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Old 11-18-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Hi, I need help! We have new kitchen cabinets made of hard maple. We chose a solvent based stain, ("sylene"?) which looked perfect on the sample. Told the contractor and he made all the door faces without showing them to us first... even lacquered them. So they are on now, and it's way too orange. It's not the same color as the sample at all! The sample was lighter and more of a honey natural cherry look. The pictures I attached show the doors which are too dark and orange-y, and there's also a picture of the trim over where the microwave will go. I can at least probably live with that shade, but the problem is it doesn't match all my door faces! See the trim color? I like that ok, but this is sooo orange when you walk in the room I'm in tears.
The whole kitchen is off, though there are spots I like that are actually the correct color. He lacquered the cabinets with a hard based conversion varnish lacquer. Guys, help me please. The stain's solvent based (*sylene*) is what he said.
We saved our money for YEARS for our dream kitchen and my husband I are so disappointed. The contractor is independent with a sick wife and we realize now we made a grave mistake in hiring him. His work is even shoddy. There's no way he's going to fix this color for us.
At this point, the contractor is almost done and cannot even the cut right sized hole for our sink in the counter, so I don't want to overwhelm him with my disappointment and want to try to fix myself or hire someone competent to fix it. Any ideas on how to tone down the cabinet doors and lighten them up a bit? The doors are all a shade too dark (bright). The trim is great but what am I going to do ?????? I'm miserable as this is the heart of our home. I have a lot of pictures if anyone wants to see more detail of what i have vs. what i want. help help help. thank you, Paula & Joe
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:15 PM   #2
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


If he stained a sample piece of the same type and color of wood, and you approved it, why on earth should he eat the labor of re-doing it. Especially if you supplied the stain yourself.

I wont make any assumptions, but by any chance was his bid a good bit lower than others you got?

The whole deal sounds very familiar...just like the millions of other stories in which customers shop on price alone. The guy underbid because he doesnt have a bunch of experience tackling a job of that type, he gets hired....realizes that he is WAY behind the schedule he had in his head and is now in jeopardy of working for about $7 an hour, so he starts hurrying to get done, The quality of work suffers and now he is being called out on the quality and is considering disappearing.

If my understanding is correct, you shouldnt hold him accountable for the color problem. What you should do is bite the bullet and call a professional wood finisher to do it right, and expect to pay accordingly. Dont use the original contractors staining price as a comparison to what the pro will charge. They are two different ballgames.

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Old 11-18-2007, 07:12 PM   #3
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Did you have the complete stain sample with the clear coat or only a stain. Clear coating always changes things. The doors are wood and wood is a natural product with differences and imperfection that can account for shades being off from one door to the next. If these are both the case and the work is kind of shoty I think senditall hit the nail on the head, sorry
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:21 PM   #4
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Is the problem only on the doors?

They say a camera doesn't lie, but they are not reliable when showing paint and stain.

It appears that there are two differnt colored stains. Very apparent. One has a lot of brown the other is red.

At any rate, the doors can be stripped and refinshed.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:20 AM   #5
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


If the guy screwed up the color, why on earth should the customer have to pay? It was his job to bid it right in the first place, it's not the customer's concern if he makes a dime.

Standard practice is to present the customer with color boards which they sign off on. Many shops leave the customer with a board. It's certainly normal to have variations in color on wood, but it's unacceptable to have the frames one color and the doors another if they're supposed to be one color.

Could you show pictures of the entire kitchen or at least of a wall of cabinets?
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:22 AM   #6
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


I have to say, unless the picture is decieving, the stain job on those doors looks fairly unprofessional. It appears to have been wiped on to a door that was not properly sanded, and the stain used appears to be an oil stain. Not known for an even, natural look.

There is nothing you can do to lighten a finish, short of sanding and refinishing. (You'll need to sand off at least some of the stain, which will be difficult around the cove moulding surrounding your panels.) You can however adjust the color of the door without refinishing. If you want to take out some red, you can have a finisher spray on a compatible green stain. Something that looks kelly green will actually not look green when applied, but will give the finish more yellow/golden tone, and less orange/red. It WILL however slightly darken the finish. There's no getting around that. Everything you add will block more light, and darken the finish slightly.

I agree with both PK and senditall above. The finisher should be responsible for providing a product that matches the sample boards he gave you. But you have to consider whether this guy has the skill to be able to fix this. If this finish job was the best he could do, you might be squeezing blood from a stone to try to get a better fix out of him. He just might not be able to do it, and even if he's willing to try, he might mess it up more trying.

