Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posted May 16, 2015 by pmcalary

Bala Kitchen3 1024x6512

Main Line Kitchen Design compares Kitchen Cabinetry Brands Circa 2015



There are two basic ways cabinetry is made. Cabinets can be Framed Construction or Frameless Construction also called European or Easy Access Construction.

Frameless Construction

Framed Cabinet Construction


Almost all frameless cabinetry is made similarly with either a 3/4″ thick plywood or particleboard box.  A plywood box is superior construction wise but will not work with some of the high gloss laminate and foil finishes that are popular in the European style cabinetry. With these finishes only particleboard sides are possible.


Knowledgeable cabinet professionals usually agree on a few things. First, that the more streamline frameless cabinetry looks better with modern door styles because of how close the drawers and doors are. This is due to how the European hinges operate. Second that Traditional and Shaker style doors look equally well in both framed and frameless cabinet lines. And thirdly, that a well made framed cabinet is a much more durable cabinet.

Example of a Frameless Kitchen

Example of Framed Kitchen

















In a framed cabinet the frame holds the cabinet box square and each solid wood cabinet front is screwed to the ones next to them adding considerable strength.  Also the hinges and drawers are attached to solid wood in framed cabinetry as opposed to the particle board in most frameless lines.  A well made framed cabinet will last almost forever and simply become scratched and possibly out of fashion with the passing years.  Frameless lines require designers to consider the frameless cabinetry’s construction limitations  and to keep door widths and drawer widths to a minimum to avoid undue stress on the cabinetry. Even designing this way, the average lifespan of a well made frameless line is probably 20 years, especially if you are hard on things in general.


With frameless cabinetry lines since the construction is nearly identical from line to line the construction quality difference between each European line is negligible.  Expensive lines will have better drawer options but if the drawers are upgraded to at least a solid wood box and blumotion tracks the longevity of each cabinet line will be very similar whether you are buying inexpensive IKEA or very expensive Poggenpohl cabinetry.


Popular frameless cabinetry lines are:

IKEA, KitchenCraft,  Poggenpohl, Merit Kitchens, Pedini, UltraCraft Cabinetry. Design-Craft and most Merillat and Omega styles. The majority of the cabinetry coming from Europe and Canada is frameless.


All Main Line Kitchen Design’s frameless cabinetry is upgraded to the best construction possible. Frameless construction is available in our Bishop, Wellsford and Fabuwood cabinetry lines.


With framed cabinetry there are many variations in construction. To make framed cabinetry durably you need several construction minimums or the construction advantages of a framed cabinet are lost. Cabinet fronts are always 3/4″ solid wood. All plywood box construction is far better than having any particle board. Cabinet sides, tops and bottoms must be at least 1/2″ thick. Base cabinets can have plywood tops or I beam construction.  Drawer tracks should always be upgraded to either Blum’s Blumotion tracks or the equivalent and drawer boxes should be solid wood dovetail drawers with a captured plywood bottom. Soft close doors are a nice feature as well as full depth shelves.


Main Line Kitchen Design only sells cabinetry with all these features. Our framed cabinetry brands include Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Brighton and Wellsford.


Berwyn PA Kitchen after

Berwyn PA Kitchen after


Even some more expensive framed cabinet lines will need to be upgraded to this minimum level of construction quality. Examples of more expensive lines that need to have their construction upgraded to meet these minimums are DuraSupreme and Medallion. Often if you can’t find out on a cabinet company’s web site how the cabinets are constructed it is because they don’t meet these minimums. A company’s web site might highlight their cabinetry being green, carb compliant, or American made but if they are avoiding showing you how the cabinetry is constructed watch out!


One of the largest cabinet distributors in the United States is MasterBrand Cabinets. Up until a couple of years ago all of the popular lines that they carried with the exception of their Decora line fell short on construction quality. They have since upgraded about half of their lines.


The popular framed cabinet lines below CAN NOT be upgraded to this level and DO NOT meet these minimums:

Yorketown, Aristocraft, Armstrong Cabinets, Showplace Cabinetry, Marsh, and Mid Continent Cabinetry.


Many builders use these lower quality lines as the standard cabinetry in their homes. The added cost for better made cabinetry is usually no more than 10%. When a builder uses these inferior lines I wonder where else they are cutting corners.


One important fact that consumers should be aware of is that both Consumer Reports and JD Power publish inaccurate cabinetry ratings based on customer satisfaction. IKEA and other lesser made cabinet lines always do very well in these reports because customer satisfaction is rated immediately after the cabinets are purchased. Consumers buying less expensive cabinetry have lower expectations which are easily met and the cabinetry hasn’t had time to develop the problems caused by poor construction.


Kraftmaid, the best made cabinet offered at both Lowes and The Home Depot, consistently does poorly in these reports despite being easily upgraded to the best framed construction. This I believe is due to the much higher expectations of the consumers buying a home centers “top” brand and to the fact that home center designers are usually less knowledgeable and are have less time to explain the properties of the cabinets that they sell.


Both Consumer Reports and JD Power also rate the same cabinetry being sold under different names at different places completely differently. Cabinet professionals know that these reports are misleading and consumers should be advised not to consider them when evaluating the quality of cabinetry. 


Here are some of the other relevant blogs we have on this topic:

Kitchen Cabinet ratings for 2017. Reviews of the top selling cabinet lines.

