Anyone seen this type of fault in a laminate worktop before?

Discussion in 'Kitchen Fitters' Talk' started by Busterhymen, May 6, 2022.

  1. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    I've just installed a kitchen with 3 x Wilsonart strass blanc square edge worktops.
    After installation, I noticed that just one of them had a sticker on the top surface.
    I peeled it back (with great difficulty) and it revealed an indentation (see square shape reflection close to corner).
    I'm just attempting to make a claim. I'm wondering if the sticker may have been left on the end of a long laminate roll before compressed/rolled on the particle board and the extra thickness under the compression made the ident?

    Thoughts please? - anyone seen it before?
    worktop zoom.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2022
  2. Hausfix

    Hausfix Well-Known Member

    The edgebanding seems to be free from damage so that rules out damage in transit. It’s simply a manufacturing fault in the surface of the chipboard blank before the craft paper and resin was applied in the factory or one of the lower layers of craft paper was short and then layered over. The sticker could have been there before it passed a quality inspection and therefore the fault not noticed. It’s unlikely, but this worktop may have been rejected and returned in the past and the sticker was out there to mark the damaged area, or it could have been sold as a ‘second’ with the sticker once again to show the fault.
    Needs to be returned to the supplier for a replacement, or if time is critical, use that piece if any cuts need to made during installation and lose the damage that way.
     
  3. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    Thanks - all 3 had close sequence numbers, and were from Selco, so I doubt they were seconds/rejected. I'm still thinking that the sticker may have caused the damage because it was the only one of 3 worktops that had a sticker (and it overlaid the indentation perfectly).

    It's not that simple to return. Its jointed to the other worktops and tiled in (quite a bit of consequential rework and more possible damage)! The customer agrees that it's not my fault and couldn't have been foreseen, so has agreed to accept the damage if i Knock off the price of the worktop (easiest option). I know that the installer should check before installation, but who would have dreamt that damage would be concealed under a small sticker!

    What do you think are my chances on getting a refund?
     
  4. MozzyMarr

    MozzyMarr Member

    Not sure how easy it will be to get a refund from Selco now it has been fitted, the most you might get is a discount. If the customer is happy to live with it if you pay the worktop that might be the easiest option as you would loose a days work or so having to fit a new one anyway. If it was my own kitchen and I had just fitted it I would live with it but then I am not that fussy.
     
  5. jonathanc

    jonathanc Guest

    pretty good really. Faulty goods. If they argue threaten small claims court. They’ll give in cos it’s not worth the fight for them
     
  6. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    I've added another pic to highlight the perfect square indent after removing the sticker so there's no confusion. You can't see it when there's a flood of light, you can only see if from an angle.

    Inkedworktop zoom_LI.jpg
     
  7. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    I can't say i have ever seen anything like that before. What i have seen a few times though are small bumps in worktops. On investigation the bumps were flies that had got onto the core just before it went through the laminating machine, and then got trapped between the core and the laminate.
     
    CGN likes this.
  8. Hausfix

    Hausfix Well-Known Member

    After countless years of fitting kitchens, it’s the worktop that the customer will inspect thoroughly (apparently with an electron microscope) to try and find the slightest fault if they are looking to knock a bit off the final price. You must always check the worktops and doors for the most minor of imperfections the moment they are delivered on site. I totally agree that you would not expect to find anything under a sticker, so probably best to simply discount the worktop cost and move on. Once it’s been installed, most suppliers won’t entertain a warranty claim, it’s a pain, but any more of your time won’t be worth the very real chance of ending up out of pocket.
    I used to have a kitchen and bedroom manufacturing company processing nearly a million pounds worth of laminated materials every year, and I’ve never seen anything like that. Knowing the processes involved, I seriously doubt that the sticker would have caused the damage but I can see why it certainly looks that way.
     
    CGN likes this.
  9. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    Thanks. So... is it possible that a laminate roll comes with a sticker on it, then pressed/rolled/bonded onto the board. If so, what would happen when the roller went over the raised sticker? If this isn't the process, I'd be interested to know what the process is please?

    If the sticker didn't cause it, it would be on hell of a coincidence that the worktop was damaged directly matching the size & placing of the sticker, unless they knew it was damaged and put a sticker over it to cover it up. It was as if the sticker was imbedded into the laminate dent.

    I would not be claiming under 'warranty'. I'd be thinking along the lines of 'consumer rights'. satisfactory quality, free from manufacturing defects etc...
     
  10. Hausfix

    Hausfix Well-Known Member

    Purely from my memory and understanding, the process involves starting off with the decorative sheet of paper which is saturated in a melamine resin and then layered on top of several more layers of craft paper which are soaked in phenolic resin. These multiple layers of paper and resin are then pressed together under high pressure and a bit of heat. The result is a brittle sheet of decorative laminate less than 1/2mm thick with a massive compressive strength, it would takes tons of force to compress it further, (ie make it thinner)
    In a further process, the chipboard substrate is sprayed with a heat reactive glue and the above laminate sheet is laid on this glue and the two are run through heated rollers to fuse the two together. Any imperfections on the chipboard substrate such as gouges or foreign objects would be visible in the final finished surface as the heat on the rollers allows the laminate to mould slightly to take on this imperfection. I’m not saying that’s it impossible for the sticker to create a dent, I don’t have the expertise to know for sure, it just doesn’t seem possible to me.
    When it comes to claiming on the grounds of unsatisfactory quality, they will say that once you have fitted it, you have accepted that there was no cosmetic fault, but I think the damage being hidden under a sticker would be grounds to dismiss this condition of the warranty.
     
