Cabinets, Let the buyer beware

One of the biggest remodel jobs that many of us face is the kitchen remodel. I am paying more for new kitchen cabinets than my two cars COMBINED!!!
I chose to go the Home Depot / Lowes route for the cabinets. In part because I went to a few kitchen design places and their rates were extraordinarily high. Perhaps I could have shopped around more.
One of my requirements that I told all the kitchen designers that I worked with was that I wanted all plywood construction. The particle board cabinets that I've seen may look ok when installed, but start looking quite ragged and ugly very soon.
So, we sat down and put together the first design..... Except that it was all plywood EXCEPT for the shelves. The designer tried to convince me that the "furniture board" type particle board was better than plywood. The argument sounded good except that every particle board shelf that I could find which was over 5 years old was warped, or ratty looking.
So, I returned and we redesigned the kitchen in both KraftMaid and Thomasville who were supposed to have true "all plywood construction". Thomasville described their shelves as "Choice of plywood or furnitureboard shelves, laminated to match the cabinet interior"
I decided that I liked the Thomasville sink base better so I chose the Deluxe "All Plywood" Thomasville construction.
Well, the cabinets arrived Friday. The finish was mediocre. But on closer inspection, I noticed that the interior finish just seemed plain strange. So I looked at it further. The interior, top, and bottom of the cabinets were finished with a vinyl imitation wood.
So, I headed back to Home Depot where I was told that the vinyl imitation wood was better than varnished wood for the interior!!! The designer said that it was easier to clean. I must admit that I didn't believe that argument.
I still can't understand how the "Top of the Line" Home Depot cabinet in the "Deluxe Construction" has such poor quality construction. Anyway, the whole pile, $5000 worth of cabinets was taken back to Home Depot. I just ate the $125 delivery fee and 15% restocking fee (of course, I kept the "free" sink base that caused the whole problem).
I am not happy about another month delay in my project.... But, after investing thousands of dollars, and many, many hours on the remodel job, I am not going to accept the junk that Home Depot is trying to pawn off.
The KraftMaid line did have the all plywood construction, and it is "finished" inside and out. And, it is cheaper. I am definitely looking elsewhere for my replacement cabinets, and will not consider Home Depot for major appliances either.
The moral to the story.... MAKE SURE YOU ASK HOW THE CABINETS WILL BE FINISHED, INSIDE AND OUT. PLYWOOD DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY HAVE ACTUALLY MADE FINISHED WOOD.
Give me a break. I know that the world is encouraging economy and mass production. But, don't ignore the quality and workmanship of the final product.
----- CK -----
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Clifford Keele writes:

Specifying "laminated", unfortunately, doesn't specify what it is laminated *with*.
In your case, apparently it just meant paper-thin vinyl plastic. Maybe you thought you would be getting Formica-style "laminate".
I sympathize with your plight, but the way to avoid it is to specify, specify, specify. You can only demand what you specify, and any holes in the specifications are almost always interpreted against the buyer's interests.
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<snip>

<snip>
Do you have an Ikea near you? We are seriously considering them for our kitchen. They seem to have very nice, relatively expensive cabinets and counters. My mother-in-law got some from Ikea and has been very happy. They also clearly specify what they are made of - solid wood with birch veneer, MDF with Pine veneer, etc.
Just a thought to try.
Ryan
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I would expect to spend $10,000 for all wood solid cherry cabinets. Most furniture has a carcass constructed on man-made composite boards. Particle board or flake board is weak to use for shelving, but solid or ply is much better. Kitchen cabinets are made cheap as they are typically ripped out and replaced after 10 or 20 years.
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Clifford Keele wrote:

I build my own cabinets and my material of choice for cases and shelves is melamine covered particle board (hardwood face frames and doors). Why? Well, for one thing, the material is much less expensive; but, primarily, it provides a prefinished interior surface (the only one seen) that is durable, easy to clean and which never needs refinishing.
True, ply is stronger. But if a melamine case is properly constructed (tongues glued and screwed into dados), it is way more than adequate and will stay together better than a ply case that has been (usually) merely butt joined with staples. Additionally, I have seen many expensive ply cases/shelves that had raw, uncapped edges. Yuch!
Whether or not a shelf will sag depends on the load and span. Both those factors are small in the normal kitchen. I have 100s of feet of shelves and pullouts in my kitchen made of melamine board. None are warped. They are 8 years old now and will look the same in another 8. Or 28.
In short, it isn't the material, it is how the material is used.
-- dadiOH ________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.0... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://www.gbronline.com/xico / _________________________________
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Can't disagree more. Our kitchen cabinets were made in Canada, we're in So. Calif., and the installer left a slab of cabinet carcase material about 12""X96" for me to use for jigs, I'm a woodworking hobbiest. It was propped against the garage cabinets just slightly off vertical and in 2-3 days it sagged! This is what the "Certified" Kitchen Designer claimed was "High grade particleboard". I hope to have died or sold before our sink malfunctions especially with granite drainboard and undermount sink!

