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After a long [and slightly painful] process, my dolce vita laminate countertop has been chosen, ordered, installed, removed, reordered, reinstalled, and is now perfect!

Here are the countertops installed with my custom glass backsplash.

Dolce Vita Laminate Countertop… problems…

So… in case you are wondering why have I had the tile that long without putting it up… the answer is my countertop. Oh, my dear, dear countertop that took me months to pick out (if you can remember my desperate blog post about how many counter choices are available). I ended up choosing the Formica 180FX Laminate in Dolce Vita. It has a really unique driftwood-like pattern, and even though it’s an upgraded laminate product it still fit within my budget of $2,000.00 total for tile and countertop. It’s absolutely beautiful. However, after ordering, measuring, and installing the countertop over an 8-week period, there were majors problems with the measurements:

  • First, the seam was not in the location of the counter that had been discussed with me. I knew that the counter had a very very busy pattern. I was very adamant about running the pattern all in one direction to avoid having too noticeable seams. But– it was manufactured with a giant diagonal seam across a huge part of the L-shaped counter that shouldn’t have been there (top photo).
  • Second, the original laminate counters in my kitchen were done with an “apron front” — which basically means that the countertop fits over the cabinets like a shoe box lid, rather than resting right on top of the cabinets. They didn’t notice the apron-front, and set the new counters right on top of my cabinets from 1957. This left a lot of unfinished pieces of cabinet showing, and gapping above my dishwasher (photo 2 and 3). To top it off, the way the countertops were set completely messed up the custom backsplash measurement (yes. already ordered). Instead of the backsplash height being 16″ as I measured, it was now 15 1/4″. Once you see my tile you’ll understand why I couldn’t just trim it to fit :).

Here are some photos of my “bad” countertop. All of these problems were remedied with the reinstall, but held up my schedule for over 8 weeks.

How to get the installer/contractor to fix big problems

Sadly, after discussing these major problems with the countertop installers (I will tell you their name if you ask me for it, but since the problem was corrected I will not reveal it publicly), they decided that none of my issues were problems, and basically hung up on me. So, I ended up having to write a detailed (4 page) letter explaining every issue along with every person involved, and copying the corporate headquarters of the company. After the letter was received by the headquarters, they were instantly back to my house to remeasure and redo the countertop manufacturing and installation. Another 6 weeks later, and my new- new countertop has been reinstalled. The new one is fabulous and I couldn’t be happier!

Here are some updated photos of the new countertop installation. You can see in each photo how the problems were remedied.

Edge Detail of the Dolce Vita Laminate Countertop

Per request, here’s a photo of the edge detail for this countertop. Laminate countertops come in all different types of edge profiles (although I’ve found that once you get into fancy edging the price goes way up). I just got the basic edge veneer because of the curve near the left of my countertop in the picture above.

basic edge veneer

Here are my new seams

I’ve had a few inquires for closeups of the seams on the countertop. I did my best to take some photos of them. In some instances they are so difficult to see I actually used my finger to point them out to you. Hope this helps! These are the seams that are currently in my countertop — AFTER it was reinstalled.

pointing at the seam about 18″ from the stove

another closeup of the “stove” seam

closeup of the “stove” seam

Here’s the seam at the sink.

Dolce Vita Laminate Countertop Revealed:

Wrapping Up

After a few huge mishaps, I love my new countertop. These types of renovations can be tough to deal with. Make sure you are very clear with the contractor about what you want. Write it down, draw it, make them sign it. Ask questions, answer their questions. Check the counter before it’s installed. And… if they still do it wrong, make sure they fix it. Contact them and explain the problem (be nice!). If they don’t respond to the nice guy, send a detailedletter explaining every issue along with every person involved, and copy the corporate headquarters of the company. This will get their attention really quick. And, in the end, you will be happy and feel accomplished!

Dolce Vita is a beautiful countertop. It’s grey. The photo at the top of the post (with the apples on the counter) is a very accurate representation of what it looks like in real life. I know some of you are trying to like it, but I can tell that it’s not for you. Be true to yourself. If you are so picky about the tone of the color and the shade of this and the shadow of that, you may need to pick a different counter. If you want something really bold that will go with a lot of different colors, this may be the right choice. Make sure you choose a neutral backsplash if you go with this counter, though. Try a white subway tile!

Thanks for reading and please comment if you have any questions or something new to add!

-Amy

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