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Pre-assembled/in-stock Kitchen Cabinets Vs. Custom Ordered Cabinets


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#1 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:32 AM

I need to update the kitchen in the unit I am living in and need to make some decisions. I am looking for some input and advice from anyone with experience/knowledge with these (or similar products).

Here is the web page for brand that Home Depot stocks and sells - Distinctions

I am not all that familiar with Lowes and the brands they sell, but I do plan on checking them out.

Pricing info and cost considerations so far:

*Distinctive Brand (Pre-assembled cabinets) about $2,600.00

*Least expensive custom ordered cabinet from Home Depot = $6,600
They're made by American Woodmark and it's the Ashland Collection. (at the bottom of the page) Probably in a glazed maple finish, but finishes don't affect cost.

How are these cabinets? They look fine. They look nice and appearance is not a concern. I am concerned about quality of the product, but the cost forces serious consideration to the in-stock cabinets. Especially considering I wont be living here in a few years - although, I will still own the house.

Some details:
I own the property - a multi-unit (three-unit) house and I am living in the house and in the unit that I am looking to update.
I plan to keep the property for a while. It was a good investment and only have a few years left on the mortgage.
While I plan on keeping the property, I only plan to live here for another year, maybe 2 but not much more than that.
It's a nice space, a nice unit, a nice house in a good area. This unit just needs some updating.

I also need to replace the floor, appliances, counter top (obviously), and other miscellaneous things like fixtures, sink, faucets. Right now, preliminary estimates look like that will cost more than 6-8 grand.

I don't really want to spend $15,000 on a Kitchen now... here. I know that's inexpensive compared to other Kitchen remodels but I'm just trying to look at this from an investment perspective and want to maximize my return right now.


I'm looking for some insight, experiences, knowledge about anything... everything...whatever. I have some remodel experience (small projects and as a home owner working with a construction company) so it's product experience that I'm really looking for.

Thanks.



#2 Mystery Achiever

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:37 AM

One suggestion is to look at available sizes and see if they have everything you'd need. In-stock offers far fewer size options than semi-custom.

#3 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:43 AM

One suggestion is to look at available sizes and see if they have everything you'd need. In-stock offers far fewer size options than semi-custom.

Thanks. And I know. I am aware of that but thinking that for $4,500+, I can deal with some other compromises like a not having a wine rack, not having a spice rack. I can modify to current design suit availability.

#4 Mystery Achiever

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:49 AM

I wasn't thinking of accessories, but i.e. needing a 43" width cabinet, but it only comes in 40 or 44 as an example. But if you're handy, you maybe could modify with extra fill pieces or another way. I had a few things i couldn't get with in-stock, incl. a 96" high unit. But, I guess you could compromise with a lower unit with shelving above.

#5 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:01 PM

Yeah, I know and I debated going back and edited to make that distinction.

I already started to make a secondary design based on availability of the in-stock cabinets. Like a 12" base cabinet instead of the 18" drawer unit and adding the six inches to a cabinet 2' down. The designs will be slightly different... obviously, but I can make do with what I have available with each product/line.

My concern is quality. Is it a mistake to consider the pre-assembled product? It's an inferior product. I know this, and I know you get what you pay for, but considering the situation and all the factors that I mentioned - is the cheaper product acceptable? I don't want to overbuy (and spend 10K when 7K will do) but I don't want to be replacing cabinets 2 years from now.


If it's going to fall apart in two years... no, it's not acceptable.

If it will last 20 years and just be a lesser product that an untrained eye probably can't identify... it is acceptable.

Obviously, those are the two extremes and I'd imagine that the reality is somewhere in between. Which end is it closer to?

#6 Mystery Achiever

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:11 PM

Is pre-assembled the same as in-stock? I imagine there is a range of qualities so you just need to do your homework. Just because cabinets aren't made-to-order doesn't mean they're crappy. My friends are very happy with their stock cabinets from Home Depot. I can't remember the name, but would know it if I heard it.

Did you look at Ikea? People love theirs. I think there are threads on it here here.

#7 Genedoc

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:16 PM

If it's your dream house, spend the extra money for custom. They look stunning compared to even good store bought.

