut from the same material that the previous sink section (sink section #2) was cut from. Those two sections look to be a perfect match with each other. The sink section and the window section, however, are still slightly off in color. This is only apparent in certain lighting conditions, but they are still off.
• Sink and dishwasher were disconnected, leaving the kitchen inoperable … again.
• No word from ******* or Home Depot, so we drove to Home Depot at 1:00 PM. We were told that **** had left for the day, ***** was off for the day and ********* was on Vacation. Trying to contact anyone in the store about this issue has been very difficult in most cases. Whenever we call, we’re told that they’ve either just left for lunch, just left for the day, they’re on vacation, or just left to go on a delivery.
• 52 days since start of project, 46 days without an operational kitchen (February 18 – March 31, April 6 to Present), 5 days with one (April 1 to April 6).
• ******* called to say that they will be coming out on April 17, 2017 to complete their portion of the job. 59 days after the start of the installation.
• 53 days since start of project, 47 days without an operational kitchen.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017:
• Called Home Depot to see if **** was there, she was. So we drove to Home Depot for a face to face meeting. This was the first time that we could speak with ANYONE about the reinstallation of the sink and cooktop sections of Thursday, April 6th. We informed **** that the sink section still did not match the window section, but the match between the sink section and the cooktop section were now perfect. We also told her that ****, the installation supervisor for ******* told us on Thursday that if there still wasn’t a match, they could (and would) cut a new window section out of the same slab that they got the sink and cooktop sections from. Since today is Wednesday the 12th and they won’t be back out until Monday the 17th, they have more than enough time to re-cut a window portion and have it with them on the 17th so that this job can FINALLY be completed.
• 54 days since start of project, 47 days without an operational kitchen.
• ******* arrived to look at the color mismatch. However, they did NOT have a new window section with them. ****, the installations supervisor, inspected the sink and window sections and then stated that a new window piece would be cut as a replacement and this would come from the same slab as the new sink and cooktop sections. While here, he re-installed the sink but not the faucet. At this point though, the dishwasher is usable. He was not sure how much longer it may take to get a new piece for the window section cut.
• 59 days since start (nearly 8 and a half weeks), 53 days without an operational kitchen.
• 60 days since start (nearly 8 and a half weeks), 54 days without an operational kitchen.
The Saga Continues…