Solid surface producers liscence their installers, in their opinion to
control quality and limit warranty, in my opinion to hold prices up.
I would prefer a method to buy sheet stock that would be without
warranty if not liscenced.
I have not used them, only considered it.
Price fixing is the last thing we're concerned about. Making a
worth-while profit is everybody's right.
If we can't make a decent buck, we won't promote the product.
Distributors know that. It is, however, a small reason to support us.
The expertise is what
Got to love this part:
Corian-TYPE of countertop. Their Dovae product isn't too shabby, but
their house-brand is likely polyester (as in Bondo autobody filler?)
and I know that Formica is polyester. Nowhere does one see the
Here's another 'treat':
glue & gun ($65. ea.)
pallet & cradle charge ($125)
shipping ($175 - $300) depending on destination.
(Is it just me, or am I looking at $ 500.00 here.)
I wonder how they would deal with a cooktop cut-out.
I also wonder who you'd call if the top broke after installation. (A
pretty serious probability with polyester tops.)
I've watched the process and especially in my case a simple straight run
of about ten feet, it's not really that difficult. DEFINITELY not as
difficult as making the cabinets. There is always the chance that you'll
do things incorrectly but that is always the case with a DIY. It's not
like the mistake will be lethal!!!!
Since you make your living doing it I understand that you like things as
It simply doesn't lend itself to DIY-ers.
The distributors will only sell to certified fabricators.
There are some polyester based fly-by-nights who'll take anybody's
money, but the reputable 100% acrylic products such as Wilsonart
Gibraltar, Corian, Staron and Meganite insist on being able to extend
their 10-year warranties. That includes expert fabrication AND
Adhesive chemistry and dust control are just some of the issues which
are simply not in the realm of an amateur.
Besides, those of us who have dedicated a lot of time and money to
become experts won't take well to some distributor 'back-dooring'
product to the end user. We would turf that product out on its ass in a
heartbeat. The distributors know that and therefore would rather deal
with us. A position I wholeheartedly support.
Why does that make everything I say suspect? I have every right to
protect the business I have built up. And as long as I have the
commercial clout to make the distributors see things my way, I will use
it. If you begrudge me that, what does that make you?
That is *if* you assume that the protection is because of profits and
It is not.
The manufacturers' warranties include fabrication and installation. If
something goes wrong during 10 years (and often beyond), it is covered.
In many cases when the home-owner screws up (a red-hot cast iron frying
pan, for instance) the warranty is still covered as a matter of
courtesy. I have repaired, at no cost to the home-owner, screw ups made
by OTHER bad fabricators who allowed unqualified workers do stupid
things, like cutting out cook-tops with a jigsaw. The manufacturer and
I, collectively, sign up for a decade with the customer.
The manufacturers do not want their product name tarnished by bad
performance out in the field regardless of the cause.
I call it fair to get a decent buck for a job well done. I do not want
to compete with people who lack the skill and commitment to uphold the
integrity of the product.
I am taking care of my customers in my neighbourhood and it is
important to me that my business stays healthy and up-to-date; that
costs money too.
The prices are established by using very basic formulas: cost of
materials, overhead, wages and a profit. If I push the profit margins
too high, people won't buy my countertops. I have to stay competitive
with granite and e-Stone (Quartz)
If, for whatever reason, I can't make a profit, I bail. The
manufacturers make sure that guys like me don't lose interest. This is
You may not want to accept it, but manufacturers and distributors are
perfectly within their rights to choose their desired method of going
to market. Sure, sure, they are protecting their profits to a degree,
but they are also steering clear of high risk customers. If the product
requires special skills to use/install they avoid a great deal of
trouble (read COST) by restricting sales to a network of professionals.
The typical wrecker is way above average as a do-it-yourselfer and you
have to remember that most people are not like most of us. These
manufacturers are considering the mainstream do-it-yourselfer, whose
skills and experience are way below yours, and worse, way below what he
thinks they are.
So here's the scenario: Jimbo talks Robatoy into selling him a
countertop uninstalled, no warranty. Jimbo gets his countertop home
(probably asked Rob to deliver it because he doesn't have truck) and
starts the install. He exercises Rob's telephone and patience for three
days with questions, requests to borrow tools and finally to come over
and help on Sunday afternoon during the game. Finally, because his
homemade cabinets aren't level the countertop breaks. Jimbo calls Rob
and says "the countertop was defective, it broke". Rob says, "That's
unheard of, they don't break for no reason, and besides, you pestered
me for weeks until I agreed to sell the thing to you with NO WARRANTY".
Jimbo says " You're a liar and a cheat, and I'm going to tell everyone
I know that you're a dishonest businessman". Jimbo then proceeds to use
the power of the internet to unjustly slander Rob's business and the
manufacturer as well. That kind of press could put a small business
This happens all the time in every industry. As a do-it-yourselfer, I
try very hard to learn and use the methods and tools a qualified pro
would use, and I suspect you are the same way. But for every one of us,
there are ten Jimbo's out there.
I'll bet the pros on this board could relate a hundred or more stories
very similar to this one.
You seem to be missing the point. My request, and others have voiced
the same, is for there to be a source for solid surface material for
those who feel competent to use same without any liability to the
seller or to you at all. Get it. No, I repeat, no liability to the
manufacturer or to any local installers. None.
Now if I screw it up, how is that going to affect the reputation of
the material? If anything it would improve the status of the pro as a
source for installed countertops. Others would see that the "amateur"
messed up the job in his house, so they better go with a pro. Of
course, I don't see that happening, but whatever.
We are not talking about selling to those that are in the business and
too cheap to go through the liscencing process. We are talking about
people who want to use the stuff in their own homes. So discount to
the liscenced pro and sell at a higher price to the amateur. That's
what everybody else does.
I can walk into the electrical supply house, buy a hundred amp
subpanel, install a feeder breaker in my main, wire to and install
the subpanel, wire as many circuits from it as the code allows, and
the only requirement is that I do it to all to code. How I learn the
code is my business, I don't have to pay Square D a fee for that.
A lot more riding on my doing that right than installing a countertop.
My original contention is the same, they do it to keep the prices up.
Just like Sony refused to allow Beta, a superior format, to be used by
other VCR manufacturers. And when VHS came along, an inferior format,
but available, Beta was history.
WTF??? Now I can't have a coffee and spend a few moments on line
rattling your cage?...or Clarke's?
You are running out of ideas here, bro'. And yes, I am very busy. And
no, I won't sell you any material.
It is 7;30 PM.. I just finished my supper, and I am off to the shop
again to get some things ready for tomorrow. I'll check back with you
in 2 1/2 hours when I have my milk and cookies.
btw.. I have to build the countertops before I can install them. I'll
be installing 2 of them Thursday and Firday. IF that's okay with you
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