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wrote:

What is the name of the cabinets made in Canada? We were thinking of getting cabinets made in Canada as several people here in this area have done that - however, I don't know the make because we have just started thinking about it so haven't gone looking yet.
Jackie
(to e-mail take the "x" off jackie)
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Getting bombs dropped on you isn't helping? http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030620/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/mistaken_bombing_29
1800 peacekeepers in Kabul isn't helping? http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030623/wl_canada_nm/canada_afghan_canada_col_2
Or are you talking about the invasion of Iraq, which had squat-all to do with terrorism?
P.S. I am not Canadian and I don't care where y'all buy your stuff. If you buy American, great, but do it for a valid reason.
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Kitchen Craft is the maker. Maple raised panel doors on euro hinges but that's where Quality stops. Shelving is 11/16" instead of 3/4" and standard screws provided for paper towel holders expect 3/4" stock. Ours has a couple of spots where screws knocked laminate off of the particleboard. If you design your own and use particleboard ensure enough supports are provided to avoid sagging shelves!
wrote:

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It's not "our" fight against terrorism, it's Bush's agenda. I don't expect the USA to stop it either, (just spend a lot of our money for nothing.)
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Bad emotions = bad business.
EJ
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And you think a piece of 12" x 96" ply wouldn't warp? hehehe...
As I said originally, it isn't the material, it is how the material is used.
dadiOH ______________________
Bob Bowles wrote:

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<< From: mark Ransley snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net Date: Mon, Jun 23, 2003 0:08
You're a fool and you will soon be broke.
>><BR><BR>
Well, I hope that made you feel better. Now lie down and wait for your meds to work, zemedelec
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You did EXACTLY right, totally! They need more stuff returned and refused when they're such poor goods. I was also shopping for cabinets recently and was astounded to see the poor quality. It isn't just Home Depot. Check underneath and in back of some of the junk at posh kitchen showrooms and you will enroll at the nearest woodworking school immediately. You can often buy tools and take the courses and use superior materials and STILL come out ahead!
Kitchen cabinets are a mess. The industry is so reliant on fake everything to keep up the profit margin they aspire to, you can pay AMAZING amounts of money for work that would flunk a high school kid right out of Shop class. I've seen $2,000 hutches with fake hardboard backs stapled in - crookedly. Even some woodworking books now devote themselves to teaching how to make junk.
Avoid it all. Want to save REAL money? Find a cabinet shop with humans in it who want the business and can DO the business. Even an inspired or careful amateur might do better than some of these manufactories. A small cabinetmaker, local, who has access to the materials -- might be a solution worth considering.

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How may house have you seen? Up north here, all the particle board shelf (<2') I've seen are in good shape over 15 years. Maybe you live in a high humidity climate?

The desinger was right. The melamine is easier to clean.

You have pay dearly to get the quality ans workmanship meet your requirement.
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Our cupboards are 26 years old.
The cupboard 'box' was made out of particleboard (sort of ground up sawdust with glue holding it together). The only problem we had with this material was water dripping off still wet glasses causing the surface under the glasses to swell. We recently sanded down the surface & painted it with Bin primer then 3 coats of Melamine paint. If we had painted it from the beginning this would not have occurred.
The doors were solid oak frames with oak plywood panel inserts, stained and varnished. Back then the handles were placed dead centre on the door panels - which meant the door outside corner finish was worn down as that is where people grab to open the door.
After getting prices for new cabinet doors - we ended up lightly sanding each door (to remove the grime & add some grip to the existing finish), getting a local paint store to make up some stain that matched the color of the existing finish (after 26 years - slightly yellowed varnished wood) then put on 2 coats of clear satin polyurethane & the end result is they look like new.
The only thing we wish we could change would be the position of the door handles - but it was a lot cheaper to just replace the existing handles.
Hope this helps...

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HD touts lowest price. This doesn't mean best quality for lowest price. They seem to go for lowest quality to obtain their lowest price - generally speaking.
That said, I recently had the experience of dealing with a kitchen design place (not totally custom) and they sold fairly expensive cabinetry that was crap. Real nice, solid wood doors; particle board, stapled together carcasses. This was high mid level cabinetry in the lines they carried.
The designers are charging for the design and (presumably) the cabinets. Their time (to do the design) ain't free. Custom anything always costs more. They probably have a little more experience and know-how on kitchen layouts and requrements than the saleman in HD. OTOH, it may be overkill for your situation.
Don't know how big your kitchen is, but $5000 isn't really that much for cabinets and the plywood upgrade could add significantly. It might be that your budget isn't quite enough for what you want.
Renata
wrote:

--snip--
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Renata wrote:

<snipped the mundane repeat>
yeah, yeah, yeah. Try adding something new to the thread.
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Your contribution?
wrote:

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Carpenter Ant wrote:

We know that. Because you never do.
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