New Cabinets, Wavy Ceiling!

marbleorgraniteAugust 2, 2014
Most of our new cabinets are in. The tall, beautiful crown molding is on. I noticed there is a wavy gap between the crown and ceiling near where the old soffit/bulkhead was removed. It looks to be maybe one-quarter inch in places. The G.C. said he is ordering - I think he said a shim - to cover that space. I don't know, but I assumed that when the drywall was patched and mudded, the ceiling would be checked for leveling and mudded where the crown will meet so it is even. Am I wrong? Do I go ahead and let him order this? Is it noticeable?
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Kivi
In an ideal world someone would have checked the ceiling flatness but you are past that stage now. No idea what " shim" would be ordered but obviously you need to get the space filled. Just let the gc know that since nobody checked the ceiling flatness you will reserve judgement on whether or not his solution is acceptable.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 6:47AM
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marbleorgranite
Thank you, I will.
    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:04AM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
A ceiling is what it is in remodel. The ceiling joists (or floor joists if there is another level above) can crown, twist, sink, buckle and all sorts of things. No one signs on to rebuild someone's house to cover all the flaws that exist from time passing and things shifting and changing. Generally additional drywall compound is used in the affected area only and feathered out to fill spaces/gaps that are not large such as yours. This is not a solution for larger gaps.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 9:39AM
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marbleorgranite
So, it sounds like it's appropriate to expect that less than 1/4 inch gaps be mudded flat where the new crown is now, where the old soffits/bulkheads were removed (and new drywall installed)...
    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:44AM
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Kivi
Yes it's reasonable... and Deborah I'm sure this homeowner is not expecting the covering of all old flaws, but if someone is going to install crown it is pretty reasonable to expect that they are going to check to make sure the installation is going to work, and what work would need to be done to achieve a good outcome. The big gaps are there because nobody checked before the install... and during install they ignored it or decided to leave the problem for someone else to fix.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 10:55AM
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adivra
Shouldn't there be virtually no gaps since the soffits were removed and new drywall installed? I could understand if nothing had been done to the walls and ceiling. We homeowners are really at a disadvantage when it comes to these sorts of remodeling issues.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 11:05AM
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Taking the old drywall off and installing new sheetrock does not make a ceiling level nor does it make it flat. The new sheetrock attaches to the existing old ceiling joists and conforms to whatever irregularities exist in these joists. It is not unusual to have gaps and those, if not too large, would be fixed with drywall compound and then the crown caulked and painted. We generally fix this after the crown is installed (but before it is caulked) so the size of the gaps are known.

The contractor here may have a different solution and certainly it is worthwhile to have a discussion about what that is and exactly how his solution will work and how it will look.

Even if the contractor checked the ceiling before crown was installed, what would one expect him/her to do if there are joists that are crowned downward or twisted making humps in the sheetrock ceiling? Unless the scope of the project includes tearing out the entire ceiling support structure or installing a second ceiling over the existing, at very significant cost to the homeowner, in order to get a brand new flat work surface, one has to work within the confines of what is there. Remodeling does not make imperfections in an existing home magically go away. There are many imperfections in any existing structure that cannot be fixed within the budget provided for the project. It is both an art and a science to work with what is not being replaced and try to make it the best possible (which will never be perfect).

It's easy to Monday morning quarterback, but none of us know the details. The contractor may have worked like crazy just to get the gaps down to 1/4" because the ceiling was so bad. I've seen both existing ceilings and walls that were so bad they looked like washboards and the homeowners were oblivious to it until the new work started.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 12:45PM
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marbleorgranite
Yes, we truly are. I am learning the way the game is played unfortunately during my renovation. My father was a custom home builder who was a highly skilled craftsman (rare to find nowadays) who provided guidance to his customers and didn't cut corners or buy less quality materials without the homeowner's approval. Since my G.C. did not fix this after demolition when they patched/mudded the ceiling and didn't add it to our estimate, I am thinking he has been hoping to charge us to make it flat - but then, maybe he really does these "shims" all the time and homeowners like me just don't know any better. I know that I would inform the homeowner and ask them which they prefer before I wrote my estimate: Flatten with mud or do shims. It's good to know Houzz folks feel my pain!
    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:45PM
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marbleorgranite
That's true. We'll see what happens. The bottom line is he's going to make it look as good as he can then we decide after that if it's acceptable or not. I'm not averse to telling him the shims and crown has to come down so that it can be done right. Still, you wonder about the bill!
    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:49PM
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adivra
And that's my point. The warts of the project should be laid out so we can decide what's acceptable beforehand. Most of us are willing to alter our plans when we find out that what we want isn't best or won't turn out the way we envision. It drives me nuts when pros rationalize for each other.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by marbleorgranite    August 2, 2014 at 12:58PM
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marbleorgranite
Right. And some other homeowners will pay an extremely high amount of money to fix something that the G.C. or cabinet guy (or another homeowner) might not think is important enough. It's buyer beware though I'm not sure where that line ends and guidance from the G.C. / cab. guys begins.
    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:02PM
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