Help! My cabinets are cracking

Holly- KayJanuary 26, 2014

Friday evening when I walked into the kitchen I heard a loud crack. I couldn't see anything but as I rounded the corner I saw a long crack on one of my bottom cabinet doors. Yesterday I heard another crack and I figured it was the same cabinet. Sure enough the crack that was about half the length of the cabinet was now a full length crack. Last evening when we had guests over (first time they saw my new cabinets) one of them pointed out several cracks in an end panel on our peninsula. This afternoon after church I saw another long crack on the microwave cabinet.

When the first crack happened I figured it was a fluke and we would have to have the door remade at our cost. However now that I found the cracks in the end panel and also on the microwave door I think that this is more than a fluke. I don't know much about wood but I figured that wood used for cabinets and furniture would be kiln dried to alleviate splitting. Yes it is very cold this year and I am sure the heat is on more than usual but I just can't believe that this is normal. We are about seven months post renovation. It just breaks my heart to see the damage to my cabinets. This has all occurred in less than a 48 hour period and I am living in fear of the rest of our cabinets splitting. This was an expensive reno and one that I looked forward to.

The questions I have are:
Is this normal?
If the wood is defective because of improper drying should this be our expense or the cabinet makers?
When we replace the cabinet fronts will this happen again?
How can we prevent this from happening yet again?
Is maple more prone to splitting than other woods?

I hope many of you will chime in with suggestions or any first hand knowledge of what is going on.

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ajc71

Oh man, so sorry to hear that!

Can you give a little more info, is the splitting in the panel of the doors or on the stiles and rails?

Not normal at all, even with the heat running more then usual etc....my guess is that it is in a solid wood center panel, and that the doors were not constructed so that the center panel could "float" to allow for the normal expansion/contraction of the wood

What part of the country are you in, what is the outside temp and what is the temp inside the house?

Any idea what the humidity level in the house is?

Do you have forced hot air, and if so are the damaged pieces anywhere near the supply vent?

Can you add a couple pics?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Who made these cabinets and did they glue the center panels instead of allowing them to float? Do you have a humidifier running with your HVAC? That's the two top suspects, maybw working in tandem.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:14PM
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snookums2

Wow, that is so disheartening, Holly. No that is not normal at all and sounds quite strange! Of course you are not responsible for the damage. Besides, they are under warranty at this point. You might try asking a wood worker's forum but the bottom line is whoever sold/made the cabinets needs to correct the problem. It's a faulty product.

Is it just door fronts that are splitting? Is the end panel also a finished one using a door front?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:16PM
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ajc71

I don't think that it can just be assumed that it is the woodworkers fault and that it is a faulty product without knowing a little more...

If the panels were glued in place, then absolutely it is poor craftsmanship..but lets find out a little more before blaming the cabinetmaker for producing a faulty product

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:35PM
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jakuvall

Bummer- should not happen as a rule.
Hollysprings already suggested improper panels.
Other reasons-
-Wood not stable enough to begin with but 7 months is a long time.
-Reaction wood used- no way for you to know and if made with outsourced doors no way for anyone who did not make doors or panels to tell.
-Extreme cycling of humidity - like forced hot air or wood stove following open windows for the summer on the coast or in a swamp (that might end up being your responsibility)

In any case your situation is rare. Call the maker.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Holly- Kay

I am attaching pictures. I am hoping that they will remake the doors at their expense if they are defective but I am totally willing to assume the cost if it is our fault.

We do have forced hot air but none of the three cabinets that are affected are near the heat source. The first pics with the electrical outlet are on the end panel. The pictures with the hardware that is vertical is on a regular cabinet, and the picture with the hardware that is horizontal is our microwave cabinet. That cabinet, though you can't tell from the picture has the biggest part of the crack at the bottom but there is a hairline split that runs about half way up the door.

We don't have a humidifier on our heater and if that is the cause we definitely will have one added but we have a lot of wood furniture with nary a problem and our old oak cabinets had no issues at all. My goal isn't to point fingers but to resolve the issue.

I am not sure if the doors are glued or floating but it seems as though they must be glued or they wouldn't have cracked? Not sure but seems to be a safe assumption.

