"'Best" cabinet line for frameless white painted kitchen

kmmhFebruary 5, 2013

We have been thinking about remodeling our kitchen since 2005 and planning our remodel since 2010. I need to make a decision before my husband just goes into a store, points to the first thing he sees and says-I'll take that!

Unfortunately I am racked with indecision. I know the advice here is to get a good designer and go from there. Everyone I talk to says their cabinets are good. How do I know? I just want a quality cabinet.

So my question...
We want white painted frameless cabinets. How the heck do I decide on a brand? How do I know how they will hold up? Is there a painted finished cabinet that's built to last? Help me please!

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I don't know what is the "best". I don't even know what is the most expensive. We did not compare prices at all. Although normally I would have definitely done that. By the time we got to cabinets, I had run out of time. We used the kitchen company that my builder uses. Based on what I said we wanted, the KD recommended the cabinet manufacturer out of the ones he reps. I knew enough from being around GW for so many years that I knew they were quality cabinets. Mine are stained cherry though, not painted so I do not have any knowledge of their paint finish. They are frameless. My girlfriend who lives near our house has gone to the same store based on my recommendation and we were just having a quality discussion today. I told her that because they have a 100 year warranty, that tells me how much they believe in their own product and the quality. http://www.ultracraft.com/

I talk about them in more detail in this thread ...

Here is a link that might be useful: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0206313721622.html

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:06PM
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There is no "best". There are afew not so good. Each brand will have minor strengths in pricing, compared with others at a price point, minor. Several are better at paint, you should be able to see that from the samples.

Who you deal with is more important than which brand.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:16AM
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I am a fan of local custom...but then again I am a cabinetmaker so I believe in looking locally first for a good quality product.
Most people think of custom as expensive and that can be true but not always. We do moderate and high end cabinets as do a lot of local guys.

Travis Alfrey
Pinehurs, NC

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:23AM
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A few months ago the KDs here put together a list of cabinet brands comparing brands and prices using painted maple as the basis of comparison. It was an excellent resource.

Does anyone know if that list is still available?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:03PM
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That started the thread..and put most of it together.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:04PM
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    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Thanks for those links angela12345. I will be sure to check out ultracraft cabinets.

Jakuvall- Maybe that's my problem. I don't love any of the designers that I met. They are fine, but I've been thinking and planning this kitchen for 7 years so I know how I want the layout to be (give or take some minor tweaks). I am not finding a designer inspiring. My fear is that I will spend all this money on a cabinet that I regret. Nay chance you want to share the names of those places that you consider better at paint?

Thanks Travis, I'm not in NC or I'd stop by. We will get a quote for custom.

Red lover and jackuvall that's a great list, thank you. I don't want to assume that price = quality though.

Any other thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Kmmh- if you've been at it for 7 years and you know what you want then inspiration need not be on the lis- you want someone that fits, is diligent, can detail, will perservere when what you want doesn't fit or work properly, someone willing to tell you when you're idea is sketchy, but still willing to let you have it if you must, and will fight to fIt your budget with the most value. They exist.

No list, first I'd miss some that might be available to you, second I try not to promote the particular brands I use on this forum, third Paint is the easiest to assess on looks.
Silky smooth, no orange peel texture, edge detail holds well but is obviously well covered, seller will be comfortable with it, even better if they gush:).

While price is not a guarantee, as you move up in the overall pricing you WILL see more brands with better finish, some still don't do paint weLl though.
Brands that are the best with paint tend to have lower ucharge for it than brands that don't do it well, not a rule but can help.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:53PM
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Bridgewood advantage was the least expensive frameless line on that list. I was the one who put it on the list. Who knows how the mark up is from person to person who added companies to it.

My opinion is ultrakraft is a bit pricey although the door styles can be quite elegant. I personally have never understood why any one would want to pay a huge amount of money for ugly frameless boxes. That is just me.

I prefer framed or inset uppers and frameless base cabinets. The areas where items pull out in a wider size is what you are looking for in a frameless cabinet.

Bridgewood does both framed and frameless same price which is really nice. The equipment used for the most part is different to build framed and frameless which is why companies tend to do one or the other at the lower end of the price scale.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:52PM
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You're ahead of the game because you already have a good idea of what you want in your kitchen. Do you want/need specialty drawers or cabinets? Do you need a lot of custom sizes? Considering those issues may help direct you to a particular line that has the items you want. Regarding KDs, I don't know how far you've searched, but I found an excellent KD finally about 60 miles away. Also, ask for recommendations for KDs/cabinets from people who've done a recent renovation that you like.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Thank you to everyone who contributed to the pricing thread. It's a great resource!

Jackuvall- If you're telling me they exist I will keep looking. I feel like everyone I meet with is so low energy, no enthusiasm and definitely no gushing!!
I will look into upcharges and see if that gives me a clue. Once I get a list of cabinet brands, maybe I'll repost and try to solicit specific opinions that way.

Davidindc-I never really considered framed on the top and frameless on the bottom. We have a small kitchen and are trying to maximize our space so I guess every little bit counts. I'll be sure to check on bridgewood. Thanks for the lead!

Repac- I have no special requirements, most of my cabinets will be standard sizes. 60 miles, huh? I guess the search goes on... Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:17PM
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kmmh- I know of three I would hire in a heartbeat- and one I did. I am surprised how often I meet someone who says the worked with so and so and were very happy (have heard plenty of complaints too) Can't imagine I live in the only pocket of talent in the US.

