My cabinets were delivered today but....

vitaminsJanuary 31, 2011

I was so looking forward to my cabinets being delivered today. Well, they came, and when I saw the doors and drawers, they looked like I expected - cherry, shaker style, etc. BUT... I couldn't spend very long inspecting the cabinets (they weren't done delivering them before I had to leave to go to the office), but I did look them over enough to discover that the boxes and shelves are particle board! I was really upset, to say the least!!

From the very beginning with the KD, I had said that I did NOT want particle board. She wrote plywood boxes in her notes and the contract definitely says plywood boxes. But that is not what I got! (These cabinets were not at all in-expensive, by the way.)

I called the GC, and he told me it was "furniture grade particle board", "stronger than plywood", "greener", essentially formaldehyde-free, etc., etc. Whether or not that is all true, it is not what I agreed on. The GC was to contact the KD (his sister), but I haven't heard any more yet. I really don't know what to do about it.

My DH does not want me to delay things (obviously re-ordering would do so), but I am very unhappy with the way things are right now. I so wanted to be excited (was even going to try to post pictures) at this point, but all I am is disappointed. I know I will have trouble sleeping tonight!

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First, let me say I'm so sorry this has happened. If you paid for plywood, you should get plywood. I think they count on you not wanting any more delays so you'll take whatever they deliver. Your other option would be to see what they'll knock off the price if you accept these.

Sending you cyber hugs and positive vibes that you will be able to resolve this to YOUR satisfaction!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 8:42PM
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Sorry to hear it.

Your GC and the KD will say anything, say anything, say anything to get you to accept the particle board. Your contract says different, so do not yield to them, or your husband! No means no.

Probably the GC will offer you a discount to just go along and accept the particle board. If you choose to do that, insist on a massive discount. Half price, at least. You have the upper hand, because you have the power to force them to remake everything, so what particleboard cabinets "normally" cost is irrelevant to you.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 8:52PM
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While there is nothing wrong with particle board boxes (we had them for years and they wore like iron) I agree with Marcolo. You have the upper hand. Your ordered plywood and that's what you should get. Should you choose to accept the particle board, it should be with a VERY deep discount.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 9:04PM
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Hold your ground and get what you want. You will never worry about the delays when your project is complete but staring at particleboard instead of plywood every day will take all the joy out of it. If a huge discount will make you happy then do that but don't just give in.

Sending best wishes for a quick and satisfactory resolution.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 9:09PM
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Reminds me of when I ordered my wedding dress. Wanted a silk dress. Thought I ordered a silk dress. When delivered, the label said 100% polyester. Loved the dress, sure, it was gorgeous, but felt so......robbed sice I thought I was getting silk. Obviously, I couldn't reorder since me wedding was days away. The dress was lovely pics were beautiful. But only I knw the "truth."

Follow your heart. It may seem irrational to everyone else, but you either deserve to get want you envisioned, or are at least permitted to come to terms with it on your own time.

Supposed to be so happy about it all.....Reality bites, doesn't it?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 9:29PM
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The practical thing to do is to ask and get a deep discount.

The principled thing to do is to ask for new cabs with plywood (major delay which can have other costs including emotional ones) ;)
Either way damage has been done. Choose the path that you are more comfortable with. Even though I always push plywood cabs, I would accept a discount over delaying the project.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 9:50PM
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I would be livid. Not only because they didn't deliver what is in the contract but also because the GC tried to squirm out of it.

You and your DH need to come to a united front on this issue. There are things that I know I can let go, others that will anger me every time I think about it. Even if you decide you can let this go, let GC and KD know that you are livid. You do have the upper hand here.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:14PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

Let me just say that I detest particle board. It DOES NOT hold up like plywood. Once it gets wet, it is all over with. I had these for several years and they sagged in certain spots due to an under the cabinet faucet line leak unbeknownst to me. I would NEVER accept particle board ANYTHING ever again. I hope you solve your problem and get what you want and what is stated in the contract. I love how certain people try to weasel the cheapest thing onto a customer and expect them to be happy.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:29PM
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I agree with all of the other posters. HUGE discount if need be, but I would INSIST on forcing them to remake them. What a jerk. :o(

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:40PM
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Industrial furniture grade partical board which is what today's cabinets are made from is made from much better glues and uses much higher pressures to set it. It's so much more "all wood" than plywood is that it is a LOT heavier than plywood! It wears just as well as plywood does if the proper construction techniques are used for each type of material.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:11AM
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Particle board sucks whether it's industrial or not! Personally I would make them adhere to the contract.
Don't let them bully you, if it is in writing.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:22AM
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You GC and KD are dishonest to say the least. That is very upsetting. However, if you can get a big discount (it has to be more than the standard price difference between the two), I say do not worry too much about the modern day particle board. As a matter of fact, we learned from a couple of KD's that due to the layered nature of particle board, it tends to yield more under load than a quality particle board. Really, how many kitchens have really seen water damage? If it worries you, you can water proof the sink cabinet and dishwasher area.