Please excuse how I post the pics but I haven't mastered attaching more than one photo at a time.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Holly- Kay

Another shot of the end panel.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Holly- Kay

This is a lower cabinet. This is the first one that I saw. When it cracked it sounded like a gun shot.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Holly- Kay

This last one is of the microwave cabinet. It is a lift up cab that is why the hardware is located at the bottom. The split is larger at the bottom but there is a hairline split running half way up.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:12PM
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ajc71

Lower cabinet is a glued center panel, no doubt (might even by as simple as a little glue squeeze out got onto the panel while they were assembling the door, looks like the crack started right in the corner)...

The end panel is interesting, a case could be made that when the electrician secured the outlet that he screwed through the panel into the cabinet making it so that it couldn't float, if you notice the glue joint is right in the middle of the outlet...even if that is the case, I would think that it is pretty clear that they have a problem and would replace that panel without much fuss

If you open one of the doors and squeeze the panel from the front and back you should be able to move the panel slightly....if they don't move at all then they are glued in place and will no doubt fail over time

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:23PM
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Holly- Kay

I am so upset but just want the issue resolved. My biggest fear is having new doors made at our expense only to have them crack all over again. The company that did our cabinets have been in business many years. From their website they also manufacture doors (cabinets) for other companies; They did our library cabinets probably fifteen years ago and they are still in perfect condition. Obviously they did such a good job that I didn't hesitate to have them do my kitchen. The cabinets were installed mid July so I am not sure if the wood was unstable. I can't make an argument one way or the other as I don't have the knowledge to make a statement. I am just hoping to have an idea as to what happened. I own a business so I want to be totally fair to my cabinet company without bearing the burden of the cost if they were not done properly.

I had a nightmare last night that I came out to my kitchen to find every single door split from top to bottom.

Thank you all for your help in educating me!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:26PM
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Holly- Kay

I just opened one of my unaffected cabinets and there is no movement at all between the frame and the door.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:32PM
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akshars_mom

Holly-Kay, So sorry to see this. Your cabinets are beautiful and to see this after such a short time is bad. Hope you find a resolution to this.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:45PM
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CEFreeman

This is so unusual -- and so dramatic!! -- that I'm sure they'll take care of this. This would hardly be any type of advertising for a return customer like you!

I had the electrician thought, too, but after seeing all the cracks, nah. And don't be so fast to blame your humidity or lack thereof. This shouldn't be happening or it'd be happening all over the country.

Just have them come look at them and let them talk.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:19PM
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rmtdoug

No movement in the panels does not necessarily mean they are glued to the frames. They make flexible spacers that can be placed in the grooves to eliminate rattling of the panels and yet allow expansion and contraction. You would not necessarily be able to move the panels even if they were not glued, but that depends on whether they used spacers or not.

Regarding the panel with the plugin, I agree that it appears the screws for the plugs were secured through the panel and locked that section. It cracked exactly where the screws would be.

At this point, your best option now is to contact the manufacturer and file a claim and let them examine the cabinets to determine what happened.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:33PM
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deedles

So sorry this is happening to your lovely cabinets. Never seen anything like it. I'll bet they make good on it, though. Keep us posted as it goes.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Holly- Kay

Thanks everyone. I just feel devastated. This was such a long and agonizing process. I certainly hope they will replace the cabinet fronts but I have little faith that the replacements will be any better if they are made the same way. The first one seemed like it was just a fluke but now with three in less than 48 hours it seems like they are defective. Will be talking to the KD tomorrow as he works for the cabinet company.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:49PM
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snookums2

"I don't think that it can just be assumed that it is the woodworkers fault and that it is a faulty product without knowing a little more...
If the panels were glued in place, then absolutely it is poor craftsmanship..but lets find out a little more before blaming the cabinetmaker for producing a faulty product "

ajc, since your assumption was the same, I don't get your reprimand.

No surprise that even with a situation like this, somehow, there wil be people who want to find a way to blame the customer.

Of course the reason for the failure should be determined and fairly resolved. But I think it's far more logical to anticipate there is a problem with the cabinetry than anything else. Not sure how this could be the HO's fault but I think that's far more of a stretch to imply. They simply replaced their kitchen cabinets. If a company's cabinetry is not able to withstand the temperature and humidity changes inside a home, then there is something wrong there.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:18PM
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snookums2

Holly-kay, I hope you get some resolution quickly and it is not too disruptive. That is so heartbreaking. It's just unbelievable.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:22PM
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countryatheart

Holly-I am heartbroken for you. I would be just like you and have nightmares about it. I know that you will get a satisfactory outcome ( I remember how you fought to get your beautiful countertop redone. Good luck tomorrow. We are all pulling for you.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Trebruchet

Cabinetmakers have been making doors and panels for hundreds of years that don't crack.

