Got my first estimate.

TammyTEJuly 7, 2013

I had some time I had to kill waiting on something and had no children with me so.....I ran into Lowe's and had them draw up my kitchen. ;-) I figured it would be good to see it and get an idea of what things could cost.

Our plan has 9' ceilings. I had him go ahead and put the cabinets to the ceiling and all drawers on the bottom except the corner/lazy susan and the trash pullout.

My husband says it's a waste to have the cabinets to the ceiling because I can't reach them. (I'm barely 5'4") I was thinking I could put things up there that are seasonal and use space in my mudroom for other more daily things. Right now I keep those things in my garage and they have to be super-washed before I use them because of all the dust and such. blech!

The countertop he quoted was a solid surface with integrated sinks for main sink and island prep sink. Cabinets were solid wood maple painted white. Some of the drawers are for pot and pan storage so have added strength.

Total cost was $25k. Plus about $3k for installation.

Some concerns I have are:

-If I have white trim in the house and these painted cabinets (or if I go with thermafoil) will the whites look right next to each other? He said he could order some of the paint they use on the cabinets if I want to use it for just the kitchen trim. How do people handle that?

-The trash base said it would hold 2 35 quart waste baskets. We currently use 2 separate waste baskets that hold a 13 gal bag each. It looks like this trash base cabinet will hold way less than what we are used to with twice the number of bags used. Are there other options for larger trash in the cabinets?

-What if we took the cabinets up to the 8' height and then had a bulkhead down to them? That would still be quite a bit of storage right? (I think right now mine only to to 7' height and I don't have many cabinets at all.)

The thing I don't like it all the junk on top the cabinets and all the dust up there collecting. If we have a bulkhead built down to it that should help with that right?

-Would I save more money having less drawers?

-We are GCing ourselves. My husband can definitely install cabinets but he is unsure about the countertops. I didn't ask if they could only do the countertops. I would assume not because that would require another trip for them after dh got the cabinets installed. Well, unless maybe dh picked up the cabinets and hauled himself and then we had them deliver and install the counters at a later date. ??

The installation fee included a 1 year warranty on installation. Would it be worth it to just have them do it all?

Oh this is for Kraftmaid cabinets.

Here's a copy of my plans that he worked off of.

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The amount extra to increase cabinet heights is usually low. I'm 5' 5" and use a step stool to get to the top shelf of my 36" cabinets.

The cabinets can be delivered to your house. Our was a low fee for that.

Yes they can do only the counters. Get more estimates as I found HD and Lowes high for countertops of all kind (except the preformed laminates).

We purchased Shenandoah from Lowes and DH installed them with no issues.

Ask your KD for cost savings ideas. Our KD at Lowes gave us all kinds of ideas such as buying beadboard panels separately and painting them ourselves instead of ordering them from Shenandoah. Same for hardware, shelving, etc. Also suggesting going from maple to cherry which actually saved us money due to the stain I wanted.

Don't give up any drawers!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Holly- Kay

I agree that you shouldn't give up drawers. My new kitchen has all drawers except one cabinet with roll outs. I can see it is going to be a pain because I have to open doors before I can pull out the shelves. I should have had him rework the plans and eliminate them. They are still more useful than cabinets though.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 4:57PM
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debra-Are your ceilings 9'? I'm not sure how tall these cabinets would be, 36" or bigger. I'll definitely check into the counter tops being done separately.

holly-Yes, my mom has the ones with pull out shelves and I find that a pain as well. But as you said, nicer than plain cabinets!

What do you guys think about the white cabinets and white trim matching/not matching? Will it show? I don't even have a color picked for trim, just trying to think ahead. ;-)

I'll also check the price of cherry.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Definitely do cabs to the ceiling and no bulkhead! Keep a step stool in the garage instead of your seasonal items. Don't worry about trim paint...get the cabs you want and you will be able to find a white trim paint to match in any brand.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:25PM
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You can get 50 qt trash pullouts in may lines (KM has one)- you give up the drawer on top to get that.