So, I'm with others -- either go for huge discount and go with you got or go for what you original asked for (and you still need to be compensated for the lapsed time).

Just to give you some reference point, I think at Home Depot, going from standard (particle board) to all plywood construction, it's at least a 20% upcharge with American Woodmark brand.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:46AM
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I'm with everybody else here, you need to get what you wanted and ordered.

Regarding the "delay" that everyone wants to use as a scare tactic...unless Joe the Cabinetmaker was making these down the road by hand without the use of power tools, I can't see why your order shouldn't be pushed to the top of the list and have it filled quickly. Tell your GC&KD that you want them replaced pronto. They need to use up some of their favors.

What brand of cabinets are they, just out of curiousity. I think someone should certainly call that company's rep and get things corrected immediately. I would even ask to see the copy of the order that was sent to the factory. Somehow I believe things were changed because they never believed you would actually look at the cabinets let alone know the difference.

If this was happening to me, my dh would tell me to just accept them, so I understand how hard it can be to stand your ground and go against everybody's thoughts. But keep the Big Picture in your mind, and this little setback in the schedule isn't going to make a difference.

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:41AM
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if i paid for and specified plywood, i'd get plywood. i'm funny like that.
tell them to get you what you paid for -and quickly. so sorry!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:54AM
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My DH read your post last night and said he would've stopped them right then and there and had them returned. In my opinion you really need to get what you paid for no matter what. They need to make this right, I don't care what excuse they (GC/KD) come up with.

I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but if you are willing to compromise perhaps keep the particle board uppers but make them re-do the base cabinets since they would be the ones that would be susceptible to water damage and it should cut down on the amount of time it would take to redo the cabinets. Of course you should still demand a major price reduction for this compromise.

I'm really sorry you have to deal with this and I hope they make it right for you!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:01AM
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You need the plywood cabs! I look at it like this: your countertops/sink is going to sit on top of the cabinets. If you ever have to replace them, that's huge. So, unless you are going with laminate counters, I would not accept the particle board boxes!! And since this is causing delays, I would still try to get some kind of discount.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:09AM
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You must be so sad. :*(

This is terrible! I agree with everyone above. The GC
and KD are not being fair and actually very tricky. I would
either take a HUGE discount or order the ones you want.
Be firm. Explain to DH that this delay is the GC/KDs fault
not yours and he needs to stand by you on whatever you
do. Give your DH a big hug and tell him you want this
kitchen done too but you need his support you are in
this together.

Good luck sending cyber wishes your way.
(((((((((((((((((((((wishes for this to be fixed))))))))))))))


The wedding dress????

I have to know did the wedding turn out beautiful?
Did everything else fall into place? Did you look stunning?
I ask because I spent tooooo much for my gown and to this
day I think I was such a fool. I have been married 22 years
and I would have married him in a trash bag. I wish I had
used the money for some TKO thing not a silly dress I will
never wear again. It is too tiny for my daughters to
even think about wanting to use nor even stylish. Tacky
puffy Cinderella sleeves all silk. Nausea flowing tresses
with a train that was never ending.
What was I thinking????

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:20AM
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Circus Peanut

Modern particle board is definitely better than the old stuff, and in a pinch (with a hearty discount) you probably wouldn't have to regret the switcheroo. But that's really neither here nor there. It wouldn't matter if the cabinets as delivered were made of forged iron: you specified plywood in the contract, you paid for plywood, you should receive plywood.

("Plywood" can mean different things to different interpreters -- what does the cabinet company specify specifically about the plywood they use? What grade/wood species/thickness, etc? The more details you have, the better.)

If you're doing some kind of stone counter, there can also be domino effects from switching construction materials last minute - the stone fabricators for instance are assuming a load strength of such-and-such thickness plywood in their calculations, etc.

Unless some expert involved can detail a very good reason for the change, and offer appropriate acknowledgement and a hefty compensation, you're well within your rights to send the product back. If they were painted fuscia instead of white, and your contract said white, would there be this kind of balkiness? Same goes with the construction.

Head high and good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:32AM
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Circus Peanut

ps: LOL at Boxerpup's description of her wedding dress! But at the time, can you imagine having said "oh no, I'd rather have a Grohe faucet, thanks. Let's just wear corduroy." ...?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Just one more vote that says, send them back and have them remade as you had specified -- plywood, not particle board.

I feel my blood raging just reading about what happened to you. I bet they try this gambit with lots of people betting that they won't get "caught."

Get what you contracted for. I think a few months from now you will be sorry if you don't.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:39AM
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Boxer - you are too funny!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:20AM
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boxer...I think I had that same dress. Did you choose to wear a hat/veil too by any chance?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:35AM
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Ask the DH what he would do if he ordered a car with 6 cylinder turbocharger and leather seats, and what arrived at the dealer's was a 4-cylinder with plastic upholstery ... but the same style and color of body on the outside?

would he shrug and pay the same price for something with insides that are inferior to what he ordered?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:46AM
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I wore the veil but I wanted the hat.