If your end panel were veneered plywood or MDF, it wouldn't be cracked.

Your cabinetmaker has some replacement work to do at no charge to you. And he should be ashamed of himself; this is embarrassing.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Holly- Kay

I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow. I truly appreciate your kind words and good thoughts for a satisfactory outcome.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:35PM
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buehl

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:59PM
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peony4

Oh, my, holly-kay--I'm so sorry!

Changes in humidity and acclimation of the wood aren't excuses, just explanations. These defects are not your responsibility as the homeowner.

Again, I'm so sorry... what a hassle this is going to be for you. Buckle your seatbelt and maintain control of the wheel.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:23PM
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andreak100

My post seems to have disappeared...

Oh Holly-Kay...your beautiful kitchen. :( How devastating to see this happening.

I have no words of wisdom, just wishes that this gets resolved quickly and easily for you. Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:52AM
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shelayne

Oh, Holly-Kay! UGH. I am so sorry.

Surely this will be resolved promptly and without argument. Where I live we go from extremely dry winters to hot, humid summers, and none of my cabinets have cracked in almost 4 years. The most that has happened is there is movement of the stiles and rails as the wood contracts and expands, which is normal. What you have shown is not normal at all. And it is not acceptable.

Looking forward to your post that says they are taking care of you without reservation. :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:55AM
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romy718

Positive thoughts coming your way. So sorry you are going through this. Your cabinet maker has been in business a long time & will make this right for you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:13AM
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debrak2008

Seems so odd they would all start cracking at the same time. Big change in humidity level in your house?

Hoping your cabinet maker can get it resolved for you.

Edited for spelling

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 14:28

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:54AM
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jerzeegirl

Low humidity will cause cracking like that and if you are in the northern climes sometimes humidity in winter can get very low - down to 10%! Humidity that low will cause cracking in furniture. The humidity in your home should be around 45-50%. Have you checked to see what the humidity is? If it is too low you will have to correct that by adding a humidifier.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:08PM
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firstmmo

As someone said, it's so "dramatic" what happened. Holly-Kay, I am hoping your meeting today with the KD and the cabinet maker can bring a quick solution. Obviously though, even if they offer replace at no charge to you, the time and inconvenience is not small. Sending you positive thoughts!!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:59PM
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vedazu

That's a pretty terrifying set of photos......probably scared the daylight out of you--and then to see that, Wow! I hope that the cabinet maker resolves it for you--they are really lovely cabinets....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:13PM
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belle_va

Oh dear. You seem so calm about this. I would be heartbroken and devastated. I mean, of course it can be fixed... but renovation is stressful. I am still traumatized, so much so that I cannot bring myself to deal with some of the last details. And your kitchen is so beautiful. Every little detail is just perfect... I know your cabinet folks will make it right, but I know it is rough to have to make those calls and get in the thick of it all again.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:29PM
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badgergal

HollyKay, add me to the list of people that feel feel bad for you. I see that there are lots of comments about indoor humidity in the posts. It may be a contributing factor but I imagine your house had similar humidity levels in previous winters and it didn't cause your previous cabinets to crack. I hope you can get this resolved without too much difficulty.

Sorry to make this post so long but here is some interesting info about indoor humidity from a past article in Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"Research indicates that for health and comfort, a relative indoor humidity of 40 to 60 percent is desirable. But keeping the air that moist over the course of a winter is more than most Minnesota homes can handle.

Water or ice will appear on windows, and if there's moisture on windows, it's also likely to be collecting, unseen, in wall and attic cavities. A few seasons of that, and building materials -- sheathing, studs and woodwork -- will begin to rot. Eventually homeowners will have to pay for repairs and replacements, but in the meantime, they may pay in another way -- poor health. Mold associated with rotting building materials can make people sick.

The following list, supplied by the Minnesota Department of Public Service, is based on a double-glazed window and an indoor temperature of 70 degrees. You will notice that the lower the outdoor temperature, the lower the indoor humidity should be.

