Kitchen Cabinet Reviews

sarah_gSeptember 10, 2008

Hi,

This is such a helpful forum! My better half and I have just decided to go ahead with a kitchen remodel and I've already gotten a bunch of great ideas from peoples posts. However, the biggest issue that we are now facing is cabinets! We think we are going to go with cream cabinets, but have no ideas about brands. He's a teacher and I'm a doctoral student, so money is a bit tight, but we would like something that will hold up for a while.

If anyone has a second to give the following info, that would be most amazing!

Brand/Model:

Color:

Best thing about them:

Worst thing:

Overall, would you recommend the brand:

Appx. cost/size: (if you feel comfortable, if not, that's okay too :))

Pictures are always awesome too ;) Thanks!!!

Sarah

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sarah_g

Whoops- if you could include where you bought the cabinets if you ordered them yourself that would be super too!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 10:55AM
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gardenburgher

Hi Sarah_g. A great thread has been going around since March. People have discussed price, quality, pros and cons. Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Relative cabinetry prices: brand vs. brand

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:00AM
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sarah_g

Super- I searched around but missed that one- I think it answers my questions :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:03AM
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lovemcm

What about Ikea? There are many, including on this forum, who feel it's a great value and good quality...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 1:18PM
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caryscott

If money is tight and you are leaning to an opaque finish consider thermofoil (thermo is a high pressure laminate). The HPL process has been perfected and delamination problems are very rare. Make sure the substrate of the door is MDF though and not particle\furniture board. It can melt (if it is exposed to direct heat) but cleans up well and a number of lines are using it on the high end(5 piece polyester doors and the like) so the stigma of it as a cheap finish is diminishing.

Most cabs are made of 5\8 furniture board, even custom places use this as standard - plywood is becoming less common. Consumer's and the like will tell you ply is a mark of quality - very expensive product that is probably way more than what you are interested in paying is using furniture board so don't fall for that one.

I only really looked at frameless (no face frames or center styles). Because this type of cupboard isn't braced with a face frame its' construction is important. A 5\8 deep back on the upper and lowers is a dood indicator of quality construction (many popular products only have a thin 1\4 inch back). Internal toe kick - your cosmetic toe lick with go over it but the inernal one stengthens the lower cab and a lot of product doesn't have one. Valances across the top in the front and back that are glued and doweled. No staples - staples are bad. I would say that this construction is better than cabs with furniture board supports (triangles in each corner which reinforce the cabs structure) - which is still better than those with plastic stapled supports in the corners.

I would look for colour matching inside and out and most importantly around the edges. Walk through an Ikea and anytime a door is out (sagging or not flush) you see the white edge of the melamine cabinet box glaring out at you. Colour matching helps hide small flaws and means that you don't have an up charge to colour match cabinet interiors if you have glass doors or exposed end panels.

Drawers should have 5\8 bottoms and metal slides.Staples are a very bad sign in drawers as are flimsy bottoms or backs. Fancy drawer hardware is nice but is it where you want to spend your money? Which is more important the look of the cabs and their overall quality or soft close hardware?

We are purchasing a stock assembled product from Fabritec which is exclusive to Home Depot (in Canada, anyway). Units are made all at once then pulled off of the shelf as the order is assembled.

Install can make or break any product so make sure you know who specifically is doing your install and ask to see their work. Look for an installer who knows the specific product. Some companies have a regional manager who inspect their installers work - he\she comes out the next day and goes through the kitchen with you to correct any problems.

Choosing cabs comes down to doorstyle, colour and can they do what you need for a price you can afford.

good luck!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:16AM
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buehl

I disagree that choosing a cabinet is just "...doorstyle, colour and can they do what you need for a price you can afford."

I think that quality is important including the hardware and "insides." Case in point...our old kitchen...

  • had base cabinets with those half-shelves in them and they were almost useless.

  • Our drawers only opened 3/4 of the way and I always seemed to scrape my fingers on the frame above when I reached into the back of the drawers.

  • The shelves in the upper cabinets were all bowed b/c they weren't thick enough/strong enough to hold dishes (yes, we turned the shelves over)

  • The painted finish started to wear off after only 5 or 6 years

I could go on, but I think you get my point. It's not just about finding a door or finish (color) that you want, it's also what is the quality of the "insides" and under the surface...and on the surface...finish, that is!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:51AM
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igloochic

I'm with buehl on the quality issue. Buy the best you can afford. My friends did their kitchen two years ago. It looked quite nice. Today, the cabinet doors don't all close. The lazy susan is so lazy it won't turn. The corner cabinet holding the dishes has bowed shelves. Her finish is already beat to goober and you can see what's laminate and what's not because of the dents in them. She has two small children, and yes they're not easy on cabs, but they don't play with hammers, and that's what her kitchen looks like.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 1:05AM
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jbrodie

Make sure you look into custom as well. In our case, custom is actually less expensive than semi-custom. I was really surprised. And I think we'll be getting better quality (no MDF or partical board amoung other things). It may be partly because of the current economy.

Also, we are buying the pull-outs, spice organizer, silver organizer, etc. after market and will save quite a bit. And our contractor says the custom will be cheaper to install because it (should) fit perfectly, so they won't have to spend time building fillers.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 1:53AM
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caryscott

Of course quality is important - I wouldn't have talked so extensively about the construction if it wasn't. Having said that full extension drawers and soft closes are not about quality but convenience and preference. More than one person here has admitted that they were not sure the splurge for these extras really made a big difference to their enjoyment of their new kitchen. 1\2 depth shelves in lowers is a good point if you are going with lots of lower cabs - like many here we are going with mostly drawers or adding pull outs so it isn't a feature that was of concern for us. Often these kinds of features pull you up in a line to a more expensive product that may have a lot of features you don't want or need - look for a line that won't force you into more product than you want.