Imagine if we could go back in time to tell that foolish
girl, Do you want to be Princess for a day or a really cool
kitchen faucet?

We all support you in this. If you choose the cabs
we truly understand but if you decide to send them back
we get it too. Honestly there is not a TKO Gardenwebber
who does not get it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Sorry about your order - I would be pretty upset and your GC response would only fuel my fire! Insult to injury

I agree with the above posters - I esp liked Lazygardens response

Additionally, I would ask the GC to back up the 'greener' reply - Particle board is "greener" from the standpt of utilizing waste - but the assembly & bonding is the antithesis of 'green'

Cut/paste from Green living tips

"Particle board toxins & the environment
Particle board, or chipboard is a very common material used in the construction of houses and furniture.

The upside of particle board is that it's almost entirely manufactured from recycled timber or timber waste.

It's cheap to buy and is very useful, but components of it can be highly toxic.

Most particle board contains formaldehyde; a potent chemical. It's an anti-bacterial agent used, amongst other things, to embalm human bodies! When combined with other chemicals, formaldehyde produces a tough resin; the bonding agent used for particle board.

Unfortunately, a formaldehyde based resin will leach formaldehyde into the atmosphere over time. Low level irritations can irritate the eyes and nasal pages. Large doses are fatal. Formaldehyde is considered as a likely human carcinogen in the European union. You can read more on formaldehyde here; you'll be shocked to learn how pervasive this chemical is in our modern lives.

When purchasing particle board or products based on particle board, try to determine the bonding agent used as there are non-formaldehyde based products now coming onto the market. Also check with your hardware store about the origins of the wood. While the vast majority is made from recycled or waste timber, a small percentage of board made from virgin forests still makes its way onto the market."

Either way - You have a contract that binds GC & his sister KD to deliver what you agreed to not to simply accept something that will cause them less hassle - HOLD THE $$$$$$$$$$

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Great analogy, Lazygardens.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:28AM
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I would only accept if offered a steep enough discount and a sink base that is plywood. Good luck and keep us updated.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Lazy gardens has it ALL figured out. Ask the men about the car. Bet they claim there's no comparison but it IS a perfect comparison. Take it from a woman currently building a garage to house her husband's '67 GMC project truck...they would NOT settle for the standard, low budget paint job or the cloth seats and you ordered, paid for and were promised plywood. STAND YOUR GROUND!


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:38AM
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I replied earlier but just thought of this and wanted to add it. I think sometimes women especially are conditioned to accept things in order to not make a fuss. I caught myself doing this not too long ago. My husband and I had taken our original wedding rings to a local custom jeweler to have them melted down and redesigned into something new for our 15th anniversary. We met with the jeweler and talked design and he took notes and made drawings and all seemed well. We waited for them to be built and then when they were finished and delivered, my hubby's was perfect and mine looked nothing like what we had talked about. It looked like an idea that we had started out with but nothing like the design we had settled on as we were concluding the design consultation. I blamed myself for not communicating properly and although I was REALLY disappointed, I accepted the ring and paid in full. Then, several weeks later when we went back to have the fit on my husband's ring fine tuned, the jeweler admitted that he had mistakenly made my ring incorrectly and he wanted to know if I was ok with what had been delivered. Really?!?!?!?!?!? Well, long story short, my husband asked him to fix his error and several weeks later, I have EXACTLY the ring we designed. Moral of the story is I should have spoken up upon delivery and called him out on it. I think too often women are taught, quite unfortunately, that speaking up makes them a b*tch. Speak up and get what you want. If it's a STEEP discount, fine. If it's replacement of the cabinets with WHAT YOU ORDERED AND AGREED UPON, fine. Don't defer to anyone if you have done nothing to cause this error.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:19AM
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First of all, I want to thank everyone for your support in this mess. Our internet connection was down at home last night, so I couldn't get into GW to see your responses. But I got online as soon as I got in the office this morning. (My boss -- me -- allows me to get online whenever I want! LOL) I did not hear back from either the GC or the KD yesterday, nor did I have a response to the email I sent the KD. But this morning the KD did call my office just before I got here. She said she would be "out and about" today, but would call later to talk about the situation.

Meanwhile, the GC has not had his workers stop installing the cabinets. He seems to be trying to keep to the same time-line in spite of my complaints. And as far as the particle board goes (whether or not it is "furniture grade"), it isn't just that I dislike it (I do not like fake wood or fake anything else). But, in addition, I have an extreme sensitivity to it and get a headache when I just walk through a furniture or hardware store that has lots of things made with particle board. Maybe this kind of particle board isn't SUPPOSED to bother me, but it seems to. When I went into the rooms where the cabinets are stored, my head started hurting. Psychological?? Maybe, but I do not think so. And I had told the KD about my sensitivity to particle board.