If You Are Buying Kitchen Cabinets, Beware!

What kitchen cabinet brand is the best for me?

If you have any questions about the cabinet lines we carry or about any other cabinet lines please feel free to contact us.

… and of course just as Julia Child wished her audience we wish you…

Bon Appetit! 

Paul, Ray, Tom, Mary, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design


  1. Director of Marketing, June 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm:

    This post identifies Showplace cabinets as a brand that can not be upgraded to the specifications used to describe a great cabinet. Unfortunately, that statement is inaccurate. There is not a product attribute mentioned that is not possible, if not standard, on all Showplace cabinetry.

  2. pmcalary, June 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm:

    I wasn’t aware that Showplace cabinetry could be upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides and all plywood construction. If that is now true it wasn’t in the past and still doesn’t say so on the Showplace website. Please contact us or send us something documenting this and we would be happy to update our blog.

  3. DanielBruce, November 5, 2015 at 8:52 am:

    Good comparison between different kinds of cabinetry. As users of kitchen Cabinets these explanations will help us to order a good cabinetry from for our kitchen. I am going to make some changes in my kitchen and in those replacing old cabinets with new one also a part. My brother wants to order cabinets from an online store as Builderoutletusa and these info will may help him for order a best cabinets.

  4. pmcalary, November 5, 2015 at 9:12 am:

    Daniel- I notice from your email that your address is from the company you mention and are promoting. Not a great testament to transparency. Although I have never heard of the company I am not getting the warm fuzzys.

  5. Richard Kaufman, December 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm:

    Thanks for th einformation. We are remodeling and looking for new cabinets and there is so much information available it is hard to determine what is truly correct. We live in Northern California and I have been looking at StarMark, Crystal, wood-mode and Omega (Master Brand) cabinets. We are going for a high end custom kitchen. Are you familiar with the brands I mentioned? If so, do you think they make good product and how would you compare/contrast them?



  6. pmcalary, December 30, 2015 at 8:13 am:

    All those brands I like except the Omega. I don’t feel comfortable when a Masterbrands line of cabinets does’t show anywhere on the Omega web site how the cabinets are constructed. Woodmode has a good reputation but doesn’t have anyway for a homeowner to contact the company directly which I don’t like. Crystal and Starmark I have sold and like. Just make sure the sides of the cabinets are at least 1/2″ thick plywood and that the drawers are Blumotion.

  7. Jim Williams, January 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm:

    Your comments about masterbrand are somewhat not true….Homecrest offers a 100% all wood box with I bean construction and 1/2 inch sides. You also can flush out and end for 3/4 sides. Your comment of not showing every piece of information I feel is your way of deluting the facts. Cabinet lines offer many platforms of construction and over loading a customer with too much information is in todays world insane….buying cabinets online in my opinion is also crazy….go to a repuatable dealer that can give you personal testimonials of the products they sell on why they use them. Also most interent reviews are negative and that why talking to a factory is also useless. Please do your homework in seeing, touching, and talking to people that have bought the cabinets

  8. pmcalary, January 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm:

    Homecrest and Decora were always the exception to the rule with Masterbrands and well made. Although Asian cabinet lines are a better buy for the quality and pricing of Homecrest. I am still a big fan of Decora though. But when you make as many lines as Masterbrands and Decora and Homecrest are the best you have to offer and as a company you only upgrade to better construction when forced I don’t respect you as a company. To be fair we used to carry DuraSupreme and after working with them I respect Masterbrands far more then DuraSupreme a company whose products we mistakenly sold.

  9. dave N Sally, February 3, 2016 at 2:02 pm:

    Looking for awhile at new kitchen cabinets and there’s alot out there. Looking at ultra craft and don’t know if that’s a good cabinet to have put in. Will have contractor do work but was wondering if there’s a good cabinet from menards or lowes that can stand with ultra craft and American made?

  10. pmcalary, February 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm:

    Ultracraft is a frameless cabinet. As our article states, frameless cabinetry is less durable then framed cabinetry. So unless you want a very modern door style which would look better in a frameless line I would never buy a Custom frameless cabinet. The kitchen should also be designed by someone that understands that the cabinetry can’t handle as much stress – so no Pantry pull outs or wide doors that put the hinges (which are just in the sides of the cabinets and not attached to solid wood) under stress. Also no drawers wider than 30″ since the tracks are also just attached to a plywood box at best.

    Kraftmaid sold at Lowes is a much better constructed cabinet. Schuler is also better and sold at Lowes and will have as nice finishes as Ultracraft. Make sure to upgrade to all plywood construction.

  11. Haniya, February 4, 2016 at 8:56 am:

    Our builder has directed us to Homecrest and Waypoint for our kitchen/bathroom cabinets. Thoughts on these?

  12. pmcalary, February 4, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    These are American made lower price point cabinet companies. Upgraded to plywood I think they are good. But lower price point US made cabinetry can no longer compete with the quality and pricing of some of the lines manufactured in Asia and assembled in the US. We carry Fabuwood but there are several similar lines that will blow the American made cabinetry out of the water in pricing and construction quality. For higher end cabinetry the US rules but at the lower price points I would go Asian.

    But again the most important thing you need to invest wisely in a kitchen and get a great design is a great kitchen designer. And builders are usually the worst kitchen designers followed by architects and interior designers. As with most professions you most do the job full time to get good at it. So find a great kitchen designer and listen to their advice.

