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View Full Version : New cherry cabinets... will they darken?



memartha
07-10-2007, 08:27 AM
I'm so upset. We've been doing our home renovation for over 6 months now. The kitchen cabinets FINALLY arrived yesterday. I wasn't home.

They are supposed to be cherry with a stain called "Harvest Gold." We took a sample of this with us when we shopped for granite, to make sure the granite was complementary.

Also, we are having the bookcases and desks in the family room made to match the kitchen.

Well, the cabinets are definitely cherry BUT they are WAY lighter than I was expecting. I don't think they were stained the way we ordered. Also, a "touch up" kit came with the cabinets, and it says "natural" on it.

I just spoke to the contractor, who ordered the cabinets and is on his way over to install them. I told him I don't think they were stained and he said, "Well, they'll darken up over time." My husband thinks I'm cokoo (however you spell it) and we should just hang the cabinets.

I think, I spent $(tens of thousands of dollars) on these cabinets and they **** well better be what I ordered.

What do I do?? I'm going out now for an appointment and I won't be here when the contractor shows up.

Hammster
07-10-2007, 08:32 AM
Can you postpone the appt so you can be there for the contractor?
You need to address this before they go up on the walls. The contractor can return them and get the correct color. Contractor is F.O.S. (think about it) when he says they will "darken over time". Do you have a color sample from when you chose the cabinets?

suebear37
07-10-2007, 08:40 AM
My neighbor just had her kitchen remodeled & installed cherry cabinets & was told the same thing. So I don't know if it's true or not but if other contractors are telling customers this, there might be a grain of truth to it all.

That having been said, if they're not the color you ordered, you shouldn't have to install the wrong cabinets & have to wait for them to get to the color you wanted. I'm with Hammster... do you have a sample??

badunnin
07-10-2007, 08:43 AM
It is true - cherry will darken - the contractor isn't necessarily F.O.S. And I'm sure he's heard complaints from people who will go to him after a year and say that the colour that the cabinets are isn't the one that they ordered anymore. But, if the colour difference is substantial, I'd skip my appointment today and meet with the contractor. I have a cherry chest of drawers, and in the 4 years I've had it, the colour change has been minimal. It's not just the cost of the cabinets, it's the granite that no longer matches as it should, and the tile, and the paint, and the window treatments.....

Hammster
07-10-2007, 08:46 AM
I have clear finished cherry cabinets in my kitchen and they haven't darkened at all. I don't know why they would.

badunnin
07-10-2007, 08:48 AM
I have clear finished cherry cabinets in my kitchen and they haven't darkened at all. I don't know why they would.

Hammster - do a search on Gardenweb. They explain it much better than I can. And it does darken - I'm not lying here. Don't try to challenge me.

Hammster
07-10-2007, 08:51 AM
Hammster - do a search on Gardenweb. They explain it much better than I can. And it does darken - I'm not lying here. Don't try to challenge me.

I'm not challenging you. And I'm not accusing you of lying. I have cherry cabinets and they haven't darkened. So, my comment that they don't darken is based on my own experience with my own cherry cabinets. Not on something that I read in another forum.

TwinMom
07-10-2007, 08:54 AM
We have natural cherry cabinets that are 4 years old. They have darkened over time. You can see the difference when you open the cabinet. They had a more "yellowish" hue when installed and now they are a beautiful cherry red.

My understanding is cherry cabinets that are stained do not darken/redden like cabinets that are "natural".

Luv to Cook
07-10-2007, 08:57 AM
We are in the process of building a home and are going through the same thing. I don't know too much, but I have learned that most woods darken over time. It is just more substantial in certain woods than in others. For example, a maple will darken, but it will not be very apparent. Cherry will darken, but it depends on so many factors, including light and humidity. Cherry that has direct sunlight, will darken faster.

I would definitely tell the contractor to wait, just to make sure it is what you wanted.

Hammster
07-10-2007, 08:59 AM
Cherry that has direct sunlight, will darken faster.

That might explain why mine haven't darkened. They don't see much direct sunlight. My kitchen is galley style with no window. Just the back door and a skylight in the middle to let light in.

So, maybe the contractor isn't F.O.S. but does she want to wait and see if they will darken to the color she wants? How long could that take? In the meantime she has to live with something that doesn't match. She should get what she ordered is all I'm really saying.

charley
07-10-2007, 09:09 AM
Memartha, I'd make sure they were stained properly before having them hung. How does the granite sample look with the cabinets you received? If the cabinets contain heartwood there will be some darkening over time.

