Help! Unhappy With New Cabinets

michael86July 22, 2010

I have been a reader of this forum for months now and it's been a big help to me in renovating my kitchen.

After much anticipation, I just received my new kitchen cabinets, maple with a nutmeg stain. The problem is I'm not happy with the way they look. Specifically, the stain is very uneven or blotchy, light in some areas, darker in others. I did alot of shopping around until I picked these out and expected this to some degree but now that I see it on much larger pieces and on a grander scale, I'm disappointed. Right now they are on my living room floor waiting to be installed. Maybe once they are installed along with the granite and backsplash, my opinion will change but right now I'm not optimistic.

I can't return them as technically there's nothing wrong with them -- this is how they are supposed to look. Do I have any other options? Refacing, Restaining? I know this is crazy to consider with brand new cabinets but right now I have this sick feeling in my stomach that I made a very expensive mistake.

Has this happened to anyone? Any feedback is much appreciated.


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I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. I think alot may depend on where you purchased your cabinets. Is it a major manufacturer? Big Box store? Small cabinet maker? Do some investigation before you consider spending more money on change.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:25PM
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It would be helpful to see some pictures. Is it the stain or did the manufacturer use pieces of wood with a lot of color and grain variation?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:30PM
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There are several of us on this forum that were unpleasantly shocked at first sight of our cabinets. After paint and countertops, I can't think of one person that remained unhappy. Once they're installed I hope you feel differently. If the stain, color or grain is a little busy, you can adjust several things in the room to work it out. For instance, if they have a lot of variation in color or grain, you can err on the side of simple for a backsplash.
I loved everything I ordered for my new house, until it was delivered. In person I hated it all. Once installed, I loved it again. It's all just a very expensive roller coaster ride!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:52PM
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I originally thought that my cabs were too red, but once they were all in, it was OK. Like rookie said, many people have expressed doubt on the arrival -- and the installation of said cabs, until all the puzzle pieces were put together. Then, it all falls into place.

Except for someone who had a big old gorilla glazed handprint on the inside of a cabinet door. And I think that got changed out, as well.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:56PM
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I have maple cabinets with a similar color stain and mine are also unevenly colored. One door really bothered me at first because it was noticeably darker then the one next to it. They were installed in December of 07.

You know what? I don't notice it anymore and no one as ever mentioned it or commented on it. Many people have told me that they like them and like the color.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Are you certain that they look how they are supposed to? I had my cabinets installed about 2 weeks ago and they had to replace several of the doors and draw faces, when the replacement pieces came in they were awful. On the new pieces the glaze was dark and splotchy. Besides not matching the original pieces they were ugly. My KD thinks that they didn't seal (i forget the terminology he used) the wood after it was stained and before they applied the glaze. Now I'm waiting for another round of replacement parts......

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:59PM
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My husband really disliked our cabinetry initially. After closer examination, what he really disliked was that they were piled up in front of his TV where his couch used to be before we decided to gut half the house. Once they were unpacked and installed, he loved them. He loves his couch even more now!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:09PM
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Maple wood is hard to stain and does take unevenly, however you should have some recourse with the company warranty. I must say that once they are installed in a bigger since they unevern splotches won't be as noticeable. Perhaps just looking at them eye level too verus on the wall will make a difference. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:16PM
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I felt this way at first with my white cabinets. In the showroom they looked off white. In my very bright, light kitchen, they looked stark white! I am now used to them. At this point you have to install your cabinets. Take pictures and post them here. You might be over reacting as we all do. I think the forum will come up with some good ideas for you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Oh Michael,that is terrible. I'm sorry you feel that way, I know exactly what you mean, I had a similar experience with a huge custom wall unit, the color was just all wrong to me. To this day it still bothers me, but everyone else thinks it looks great. Is there some way you can request to return the pieces that are most upsetting to you? Tell them you are very unhappy, maybe they'll understand? But like everyone else suggested, once everything is in, I'm sure it will look fine. Maybe pick some really gorgeous tile and paint color and make that the focus of the room!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:38PM
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We also have maple cabinets with nutmeg stain. We had two cabinet sides that just did not look right... the company ended up replacing the upper cabinet and sending us an end panel to put on the side of the pantry.

There's a link below to the photo I took of the blotchiness in the side of the pantry when it was first installed. Because it's right by the sliding glass door to the backyard, it was really noticeable.

I didn't even have to push -- the KD who ordered the cabinets for us took one look and said she was calling the cabinet company. They sent out a regional representative a day or two later, and he volunteered to replace the one cabinet and order a new end panel for the pantry, free of charge.

Here is a link that might be useful: our blotchy pantry panel

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Thanks everyone for the comments. I think I'm going to do as suggested and wait until everything is installed before rushing to judgment. I'll post pics as the project progresses.

In the meantime, this is a sample pic of the cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Hi Michael86,

You are not alone in your concerns when first opening
the boxes to your new cabinets. I can not tell from the
link you provided. It seems like a cloudy stain but that
may be how they are suppossed to look.

Here are some links from others on their cabinet joys
and stresses, you can see you are not alone and perhaps
you can see how they solved this.

There are solutions, ideas and ways to change them but
before you do let see what was your original idea. Do
you have an image of what you wanted? That way others
on GW can try to help come up with ways to create
your dream kitchen. Don't give up there are some great
minds on GW and together we can help you solve this.


Freaking over cabinet glaze

Thomasville Cabinets arrived...hmmmmm

Anguish over cabinets

ACK! Kraftmaid Cabs installed today - another problem

What would you do, cabinets are chipped?!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Uggh. Cabinets not quite what we expected...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 6:19AM
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I asked my DH about your problem and showed him the pic. He says, unfortunately, maple is by its nature hard to stain evenly. Blotchiness is going to show up as the wood grain is not one uniform color. One way to avoid that would have been to seal the wood but then the stain may not have penetrated as well as would be desired. The same thing can happen with oak. He is retired now but used to be a painting contractor but worked mainly in schools, bridges, water towers-not homes. He refinished our oak cabinets and you can see slight differences among the cabinet doors and drawers but that effect will diminish once they are installed and spread out around your kitchen. Maybe take a look at the Finished Kitchens site and check out maple kitchens. Look at dalerb66's kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:28AM
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We had the company we ordered through come out after we installed and they reordered about 7 doors due to finish issues. One of the new ones is getting replaced as the color doesn't match the rest of the cabinets. They told us they would do this when we ordered, as if it was something that is done all the time. We have honey stained Maple. Is it all of the doors or just some of them?

I can relate on the very expensive mistake. I should have picked a different countertop, and if I can't figure out how to make it work we may rip it out around the sink/cooking area and put it something else. So far it's doing fine on the peninsula...but ugh, what an awful feeling.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Thanks chris45ny. And by the way, I'm from NY also. And thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 2:57AM
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Check your cabinet warranty, some problems have to be reported within 30 days.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 9:01AM
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