  13. Nervous cabinet buyer, April 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm:

    Thank you very much for this blog. In searching the internet I have come across a great deal of information, but yours is a simple and clear. My kitchen designer at a local lumber store has suggested using Shock cabinets. Can you provide any insight on this brand. For what I’ve read definition quality is not great. I would be interested in your assessment. Thanks in advance for your help and keep up the great work

  14. pmcalary, April 14, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Schrock cabinets and many of the other Masterbrand cabinet lines have upgraded their construction recently. Partly because the internet is making consumers more aware. Just make sure you upgrade a cabinet to 1/2 inch plywood sides and no less than a 3/8″ thick plywood back with soft close solid wood dovetail drawers. There are less expensive lines that will be better made than Schrock but if you upgrade them, they should be fine. The Decora cabinet line is also a Masterbrands cabinet line that if upgraded to all plywood construction is a VERY well made cabinet.

  15. Colhan, April 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm:

    Can you give me your opinion on Bremtown Cabinets? We are renovating our kitchen and their name came up. Also, can you compare a cabinet like Bremtown to a local cabinet maker who finishes the painting onsite (in our kitchen)? I feel like everyone tells me what they want me to hear, and I’m so confused! Thank you!

  16. pmcalary, April 18, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    We used to carry Bremtown. They are very beautiful but a very expensive cabinet line. Local cabinet makers could never replicate the beauty and durability of a very high end custom cabinet line like Bremtown. That being said the reason we no longer carry Bremtown is that we found other less expensive full custom cabinet lines that have the same construction and almost as impressive finishes for much less. While I can tell the difference between the custom line we now exclusively carry and Bremtown, our customers could not, so we never sold any Bremtown.

    I would never have a small private company make my cabinets. Here is a blog on the topic:

  17. Racheal, April 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm:

    We are currently renovating our kitchen and had decided on Haas cabinets. When our cabinet shipment arrived half of our cabinets (all of which were upgraded) had defects from the factory, so we refused to accept the shipment. Haas has agreed to fix/redo our cabinets, but that is not something I am comfortable with, so we are now faced with reordering cabinets, The other two choices at the local retailer we are using are Bertch and Shiloh. Do you have a recommendation between the two, or should we find a new retailer that carries another cabinet line?

  18. pmcalary, April 26, 2016 at 10:32 am:

    Actually all three of those lines have good reputations. I’m surprised about the Haas cabinets. What was wrong with them? and what kind of style, color, surface are the cabinets you are looking for?

  19. Racheal, April 26, 2016 at 1:55 pm:

    There were nicks and gouges in the plywood and it was peeling in two different places, the paint was chipping and the paint coverage was terrible, especially on the corners of the doors and drawers. I have decided on a Shaker cabinet with white painted wall cabinets and gray painted island. I would welcome any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

  20. pmcalary, April 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm:

    I looked and Haas now has several levels of construction and quality. So upgrading to all plywood construction and solid wood dovetail soft close drawers is something I think always makes sense. The problems you had are still very unusual in any cabinet line. Possibly the factory was having problems. My next pick would be the Bertch.

  21. GaryR, May 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm:

    We are building a new home (nothing terribly fancy), and our builder offers Homecrest cabinets. We’ve upgraded to the SofTouch drawers, which includes an upgrade to solid wood drawers with dovetail joints. We’re thinking about the SofTouch door option too. Does anybody here have experience with that? Is it worthwhile?

  22. pmcalary, May 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm:

    The soft close doors are nice but not as important as the soft close drawers. I’d splurge and get them. They should cost a couple or at most a few hundred dollars more and are not needed but years from now you will be happy you splurged. Most cabinet lines use Blums soft close hinges which can be turned off if you want to reduce the soft close feature by turning off one hinge on each door.

  23. GaryR, May 2, 2016 at 8:08 am:

    Thanks for the feedback. We’ll definitely go for the drawers. Need to stop by our local dealer and try out the doors again.

  24. David S, May 6, 2016 at 7:45 pm:

    We have been looking at cabinets for our kitchen and at first loved the appearance and extra storage space found in Design Craft cabinets. However, after reading your comments on “frameless cabinets,” we were discouraged from going in that direction. We spoke with our builder about our hesitation and he said that the parent company for Design Craft (Elkay) made fully framed cabinets that had the same finish and appearance as Design Craft. It sounded good until we read your reviews on this brand, Yorktowne. Yorktowne reviews online are completely polarized with only highest and lowest ratings and nothing in between. Is this because shills are writing to counter the genuine reviews? Does it depend on the factory that makes the shelving? One reviewer reported that anyone selling Yorktowne cabinets gets a kickback on the purchase price. This is all very confusing.
    We went to the Yorktowne website and could not find any info on the construction characteristics of the cabinets, which we saw on your website is a red flag. We understand that Yorktowne was once a private company that was bought by Elkay. We were also told that they recently improved their construction and that the new cabinets have better design qualities than used to be the case. Our builder cited the following:
    • 1/2″ thick plywood sides, (Finished sides, Add 1/4″)
    • Fully adjustable, 3/4″ thick plywood* shelving
    • 3/4″ nominal thick solid wood drawer and roll tray sides, backs, and fronts
    • Dovetail construction standard on drawers and roll trays
    • Full extension drawer/roll tray guides with Quiet Close feature
    • Fully concealed 6-way adjustable hinge
    The builder also offers Diamond brand cabinets, which have all the features we want, but the wood on the doors is less appealing.
    Can you offer any guidance in making this decision?

