damage to cabinets, is this normal? am i too picky?

ardcpApril 24, 2014

after a lot of research here and everywhere, i decided to up our original budget so we could go with medallion albeit there silverline level. we felt that with all the good feedback and by seeing it in person that it was a solid cab plus we would be working with a kd. working with hd or lowes seemed like too much of a crapshoot. the kd has been great and her kitchen place did the install. upon opening boxes, 2 cabs has chunks taken out of them, 1 had a flaw in the side veneer(paid more for flush sides) so those were reordered but they continued the install. then when the plumber came to install the temp sink, i realized that our sink has the center stile when i know the kd ordered butt doors. i didn't want to pull that cab out so she is using a drip tray and larger doors to hide the gap taking the stile out will leave. there is another mark on a drawer front and a weird rough spot along the bottom rail where the stain is much lighter. now tonight i noticed a chink of missing wood on the bottom of the upper ez reach cab. it is not noticeable with the door shut but it bugs me that my brand new cabs have a missing piece. furthermore what are these cabinets going to look like in 5 years? 10? i really want to cry! my old builder grade aristocraft cabs were ugly and some shelves were warped or collapsing but that was 15 years of use. i can't imagine getting 15 years out of these.
anyone else have these troubles? am i just too picky and overthinking this?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kelly Ryan

not the same brand (mine are dynasty omega) but yes, we have some imperfections. I've given our KD a heads up that there were some issues but I really don't know what I want to do. I can't see pulling the cabinets out at this point. the issues are minor - not noticeable - but like you, i wonder what they'll look like after years of use?

so...you're not alone. I'm personally torn on what to do. I don't want to accept imperfect, but I also think I should have inspected before cabs were installed. now it seems like a pain and not quite worth making a fuss for "minor" issues.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anything that is damaged should be replaced. If the boxes are fine they can replace door or drawer fronts with no delay to your kitchen installation. Hate to say it, but this is common. Do not accept damaged cabinets. I had a few split Omega door frames. No problem. They were replaced. Ten years later the kitchen was still beautiful. Call your KD, she will take care of it for you. That is what you pay for.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Even if the manufacturer replaces the cabinets now, which most companies would for MAJOR---not minor---issues, you are on the hook for the extra labor to do that job because they shouldn't have been installed from the beginning. Installation constitutes acceptance. That's an industry standard. You install defective products instead of returning them or immediately6 seeking remedy, then you own the problem that that creates.

Your cabinet boxes should have been fully inspected by you or your agent post delivery so that any needed reorders could take place and arrive before the install takes place. It's part of the overall process to anticipate some issues and to never begin the project until everything is on site. That means all damaged items, not just cabinets, impact the schedule. That's normal, and delays like that should be expected.

Boxes are difficult to replace, but not impossible. Except for corner cabinets. Corners are almost impossible to replace without half uninstalling half the kitchen. They are the foundation on which the install rests. Doors are another matter. Those can be replaced easily after install and it's much less of a big deal.

Most of your issues sound minor enough that normal post installation touching up can handle though. Your cabinet company should be in the loop on this and be communicating with the manufacturer's rep. They are there to help you, despite the fact that it's a LOT more complicated to do so at this point. What have they offered to do for you?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think you are too picky. I KNOW I'm picky and planned accordingly. DH and I moved all our boxes from the garage and into the adjacent dining room and opened each one and inspected the cabinets ourselves. I did not want to risk having damaged cabinets on install day because I knew it would bug the hell out of me to have someone go ahead and install a cabinet that was damaged. None of our cabinets had any damage coming out of the boxes. Don't cabinet companies want to be notified of damage before the cabinets are installed? Otherwise, how would they know the installer didn't damage them?

I didn't know you could just remove the center style from a cabinet if it wasn't designed not to have one.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately, this seems pretty normal. We were worrying about a bunch of drawer and door fronts that had to be replaced (some were missing the chocolate glaze completely, some had a weird white paint like substance on them, some were just really light, some had dents from the straps digging into them...then the installer drilled pull holes in wrong place on a bunch of drawers...reorder again...and again). Our GC just keeps making it right. He has had a number of meetings with cabinet manufacturer, because I guess we have had more issues than usual, but he did say that redos are pretty common. We have been lucky that it didnt invlove boxes, just fronts.

