March 28, 2022

Who Takes Responsibility When the Wrong Countertop Gets Installed?

One night my wife and I were out to dinner with her friend. During the conversation, the friend mentioned that she had a new kitchen installed. And it was NOT the countertop material she had picked out at the stone yard. She asked for my advice on what to do. I literally almost choked on my chicken piccata—Project 142 flashed before my eyes. (If you recall, I had the wrong countertop installed and had to bring in a crane to remove it. It was my mistake, and we made it right by replacing it. It wasn’t fun for me—or the homeowner.) In this episode of NS Builders Podcast, I share some tips on how to handle a problem like this—maybe even avoiding it altogether—and who’s ultimately responsible for fixing any mistakes.


As my wife’s friend explained what had happened, I became irritated at how her builder was handling the situation. She had done her due diligence—she went to the stone yard, picked out what she wanted, and conveyed her choice to the builder. But when the stone fabricator came out and installed the countertops, she immediately realized it was wrong. There was some discussion back and forth, and ultimately, the building contractor agreed that it wasn’t the right stone. But then he put it back on her—what did she want to do about it? And that’s when I got annoyed. 

As the homeowner, her responsibility was to make a selection and communicate that to the builder. The responsibility of the builder or the general contractor includes ordering the material, having it fabricated, paying for it, overseeing the installation, etc. By definition, you have been contracted to manage all aspects of the project—including making sure the right countertops are installed. 

So, putting the responsibility back onto the shoulders of the homeowner isn’t fair. “Do you want it ripped out? What if you get a discount on the stone that’s in? Do you really want to wait four weeks for the new countertops to be fabricated? You’re going to need the plumber to come back and disconnect and reset the sink.” 

Of course, none of this is appealing to a homeowner—it just sounds like a ton of trouble. And may end up costing more. This is when the builder needs to step up and do the right thing—work with the homeowner amicably to find a way to remedy the problem and keep the project on track.   


If you discover the wrong material was installed, you will need to have a difficult conversation with the builder. The contractor’s responsibility is to make it right; you deserve to get the product you asked for. But proving the stone you picked out is not the stone ordered and installed can be tricky. That is where documentation of what you signed off on will come in handy. 

You should be onsite at the stone yard or display room when picking out stone. And you’ll need to document your selection. Is there a manufacturer’s name and color number? A unique identifier for the exact piece of stone? Get all the details on one order sheet showing what you approved. And don’t forget to take pictures of the stone or request a small sample piece if available. When the installers arrive, take the photo or sample and your order sheet and compare. 


When I realized we put the wrong countertop in at Project 142, there was no question about how to handle it—we ripped it out. We replaced it at no cost to the homeowner. It was a terrible experience, but at the end of the day, it was my reputation on the line. I had ordered the wrong stone, and that’s on me. I had to take full responsibility. 

I called the stone fabricator, explained what had happened, and they did what they could to help me out. We continue to have a great working relationship with this vendor and made sure our client was happy. And in the end, that’s what is really important.  

It’s time to discover what NS Builders can intentionally design and build for you! Contact us today to get started on your custom dream home. Together, we can make it happen. 

—Nick Schiffer


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