DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Damage to Cabinet Filler - Hard to Replace

1000 Views 23 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Daph P
Hello, we just had new kitchen cabinets installed, and due to a mistake in the plans, which did not provide for a wide enough filler at the start of the cabinets, the upper wall cabinets would not have been centered around the window. So my contractor used a 2.5" piece of the soffit board to put between the microwave and wall cabinet to the right, with a piece of filler on the front. That was fine with us, but one of the screws from the wall cabinet went into the filler at an angle, pushing the wood out and creating a bump on the filler. He says that, because of the way it was installed and how it's attached to the soffit board behind it, he can't replace it without taking the cabinets down (and crown molding and tile have already been installed). So he reset the screw, pushed the bump in so it's indented, and filled the indent with wax filler stick. It does not look good.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to fix? Placing another piece of filler on top would probably block the cabinet door from opening and look weird. We haven't tried the touch-up paint yet because the match isn't great on pieces of scrap and not sure how it'll adhere to the wax in the hole. These are Kraftmaid cabinets, and they do sell quarts of touch up paint, so maybe the whole strip could be painted after removing the wax and using wood filler? I'd appreciate any ideas. Thanks.

Brown Wood Rectangle Gas Wood stain

Rectangle Wood Material property Communication Device Tints and shades
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
765 Posts
If that's a filler piece that"s damaged, I would think it can be removed and replaced.. without dropping the cabinets or the crown. Not that it"s easy, because there's probably a fastener that will be tough to deal with...but probably doable. Need to special order another filler to accomplish this. Need to remove the bottom moulding temporarily, as well.

With new filler on hand, the microwave is removed temporarily, and the left door. Then filler is clamped in place to the cabinet, and it's properly predrilled (this time) and screwed together.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,926 Posts
If glue wasn't used between backer and front piece, removing the front may take time but whole things can be removed in small pieces. Drilling it out, example, with a spade bit. Even if glue, using a chisel. It should be on cabinet installer. That is not acceptable for new kitchen.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for these suggestions. Our contractor hasn't been helpful. Needless to say, it was a mistake working with him. We're bringing in a couple of other carpenters over the next week to see what suggestions they have and whether they can fix it. We'll discuss all your ideas with them. Very much appreciated.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Be very careful with second contractors. First, you must give the first one the opportunity to make corrections.
Thank you. The first contractor has said he's done everything he can do, and that it would be too hard to remove the filler piece and replace it. So we're meeting with at least 2, maybe 3 other carpenters who were recommended to us.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tell the contractor he has two choices: install the cabinets to brand new condition like the contrwct calls for, or offer a price reduction. I would propose 50%, you might propose more.
When you say 50%, do you mean the portion of labor for the cabinet installation or the entire job? They demo'd an old kitchen, did tile work, some electric and plumbing, closed up an old door to the deck with new siding on the outside, painted, and a few other things. Most of their work was acceptable.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,926 Posts
Obviously not that kind of percentage of whole job. I would call for $1000 (I pulled this out of thin air, may depend on your area) and if contractor reimburses that amount, accept it and try negotiate with another carpenter. It will take time. If you supply/have one already, a replacement filler, less time. A contractor will be thinking in terms of everything, including time spent to get extra filler. It will hurt to pay for all that when, technically, mistake wasn't his but still have to maintain some relationship with that carpenter.
You spent your good money but contractor has his own life to think about. It's not necessary that you can't agree.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,590 Posts
When you say 50%,
That was slightly sarcastic. You should propose a huge credit amount, enough to cover your disappointment, plus the worst case cost to make it right, plus a little more. Ideally the original contractor will fix it. If he has to remove tile, remove crown, etc … too bad. That’s the risk of being a contractor.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
Per OP post "He says that, because of the way it was installed and how it's attached to the soffit board behind it, ...."
I would think he knows the trouble it would cause. I would pay him his full fee and thank him for his work. As you say, the design was faulty. He had to devise a work around.
Then call a furniture refinisher. They are the expert for this job. Then be happy with your new home. None of them are perfect.
I think threatening your contractor is totally uncalled for and petty. I just wouldn't be that person. That would definitely cause me more grief than a bump on my cabinet. And don't ask contactor to pay for refinisher either. Some of the risks of homeownership has to be on the homeowner.
(When people do work for me, I just want to hug them. I want to be their favorite customer so the next time I call I get priority service. And when I need a different type of contractor, I ask them to give me a referral to their friend who does that type of work. It is best to have a good reputation as a customer. )
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,590 Posts
Per OP post "He says that, because of the way it was installed and how it's attached to the soffit board behind it, ...."
I would think he knows the trouble it would cause. I would pay him his full fee and thank him for his work. As you say, the design was faulty. He had to devise a work around.
Then call a furniture refinisher. They are the expert for this job. Then be happy with your new home. None of them are perfect.
I think threatening your contractor is totally uncalled for and petty. I just wouldn't be that person. That would definitely cause me more grief than a bump on my cabinet. And don't ask contactor to pay for refinisher either. Some of the risks of homeownership has to be on the homeowner.
This from the OP indicates an oops with the screw. Installer-caused error.
“one of the screws from the wall cabinet went into the filler at an angle, pushing the wood out and creating a bump on the filler.”
The contractor needs to make it right.
“Some of the risks of homeownership has to be on the homeowner.”
Right, but the HO has insurance for risks, in addition to reserves for normal maintenance. This event was caused by the contractor, the owner should not have to pay additional to correct it. Conversely to your comment, the contractor has to assume the risk of doing business.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Per OP post "He says that, because of the way it was installed and how it's attached to the soffit board behind it, ...."
I would think he knows the trouble it would cause. I would pay him his full fee and thank him for his work. As you say, the design was faulty. He had to devise a work around.
Then call a furniture refinisher. They are the expert for this job. Then be happy with your new home. None of them are perfect.
I think threatening your contractor is totally uncalled for and petty. I just wouldn't be that person. That would definitely cause me more grief than a bump on my cabinet. And don't ask contactor to pay for refinisher either. Some of the risks of homeownership has to be on the homeowner.
(When people do work for me, I just want to hug them. I want to be their favorite customer so the next time I call I get priority service. And when I need a different type of contractor, I ask them to give me a referral to their friend who does that type of work. It is best to have a good reputation as a customer. )
We didn't threaten our contractor and not sure where you got that idea. We're having discussions with him about the problem and how to correct it. We are holding back some of the money and will use it to pay someone else to fix it if necessary, which we think is appropriate and the contractor agreed.