  25. pmcalary, May 9, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    Yorktowne un-upgraded is terrible but they are much better when they are upgraded to the plywood box and soft close drawers. However, Since we don’t carry the brand and they don’t let you see exactly how their cabinets are constructed on their web site (a very bad sign) I don’t know how the backs of the cabinets are made. If they are 1/4″ plywood then that’s terrible. 1/3″ plywood is OK. As an example the least expensive cabinet line we carry, Fabuwood, has a 1/2″ plywood back. In general, the Masterbrands cabinet lines with the exception of Decora aren’t my favorites. The company has over the years been shamed into offering better construction in their cabinet lines but they still don’t let you see how their cabinets are made on most of their websites for the many lines that they own. This lack of transparency gives me the creeps and I will always be skeptical of Masterbrands.

  26. JoanC, May 13, 2016 at 3:21 am:

    My KD’s showroom carries Hallmark, Ovation, Crystal and Columbia cabinets. What do you think of these brands in terms of quality and value? I am doing a full kitchen and master bathroom remodel and I want good quality cabinets with good value. My style is transitional leaning towards contemporary, most likely I will go with shaker style doors/drawer fronts.

  27. pmcalary, May 13, 2016 at 9:01 am:

    I like all those lines except Columbia. Crystal is a very nice custom cabinetry line that isn’t too expensive.

  28. HeatherC, May 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    We had a brand new custom kitchen made for us and have to take it all out as it was all made cheaply and incorrectly. We are now faced with buying new cabinets and I am really confused and nervous about what cabinets to buy. Our limit is in the $15-20K range (we already partially paid for the other kitchen). The brands we are looking at are Timberlake, Waypoint, and Kitchen Kraft, but only because those are what the cabinet companies recommended. We are still in the process of bidding it out but I have read many negative reviews about all of these brands. Since this kitchen remodel has already been a bad experience I want to make sure and put in the correct cabinets. Planning on white shaker cabinets and possibly a stained wood island. Our kitchen is also heavily used! Help!!

  29. pmcalary, May 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm:

    Hi Heather,
    I would stop shopping for cabinets and instead shop for a kitchen designer working at a reputable showroom. Getting good professional help will make it easy to select a cabinet line because someone knowledgeable and reputable should have your best interest at heart and can help you spend your money wisely. is a great resource. Just look up kitchen designers in your area or if you tell me where you’re located I can take a look for you. Designers with many 5 star reviews selling multiple cabinet lines is what you should be looking for. Or even calling all the home centers in your area to find the most experienced kitchen designer in the Lowes or Home Depot near you and getting Kraftmaid cabinetry from them isn’t a bad idea.

  30. Vivi, May 18, 2016 at 11:05 am:

    Can you tell me if Mid Continent cabinets are a good line of cabinets?
    We are looking to redoing our bathroom and need a vanity and linen tower. It is going to be painted. We are looking for all wood construction.

  31. pmcalary, May 18, 2016 at 11:12 am:

    We carry Mid Continent. The cabinetry is well constructed if upgraded but the finishes are a little rougher. For a painted finish I would worry that in a kitchen they would get dirty faster over a long period. For this reason we usually use other lines for a painted finish needing to last decades. However a bathroom has much less grease and dirt so Mid continent would be a good value.

  32. Mildred, May 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm:

    We are comparing Medallion cabinets at Menards to the top of the line KraftMaid at a Kitchen & Bath business. what are your thoughts?

  33. pmcalary, May 19, 2016 at 3:59 pm:

    Medallion has nicer finishes and is usually more expensive but Kraftmaid is a sturdier constructed line. Make sure you upgrade Medallion to their best construction and Kraftmaid to at least plywood sides. I’d get what I liked best in a toss up or all things being equal Kraftmaid if the price is less.

  34. Traci, May 21, 2016 at 11:37 pm:

    We are remodeling our kitchen. Which is the best cabinet choices (Schuller, KraftMaid, Shenandoah, Diamond, or Eurostyle by Fabric. Thanks.

  35. Vidya, May 22, 2016 at 7:51 am:

    I wanted to know what the quality difference is between Kraftmaid all wood and Mid-continent all wood vanity. We are redoing our bathroom. Thank you

  36. pmcalary, May 24, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Kraftmaid is far better

  37. pmcalary, May 24, 2016 at 8:44 am:

    Sounds like you are at Lowes. Kraftmaid is the best value and the best made. Schuller has nicer finishes and is more expensive but not constructed quite as well. Make sure if you order Schuler to upgrade to their top construction.

  38. Rich, May 28, 2016 at 10:00 am:

    You mentioned that Bremtown cabinets are good quality but comparatively expensive. What cabinets would you recommend that are comparable in quality and finish but less expensive?

  39. Ken Eastwood, May 31, 2016 at 8:46 pm:

    Have you heard of Mauser cabinets? There seems to be very little out there about this brand.