If outside temperature is 20 to 40 degrees, humidity indoors should not be more than 40 percent.
If outside temperature is 10 to 20 degrees, humidity indoors should not be more than 35 percent.
If outside temperature is 0 to 10 degrees, humidity indoors should not be more than 30 percent.
If outside temperature is 10-below to 0, humidity indoors should not be more than 25 percent.
If outside temperature is 20-below to 10-below, humidity indoors should not be more than 20 percent.
If outdoor temperature is lower than 20-below, inside humidity should not be more than 15 percent.
If you are building a home or remodeling, demand high-quality windows. They should have U-values of 0.35 or less. Such windows are less prone to cold-weather condensation and icing, which means that indoor humidity can be higher"

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Mgoblue85

Holly - fingers and everything else crossed that this gets worked out quickly and without hassle. I know it's been a cold dry winter, but would have never even thought about it causing cabinets to crack with the humidity change.

Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:21PM
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rococogurl

I am so sorry to see these cracks in your beautiful cabinets. For me, this is a waranty issue as the cabinets are somehow not right. I hope they will rectify it immediately, at no cost to you and with without a big hassle. It's what you deserve. Fingers crossed for you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:21PM
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Holly- Kay

The KD is supposed to come out Wednesday to see the cabinets. I really don't have a good feeling about this being resolved without a lot of hassle but I will know better what to expect on Wednesday. I don't see that they can deny that cabinets should not crack like that. I have a lot of solid wood furniture and have no issues at all with cracking.It is more than frustrating. I am sitting here now just dreading hearing another loud crack coming from the kitchen. The dishwasher panel appears to have a space that may be pulling away and also one cabinet door each over the refrigerator and oven. The most frustrating thing is that I have no assurance that this won't happen again.

There is no change in the humidity level in our home that I am aware of. If the humidity level is too low of course we will add a humidifier but the points that Badgergal made are excellent. Our home that we rent out has a humidifier on the furnace and that home always has a musty smell

Belle, I agree that renovating is a traumatizing experience and this is adding to my stress. There isn't anything I can do at this point until I know what they will or won't do but I will do everything in my power to make it right. I just want to feel confident that it won't happen again.

Again, thanks for all the positive thoughts coming my way and I will keep everyone posted about the outcome.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:29PM
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springroz

holly-kay, I hope it works out well. Your cabinets are some of my favorites!

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:40PM
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berryjam

I'm so sorry to see this happen to your new cabinets. Sending you good thoughts and hoping for and excellent resolution to this problem.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:45PM
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a2gemini

Oh dear
Holly-Kaye - add me to the list of those feeling bad for you and your gorgeous kitchen.
I grew up in the hood and none of DMs doors cracked and I am sure we didn't have a humidifier.
This is not your fault Stay strong. I am sending you positive energy for tomorrow

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:50PM
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Gooster

holly-kay: I'm wishing you the best for a positive outcome. What a distressing thing to go through, especially after the emotional investment of your renovation.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:53PM
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jellytoast

I, too, will say I'm somewhat skeptical of "humidity" or the lack thereof being at fault here. I've lived in a lot of houses that weren't climate controlled and never had any cabinets crack like that. It's a shame that you have to wait until Wednesday to get the maker's take on the situation, especially after having to wait all weekend. The stress of waiting and not knowing what's going to happen gives the mind time to anticipate every possible unpleasant outcome.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:52PM
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sanjuangirl

Holly kay-:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
Your cabinets and hardware are some of my favorites and I cannot imagine the stress you must feel. Of course, it's not your fault ! How frightening that must have been to hear such a loud noise and see your beautiful cabinets cracking. That would freak me out! You're being rational and reasonable, but your sub conscience ( your nightmare) is having a field day.

I feel confident that they'll make good on this and fix it properly. Sending good thoughts your way.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:02PM
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meganmca

Wow--I mean, sure, it's wood-movement time in my house too--the standard separation of the boards in the floor (same place every year), etc., not a big deal, it's so cold == dry. But like others, I have plenty of furniture that doesn't do THAT, seems unreal that yours did. I'd bet glued panels, also, because that's what is supposed to do that, but !! Hope you get a good resolution (and "run a humidifier" doesn't count!) Good luck!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:17PM
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vedazu

After reading these posts, I realize that none of us posting has ever seen this happen--have we? I think it would add a little "muscle" to the argument for Holly-kay if many knowledgeable people can't think of a single example of this kind of cracking happening. Although we aren't a scientific sample, the reverse could be useful: "Show me examples where this has happened in the past due to (whatever factors the cabinet maker brings up..) I can't imagine very many....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:18PM
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ailene54

