When I bought this condo a year ago it had a brand new kitchen
cabinets. However, some time ago I noticed small cracks between joints.
Also, cabinet doors seem not to be aligned properly (as if the wood was
bended a little). This was not happening a year ago. These cabinets are
top-notch and (supposedly) of high quality. Here are some pictures:
Did this happen because of dry/hot air? Is there anything that I can do
to prevent any further damage or fix existing conditions?
These pics were taken a year ago (you won't see much details):
I hate to rain on your parade, but these look like pretty shoddy work.
Mitered rails and stiles? On a quality scale of 1 to 10, they look
like about a 2. And that's what I would have said if there WEREN'T
Judging by the workmanship, the door panels are probably glued into the
frames. As the humidity changes throughout the year the panel can
expand and, unless it floats within the frame, can force the joints
apart. You can check if the panels are floating by simply sliding them
with your hand. If they are done correctly, you should be able to
slide the panels up/down/left/right a little bit inside the frame.
If the panels ARE floating, you can probably fix this. Depending if
you have any talent or experience with woodworking, you could drill a
hole in the side of the door perpendicular to the mitered joint and
using a screw to pull the pieces back together. There are ways to do
this such that you can disguise the screw hole when you're done.
Sorry. I hope you didn't pay a lot for them.
Well, I paid a lot for the whole apartment and the custom kitchen was
factored into the cost. I guess, I don't have to replace everything,
just cabinet doors in the worst case, correct? Do you know how much
would it cost to order a custom (good/high quality) doors a piece? I
hope that they could be made to match the existing texture/color of the
If these cabinets are only a year or two old, why not approach the
manufacturer? Or the company you bought the unit from? If you bought an
upgrade that was supposed to be "high end" (whatever that means - no
particular insult pointed at your cabinets), then there should be a warranty
behind them. Hell, even the basic stuff probably has some sort of warranty
behind it. Joinery coming apart would certainly fall into a defect in
materials and workmanship in my opinion. You never know until you try...
You're right about that - it can't hurt to ask, but it is as I expect,
a local carpenter, can't say cabinetmaker, built those as per the
previous owner's instructions with mitered corners, who is at fault?
The owner probably didn't know any better and there wasn't anything
concealed from the buyer.
The thing that I just noticed is that the OP mentioned in an earlier
post that he bought the unit a year ago and also included some pictures
from a year ago. Those pictures show the gaps in the miters. Hmmm.
These things don't happen over night, so I wonder exactly how old those
cabinets are and when the gaps became objectionable.
Same idea but just judging from the unusual design - the reverse bevel
frames - I kinda suspect that they were designed by a designer (or
architect) who was enamoured with the effect of mitered frames and that
some poor, hapless shop built them according to specs.
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I understood your message was based on what was written but because the year
earlier photos weren't--they were the current ones again--it gave you bad
information to work with. I see that the OP noted the link error in another
Here's his later post where he corrected the links:
I posted incorrect links. Here is the whole thing (photo taken a year
If you read his original post he says he _bought_ the place a year ago.
Well, if the corrected links are from a year ago, and he bought the
place a year ago, and the gaps in the miters are visible back them,
well, something is odd here, and only the OP can straighten it out.
We're saying basically the same thing...
I pulled the corrected link photos into Photoshop and the open miters don't
appear to be there but the left and middle upper cabinet doors aren't
aligned across the bottom. On that count there doesn't appear to be a change
OK, thanks everyone for responding. I really appreciate your comments
and suggestions.I will try to approach the seller for a warranty since
he had renovated the kitchen before I bought the appartment.
Apart from joints coming apart, the doors don't shut properly (as if
the wood was bended somehow) - there is a gap in the lower part, while
the upper part seems to be aligned correctly. Here is a picture which
(not the best picture but it should give you an idea)
Where did you get the idea that an owner warranties a house he's sold?
If it was a latent and concealed condition, not picked up during the
inspection (you did have it inspected, didn't you?), and the owner
knowingly concealed that information, then you'd have a case. But this
was a readily visible problem, so you don't.