I dont get "installation constitutes acceptance" shouldnt the GC be inspecting if thats the case? Homeowner may be at work, not watching install, so that just doesnt sound right. Or maybe thats if you are your own GC? And if installer knows its not what you ordered, (shouldnt he know? Maybe not I guess ), then wouldnt it be on him if he installs the wrong cabinet? Iknow I got tired of opening boxes. I finally would just let them know, hey two more boxes arrived, or whatever.

I hope they can make it right for you. It gets tiring, but stay strong for what you want and paid for.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hollysprings- the kd is the owner of the kitchen company and she said they always deliver the cabs on day of install. she did not feel comfortable delivering the cabs early to my house and opening boxes as damage could happen on site after the boxes were opened. they opened the boxes and did not catch all the issues however she has ordered 3 replacements already and will be installing at no charge so i clearly lucked out in the kd category just not so much on cabinets. btw the newest noticed damage is a corner of course so it sounds like that will have to be filled or something.
jellytoast- this stile is screwed into the frame so can be removed however there will be holes in the frame where the stile was so the kd is putting the drip tray? in to cover that. by the time i realized the sink base was wrong, the granite had been templated so i didn't ask her to replace it. i really hate that center stile though!
thanks everyone for the solace:) i am concerned by the construction of the cabs but it sounds like it isn't completely abnormal. all of this makes me think i should have saved a couple thousand and gone the ikea route. at the time driving 3 hours and assembling my own cabs didn't seem reasonable but now i am second guessing that decision, of course!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

the kd is the owner of the kitchen company and she said they always deliver the cabs on day of install.

In a perfect world, the cabinets should come to your house a few days before they get installed so they can acclimatize to the temperature and humidity. But this never happens.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

so my kd(also part owner) came to the house today, brought cookies for my son from a bakery we love near her and put all my concerns to rest. she is putting in for a new drawer front, will fill the chink and made me feel better about the cabinets in general. i really did get lucky choosing her for a kd because she is great! it is so rare for someone to care that much about their customer!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I totally agree with you about wondering how long these will last. I really don't think they make things like they used to. I noticed TONS of flaws when we took my cabinets out of the box, but ultimately they were all solid and build well with minor flaws here and there. There's only one thing I ended up having to change. One door was stained a completely different color! How does this even happen? A new one is on the way, but in the meantime I have a dark stained door amid a bunch of light stained doors. Ah well!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Aside from shipping damage, I don't understand why it appears to be "normal" for cabinets to come out of the box with "tons of flaws." It used to be that we expected new things to actually look new. Now it seems that we pretty much expect them to be flawed and are grateful when they aren't completely falling apart. I have to admit, I was quite surprised to open my cabinet boxes and find that everything looked great. Having been burned before, it was a nice surprise and good to know that quality control still exists sometimes.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am sorry to read about your problems. Medallion Cabinets (also known as Schuler Cabinets) have enjoyed a good reputation. I'm posting contact numbers and email. Perhaps you wish to write Mr. Elkay about these quality assurance issues.

Elkay Headquarters
2222 Camden Court
Oak Brook, IL 60523

email: consumer@elkay.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Elkay Cabinetry contact:

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is a big reason prices are so high. Of course you are not being picky and deserve the first quality cabinets you paid a fortune for!

"Installation constitutes acceptance. That's an industry standard. You install defective products instead of returning them or immediately6 seeking remedy, then you own the problem that that creates.

Your cabinet boxes should have been fully inspected by you or your agent post delivery "

The usual shucking the blame (and work) onto the customer.

It is my understanding also that once installed you have accepted the merchandise. And of course this makes sense! The problem is that the installer is supposed to inspect them first. Not just install whatever shows up. It isn't always possible for HO's to do this and I agree that then the cabinets are subject to damage once opened or being moved around multiple times.

That the install was actually done by the store really puts it on them to have installed defective products in your home, that their own employees are not inspecting their own cabinets.

Sounds like you are dealing with an otherwise great kd and company though. And bravo to medallion for stepping up to the plate, too, to ensure quality merchandise and the customer satisfaction that follows.

Hope all goes well! Do not pay the balance until all is done satisfactorily, and hope you have been paying by credit card!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have medallion cabinets as well. My husband was not excited about the craftsmanship. several drawer fronts were not mounted straight; a few panels came in with no finish on them at all and the end cabinet of the island that should have been finished was not. They did replace every item we asked them to but definitely made due on some of the issues that we could fix ourselves.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't buy medallion cabinets (Somersby by MasterBrand) and can say that I had ONE flaw in my entire cabinet order (24x20 kitchen with island and peninsula). Because a bumper fell off the door during packaging and caused the hinge to rub during transport. Somersby didn't hesitate to replace the damaged panel.

