SFA: What's the Answer?

Is This Installed Right?


Our kitchen was flooded, causing cabinet damage. The original quartz countertop broke when removed, so we had new granite countertops installed. I've attached pictures of our bar. Does this install look right to you? This wasn't how our bar used to look and it seems odd to have the plywood under the granite. Our contractor says this is normal, but I'm skeptical. I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.


SFA Member

I would say that's not normal. That might have been a part of your old countertop but with your new configuration that fiberboard serves no apparent purpose. From what is visible in these pictures, that wood should be removed. Camden Creek Countertops of Memphis


Thanks, Camden. What do you mean by my old configuration? I haven't changed the bar in any way. Why would the plywood be okay in one situation and not another? Thanks for clarifying.

The Old Barn

SFA Member

I'm guessing that your old counter was a 2cm material with a laminated edge that would hide the fibreboard. Your new counter is 3cm material that does not require the built-up edge. The fibreboard would be needed to "build up" your old counter so that you can open your cabinet doors. The 3cm material should be able to sit directly on the cabinets. Reay Hunter The Old Barn Granite 173480 Mulock Road RR #3 Hanover, Ont. N4N 3B9 www.theoldbarngranite.ca


Thanks, The Old Barn. My concern is with my bar where there are no cabinets under it. I understand now the difference between my old countertop design needing and hiding the fiberboard and our current design. So what I think you're saying is with my current design, the fiberboard needs to be removed and the granite will sit right on top of the stud wall, right? What's the worry with keeping the fiberboard under it except for it looks bad? Is there concern that it'll warp over time and crack the stone? I need to know if I should be requesting it be removed and fixed. Thank you!


SFA Member

"Need to be removed" ... not necessarily. It may have been left in there to accommodate issues in the rest of the kitchen. If you remove it there, do you need to remove it at the sink, the range, etc.? Especially look at where the dishwasher is at. If you remove it, do you drop below 34" for the opening height. We use particleboard on projects to raise the "top" of the cabinets because there are times cheap flooring companies come in and lay new tile without removing the existing floor ... thus making the finished height of the cabinets less than the standard 34 1/2". What I would do if it were my house ... apply something to seal the edge of the particleboard so it is paintable. I'm not at the shop, so I can't tell you exactly what the product is ... ask the person in the paint department at the box store and they'll know what to recommend. I would then paint the edge and if needed the bottom so it looks finished ... either black or the call color. Where there is a slight gap between the stone and the PB, I would put a small dab of silicone and prop the PB up until it grabs and closes the gap. Guy Robertson, SFA Robertson Manufacturing Inc. Davenport, Iowa

Andy Ross

SFA Member

I don't think it needs to come out based on what I'm seeing. A piece of shoe molding or 1/4" round would make it disappear. Andy Rock Solid Surfaces Kalamazoo, Mich.


Thanks for all the suggestions. If the particle board was removed, it wouldn't affect any other part of the kitchen such as the dishwasher or the range. It's under the bar ... on the other side of the wall where the sink and dishwasher are. You've given me good suggestions on how to "hide" it, since I think it looks unsightly, and it may come to that. But my last question is ... I was told that in the future, when the particleboard warps, it'll crack the stone. Or if we put anything heavy on top in the middle of the bar, the stone could crack. I was told, to do it right, the granite should be resting on the stud wall. But your suggestions don't seem to imply these would be true concerns. Any thoughts on the possibility of the stone cracking if the particleboard isn't removed? Thanks so much!

Mark Meriaux

The particleboard can swell if it gets exposed to moisture from a leaky faucet/sink/etc. (a separate problem). It may also swell over the dishwasher from steam if the raw wood isn't sealed (see Guy's recommendation above.) Even if it swells from moisture, it is difficult to predict whether it will exert enough force to damage the stone. Depending on how the wood sub-top is bonded to the stone, it may add a bit of additional strength, or very little (if spot-bonded). The stone itself and how the sub-top is adhered will have more to do with the ability to bear weight than makeup of the wood. Mark Meriaux Accreditation & Technical Manager Natural Stone Institute mark@naturalstoneinstitute.org direct 440-250-9222 x217 • mobile 770-490-0419

Omni Cubed Larry

SFA Member

That piece doesn't look that big. Is it a bar top? Do you have a photo of the top side of it? A piece of trim could make it look better, but it also might be best to remove the particleboard and then reinstall the top right on the wall. How wide is the wall under the stone? How big is the overhang? Will people be leaning their weight on the stone? If so, a better sub support would be better, like steel brackets. Larry Livingston Omni Cubed, Inc. http://www.omnicubed.com 877.311.1976 office 530.748.3111 direct


"Is this installed right?" Absolutely not. Shameful. When enough customers make this hack do his work over, he'll get the message and stop. Time for a hillbilly to pay some tuition at the school of hard knocks.

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