The design error in the plan wasn't the cause. The contractor said he could address it by using the soffit board and filler to center the window between the wall cabinets, or we could have chosen for the window to be off center. We chose the former on his recommendation. The installer put the screw in diagonally and damaged the filler. We waited 18 years to update our kitchen, it was expensive, and we don't think there should be a hole filled with touch-up wax on the face of our new white cabinets. We're good customers, willing to pay for skill and quality service, we're nice to the people we work with, and we have long relationships with service professionals of all kinds. But I would not work with this contractor again. This wasn't the only problem we had with him, just the only one I posted about.

I appreciate your suggestion and that of MTN Remodel about furniture refinishers/restoration experts. I've gathered some names and ordered a quart of the cabinet paint from Kraftmaid, though the customer reviews says it's not a great match. I'm hoping that's more of an issue when people do spot touch-ups, and that the match will be good enough if we get a pro to fill that hole and paint the whole strip from top to bottom. We'll have to test it on a piece of scrap first.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
A lot of people were saying things here that sound like threats to me including not paying his contract amount. Interesting I also have Kraftmaid cabinets so I am well aware of their very high cost and quality. And interestingly I have 4 mistakes where the contractor filled with wood putty that doesn't quite match. I didn't mention it to him because I am sure he was already aware of it. Life is too short for me to underappreciate people that are helping me to the best of their ability. That is just how I live.
BTW, Kraftmaid included a bit of touch up paint with my cabinets. I don’t know if they are still doing that and if they did with yours if someone has it. What did a quart cost?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
I stopped reading at the 50% comments.

You can buy replacement filler pieces from the manufacturer to match. Buy a piece, hire a cabinet guy to install it. Been there, done that.
Where it gets hard is with older or no-name cabinets. There's 1500 shades of white, been there, done that too.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top