Considering you say you're not planning on living their in a few years, go with the less expensive ones. Very few people are going to expect custom jobs in a multi-family unit, and considering the state of the housing market nationally, you're less likely than you used to be to recover you money when you go to rent/sell.
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#8 bakes

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:16 PM

Things that matter:

Drawer construction - dovetailed box and good quality glides. Hardwood, plywood, or particle board? How is the front attached?

Door construction - again, hardwood or veneered? Are the hinges up to the task, or do they look like they'll fall apart?

In my experience, the drawers and doors are what takes a beating and fail first. The exterior cabinet frame should be hardwood. Keep in mind that kitchens have humidity extremes and oils that wreak havoc on veneer adhesives. The cabinet boxes should be plywood, especially if you're using a granite or solid surface counter.

Hope this helps.
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#9 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:32 PM

If it's your dream house, spend the extra money for custom. They look stunning compared to even good store bought. Considering you say you're not planning on living their in a few years, go with the less expensive ones. Very few people are going to expect custom jobs in a multi-family unit, and considering the state of the housing market nationally, you're less likely than you used to be to recover you money when you go to rent/sell.

I know. I am not talking about an extravagant remodel. It's nice... either way but it's not design we're talking about, it's quality. When it's done, either design/set up should should look similar.

Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box and good quality glides. Hardwood, plywood, or particle board? How is the front attached? Door construction - again, hardwood or veneered? Are the hinges up to the task, or do they look like they'll fall apart?In my experience, the drawers and doors are what takes a beating and fail first. The exterior cabinet frame should be hardwood. Keep in mind that kitchens have humidity extremes and oils that wreak havoc on veneer adhesives. The cabinet boxes should be plywood, especially if you're using a granite or solid surface counter.Hope this helps.

This is it. This is everything that the "custom" cabinet has and the "in stock" doesn't. My question is, if I go with the veneer doors and the drawers that are not the dovetail design (which it's not) what's going to happen? Am I going to be swearing like a mo-fo during instillation and kicking myself for not spending the money? Am I going to be kicking myself 5 year from now? Or am I going to be saying "MEh - it was worth it for the purpose and the price" when all is said and done?ETA: yes, this does help. Thanks, man.

Edited by ~Haze~, 21 December 2009 - 12:42 PM.


#10 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:36 PM

If it's your dream house, spend the extra money for custom. They look stunning compared to even good store bought.

Considering you say you're not planning on living their in a few years, go with the less expensive ones. Very few people are going to expect custom jobs in a multi-family unit, and considering the state of the housing market nationally, you're less likely than you used to be to recover you money when you go to rent/sell.

Just as an example...

What if I showed you this kitchen and then I showed you this kitchen and said one cost $18,000 and one cost $12,000?

Your reaction would obviously be "well, the quality of the cabinets must be different." That's what I'm dealing with.

#11 Random

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:39 PM

I've done 3 kitchens in the last few years and am extremely impressed with Kitchen Kompact from Menards. They are very very inexpensive but look really good. Here's the only one I have pics of. This was a big kitchen with lots of cabinets, total cost for the cabinets was just under $2k.

pic1
pic2
pic3

Another house we did (smaller basic L shape kitchen) was under $900. The third was about $1100. We had to make some minor adjustments when they came in (tightening down the doors and stuff) but for the price, you cant beat these cabinets.

#12 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:39 PM

Is pre-assembled the same as in-stock? I imagine there is a range of qualities so you just need to do your homework. Just because cabinets aren't made-to-order doesn't mean they're crappy. My friends are very happy with their stock cabinets from Home Depot. I can't remember the name, but would know it if I heard it.Did you look at Ikea? People love theirs. I think there are threads on it here here.

I haven't looked at IKEA but I don't know much about them either other than one commercial that said they ship in flat packages and it doesn't cost money to ship air. Are they pre-assembled? If they're delivered in a flat box and I have to put together 60 individual cabinets, there's no way I'm doing that and the extra $ is well worth it. I will check them out though... either way. :shrug:

#13 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:45 PM

I've done 3 kitchens in the last few years and am extremely impressed with Kitchen Kompact from Menards. They are very very inexpensive but look really good. Here's the only one I have pics of. This was a big kitchen with lots of cabinets, total cost for the cabinets was just under $2k.

pic1
pic2
pic3

Another house we did (smaller basic L shape kitchen) was under $900. The third was about $1100. We had to make some minor adjustments when they came in (tightening down the doors and stuff) but for the price, you cant beat these cabinets.