No flaws in the finish, no cracks, chips, dents or dings (okay, I accidentally made some myself, but none from shipping or delivery.

I previously bought a set of cheap cabinets from the Home Depot special order and they too arrived without any damages (granted they messed up 1/2 the order).

I had a family member work for Kitchencraft for years, and they never shipped out damages like you mention.

I don't think damaged cabinets are the norm. I think that your supplier is hoping to sneak these by since you're working through a third party. I'd demand they are replaced and not sure I'd accept putty and wood-filled for missing chunks of cabinet. Not if I bought them brand new anyway.

I also agree that the cabinets should be acclimated before installation to the interior temperature. Especially if you're installing in the wintertime (northern climates) or summertime.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I don't think damaged cabinets are the norm."
correct, if I start to see issues without cause, like factory fire, loss of significant staff, sudden rush of orders- and it doesn't end quickly I drop the brand- for good. The first year on my own had a brand that I dropped, cost hurt but in the long run was worth it. Had another the next year that I dropped upon receipt of the displays- sold em off at cost.

Most can solve issues with enough work on the back end, just shouldn't be. I avoid any brand owned by the conglomerates- some are better than others- just my personal preference- not that you should.

I think that price pressure contributes to the problem, as does pressure on lead times. My guess anyway.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are SO not too picky. In what world would you accept damaged goods you would need to live with for years? Every time you look at a damaged place, you'll have a sour feeling in your new kitchen. Get them fixed by this great KD, who probably wants to, anyway!!

Before I knew better, I bought 9 cabinets from Norcroft. Base drawers, some reach-ins, and bathroom vanities.Some were 18" deep for a Tansu I've since built, the bathrooms were 24" deep & 34.5" tall, i.e. normal kitchen cabinet height.

27 replacement cabinets later, they finally got the order right. Ironically, all were in perfect condition, but they just couldn't get the measurements right. Of course I've used them for other projects and it did save me a lot of projected money.

Then I discovered reuse centers and wish I'd spent that money elsewhere.

Center stile: Keep in mind that it's probably screwed in with a square holed pocket screw (special bit) and also glued in. They're seldom just screwed. I removed 5 stiles and 3 rails in different cabinets. And some sanding and repair damage. I eventually either had to break them out, which caused splitting on face frame, or cut them out with a skill saw, which left a funky, need-to-be-sanded place on the face frame.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No one should be delivered damaged or defective cabinets! Either the factory needs to learn to package better, or to have better quality control. If they replace enough cabinets, they WILL get better processes on board. You're helping them to learn to be a better company. :) And, if they don't, then they'll get fewer orders, and KD's will drop them. And they'll go out of business.

Having said that, you DO have the occasional door that needs to be replaced, or sometimes, even a box that will have problems. It's not unheard of, but it should never be a frequent thing. And, it's how those replacements are handled that make the difference between dealing with a reputable company and a fly by night import type of company.

Problems ARE directly associated with price point. I have NEVER had an Omega cabinet that had to be replaced. That's part of why they are a premium brand. I've only had a couple of issues with Dynasty, and they were great about handling the issues. The further down the price scale that you travel, the more the incidences of issues arise. Part of it is that you get what you pay for, and you just don't get a high a quality product at a budget price point. And part of it is consumers not understanding that. :) , If that happens, it's MY fault for not explaining it better.

In the OP's situation, things were complicated by the installers installing things that should have waited on replacement. That's on the installers, and the shop that employs them. Which is probably why they are being so great about getting you replacements. Their guys shouldn't have installed corner boxes with issues!

What I would do if it were my shop (other than having a pretty intense meeting with the installers) would be to also order you a couple of after market accessories that you maybe cut out due to cost. Or, if you had included all of that, maybe a restaurant gift card for the extra nights that you had to dine out. We would be really unhappy that you were unhappy! Believe me, we don't like situations like this at all any more than you do. Our confidence as designers can be shaken by poor experiences with a product, and we start to second guess our suggested line choices for customers. Then it's time for the company rep to step in and make things right to the customer, and to us for having to be on the front line dealing with their problems. If that doesn't happen, then, just like Jakuvall says, the line gets dropped.

