Which cabinets would you choose and why?

Vogt300November 14, 2011

Home Depot American Woodmark, all plywood, $10,000

Waypoint Living Spaces (same company as Am. Woodmark, sold by dealers), plywood ends, $12,000

Debut, all plywood, $10,000

Local cabinetmaker Wellsford, all particleboard frameless, $12,000 (their all plywood framed is $15,000)

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Boxes are boxes, by and large. Whether all plywood or MDF or "particleboard", a cabinet box, once secured to the wall, is essentially identical to its brethren. The functional details - door and drawer construction, hardware components - drawer guides, hinges, etc, options, customizability , and sizing to fit your space are all more important. The frameless option may end up offering you considerable gains in usable space - especially in drawer space. The rail and stile space around each drawer can add up to quite a bit of "dead" space. Plywood vs particle board - follow the rule that your whole house depends on - keep the water where it belongs.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 1:24PM
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Chatting to Leon at Scherr's cabinets the other day, he thinks that good quality 3/4" particle board is a really good choice for cabinets; plywood adds nothing of value in most situations. They sell a lot of plywood cabinets because that's what the market demands, not because it's what they believe customers actually need.

FWIW, because it's such a personal decision, our current thinking is particleboard everywhere except the sink cab and the tall cab for the wall ovens (which weigh a lot). If this was a kitchen "for life" for us, I'd go with white interiors, but resale around here means we'll probably go with the faux woodgrain.

We're also solidly in the frameless camp - you can never have too much storage space...

I'm guessing our remodel will run about $70K, with high quality appliances, materials, etc. throughout; definitely not a budget job.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 1:36PM
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I can only comment on American Woodmark -- I was all set to go with them and just couldn't make myself do it.

I got sucked in by a promo they were running with lots of free things including free paint, hardware, trash, silverware divider, sink base and a store promo for several thousand off.

Anyway, I kept going back to the showroom kitchens and inspecting the pullouts (pantry try rollouts, drawers, trash pullout, etc.) and over and over again I was *NOT* impressed. In no way did they seem solid to me. I checked a few showrooms and the L*we's verson of AmW (Shenandoah) and always walked away unhappy.

In the end I went with another brand.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 1:59PM
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Editionk, what brank did you end up going with since I am also impressed with all their freebies but I am still in love with the Shiloh beaded inset doors in the Polar or soft white finish so I am waiting for an installation quote from Home Depot before I make a decision. I felt the doors and drawers with the soft close was well made and what I liked was that you can add a piece to the door to have the middle piece be covered totally without the middle bar for cabinets over 36" wide. With the Shiloh, I will have the middle bar in two cabinets since I do not want to change the layout of my kitchen which would add more expenses. I like my dishwasher next to the sink and I do not want to move it to change the layout.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:09PM
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If the $2K is not a deal breaker than I would go with your local guy. Most folks don't need plywood cabinetry. The frameless is a better way to make a cabinet IMO. You will probably get better service from your local cabinet maker, and may be presented with size options you wont get with the other manufacturers noted.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:01PM
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I didn't care for Woodmark. For us, the local cabinetmaker was a great choice. Hopefully you have checked his references, and gotten to visit one of his completed kitchens.

Also, if you go with a local cabinet maker, you could choose to put a few pieces in plywood (near the sink, as noted) or perhaps for some longer shelves that potentially might sag over time.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:05PM
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You may want to ask your salesperson again about removing the center stile on cabinets wider than 36". It's been my experience that most manufacturers wont allow this. Even if its not required for the box itself, it will prevent your shelves from sagging because they can put shelf clip/ peg on the back of the center stile.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I've always heard that particle board is just as strong plywood once attached to the wall and to each other. They are not just going to collapse on you. But we all think that more expensive is better.

I guess for me I would want to go with the cabinet company that had the style/finish that I liked the best.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:25PM
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"But we all think that more expensive is better."

Ain't that the truth! :) The funny part is the way we want to get the most "expensive" stuff for the lowest price possible. Manufacturers, who are cunning as weasels, play on this by inflating the "minimum advertized price" but tacitly allowing dealers to give huge discounts, or running endless "special offers".