Did they have multiple finishes available? How have they been holding up? Do you use any of the kitchens yourself and how hard are you on the kitchen?

#14 Random

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:54 PM


I've done 3 kitchens in the last few years and am extremely impressed with Kitchen Kompact from Menards. They are very very inexpensive but look really good. Here's the only one I have pics of. This was a big kitchen with lots of cabinets, total cost for the cabinets was just under $2k.

pic1
pic2
pic3

Another house we did (smaller basic L shape kitchen) was under $900. The third was about $1100. We had to make some minor adjustments when they came in (tightening down the doors and stuff) but for the price, you cant beat these cabinets.

Did they have multiple finishes available? How have they been holding up? Do you use any of the kitchens yourself and how hard are you on the kitchen?

Not sure how many finishes they came in. This house was a flip so I never saw them after they were used. I have one rental with these in it and they looked as good as new after 1.5 years.

I can tell you from what I remember the door panels were pretty thin. Whats the value of the house we're talking about here? The above house was sold for $130K and I can say they definitely didn't cheapen it. Not sure if I'd put them in a $250K+ house.

#15 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 01:22 PM

Not sure how many finishes they came in. This house was a flip so I never saw them after they were used. I have one rental with these in it and they looked as good as new after 1.5 years. I can tell you from what I remember the door panels were pretty thin. Whats the value of the house we're talking about here? The above house was sold for $130K and I can say they definitely didn't cheapen it. Not sure if I'd put them in a $250K+ house.

Like I said, the pre-fab'd cabinets look just as good, but it's both the quality of the door and the box that's compromised. Out of the box, side-by-side and from 10 feet away most people couldn't tell which one's which. Will it stay that way? I'm not really looking to take that chance - that's why I'm here, asking. This is a nice unit, modern floor plan, all wide open (loft like) and practically all glass (big windows on every wall). It's very, very close to the city (2 mile commute to the financial district) and it's a top floor unit on a hill with a nice view of the city. The last tenant was paying $1,500 mo. rent (which was a deal because she was here for 12 years). With a new Kitchen and floors throughout, I'd push for $2k or more and I don't want to compromise that with inferior construction.For the additional $4K, I'd get a much better product from a much better company who will stand behind their product with a good warranty. The more I think of it, it's a case of penny wise/dollar foolish to go with the pre-fab'd. I was just wondering and trying to put a price on piece of mind, confidence, quality, longevity, service, et cetera, and all those things are worth $4k. Not to mention, I am sure a quality product would be much easier to install, and the company (as well as HD) much more eager to help. So, add the cost of keeping some sanity during the construction process. I'll save myself from getting a few grey hairs (or worse... losing a few) to that price. I'm still interested in checking out IKEA and other places though. Right now, I'm literally on day 4 of the planning process and in the design/layout/materials/establishing a budget phase, and 3 months away from ordering/doing anything.

#16 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

Lowe's employees pay 10% above cost on custom orders. That might be helpful if you know someone.

Do they really? I've acquired a few Home Depot contacts over the years and they don't offer any employee discounts. Although I have been lucky enough to get some very very good deals through those contacts, but no employees get no discounts.

#17 daddo39

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 03:29 PM

The problem with Lowe's and Home Depot is that they don't come to your house and field measure and if you arent experienced in kitchen design this can be a big problem depending on the shape of the kitchen.Also keep in mind that changing cabinet sizes from what they are now can lead to plumbing and electric issues. Usually the in stock cabinets at the box stores are low end grade. Look for a Merrilat dealer or Armstrong dealer in your area. These are good quality cabinets even on the low end and are the top two choices we use in our houses.

#18 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 05:04 PM

The problem with Lowe's and Home Depot is that they don't come to your house and field measure...[snip]

Sure they do. For free (or a fully refundable $80 on any kitchen design purchase) and they stand behind every measurement. And home depot is great. A few years ago, I went through the process of a complete gut and reno and ordered a nice set of Thomasville cabinets from Home Depot. I had gone through the entire process that I am going through now with measurements and designs and picking out materials. I was ready to order the cabinets (timed on the expected lead time) when my ex's uncle came and 'suggested' someone he was close to at Anderson or Armstrong. The guy was a waste of time. He showed us a 'comparable cabinet'. I was married or just getting married at the time and my wife wasn't as excited about the look of the cabinet but I convinced her to hear him out because he promised to be at least 15% cheaper than HD and Thomasville. I gave him the Home Depot CAD Design and order that I was ready to place and he said he would get me a price in a day or two. In the midst of a massive house reconstruction, I had to wait to place an order for this guy to price out a comparable order and design. It took him three weeks and he came up back with a price that was 30% higher. He had my prices. He promised a savings and he held me up for three weeks. Three extra weeks of construction is a big deal - not to mention the down time that process lead to down the road. I was ready to kill him. Live and learn. Home Depot took such good care of me during the entire process. Extra material. Extra orders. Discounts. I was talking to the cabinet associate when I ordered my countertop and whined about how much everything was costing so he ended up charging me $200 for a $900 section of countertop. By the time I got to my basement, I was sucked dry and I got to know everyone in the store pretty well. I walked in one day for a few small items, saw a manager started talking about the progress. I told him that I had no floor in my basement but I was strapped for a while and he sold me 900 square feet of Pergo for $390 and that included padding and flooring. Summer came and I needed a lawn mower... one day, I walk in and saw a different manager I got to know. I told him I needed a lawn mower and I didn't want to spend too much because I was still paying off the rest of the house. He points to the closest lawn mower. A $450 Lawn Boy and said.. "you can have that floor model for $50 if you want". I'm sorry... but you can't beat Home Depot.

Edited by ~Haze~, 21 December 2009 - 05:09 PM.


#19 Sheriff Bart

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 06:57 PM

Cabinets are overrated. I hang everything from the ceiling on hooks. Plates can be tricky though.

#20 bakes

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:08 PM

Cabinets are overrated. I hang everything from the ceiling on hooks. Plates can be tricky though.

Not if you get 45 bamboo poles to spin them on.
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#21 bakes

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:24 PM

The more I think of it, it's a case of penny wise/dollar foolish to go with the pre-fab'd. I was just wondering and trying to put a price on piece of mind, confidence, quality, longevity, service, et cetera, and all those things are worth $4k. Not to mention, I am sure a quality product would be much easier to install, and the company (as well as HD) much more eager to help. So, add the cost of keeping some sanity during the construction process. I'll save myself from getting a few grey hairs (or worse... losing a few) to that price. I'm still interested in checking out IKEA and other places though. Right now, I'm literally on day 4 of the planning process and in the design/layout/materials/establishing a budget phase, and 3 months away from ordering/doing anything.

:blackdot: Ultimately, the difference will be less than the $4k. Trust me, people look at the drawers and doors, even if they're renting. When you're looking at a kitchen and you pull out the drawer and see vinyl-wrapped particle board stapled together, it screams "contractor kitchen" at best and "doublewide" at the worst. When you go to sell, damned straight they're going to be looked at and if it looks cheap, they'll offer less because of the "cruddy cabinets." I know that we did and we weren't the brightest lights in the fixture when we bought our house, because the cruddy cabinets should have been a red light as to where else they may have cut corners.When I redid the kitchen, I went with custom - for the difference in $$$ (and we'll be here another 10 years) it made no sense to go with cheap cabinets. I wanted to do it once, do it right, and not look at having to do it again.
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#22 Kimber

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:32 PM

Yeah, I know and I debated going back and edited to make that distinction. I already started to make a secondary design based on availability of the in-stock cabinets. Like a 12" base cabinet instead of the 18" drawer unit and adding the six inches to a cabinet 2' down. The designs will be slightly different... obviously, but I can make do with what I have available with each product/line. My concern is quality. Is it a mistake to consider the pre-assembled product? It's an inferior product. I know this, and I know you get what you pay for, but considering the situation and all the factors that I mentioned - is the cheaper product acceptable? I don't want to overbuy (and spend 10K when 7K will do) but I don't want to be replacing cabinets 2 years from now.If it's going to fall apart in two years... no, it's not acceptable. If it will last 20 years and just be a lesser product that an untrained eye probably can't identify... it is acceptable. Obviously, those are the two extremes and I'd imagine that the reality is somewhere in between. Which end is it closer to?

They should last for awhile. You will notice the cheaper cabinets are a lot more flimsy when you installl them and you may have some issues with door warping and the drawers not slidng smoothly. But they should give you 10 plus years.

Edited by Kimber, 21 December 2009 - 07:33 PM.


#23 KnowledgeReignsSupreme

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:42 PM

What is the quality of cabinet you have right now? It might be better to just get new doors made to update the look and save a boatload of money.

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#24 deep vacuum

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 07:57 PM

What is the quality of cabinet you have right now? It might be better to just get new doors made to update the look and save a boatload of money.

Well meaning but generally awful advice unless the existing cabinets are just want you want to have in your kitchen. If there is somethings that you really don't like about the kitchen cabinets IE; 1/2 depth base cabinet shelves, lack of drawers or pull out trays, or a poor kitchen floor plan, new door and drawers only pretties up the pig of a kitchen you already have.

#25 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 08:23 PM

What is the quality of cabinet you have right now? It might be better to just get new doors made to update the look and save a boatload of money.

No. Not an option. The cabinets are 20+ years old and falling apart. I refinished the cabinets on the first floor unit last year and they came out nicely so if I could have done that, I would have. Not as a long term solution but just to make them easier to look at for now. The cabinets need to be replaced. Not to mention, the layout is changing to fully take advantage of the space.

#26 deep vacuum

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 08:49 PM


I've done 3 kitchens in the last few years and am extremely impressed with Kitchen Kompact from Menards. They are very very inexpensive but look really good. Here's the only one I have pics of. This was a big kitchen with lots of cabinets, total cost for the cabinets was just under $2k.

pic1
pic2
pic3

Another house we did (smaller basic L shape kitchen) was under $900. The third was about $1100. We had to make some minor adjustments when they came in (tightening down the doors and stuff) but for the price, you cant beat these cabinets.

Did they have multiple finishes available? How have they been holding up? Do you use any of the kitchens yourself and how hard are you on the kitchen?

Kitchen Kompact is junk if it's for your own home. Excellent cabinets though for rental and turn key properties that will get treated poorly by people not related to you. The construction is average at best plus the finish will wear off after a few years. But then all you need to do is prime and repaint them and they'll look great for a few more years. Another good use for Kitchen Kompact is the family summer cottage where you just need something that won't fall apart and damage the family dishes. Very good value for the money if used correctly.

#27 ~Haze~

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 09:01 PM

Here are the drafts, if anyone is interested.

Color Computer Draft

Overhead View

Wall that is on the top part of the overhead

Wall on the bottom of the overhead

#28 parasaurolophus

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets1.jpg

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets2.jpg

Here are a couple of pictures of my cabinets. If you would like more let me know, it is just taking forever to send to myself from my phone.

These are stock pre-built cabinets I bought at menards. They were very cheap. Very solid construction, the drawers(not pictured) slide in and out great and I think it is all very attractive.

#29 the moops

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 09:45 PM

Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

#30 ~Haze~

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:00 AM


Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

Why do you say that? I'm starting to think that it does, especially down the road.The cabinets that I have now are not dovetail (what's the opposite of dovetail?), they're just glued and screwed together. I'm sure it was fine for the first 15 years, but been on borrowed time for the 5 years. I mentioned refinishing cabinets in another unit in the house and that was a quality cabinet/door almost equally as old. It might not matter (much) now or even for the next 10 years, but I think the you'll notice the difference after that.

#31 ~Haze~

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:02 AM

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets1.jpg

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets2.jpg

Here are a couple of pictures of my cabinets. If you would like more let me know, it is just taking forever to send to myself from my phone.

These are stock pre-built cabinets I bought at menards. They were very cheap. Very solid construction, the drawers(not pictured) slide in and out great and I think it is all very attractive.

They do look nice. I've been saying all along that you're not giving up anything on appearance with the in stocks. I've never heard of menards so I'm guessing it's a regional chain... or store.

#32 Sheriff Bart

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:16 AM


Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

You don't know what you're talking about. Again.

#33 ~Haze~

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:17 AM

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets1.jpg

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets2.jpg

Here are a couple of pictures of my cabinets. If you would like more let me know, it is just taking forever to send to myself from my phone.

These are stock pre-built cabinets I bought at menards. They were very cheap. Very solid construction, the drawers(not pictured) slide in and out great and I think it is all very attractive.

Here is the web page for the brand that Home Depot sells - Distinctions - and they look very good. Yours, on the web page, and in the store. The white particularly looks good, but I don't think the white is my style.

#34 parasaurolophus

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:49 AM


http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets1.jpg

http://i172.photobuc...s/cabinets2.jpg

Here are a couple of pictures of my cabinets. If you would like more let me know, it is just taking forever to send to myself from my phone.

These are stock pre-built cabinets I bought at menards. They were very cheap. Very solid construction, the drawers(not pictured) slide in and out great and I think it is all very attractive.

They do look nice. I've been saying all along that you're not giving up anything on appearance with the in stocks. I've never heard of menards so I'm guessing it's a regional chain... or store.

menard's is a midwest chain I think.

That tall cabinet though is actually from home depot.

It was just their stock oak unfinished cabinet and I painted it with a high gloss paint.

That molding on the top was added by me but was really easy to do.

#35 bakes

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:57 AM


Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

So a strong joint that is designed to not come apart and has been used by cabinetmakers for centuries is overrated for use in a room where you'll be testing the joints on a daily basis? Good to know. :thumbup:
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#36 Pick

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:48 AM

Most cabinets are fine once they are installed. I'm talking about general stability of the boxes. Handles are overrated. And you can upgrade to them later anyway. Natural finishes are nice because of an easy repair. The big thing to me is always drawers and hinges. Pay extra to make sure those are nice.
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#37 ~Haze~

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:14 AM

Most cabinets are fine once they are installed. I'm talking about general stability of the boxes. Handles are overrated. And you can upgrade to them later anyway. Natural finishes are nice because of an easy repair. The big thing to me is always drawers and hinges. Pay extra to make sure those are nice.

That's another problem, too. The hinges are only as good as what they're screwed to. Pre-made cabinets (the boxes) are made of particle board and (I've recently been told) that once a screw strips or starts to compromise the box where the hinge is attached... your screwed (or unable to screw) so that's something else to consider and again, will probably come in to play down the road.

Like now, for instance, the cabinets that I have in the kitchen now are the 15 year ago equivalent of the pre-made that I was considering. And if it was a better cabinet, I'd have more options - like refinishing or like replacing hinges, doors, counters to just give it a face lift. Instead, I have a dated kitchen with drawers that are loose, with cabinets that are need to be replaced because they're falling apart.

Handles are completely separate and right now and the last thing on my mind. It's an afterthought because, like the lighting fixtures, counter, faucets... it's a finish detail and can do something to suit my taste and add some depth and character to the other details.

#38 Pick

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:23 AM


Most cabinets are fine once they are installed. I'm talking about general stability of the boxes. Handles are overrated. And you can upgrade to them later anyway. Natural finishes are nice because of an easy repair. The big thing to me is always drawers and hinges. Pay extra to make sure those are nice.

That's another problem, too. The hinges are only as good as what they're screwed to. Pre-made cabinets (the boxes) are made of particle board and (I've recently been told) that once a screw strips or starts to compromise the box where the hinge is attached... your screwed (or unable to screw) so that's something else to consider and again, will probably come in to play down the road.

It's more about the hinge than it is what it's screwed into. Most cabinets are particle board on the inside not just pre-made.
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#39 Kirby

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:51 AM


Is pre-assembled the same as in-stock? I imagine there is a range of qualities so you just need to do your homework. Just because cabinets aren't made-to-order doesn't mean they're crappy. My friends are very happy with their stock cabinets from Home Depot. I can't remember the name, but would know it if I heard it.Did you look at Ikea? People love theirs. I think there are threads on it here here.

I haven't looked at IKEA but I don't know much about them either other than one commercial that said they ship in flat packages and it doesn't cost money to ship air. Are they pre-assembled? If they're delivered in a flat box and I have to put together 60 individual cabinets, there's no way I'm doing that and the extra $ is well worth it. I will check them out though... either way. :goodposting:

They need to be assembled... you can pay extra and have someone put them together and install them... but I don't remember how much extra it would have cost to do that.

#40 Men-in-Cleats

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:08 AM

I have some friends that recently put in some Ikea cabinets and they look really nice and well made. We may be having to replace some cabinets soon due to some water damage from a leaking dishwasher and I wish we had one of those nearby to checkout.
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#41 ~Haze~

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:23 AM

I have some friends that recently put in some Ikea cabinets and they look really nice and well made. We may be having to replace some cabinets soon due to some water damage from a leaking dishwasher and I wish we had one of those nearby to checkout.

Shouldn't cabinets be somewhat resistant to water? What kind of cabinets? Also, I plan to check out IKEA but don't think there's one close to me. I always thought they were all mail order. And also thought that they sold stuff that looked good but cheaply made. Is that true? Are they a "made in china" mail order company?

#42 Pick

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:10 PM

Splashes here and there will be fine for cabinets but not standing water or serious flooding (like a dishwasher valve busting loose :goodposting: ).
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#43 the moops

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 08:58 PM



Things that matter: Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

You don't know what you're talking about. Again.

A good glue joint with countersunk screws is more than sufficient. The wood will break before the joint does.Yes, dovetails are pretty, and have been used for generations. If you are paying through the roof for them, they are unnecessary.PS - I have worked in cabinet shops, now work in a shop of and teach at an excellent art college with an excellent furniture design program.

#44 BassNBrew

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 12:13 AM


I have some friends that recently put in some Ikea cabinets and they look really nice and well made. We may be having to replace some cabinets soon due to some water damage from a leaking dishwasher and I wish we had one of those nearby to checkout.

Shouldn't cabinets be somewhat resistant to water? What kind of cabinets? Also, I plan to check out IKEA but don't think there's one close to me. I always thought they were all mail order. And also thought that they sold stuff that looked good but cheaply made. Is that true? Are they a "made in china" mail order company?

Home Depot sells an IEKA like brand. I got some maple cabinets for less than the cost of the pre-fab. Paid a guy to help me assemble them. Home Depot did the entire CAD design for me to review. I'm usually a Lowe's guy, but Home Depot knows cabinets. I put them in a ghetto rental home and they're the first thing every new tenant comments on.FWIW...granite prices are way down right now. Lot's of companies going out of business.

#45 deep vacuum

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 11:55 AM




Things that matter:

Drawer construction - dovetailed box

Dovetails are ridiculously overrated.

Yes, they look nice. But they are highly unnecessary. Unless you cut them yourselves, then that is cool.

You don't know what you're talking about. Again.

A good glue joint with countersunk screws is more than sufficient. The wood will break before the joint does.

Yes, dovetails are pretty, and have been used for generations. If you are paying through the roof for them, they are unnecessary.

PS - I have worked in cabinet shops, now work in a shop of and teach at an excellent art college with an excellent furniture design program.

the moops is correct about the wood breaking before the joints will and there is no joint that will make the wood drawer box hold up to the abuse by people who don't care when they yank the drawers open. There are several things that I would recommend to any homeowner installing new cabinets in any living space that they themselves will live in or if they wish to sell their home in the future and have future home buyers commenting on what they really liked about the kitchen area.

1) Above all else, your wife will want to have a kitchen that is very attractive to look at and functional to work in. She also really wants deep down to be the envy of all her friends and especially her mother for having something that they don't.

2) Roll out trays with full extension glides on all base cabinets. Any home owner, especially any home owner over the age of 40, will appreciate not having to stoop over and reach in for something they need. Standard 1/2 depth base shelves are much cheaper but not worth the cost savings.

3) My wife just loves her stainless steel 12" depth kitchen sink and the extra tall kitchen faucet with the pull out sprayer. It allows any type of pot, pan or utensil to fit inside the sink and get cleaned off quickly and easily. It also hides everything from the last day or two's cooking/dinning in case company unexpectedly visits and she needs to appear to have her kitchen in order. Not to that happens much in my wife's kitchen :shrug:.

4) Baking sheets/pizza pan storage rack in one of the smaller base cabinets. A small but nice storage option that should be included in most kitchen remodeling.

5) Installing molding, both trim and under-cabinet (with under-cabinet lighting installed), will really finish off the remodeling project and make average price cabinets appear that you spent much more on the kitchen than you really did. Very easy to install both molding and lighting if you have any handyman type skills at all.




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