I do "mostly drawers" usually mix in a pullout, a single door base with dividers (21") and one rollout- in any case I avoid empty base cabinets, prefer to only use rollouts in pantries and single door cabinets or for a really good reason.

All that said, don't skimp on the base cabinet convenience. Total cost of accessorizing all base cabinets (or all drawers) is between 7 and 10%. Style/species upcharges are higher than that in many cases, as are moldings, end panels, and certain so called "upgrades" to the specs.

Going to 9 foot ceilings can add a good bit- depends a lot on brand. Look for brands that offer "stacked" cabinets as a standard sku, the cost will be less.
It looks like the room is large enough to warrant to the ceiling. In the end it is an aesthetic decision.

Dust on the top is overrated IMO but if it tempts you to start a little village of trinkets up there that is another matter. How much molding is used to get to the ceiling can be a big cost factor- there are creative ways to adjust that and balance molding with cabinet costs.

It is much easier to get painted molding to work with house room molding than thermofoils. There have been a few threads on ways to do that- plinth blocks are my favorite solution.

Otherwise regarding price- Kraftmaid comes in a lot of variations of spec. Any are fine (goes for most brands in the price range) you can save some sheckles looking at the specks.

Note that every brand can win on some things and lose on other as far as price. Paint is 4% cheaper in A, ply is less in B, finished interiors, glass all vary brand to brand.
Look at a few brands- using exactly the same layout for each to get an idea if one can save you over another.

As suggested work with the designer(s) to find ways to get the price where you want it. Say how much you want it to come out to and ask if they can do that and how, what are you compromising on. Go from there.

Along the way you may get lucky and run into the right designer, one you fit with, trust, and maybe one who can save money and improve the layout at the same time.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 6:12PM
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You might want to think about getting an estimate from a custom cabinet maker if there is one in your area. We originally planned on going with Lowes; the designer there was sweet and helpful. But I got an estimate from a well rated custom company in a nearby town (Monroe, Washington), and not only were their prices better than Lowes, but we got precisely what we wanted. Better quality, I think, and their designer easily solved my dilemma of where to put the microwave (not over the range)...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 6:27PM
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As for drawers, you will save without them but many will tell you to go with all drawers on the lowers.

My cabinet guy told me each drawer was $150 extra but mine are all dovetail joints, full extension, and soft close so I'm sure they could have been done for less.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:07PM
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gladys- I mentioned a custom cabinet maker (there is one local and then there are lots of amish around here) and my husband was leery of that because we wouldn't have much of a warranty. With the bigger companies you have more of a chance of having a warranty.

When we purchased our current home we added a dishwasher and a set of drawers. We found the brand of cabinets on a sticker inside one of the doors and we easily found cabinets to match. The originals were 20 years old!

If we ever needed to add/change/fix something would it be more difficult with custom cabinets?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Not sure which cab maker you quoted, but if you decide to do kraftmaid you can order samples on the website, and they will reimburse you once you order cabs (if you wanted to match paint).

My only other comments is the countertop. I believe that all countertop prices from lowes include templeting and instalation in the quoted price. So the $xx / sqf price listed on the sample boards includes your templet and install. We went with LG hi macs, now we just need to get the cabinets installed so i can get the countertop guys in!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Interesting. I hadn't thought about a warranty. Maybe I trust our cabinet maker enough that I never thought about needing one? And - some warranties are more trouble than they are worth (costs involved in using the warranty, etc).

I don't see how it would be more difficult to change something with custom cabinets - if the original cabinet company was no longer around, couldn't you just take a door/sample to another custom place and ask them to copy the design?

I envy you, having the Amish cabinet makers around. They have such a good reputation...

I know that Lowes does a good job, and many people are very happy with their cabinets. But what they offered me was semi custom; I had to accept everything in their standard, 3 inch increment sizes, with their standard finishing pieces, etc. That all added up to extra cost and wasted space. The custom place is avoiding all of that...