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:50PM
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robbcs3, thanks for letting me know! Maybe my salesguy only thinks the middle piece could be removed in a greater than 36" wide cabinet.

I wish the Shiloh store would also install so they could give me a total price since I like the off-white Polar color (darker than Linen and darker than BM Cloud White) better than Woodmark's off-white Linen (similar to Cloud White with a touch less yellow). I also love the inset doors better.

I am also questioning myself about my need for off-white cabinets to brighten the room since the kitchen is open to a family room that has Brazilian Cherry floors and light walls (BM Bone White) and a beige leather Natuzzi sofa and recliner as well as a glass coffee table with modern cherry legs and two ends tables the same design from the House of Norway. The picture frame is a beaded bronze frame over the sofa with a Red Maple Tree and a pond with a bridge and other Japanese Garden trees for color (greens and orange and reds). I know Cherry cabinets or Maple stained an orange brown color would look great against the light floor tiles and will blend with my family room best but my brain keeps thinking an off-white will lighten up the interior townhouse kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:04PM
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Assuming that you like a door style from each line, determine if you like full, partial, or no overlay design. If you like no overlay, then go frameless. Then determine if you need a lot of custom dimensions. If so, your local shop may be the best option. For semi-custom frameless, I have been looking at Ultracraft and Home Depot's Innermost. Both seem to give decent value and array of options. Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:39PM
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After I nixed AmW I narrowed it down to two lines - Eudora (a newer frameless line made by Kith) and Mid Continent. In the end I went with Mid Continent (not installed yet).

I'm getting Shaker style full overlay; the perimeter will be white painted maple with a black stained oak island.

Mid Continent does soft close doors/drawers and full extension standard. Painted/glazed finishes are not upcharges either. My local shop offers choice of free hardware or credit toward other hardware (not sure I'll order from them though) as well as 5% credit toward my kids' school tuition.

Some here call Mid Contient a value brand but I feel comfortable with it and prefer it over others in my price range.

My price for Mid Continent (not counting the tuition credit) came in less than the AmW quote when they had all their promos.

Feel free to email with any other questions. You can message me through the board :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Correction: for full overlay, choose frameless

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:51PM
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American Woodmark is a good budget line, but 10K is a LOT of cabinets in American Woodmark, or else you have added in lots of other stuff. If you are looking at one of their higher priced doors like the Savannah and/or have added in lots of upgrades, you are better off moving to something like Kraftmaid with a lower priced door style. I don't care for the center stiles that AmWood has in most of their cabinets, and KM offers soft close drawers as a standard, not an upgrade. KM finishes aer better quality also, and that would be the biggest factor, especially if you are going for a stained finish over painted.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Thanks for the feedback and giving us some new things to consider. I do lean more towards frameless, but all the cabinets that we were saw were framed. I just found out about the frameless option from the cabinetmaker a few days ago. The cabinetmaker said that particleboard is actually better than plywood for frameless cabinets. It's hard to know if particleboard quality is good or not just from the specs you get -- it seems like you just have to trust their word.

GreenDesigns: yes we have a LOT of cabinets -- 24 I think. Our door choice is shaker style full overlay, pretty simple. AW's is a solid door though we would have been fine with a veneer center panel. We do want a 5-piece drawer front, so that makes it more expensive. What makes KM finish better than AW?

editionk: our Midcontinent quote was higher than the others, about $14,000. I would have loved a tuition discount though.

Debut is a great deal, but the stain options are limited.

We don't want to get something more expensive because of a false sense that the quality is better, but we also don't want to go with the cheapest option to save a few dollars and be disappointed with the quality. The quotes are pretty close to each other...can we go wrong with any of these options?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:35PM
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Just for your information, I have been pricing out American Woodmark at HD and soft close drawers are now standard, not an upgrade. However, you are right that they have the center stiles in all wall cabinets over 27". Not sure about the lowers, as I am planning for mostly drawers below.