I hope it all works out...your cabinets are beautiful.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:30PM
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mlweaving_Marji

Oh HollyKay, I'm so sorry to see this. How upsetting.
I too have never seen anything like it, and I've lived where the temps drop to subzero every winter, and humidity levels drop too. No cabinet should crack like that under normal circumstances.
I feel confident your cabinet maker will stand by his work.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:34PM
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snookums2

I suspect most homes do not have climate controlled systems. The problem is isolated to the cabinetry. Previous cabinetry didn't crack. Furniture throughout the house is not cracking due to possible extreme fluctuations. Kitchen cabinets should be able to withstand seasonal fluctuations without cracking.

I think I remember reading about people having problems with furniture brought back from Europe, due to the climate/humidity changes. I wonder if it's possible they are having work done overseas. Which could also explain why glue might have been used where it shouldn't have.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Holly- Kay

Thanks for the input Snookums. I suppose it's possible but this cabinet shop was founded here in our home town. I remember them being a smaller shop when I was a child. They are still in the same location but have added on several times. They are one of the best known cabinet companies in the area and at least according to their website they make doors for other cabinet companies. I agree that most homes probably don't have climate control and I just find it strange that three cabinets split in less than two days. There were several doors I had them remake and it took just a bit over a week to have replacements to me so I suspect they are made in house. I can't imagine that they could have been ordered and shipped so quickly if they were made over seas but anything is possible at this point.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:23PM
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ikeltz

holly-kay, I am so sorry you are going through this. My hubby says the manufacturer of the cabinets is at fault. Moisture content of wood, whether it is kiln dried or air dried, will vary because it has a life in your house responding to humidity changes, which cause the wood to expand and contract. Because of this, panels need room within the frame, as both panels and frame, expand and contract. If there is no space for them to move or if they are glued in place, the movement will cause cracks. Properly constructed cabinets, have a very low failure rate. Improperly constructed cabinets eventually will fail somewhere. In your case, it was the panels. If you have a warranty on the cabinets, it should be honored, and replacements should be properly constructed. Maple is a good choice for cabinets. My husband is building all of our kitchen cabinets out of maple. I hope you have a good resolution to this problem.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:33PM
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bpathome

Holly-Kay, you might point out to the kd that other cabinetry in the house haven't cracked. So it can't possibly be the environment. Will be looking forward to reading what the kd says. I'm sure their face will show dismay, too, when they see it.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:56PM
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lam702

Wow, I have never heard of cabinets cracking like that. How awful! I hope your cabinet maker/installer fixes the problem.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:58PM
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sjhockeyfan325

This is the first time I've ever seen anything like that - it's crazy. I do not believe for a second it was caused by lack of humidity. Holly-Kay, I certainly hope you get full satisfaction, and I expect you will since their future reputation is at stake. Best of luck on Wednesday.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:38PM
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gr8daygw

Hi Holly Kay, I am so sorry, I was sick when I saw your pictures, brought a tear to my eye. You poor thing. It doesn't matter what caused it, it's not your fault or the weather. What matters is how to fix it.

I live in a very fickle climate and my cabinets have never cracked in 15 years. People joke that you can experience all four seasons in one week here. I do hear loud pops in my house and heard a really loud one Sunday. I am sure I will find something but it's mostly my dry wall nails/screws and a huge armoire and a buffet that do a lot of snap, crackle and pop. But in all my furniture and the kitchen cabinets and the drywall pops I've never seen what you have experienced with your cabinets. Our cabinet boxes are particle board or some such mix of engineered wood but I have solid wood doors with end panels and it has always been such a perfect match I didn't even know this until we put new granite on a couple of years ago. I'm a big advocate for engineered wood for the boxes since they are so strong but I love the solid wood doors. To me this is the marriage made in heaven for long lasting durability but I digress...

Your cabinets are beautiful. If it is confined to the doors and not the cabinet boxes it seems like replacing the doors involved would be in the best interest of the company. I hope they will be kind and that they will match well : ) Good luck. Sympathetic thoughts coming your way. My kitchen cabinets, so far so good!

This post was edited by gr8day on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 8:21

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 8:13AM
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rococogurl

I have a lot of old Swedish furniture which I purchased there and had shipped. The Mora clock developed a crack in the base after several years. But it's nearly 300 years old and that's considered patina. No other cracks in any other furniture and my 10 y.o. painted cabinets don't have cracks even though I was told up front the paint might crack along the seams.

