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terryb 12-12-2007 05:18 PM

French Doors That don't Match!
Hi all-

I'm new here, but no stranger to diy home improvements. However, I do have a dilemma I can't seem to solve.

In 2005, I hired a contractor to extend my kitchen out 10'. In addition to the extra needed space in the kitchen, my husband and I also used the space that used to be our deck to transform into a small sunroom adjacent to the kitchen. We included in our contract, French doors to separate the sunroom from the kitchen.

We had our contractor purchase the doors (along with all the other doors and windows needed for our project). They are a standard pair of 3' x 6.8' wood frame single glazed interior french doors. When the doors were installed the left hand door was clearly warped, and my contractor had the lumber yard order a new one. At least 5-6 months pass before the new door arrives (the lumber yard kept messing up the order - wrong size, etc. according to my contractor). Finally ecstatic to get the door replaced, we did not give it another thought, and busy with work and death of a close relative,and a family illness all at once; long story short we could not finish (stain the door) until Sept. of 2007. Finally thrilled to be done with the project, my husband installs the handles and shuts the two doors. However- they don't match! The door that was replaced by the lumber yard has different dimensions, stiles, kick panel is off by 2"- never noticed this since the glass was wrapped in plastic and we never could close the doors- they had no handles!

Have been calling my contractor since end of Sept. and having a hard time getting him to do anything- he says the manager of the lumber yard won't
give in. However I paid for two doors that are supposed to match and didn't get them. Does anyone have any suggestions? I really don't want to shell out for another door.
Thanks in advance.

Rehabber 12-12-2007 06:12 PM

Try small claims court. Take pictures with good close ups that clearly show the problem:furious:

terryb 12-12-2007 08:34 PM

Thanks, Rehabber!
I'm thinking along the same lines... it's just good to have your thoughts confirmed!


ez-e 12-12-2007 11:39 PM

If the contractor won't help you out, maybe go straight to the lumber yard. Take some pics with the digi cam and show the guy who originally did the ordering. If he won't help you go to the next guy up the food chain, if he won't keep going up the company. Most of these places don't want bad pr and if you go in and confront them directly they are much more likely to help you out.

AtlanticWBConst. 12-13-2007 05:27 AM

Sometimes the reasons for door "missmatch" like that is because:

1.) Lumber yard switches door suppliers.
2.) Some large door companies will have their stock produced from different plants in different regions.
3.) Some door companies purchase their stock from different smaller manufacturer's in different regions.

Obviously, you realize at this point that the only way to get this all sorted out is to replace both doors, or pick the one you like best, and bring it to a cabinet/wood working shop and have them duplicate it.

As far as who pays for all that,....that is another head-ache.

A good suggestion mentioned here is to go to the lumber yard and speak to the head honcho about the situation. Possibly put in a formal letter with pictures. Whatever you do, talk to the guy that installed it all first. Let him know what you plan on doing, so that he can make sure that he is telling you "Everything", and didn't "accidently" leave out some pertinent information or additional facts ....

AtlanticWBConst. 12-13-2007 05:34 AM

Personally, If we were the contractors, our first thought would be towards our client and their satisfaction.

We would fix the problem (install new doors) at our cost, and make the customer happy. End of that story = a happy customer.

Then we would go back and hash-out the issue of the missmatched doors with the lumberyard/supplier on our own.

IMHO: It shouldn't have to fall on the client's shoulders.

terryb 12-14-2007 09:13 AM

Thank you to all who replied. I will try to contact the lumber yard first, after I speak to my contractor and let him know I am going ahead with this, without his help. :mad: I too, think the contractor should make it all right and then take it up with the lumber yard on his own, but it doesn't seem to be that way.
If that doesn't work then I'll be filing a small claims case.

Joe Carola 12-14-2007 04:37 PM

The contractor supplied the doors, his lumberyard screwed up the order. It's still his responsibility to give them the right door no matter what way you look at it. The contractor should pay for another door and satisfy the customer and work it out with the lumberyard., period!

The customer shouldn't have to solve this problem. If the contractors employees screw up, does the customer have to deal with the, he has to make it right because it's his company.

jiggyjack 12-14-2007 09:46 PM

I hate to point this out but you are talking about a job that is 2 years old. People get transfered, quit, die, etc... This could be part of your problem.