As for my DH, he is upset about the situation as well. He does not like fake wood anymore than I do. Most of our furniture is antique (or at least collectible), and the only things bought new are solid wood. For example, our entertainment center is an Amish-made one because it was solid wood instead of veneer covered particle board. (Our DD gets a big kick out of telling people we have an Amish entertainment center!! LOL) How I wish I had looked for an Amish cabinet maker nearby, though I doubt if there is one in the San Francisco Bay area.

Anyway, thanks again for your good thoughts. I wish I had discovered GW before I got involved in this kitchen project. You are a great group and very helpful. I'll let you know what the outcome is.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:55PM
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WHAT???? They are installing them???? Can you make them stop? I imagine that they are just trying to get them in so that things will keep progressing therefore making it harder for them to return those cabinets. I really think they need to stop until you have this resolved.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:06PM
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They must stop now. No explanation necessary other than "These are not the cabinets in our contract" - period. Who cares if it's "ONLY" psychological sensitivity. At least part of you is reacting correctly to this!!! I really hope you get this resolved! I feel terrible for you and YOU are the only one who can stop this. Good luck and I am sending you good strong energy right now!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:20PM
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Have DH or you call the GC and tell him to STOP install! This is YOUR house not his and until it is resolved the install should not go forward. He is really over stepping, I would call the KD and tell the office to call her cell and have her call you ASAP. (NO one is off line in todays world)
:-( good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:22PM
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You must have them stop the installation now until this issue is resolved! I agree with the others that GC is over stepping. This is your house and you are paying his salary. Don't forget that!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Yes!! Stop them NOW!! If they were Fuchsia would you keep them?? I LOVED that one!

I wonder, too, how many times the KD/GC have pulled that trick. And where the difference in cost went. They didn't offer it to you, did they? I would be screamin' mad. I might quit screamin' if I got all the uppers for free and the plywood base cabs at the agreed upon price. And NO, you don't pay them to take those out they already put in. Their mistake. And it looks like they want to continue making it if they are still installing cabinets you didn't order.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:36PM
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AND....I think you should tell him to have the cabinets removed since they are NOT going to be used in your house.
This will give the workers something "to do" since I'm sure he will tell you he has nothing else scheduled for these guys...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Yeah - when you said they were continuing to install them, I thought to myself, "What? Why?" This makes no sense.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Not only do I agree w/the above posters, but I think it's time for a "stop work order" until this is resolved. I had issues with my kitchen and stopped all work on it until our issues could be resolved. Our kitchen sat for over a month with just an empty room (not even flooring!) While it was an inconvenience to us, our GC & KD finally came to the table b/c they weren't being paid & I was certainly not paying them any more money until the job was done!

You have your order/contract to support you, now start hitting them in the pocketbook and schedule. If you make them stop working, they'll be on the phone or at your house as soon as they realize no more money will be coming their way. (I assume you still owe them at least 1/3 the overall cost...and that's probably a good chunk of money.)

Yes, our 8-12-week project took almost 6 months, but in the end it was worth it! When this is all over, you will feel the same, believe me!

And remember...this is your kitchen, not theirs. They will be done and gone and never see it again. You, OTOH, will see it and work in it every single day...they don't care, you do. Also remember that you are the boss, you're the one writing the checks...they work for you, not the other way around.

Stand firm!!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Thanks again everyone for your responses.

I have talked with the KD and she admits she "screwed up" on the order. All of her notes say plywood, as does the contract, but somehow it did not get on the order. As of now, the work has stopped until this is resolved, and the appointment with the granite installer to template tomorrow has been canceled. The KD wants me to accept the boxes as they are, replace the shelves with plywood shelves, and some monetary compensation (no figure mentioned), but she is also contacting the cabinet company to see how long it would take to replace the boxes. I think I still want to have the boxes replaced and will call DH to discuss it with him.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 3:13PM
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One thing I learned a long time ago, and I use it when I really want something. State what you want, and then be silent. Don't say anything else. The silence that comes after your statement to the KD/GC is very strong. The first one to speak will lose.

So, just keep it simple, "We would like the cabinets that are installed to be the cabinets we ordered originally". Then nothing. They might come back with "well the factory says it will take 6 weeks". Then just repeat your original statement. They are counting on you to be the weakest link and cave in.

You need to be the "Strong Silent Type"

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 3:28PM
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I'm always late to the game, but you have received some very good advice.

I hope you (with DH's support) are able to take it to heart and get the resolution that you want.

There are other things that will most likely go wrong or sideways with your project so why have this major situation be the first on the list.

I speak from the experience of being in the service industry....which isn't everything these days? Most of the time (thank goodness) everything went according to plan. The rare instance that it didn't, we'd suck-it-up, make it right and move onward.

It's the least and the most you should expect from your GC and KD. They will both learn from this experience; you shouldn't be the one to pay for their lessons.