Hammster, your cabinets are probably made of sapwood if you haven't noticed any darkening. Cherry is comprised of sapwood (the exterior of the tree) and heartwood (the interior). Cherry heartwood darkens as it's exposed to oxygen and sunlight. The rate at which it darkens depends on the amount of sunlight it's exposed to. Sapwood does not darken.

I specifically requested all heartwood for the cherry hutch I had made and then had a reddish stain applied.

scroll down to learn about cherry (http://www.branchhill.com/info/faqs.html)

Hammster
07-10-2007, 09:15 AM
Thank you Charley. That could also explain it. I've taken the FAQ regarding the darkening and put it here. So the contractor could be right or he could be wrong depending on what part of the cherry tree is used to make the cabinets. I can see where fine furniture makers would want to use the heartwood so the wood can age beautifully, but for kitchen cabinets it seems sapwood might be ok so the color remains more constant.


What is heartwood/sapwood Cherry?
The sapwood and heartwood are the two parts of the tree that make up the lumber. The sapwood is the part of the tree that was alive when the tree was cut down. It is the exterior part where food, water and other nutrients move. As the tree grows and ages, the interior part of the tree basically dies and the water in the cells is replaced by resin. This resin is what gives Cherry is classic reddish color. It also is what makes the trunks of trees rigid and strong. The resin is also photosensitive and will darken when exposed to oxygen and sunlight. This is what makes Cherry darken. The sapwood lacks this resin and the cells are still filled with water. Because it has no resin, it will never darken. We do not allow sapwood on the tops of tables, dressers, and other prominent surfaces. We do allow limited amounts of sapwood on the sides of drawers, chests, backing boards, and other non-prominent surfaces. It is just about impossible for us to eliminate all sapwood. In order to do this, we would have to just about double the price since almost every board from the mill contains some sapwood.

charley
07-10-2007, 09:22 AM
...but for kitchen cabinets it seems sapwood might be ok so the color remains more constant.

That's true, but what I found in my limited research was that both heart and sapwood is normally used, so the darkening is not consistent. But that's the look some people like, so it's really a personal choice. The reason I had my hutch stained is because I'm impatient and didn't want to wait for the look I had in mind. ;)

Hammster
07-10-2007, 09:34 AM
That's true, but what I found in my limited research was that both heart and sapwood is normally used, so the darkening is not consistent... The reason I had my hutch stained is because I'm impatient and didn't want to wait for the look I had in mind.

That's why I was surprised that the contractor would just make the statement that the cabinets would darken over time. I was expecting something along the lines of, "oh we'll make it right" instead of offering an excuse that may or may not come true.
If it were me, I'd refuse those cabinets and get what I ordered. I know I wouldn't have wanted to wait if mine were wrong. Especially since mine haven't darkened.

funniegrrl
07-10-2007, 09:54 AM
I have a cherry entertainment center from Storehouse about 8 years ago. It was available in, among other finishes, light cherry and dark cherry. They made it very clear in the materials and in discussing with me that the cherry shelving would darken as it aged. This was considered an intrinsic feature of the material and not a flaw. I bought the light cherry, and it is definitely darker than when I bought it. In fact, when I moved earlier this year, the areas that had not gotten any light at all due to equipment placement, etc., were much lighter than the areas exposed to the room (not sun) light.

Now, this is actual cherry wood, NOT a cherry stain. If you have cherry stain over pine or something like that, that's a different story. If your cabinets are cherry wood / veneer, then you should get the darkening effect. If it's cherry stain, then you should definitely talk to them about the color difference between the sample and what you have.

memartha
07-10-2007, 12:56 PM
Thanks, everyone. My cabinets are cherry wood, and I had asked for a certain stain over them to kind of even out the look of the wood as well as because I liked the color of the stain. It is pretty apparent to everyone here that the stain was NOT applied.

The contractor, who has been a very good guy so far, understands my angst. After uncrating some of the cabinets, a couple of them ARE as dark as I want (and much darker than the oak floor they're sitting on at the moment) where as most of them are very light (LIGHTER than the oak floor). I told him I expected all the cabinets to look like the dark one. He said he will make sure they do, even if they have to take off the doors and send them back. So I'm happy with that response. I think.

On to my next appointment, which thankfully, is a massage!