DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Carpentry and Woodworking > "cupping" in prefab counter tops

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Old 02-18-2010, 12:25 AM  
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I'll phone Belanger tomorrow. They are the manufacturers of the prefab tops sold by both Home Depot and Rona here in Winnipeg, and see if someone there will acknowledge that the tops are cupped. I think it'll be an accomplishment to even get them to do that.

The guy says that a pot boiled over on the stove, so he took it off the stove and put it on the counter top.

Every one of the counter top places I e-mailed pictures of the damage to (to get cost estimates to replace the top) said that it couldn't be fixed in any reasonable way. The best you can do is install a cutting board where the scorch is, and that's not feasible here because it's only 6 inches away from the sink, so it's in a wet area.

I have no doubt that the cupping is due to absorbtion of moisture on one side of the laminated slab. And, I've come across that over the past few nights searching the internet for information about this. Plenty of the Q&A forums on the internet have references to the warping of prefab counter tops, but I can't find a particle board manufacturer's web site or counter top manufacturer's web site that deals with this problem so that I can say: "These people manufacture particle board or plastic laminate counter tops and so they are experts on the subject, and they say particle board will warp if sealed on only one side, cuz then only the other side will expand due to moisture absorbtion from the atmosphere."

And, the reason why I need that is because it's an "L" shaped counter top, and of the two Belanger prefab counter tops I purchased to install in that suite, one had a slightly amount of cupping to it. So, if one counter top is flat and one curved, you simply can't get them to meet flush all along the mitered joint where they meet.

So, being a reasonable landlord, I put a note on the incoming condition report saying that the two tops didn't meet perfectly in the corner, and the front bullnose of one top is about 1/16 of an inch above the other.

And, now the tenant is saying the counter tops were already damaged. There's proof on the incoming condition report. It says they didn't meet perfectly at the corner. So they couldn't have been installed properly or correctly, and so the tops were in need of repair already, and so it's not like he scorched a good counter top, he scorched a top that was already defective.

So, I somehow have to explain to "lay" people (political cronies, really) that the counter tops didn't meet perfectly in the corner because one had a bit of cupping to it, and that this cupping is not "damage" caused by a previous tenant (or the original installer, yours truly), or due to improper installation, but occurred naturally after the top was manufactured, and that given the tops that I purchased, I couldn't have avoided that problem.

As it stands now, I can prove to them that wood swells when it absorbs moisture (and that's easy to do), and I can lay out the logic above that would result in the conclusion that there should be warpage. The problem is that these people aren't builders or even wood workers. If any of them are insecure in their knowledge about wood, they may think I'm just trying to hoodwink them, and would remain unconvinced. That's why it would be best to have an authoritative source of information that just spits it out so it's there in black and white and there's no concern that I'm trying to hoodwink anybody.

The tenant isn't stupid. He's not denying he scorched the counter top because there's no hope of that argument succeeding. He's claiming the counter tops were defective or their installation was defective (as evidenced by the incoming condition report), and so he scorched a nearly worthless counter top. That's why my getting up there with InspectorD's information and telling them how laminated counter tops are garbage wouldn't have helped my case.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 02-18-2010 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 02-18-2010, 06:21 AM  
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Good luck Nestor in finding that info. My feeling is no one has done this research, to costly for a replaceable peice of junk.
May I offer a solution, glue a piece of granite or tile over the damaged top so the person has a place to put hot pots.
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:13 AM  
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So I phoned Belanger Laminates in Quebec at 1-800-361-5976 and talled to "Gilles".

He says he just calls the front-to-back curvature "warping". He says he isn't sure what causes it, but the fact that one side of the particle board is sealed whereas the other side is exposed to the humidity in the air is the explanation that speaks loudest to him.

He says that this "warping" is something that I'm the only one in the world to have brought to Belanger's attention, and for some reason no one else is concerned about it, and so the company has no plans to do anything to seal the bottoms of their counter tops in an attempt to prevent that warping from occuring. He says that it's just a matter of buying two counter tops with the same degree of warping to get nice corners.

At least I have a name and phone number of an "expert" now. The only consolation I have is that the scorched counter top is the one that lays flatter. The non-scorched counter top is the one with the more warping in it.
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