If you do go with Lowes, don't forget to dig for any extra discounts. Some, such as the military discount, are available but not publicized.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Kristen Hallock

I bought Kraftmaid from Lowes. We have 21 cabinets, + panels. All drawers except for 1 base cabinet. We went with the Durham door in solid natural maple. It was around $15k. We got a $1500 gift card too from Lowes. Shipping was something like $200. My husband is installing them himself. We probably will go elsewhere for countertops.

lowes will definitely let you install the cabs and then they will comeback for counters. The cabinets need to be installed first anyways before they can even measure for countertops.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Thanks everyone!

Jakuvall-I just read your post to my husband (actually I read all of them to him) and we are trying to figure out what you mean by using plinth blocks. Could you elaborate please?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:02AM
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'my husband was leery of that because we wouldn't have much of a warranty'

have you checked with them?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:08AM
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I am in the process of finalizing a cabinet purchase and install from Lowes. Here's my advice so far:

-compare prices, and also what sizes and variations each cabinet company offers. For example, I think Diamond includes free upgrades to wood drawers that others charge for. Imprezza doesn't offer as many variations in sizes, but it does offer frameless boxes with metal drawer interiors which the others do not. Inquire about all these differences before you get to heavy into your design layout. The designer should know all this.

-try to get in on the cabinet sale. If you pay for the $100 measure before the end of the sale, they will honour the sale if you request it. I am getting $2000 off from a sale in May. I think these sales pop up two or three times a year.

-inquire if they have the 12m no interest credit card offer in your area. If you are paying $25000 coming from a loan, this is a few $1000 in interest savings in a year's time.

-I also have high ceilings. My opinion is use all the space you can get. One option is to do a row of 15" high glass-front cabinets at the top of your cabinets. You can put nice rarely used bowls, etc up there. The glass door front will give an airier feel up there and give your kitchen more apparent width.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 2:10AM
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I agree that you should get another quote, from a custom cabinet maker -- at least just to check prices. The dollar amount of your quote is high enough so that you should check. Sometimes with semi-custom cabinets, the cost to adjust the height of uppers to go to the ceiling can actually be very high, because they switch from a standard height to a custom height. (Sometimes it won't be high). Also I've found the price of even standard trim at the top to be much higher than I would have thought.

Also since you went to Lowe's might be worth trying HD, to get a price comparison. I had Innermost cabinets installed last month which I really like - they were running a lot of discounts including waiving all costs for custom size uppers. They will probably be a bit less than Kraftmaid, you'd have to judge if you think about any quality difference.

As for drawers, a lot of people buy cabinets with pullout drawers. I like them better than regular drawers (or cabinets without pullouts).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:35AM
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My ceiling is 8'. Original cabinets were 30" with a soffit that we ripped out during a mini remodel years ago. Major dust collector. In the remodel we did 36" with molding up to the ceiling. The difference between 30" and 36" was minimal.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:49AM
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I'm 5'4" with 42" upper cabinets. I can't reach the top shelf but it is a GREAT storage area for seasonal items as you said.

We had one 13 gallon trash container in our kitchen and we needed it when the kids were still living here. We got AW cabinets from HD and they don't have the larger trash cabinet (KM does), but we got 2 of the 2 35 gallon units and it works, though I would have preferred the larger regardless. In retrospect I realize I could have bought a cabinet without the drawer and retrofitted it with the larger unit.

We use one of the cans for dog food and one or two for recycling depending on our trash needs.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:29AM
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I don't get the need for a warranty on cabinets. If you have seen the cabinet maker's work (something any wise consumer would do in advance) you'll know if the quality is acceptable to you. And, you'd discuss things like hinges, glides, closers etc. with the cabinet maker in advance. This isn't an appliance that would break or need servicing.

And, IMO, so no offense to those who do the Lowes-type route, custom made provides a much more polished design option rather than trying to reconfigure all of those standard component parts to fit your space.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:43AM
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TammyTE- plinth (plinth) block picture attached.
needinfo1- there are quite a few "semi custom" brands that allow complete resizing and modifications still at the price of the box store. Most local custom makers in my area use pocket hole construction for cabinets, the same as is used on semi custom. It is always worth investigating, just go in with accurate information.