~ Cabs are being installed. :-)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:03PM
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Your kitchen, your cabinets, your money, your happiness and satisfaction....we're not talking a paint color you dislike slightly, nor towel holders in the wrong shade of bronze. Nor, for that factor, cabinet knobs that are a bit too small. These are your KITCHEN CABINETS -- something you're not going to change every other year or so. Of course she wants you to accept the boxes as they are, but why should you? "Some" compensation???? What the....????

If I were you, I would tell her I want plywood, that I want the plywood specified IN THE CONTRACT, and that would be the ABSOLUTE end of it. I would not stand for anything else, nor would I let her try to talk her way out of her "screw up" as you say she put it.

Here's a little story:

We had a wood floor installed in a large room here, and the installer did not do a good job. To be fair, he was trying to replicate the look of an old floor in an adjoining room that had some somewhat wide spacing between boards. (Of course, it might have been helpful if he had DISCUSSED that with us first!) In the new floor, however, this wide spacing, which he then filled in, looked terrible. We complained to the company's owner, who offered us 50% off the installation cost.

We accepted his offer, but ONLY because we have a large oriental rug that we'd been planning to use in the room. This carpet covers almost every bit of the job that we disliked.

If we had planned to leave the floor bare or had planned to use a smaller carpet, we would have INSISTED that the entire room be redone....and believe me, it would have been redone.

It's your kitchen, and you will have to live with it for many years. You should stick up for what you want. End of story.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:32PM
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DH and I both decided we want the cabinets the way we ordered them, and I just talked to the KD to tell her that. She did try to convince me otherwise, but said she understood my viewpoint. (Of course, she also told me any "smell" would be worse with plywood.) I told her that I am not trying to be difficult, but we don't like them the way they are (look too fake). So they are to be replaced, and she is to get back to me to let me know how long it will take. She did say she wants me to walk into that kitchen every morning and be happy! And I think she knew I wouldn't with things the way they are.

DH is in full support of me in this, by the way. But he did say I need to buy him a "real" hot plate if the temporary kitchen is going to have to go on a lot longer than originally planned! (The one we are using is something we have had at least 40 years--it doesn't have any kind of control other than plugging it or un-plugging it!!)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Fori is not pleased

Vitamin, may I say "ug" for you?

I'm glad the KD has confessed. And if the particle board has decent veneered sides where it shows (and not fake wood vinyl) AND you get a HUGE discount, (and the doors are still good), you might be okay with new shelves. Definitely at minimum you need good shelves.

Good luck--get what you want, whether it be a big fat (FAT) discount or the cabinets you ordered.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:40PM
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Yes, the wedding turned out beautiful because I saw to every single elegant detail - not unlike what I am doing now with my kitchen remodel. No one ever questioned the quality of my dress (which was stunning) but I knew inside that it wasn't the fabric I had envisioned. I had no choice but to accept the dress. My wedding was days away. OP has a choice - she'll be living with the cabinets for years and deserves to feel good about the decision to compromise, wait for new cabinets, or accept what she currently has.

Wondering if the company can do a RUSH job.

It just stinks all the way around.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:41PM
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oh, vitamins!

your sensitivity to the particle board is NOT psychological!!! i get sick walking through the warehouse at Ikea (no offense to anyone with Ikea cabs).

do NOT accept these cabinets; you stated they already give you a headache.

plllog had to have custom cabinets made because she cannot tolerate the formaldehyde (i think) in the stuff.


oh my gosh, i just want to cry for you.

but stand strong. you are in the right.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinetry Emissions (scroll down to plllog's entry)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:51PM
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In case you end up keeping them.... My husband and I just replaced our 43 year old kitchen that had particle board box cabs with solid wooden face frames and, believe it or not, particle board doors with veneer... and it was a perfectly solid and intact kitchen that looked great (for its age) at 43 years old. Granted our new cabs are all wood/plywood but they were really expensive and I wonder if it was overkill.

If the cabinet manufacturer uses a really good product it probably is not giving you a headache - the stress is. I bet with enough money back you can live with it.... replace the shelves though ours were bowed.

Here is a link that might be useful: old cabs

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:51PM
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So glad you stood your ground!!!! Keep us posted and hang in there!

BTW - where in BA are you? I'm in SJ.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:57PM
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DH and I both decided we want the cabinets the way we ordered them, and I just talked to the KD to tell her that. She did try to convince me otherwise, but said she understood my viewpoint. (Of course, she also told me any "smell" would be worse with plywood.)

oops you posted while i was writing.

i'm so glad you are getting what you ordered.

nope, i don't agree the "smell" is the same. true, formaldehyde or whatever can be in plywood, but "whatever" doesn't have the same affect in plywood, at least for me.

this must have been tough, but you are doing the right thing for you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Thanks, everyone. I'm glad I stood up for myself, and hopefully everything will turn out A-OK.


