Friday, May 25, 2012

White != Brown

Today is the day people.  New counters all around!

When Titus and I first started our countertop search, we were considering granite, cement, Corian, and quartz.  We wanted to go with something mostly really light in color like our inspiration room.  It was very important with the newly installed dark floors to keep the room light with the counters.  The thought of light counters did scare Titus deeply, but luckily I tricked him into going along with it.

We looked at Ikea first, mostly because we just happened to pass the countertops while browsing the showroom.  We found a couple granite counter tops that we thought were acceptable and one Corian countertop we liked. Titus and I didn't agree on a favorite at this point.

When our search became more serious, we went to Home Depot to browse their selection.  We found that Corian was the cheapest but scratched easily, I didn't love any of the quartz samples and their crazy rocky appearance, and granite is really expensive for something I am just not a huge fan of. Titus had high hopes of trying to DIY some cement counters, but the risk was just too much for me to handle.

After much discussion, Titus and I decided to go with Corian in Glacier White from Home Depot.  Ikea actually carries the exact same color of Corian for about two dollars cheaper per square foot, but we had had great luck with Home Depot, and also had a 10% off coupon, so we decided they were the best choice.  Home Depot also works with an installation company which happened to be Granite Tops, Inc in this case.
When the counters arrived at our house after six long weeks of waiting, I was so terribly excited.  I was tired of having unsanitary, paint covered counters and a terribly stained, disgusting sink.

And look, we are finally getting them!

Now for a little Friday horror story:

When the installers called to say they were coming Titus knew things wouldn't go well.  Apparently they radiated bad attitudes and laziness through the phone.

When they arrived, they just walked into our house not saying a single word, and went straight to the kitchen.  That seemed awkward but not terrible.  Then, shortly after they had arrived, I went to the living room to practice patience when I heard a loud crash.  I thought for sure the installers had dropped our brand new counters that we waited a preposterously long time for.  When I looked down, I realized our counters were OK and they must have just dropped some 100 pound tool.

After putting down some silicone and laying the countertops on the cabinets, they started their seam gluing process.  This is horribly stinky and probably bad for your health.  I left the room.  Titus stayed and supervised and probably lost a few years off his life.  If it isn't the dead of Minnesota winter, open your windows.  The smell stayed in our house for two days because I didn't do this.  The glue sat and smelled for twenty minutes while it dried.  Then the awkward installers came back in to sand the seam flat.  They hooked a shop vac to their sander, so this really didn't put off much dust which was a wonderful surprise.

After the sanding was complete our counters were finally finished!  I had been waiting for this moment so very long and was so exited!  Then, I saw there work: not awesome.  I immediately noticed a gap where they hadn't put enough glue, yet other parts of the seam were raised and still needed more sanding.  I pointed this out to the cranky installation leader man and he didn't care.  Only then did he point out that the seam also had many dirty spots.  His plan was to do nothing about it.  As I continued to look, I saw the entire seam was gross and brown with his greasy finger dirt.  I stated that it was really unacceptable but he continued to not care.  He just wanted us to sign his stupid paper so he could leave.  Basically, we forced out of him that some other guy would have to fix it later and we would have to take more work off because of how bad he is at life.

Here is me attempting to get a picture of the terrible seam.  I swear it is bad, I just have a hard time getting a picture because the counter is so bright and my camera hates me.  In real life, the entire seam appears brown, the whole length of the counter...

I wish this were the end of the story.  The installers also applied blue painters tape to our cabinets without us knowing, and when they tore the tape off it tore the paint on the cabinets off.  This isn't unexpected but a warning would have been nice, so this is me warning you.

The worst news:  the installers put chips in our brand new floor in three separate location.  Three.  One in front of the sink and two right in the middle of the room trio.  Remember that huge bang where I thought they broke our counters?  Don't worry it wasn't the counters, it was just the new floor Titus worked so hard on.

I won't burden you with more horror story, but in summary we would not ever under any circumstances ever, EVER recommend anyone work with Granite Tops, Inc.  Note that Home Depot was totally great to work with, just make sure their installer isn't Granite Tops, Inc..  They were a nightmare from start to finish.  They never called us to schedule a measure or an installation even though they were supposed to.  They measured a week later than we were promised and two weeks longer between measure and install.  Obviously the installation was beyond a nightmare.

Since Home Depot used Granite Tops, Inc as an installer, we didn't have a choice.  If we were to do it over again we would without question have the counters installed through Ikea.

On to the Corian itself...

Obviously a big concern for us was the fact that the counters were pure white.  Corian is completely non-porous so it isn't supposed to stain at all.  But who really believes nothing will stain pure white counters?   Don't worry, I made sure to test it out for you the very night we had the counters installed.  I was working on a cake and had smeared rec food all over the brand new counters:

See there at the top?  Bright red, smeared all over and pushed on.  But, I'm happy to tell you, Home Depot lady wasn't lying about the counter's stain resistance.  Here is the counter after some Mrs. Meyers and some mild wash cloth scrubbing:

Pure white, people.  This beast cleans up more easily than my powder blue laminate ones did!  And just for fun, here is what I was making:

Along with our new countertops we purchased a brand new stainless steel sink!  No more nasty white sink that attaches to any dirty substance placed within it!  To match our beautiful new stainless steel sink, we got a lovely stainless steel faucet.  I searched for months on Overstock and Amazon before settling on the faucet.  I wanted a faucet that would be sleek and symmetric.  I'm not a huge fan of the pull down sprayer but knew it would be best for resale.  My mother also taught me the faucet is no place for being thrifty.  Apparently the cheapskate faucets are the leakers. 

After our terrible counter installation, Titus went right to work installing the new faucet.  He used some plumbers mud, and actually had to buy some new pipes for the deeper more awesome sink.  After installing the faucet and drain, he hooked the garbage disposal back up to the sink and the dishwasher.

The faucet is beautiful.  It is so sleek with all its fancy one handle design.  I must say that I hate the pull down sprayer because I have to physically force it back in place any time I pull it down to use. It has a weight attacked to it, which is supposed to help pull it back in place, but either the weight needs an orientation change, or it just doesn't work.

Look at that sleek symmetry and tell me you don't love it.

The good news is the sink and faucet look great, and some "Corian specialist" is coming to fix the counter in a few days.  We will have to take off more work for their lack of skill, but at least it will get fixed... hopefully.  They claim they will also fix our floor for us, but even that is sad, because of how hard Titus worked on it.  

The tentative before and after:

Please excuse the trash and groceries on the counter.  I was almost too angry to take this picture at all, let alone actually clean the tainted new countertop off.


  1. Yeah!!! I finally got to see the finished kitchen. Sort of..... It looks great even with the groceries, etc.
    Oh my goodness.... I couldn't believe the chunks that the installers took out of the floor and didn't even seem to care.... I'm pretty sure Home Depot will not use them again. At least I hope they don't!!!

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  3. Grandma viewed your blog with me yesterday. She thought your kitchen was looking quite nice. She was also astonished to hear about the installers!! And she was also glad to hear that Home Depot was standing behind your flooring. She mentioned that a friend of Don's(Delroy) has had several bad experiences with Home Depot, so she was especially happy to hear that Home Depot was going to "make it right" for you guys.

    Oh, I forgot to tell you.... Grandma loved the cake. She thought it was very cool :)

  4. I'm glad Granny liked the blog! Home Depot is not actually involved since they only provided the materials. The installation company, Granite Tops, is taking care of it since they are the ones who ruined everything. If they wouldn't have done anything, we would have contacted Home Depot, though!