  40. Bob bernet, June 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm:

    Hello, we are remodling our kichen , what do your thoughts of aspect,current , merillat, shilo, cabinets . Then we went to anothershow room called cabinetry and granite depot . They carry procraft ( i loved the plain design smooth front look to ) and they also have shepard ( very reasonable priced ) . What are your thoughts on procraft and shepard cabinetry ? Thanks

  41. pmcalary, June 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm:

    Procraft has 5/8″ shelves the mark of a poorly made cabinet and Shepard I have never heard of and there is no Shepard web site so that’s not a good sign. Detailed questions you can call if you like.

  42. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm:

    I don’t know that most customers could tell the difference in quality from any high end semi-custom cabinet line to a full custom line. So Kraftmaid or Brookhaven or our Brighton or Bishop lines would serve most customers as well as a custom line.

  43. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm:

    Mauser is a well made cabinet line. I’m not sure where they fall price wise. Since they do inset cabinetry they will be at the higher end of the cabinet spectrum. I would prefer their framed line to their frameless line.

  44. Director of Marketing, June 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm:

    Showplace cabinetry has always been all plywood construction and an upgrade to 1/2″ end panels has been available for quite some time. The 1/2″ end panel was recently improved to become standard if a natural birch interior is chosen. 5/8″ flush ends are also possible.

  45. MB Meyer, June 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm:

    I am looking at waypoint, kraftmaid at a local cabinet maker vs using Home Depot Kraftmaid or Thomasville I am trying to stay on a tight budget and am gong for natural maple wood cabinets. Which brand would you recommend?

  46. pmcalary, June 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm:

    Kraftmaid is the best cabinet you are considering.It is the same cabinetry at a home center and an independent dealer. The doorstyle names are changed and a few are exclusive to each location. However, you usually find more knowledgeable designers at dealers and that can be more important than the cabinets you buy. Waypoint is less expensive but made well. Don’t buy Thomasville they are overpriced and are a Home Depot gimmick. Thomasville are repackaged Yorktowne cabinets – an inferior line given a misleading name by an unscrupulous home center.

  47. Debra Rodriguez, June 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm:

    I’m looking at Schrock cabinetry and I didn’t see any comments about that line in your blog. Can you provide your thought about Schrock?

  48. pmcalary, June 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm:

    Here’s the problem with Schrock and most Masterbrands lines of cabinetry.

    Masterbrands is a huge cabinet conglomerate consisting of many different cabinet lines and Schrock is one of them. In the past Masterbrands specialized in poorly constructed cabinet lines with 1/3″ sides and sometimes 1/4″ backs with the exception of their Dacora line. Cabinets came with this flimsy construction and even particle board sides and backs unless upgraded. Builders often used these lines because they didn’t care about construction quality. The web sites of these lines told little about cabinet construction because up until recently there was nothing positive to tell. Today many of these lines now offer upgrades to a well constructed cabinet with 1/2″ plywood sides but the web sites are still not transparent as far as how the cabinets are constructed.
    So it is difficult to know what can be upgraded and what needs to be upgraded in many Masterbrands cabinet lines unless you are a dealer. This is why I am not a fan of Masterbrands as a company in general. They creep me out a little.
    Schrock was a cabinet line that only came in 1/3″ sides in the past. I do like their finishes and I have been told that they can now be upgraded to a well constructed cabinet. But since I can’t see exactly how and their web site isn’t transparent about their construction I still wouldn’t buy them personally. And I don’t like dealing with companies that operate this way. Being honest and transparent is the sign of a good company. Generalizations and talks of high quality without specifics is what bad companies specialize in.

  49. Ellen Venturino, June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm:

    Hello, what do you think of the ovation, wood-mode and Brookhaven brands?

  50. pmcalary, June 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm:

    I don’t know Ovation well so I don’t know how the back of their framed cabinet is made. A solid wood hanging rail or 1/2 in Plywood for the entire back is the preferred method of construction. When cabinet lines don’t show their construction on their web site it makes me suspicious. Wood-mode and Brookhaven a great cabinets, upgrade to all plywood.

  51. Allen, June 25, 2016 at 11:52 am:

    I’m in a position to get all my cabinets Homecrest and all the upgrades and all the bells and whistles… But I am paying cost. NO up charge from the dealer. He’s a friend and I’m in the trades and I traded work for getting them at cost. I could get Schrock at about a 10% markup because that dealer is also a personal friend.
    Also I have 8 year old Showplace cabinets: framed, dovetail draws, no slow close, and not plywood box… and I have 3 kids 6, 4, 2 and the cabinets in my opinion have held up pretty good. I’d say most of the wear and tear that’s noticeable is from us, not from poor quality. I mean if you plan on using your cabinets people- and not just going to stare at them for the next 10’years then you and if you have kids especially are going to bang them up… I could get showplace again with upgrades but I would only get about 10% off… Because that dealer is family not a friend ?
    Anyways just thought I’d let anyone know about my showplace cabs and what you thought about my option deals with Homecrest and possibly Schrock.
    Buying SOON so let me know soon if you can, thanks!

  52. pmcalary, June 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm:

    Tough call. Showplace is the better cabinet. I’ll bet if we saw your design though you would have bigger issues. If you want to email it to us we can tell you what cabinets should cost and also the biggest issues with the design are. People ask our advice constantly about cabinet quality, but we almost never see even a competent design when we see their floor plans. All your cabinet choices are fine upgraded to plywood and 1/2 inch sides. You floor plan will most likely have serious issues only because 90% of the ones we see do.

