Kitchen Cabinet Choices

Finally going to re-do my kitchen, but the choices and information is overwhelming. I'm trying to avoid dealing with Home Depot and Lowes.

I've had one quote from Sears so far for $13K, would have been $12k if we went to contract that day for a 9x11 galley kitchen, corian counter, no fancy cabs . I'm glad we didn't sign up. It was our first visit, and we knew nothing. Not saying they're bad, I just have lots more questions now then I did that night.
In any event, as I'm trying to work with local companies, my problem is comparing apples to apples with the different lines they carry. Some do carry the KraftMaid and Merrilat. Others have Aristocraft, Brandom, CustomCraft, UltraCraft, Shiloh, and Medallion. I don't know any thing about these lines (not that I know anything about the others either), or how to compare them. I can't seem to locate anything on most of them. Also if, a company doesn't carry the standard big guns like KraftMaid etc., does that mean anything?
I just want a decent cabinet, not top of the line. The kids are grown, so no-one is running into them, slamming or swinging from them. And the way I see it, my cheap builder-supplied ones have held up fine for 10 years (they're just ugly as heck), so anything I get should be a lot better. But I still don't want to get poor quality.
Can anyone help me in comparing the quotes when they come in, and quality, what to look for etc. And if I do get a quote from Lowes or HD, any suggestions on their products to compare with.
Also, after reading some comments, I decided to get a quote from a local custom-cabinet guy next week. From what I understand it may not be as expensive as I thought it would be. But, besides knowing he is listed with NKBA--which is how I found him-- I know nothing about his work. There is no show room to go in and push and pull drawers, see work etc. Any advice on this avenue would be much appreciated. I don't know many people who have re-done their kitchen using anyone but Lowe's and HD so I'm searching without recommendations.
Deborah
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snipped-for-privacy@webguild.com wrote:
: In any event, as I'm trying to work with local companies, my problem is : comparing apples to apples with the different lines they carry. Some do : carry the KraftMaid and Merrilat. Others have Aristocraft, Brandom, : CustomCraft, UltraCraft, Shiloh, and Medallion. I don't know any thing : about these lines (not that I know anything about the others either), : or how to compare them. I can't seem to locate anything on most of : them. Also if, a company doesn't carry the standard big guns like : KraftMaid etc., does that mean anything?
Ask what the warranty is against warpage and other problems that can beset cabinets. Cabinets aren't very complicated. There's a box part, which is what you put dishes etc. into, and a face part, which is what you see when the cabinets are closed. And drawers, if you want those. Each of these is built pretty simply. Question: do you want to rip everything out and replace it, or just redo the fronts, which can be a lot cheaper?
: I just want a decent cabinet, not top of the line. The kids are grown, : so no-one is running into them, slamming or swinging from them. And the : way I see it, my cheap builder-supplied ones have held up fine for 10 : years (they're just ugly as heck),
And in 10 years you might want a different style anyway, so I think your decision to go midrange is a good one. (I think that's true for a lot of things, including furniture).
:so anything I get should be a lot :better. But I still don't want to get poor quality.
: Can anyone help me in comparing the quotes when they come in, and : quality, what to look for etc.
Here's a few:
a) what are the cabinets made of? Plywood is very good, chipboard is more fragile and more prone to water damage.
b) What are the faceframes and doors made from? If they're painted or laminated it doesn't matter much, if they're exposed wood it does.
c) What grade of hardware, especially hinges and drawer slides, do they use? Both should look substantial. Drawers should be supported by fairly beefy supports -- really thin ones tend to bind and break over time.
d) Are the drawers dovetailed, or nailed/stampled? The former is much more solid and durable.
A lot will depend on the style you choose. Laminated cabinets, sort of minimalist in style, will be very durable. Fancier ones, with moldings, you need to care more about the component types (real wood, MDF, plywood, chipboard, etc.).
    -- Andy Barss
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The "today only" $12k pricing will be good if you decide to call them back-- in fact, offer them $10.5 and they'll counter with $11. Take that-- if they'll agree to throw in a few of the ups/extras they tried to talk you into for an additions $2k ;-)
Bob
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On 07/28/06 05:07 pm snipped-for-privacy@webguild.com wrote:

We did the kitchen in our previous house with Mill's Pride units (with solid maple doors) from HD, and they lasted well for the three years before we moved. They have the advantages of (1) being frameless and (2) of having steel drawer sides, both of which contribute to more efficient use of space. I assembled and installed everything myself. A friend had her kitchen done at about the same time by a "professional"; the job cost way more than ours and the cabinets didn't look nearly as good -- but I have no way of comparing their durability.
Perce
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Yet another reason to never ever ever ever do business with Sears, they are the slimiest of the slime. People I know were quoted $8000 to put new cabinet faces on 20 ilnear feet of cabinetry. They could have replaced the cabinets twice for that much.
Sears sucks.
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SEARS shoul;d be renamed RIP OFF.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Kept the old handles because they are back in style. Cost is not the only factor, and I would not have chosen Sears myself. It was expensive, of course. The carpenter was top notch, mostly. Did correct one issue I brought up. I sanded and painted inside of cabinets before we started. For the $, we have built-in-place plywood cabinets, heavy-duty drawer and door hardware, and a nice, clean, bright kitchen that will be around a lot longer than I will be :o)
We started with HD, the guy came out and made all the measurements and then we went in to the store to get serious about choosing cabinets. Apparently, at the corner of one wall the wallboard is a tad out of straight so he put whatever angle it was into the computer. Extended, the tiny little defect that cannot be seen looked goofy as heck on the drawing. Obviously our walls are parallel, but the "kitchen designer" hadn't been prompted to correct the drawing. That was the end of that idea. We were willing to lose the $100 deposit, but the kitchen designer flagged us down on our next trip in and gave it back, no questions asked!
Any of the big stores use local contractors, and our independent tile contractor's employees also do side work for HD. Our tile job could not have been better. Life is still a crap shoot :o)
There was nothing wrong with out kitchen, other than looking it's age and being DARK formica. Still, the most important part of any contracting job is knowing the work they have done, having a bid that states exactly what will be done, and knowing the product and process.
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Our redo included cabinets from Kitchen Craft selected by a "Certified" Kitchen Designer. Solid Hard Maple doors & drawer fronts, Aspen drawer insides and particle board carcases with plastic laminate for exposed surfaces. Particle board was the LAST thing I wanted and when my wife commented about that the Designer responded "Well it is high quality particle board" whatever that means. The water line for the refrigerator sprung a small leak, thankfully small and we spotted it fairly soon, and the cabinet side started to swell from moisture. We sold the house after 5 years with no other problems and I'm still thankful the dishwasher didn't have a problem. There was granite on top of the cabinet where the dishwasher was. I would have called the Designer "Certifiable" as the sink was under mount and the label on it said it was top mount and another model should be selected for under mount. Microwave had inadequate ventilation but it wasn't used often. Double oven and refrigerator had particle board between them and each self cleaning cycle had me quivering as the oven gets HOT. If we do that again we're going to get plywood! The designer took measurements then chose the Kitchen Craft pieces to fit, almost, the dimensions. There was a slab of solid maple to close the gap at the wall where the cabinet didn't meet. It was a big improvement over what was there and my wife enjoyed the 5 years use she got prior to the sale.
On 28 Jul 2006 14:07:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webguild.com wrote:

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Thanks for the ideas so far. I did forget one question I had. Any opinions on frameless vs. framed? Seems to me you lose some space with framed, especially if I get any roll outs. But everyone keeps saying you don't.
I finally ventured into the back of the catalogs and started looking at the construction pages with the specs. Amazing what you can learn when you skip the pretty pictures! It seems if I just focus on looking at the nuts and bolts, wood thickness etc., that most of these popular brands are pretty much the same. Is that accurate?
Also regarding: Particle board was the LAST thing I wanted and

This is also confusing me. I am hearing from many people that the new particle board they use now--they're calling it engineered wood--is not the poor quality stuff from years ago. I'm told it's very sturdy and reliable, and not worth the extra expense to upgrade if it's not in my budget. They say plywood as its problems too.
With regards to Sears charging someone $8000 for refacing when they could have had all new cabinets for just a little more; I have to say, I intended to do a reface when Sears came out, and she told me that it would be almost as expensive as replacing. So she was honest in that respect.
Deborah
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On 30 Jul 2006 07:26:24 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webguild.com wrote:

went to HD, a middle/hi end cab place, and a factory that does Euro style only. Then we found a local shop where a father and his three sons make any cabinets and counters custom. Their price was about the same as HD but we got exactly what we wanted. Maple face frame with bead, inset doors and drawers, LG counters, SS double sink. I even went to a local hardwood dealer with one son and picked out the maple for the frames. I also have a double kickplate so the outside one can be ripped down to fit over the laminate floor. I stop by once a week to see progress and they will go in Sept. They gave me samples of finish. All for $16,800.00 installed. It is not a huge kitchen - U shaped about 10 ft. per side.They are on Long Island,NY in case anyone wants to know. So the trick is to find someone local that does't have all that overhead and has to markup 2 to 4 times. Look in local news flyers or join a woodworkers club and ask around. Good luck
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snipped-for-privacy@webguild.com wrote in

I looked in the local paper and found cabinets for a fraction of the cost. Someone bought a house and didn't like the natural cherry cabinets (Kraftmaid). I got 18 pieces for $2500. I couldn't us some of the cabinets, so I went to HD and bought 4 new cabinets for $1500, and they matched exactly. So for $4,000, I got a whole kitchen, and new I was quoted $10k
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