My wife and I are thinking about new cupboards for our kitchen and maybe
even our bathroom. We had a cabinet maker give us a quote for the kitchen
($5000 plus). Man, new cupboards are expensive eh?
We are looking into DIY cupboards (we could probably install them
ourselves), they are somewhat cheaper - any tips / advice / suggestions /
comments on this venture?
Installing cabinets are not too difficult. The main thing to keep in mind is
to keep everything level and square. No house is going to be perfectly
square and level. If you have never done anything like this you should look
into buying a "How To" tape on cabinet installation. The installation
process is definately a two person job! Invest in a few tools to mae the job
easier (laser level for one). You will save yourself at the very least $1500
by doing it yourself.
HD has an installation kit that includes a video, but dealing
specifically with their "Mill's Pride" line.
We installed Mill's Pride in our old kitchen but didn't live there long
enough afterwards to find out how durable they are.
On 08/13/04 12:35 pm Howie put fingers to keyboard and launched the
following message into cyberspace:
Some former neighbors installed Mills Pride white melamine with oak trim
cabinets in their kitchen shortly before selling it. The next people
who lived there (three school teachers, no children) were there for two
years, and they had to replace it before they could sell the house.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean,
But much benefit is derived from the labor of the ox.
Plan, make drawings, measure, plan. Installing them is not difficult, but
reading books on the matter is helpful, go to your nearest public library
and/or to the book section of your hardware store and sit and read/browse
the books. I did the very same thing 9 years ago, I would do it again, but
I'd never ever buy non solid wood doors again, the veneer of the ones
bought is peeling off at the corners. Did I say plan and measure?
It's a huge, challenging project. You won't save money if your time is
worth much, so money should not be your motivation. Some people like to do
stuff themselves, and can learn and succeed as they do. Does it have to be
finished on a schedule (you won't meet one on your own)? And will you (and
your family) be happy if your inexperience yields a flawed result? On the
other hand, do you know how to deal with contractors (who seem most skilled
at covering up mistakes, and fighting you over the ones they can't cover
But I still did one myself and don't regret it. See:
In the former house we built, the bids for cabinets ran $ 13,500 to $
15,000 so I said "WTH, I'm gonna be a cabinetmaker".
I have had quite a lot of W/W experience but not a lot doing "fine" work. A
neighbor was running a successful cabinetmaking business out of his 3 stall
garage (the 13.5K bid) so I went and checked out what he had for tools. I
had recently retired so I "had the time". I ended up buying myself some nice
retirement gifts: Delta Unisaw (aka "cabinet saw") w/ biesemeyer fence
$1600, A lot of 12" 24", 36" bar clamps, a new Dewalt VSR drill to go
with my exisitng Craftsman one and also a book: "Building kitchen
cabinets". I already had a 12" DeWalt mitersaw, 4X21 belt sander, router
In the end, I ended up using 3/4" Oak ply for the cases and made face frames
for the wall cabinets (for increased resistance to racking or sagging) but
did the "Eurostyle"-No F/F for the base cabinets. The neighbors "shop"
didnt seem to have any doors around and said he could order raised panel Oak
cabinet doors for less than the cost of the lumber- I checked, he was right.
The doors cost ~ $ 10.35 sf. delivered!!
In the end, it DID take time, my total cost including the tools and all BLUM
hinges and drawer glides was $ 4000.00
I asked the neighbor: "So I guess I saved about $ 10,000 in (your) labor
( plus his profit) and he said: Yes, thats about right.
It was a BIG job.. 44 drawers and 26 cabinets and a bunch of Sf of granite
countertops for the whole (Large) house- but all the visitors looked at the
Kitchen and it "Wowed" em..... that was worth a few bucks too.
I'd never consider this if I didnt have unlimited (retired) time and a fair
amount of previous w/w experience.
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