  11. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    Once again - many thanks.

    This detail of yours appears to closely align to my thoughts...
    "the above laminate sheet is laid on this glue and the two are run through heated rollers to fuse the two together. Any imperfections on the chipboard substrate such as gouges or foreign objects would be visible in the final finished surface as the heat on the rollers allows the laminate to mould slightly to take on this imperfection"

    If a sticker was already stuck to a localised area of the laminate and the tons of roller force reached it, either the roller must raised/flex and miss the area around the sticker or crack the area, or "mould the laminate slightly to take on the imperfection" (your words).

    I know that you have never experienced this, but have you experienced a sticker left on the laminate in the first place? Only then you would see what happened when the heat and roller weight was applied?

    So, do you think that the heat & roller could push the sticker in the laminate (large force on small localised area), or simply raise/flex the roller leaving that area un-rolled?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2022
  12. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    As a kitchen fitter myself, i think you are "straw clutching" here. You know full well as i do that once we cut a worktop we are on our own...........................end of. If you had spotted that sticker before cutting...............you might have a chance of getting a free replacement.
    As it stands now, no chance, you know that as well as i do. The best you can do now is just negotiate a discount with the customer, because the only other option is to replace the lot at your own time and expense.
     
  13. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    Thanks for sharing your opinion. Whilst I'd agree with you in 99% of cases that include exposed/unhidden external damage, I don't believe that it's as black & white as you suggest in all cases, especially when it's a manufacturing fault. For example, lets say you cut the worktop to find it was hollow, or the laminate fell off because it was not bonded and you couldn't reasonably know prior to cutting. Consumer law protects against such (merchantable quality, free from manufacturing defects etc), and also covers compensation for 'consequential loss'. Google it if interested.

    In this particular case, the customer wants me to help her get a refund on the worktop that they themselves actually purchased for me to fit. Since my OP, the customer informed me today that they called Wilsonart on Friday, and sent pictures of the worktop and the peeled off sticker. Apparently, they appeared to be familiar with the fault and recognise their sticker! They provided a template claim to fill in and asked her to claim through the supplier of the worktop (Selco via my account). See attached form. Note the top line of the picture, asking for a layout of the worktops (if already fitted). Ie; the claims process does not automatically reject already cut/fitted worktops.

    Whether successful or not, I don't think that it will cost 'me' anything other than my time in aiding her claim and talking about it on here. The customer has expressed that they are not expecting any compensation from me, and just want me to support getting a refund from the manufacturer/supplier of the faulty item. The whole situation is relatively stress free for me and I will actually enjoy and feel good if she gets justice!

    Who knows, you may be right and they reject the claim, they may pay out, but I can be certain that we don't claim - we'll definitely not get compensation. I will update with the progress...
    WT claim.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2022
  14. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    I reckon you've got a gem of customer here. Good luck with it.
     
  15. Tilt

    Tilt Screwfix Select

     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  16. Tilt

    Tilt Screwfix Select

    @Busterhymen

    What was the 'sticker' for ???

    Any writing on it ???

    And if you look at the above linked video you may note that the main body of the laminate does not go through heated rollers.......
    It is only the post-formed edge that gets heated.

    I used to manufacture kitchen worktops and doors and the company had one of the three (we were told by the servicing agent) individual post-forming machines in the uk.
     
  17. Hausfix

    Hausfix Well-Known Member

    To be honest, the worktop in question hasn’t even gone through the postforming process, it’s been cut from a larger sheet of MFC and then run through an edgebanding machine. It amazes me how people will pay extra for these ‘square edged’ worktops when they are inferior to postformed in terms of longevity.
     
  18. Tilt

    Tilt Screwfix Select

    I'm sure you know what you meant, Lol.
     
  19. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    I don't know what the sticker was for. Perhaps a code number to identify the start of a run?
    What I do know is that it couldn't have got so deeply embedded into the surface of the laminate without considerable force/heat.

    I've had ago at impacting the surface of an offcut. I can't achieve such a deep large crater without cracking or obvious rough edge impact damage.

    I agree with the lack of water integrity of the square edging, but that's customer choice and appears to be more popular these days.
     
  20. Busterhymen

    Busterhymen Active Member

    So... I had a call from Selco and they followed with the email below (copy/paste with names removed)

    Good Afternoon
    Please see below ref our telephone conversation.
    I can confirm that I have offered a goodwill gesture of £98.59 including vat which is the cost of one worktop.
    In full and final settlement of your complaint and the offer is a goodwill gesture without prejudice.
    This offer is valid for 7 working days and if I could please ask you to confirm once you have discussed this offer with your client if you wish to proceeded.
    I can confirm if you are not happy with the suppliers decision regarding your complaint that it is your right to take it further and reject the goodwill gesture.
    The supplier/wilsonart have no other issues relating to your said complaint and they have advised there is no claim to settle.
    Many thanks


    My thoughts are that they realise that the only feasible explanation for the sticker being embedded into the surface, is that it must have been there during manufacture. My guess is that they are hoping that I will accept the offer instead them losing a legal case against the manufacturing defect plus the consequential cost.

    I realise that this response is in complete contrast to your belief and far exceeds your expectations to the point that that it's 'unbelievable'. If I accept, I will take a photo of the refund receipt.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022

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