If you look closely at the very first photo in the 15:04 post, it appears that the cracks line up with where the screws secure the outlet box. I would remove the outlet cover to check that because if so, it's a very clear talking point in your favor.

It's easy to remove the outlet cover and would be interesting to see if the wood is splitting where it looks to be. Wood used in a cabinet should hold small screws without splitting. If not, it's a bad batch of wood which should be replaced as a part of waranty. If the shop is as well known and reputable as you say, they should do this without question.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:11AM
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jerzeegirl

My experience with furniture (and humidity, or lack thereof) comes from working with museum collections in the Upper Midwest. Museums monitor their furniture collections closely using a hygrothermograph that records fluctuations in the humidity (the fluctuations are the real culprit). In the same way your nose or lips crack when the humidity gets very low, wood can do the same thing.

It's unlikely that climate is the sole cause of what happened but certainly can be a contributing factor. For example, if the cabinets were sitting in an unheated garage and then brought into the heated house, the expansion and contraction of the wood can cause it to crack, especially if the center panel is too tight along the edges of the door or is glued top to bottom.

I feel certain that the cabinet company will replace these doors under warranty. Even the least sophisticated company will offer a one-year warranty on workmanship and defects. Not only should you insist on having the cracked doors replaced, but you should make sure that you are covered for any future wood cracks that might arise. Any company who wants to keep their good reputation will understand they need to work with you to solve this problem.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:31AM
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1929Spanish

I just have to say I've been following this post and am also feeling really bad for you. We have a fairly relaxed response to things that "patina" in our old house, but I would be feaking out over this. A local business with that much history in your area should want to make things right no matter what.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:19AM
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jakuvall

As best I can recall I've seen this once that I can recall, and only on one panel. Might have had a wood stove involved.

My hunch is that the problem is not that the panels are glued in place. While that might do it, I'd really be surprised.

I'll bet that the end panel is held captive by screws at the electrical box instead of floating in a hole (a remodel box solves that but if a shallow box was needed it is likely screwed) That "could" alone do it but rarely more likely...

Briefly- wood is most prone to cracking when being dried from green to dry. Why? Wood shrinks differently in each direction- along it's length, width, and toward the center of the tree. Shrinkage along the width is called tangential, toward the center is called radial. The relationship between those two is expressed as the TR ration. For green sugar maple tangential shrinkage is 9.9%, radial 4.8; making aTR of just over 2. As it shrinks differently stress build up and can cause a crack. This is why kiln drying came about- allowing control over heat and humidity during the process so it never gets too fast or slow.

Once dry though the seasonal movement drops to 1.13 tangential, 0.77 radial, with a TR of 1.47. (going from 75% humidity to 40) The total shrinkage would increase if going to 10% humidity to maybe 2% but the TR only goes up slightly- so long as the wood is dried.

So my guesses (repeat guess) for this are the wood was not as dry as it could have been (perhaps air dried), cabinets were made during high humidity, we've had a brutal year leading to unusually low humidity in home. All in all making for a high TR. It is also possible that the individual pieces that cracked was originally milled in a way that increased the TR. It could even be "reaction wood" which has stresses in it in the first place (reaction wood comes from a tree that grew curved)

A lot can be found on the web or for the technically inclined there is "Understanding Wood" by R. Bruce Hoadly (be warned it is NOT a page turner)

I'd expect this would all be worked out to your satisfaction. I'm curious to see what, why and how.
The why may remain nothing more than a guess. It is unlikely the maker dried the wood themselves and it is extremely difficult to spot reaction wood unless it is really bad.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Holly- Kay

I just want to update everyone on my cabinet issue but first I want to thank you all for your words of encouragement and sharing your knowledge with me. You all are just the best and I am forever grateful for my fellow GW members.

I had to get to work this morning so I left the meeting with the KD in my DH's hands. I got a phone call from the KD while he was still at the house. He was stunned at the cracks and said in all of his years he has only seen a few cracked cabinets and never three in the same kitchen. They are replacing the affected doors and he also said that they have a lifetime warranty on the cabinets so if anything else crops up they will be taken care of no matter when it would happen. The cabinets weren't glued as they are floating and that is why they redo the whole door not just the affected center panel. He said it will take two to three weeks but he is pulling up the drawings with all the info as soon as he gets back to the shop. Their design center is in front of the manufacturing plant. He was so apologetic for the inconvenience and was just stunned at the extent of the cracking. He also apologized that it would take a few weeks to get them finished but I am delighted that the issue is being taken care of and because they are remaking the whole door I will still have doors on all the cabinets until they are swapped out. It looks like this will be a good ending to a bad story!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:08AM
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deedles

Yay! Good to know there are still craftsmen that stand behind their work and have solid ethics. Good for you.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:26AM
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springroz

Hallelujah!! So good to hear!