I live in Marin (San Anselmo). (We bought our house over 40 years ago--best investment we ever made!)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:07PM
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vitamins- Check your cookware with a magnet. If the magnet sticks, Get him an induction hot plate. The highest wattage you can get. Mine is a Max Burton 1800w. I paid just over $100 a year ago on amazon.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:07PM
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Fori is not pleased

Oh...yeah, if the cabinets are making you sick, then no deal.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 6:20PM
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Vitamins, you made the right decision. You would have always known that the cabinets were wrong and no discount would have made up for that. Long after the thrill of the discount or refund wore off you would still be mad about the cabinets.

In my shop we don't screw up things very often, but we're human, it happens occasionally. Our approach is to bring the mistake to the clients attention and fix it, no ifs ands or buts. If it is not what the client wanted, if it is broken or just wrong it does not get installed, it gets reordered.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:16PM
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just read this whole thread now...sorry you are having to deal with this, but I am glad for you that the KD admitted it was her mistake and will hopefully work with you to fix this problem.

Hope it is resolved quickly!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:18PM
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Bravo. You go girl.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:45PM
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This group is fantastic and I really appreciate all of the support for my decision to insist upon replacement.

Pinch me, maybe I should buy an induction hot plate, just to break us in on induction. The cooktop we have purchased is induction--in fact, how I discovered GW was when I was researching induction. We do have several magnetic pans (cast iron, Le Cruset, and a couple of All Clad), but all have been packed away to await the new kitchen. But, depending upon how much the delay is, I may take your advice.

And, stuktu, your shop sounds like my kind of place!! Of course it is hard to admit to a mistake, but it is a necessary thing to do.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Great Job! Being strong, firm, and getting what you want.
Girl Power!
And the hot plate... You are not alone.
My girlfriend used a bunsen burner in her basement
during the winter reno to grill hot dogs and toast buns.
It was hell but she has a stunning space now.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 7:31AM
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Glad you are moving in the right direction - a stop order should have been placed with your initial compliant. The fact that neither the GC or KD answered your calls - is very telling - I'm sure the GC gave his crew the "get the cabs installed ASAP" order, backed up by KD

Think of your decision as a long term investment in your health and sanity - each time you enter the kitchen you don't have to feel you let yourself down by caving to others desires.
Also, IF the shoe were on the other foot - and you made the mistake of signing off on particle board - how do you think the KD/GC and cabinet manufacturer would be responding to you now? Right......
Hold their feet to the fire & make sure you examine each and every inch of every cabinet - It will be worth the inconvenience of taking time our/off

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:12AM
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Glad you stood your ground. Beekeeperswife is exactly correct above with her suggestion to state your side and then sit tight and don't say another word. The first to speak LOSES the fight. It works every time. It's very difficult for someone to tolerate that silence and they will usually cave and start to back pedal. Hope your cabinets are everything you wanted and that you don't pay them a dime for the time it takes them to remove them from your kitchen.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Thanks again, everyone. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support you have given me in this mishap. I thought I would let you know how things stand now. When I got home last night, I was surprised to see how much of the installation had been done before the guys were told to stop. I had expected just the lower cabinets to have been completed and maybe the pantry cabinet, but most of the uppers had been installed as well and even the sink.

The GC had called my husband to say the crew would be arriving today to start removing everything and they were at our house before 7:15 AM. I talked to the head installer at length (the guys all know the situation had nothing to do with the work they were doing), and he seems to take great pride in his work. He says the new boxes are scheduled to arrive February 18, and it will take him a couple of days to re-do the drawer slides, etc. so installation will probably start February 22. (The drawers and doors are what they should be.)

Meanwhile, the GC is drawing up a new time-line and has re-arranged the order of jobs where possible. He said we should do the painting (at least the ceiling) this week and he is going to have the floors installed (but not finished) next week instead of waiting until after the cabinets are installed.

I am glad that I stuck to my guns and said I wanted what we ordered, but I do wish the installation had not gotten as far as it did. My main concern is that some of the doors or drawers will get messed up in the transition. But hopefully that will not happen.

I think we can live with three additional weeks of our temporary kitchen!!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 1:59PM
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Fori is not pleased

Woohoo! That's not a bad delay at all, as far as kitchen delays go. And it's nice that some of the other work can still be done so it's not all wasted.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:06PM
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    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Wow, I keep thinking about what would have happened if you had not taken the extra few minutes to look and notice that the cabinets were made of particle board.

Would you ever have been told? Was your builder and his sister, the KD, trying to slip a less expensive product in without you noticing? Would the builder have called you at work that day and said that as he was looking at the cabs (or helping to install them), he learned that your plywood had been replaced with less-expensive particle board, or was this duo willing to commit fraud to keep you from slowing down the project?

This whole thing makes me question who knew shat when, and what they were going to do about it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 3:21PM
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just have the contractor store the cabinets in an area that wont get used and the installer can use to reassemble the cabinets.

There is some risk that a drawer or door front will get dinged or that they won;t go back together exactly as they came from the factory- afterall your house is not the factory floor and the installer doesn't assemble everyday. No sense worrying about it, just stay on top of managing the transition.