Note: when looking at the extra cost of things like taller caibnets or all drawers. You have to look at the total price to get the difference. The price difference per cabinet is much higher than the total difference it makes to the job.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Exactly, needinfo. I actually got estimates from two cabinet makers (in addition to HD and Lowes). They both showed me their factories and some of their work. I really haven't seen the need for a warranty for cabinets.

As for the value - custom cabinet makers don't have the overhead that the retail places do - the cost of a big showroom, multiple salespeople,..and of course, you only get what you want/need when you go custom - you aren't paying for filler pieces (necessary with premade stuff) or the required trim pieces that you may not want. So - even with discounts, we're still coming out ahead with our custom place...we also looked at Lowes for counter tops, by the way, but found we could save money by going directly to their source for granite - to the stone yard and fabricators that they use. We couldn't afford granite at Lowes, but this way we can. :-) Dh was surprised at the prices we found - and we're both excited about granite counter tops!!

I'm not knocking Lowes - we got our appliances there at one of their massive sales. But you might be surprised at what you find by shopping around.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Tammy - as far as cabinets that go to the ceiling, I'm also short (5'3") and we are going to the ceiling (less a small 3-ish inch crown molding), but our ceilings are 8'. The top shelves won't hold often used things, but will be great storage for stuff that I have and is used sparingly (meat platters, party trays, etc.)...we're also going with 14" deep uppers. If we had 9' ceilings, I would still go with a bit higher cabinets than what we'll be able to get and then use a taller crown. I'm used to using a step stool to reach the top of cabinets, so this won't be anything unusual for a previous (very small) kitchen I had, I kept a few lesser used items in the "dust-catcher" area above the cabinets...aside from needing to clean the things when I wanted to use them, it worked just fine except it wasn't the most decorative thing. The cost difference often isn't that much going between the shorter and the taller uppers and having that practical storage space is definitely worthwhile. They can price it easily for you both ways. Be sure that you factor in the cost of the extra crown molding...I wouldn't want to have cabinets that don't go up to the ceiling again due to the dust catching.

As for drawers vs doors for the bottom cabinets - almost everyone here will tell you drawers, drawers, and more drawers. Initially, the cost difference seems like it adds up, but if you are planning on putting in roll-outs inside the doored areas, the price difference really minimizes. Drawers are typically much more functional. But, you need to be sure that you get a mixture of deep and shallow drawers so that you have the right mix for what things you need to store.

As to garbage options - there are the double 50 quart options out there, but you give up a drawer...that may or may not be an issue for you. We're planning on going with the double 50-quart.

I would check into the costs of a few custom cabinet makers in your area as others here have suggested.

If you are concerned about overall amounts of storage space (you mentioned this with the tall uppers), you may want to check into frameless/Euro options for cabinets also since the lack of a faceframe gives more usable area in each cabinet.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:59AM
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desertsteph- We haven't checked with anyone. Dh was just saying that the larger makers that have been in business for a while might have more of a chance to *still* be in business later.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Another piece of advise is "don't assume anything". Don't assume one type of cabinet/manufacturer will be more expensive. Don't assume that something will be expensive or difficult. Don't assume quality or warranty. Don't assume anything.

Get multiple estimates, advise, info in writing, etc.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:32AM
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twix-Thanks. Those are good suggestions. There is a sale going right now where we would get $4000 off the price and could do 18 month zero interest. He said they come up here and there and we could watch for them. I'll have to ask about putting the measure money down to hold the price for sure!

calumin - We don't have a HD close...about an hour or so away. We do have a Menards and I'll probably check there as well. The custom cabinet shop is actually within a mile of my current home, so I will certainly check with them. I need to check around and find an amish cabinet maker. I know there must be some around but I don't have a name yet.

debra-Thanks for clarifying.

momtofour- I would really love the extra storage for seasonal items. There are so many things that I would love to have but we lack the storage space right now. Nothing practical really, just pretty items for Thanksgiving dinner and such. I definitely need to find out about the trash! That's a great idea for dog food. We don't have a dog but are hoping to get one when we move. :)

needinfo- I probably misused the term "warranty". I'm not as worried about the cabinets breaking or being defective as I am about one of our kids tearing something up accidentally. Then we would need a replacement door or something. Dh was just saying that a bigger company that's been around for a while would be more likely to still be around years from now and we would have access to replacement doors. Probably not a big deal but it was a thought we tossed out there since we have utilized that type of thing in our current home with cabinets that are 20 years old.

