Count your money

Continued from Know when to run

Friday came and things were looking up. Other than some caulking and finishing work, we were slated to finish the installation up. First step was, as always, shutting the water off and removing the sink from it’s temporary perch. Since the sink still wasn’t sitting quite right in the new, slightly malformed hole we cut for it, a little sanding was in order. We took the half countertop to the garage. My father-in-law said that he’d do a little sanding to the back side of the backsplash behind the sink so that seam would close up a little better as well.

I returned to the kitchen to adjust some of our shimming, and I heard the belt sander go to work. Away it went, getting us ever closer to a finished job. About ten minutes later I heard the belt sander shut off, my father-in-law come into the kitchen, and say, “We’re done.”

Now, this phrase would normally be cause for jubiliation. Four days of work realized into a completed project. Normally. This time the phrase was followed by another – “It broke.” My father-in-law looked like he lost a child. He went on to explain that while sanding the finger-like backsplash, the belt sander caught the edge and snapped it right off from the rest of it’s body. I surveyed the damage and the two of us concluded that it would have looked even more ghetto trying to patch together an misshapen, scraggly crack in addition to our preplanned seam.

We trudged off to Home Depot to get some pricing on new countertops, as well as look as their precut selections. For about $200, we could have replaced all the countertops in our relatively small kitchen, although there were two main negatives. First, the color selection was pretty limited. Not a huge deal, but still an issue for say, the wife who wasn’t present to provide input into the decision. The second, more important issue was that it would then have been up to us to install it again. Having just ruined a lot of free building materials, while disappointing, really just amounted to a cheap, unsupervised, home remodeling training class. In the end, there was little financial loss. However, I could easily foresee us ruining the first $200 in countertops and returning for another $200 worth before finally giving up and paying someone to come out and do one. We ambled over to the custom laminate section and ran some quick calculations to determine we were looking at about a $900 job. We grabbed some samples and headed home.

I knew my neighbor had just replaced his countertops, and he rarely undertakes a project without researching it extensively first. On Saturday, I headed over there to find out his recommendation. He told me of a place down in Springville, Delocon Wholesale, that does the installations for Lowes, but also has a lot of material in stock that they can apply to prebuilt sections, giving you more choices than the pre-laminated sections Home Depot stocks, yet cheaper prices that full custom jobs that require them ordering a particular finish for you. Amanda and I headed down there and immediately found something better in quality and looks than the sample we would have picked from Home Depot. I gave them my dimensions, they gave me a price of $750 – including sending someone out to remeasure everything and create a cardboard template so they could fit everything exact. I gave them my credit card.

The measurements were taken on Tuesday, and tonight I got the call to set up the installation for next Wednesday. It will be done all professional-like, and I really don’t care about the extra cost. It’s a minor investment in the house that will certainly make the kitchen look a lot better when it comes time to sell.

A side benefit was that while down in Springville, I remembered a review on Buffalo Buffet about a BBQ place down that way that we had passed before. As we’re never ones to pass up a good barbecue, we stopped in for an early dinner. Let me say that it’s some of the best BBQ I’ve had around these parts. Amanda tried the pulled pork, which had a lighter sauce, as to not overpower the smoky flavor of the meat itself, and I had the beef brisket, which was naked – just the tender slow cooked goodness of the meat itself. Be sure to check it out if you’re ever headed down that way.

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