  53. Allen, June 25, 2016 at 6:52 pm:

    I can appreciate your ability to lay out a floor plan… But I laid out my own floor plan. I’ve been in the plumbing business for over 20 years and I’m only 37. I’m second generation and have remodeled so many kitchens and bathrooms I can’t put a number on it. I’ve worked with every kind of contractor, interior designer, cabinet show room dealers, do it yourselfers, and just been flat out asked to lay out kitchens and baths for people including everyone I stated above. I’ve seen it all from things that work beautifully to total hack and nightmare jobs. People who are open to suggestions, are not open, and don’t need them because their layout was beautiful. I’ve stepped in and flat out stopped people form making colossal mistakes even when the GC wouldn’t step up and tell them himself.
    There’s no real schooling for designing the PERFECT layout for a space. It’s an art. Not everyone can draw, not everyone can paint, and most people do NOT posses the ability to see something in their mind.
    My father forced me into this trade cause he’s oldschool. But I write screenplays and draw as a passion… And in the trades- the design is the only part that requires an artistic ability.
    If you saw all my layouts from the last 5 years you’d hire me in a second. And I could line up references as long as the day. You have to feel the flow of the room, it must all work together.
    I would love to share any photos I have to show you and all my software designs…. Ya I’m not really suppose to be a plumber.
    You can always offer choices to the customer… But realistically there is only one right layout for a space and it will crate itself… you just have to see it.
    Sorry if that came off cocky and defensive… I know you ment nothing negative buy you concerns.
    But I definitely want and appreciate your thoughts on the cabinet deals I could have (and yes I will do EVERY upgrade, it’s been my ability to listen if you can believe it, that’s made me who I am) I just don’t want to make a mistake thinking its a deal worth buying and buy crap.

    Making the design work for the space: nice…
    Knocking down walls, bringing in the natural light and creating the space first: PRICELESS.

    Let me know if you want pics I’d love to hear from you on that, all the people I work with can’t stand next to me.
    Thanks, Al.

  54. pmcalary, June 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm:

    From what you say I can guarantee that I can find 5 things I would change that professionals all consider mistakes in your floor plan. Be brave and send me your floor plan and I will try to be gentile with the errors that happen when someone with a tiny portion of the experience a true professional has, creates what they always believe is an inspired “kitchen”.
    Sorry but we have a video about people that think like this. Link below:

  55. Al, June 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm:

    Omg… Your a moron. Who do you think your talking to. Your not a professional. There’s no school or digree for what you do. And I have 20 years in… That’s called EXPERIENCE. Your like a bad car salesman. It takes 0 background to do your job. Your not even in my part of the country nor do you have a clue as to what is even being done. I ask you a simple question and this is your response?
    Are you a bot? Is this some automated response. You just proved you are a total car salesman.
    There is NOTHING that makes you the person with the answers. Oh I’m sorry, it’s impossible for anyone but you to lay out a kitchen… So basically everyone who comes on this site with an idea on how they want their kitchen is a moron and your gods gift to layouts?
    Have you ever in your life even installed a cabinet, or been involved with tearing out and old ugly kitchen or bath and did all the necessary alterations to bring it up to code? And then completely change the structure of the home to make that open layout concept and make a new beautiful room even possible? No you haven’t. You sell cabinets over the Internet. And you had the chance to answer a legit professionals question about cabinet quality… and instead skipped the answer and went straight to sell sell sell. I almost made a mistake and gave this site respect. And by the way… I got the message the first 20 responses to people here “get upgraded to solid 1/2″plywood frame and 3/4” dovetail draws with soft close… You only said the exact same thing to every person on her as if you were saying it for the first time you pompous salesman.
    Do yourself a favor – shhhhhh

  56. pmcalary, June 26, 2016 at 8:23 am:

    I am approving Al’s comment and allowing it to be posted even though it is a little over the top. It is very common opinion that kitchen designers face every day. While Al believes I am arrogant, most kitchen designers believe it is very arrogant to think, like Al, that you can do our jobs better than we can after we work at it exclusively for decades. After being a general contractor for ten years I also thought I would know most of what I needed to be a kitchen designer. I quickly learned that kitchen design is a complicated and creative profession. I now believe that it takes at least ten years of working as a kitchen designer to even become competent. I have been a kitchen designer for 20 years and the designs I create today are far better than the designs I did even just a few years ago. Learning hopefully never stops.

  57. John, June 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm:

    Hi, we are in the process of bidding out our kitchen remodel. We have narrowed it down to Star Mark, Homecrest, Kraftmaid and J & K cabinets. Any suggestions/insight

  58. pmcalary, June 30, 2016 at 8:46 am:

    Kraftmaid or StarMark

  59. Bob Bernet, July 7, 2016 at 7:59 am:

    Hello, we looked at fabuwood and A 1 cabinets . What do suggest ? We like off white cabintes . Its a big kitchen remodling project . Thanks for the previous response . It helped

  60. PAUL MCALARY, July 7, 2016 at 8:45 am:

    We carry and like Fabuwood. I’ve never heard of A 1 cabinets. For the price you can’t really go wrong with Fabuwood.

