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Eye on the
Silver Lining
posted
I had my cabinets refaced with red birch in April. I already have water stains on the tops of the cabinet doors that sit directly below the sink. When I mentioned this to the cab folks who did the work (they haven’t returned yet to do the punch list, I’ve been waiting for a vent to be installed), they indicated everything was sealed and it was probably my fault.. I do wipe down everything after I do dishes, but I’m not always home, and I have a small child and a husband who don’t necessarily think about wiping cabinet door tops after dishes.

We have a boat with woodwork outside. I seal it every few years, and do not have any waterstain problem. I know it’s a different wood and sealant, but am I wrong to think kitchen cabinets should be sealed against water stains?
They mentioned about wood being “thirsty” but if wood is sealed, doesn’t that block “thirst”? It’s only been in for 5 months, much of that time we’ve been on our boat, and not used the kitchen in our home.

The last email I received from them was actually pretty unprofessional, and I’m seriously debating on whether or not to have them back in my home. They’d already agreed to do the punch list, so would I be within my rights to hire another finishing carpenter to do the work and bill them the balance?
Thanks for any advice/thoughts.


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"Trust, but verify."
 
Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If they offered to come back and attempt to fix the problem , they are probably not going to pay for you to use somebody else .
 
Posts: 1866 | Location: The deep South | Registered: February 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Good point. But per the last correspondence, I don’t exude enough “positivity” and they are putting me on notice. And they aren’t offering to fix it, simply assess and decide. Roll Eyes


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Unmanned Writer
Picture of LS1 GTO
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Sounds like a water soluble sealer was used.

If the effected area is limited, a light sanding with some 400 grit wet n dry to remove the current sealer and a clear, non water based, very lightly brushed on material (like Varethane) might fix the problem.

"Might" because a valid recommendation needs an on-site evaluation and "very light brushing on" means so thin that three or four coats will be needed.









Only in an insane world are the sane considered insane.


 
Posts: 12074 | Location: It was Lat: 33.xxxx Lon: 44.xxxx now it's CA :( | Registered: March 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Thank you for the information and the name brand. I’ll keep this in mind if I refinish it myself. It’s not a huge patch, and it’s on a portion of the edge that’s going against the natural grain of wood-a cross-section. Interestingly, the section of wood it’s dovetailed into didn’t pick up any of the water stain, so it’s just on this one Portion of the edge.


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
Picture of ChuckFinley
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+1 on them probably using an incorrect product.

I had some gates that were damaged by the city. They paid the best regarded woodworker to rebuild them. For some reason he used water-soluble glue on them. Even though it was made from redwoods that he hand picked for quality they rotted away in less than 2 years.

Oddly using a water soluble product outside where it rains didn't end well....




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Posts: 5191 | Location: District 12 | Registered: June 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of mcrimm
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Of course the cabinets should put up with some amount of water. Our cabinets are 19 years old and look like day 1. We don’t walk around with a rag. I call BS.



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Posts: 2796 | Location: Kalispell Montana & Florida’s Emerald Coast for the Winter | Registered: December 24, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Thanks for the input, guys- I’d never had a problem with my old cabinets and it boggled my mind when I asked about the water damage with the new ones and got an unpleasant email in response.
I am open to the idea that things can change (like my old frig that came with the house still runs great, the new one didn’t last more than 10 years and I was told “planned obsolescence”), but I couldn’t fathom a kitchen where water can stain something within the 2 hours I ran out to do errands, and I get told it’s my slovenly kitchen habits. Damn, I wasn’t even here when the last stain happened.


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of cne32507
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quote:
Originally posted by irreverent:
...It’s not a huge patch, and it’s on a portion of the edge that’s going against the natural grain of wood-a cross-section. Interestingly, the section of wood it’s dovetailed into didn’t pick up any of the water stain, so it’s just on this one Portion of the edge.


I assume they supplied new doors. Red Birch is a very tight-grained wood. Sounds like the end grain of the stile (vertical) of a 5-piece door (raised or flat panel) is absorbing water. The rail (horizontal) member does not stain, as it does not absorb the water. Poor sealing of the end grain is the cause. This shouldn't happen.

cne32507 owned and operated an AWI Quality Certified shop.

description quickly copied from the interweb:
"Raised-panel and flat-panel doors typically consist of 5 parts: 2 rails, 2 stiles, and a panel. This is commonly referred to as a 5-piece door.

The stiles are the vertical boards that span the height of the door and the rails are the horizontal boards that fit between the stiles at the top and bottom. The rails and stiles have a groove that the panel fits into for a clean look and to accommodate changes in the size of the panel due to humidity without breaking the door."
 
Posts: 2141 | Location: Hurricane Central | Registered: February 03, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They should fix it. Pull the doors and re-spray the entire door for consistency.
Shouldn't be a big deal.


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Posts: 974 | Location: Idaho Panhandle | Registered: July 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Cne32507: thanks for the correct terminology! Yes, that’s exactly it. The stile is absorbing water, the rail is not, though the water had spanned both portions in the last case.