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:28AM
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debrak2008

Is that lifetime warranty in writing? I would keep a paper trail of all the interactions you have with the KD or the company. Unfortunately this issue may occur again maybe not for several years. I hope not.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:28AM
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leela4

I'm with deedles-I'm glad they are taking care of it. What a relief for you!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:34AM
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beachpea3

That is wonderful news - especially the fact that you have a warranty and the cracked portions will be completely replaced. Hopefully it will all be over soon and you can move on and enjoy that lovely new kitchen once again!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:36AM
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jerzeegirl

So glad to hear that you will get replacement doors!

Did the owner come up with any theories on why it happened?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:37AM
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romy718

What a relief!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Gooster

I'm so glad to hear that the company is stepping up to address their product issues. I would be fearful, however, that the issue will crop up in the other doors (if they were made at the same time, from the same set of wood).

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:34AM
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Holly- Kay

I will have to look at the contract but the KD did say life time.

Gooster, I know what you mean about the replacement doors could do the same if they were made at the same time but since they are custom and made at the time of ordering I would think the material is probably no longer on hand as it has been seven months since the install.

I will know more once DH and I have a chance to chat this evening but I am glad that he didn't try to make excuses and any guess as to what happened would be conjecture. I have to say though that I have been living on the edge of my chair waiting for another crack. The crack in the end panel gave way last night and now is a full split from top to bottom!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:15PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

I curate a collection of antique musical instruments that are primarily wooden objects in a historic house setting. This is the worst winter weather in 25 years in terms of deleterious impacts on them. It has been the prolonged cold and dry, IMO. One day when the dewpoint is 13* below zero is bad enough, but weeks on end? I'm looking forward/dreading a year of repairs after this one crisis month.
Casey

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:24PM
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snookums2

It looks like a good company. I'm sure they were pretty horrified to see such a thing happen too. Hopefully it doesn't repeat itself with any more of their customers, which could be devastating.

It doesn't surprise me he didn't question anything and I would expect that they will stand behind the lifetime warranty for such a defect. That simply is not something that should ever happen. It's not like it's 100 year old cabinetry that developed a beautiful age crack in a door.

Make sure you have everything documented and your warranty stored safe anyway. Management or circumstances could change down the road.

This too will be behind you soon!

This post was edited by snookums2 on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 14:36

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:33PM
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Gooster

holly-kay: I wasn't actually worried about the replacement doors, I would be worried about the remaining doors. They were likely manufactured at the same time with the same wood stock. I'm certain the replacement doors won't have a problem. But if there was a manufacturing issue like the experts have explained above, it may actually have impacted everything produced at the same time.

Sorry I was not clear and I am sorry you two have to worry in fear.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:39PM
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CEFreeman

Funny, isn't it?
I fully expected to hear they'd handle it appropriately, but 1/2 the time here we have stories of vendors that do not.

I am gratified for you that he was horrified. He might want to bring those doors to the (what?) head of manufacturing. Although this is soooo uncommon, you might not be the only one with this company.

I'll bet a load is off your shoulders!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 5:43PM
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andreak100

What wonderful news to hear that this is all being taken care of, not only without a fight, but with sincere concern with making things right for you. We always hope that to be the case with the people we hire to do things for our homes...but as we all know here, sometimes that's not the case. Hooray that you got "good" people. I hope that you have no more issues and can just enjoy your kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:20PM
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lcskaisgir

Whew!! Good news!! I'm so happy for you.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:00PM
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Holly- Kay

Thank you so much everyone.

Gooster, I misunderstood where you were coming from and yes I agree that the other cabinets could have the same issue. It is quite unnerving not knowing what may go next.

This evening DH and I heard another loud crack and one of the cabinets that I was concerned about pulled from the side so that is another one that will need replaced.