Installing the floors is a good idea and first coat of paint is too. - We don't start a job till it's painted and the floors down with one coat of sealer if wood , so I'd say you weren't ready for cabinets anyway.

Be sure to be nice to the installer - it's likely he's gonna get screwed on the xtra work needed to change out all the hardware , doors and drawers.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 3:50PM
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Thanks for the advice.

The ironic thing about this whole mess is that (at least so I am told) there was a special running when the cabinets were ordered that plywood box was available for no additional charge. So, had they just been ordered correctly, everything would have been okay. It was not the cabinet company's fault (at least that is my understanding), but the fault of the KD and the way she placed the order. And she was the one who knew all along that they were to be plywood, as I had emphasized that from the start. Whether she knew the cabinets were ordered incorrectly and just tried to let it slip by, I do not know. But had she simply looked at the shipping sheet when the cabinets came in, she should have been able to tell that it was incorrect and corrected it then (or at the very least informed me of the mistake and asked what I wanted done). And whether the GC realized they were wrong before I phoned him, I do not know. (He was not involved in all of my conversations with the KD, but he should have known what it said in the contract.) But, even if he was not aware of the mistake until I telephoned, I think he should have halted the installation until the matter was sorted out with the KD (who seems to be the ultimate "boss" of the company).

Yes, I think I like this order of installation better than what was scheduled before this all happened. I think they were doing the cabinets first so the granite fabricator could measure and get started on the counters. I never did like the idea of doing the painting (especially of the ceiling) after the cabinets were installed. The walls aren't a real problem, as there is not going to be much wall space that isn't either covered by cabinets or back-splash.

As for the installer, I do intend to be nice to him--both because that is my normal nature (except when I get crossed like I was in this) and because I want him to do good work. I did tell him how sorry I was that he had gone to all that work and will need to re-do it, but he doesn't really get "screwed" as such as he is an employee of the company (for 26 years) and will be getting paid for all of the extra work.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:30PM
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I just read through all this. Glad it is going to work out!

Plywood can/does have formaldehyde in it too.

The good news is that California has passed a law requiring it all to be gone by 2012. My new cabinets (last summer) came with a sticker on them saying they complied with the law.

California is a big enough market that manufacturers may change for other states too, although writing your congressman/woman is a good idea!

California approves limits on formaldehyde, used in wood products
04/26/2007 By SAMANTHA YOUNG / Associated Press

California air regulators on Thursday approved the nation's most sweeping restriction on emissions of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical found in kitchen cabinets, shelving, countertops and ready-to-assemble furniture. The rule will require manufacturers to reduce by more than half a toxic chemical in manufactured wood. Experts say it is inhaled most frequently by new home buyers, home remodelers and workers who handle the chemically laden wood. "There is no safe threshold for this carcinogen, and we know how to eliminate it," said Harry Demorest, president and chief executive of Columbia Forest Products, an Oregon-based manufacturer that began taking formaldehyde out of its plywood in 2002.
The standard, approved 8-0 by the California Air Resources Board, would be phased in starting in 2009 and would become the most stringent in the world by the time it is fully implemented in 2012. Other countries also are moving to tighten rules for formaldehyde use.
For some American cabinetmakers, manufacturers and others in the wood industry, the higher standard would force them to use more expensive wood glues and lead to longer processing times. That could affect profits and drive up prices for consumers, said dozens of witnesses who testified during Thursday's hearing.
Health advocates, meanwhile, complained that the state was not moving quickly enough and urged the board to implement its standard two years earlier because of the potential for severe health risks. The proposed regulation would cut by nearly 60 percent the amount of
formaldehyde emissions that seep into the air from the resin or glue most commonly used to bond plywood, particle board and medium-density fiberboard. Whether those emissions are harmful to the general public were a key part of the discussion. State regulators and public health groups cited studies linking formaldehyde to throat cancer, workplace asthma and increased cases of asthma and allergies in children exposed at home.
In 2004, the International Agency for Research on Cancer linked the chemical to throat cancer. An analysis for the Air Resources Board estimated that formaldehyde exposure leads to an increase in cancer for those exposed as adults and during childhood. The board listed the chemical as a toxic air contaminant with no known safe exposure level in 1992. Some experts questioned the credibility of the studies California was relying upon in drafting its proposal. Dr. Gary Marsh, a biostatistics professor at Pittsburgh University, cautioned that formaldehyde's designation as a carcinogen was "premature" and was based on a small sample of workplace deaths. Formaldehyde emissions are mostly unregulated in the United States, unlike Australia, Japan and some European countries, which have set some standards. American manufacturers meet a voluntary standard set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that is described by California regulators as insufficient to protect public health. The California rule would apply to all products sold, used or manufactured for sale in the state. It would require manufacturers to obtain third-party certification, maintain records and label all wood showing it complied with California law. The regulation would close California markets to low-cost, chemically laden wood imported from Canada, China and other parts of Asia, according to the Air Resources Board. It also is expected to affect the U.S.-based, wood-products industry. Some manufacturers warned that the California rule could put them out of business. "All this leads to additional costs," said Wade Gregory, president of SierraPine Ltd., which is based in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville and is one of two particle board manufacturers in California. "These costs would have to be passed on to our customers or we simply go out of business."