Lbsid: yes, I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I got a 7 paragraph email which included a lecture on how the wood was 100% guaranteed sealed and perhaps I’d allowed dirty water to sit on it.. there’s plenty more, but suffice to say I’ve come to the conclusion that I hired some immature, easily triggered individuals.

I thought I’d give a young growing business a several thousand dollar job, and it’s turning into a mental shit show because they aren’t being terribly professional. And of course I didn’t do a hold back in April because COVID was making things challenging for everyone and I didn’t want to leave them hanging. I explained that to them, and again, they acted insulted instead of flattered by my trust (not that I needed flattery, but a thanks would have sufficed).

When I was straightforward with them, I’m being treated as though I’m a bully. What’s that saying about if you want to find something to be offended about, you will? Oh...they have.

They are tedious and I just want it over with. I’d hire out but as mentioned by a previous poster, they probably wouldn’t cover it and I’d be out the difference. Never mind that - what other woodworker would want to come in and clean up their loose ends? Lesson learned.

Go with the old pros.

Now we will have to see if they actually show up to do the punch list when they are scheduled, or if my lack of response to their temper tantrum will elicit another tantrum/no show.

Thanks again for all the info, guys, and sorry if I divulged a bit more than you needed to know.


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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35 yrs as a cabinetmaker. Now retired. I personally never had this problem because the woodwork was raw wood and not finished be it stain grade or paint grade. Only problem as on exterior entrance doors when the customer would not prorerly seal the door on all 6(six) surfaces. Especially if they re-sized it to fit. Then started putting a notice on doors about warranty would be voided if not properly sealed. ............ drill sgt.
 
Posts: 423 | Location: denham springs , la | Registered: October 19, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
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quote:
Originally posted by LS1 GTO:
Sounds like a water soluble sealer was used.

Sounds likely to me, too. I'm led to understand more and more contractors are using water-soluble finishes for their quicker dry time and so they don't have to deal with the VOCs in traditional sealers, but I wouldn't think a water-soluble sealer would be appropriate for a surface regularly exposed to water.




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Posts: 18802 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I concur - PPFJ - piss poor finish job.

Built my own kitchen cabinets in 1989. So 30+ years old. Oak with oak veneer panels. Still installed, still in good shape. Highly likely oil based clear/satin finish. Something like Watco. Simple to apply.

If mine have lasted this long....
 
Posts: 1830 | Location: south central Pennsylvania | Registered: November 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Quit staring at my wife's Butt
Picture of XLT
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if they didnt use vinyl sealer it will always do that below a sink area, also if the didnt break the edges meaning they are sharp the sealer will not stick or be very thin leaving a chance for water to penatrate. I'm not judging the way you do house cleaning so don't take it this way.
I did a very high end home but the people where slobs and after dinner they would just dump there leftovers in a pull out trash compactor that had a wood door on it. nothing could have prevented that door from not having the finish come off of it, it was the grosses thing I have ever seen.

ask them what kind of sealer they used if it wasn't vinyl well there's your problem.
 
Posts: 5272 | Registered: February 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Thanks again, guys. They aren’t scheduled to be back til next week so I’ll update then.

I think they used a water- based sealer (I pray that’s different from water-soluble as based and soluble definitely mean two different things in my mind). I have parrots and made them aware of that when we first talked.

XLT, none taken. We aren’t perfect but not the level you describe - I have to admit my 8 yo is still learning, and dishes are part of his chores.. But I can’t believe 2 hours while I was out running errands is all it takes to do this. I guess I do expect more water resistance from kitchen cabinets.

I have a false drawer directly under the length of the sink- above the cabinet tops in question. The false drawer has no water stains as yet, and since these stains are strictly on the tops of the stiles (not the rails) of the cabinet doors underneath, I think cne32507 may have nailed the answer.

If need be it sounds like I can sand then apply decent sealer per instructions earlier in this thread. That doesn’t solve the wooden seam coming apart in a whole different part of the kitchen, and the other little details that were part of the punch list, but hopefully these guys will show up, realize I’m not asking for more than I paid for, and repair these errors.

These guys are making me uncomfortable having work done on my house again. I know it is old, but I really hate the attitude “it’s better than it was”. Y’all didn’t give me a discount rate for having an old house, if anything, I was charged more for it not being brand new and pristine without signs of human existence.


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Update. Water damage on cabinet door fixed, but I won’t be having them back or recommending them. The finish work addressing the punch list was embarrassing. The kick plates weren’t to the height of the cabinet base, and they couldn’t miter a corner to save a life. Wood filler was used freely. The doors that needed actual repairs (and that they confirmed could be repaired) were simply switched around. He did replace a split piece of wood and covered some raw wood that had been left. They didn’t even match the length of the base plate to the quarter rounds.
I just gave up, thanked him for coming, and let him show himself out.
Color me disappointed.


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Posts: 4190 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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