Things that might help:
-If shopping for a person then shop for a person not a cabinet or a layout. Decide what that means to you ahead of time. (since frameless is important to you make sure they have a line in your price range though.)

-Ask them how they go about this.

-Don't have layouts done by everyone, narrow the field first. Your looking for a fit and talent, not the answer. The right person will work with you to find the one right for you.

-Most will want to do a layout anyway to get pricing- we can't come up with a reliable ballpark any other way.

-Some will want to visit the job site, more won't, doesn't matter which.

-Tell them your shopping and with whom. But don't bring in 15 cabinet books and 9 layouts from the competition. Inspirations are ok but be neat about it.

-Be clear and tell them your expectations, wants, needs, AND budget.
The more they can see a way to land the job (hence get paid) the better.

-Statistically, folks hold back 10% of their budget. That is often assumed (I don't) if you are not doing that say so.

-Referrals are best, not necessarily the most reliable but they do place an extra burden on the KD not to disappoint the referrer.
If you get one: say who sent you (you don't have to know them just the name), get a person not a place.

-In all cases call ahead and ask for an appointment. You will be taken more seriously. If the say "just stop" in move them down the list.

Gushing? I'm not, by any means :0
A few kitchens a year are difficult, different, in some way fun enough to get excited over the project itself. Size does not matter (to me anyway)

However- clients who are fun, interesting, realistic, pleasant to work with, want something different, are happy, value my time-you get the idea- make it worth going to work in the morning. That creates enthusiasm.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Thanks for all your advice Jakuvall! I appreciate the advice you gave me (and this board). I posted on a specific cabinet line earlier today (cabico). The KD is nice and willing to work with me to make sure I get the kitchen I want (at the price I can afford!) Hopefully I'll hear something.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:52PM
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    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Glad you found someone, Cabico makes a nice cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Thanks Jackuvall- Of course, now my other thread asking for input on cabico has me all worried. I swear as soon as I take a step forward, it's two back. I almost didn't ask for input because I was afraid of the response, though since I'd rather know than not know I did ask. Sigh

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:45PM
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Yeah, saw that, too bad about the glides. I haven't dealt with them in a few years so didn't know they switched.
See if there is a glide upgrade available. They are pretty flexible.
Have the kd call.

The brand of frameless I had around the price point went under and I have yet to find a replacement I like that I can get. Slightly different issues, I'm restrictef by territory, don't mind even. 15% bump if I'm happy with it.
Norcraft (europa), Canyon Creek, on the low end--not crazy about the first and don't know enough about the second yet. Dura Supreme is a bit pricier, almost took them on but framed lines didn't work for me- nice finish.
Good luck.
Edited to add- I know they cost more but if I could get them I'd carry Brookhaven in a heartbeat. Ikd want them without Wood-Mode though as I have a competing line I prefer.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 21:39

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Good advice jackuvall. I'll have the KD check on the glide issue. We have a quote for Brookhaven that is $3,900 more dollars and the KD is not as responsive. It's been 15 days since I e-mailed her asking her for the name of a contractor she said she would get us. That's a bad sign right?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:57AM
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I noticed Home Depot's Innermost cabinets aren't discussed much and weren't included in the pricing comparison lists. Does anyone have any experience/opinions about these?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Kmmh- to me it is a bad sign, but I am an email person. Not all are. Call and then decide unless you have other issues with them.
Legallin- not sure if any of the independants have acces to inner most in which case info has to come from the public.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:14PM
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The ones I am looking at right now are:
1 - Bellmont 1600
2 - Bellmont 1900
3 - Canyon Creek's Katana Line (I wish they had the higher end line up here, they seem much better and very customizable)
4 - Barkers
5 - Durasupreme is here, but I fear it is too spendy. Egads, though, you can notice the difference in heft. I've been afraid to price them.
6 - Brookhaven.

I went to Home Depot and learned that Innermost isn't sold in Alaska's HD stores.

My research is still so preliminary. But, I'm impressed with the finishes with Bellmont, and that you can mix 1600 and 1900 series to make it more affordable or customizable where you need it.

But, so far, Bellmont 1900 is almost twice as much as Barkers with walnut/clearcoat lowers and white painted uppers - and Brookhaven is more than Bellmont, of course. I'm comparing apples to apples as best I can, but it is difficult to really ensure that given how things work in the pricing game.

I'm willing to pay more to get what I want and ensure they are good down the road if I have to, but I admit, I'm struggling with how to figure that out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Steph2000, just found out my cabinets arrive next Friday! Not sure what I'll be able to tell before they are installed on 5/13, but if they are not wrapped I'll post some pics. They are Bellmont 1900 series.

So far my sample as been pretty durable, though the wind blew it over taking pics and the gravel made some dings. Nothing any other door wouldn't experience though, given it was not just stone gravel, but more like partial pavement with broken up bits on top, so sharp stuff!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:49PM
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As a Bellmont dealer, I have ordered and installed 3 different projects now and they all have issues. The other lines I represent are much better quality and stand by their product. Bellmont does not. Their cabinets are delaminating within 3 months. Badly warped boxes in their premium line vary by 3/4 inch. Several drawer slides failed. A cabinet arrived with the back portion separated from the sides. And one set of kitchen cabinets was off by 4 inches, requiring a longer wall to accommodate them.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 8:53PM
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