  61. Bob bernet, July 7, 2016 at 9:53 am:

    Thanks for your help

  62. Bob bernet, July 7, 2016 at 9:57 am:

    Fabuwood cabinets where do they stand quality wise and price range ? Are they in mid range or higher end cabinets ? Thanks

  63. pmcalary, July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am:

    Fabuwood is an inexpensive line that specializes in well constructed cabinetry. The prices are affordable because the styles and finishes are limited and because the cabinet fronts are made in China while the cabinets are assembled in New Jersey. Fabuwood uses the best track and hinges that are also used in all the custom cabinet lines. The cabinetry is all plywood construction and Carb compliant.

  64. Feinerman, July 14, 2016 at 7:14 pm:

    I’m looking at both Starmark and Omega Dynasty cabinets for my kitchen. Which is the better construction and value and why.

  65. MJ, July 15, 2016 at 10:02 am:

    Wow! We wished that we came across your website prior to making our semi-final decision to go with Diamond Cabinets sold by Lowes. Nonetheless, we specified an all plywood construction. Should we do more to ensure an all plywood build. We came across the product specification guide on the Diamond website ( Is this what you were talking about? Please help because we are worried that our $20K plus investment may not be worth $10K. What is the general standard for the bottom of the drawer. According to Diamond, they offer 5.2 mm laminated plywood whereas Kraftmaid offers 3/16 inches of plywood. Is this sufficient for supporting large cast iron pots in large drawers. We were told that it was fine. Thanks.

  66. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 10:50 am:

    Hi MJ,
    I think you will be fine. Diamond has dramatically improved their cabinet construction the last few years. They still must be upgraded to plywood construction to be a well made cabinet. The backs of their cabinets are still 3/8″ plywood as opposed to the solid wood 3/4″ hanging rails on Krafmaid or Shenandoah also sold at Lowes. Better construction would be 1/2″ plywood backs. For example the least expensive line that we carry Fabuwood makes their cabinet with a 1/2″ plywood back and it is about 40% less than Diamond. Still Diamond has some nice finishes.

    I wish designers at the Home Centers would inform their customers about the better made products that they each carry but often the designers are very inexperienced. More concerning is that the drawings we see from home centers are usually full of serious design mistakes so not explaining the merits of one type of construction over another might be the least of the worries for customers buying cabinetry at Lowes and the Home Depot.

    There are some very good designers at home centers but the are rare and the exception to the rule. Most kitchen designers aren’t very good as it is, which is another problem. But the better kitchen designers working at home centers usually move on to dealers and showrooms as soon as they get enough experience.

  67. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 11:04 am:

    Both of these expensive lines could be better made. Starmark uses a 1/4″ back panel as shown on their web site. I would not use any cabinet with less than a 3/8″ plywood back or a solid wood hanging rail. Better made cabinet lines use a 1/2″ plywood back or the solid wood hanging rail.
    Omega Dynasty is a Masterbrands cabinet. Masterbrands makes a point out of not advertising how their cabinets are made which I find creepy, especially since they have a terrible reputation when it comes to construction quality. I can only go by memory that Dynasty uses a 3/8″ back. Both of these lines are over priced in my opinion and neither has the minimal construction I would require is an expensive cabinet line.

  68. Feinerman, July 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm:

    Thank you pmcalary for your response regarding Starmark and omega dynasty cabinets.
    What brands do you suggest that a good solid construction at reasonable price.

  69. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm:

    There are many well made lines less expensive then those lines. We carry Bishop and Brighton but Kraftmaid and the only Masterbrands line that I like, Decora, are both very popular less expensive and far better made.

  70. Kathryn, July 15, 2016 at 9:14 pm:


    My sister and her husband are looking at remodeling their kitchen. My brother-in-law found an inexpensive cabinet line by Heritage Cabinets at a local Surplus Warehouse. I worked as a kitchen designer for a few years at a Lowes, so I have some knowledge, but by no means am I an expert. Looking at the size of the kitchen, the features they want, and the budget they have I have shown them Diamond Prelude and Shenandoah (the main line) at Lowes. We have also looked at Kemper Echo at ProSource. On top of all of this they met with a custom cabinet maker without me, so I have not info on them. The Kemper Echo, Diamond Prelude, and Shenandoah kitchens all come in within $800 of each, but they are all $3000 over Heritage. My brother-in-law keeps asking if the quality is worth $3000 more, but I don’t know anything about Heritage Cabinets and without seeing an actually cabinet that is not installed I hate to make a judgement. Do you know anything about Heritage Cabinets?

  71. pmcalary, July 16, 2016 at 8:39 am:

    Hi Kathryn,
    Of these lines Shenandoah is the best constructed if you upgrade to all plywood construction. But more importantly, today there are many cabinet lines that are less inexpensive and better made than any of these lines. Fabuwood is one that we carry but there are many others. It is sad though that we get asked about cabinet quality almost daily, but our main message that the most important thing customers should be focusing on is finding the best kitchen designer to work with, is dismissed by nearly everyone asking questions.

    Almost every design we see from people focusing on cabinet construction is terrible when we get an opportunity to review it. The designs are usually not very functional, are unattractive, and often dangerous.

