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Kitchen Cabinet Install Is A Mess!

Emme Warren
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I've never been able to afford any kind of renovation before this particular project, and so I was very excited for this renovation. I've got a small 3/2 rambler with an L-shaped kitchen that consists of only 10 cabinets (2 of them bridges). Because the house can be dark, I decided to replace the stock-sized old 80's-style oak cabinets with white shaker cabinets, no changes to the layout. My estimates came in at 3 to 4 days max for demo/install, including the counter and between $9 and $17k. My late dad having been a GC, I kept in mind "you get what you pay for" and also to make sure everyone was licensed and insured. I went middle-of-the road with someone who seemed legit, showed me a lot of photos of his supposed work at large "fancy" houses. I gave a $4k deposit for the cabinets, which I knew from other quotes would be about $2200.

First, he showed up with a bunch of cabinets not on our layout, both in size and design (eg a 12" 3-drawer base cab was there for some reason and none of my cabinets were slimmer that 15"). He didn't go over any changes with me so I didn't know there were any changes until he'd unboxed and built them. He tried to tell me that was all the cabinet store had, then that the sizes on the layout wouldn't fit, then that they were out of the box so I had to keep them. He put them up on the walls upside down, was trying to put spacers in to make a bunch of 12" wall cabinets fit the space then left for the weekend, upset because nothing was fitting. In 5 days he'd only hung 1 base and 1 wall cabinet. I decided to fire him, to come take his cabinets, refund me $2k and keep the rest, but his wife begged me to let them finish the job. And so I caved.

We're over 3 weeks into the project that everyone gave me a 3-4 day turnaround on with no work being done for some reason this week while waiting for the counter guy. I started to look at the work and noticed that aside from no finish work being done (filling in holes, repairing chips, etc), he'd cut a huge square out of the back of the sink cabinet, there are empty screw holes everywhere, the base cabinets that are next to each other aren't level, but most concerning to me is that the wall cabinets don't appear to have been hung on studs in more than one place. One in particular, 15" wide, only has a screw angled up in the top left corner and in the bottom left corner as well. there are no screws into anything on the right side. This appears the same in other cabinets - some only have one screw off-center top or bottom holding them on. I don't see that he used blocking or toggle bolts or anything other than black screws. I don't think this was done correctly, and with my dad having passed away last year, I don't have him to ask and I watched him install lots of kitchens over the years. From your experience, is what he did wrong?

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