Question about cabinets

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Hi,
I hope that this is an appropriate place to post this question, and that the question is not too stupid.... Apologies otherwise.
We have granite countertops in our kitchen, and about 2 months ago, we noticed that at one of the joints, (about the dishwasher), one side of the countertop was just slightly higher than the other.
We had a granite company come and take a look at it to try to fix it, and they said that actually one side was slightly lower than the other. Mind you, our house is about 7 years old, and this only happened recently. He said that to fix it, he'd try to lift the cabinet slightly (about 1/16") with shims, but he wasn't able to do it. He suggested that we have someone who was a carpenter do it.
I'm kind of curious if this (raising the cabinet slightly) is even possible? Aren't the cabinets mounted to the walls/studs in the back?
In any event, how can this be done?
Like I said, this may be a dumb question.
Sorry.
Jim
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Jim;
    From all the times I have done this, seen it done, and watched someone else do it, the cabinets are usually mounted to the wall and the other cabintes (if there are modular). Also around the mounting points there may be some existing shims, in order to true up the cabinets level and plumb. Hopefully this connection points were done with screws and you will just have to back them out, re-shim and screw put them back in. If these are not modular cabinets, and are built-ins instead, then the process if adjusting them is a whole lot harder. Also be on the lookout for any plumbing or electrical lines that may be affected by the movement of the cabinets.
    It is also interesting that new construction (7 years old) had this much noticable settling. I know settling is something that happens and I am not bad-mouthing the original builder. I would investigate into the cause of the settling. Even though this is showing up now, this could be a onging problem and you will be readjusting the cabinets again or something else in the future. Look at the door jambs, windows, where the walls meet the ceiling, at the baseboards, for other signs of settling. Solve the potential problem first and then go back and solve the symptoms.
HTH JAW
ohaya wrote:

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How about just shimming the granite where it meets the top of the cabinet. Seems a lot simpler than trying to riase the cabinets.
Todd L

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Todd, that does seem like the obvious solution, huh? Wonder why the granite guys didn't think of that?? :) That's how a slate pool table top is leveled; the pieces are shimmed until level.
dave
Todd L wrote:

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Just offhand And with little or no knowledge regarding countertops I did use some caulking to seat some marble counter tops .I used cauking to even the load in case of irregularities in the base . If they used the same technique, and I am sure it is not standard, then some settling may have occured ....mjh
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"ohaya" wrote in message

Nothing dumb about it, except maybe in the event you take too much advice at long range without a healthy dose of salt.
The granite is usually glued to a substrate, the substrate is general screwed, from the granite side, to the cabinet corner braces ... kind of hard to get to them to do any shimming of the granite, which would be the easier solution.
JAW had the best troubleshooting post thus far.
If the cabinets settled, there should be room for them to go back up, but you need to find out "why" before you decide "how" ... it could be something as simple as weather changes, or as complicated as a crack in the foundation.
There are way too many variables to make a guess ... you need to get someone locally involved, preferably someone you trust and with references.
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Swingman wrote:

Hi,
Thanks everybody!
I'll try to answer/comment on some items in one post initially.
As to why they didn't try to shim the countertop, he said that he didn't like to do that, but after tying to shim under the cabinet bottom and failing, he took a look anyway. He said that the builder had put some kind of adhesive or glue, and the countertops were basically stuck to the top of the (wooden) cabinets. So he said now the only way would be to raise the cabinet slightly (thus my original post).
We're kind of curious why his is happening also, and so was he. Turns out that (believe it or not) he's a geological engineer, and he said that he'd never seen this happen before.
The thing that is puzzling is that we have ceramic tile on our kitchen floor, and that has concrete board (I think that's what you call it) under it, and there's no sign of shifting or cracking at all there. In other words, it looks like the floor itself hasn't shifted.
I don't know if this is possible, but my wife was kind of theorizing that the cabinet itself may've compressed (i.e., the cabinets "got shorter").
We're trying to get a carpenter or someone to try to shim the cabinet up (again, it's very slight... I don't think it is even 1/16"), and the granite guy said that they'd send a couple of people over to re-epoxy the joint.
BTW, I'm assuming that when they do the shimming, they would have to re-screw the screws into different places, not into the same holes, right?
Thanks, Jim
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"ohaya" wrote in message

If there is not other indication of a shift, or crack, in the slab of foundation, that's more than likely good news.