We are doing a small kitchen 120 square feet but cab cost will be around $4500 before taxes, with a 10% discount. Kitchen is small but there is no eat in so it is a fair amount of cabinetry (3 walls) and we have 14 (!) drawers (drawers units are more than regular cabs even if they are not soft close or full extension). We are doing a creamy white thermofoil in a shaker style.

I priced custom and it was very close to semi-custom but still twice what we are paying for an assembled stock product wich is constructed of similar materials. Then again we are doing a kitchen in an 80's build highrise condo so not much architectural flourish to accomodate.
I still say pick your look and then shop for the best product you can get that will give you the features you want at a fair price point. Furniture board won't hold screws like ply so if you think you are going to be hard on the product maybe ply will be your bottom line.

This a great spot and people are really generous with their experiences but many have budgets that are pretty inconceivable to most of us. We are doing an under $20 000.0 and while it is very small budget for a complete kitchen (all new appliances) re-model it is still quite expensive. I'm a little handy but restricting myself to mostly demo. What many of the DIYers accomplish is amazing.
Ikea is the most cited and acceptable low cost alternative but I think there are other choices that can work (trade off maybe full extension soft close for better basic cabinet construction and more choice).

Just because you are shopping at the lower end of the price range doesn't mean you can't get a durable quality product if you shop around but in my experience going with an opaque finish rather than stained wood can reduce your options. A number of mid to high end lines (like Cabico) are doing lacquered\painted MDF doors so that thermofoil is fused to MDF isn't a negative in my book. Many of those same lines are introducing high end thermo as well now. It isn't as nice as lacquer but in a matte finish we found thermo to be a reasonable compromise.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 8:07AM
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tbonebanjo

It is difficult to find real kitchen cabinet reviews on line. I am posting this for new readers because it pops up when searching for kitchen cabinet reviews.
Cliq Studios is an company in Michigan that sells high quality cabinets for much less than you can get in box stores, etc. I recently purchased my cabinets there and just had them installed. The boxes are 1/2" plywood with fully captured bases, the doors are solid wood raised panels and are finished beautifully. I got Mendota Maple finish on mine. The hardware works well, the drawers are very smooth. They made some modifications for me at a very reasonable extra charge, such as double toe kicks on island cabinets, they left the toe kick off the tall cabinets so I could tilt them up (they would not fit otherwise). Their designer was very helpful, we spoke on the phone several times. I had a very complete design to start with, so I was able to check their work and I recommend that you do that carefully or have someone who knows what they are doing check it for you. The delivery was quick but the cabinets arrived unexpectedly one day when I was not home, so I had to rush home and clean out my garage. Be careful to align the drawers before you install the countertops, especially on large drawers. These are great cabinets at about half the cost of other places I looked.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:32AM
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Sam827

I searched for a well-made, well-priced cabinet for months and I know how hard it is to finally make a decision. If you are going through a similar tug of war trying to find quality and a good price, you might stumble across a company called Choice Cabinets. DO NOT buy from this company.

I was told by the Chicago distributor that I had to fully pay in advance in order to get the best discount (major mistake by me). Amazingly, the next day, I was told that some of the cabinets were back ordered. I didn't get the last one until almost 3 months after I paid. Funny thing is that on their website they talk about quick delivery being one of their benefits.

BUT, OH DOES IT GET WORSE! One of the cabinets was stained wrong. The Chicago distributor told me I could re-stain it with a stain pen. When I did it looked terrible. The distributor�s solution? He made me buy a new one. OH DOES IT GET WORSE. The local distributor actually measured my kitchen (or input the figures) wrong and my cabinets didn't fit. Yep, you guessed it. I was told that I signed the contract and I needed to pay for the new cabinets even though I had their blueprint with the wrong measurements. OH DOES IT GET WORSE. After having nothing but trouble with our local distributor, I wrote the owner of the company (based in Cleveland). He emailed me back saying that they don't talk to or communicate with customers. I needed to work things out with my distributor. When I told him that wasn't possible, he never responded back to me. Can you imagine a company that gladly takes your money, but won't take your call or email??? YOU DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY. Almost NOTHING they said was true and I greatly regret giving them my money. During this same period, I have spent $50,000 getting new flooring, window treatments, 2 bathrooms re-done, painting, new fireplace, etc and not had one problem. Choice Cabinets is the worst customer service company I've dealt with in a long time. Stay away.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 12:04PM
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GarmZ

Hi Cary Scott,

I am looking to get Fabritech's instant line from home Depot. The one with matching interior and exterior as well as shipped assembled from the factory.

I wanted to ask you about how it's holding up a few years after installing it?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:54PM
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aliris19

Wow, Sam. If you haven't already, you should post a stand-alone, specifically titled thread naming this execrable company so their infamy can be memorialized. You would like others to easily learn this about them.

I'm sorry for that mess!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:19AM
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oldbat2be

Alaris19, Bee may be willing to pass on a travel opportunity you might enjoy.... You're most kind to be concerned but we've seen this same bash more than once by a poster who's always just registered.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:22AM
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Mariam2965

We just moved to a new house and I also had experience with kitchen remodeling. My kitchen designer was BauformatUSA: prices are not what youâÂÂre expecting, but everything else was fine.

Brand/Model: on designerâÂÂs advise
Color: cream
Best thing about them: flexibility
Worst thing: prices
Overall, would you recommend the brand: yes

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 7:11AM
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