This is the first brand I have priced out and it is mostly being done by email, as I live a LONG way from any showrooms (about 340 miles). Going to look at the actual displays and cabinet samples Thanksgiving weekend when we go to our daughters.
Vogt300 - I am guessing that you are looking at the Townsend collection. We have 19 cabinets, (2 reduced depth bases), 42" uppers, all-plywood. Estimate was about $9,000 for the Townsend. Sounds pretty close to yours. I agree, price is important, but want quality as well. This is tough!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:14PM
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ntpam2, which Townsend wood and which stain? I was going to go with the Cherry dark one and then decided on the Savannah and then decided I really wanted the shaker look since it is peaceful. Amazingly that is what my builder grade oak door style is similar to right now but my recessed door panel has more of a flat panel drawer and is partial overlay with a framed construction so all cabinets have that bar in the middle except for the pantry closet which I hate. Home Depot says they can put panel on the side of one door instead of the bar in the middle but someone is saying then the cabinet will not be stable.

I really love the Shiloh Beaded inset door with the 5-piece drawer in the recessed panel look in the polar or soft white or the Kraftmaid Lexington but not sure if I would like the Alabaster or the seashell color or the Woodmark Townsend in maybe the Maple Auburn glaze door. I just wonder if my room will look too dark with the darker wood. I got a great price for the Woodmark Charlottesville with all the goodies and the installation estimators are coming tomorrow morning but I am now now sure of the Linen color as it looks so white and the Shiloh Polar that is white is darker than BM cloud white and to me I did not want to go lighter than BM Cloud White. Then I wonder if I should look at the Ikea Lidi that I am told is similar to BM Simply White so would be a little whiter than I think I want.

OR.... maybe I should install my tiles, change the lighting, do my work, absorb all I have learn and then revisit if I want the cherry look or the off-white look.

I did not price out the Townsend since I at first was only looking at the Cherry and the door price on the back was the same as the pretty but very busy Savannah.

EditionK, which door style and stain or paint did you get with the Midcontinental?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:59PM
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Hi lynn2006. My estimate was for the Townsend maple, Mocha Glaze. However, I was also looking at the Charlottesville in the Linen, which I was told would be similar in cost. I need to decide if going with a white kitchen like I had, or switching to a stained kitchen. Will look at them both next weekend and try to see which appeals to me more.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 1:05AM
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Vogt -- wow! I can't believe your Mid Continent quote was that much higher. Crazy.

I did get 2 Mid Cont. quotes and one was higher than the other by about $1500 IIRC.

lynn2006 -- I got a shaker style (Copenhagen, currently on a 10% discount through 12/31 I think). Perimeter is maple painted white and the island is oak stained Carbon (black). I preferred Cherry in carbon for the island, but didn't want to pay for it and I'm crossing my fingers that after the rest of the kitchen if finished the wood grain difference won't be a hang up for me.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:53PM
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I wouldn't be afraid of particleboard. I'd almost rather have that unless I knew for sure that the plywood was American (or Canadian). I have heard of instances where the foreign plywood used to keep costs down contains voids of space as well as foreign insects (requiring houses to be fumigated) and mold.

Is the particle 3/4"?

I think the frameless is a better bet also just in terms of greater access to your stuff. Can the local cabinetmaker show you how he finishes off the front edges?... is it edgebanded or is it an 1/8" veneer (which I think is a more expensive but less common finishing option)?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:40PM
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editionk, the Mid Continental Copenhagen really looks nice. Where did you get the quote from? I like the Shaker style.

mtpam2, I sent you a private email but you can reply here or there or both when you have time. I was wondering why you chose the Charlottesville in the Linen and not the Savannah in the Linen or the Redding in the Linen finish?

I really like the Townsend and wish it came in a Cinnamon shade that would go with my Brazilian Cherry floors better or a Linen finish. I really wish they had a Polar finish a little darker than Linen but not as yellow as the glazed cream doors that the three solid maple collections come in.