Christine, use a multi tool. It's magic to so many dilemmas. :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All these damaged cabinets are scaring me and I have not gotten back to my finished kitchen project yet as I have a few more major headaches in my life to take care of first. I had damaged bedroom furniture delivered from Stanley Furniture that claimed to be made in the USA but was stamped Made in China all over it and instead of a maximum of 6 weeks, took 12 weeks to arrive with cracked drawers, mismatched pieces and in terrible condition. I then argued for a week and got my money back and ordered Solid Maple Wood from Durham Furniture in Canada and love my set but sure wish it has the room of the Stanley Furniture's bigger bedroom pieces.

Thanks for letting me know that I will have to really inspect any cabinets I order also. Nothing is made like it used to be made.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My cabinets are Diamond, certainly not top-of-the-line or the most expensive, but they did not arrive damaged or messed up in any way. I don't think that only people who spend the most money have the right to receive undamaged goods!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I received my cabinets on Thursday and the installer arrived Friday. He took them out of the boxes and when he started to install there were some electrical issues needing resolving and since he did not accept to keep working while waiting for an electrician, he left. I inspected the cabinets now lying all over the apartment (it's a new reno) and I noticed that most of the backs have damages as seen in the posted photos. They may not show when installed but still, I'm really upset they used defective pieces on the back. Is this easy to fix, does it involve replacing the whole box, is this acceptable? They are on vacation for the next 3 weeks and I won't be able to resolve until then. Not sure what I should do.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is another photo....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ridiculous! You did not buy seconds. The material appears unstable. Regardless of what they will claim, I would want the solid, undamaged cabinets I paid them for.

Terrible quality control. Good grief.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Funbiz, NOT acceptable! Who manufactures your cabinets?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Take 'em back. Period.
Stop payment on anything you can.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Allow me to respectfully disagree with the above posters.

Were I your contractor, I would offer to repair the damaged cabinets. If you refused, I would terminate our agreement immediately. I would much rather take a small beating on the front end of an unreasonable customer than a large one later on.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Easy fix on-site. I am with Tre....fix them and hang them

The material is not unstable, it is flakeboard..easily chips, splits and breaks during assembly, shipping and install....exactly the reason we have switched to maple ply exclusively

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've put in more than a few particle frameless cabinets (including my own kitchen) over the years- spanning 3 different manufacturers. I have not once had anything like that, but all three were quality makers. Using quality flakeboard, proper construction design that should not happen.

My guess would be that the back panel is just a tad too large or thick or the maker over tightened clamps during assembly-any of those puts undo pressure on the dado which is a bit close to the edge for my taste.
From the looks of the tolerance at the edge in top photo I'd expect these could be standard for the maker. What brand?

That said it is an easy enough job site fix so long as the bottom photo is not an exposed end. If that is an exposed end it needs replacement, Otherwise-If properly glued it will be stronger than original and the cabinets will be stable once installed.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"The material is not unstable, it is flakeboard..easily chips, splits and breaks during assembly, shipping and install....exactly the reason we have switched to maple ply exclusively"

Any material cut with the same dado that cabinet has to accommodate the rear panel will suffer the same fate. Plywood would not necessarily be any stronger with this detail. Shoulda used a rabbet.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Just got my kitchen remodel photographed by a prof. What a difference!
For some reason a couple of the pics double posted....
Tamara Hadji
Any good, light-weight cookware out there?
I'm really not complaining. I cook on All-Clad and...
what's an acceptable level of "off"
cabinets are going in need to know what's ok with regard...
Do upper super Susan shelves obstruct view?
The 42" tall upper corner cabinet was drilled...
What are your thoughts on Ikea Sektion base cabinets?
I've commented here over and over that since this little...
Sponsored Products
Twist Indoor/Outdoor LED Wall Sconce by Modern Forms
$248.50 | Lumens
Top Knobs - Twist Knob 1 3/8 Inch - Pewter - M437
$9.72 | PlumbTile
Small Single Bowl TruGranite Sink
MR Direct Sinks and Faucets
Aviary Birdcage Decorative Shelf
Ballard Designs
18 inch 120V xenon connector cord
$10.30 | PLFixtures
Fresca Mezzo Gray Oak Modern Bathroom Vanity w/ Medicine Cabinet
Hudson Reed
Guild Master 14 x 30 Round Top Display Cabinet
Pre-owned Free Standing Metal Cabinets Custom Wood Top Pair
$400.00 | Chairish
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™