Cabinet and Millwork Installation

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Cabinet installation

Anthony Hernandez  Member


I recently discovered that I am working for an unlicensed cabinet shop as an installer. What type of ramifications could I be held liable for as an employee?

2/21/17       #2: Cabinet installation ...

You don't necessarily need to be licensed to make cabinets. Here in California you only need a license if you install cabinets.

2/21/17       #3: Cabinet installation ...
Matt calnen

What is the purpose of licensing cabinet installers?

2/21/17       #4: Cabinet installation ...
rich c.

Your state requires a license to build cabinets?

2/21/17       #5: Cabinet installation ...

Anthony Hernandez:

If by unlicensed you mean that the shop does not have a business license or is not registered with the state as a corporation or LLC, then as an employee your only concern would be whether or not they are paying your state/federal taxes and FICA/Medicare. If you are a sub-contractor for installations, then the onus falls to you to obtain licensure.

If it is your concern that you are out installing something and an inspector asks for your license number and neither you nor your employer has one, it is hard to say who bears the responsibility, especially if you know your employer does not have one and you continue to install anyway.

Generally speaking, licensure is only required for installations, as it is the view of most states that you are much like a general contractor.

In my state, if you deliver a piece that is freestanding, then no licensure is required; however, if you fasten the item to the structure, then you are a "home improvement contractor" and require the proper license.

You may want to place an anonymous call to your state licensing board to determine your liability under the circumstances, or better yet, contact an attorney.

Good luck.

2/21/17       #6: Cabinet installation ...
Anthony Hernandez  Member


By unlicensed, I mean no contractors license to install the cabinets that are made at the shop. I am one of the cabinet installers that does the installs on the jobsite, AKA customers homes.

2/21/17       #7: Cabinet installation ...
Matt calnen

I guess that's the best example of the nanny state. Do you need a license to hang a door to? Run molding? God forbid an unlicensed contractor put up wall paneling. Thank god I live in a somewhat free state

2/22/17       #9: Cabinet installation ...

Anthony Hernandez:

There is a possibility that your employer does not know that installation licensure is needed. He/she may also have an arrangement whereby they use the license of the general contractor for the projects you are installing on.

I don't know your relationship with your employer, but you might consider approaching them and telling them your concerns. They may thank you for bringing it to their attention, they may tell you of arrangements that you are unaware of, or they may shoot the messenger. The good in this is that you would then fully understand the situation.

Since you seem very concerned, perhaps a little information gathering is in order, so that you may make an informed choice. You may want to do this as discreetly as possible, to avoid confrontation with your employer, if that is a concern.


2/22/17       #10: Cabinet installation ...
Bruce H

If you are an employee the responsibility falls on your employer. If someone comes by and asks for your license, your employer would provide it. As an employee you don't have much responsibility. If you are a sub contractor then you would be required to have a license. In Oregon you can not hire a sub contractor, who has a license, to do work unless you also have a contractors license. This means that a home center can not hire a licensed contractor to do installation (they collected the money and paid the installer) unless they also have a contractors license. The way around this is if the home center has the consumer pay the contractor directly. They, then would not be contracting, only referring the work. This is a tactic the carpet shops use with their installers.

2/28/17       #11: Cabinet installation ...

Who is responsible if you drive a screw through the plumbing?

2/28/17       #12: Cabinet installation ...
Matt Calnen

The installer and his/hers liability insurance.

3/2/17       #13: Cabinet installation ...
Matt Calnen

To cabmaker, who is responsible if the cabinetmaker does a shoddy job building the cabinets? Perhaps we should have the government make us box makers get licensed. And if we go there, maybe they should have government inspectors at the plywood mills and out in the woods making sure no one makes a mistake and we are all protected. I'd sleep better at night.

3/2/17       #14: Cabinet installation ...


Are there any regulations you do approve of?
If so, what is it you like about them?

3/2/17       #15: Cabinet installation ...
Matt Calnen

I just can't see any reason why a cabinet shop would need to be licensed by the state. I've never even heard of such a thing, and the installer licensed? Who comes up with this? The cabinet installer handles no building structure, does not connect wiring, does not connect plumbing. Those tasks are completed buy other licensed trades.
Michigan just made flooring installers be licensed incase they have to set a toilet in a remodel situation. This is way out of line and just another ignorant government intervention in our lives

3/2/17       #16: Cabinet installation ...


I agree with you that a lot of regulations are pretty ridiculous. Some, however, are useful. Some don't exist yet but probably should.

There are regulations for building a house. I personally would rather live in a house that I was certain had been inspected for issues that are not readily apparent. I think it is a good thing that you can't put too many outlets on a single circuit. Is probably a good thing that you have to vapor barriers and certain size nails on 16 inch centers.

We all probably agree that VOC statutes are a good thing to protect the environment. My question, however, would be why does the cabinet shop require a paint boot to capture overspray but that same painter can spray on site without any protection?

I personally think there should be a $50 waste disposal fee for each gallon of paint you buy. Every can you bring back for proper disposal should rebate you $30. Without an incentive to properly dispose of excess paint it will end up down the drain or in the toilet.

Should cabinets that hang on the wall be held with a certain size fastener? Probably. How to enforce it? I don't know.

This might have something to do with licensing.

3/3/17       #17: Cabinet installation ...
james e mcgrew Member


In South Carolina a 2 k bond and an llr license is required to install in residential. Commercial has no requirement.

3/6/17       #18: Cabinet installation ...

In California, you need a contractors license if you want to install cabinets in a customers home or business. No license required to manufacture.

3/15/17       #19: Cabinet installation ...
Franko Shaughnessy

Here in Florida some of the larger counties require an install license. Bunch of hacks from other states have ruined it for those of us who know what we're doing .

3/17/17       #20: Cabinet installation ...
Matt Calnen

Just wondering Frank, how does licensing a contractor turn them from a hack to a quality person? A lot of licensed trades around here suck. Does the inspector judge the quality of the scribe fit and pass fail on that? Does he pull screws out to make sure they are long enough and hitting studs? This just seems like such a joke to inspect cabinetry installations.

3/17/17       #21: Cabinet installation ...


Licensing gives the customer an opportunity to verify that the installer is a legitimate company with requisite bond & insurance etc. If there are tests involved to acquire a license this license can also be a testimony to competency.

If the tests are rigorous then it will be harder to get the license. If it is harder to get the license then competent people like you will make more money.

3/18/17       #22: Cabinet installation ...
D Brown

Not sure about everywhere but here in Oregon, for a cabinet shop or maker to get his ticket all you have to do is pay the fees and take the required hours of core classes and business law and such then at renewal every 2 years we need to do more CE continuing education . There are no tests to demonstrate our ability or knowledge about cabinetry.

Electricians and plumbers have a much more difficult entry barrier to get a ticket.

As has been stated basically the license
and bond and insurance are to protect the consumer. Also gives the ability to file a lean which I have never done in 35 years.The Oregon law reads if you affix anything to a piece of real estate you must be licensed .

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