Issue with kitchen worktop joint

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by LJC66C, Nov 2, 2021.

  1. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    Hi everyone,

    We have just had a new kitchen fitted (by somebody found on checkatrade) and they have generally done an okay job across the kitchen. However, they have fitted the worktops, which are Howdens laminate square edged, and the join between the two looks terrible (see pictures).

    It seems like they have just been butt together, but no laminate has been removed. To make it worse, the way in which they are joined underneath (again in the pictures) looks nothing like what I have seen when looking at how this should be done on the internet, as it looks like it's just held together by two metal plates with no cuts underneath at all by the looks of things.

    I've raised this with the builder but their English is not the best and they just insist on using more colourfil which i'm sure isn't really a fix, and have been told by a friend that these are likely to blow in 3 months max given the proximity to the sink.

    I have made most of the payments to the builder but do have £700 outstanding, so am wondering whether I should try and hold this back and see what solutions we can come to, although I'm not hopeful given I have already raised it with the above solution being the only one they can come up with.

    Would really be grateful for any views on this from those experienced at fitting worktops.

    IMG_6995.jpg IMG_6998.jpg IMG_7027.jpg
     
  2. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    Obviously has no clue how to join worktops. Withhold the cost of the worktops plus 250 ish to allow for someone with a clue to fit them properly
     
  3. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    The fitter has neither the knowledge or the tooling required to make a first class joint so go with the above advice ^^^^^.
    At worst a cover double lipped end cap/cover strip would have looked better. Two guys on here can advise you on the best way to do this @kitfit1 another is @woodbutcherbower.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
    woodbutcherbower and Abbadon2001 like this.
  4. Severntrent

    Severntrent Screwfix Select

    This is one I did as a diyer albeit it was only for a small length, no routing on interface just careful prepping
    _IMG_000000_000000.jpg _IMG_000000_000000.jpg
     
  5. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    Thanks for the responses.

    I suppose my next question is- is there any world out there where this is an acceptable join from somebody who claims to be a kitchen fitter / chippy? I'm thinking of raising it with Checkatrade as this person is supposedly a "guaranteed" member.

    I think @Severntrent's join puts mine to shame and this guy does this for his day job...
     
  6. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Checkatrade won't care a hoot....after all he's paid their membership fee!
     
    Timbo66 and stevie22 like this.
  7. the worktops should have been "butt and scribe" jointed, using a good quality 1/2" router, with a trend profile cutting bit, a worktop jointing jig, and good quality non slip clamps.

    i have seen that type of joint you have pictured, done by so called fitters, on private landlord jobs, where the landlord wants the cheapest job possible. Any gaps would be filled with colorfill, nearest the colour of the worktop.
    I certainly wouldn't be having them joints in my home. I would want butt and scribe joints, with the proper worktop bolts x3 fitted, colorfilled, then solvent cleaner to remove excess. If he doesn't know what he is doing, this can be dangerous. If the worktop bolts are tightened too much, this can cause ' cupping', where the laminate is forced together too much, the laminate has nowhere to go apart from "up". You then end up with a slight lip, that can be a major problem on a lovely new kitchen.
    If they dont know how to do a b and s joint properly, i would save my money and get a designated worktop fitter in, and pay him to do a proper job.

    Kitchen fitter, 25 yrs.
     
    Kitfit likes this.
  8. That's how to do it. Nice neat job.
     
  9. Kitfit

    Kitfit New Member

    Just horrible.
    Lazy and unprofessional.
    Should have been butt and scribed .
    I'd be having a good look over the rest of the kitchen as there's a good chance there's shoddy work elsewhere on it.
    Probably don't own a router and jig.
    Don't pay the outstanding cost until it's done professionally.
     
    Astramax likes this.
  10. Tilt

    Tilt Screwfix Select

    Yeeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaa. Did they ride away on a horse maybe.............

    It doesn't have to be 'but n scribed', but certainly the PVC edging should have been removed and the edge cleaned up, and bolts should have been used underneath, prior to gluing (or whatever you use) the two pieces together.

    If most of the money is paid, with £700 outstanding, I assume they either supplied the kitchen too or they have carried out other works other than just the fitting.....
     
  11. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    Seems like everyone has confirmed what I expected- but good to have this input for when I speak with the builder (my next task).

    I think it'll be a case of trying to track down somebody new to fit a replacement worktop and hopefully some of the money I haven't yet paid will cover this. Where would you typically you recommend to look?

    They wanted £3,500 for the full installation of a kitchen (including tiling of the walls) which was reasonably placed compared to other quotes I got (we do live in London in Zone 2...) and I would have been happy to part with that for a 10/10 job, but I don't think I'll be paying another penny with the worktop how it currently is.
     
  12. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    Any experience with the checkatrade guarantee? It seems to suggest that I could be reimbursed up to £1,000 for sub-standard work...
     
  13. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    sub standard work being “determined by checkatrade using an independent third party where required”

    clear as mud: who “requires” the third party. Moreover if they are appointed by you or checkatrade they are no longer independent are they?

    good luck

    in any event the guarantee is designed to get you money back that you have paid. Easier not to pay or withhold the cost of rectifying the half hearted amateur mess the bodger (sorry expert kitchen fitter) has made of it

    this has got me curious. Just in the background there is a cable behind the dishwasher. How is this connected? Not large enough for a plug to go through that gap so what’s he done there?
     
