If anyone has a story to share about how their kitchen contractor
handled cabinet problems, I'd like to hear it...
I'm having my kitchen redone and the carpenter is in the midst of
hanging the cabinets. We've discovered that the general contractor
wrote one thing on the plans and ordered another thing. In particular,
one wall cabinet is 6" taller than it should be and one base cabinet,
which should be 18" deep, not the usual 24" deep, is, in fact, 24"
deep. The order form used by the contractor has these mistakes on it,
so it isn't the cabinet makers fault.
The contractor and the carpenter are floating this trial balloon:
they'll cut 6" off the top of the one, and 6" off the back of the
other, and make them look right. My view is that the wall cabinet will
look like someone cut 6" off the top, and the change to the base
cabinet won't show, but it will be weaker, which matters since it
contains three substantial drawers (which will be "fixed" as well).
What's more, I paid a fortune for custom cabinets and I would like
custom cabinets made to the specification we agreed on.
Anyone care to predict how this will unfold from here?
Thanks for any thoughts.
It will turn out depending how big the owners spine is and how he wants
it to turn out. In other words, you paid for a specific cabinet, stick
to your guns and make sure you get that correct cabinet. Not a cut off
version or one that can look right. You want what you ordered and you
have the right to receive it. The only drawback will be having to wait
for the correction to be redone. Bottom liine...you can either tell the
contractor to knock a lot of money for the mistake if you are willing
to settle for the modified version or knock off some money for the
correct one which you will wait for and because it sets the completion
date behind. Either way, stand your ground.
I totally agree. I have gone thru many building project and never ran
into this kind of problem. Personally I'd insist correct cabinets
installed. Or if willing to compromise, contractor should be punished.
He should be paid less. That way he'll be more careful next time.
It may or may not be possible for the contractor to modify the cabinets.
Trimming 6" off the rear is probably OK and can be done as strong as the
original. Trimming 6" off the height of the other may make it look
unbalanced, but I can't see it from here so I can't say. I don't know the
skill of the people involved. If one man can build a quality cabinet,
another can modify it and make it just as good. There are woodworkers and
craftsmen that can easily do this type of work so maybe these guys can too.
If you agree, do it with the stipulation that you must approve the final
. Why not have them returned to the place that made the originals and have
them do the modification?
Yes. They'll try to sell you on the modified cabinets being perfectly
acceptable, and you will decline the offer, saying, "I paid for new, I
want new - not modified."
Screwing up on a cabinet order can shoot the project schedule to hell
and back. This is the main thing that the contractor is trying to
avoid. The labor involved in modifying the cabinets, and getting them
to match, would possibly cost as much as a new cabinet, but the work
could be done right now. It might take weeks for the new, correct
cabinets to be built. Now the question becomes, how do you feel about
the delay in completion?
Assuming that they can make passable modifications - not necessarily a
safe assumption by any means - would you be willing to accept the
modifications to save your schedule? I can't call that from here, but
modifying drawers and cabinet doors is totally a crap shoot. They
might be able to make the structural modifications, but the finish will
be almost impossible to match on the job site. Take that into account
before you do anything.
If you've got it in writing in the contract, I'd insist that the cabinets be
replaced with the correct ones. I would not accept hacked and modified
cabinets under any circumstances. If it shoots the schedule in the a$$, so
Don't let them pass their mistakes off on you. You'll have to live with a
long time, so make sure you get what you want!
If you go this way OP, and that seems fine to me, it would be good if
you expressed it this way, that you will have to live with these
things for a long time (decades?) Even though the other guy is
wrong, a) it's nice to be nice**, and b) they haven't finished the
work yet -- you don't want to make them angry
**I consider saying thyings nicely to be nice. You don't have to roll
over to be nice.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
How will it unfold? Depends on you, I think. How amicable, how
reasonable do you care to be.
Cutting a 24 inch depth back to eighteen inches should not weaken the
cabnet. Why would you think it will?
Cutting down the height of a cabinet is no biggie ... I assume your
concern is the door. Depending on the style, cutting it down will
be a little tricky, but cabinetmakers can perform wonders.
Worst thing that happens is you have a kitchen complete except for one
door which is on back order.
If the contractor says it will work, then I'd suspect it probably
will. Why not go along, but it clear that if it isn't a perfect
match, it'll have to be replaced.
What you should understand is that you're not costing the contractor a
whole hell of a lot either way. It's a door and a box.
What you could cost yourself is about eight weeks of down time with
a makeshift kitchen and possibly, a contractor who'll answer your
calls in the future.
MMMMMMHHH. I can understand the feeling, but I'm not sure
insisting on this is in your best interest. You might consider
that recutting the carcasses means they are indeed custom.
The contractor screwed up. I'm a contractor, I do high end custom
work and II screw up. I have cabinet makers and they screw up. As
do my plumbers, electricians, carpenters, finishers, you name it.
If I've had a project go perfectly, I can't remember it. The test
of a contractor is not whether he makes a mistake, but how he recovers
From what you've said, there's no reason to think this guy is acting
against your best interest.
Damn nice post, sir.
We remodeled our kitchen two years ago. What was to take a few months took
Our cabinetmaker was an artist. He was also a friend of the family. He
came highly recommended and with a long resume of high end jobs. During the
work, his wife took off with one of his helpers and took their child with
them to Kentucky.
So, along with the problems of some cabinets not fitting just right, and a
couple of minor mistakes, we had major problems. Long story short, the guy
did not flake out on us. He finished the job. But he did have to take a
week and a couple of weeks here to deal with his other stuff.
But, in there were a couple of mistakes he had to adjust for, and minor
things he had to redo, like remaking two doors. No biggie. In fact, I
believe he had to section one piece of the cabinetry. If we had insisted on
having him do it "right", we could still be eating dinner in our motorhome.
Point is, I can't remember where the mistakes are, and they are really not
visible with all the finish work, and all the "fluff" that my wife decorates
with. Hell, there could be a 3" hole in there somewhere, and you couldn't
No job is absolutely perfect. And sometimes you gotta do what it takes to
keep the job flowing instead of stopping it for who knows how long because
it isn't "perfect."
The main thing I learned is if you ever remodel your kitchen, do not take
out the sink. Even if you have to leave it there supported by sawhorses
until you absolutely need to cut it out, keep it there, or you will be
washing dishes in the bathtub for a long time.
As it happened, we steeled ourselves for a tense discussion, but the
contractor backpedalled before we even objected this morning. He's
ordering a replacement for the base cabinet and the carpenter actually
suggested swapping a couple wall cabinets so we can use the tall one
and improve the kitchen layout. We'll have to see how long it will be
to ship the base cabinet but it is not in a spot that will hold up the
Apparently, as setbacks go, this was a small one. The cabinet will
cost him several hundred dollars, but as things stand now, he'll get
referral business from me, so he probably comes out ahead.
Thanks very much for all the comments....
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