I really prefer the Shiloh beaded inset doors in the Polar color with the square recessed look but the price difference is starting to add up so I need to see the price of the installation via email to make up my mind since I am having tiles installed also as well as lighting and removing a soffit.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:03PM
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Does anyone have Innermost cabinets from Home Depot? They look nice and the extra space available by the frameless design is very appealing to me. I like the recessed cabinet fronts but wonder if the quality is good with a "thinner" front panel. Is Innermost a good quality cabinet that won't hang all crooked off the hinges in a few months?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Don't want to upset anyone but, particleboard is not as strong or the same as plywood. It's that simple... Particleboard is basically sawdust loosely glued together covered by a thin coat of veneer pressed with heat and heavy weight to create a side wall or shelf... Plywood is larger wood fibers either sheeted or interwoven wood fibers glued and pressed gathering huge strength over particle board vertically and horizontally... the big reason people want plywood over particleboard is that is lasts longer and it holds up to stress better... one big issue is moisture... particleboard is like a sponge and water wicks very quickly through particleboard...It swells very quickly and starts to crumble the sidewalls and veneer coating bubbles and cracks...all integrity is lost on a particleboard cabinet with moisture contact overtime and pretty quickly... plywood worst case will warp slightly with excess moisture but integrity will remain...

Sorry but if anyone believes particleboard is just as good as plywood that is not the case... if you believe that then why not cut some more corners and instead of plywood subfloor, plywood wall sheathing and plywood roof sheathing for your house structure be swapped out with particleboard... I hate particleboard if you can't tell...

Every cabinet structure has its time and place construction methods are different but standards of the majority are the same or should I say corners are cut to maximize profits...

The vast majority of buyers either take advice from a friend, family member or quote-un-quote trusted dealer or tradesman... the problem is this... family and friends are trying to help with what they believe is accurate information by using a bias or heuristic in their decision making process... now the trusted tradesman could be using a bias as well because all they know is how to install them and not necessarily build them... the dealer may or may not know one thing about true construction...they are what I call gentlemen/women dealers/contractors where they have never picked up a hammer or truly understand construction, materials, or methods of execution outside of a design program... then you have the people who only want to make a sale and they realize you will probably buy more items for something that looks like you want but may be lesser quality and less expensive materials but, they tell you what you want to hear that its just as good when in reality its not...

The real deal is any dealer/contractor selling you semi-custom particleboard cabinets is making more money then if they sold you plywood... the reason you will spend more over the coarse of the transaction because you feel you are saving money and they have a higher markup on particleboard cabinets because they cost less to produce and they will keep the price close to a higher dollar cabinet to increase profits and so you believe they are just as good... a truly quality constructed cabinet will pay for itself overtime whether construction integrity or resell value...

Oh yeah don't reface particleboard cabinets big mistake...just because you have a solid wood face frame just like all traditional frame cabinets do... doesn't mean you should waste your money refacing them... you can buy quality all wood cabinets cheaper if you know where to look and what to ask...

European and traditional frame cabinets each have their place I like them both and depends on situation when they should or should not be used...

The 1st poster on here I would be interested in seeing your cabinet list for those prices... as another poster provided you can get a lot of cabinets for that price...you can spend as much or as little as you want depending on your budget and what you want and what you need...and of course where you would like to cut corners...

Oh and the center stile on the cabinet can be removed on the vast majority of cabinets if you ask right... (i.e) if you are quoted for a B24 it will have 1 door but ask for a B24 BUTT or B24B and it will have 2 doors...what about the stile? Right... a B36 will have 2 doors and a center stile however, a B36 BUTT or B36B will have 2 doors and no center stile... not all cabinets can have center stile removed "BUTT" most can...

My 2 cents...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Wow, Mochte. And wow again. I'm just starting to look at cabinetry for my kitchen remo and Googled Waypoint Living to come up with this forum. Thank you for providing your 2 cents (more like $100) worth of info re particleboard and center stiles.

My local cabinet dealer sells Waypoint Living (aka Woodmark) and I like a lot of what they show in their showroom and in the brochures. But aesthetics aren't the only thing I'm interested in. The quality and durability is just as important.

So, with the information you provided, I can march into the showroom and ask intelligent questions that will get (hopefully) honest answers. This woman trying to make kitchen remo decisions on her own sincerely thanks you.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 6:14PM
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I think it would behoove you to do some more research before you buy into what mochte said. Search for posts by jakuvall and others.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 6:35PM
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