Ok so I provided 15 interior doors for a client a while back and now have a problem with a couple of them starting to warp. This is an interesting situation though as the doors that are warping are closet doors. More specifically they are on a set of side-by-side closets that house the furnaces, (not sure what the correct term is for these type of units – maybe boilers), for an under the floor heating system. Next to those is the hot water tank for the unit. On top of these in one of the closets is the entertainment center - amplifiers and other heat generating fun stuff. Once put into action about five plus weeks or so ago the temperature in this room has been at 100 plus degrees! It’s averaging 20-30 degrees warmer than the outside of the closets.
So finally the client caved in and allowed the contractor to vent the closets, too little too late. The inside of the doors has dried out quicker than the outside and they are warping about 1/4" at the bottom between the two. I’m not sure if just one is warping a lot, or both are warping a little just yet.
The doors are 2-1/4" thick three panel doors roughly 24"w x 82"h. The stiles and rails are three layers of soft maple glued up, allowed to sit for a couple weeks then re-flattened and milled. The panels are MDF. Out of the 15 doors for the unit these are the only ones that have moved an appreciable amount, so I think the construction methods are sound.
So the question is how to remedy these warped doors? I can probably re-set the hinges to get most of the warp out without making it look too bad. However now that there's a vent and the temp is down quite a bit, I wonder if over time the door will acclimate and pull itself back a bit? I hate to re-set them only to have them go back the other way. I am finishing up the rest of the job next week and very much would like to get paid in full. That's going to be difficult if I have to tell him to wait several months before I can fix the doors!
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor B:
You already know the right answer - you stated it in your post. Until the doors acclimate fully to the changed setting you will just be chasing ghosts with any attempted fix. If the GC/client is not willing to wait in order to see how the doors respond then you really only have the option of making two new doors, which would be the case if your fix failed or if joints started to pull apart anyway. I’m not sure how your contract reads or how aggressive you would want to get with the client but the doors have warped due to factors created by the owner/GC and they should own whatever solution they decide to go with. A delay in final payment shouldn't even be on the table for consideration. If I were in your position, and the time line allowed for it, I'd push for them to pay for two new doors because it's really the best solution all the way around. Letting the doors acclimate or fixing them is a possible ongoing warranty issue you shouldn't even be exposed to considering the circumstances.
You could also stand behind the equal finish on all surfaces clause - the one that gets anyone off the hook if they so desire. Inside the hardware preps are never finished correctly enough for a warranty, though that is most likely far from the culprit here.
The problem with the wait a year thing is that the owner is looking at you now, holding money, and you would probably like it behind you also, so the hinge adjustment will be the thing to do, with an agreement to come back if needed (one time) in the future. That is as good a remedy as there is - wait and/or adjust hinges, and tell him his demands overrode good practice and he needs to explore options from there. Good luck - it is never any fun when the project places difficult or unreasonable demands and you get hung by them.
The owner is fairly reasonable. When we started the job these were utility closets, (actually one utility closet, the other was supposed to be custom bookshelves), there were radiators in the unit already. Then after the doors were delivered he decided to put his own heating system in separate from the rest of the building. Then he decided to put his own a/c system in, you start to see how this job has progressed! This is one of the few times where I wished there was an architect to work with!
Anyway, I don't want to build new doors as I really don't have the time, and I don't think he's really going to be excited about paying for two more anyway. I don't mind spending a couple hours adjusting them to keep him happy, and he doesn't mind paying. I just wanted to get an idea of whether or not you guys thought the doors might relax, for lack of a better term, over time back to their original position? I think I'll give him the choice. I'll explain that they may settle out a bit over time, and that if I adjust them now they may move back and will need another adjustment later down the road (more money). Let him decide and go from there.
Aside of that I just supply the doors, not the codes. I don't expect my Ford dealer to tell me where I can and cannot drive my truck, and I don't tell my clients where they can and cannot install their doors. And I generally don't install them either, leave that to the finish carpenters whenever possible. I think you may be right that the door may not return to its original state, especially as it’s still much warmer in the closet than outside. I'm just trying to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy.
Not that I needed to, but I did have a short conversation with the painter on exactly how the doors needed to be painted when I delivered them, in front of the homeowner! Even though it should be common knowledge, I didn't want any room for misunderstanding that all surfaces needed to be coated equally and preferably fairly quickly.
So I let the homeowner know and he is now having all the doors pulled and painted. As far as the two warped doors go I recommended he have the finish carpenters re-set the jambs a bit at top and bottom. The face of the casing is close to 2" out from the wall so there's room to hide a bit of adjustment. Since these were the only two doors out of the 15 I built that has issues, and with all the circumstances with their surroundings, the homeowner is fully on my side that the problem was not with construction.