    As someone once in the kitchen world I would try to help your family find a knowledgeable extremely experienced Kitchen Design professional to work with. If you send me a floor plan of their kitchen I could tell you what’s bad about their design but I have stopped making recommendations about how to fix mistakes because it seems to just encourage people to take my suggestions and ignore my more important advice which is to get the best professional help possible when planning the largest home improvement project most people will undertake in their lifetime. Here is a funny video on this topic:

  72. MAkitchen, July 17, 2016 at 10:11 am:

    Trying to compare candlelight vs fieldstone cabinets – inset, white painted finish, shaker style for large new construction kitchen- thoughts please?

  73. pmcalary, July 17, 2016 at 11:37 am:

    If you upgrade just to all plywood construction Candlelight is a better made cabinet since the back panel is 1/2″ plywood vs Fieldstone’s very poor 1/4″ back panel. However Fieldstone has the option to upgrade to a 3/4″ back panel. You MUST do this if you decide on Fieldstone. I think a 1/2″ panel is sufficient and both cabinet lines have nice finishes so I would get the cabinet that the kitchen designer recommends since he or she will have experience working with both companies. I have sold Fieldstone and they were fine to work with but nothing special. I know less about Candlelight although the company has a good reputation in the industry.

  74. terry, July 19, 2016 at 10:10 pm:

    We have all granite counters that I do not want to chance being ruined. So I would like to order cabinets and use the outsides and cut them to fit on what I have on the bottom and replace drawer fronts etc. and replace the top cabinets completely. Have you ever heard of anyone doing that? I hate to demolish the kitchen.

  75. MAkitchen, July 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm:

    Thanks! Any idea how plain and fancy might compare to candlelight and fieldstone? All 3 pricing about the same from 3 different designers in our area. Thank tou!

  76. pmcalary, July 20, 2016 at 7:47 am:

    Terry- This is not a good idea. You can call a refacing company to reface your cabinets but that is not usually a good investment. It is also a very difficult do it yourself project.

  77. pmcalary, July 20, 2016 at 8:18 am:

    MAKitchen You must upgrade Fieldstone to a 3/4″ back panel otherwise it is 1/4″ and will fall apart quickly. With that done and all the lines upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides they are all great choices. Pick the style and color you like best or feel the finishes – the ones that are smoothest will wear better.

  78. Lisa Mack, July 20, 2016 at 10:40 pm:

    schuler, omega dynasty, starmark, medallion, showcase, or start over? Looking for painted white cabinets, full overlay. Not in your service area or would make an appt! Thanks for your advice.

  79. pmcalary, July 21, 2016 at 8:59 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    We can travel as far as 3 hours from Philadelphia to measure if you are somewhat close to us. But your designs would need to be done via email which isn’t ideal. Upgraded to the best construction available all those lines are well made with the possible exception of Showplace that I am less familiar with. Actually Schuler and Medallion are the same brand. Lowes just renames the line. Shenandoah also sold at Lowes is actually the same line as Timberlake and American Woodmark. All of the cabinet lines you are looking at are relatively expensive Kraftmaid also sold at Lowes is less expensive than Schuler and actually better made. Of course getting a good design and designer is the advice we stress above the cabinet line.

  80. Lisa Mack, July 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm:

    Thanks for the note! I’m about 6 hours from Philly and none of your brands have dealers around here. I just went to Lowes to get a price on Kraftmaid with the plywood upgrade and it wasn’t much cheaper for the same kitchen than the medallion/schuler. They also won’t do an MDF center panel on the door apparently which I was looking for since we are going with white painted cabinets. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

  81. Jennifer, July 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm:

    Hello, like most others, I am overwhelmed by cabinets and kitchen lay out. I need advice! Here are some of my questions/concerns:
    1) I was told by a Master Brand dealer that Diamond and Thomasville and Kemper are all the exact same thing. Really?

    2) I am seriously considering Brighton Cabinetry from Cabinet Discounters. Is this a well made, good value line? Or should I consider one of the Master Brand lines, or Kraft Maid (a splurge for us). ?

    3. I’ve hired and worked with 4 designers over 3 years. In the end, none of them seem to have good solutions for my problem areas. Can you review the plans that I have from them?

    4. What do you think of designers who harp and harp that the one large upper cabinet you desire is a mistake and visually you need to have two smaller cabinets? I want one cabinet because, as someone with ADHD, the logistics of putting away dishes makes more sense.

    Thank you for your feedback. I have stopped and started this project so many times due to its overwhelming that I want to cry.

  82. pmcalary, July 22, 2016 at 6:12 pm:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Those Masterbrand lines are all made the same and not very well unless you upgrade to all plywood construction with at least 1/2 inch thick plywood back. Brighton is a better line than the Masterbrand lines. You don’t say how tall your door is but wall cabinet doors taller then 42″ are not attractive, will warp over time and make no storage sense ADHD or not. You can email me a plan to review. I no longer have the time to redesign plans but I can alert you tp potential problems.

  83. S Rayc, July 24, 2016 at 4:50 pm:

    I am planning to remodel my kitchen and would like white color cabinets. I am trying to choose between Merillat Masterpiece or Fabuwood or Woodharbor. Can you please share your thoughts.

  84. pmcalary, July 24, 2016 at 4:59 pm:

    This one’s not even close. Fabuwood hands down is the better product of the three. Just don’t get the value line cabinetry and make sure you buy the cabinetry assembled by Fabuwood.

  85. S Rayc, July 25, 2016 at 12:18 am:

    Thank you very much for your response and advice. Will my dealer able to get cabinetry assembled by Fabuwood and deliver to me ? