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 -----