One thing that I have learned is the proof of a good company is not when everything goes perfectly but how they react when there is a glitch. My flooring and tile company was amazing. Chip went out of his way to give outstanding customer service. Now with the kitchen this company is stepping up to the plate. I will call my KD tomorrow and let him know what happened with the cabinet over the oven. It could very well be that many more cabinet doors must be replaced. The doors are floating even though I couldn't feel movement there. The KD explained to DH how the doors are made.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:38PM
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andreak100

Oh my...another one cracked tonight? It sounds like for some reason it was a "bad batch" of wood. I wonder if it's going to get to the point where they decide that they are going to replace all the doors? I guess it's fortunate that you didn't have grain matching going on in your kitchen.

I'm wishing you and your DH quiet evenings without any additional startling pops! Painful as it still is, I'm sure...at least you now know that the issue is going to be resolved.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:50PM
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deedles

What the heck? They must have gotten a load of wet wood. Do you find yourself waiting for the next one....?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:58PM
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jerzeegirl

holly-kay, I would ask to have all the doors replaced. It's sounds like a defective batch of wood was used.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:34PM
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snookums2

This is true. It's not likely to stop with these few. Later down the road, or even now, you'll run into stain matching issues. As I recall, this unfortunately would involve a lot of cabinetry.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 21:46

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:39PM
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bicyclegirl1

I was so happy for you that your KD stepped up to the plate to take care of it. But to hear another cracked later, is not a good sign. I'm w/ jerzeegirl, you mite want to ask them to replace all of the doors to make sure it's not going to be a continuous problem.

I'm so sorry that you're having to deal w/ this. At least you have a good company you're working with. Best of luck & keep us up on how it goes.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Mgoblue85

Whew - so glad you are getting a positive resolution. It's always good to have a company stand behind their work.

I'm with Jerzeegirl - I'd want all the doors replaced since the cracking is happening with other doors...no sense in having slightly off colored doors if the problem continues over time.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Gooster

oh no, holly-kay -- another one went! I agree with the others -- insist on getting full replacements so you can be assured that you won't have stain matching issues in the future. The statistical probability of future failure is exponentially rising.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:00AM
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firstmmo

Count me in with the group that would ask for all doors being replaced. Otherwise, you will always be nervously waiting for the original ones to fail. And while you won't ever have to live without the doors, doing the replacement "as they fail", could mean a few years of constantly contacting them and worrying about them. I wouldn't want that stress, vigilance, coordinating and waiting to happen over a prolonged time. You have a lot of people here sympathizing with you! Hoping that your troubles with this are soon remedied!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:50PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

Get a humidifier on your HVAC system now. It might not have prevented the issue, but it will definitely help with your own comfort and that of your wood in the future. Most manufacturers of both wood flooring and cabinetry require you to maintain the humidity inside your home between 20-50% in order for the warranty to be valid. While it's great that the cabinet company is repairing the doors, if you don't have a humidifier, they could have just told you that you weren't in compliance with your half of the warranty requirements. A humidifier will greatly minimize the annual normal shrinking and swelling of wood, like those pesky molding gaps that develop in winter and the sticky doors that develop in summer. That is, if you use your AC in summer to minimize the humidity during summer. Extremes of either kind are to be avoided.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:42PM
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snookums2

Humidifiers can also cause other problems. I think someone up thread posted levels to maintain relative to outdoor temperatures to help with condensation and mold that can develop when using them.

Holly-kay, do you know the humidity level in your house? If not, you might pick up a humidistat to check it out. Although the weather has already drastically changed here from the brutal cold spell.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 13:57

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:50PM
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beachpea3

One more vote to get full replacement of all doors with a new supply of wood. You cannot keep waiting for the next one to crack...too unnerving! We are all pulling for you!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 2:01PM
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cherie53

Holly-Kay I was trying to find info on kitchen cabinets cracking and came across this. I am having the same problem and my cabinets have been in about 7-8 months. I have panels cracking and even the cabinet frame of one cabinet. I paid a small fortune for the kitchen renovation and am very upset! The gal from the company said she has never seen this happen and never from the company that made mine. I have had about 10 cracks in two weeks! No other wood problems in the house and we have a humidifier on our heating system and both were new this past summer. I have a person coming tomorrow from the company. I even had panels crack that are not doors. I'm going to let her know we need something done. I'm really worried the ones that haven't might later.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:16AM
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athomesewing

Wondering what the outcomes were for both "holly-kay" and "cherie53" on the cracking cabinet problems?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:06AM
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