Granite counters. A marble backsplash. Cabinet refacing. What should have been the final step of a dream kitchen makeover became a nightmare for this Katy couple. It’s a story of another contractor’s missed deadlines, shoddy workmanship, and broken promises. But, then they turned to TriFection for a happy ending.
An irrefutable law of cabinet refacing projects
You get what you pay for. It may sound like a cliché, but violating this irrefutable law of cabinet refacing projects brought nothing but trouble. Cabinet doors were poorly finished, mismatched and incorrectly installed. What’s worse, the project was way behind schedule without any reasonable explanation.
“Unfortunately, this experience happens too frequently in the remodeling industry,” says TriFection’s Jeff Roberts. “Homeowners choose a contractor who offers what looks like a great ‘deal’ on price. But, they may not take the time to check client references, ask to see examples of past work or understand the differences in quality and/or scope between competing proposals. As a result, they’re often negatively surprised by the outcome.”
TriFection to the rescue
“Trying to fix another remodeler’s mistakes is not our ideal project,” added TriFection’s Jeff Reina. “However, we sympathized with their plight and desperation. As a true custom cabinet operation with a team of highly skilled craftsmen, we knew we were best-qualified to step in. We hated to think they might end up with another bad experience.”
It’s hard to believe it could have gotten any worse. The previous contractor incorrectly ordered cabinet door sizes. Several doors did not fit the cabinet openings or were not consistently sized across a row of door fronts. And then, there was the finish work.
These clients had ordered maple doors after being shown a sample with a beautiful shiny finish. But, what they got was a dull matte finish with a very inconsistent look. The fact is, maple is a tight-grain wood that can present challenges for even good cabinet finishers, particularly with darker stains. It’s work that requires real expertise.
As if that weren’t enough, the doors were installed improperly. There were various-size gaps between doors and drawers. Then, cheap fake wood veneer was applied to the cabinet boxes in a very amateurish manner. It was clear there was no plan for how to trim out exposed corners since unfinished sides of veneer were exposed.
It took several personal visits by TriFection’s owners Jeff Roberts and Jeff Reina to develop a solution to this cabinet refacing project gone wrong. During this time, the couple contacted numerous references TriFection gladly provided to confirm our capabilities. In every case, they reported that past clients gave rave reviews about our craftsmanship and client service. Based on these consistent reports of TriFection’s unparalleled professionalism, knowledge and integrity, they elected to have us turn the project around.
“She was in tears when we first met with them,” says Reina. “On our final visit before getting started, I gave her a comforting hug, promising we would make the situation right.”
Restarting cabinet refacing
The existing cabinet fronts were made of solid maple and mostly in good shape. For budget reasons, and given the uncertainty of getting money back from first contractor, we decided to re-use as many of the fronts as possible. Where necessary, we would order new cabinet fronts to replace those incorrectly sized.
Even so, some of the reusable cabinet fronts had to be repaired since holes for cabinet hardware were drilled in the wrong places. There were also raised panel drawer fronts to deal with; they were too small to accommodate the desired hardware.
Given the inherent difficulty of working with maple and not knowing exactly how the first contractor attempted to stain it, TriFection recommended against refinishing the cabinet fronts. Instead, we suggested painting them. As it turns out, the wife said she wanted painted cabinets to begin with. Since the granite counters were dark, we suggested a Pure White color from Sherwin Williams to brighten the room.
Cheap wood veneers from the other contractor were torn off so we could work with the original cabinet boxes. They needed extensive repair and prep work, such as filling in nail holes and remedying uncovered holes around appliances.
We also rebuilt the plate ledge, crown moulding and added new wood trims throughout the kitchen. And, to the client’s delight, we were able to fix some associated issues with the countertops and backsplash.
Finally, while installing the freshly painted cabinet doors, we adjusted settings on all the door hinges to achieve a consistent reveal between doors—as should have been the case from the beginning.
Cabinet refacing mission accomplished
We completed work just before the clients left for their son’s out-of-town wedding. They were all smiles, relieved at no longer having this project hanging over their heads. In fact, they were so pleased to have finally found a trustworthy contractor, that they already have asked TriFection about installing new wood floors in their home.
Surveying her finished kitchen, our client gave Jeff Reina another big hug for following through on the promise that Jeff Roberts and he would make the project right.
The truth about pricing
“Price should be on the list of considerations when choosing a contractor, but not at the very top of the list,” says Roberts. “In this industry, you usually get what you pay for.”
At TriFection, we offer fair prices in exchange for best-in-class craftsmanship and service. As a result, our business continues to grow rapidly as more and more homeowners experience TriFection’s unique professionalism.