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Euro/PB Core in older masonry home8/16
Site visit with a contractor we feed. Their customer is wanting a frameless kitchen in an older masonry home. Were talking the old hollow high fired masonry block walls, zero insulation, zero vapor barrier, partial basement, partial crawl space, and even with HVAC and extra dehumidification the home is damp. The basement area while not wet, is clearly just damp even with many coats of interior damp-proofing rolled on the walls. I peeked under the crawlspace and there is zero vapor barrier (bare dirt). The area under the kitchen will be completely vapor barriered and sealed internally when the kitchen is gutted but the remainder of the crawlspace will be left or they may try to lay poly on grade but it wont be sealed to the walls in the rest of the crawl space. They have no plan to fur out the interior face of the exterior walls (cabinet walls) in the kitchen but will likely apply roll on damp proofing (drylock) before plastering (which is a mistake in my opinion but..)..
My concern is the PB core cabs given the moisture. I dont have cost effective access to veneer core in the material they would like not that that would make completely comfortable either especially pertaining to the cab backs directly against the exterior walls on the north side of the home (shady). We kicked around reducing the cab depth by whatever is needed to apply sheetgoods/vapor barrier to the exterior walls behind the cabs. The kitchen is a tight galley style and the homeowner is very reluctant to frame in the walls even by an inch. Again, major mistake in my opinion. Risking your cabs, and to improve the health of your home by losing an inch (or less) doesnt make sense.
Moisture is completely covered in our contract and the contractor has had the conversation with the owner and of course we have had convo with the contractor.
I have not had the opportunity to leave a hygrometer in the space for a period of time but I really dont need to to know that the home is damp.
We can most definitely walk away, and have expressed strong concern, but wondering what input anyone working with the PB core melamine (this would be Tafisa) for years would be. For residential work we are typically prefinished maple interiors (columbia purebond) as we dont often do a lot of frameless on residential work.
Use Medex MDF cores, laminate instead of melamine, edge parts all 4 edges with PUR or equivalent resistant glue.
If there are wood doors / fronts. you may want to use an exterior coating that is waterproof.
A typical finish is not moisture proof.
Or you really need an air tight waiver that addresses that cause is difficult and costly to determine and the cost of all testing is by others. That Proof and analysis is at the cost of a mutually approved lab capable of stereomicroscopy evaluation.
That the owner wants to assume all risk to reduce future costs.
I dont think the job will ever pay for anything in the realm of a custom/upgraded core and face material. My concern with this job is that I have had sheets/scraps of standard PB core material both raw and banded that we have intentionally exposed to moisture (excessive) and its not a pretty sight though none of them have been banded with PUR. Banding all exposes sides of the carcass parts was an option I floated but again its nothing I would ever stand behind.
Thanks for the input. Its greatly appreciated.
35 years. Done a few of these. Band all edges and drill minimum holes. If the home continues to be excessively damp you'll find more damage over the years in rusted hardware than core failure.
Keep in mind how damp a well used bathroom with a shower can get. As Dan mentioned, rusting euro hinges is more common than panels being damaged.
I'd bring up the fact that mold will likely be growing on the wall and cabinets where there attach to the outside wall. Of course they will likely see that when to old cabinets come out. At a minimum, a 1/4" shim out should be done when mounting the cabinets for air circulation.
Im right with you there Rich. That, and the floor, were my areas of concern beyond the overall humidity level in the house. The cab backs was the reason I had floated even the possibility of making the bozes 22.5" or 23" to allow for some proper vapor barrier behind though as you say the mold will be on the exterior side of the VB at that point.
We are all confident that when they gut the entire floor and completely seal the crawlspace to the exterior foundation it will eliminate a lot of the moisture in the space but there is still a substantial remaining crawl space as well as the exterior walls in the entire home so I dont expect the overall internal humidity to drop all that much.
The homeowner is aware of the problem as they are in the habit of keeping all furniture off the exterior walls by an inch or two to allow air flow.
Its a less than ideal situation but its their home and they love it so you make due.
Thanks a bunch for all your input. I ordered in some PUR for the bander and we will give it a go.
I would still document the potential for failure and the owners, and future heirs, assigns etc acceptance with it being the owners responsibility to disclose.
I am trying to eliminate the warranty call / fight 5 years down the road when for some future circumstance the owner has sold / moved and the new owner takes the position you shouldn't have installed to begin with and the new owners don't want to pay 30k to replace 5 year old cabinets.
Fully agree and got that covered Alan. And where we are feeding the contractor he would also be covering the same issues in his contract. While I would never let it go undocumented, I am comfortable that the homeowner is well aware of everyone's concern but the contract end of it is a given.