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 5:13PM
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I do know about the CARB rules in effect in California, and actually I am located in California. The cabinets were certified as satisfying the requirements of Phase 1 of the CARB rules which went into effect January 1, 2009. Phase 1 was not all that restrictive, but Phase 2 really does reduce the emissions from various composite wood products. Phase 2 went into effect January 1 of this year for both particle board and MDF and when fully implemented and inventories of older goods are depleted, the situation should change considerably. Phase 2 cuts the emissions allowable under Phase 1 virtually in half for many composite wood products (for particle board it goes from .18ppm to .09ppm and for MDF it goes from .21ppm to .11ppm). For Thin MDF Phase 2 does not go into effect until January of 2012 and allowable emissions go down from .21ppm to .13ppm. My cabinets were manufactured in December of 2010 when Phase 1 was in effect.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 1:04PM
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vitamins, an earlier post, not yours, suggested that the particle board ones were formaldehyde. Just wanted to point out that plywood can contain it as well.

Good luck with remodel. I think you've had your one big uh oh, and may the rest be smooth and trouble free!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Yes, plywood can contain formaldehyde, too, though usually not as much as either MDF or particle board. And plywood has never seemed to bother me. Maybe when CARB is fully implemented, I won't be bothered by particle board or MDF either. The CARB rules have restrictions on the formaldehyde level in certain types of plywood and Phase 2 is already in effect on some but will not go into effect until 2012 on others. I think there are other states trying to put rules similar to CARB into effect, as well.

Thanks for the good wishes. I doubt if the rest will be totally smooth and trouble free, but here's hoping!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 4:21PM
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hi vitamins...

am so glad that everything is moving in the right direction now. thanks for posting an update.

do you happen to know whether the CARB standards apply to only cabinets manufactured in california, or everything that is delivered to california, too?

i totally agree about the formaldehyde levels in plywood not affecting some people as much as the amount in particle board... at least in my case as well as yours!

can't wait to see your finished kitchen!!!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 5:00PM
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maybe I'm reading this the wrong way, but it seems that everyone jumped on the GC on this one like he committed a crime.

at least my read of the OP's post it doesn't sound like he was really putting one over on her.

I agree that OP should get what she wants, and that what she asked for (fixing it to what was supposed to be ordered) was a reasonble request, I just didn't get from the post that the GC was a slimeball like it seemed that the following posters indicated.

the GC may have been there for some conversations with the KD, but probably not everything and he probably didn't have a real knowledge of exactly all details of the order. He was probably backtracking since some people order the cheaper construction and didn't realize what they ordered and he has to calm their situation, and or realized that their was an error and was trying to assure you that the product was still fine and it wasn't a problem and I would hope offer you a discount to smooth the process.

people make mistakes, good people, bad people etc. what is very important and obvious to some posters on this board, since they have lived and breathed their kitchen for a year of planning and execution, is not as readily apparent or concerning to the trades.

it sounds like the GC is stepping up to the plate, I don't know how much armtwisting that took, but I'm glad the situation is resolved to your satisfaction.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 5:51PM
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The CARB regulations apply to goods SOLD in California, not just goods manufactured in California. There are exceptions, as there are in most rules. And, as I said in a prior post, Phase 1 of CARB was not nearly as restrictive regarding particle board and MDF as Phase 2 which became effective in January. The cabinets did satisfy Phase 1, which is all that they needed to do as they were manufactured in December.


No, I do not think that the GC is a slime-ball, and I hope that I did not imply that. He was not in on my various conversations regarding plywood rather than particle board or MDF, though he, of course, did have a copy of the contract where it was specified that the boxes were to be plywood. He DID try to convince me that these were just as good, and maybe he really believes that. Where he did err, in my opinion, was having the installation continue when he was not able to contact the KD. (I am assuming he did try to contact her, but I do not know that for a fact.)

Anyway, I am glad they are replacing the cabinets, though I wish that the installation had not been done to the extent it was, as I am concerned that some of the doors or drawers may get damaged in the process.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:37PM
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vitamins, just checking back here after a couple of days and so glad to see things are going to turn our well.

Also just wanted to say that this has been a really good thread to read, very empowering. There have been so many times when I see something that just isn't what it is supposed to be and I start to feel myself slip into denial, like I just cannot deal, and then I remember how others here have gone through something like that, (as exemplified in this thread) and it gives me the stamina or grit or whatever to face the problem, whether it means I have to do something or get someone to do something . . . .

So thank you everyone!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Veneer core plywood, mdf & particle board are all available in nauf format. Only an idiot would cut stuff that wasn't.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:16AM
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