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Redditor Forces Wife To Pay For New Kitchen Cabinets On Her Own After Failed DIY Disaster

Woman working on cabinets
Coolpicture/Getty Images

DIY projects can be a great way to implement personal flair in your home while also *usually* saving a good chunk of change.

Occasionally, however, we go in over our heads and the undertaking is far more complex and time consuming than originally anticipated.

And sometimes, it’s just a massive fail.

But when our own eagerness and can-do attitude is no match for a mountain of a project, would the fix for a DIY gone wrong fall under a personal or a shared home expense budget?

After asking his wife to cough up $2,000 to fix her failed DYI kitchen cabinet project, a man turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor asked:

“AITA for telling my wife that she needs to pay the 2000 dollars to fix her DIY project?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My wife and I have a shared account that we put money in for shared bills. The rest of the money will stay in our own bank account.”

“My wife has a habit of doing DIY projects that she has no idea what she is doing.”

“Sometimes it’s small; other times it is a huge mess. “

“I have had conversations so many time that her big DIY projects we need to agree if she can do it.”

“This is due to her getting way over her head, and then I need to fix it, or we have to pay someone.”

“I’m sick of coming home and needing to fix a whole mess”

“She decided that she wanted to repaint the kitchen cabinets.”

“Well, she didn’t do a test on a small piece and started sanding.”

“Those cabinets are not real wood, and she scratched them to hell and back again.”

“The paint isn’t sticking, and they are awful.”

“She ruined almost all the top kitchen cabinets.”

“That is what I came home to.”

“I told her she needs to replace them all, that she ruined perfectly good cabinets and I am not paying for it.”

“This isn’t a shared expense, and we have had conversation after conversation about her DIY.”

“Also if she just talked to me, I would have told her those are not real wood and had an odd panel covering on it”

“It’s going to cost her around $2,000 to buy new cabinets and for people to install them.”

“This started an argument were she said new cabinets are a shared expense and I am jerk for not helping her.”

“I came for more opinions.”

OP has offered the following explanation for why he thinks he might be the a**hole:

“I told my wife she can pay for her DIY fix by herself, and I am not helping.”

“I could be a jerk for refusing to help pay.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA but where on earth do you live that new cabinets with installation is only $2k?”

“Did you mean $20k? Cause that’s what It’d cost here.”

“If they’re really only a couple grand for brand new installed, maybe install them for her but have her pay for them.” – Tough-Combination-37

“NTA, she should ask before starting anything that belongs to you both whether she is capable of pulling the project off or not. “

“My husband would blow a gasket if he came home and I’d repainted the cabinets, even if I’d done a perfect job.”

“That said, it is possible to paint over laminate.”

“You don’t need new cabinets, you just need to learn the proper procedure for the type of surface you’re working with.” – mifflewhat

“Definitely NTA.”

“Her stubbornness caused the damage; you guys did not damage those cabinets together.”

“And if paying $2000 to fix them would make her hesitant about carrying out any further DIY, then she should pay up.” – Adventure_Omen345


“My Dad used to do this.”

“We came home from vacation one time, and the wall in the kitchen was completely busted out.”

“He was trying to make an open-concept kitchen.”

“He ended up making our house look like a mess for two years because he couldn’t fix it and didn’t want to pay for it.”

“Tell your wife you’re not paying for her negligence.”

“If she wants to argue about it, then y’all just won’t have kitchen cabinets.”

“The sight of what she’s done should hopefully teach her a lesson, especially if she has to look at it everyday.”

“My view on that might be childish, but your wife is acting like a child in this case.”

“This isn’t a cute art project. She messed up.”

“She’s an adult and should own up, and accept the consequences for her errors in judgement.”

“I’m sorry you have to live like this.” – EJ_1004

“Enjoy the ‘open shelving’ concept until your wife caves.”

“This is literally her mess; she needs to sort it out.”

“If it was not a joint project, agreed on and budgeted on before hand, this is all on her.”

“NTA” – VegetableBusiness897

“NTA – This is a pretty messed up thing to do.”

“Presumably, the cabinets were also a shared item before being destroyed.”

“Why wasn’t it a shared decision on whether or not to repaint them? The process of how they were being painted?”

“HGTV has really done a lot of damage in my mind.”

“They skip ALL of the hard work and jump right to the magical conclusion.”

“They also are fantastic at convincing the unskilled / homebodies that what they have is not enough.”

“Social Media also plays a role in making people feel like they’re never enough.”

“This Old House was (edit: and still is) exponentially better at showing the true difficulty and skill needed to fix houses.” – TryingToBeLevel


“She needs to fix her mistake.”

“Adults are responsible for mistakes they make.”

“It is that simple.” – BeardManMichael

“Nta And this should stop because right now damage is 2k dollars, it could be bigger if this continues.”

“Diy is done usually when you understand the project with proper research.”

“Oh and yes she should pay!” – Weirdoeirdo

“NTA But surely she’s only ruined the doors?”

“Is it not an option to just replace those and retain your old cabinet bodies?” – Pretty-Age-5449

“My wife did the same thing in the 80’s.”

“She was going to host her extended family to celebrate us being back in the UK.”

“She talked about renovating, I said I’m broke from the move and having to feed 3 kids and a SAHM and myself.”

“And I don’t want to have a party or host anyone.”

“She thought she found an offer on the paper, so she took apart the bottom cabinets by herself.”

“I come home to a huge mess, and she is like, ‘It will all be fixed by tomorrow, and I’m going to pay for everything. I got a bargain.'”

“Of course, it was a scam, and I told her that I’m not going to pay for anything because working in the school and then going for a second job afterward is still not enough to cover our medical expenses.”

“So she has to go to work while the kids are at school and she has to replace everything.”

“She didn’t agree to it.”

“For 15 facking years, we didn’t have cabinets.”

“Her resentment grew and grew, but I didn’t budge.”

“And because she was embarrassed since the kids would offer the story to everyone, she stopped inviting her obnoxious relatives.”

“Not all bad :)”

“NTA and don’t give up.”

“How about you invite your families over for dinner?” – Cross_examination


“If she unilaterally made the decision to sand the veneered cabinets without talking to you first, she can unilaterally pay for her mistakes when she sanded through the veneer.”

“If the two of you had discussed the project in advance and she accidentally damaged the cabinets, then the two of you should split the cost of the damage.”

“Edit: Also, if you want to fix this for less than $2k, you can try to find some closely-matching veneer, sand the existing cabinets down to remove all traces of the old veneer and the old adhesive, and then use contact adhesive to apply new veneer.”

“Cut the new pieces oversized and then trim back flush.” – AssiduousLayabout


“She damaged them she can fix them.” – Fabulous-Database-29

“You break it, you buy it.”

“NTA.” – grckalck


“Your wife seems purposely obtuse and/or defiant in sneakily pushing these DIY projects that are increasing in scale.”

“I’m guessing if OP shows her the verdict comments from this post, she will purposely ignore them.”

“This would be a serious boundary cross for me and would warrant a serious conversation with my partner.”

“Maybe she needs a hobby?”

“Any space in your home for a designated workshop?” – marisolm9

“NTA, she should have spoken to you first” – Watertribe_Girl

Redditors definitely stand in solidarity with OP.

While this may be a tough lesson for his wife to learn, it seems it was a long time coming.

Perhaps this conversation can lead to communication about future undertakings.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.