Your best bet might be to darken the face frames to match the doors, and leave it at that. Try to step back and realize that in a couple months a minor shade difference will not be noticable to you if the whole kitchen matches. Being this close to it is more upsetting, but as long as you get things to match, it'll look fine in a few weeks when you've forgotten that the color you wanted was slightly lighter/yellower/whatever.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:25 AM   #7
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


When you say you chose the stain, and it looked perfect on the sample, do you mean that it looked perfect on a manufacturers sample at the store? Or that the cabinet finisher did a sample board for you?

When I just reread your post it sounded like perhaps you did not get a sample. Just relied on what you saw at the store. If that's the case, then it's not at all suprising that the cabinets don't match your expectations. How can the cabinet finisher match a sample that he didn't prepare, and he doesn't even know how it was done, or what it was top-coated with?

Last edited by NateHanson; 11-19-2007 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:20 AM   #8
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHanson View Post
I have to say, unless the picture is decieving, the stain job on those doors looks fairly unprofessional.
i was thinking the same thing
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:49 AM   #9
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


I think that it's the person selling himself as a cabinetmaker who has to provide a sample of what the finished product looks like. He is the person who is supposed to have the expertise, not the customer, and should have sense enough to establish the finished color. Just doing his best isn't enough. Even if the customer told him what stain to use based on chips from the hardware store, he's still responsible for doing color samples and getting those approved by the customer and then making the entire piece reasonably consistent.

I've had instances where colors didn't match. Sometimes you get lazy or try out a new product or try and fix a mistake and end up making a mess out of things. I once accidentally sprayed the face frames with lacquer and the doors with poly. I didn't notice it in the shop but once installed it was obvious. I can understand the dilemma from the contractor's point. This guy might not have the ability or cash to fix the problem and that's unfortunate for everybody.
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Old 11-19-2007, 12:17 PM   #10
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Did it get poly already... if not... may be try to make the color go another extreme such as real dark... that may be better than orange.... it is too late to do other things, sanding it all out is too painful...
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:04 PM   #11
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


There is no easy way to "tone down the cabinet doors and lighten them up a bit"
The project would involve completely stripping them and refinishing them

They could be painted a lighter color with slightly less work
But that would involve using an oil based primer and two coats of premium enamel (oil based or waterborne)
Also no small project

Depending on the exact wording in the contract you signed, you may have a fair amount of recourse
If all is as it appears to be, there's no way you should bear the cost of refinishing them

If you would like opinions on the language of the contract, and educated opinions on how to proceed, please don't hesitate to post up the pertinent parts of the document(s), or Private Message them to me if you'd prefer not to post them up
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:23 PM   #12
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Quote:
Originally Posted by PK. View Post
I think that it's the person selling himself as a cabinetmaker who has to provide a sample of what the finished product looks like. He is the person who is supposed to have the expertise, not the customer, and should have sense enough to establish the finished color. Just doing his best isn't enough. Even if the customer told him what stain to use based on chips from the hardware store, he's still responsible for doing color samples and getting those approved by the customer and then making the entire piece reasonably consistent.
I agree in principle. That's the way it's supposed to work. Personally I'm very anal about my finish samples. I try to use a scrap from the actual boards I'm using for the piece of furniture, and I carefully note each step of finishing that I've done on the sample (whether I used oil after stain, which top coat, how many, etc).

But if that's not the case here - if the customer and finisher didn't use samples in their discussion then they're really both suffering from their own inexperience, and they're both at fault. I hate to say it, but it looks to me that you've gotten in with a novice cabinetmaker/finisher, and there's not a lot you can get out of him as to a resolution. Yes you could sue him, and if you have a contract you might win. Then you could get your money back, but from your post, it sounds like you've got sympathy for the guy, and that you aren't likely to take this course. Short of that I don't know what he can do for you. He can't lighten the cabinets. The best he can (and should) do, is make the faceframes match the doors better. Once they match, I think you'll be happier, and hopefully both of you can move on from this mess.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:45 PM   #13
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Help! Our contractor made our kitchen cabinet door stain TOO ORANGE!


Those are just two different colored stains, in the top picture. The pine just wouldn't make the color look that much different.

If the stain was just wiped properly, the job itself would look a lot better. Looks like it was just painted on, to make it darker because the maple wouldn't take it like the pine did. Still, it's not the same as the stain on the pine.

In the second picture, the pic on the right does appear do be brown, but not like the brown on the pine. A lick of the finger applied to it would have showed the red before finishing. Looks like the painter was trying to color match. But it didn't work. How to fix it? You can't. All together now," We can make them darker, but we can't make them lighter".

They need to be stripped, or sanded with a machne.
If it's just doors, it might be a diy project. Once stripped, we can tell you how to match the color you want, by using the samples at your paint store.

Pic is hard maple honey stained.
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Last edited by joewho; 11-20-2007 at 12:49 AM.
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