Cabinetmaker made a mistake on the specs

NJHMMarch 15, 2013


I ordered kitchen cabinets and upgraded on a few features on the box construction. The cabinetmaker is supposed to use 3/4" plywood for the sides, bottoms and tops and 1/2" plywood for the backs. The cabinet maker made a mistake and ended up with his usual 1/2" sides and 1/4" backs, tops and bottoms. They also did corner braces instead of the side-to-side braces that I specified. When I went to make the payment before the installation I noticed that they messed up on the specs. The cabinet maker is trying to save the cabinet boxes which will need to be redone and keeps proposing all kinds of alternatives such as gluing another 1/2" plywood to the sides and reinstalling the braces, etc. We told him that they need to redo the boxes but they keep coming back with these proposals. I am going out of my mind as I am paying quiet a bit for these. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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The whole point of having custom cabinets made to spec is that they CAN BE MADE TO SPEC. Custom cabinet makers are paid to build cabinets to certain specifications, are they not? I don't understand why he is even arguing with you about this. (Well, I do understand why ... rebuilding everything will be a whole lot of work at his expense).

Wouldn't glueing extra plywood to the already-made boxes make each box bigger?

This post was edited by jellytoast on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 19:37

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Hi Jellytoast,

The boxes will be a lot heavier too. The added plywood will of course not be dado-ed in either. He keeps begging, but the mistake was too big for me to ignore or accept.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Seems like you can either accept his standard construction at the standard price (plus I would ask for a discount or something for such a big deviation from what was ordered, plus he is saving the cost of tossing these AND rebuilding), or he will have to rebuild to spec. Maybe negotiate a steep discount on anything you can repurpose in another room if agrees to rebuild?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Sophie Wheeler

3/4" is complete overkill for framed cabinets. Even 3/8" is perfectly fine and will last for 50 years. It's your nickel and your timetable, but I'd just take the upcharge to 3/4" off the bill and add in a few accessories that I was interested in and call that coming out ahead.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I'm so sorry! How upsetting. Just what you needed, right?

He needs to redo these. I'm not a lawyer, but I think even legally, he needs to redo these. Did you pay a deposit based on the amount with the upgrades? Were the upgrades in writing? If so, that sounds like a contract. You should get what you contracted for. It's not like it's something iffy or a question of point of view, it seems pretty clear cut. And they're not even installed yet. If my Mennonite cabmaker had made a mistake that serious, I'm certain he would have redone the job. And apologized. And been embarrassed.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:27PM
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All the upgrades were listed on the contract and we paid a deposit. Its a small kitchen but has a lot of cabinets. This is an Amish cabinet maker. I just didn't want to put out the name while we are trying to work it out.

This is agony.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Its really best if those that are not lawyers do not comment on something like this from a legal perspective. If in fact you have a valid binding contract with the cabinetmaker and if the cabinetmaker is in breach of that contract there are a whole variety of possible remedies. The cabinetmaker could remake the cabinets, the cabinetmaker could provide financial compensation based on the lesser cost of the contracts you received, or you could just both part ways and he could reimburse you for the time you have wasted. The entire situation is very factually dependent and also dependent on the language of the contract.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Spoke to the cabinet maker this morning and he agreed to re-build the boxes. We were going to do another kitchen in the basement eventually. We may agree to use some of these cabinets (with a bit of reinforcing) downstairs based on how the main kitchen goes. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Thank you everyone for your support and comments. GW has kept me sane during this very difficult reno.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:20AM
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I'm glad it worked out. Realism was correct, of course, there was more than one way this could have been resolved. I assumed that what you wanted was the rebuild to the original specs, but you could have accepted other valid solutions as suggested by hollysprings and realism. If you can use the other boxes, then this will be a good ending for both you and the cabmaker.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:13PM
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