Right or wrong from the GC's standpoint they are going "Why did it take 2 years to see this problem?". So from their viewpoint how do they know they are responsible? and how do they they know you did not do something to alter the door or the opening?.

Just playing Devil's Advocate.

I do think they should make it right though, just trying to get you to see the other side.

Good luck with getting it fixed.

Tscarborough 12-15-2007 09:49 PM

The lumberyard is not going to help you. Your only recourse is the contractor, and if it has been 2 years, good luck with that. You have to exercise due diligence and common sense, and the fact that you paid the contractor in full, AND 2 years have elapsed do not put you in a good bargaining position.

Tscarborough 12-15-2007 09:58 PM

In the masonry industry, there is often a label applied to brick and block. It states, "Installation implies acceptance". What that means is that if a brick company delivers the wrong brick to your job, they will make it right, up to the point you lay the brick in the wall. Their liability ends there.

Your case is similar, in that it is not a hidden defect, and a reasonable person would be expected to notice it as soon as it was installed. It is your duty to inspect the contracted work and approve before payment.

AtlanticWBConst. 12-16-2007 07:28 AM


Originally Posted by jiggyjack (Post 80704)
I hate to point this out but you are talking about a job that is 2 years old...

Actually, the job was started 2 years ago, but the final installation of the door panel occured much later. Tho, that is the case, the OP had circumstances that caused them to "not notice" the difference in the door slabs for quite some time. I agree, the stretch of time hurts the issue considerably.

Tscarborough 12-16-2007 08:39 AM

I was mainly explaining why the lumberyard is not going to be able to help you, BTW.

panthony 12-16-2007 02:22 PM


Stay out of court for now. The last thing you need is the stress of a court case...not to mention that small claims is a hassle anyway.

Fix the whatever you have to to get the doors to match. Even if that means replacing both of them.

Take pictures...lots of, during the fix and the completed job. all reciepts and record of payments made for the fix.

Do not continue to pursue the original contractor or the supply yard to fix the mistake...they are allready not willing to help you....go get help from another source.

Once you have fixed the doors and have taken account of all the costs to repair the damage....then file a suit in small claims to recover your costs. Arm yourself with the proper data to support your claim. Don't guess at anything and above all keep the stress level really really low.

Pete A
Professional Building Designer

terryb 12-16-2007 07:46 PM

WOW! I never thought I would get this kind of response from all of you guys!

I have to admit, maybe the best way to go is panthony's idea, it's just that it's getting cold out there now and we can't re- finish any new doors probably until the spring! Perhaps it's worth the chance. Maybe if we get a break in the weather- we are in central NJ. Maybe we can evacuate the house and re-finish them in the basement? Thank you for your insight, and excellent advise, panthony.

And yes, I understand what you're trying to illustrate here, Tscarborough, however as far as I am concerned,(imho) bricks are not the best analogy to this situation (you're talking to someone whose Dad was a tile/terrazzo guy for one of the largest tile/terrazzo co.'s in New York! :laughing:) If there's anything I know about it's tile, brick and terrazzo. I know that anything can be changed! (My Dad had to do it.)

If you are doing a brick job and you start with a certain type of brick and let's say you find the rest defective, you're not going to go ahead and try to finish with the job by using a different style, color or size of brick- it HAS to match. Same thing with French Doors, even more so because they are not as permanent, as let's say, brick or windows. I did not personally order the doors, my contractor did.

This is the issue: Two identical doors were ordered. By the time my GC installed them one was badly warped. Many months later, he finally replaced it with what everyone assumed was the same door.

I paid him in full when the job was complete with the knowledge everything was done to my satisfaction, that much I'll admit. But - and I know this is a
big BUT - I honestly did not notice - and he installed the door- he closed them so that they met, to check they were not warped - HE DID NOT NOTICE THE FACT THEY WERE MISMATCHED EITHER! I TRUSTED him to order the correct door.

Not entirely my fault- I am even willing to pay for half. Still no response from my GC.

Anyway, many thanks again to all for all your ideas and support.:thumbup:

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