As for the custom look fitting the space. I see what you are saying. I would like to compare apples to apples as much as possible but I agree that if the custom maker can do more of what we need then we should take that into consideration with their price.

jakuvall - Thanks for the pic!

gladys- For countertops I really like the solid surface type. At least I think I do. LOL Main reason being that the sink and counter are practically seamless so not as much chance for gunk to be places.

andreak-Thank you. I'll have to look into the frameless/Euro you mentioned. I'm not sure of the differences. I was thinking about drawer depth as well. I know I need deeper for the pots/pans and the plates/bowls. Otherwise I'm not sure exactly. I'm going to make a copy of the layout and pencil in where I want things. I have done this partially before but I want to get more detailed.

I appreciate all this feedback!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:44AM
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For that price I would go to a custom cabinetmaker and you probably will get more for the money. I got my custom cabinets for 11x14 kitchen + small vanity for a bathroom - all custom - less than 18K including the install.

I am also 5'2 and my ceiling is 8ft but I wanted the cabinets up to the ceiling.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:34PM
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'my husband was leery of that because we wouldn't have much of a warranty'

have you checked with them?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:46PM
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I had my first quote from a local store, one similar to Lowes but a local chain (don't recall now if it was Shenandoah or Diamond brand) but it was too much for my budget. I went back to the store's KD and we downgraded some of the components from the "standard": substituted MDF for plywood sides (based on comments here I felt comfortable with that), choosing a less expensive crown molding, for examples.

With those changes we were able to reduce the price considerably. Have to point out that the KD didn't volunteer any suggestions for reducing the cost; I had to ask (asked to see the crown molding choices available for example).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:26PM
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raee- Thank you. The KD said he would help me try to cut costs but he wanted me to pick what I liked best to start with. I will have to call/email him or go back in to cut things here and there. I'll check into the MDF vs. plywood.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Tammy - if you do go the MDF route and you are doing a large dish drawer, be cautious about of our members here had a large drawer that didn't hold...her story is here:

We aren't having as large of a drawer bank (ours will be 36" as opposed to a2g's 42"), but we're going plywood through the kitchen (but you could probably do plywood for part and MDF for others) and we're having drawers with a 3/8" base as opposed to the standard 1/4" and our cabinet maker and I discussed having reinforcements under to drawer to help keep any bowing from happening within the drawer...this is planned for in our dish drawer and our pots & pans drawers.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Andrea-Thanks. He said the ones marked for pots/pans and dishes were reinforced and had metal "all the way back". Of course this was with the solid wood option.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:50PM
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I just purchased cabinets from Lowes yesterday (mine were Shenandoah). In total we have about 30 cabinets, all base cabinets are drawers, we had a whole bunch of extras added, and my price with tax and shipping came to $15,000. This price was after Lowes discount and discounts from Shenandoah (free sink base, free hardware, free glazing, and free cutlery tray). Also, after placing the order we received a $1,500 store card (I think this rebate runs only till today ��" it was 10% of your final purchase price). We were quoted for install from Lowes which was insane! It was about $6,500 so we chose to do it ourselves with the help of my husbandâÂÂs friend who is a carpenter.

Also, a good thing to look at is the quote they print out for you, you would be amazed at how much a spice rack, valance, or a bookshelf can cost. I got rid of two bookshelves and a valance and my price went down $1,500.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Thanks Jennifer! Wow. Expensive bookshelves. LOL

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 4:02PM
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