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Placement of countertop seams


Chris Bernhardt
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Are there any standards for the placement of laminate counter top seams? Why would one even consider putting one near the sink? I did a 1 year warranty inspection today for a couple where the seam was 2" to the right of the sink. substrate is swollen and pegs the Tramex moisture meter. I Googled countertop seams and I find warranty info saying that swollen seams are excluded! Well if your going to exclude them don't you think there should be a reasonable attempt not to locate them next to the sink? Duh.

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

Are there any standards for the placement of laminate counter top seams?

As few seams as possible and in the most inconspicuous locations possible -- preferably far from the sink.

Why would one even consider putting one near the sink?

Either because one is lazy or one has no other option. With laminates available in 12-foot lengths, the former is more common than the latter.

I did a 1 year warranty inspection today for a couple where the seam was 2" to the right of the sink. substrate is swollen and pegs the Tramex moisture meter.

That's a bad location. I've heard installers argue that the seam should occur at the sink cutout because then there'll be much less exposed seam. (I happen to think that reasoning is silly.) But putting it 2" away from the sink is probably the worst location possible. It's prominent *and* subject to wetting.

I Googled countertop seams and I find warranty info saying that swollen seams are excluded! Well if your going to exclude them don't you think there should be a reasonable attempt not to locate them next to the sink? Duh.

Duh indeed. I wouldn't hesitate to be very critical of this design in my report.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Home Pride

Many homeowners place aesthetics over function. A small seam that bisects the sink is less obtrusive than a large seam in the middle of the counter. The fabricator doesn't want to upset anyone, and puts the seam in the least visible spot.

Dom.

Very true, especially for a family that doesn't do much cooking. The appearance of the kitchen is more important than its functionality.

However, putting it 2" to one side of the sink is the worst of both worlds; the seam is large and conspicuous.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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When I was actively carpenter-ing, placing the seam on the sink was standard; we'd usually "split" the laminate so the seam was right in the middle, and so there was only a tiny seam visible @ the front & behind the valveset. If it was anywhere else, folks complained.

That's what everyone did. And, they held up very well.

Nowadays, everyone's into granite; I rarely, if ever, see laminate.

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