    LJC66C likes this.
  14. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    It will depend on who is reading the thread. What you've got to hope is that a non-tradesman is here that has been through the process however a lot of respondents are here only for the duration of us solving their problem so you might not get a meaningful answer. Good luck though because it will no doubt help others in the future if it gets posted here.

    Most (not all) of us are pretty scathing of these organisations and there are a couple of reasons for this.

    Although we all reckon we do a good job (no surprises there) this is partly reinforced by the fact that the majority of us seem to generate our work through word of mouth recommendations which negates the need for us to source our work like this and makes us question why others do. I don't have anything other than anecdotal evidence for this but it seems to be how most of us respond to the fairly regular questions about our work sources.

    Secondly, an unreasonably high proportion of 'what do you think of this poor job' threads involve a tradesman that has been found through checkatrade, mybuilder and the like so our perception of their work might be unreasonably skewed by this.
     
    woodbutcherbower likes this.
  15. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Well-Known Member

    It always grieves me to see this kind of nonsense going on. Everything about it is just horrible - even the cut used to trim the worktop to length looks like it's been done by the guy's pet beaver, with broken and chipped laminate on it. This isn't the work of a professional kitchen fitter. A decent professional should be able to rescue this by re-cutting and re-doing the joint however = but you'll lose some of the overhang at the far end of the piece on the left. Not too much if the guy's careful, though. FWIW (too late now unfortunately) it's not best practise to put a joint that close to a sink. Make sure you keep it as dry as possible going forward, OK?

    So just to put you in the picture, to give you some ammunition, and to show you how rough a job it is - here's what should have happened;

    Pic 1 - 3 x Butterfly bolt slots being cut underneath the worktop using a router and a jig.
    Pic 2 - Bolt slots ready.
    Pic 3 - 4 x plate joint slots (sometimes known as biscuit slots) cut into the joint ends using a plate (or biscuit) jointer.
    Pic 4 - Plate tenons (biscuits) placed into the slots. The function of these is to align the height of both halves of the joint as it's brought together and give you a dead-flat joint at the top with no lip. These are normally secured by running wood glue into the slots beforehand, but in this case they were dry-fitted because these particular worktops were solid timber, and allowance has to be made for expansion and contraction of the timber. No glue is used on a solid timber joint for the same reason. Different fitters have their own methods for fixing laminate worktop joints - some use glue, some use silicone, some don't use anything at all.
    Pic 5 - Joint lined up and ready for assembly.
    Pic 6 - The joint is bolted together underneath at three points using butterfly bolts which locate in the slots shown in Pics 1 and 2. A cutout has previously been made in the top rail of the cabinet to allow access to the right-hand bolt.
    Pic 7 - Check alignment, tighten bolts, and hey presto.

    The process for square-edged laminate tops is similar, but involves removing the lipping on the female part of the joint first. A decent fitter will make it virtually seamless. The other type of joint (so-called butt & scribe or hockey-stick) is only normally used on worktops which have postformed edges, i.e. the type which are rounded over. Irrespective of joint type, only a minimal amount of Colorfill should ever be needed in a joint - it's put in there to seal the very top of the seam against water ingress, and to make the joint as invisible as possible. It's not designed to be plastered on to cover up a bad joint.

    I know this probably won't make you fee any better - but at least what you'll see below will give you a meaningful comparison between a proper job and what you've been left with. Don't pay them a penny more. Please.

    I sincerely hope you resolve this and I'd again say that you have my absolute sympathy. Best wishes.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
    Timbo66, Severntrent, fizzy2 and 3 others like this.
  16. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    I suppose @jonathanc makes a valid point that the guarantee operates to reimburse the money you've lost- so if I have an amount I can hold back I should!

    The issue is I moved recently and do not know anybody in the new area that does this sort of thing, so having to rely on checkatrade was my only real option (which I am now regretting!!)

    It brings me to my 2nd issue of finding somebody who is good to fix the work..
     
  17. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    This is really useful and comprehensive, and is along the lines of what I have seen over the past day or two looking at how it should have been done!

    My intention is fully to replace this worktop with another as I agree that it isn't only the joint but also the cuts etc. that are poorly done too. Losing overhang at the left hand side is unfortunately not an option because it is flush up against a wall.

    Frustratingly I was out whilst they were fitting the worktop so only noticed this issue when they had fully finished installation of it.

    Really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond and I think it's a resounding don't pay anything more and find somebody else to refit it...
     
  18. LJC66C

    LJC66C New Member

    Agreed it is very subjective but suppose it would be better than nothing, although withholding any further payment is the first plan of attack.

    The wire goes to a cut out where the boiler is so there is space behind the worktop for this to feed through i.e. where the boiler pipes are too
     
  19. candoabitofmoststuff

    candoabitofmoststuff Screwfix Select

    No!
    Cando
     
  20. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Well-Known Member

    You're very welcome, I'm glad it helped, and I really hope you get fixed up. It might be worth a call to your local branch of Howdens to see if they can suggest anyone. My own local branch quite often recommend me (and similar tradesmen who they know they can trust) for kitchen jobs when members of the public are seeking out a fitter. It's worth a shot.
     

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