She might not be too far off. A good guess is that the original installer used softwood shims to level the cabinets and the shims may have compressed with age ... a not uncommon occurence.

Maybe not ... if it moved down, hopefully it will move back up the same distance again without having to unfasten it from the wall.
Good luck ...
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You mentioned that it is near the dishwasher, I presume also near the sink, could you have had a leak or gotten water on the floor sometime in the last year or so? The reason I ask this is that a lot of cabinets are made from MDF like material now and the least bit of moisture can make a mess of them.
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Kentucky,
What is "MDF"?
Funny you should mention the water on the floor, but we actually did find a leak from the dishwasher.
When you said "make a mess", what did you mean? You mean the "MDF" would fall apart?
I'm going to have a hard time explaining this, but part of the floor in the area where the dishwasher was is tiled with ceramic tile, probably about 1/8" to 1/4" thick, and the cabinets are sitting on the tiled area, not on the concrete board directly.
The leak was onto the concrete area, so I think (thankfully) that the water didn't directly contact the cabinet bottoms.
Jim
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ohaya asks:

Medium density fiberboard. A smooth board used for a lot of cabinets these days. Biggest problem, unless you get special types, is that it is badly degraded by water. I think that's probably what Kentucky meant. It tries to turn back into pulp when it's wet.

Maybe not, but if it did, that's your problem. In some cases, even the toe kick is made of MDF, though it shouldn't be. That can degrade, then, as well. Interior plywood also degrades--in its case delaminates--when wet.
Charlie Self "Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure." Ambrose Bierce
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ohaya wrote:

If there's enough leak to be noticeable, it's quite possible that enough got into the MDF to make it lose its integrity. Doesn't take a lot of water--I've seen MDF swell just from seepage around the edge-banding after I spilled a can of soda (blasted cheap computer table--it's on my list but low priority).
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I'd have to opine that the bit of advice you received and I left tack on below is about the best you can get on the subject.
The variables that could have caused the problem are numerous and the possible fixes can be nothing but guesses without a physical inspection of the lay out.
I would also opine that I would not whole heatedly embrace the granite company's "it ain't me" pronouncement until you have a qualified and unbiased pro look at the whole problem and you have a firm understanding of who was/is responsible for what.
These kind of things can go round and round between main contractors, sub contractors, suppliers, installers, and whoever until you are totally fed up with the whole process and wish you'd never seen the counter tops.
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Mike G.
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Where are you getting your granite?!? I've had a few hundred granite tops installed by almost a dozen different fabricaters and have NEVER seen one glued to a substrate and screwed to the cabinet. you are thinking of other solid surface materials. Wilson Art Gibralter is fabricated in this manner - but it is NOT granite.

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"RemodGuy" wrote in message

?1? ... Locally, mostly stone and marble yards.

I think you may have misunderstood, I was not describing the sequence of events of the installation, merely remarking that it may be difficult to shim the granite afer installtion, which apparently turned out to be true..
Around here the decking/substrate _is_ screwed to the cabinet, the granite _is_ shimmed level and _is_ glued to the PREVIOUSLY screwed down decking/substrate, usually with Laticrete 310.
Feel better?
Wilson Art Gibralter is

Agreed, that, it is NOT...
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I think so too

So are you saying that your granite is only 3/4" thick with a built up edge similar to a blank for a mica top? A substrate is then screwed to the cabinets and the built up edge treatment conceals this substrate? I have never seen that. All the tops I put in are full 1 1/4" thick. They are heavy as all hell, but haven't had one fall through the floor into the basement yet.
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"RemodGuy" wrote in message

Yep ... I'd bet that the vast majority of the granite countertop installations on traditional style cabinets done hereabouts are 3/4" slab with an edge treatment that brings the visible edge to 1 1/2".
I have never seen that. All the tops I put in are full 1

I'd rough guess in the neighborhood of 30+ pounds a s/f?
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Swingman wrote...

Not quite. Most granites are the 170lb/cu ft range; a 3 cm slab weighs between 16 and 17 lbs per square foot. Still damn heavy.
Jim
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This is about right. It took 3 pretty big guys to lug in our 66 x 36 x 1 1/4 granite top. I guess about 250 lb or so.
Make sure your cabinets are beefed up (not to mention your floor).
Lou
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I'm guessing only about 1/2 that. maybe 2/3. like I said, havent had one fall through floor into basement.... yet......
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