If the refrigerator had died, the sink started rusting through, or
something similar, would you expect the previous owner to pay to fix
it? There are new home warranties, but used homes don't have one
unless you pay for it. I'm assuming you didn't or you wouldn't be
looking to the previous owner.
As others here have pointed out, your cabinets were doomed from the
start due to their construction. A good home inspector would have
noticed those gaps and pointed out the problem. The gaps are clearly
visible in the pictures from a year ago, so it would have been pretty
hard for the inspector to miss the gaps seeing them in person. So
either your home inspector wasn't very good, or you didn't get an
In any event, you have just bought yourself a learning experience. You
can try shaking a tree to see if anything will fall, but you really
don't have a case. My advice would be to start investigating the cost
to replace the cabinet doors. You'll need to have that
information/estimate even if someone does, miraculously, decide that
they owe you something.
Here's a link to give you some idea of a cabinet door cost. make sure
that you factor in delivery, and finishing.
Other manufacturers sell prefinished doors which is probably a better
way to go. They'll send you finish samples upon request.
Another thing I just noticed in this picture:
See those big filler strips where the cabinets turn the 45 degree
corner? I don't think the cabinets were custom made, so much as site
built on standard boxes. Those are awfully large filler strips and
entirely avoidable with custom cabinets. If the space behind those
filler strips is inaccessible, the cabinets were definitely not custom
Not the owner, but the manufacturer if there is still a warranty. Prior
to selling me the apartment he renovated the whole kitchen, and yes the
place was inspected. As I said, at that time joints weren't falling
apart and the wood was not bended (all doors shut properly). As someone
already pointed out it is the manufacturer's fault.
Manufacturer is a euphemism. They were built by a carpenter. If
you're saying that it's the builders fault, maybe yes, maybe no.
What's your opinion on the situation if the owner directed the
carpenter to build the cabinets fast and cheap? Is the carpenter still
responsible? It's not as cut and dried as you seem to think. I'm also
not sure why you would assume that the warranty is transferable, but
since I don't know where you are and what your state's laws are in that
respect I can't comment.
It's not a small job, nor expense, to replace all of the doors and
regardless of what your state's laws indicate, I doubt the original
carpenter will rollover willingly. I think you have an uphill battle
on your hands if you decide to sue, but it's your time and money.
Spaces between cabinet doors that are just blanked off - no access.
It's a sign of fudging to make standard sized cabinets fit. As
standard manufactured cabinets come in 3" increments, there's no reason
to have a filler piece larger than 1 1/2". You have filler strips that
are substantially larger than that.
As the buyer it's up to you to verify the quality and condition of what
you are buying. You noticed the gaps when you bought the place. Have
you ever seen cabinets anywhere else with gaps in the corners before?
They're very rare as most all kitchen cabinets are built correctly,
with tried and true methods, except for DIY cabinets. As far as the
inspection, if you didn't realize what those gaps indicated, your
inspector should have. A large manufacturer will have a warranty
policy in place and indicate whether it is transferrable or not. A
small time outfit, like the guy who built your cabinets, won't have any
such policy, will have no warranty reserve fund, and as far as he's
concerned you'll be a Johhny-come-lately trying to steal his profits.
I'm not trying to bust your chops, I'm just pointing out a few things.
You asked for professional opinions, and that's what you're getting.
I'm not a cheering section - I just call them as I see them.
I'm not going by the earlier photos, John. I'm going by the corrected
ones and what he wrote. Now assuming the OP can differentiate the
years, something doesn't add up. You can't straighten it out, as you
have no more information than I do. Only the OP can clarify the
BTW, somebody else mentioned the odd location of the pulls. It really
is weird, right on the edge of that bevel.
The work looks a nicer when you see the whole kitchen, not just the
close-ups of the corners.
I know you can order custom maple doors from
http://www.hardwoodstore.com . The price is pretty reasonable,
especially for flat panel doors like yours, but you'll have to find
someone who can match the finish for you.
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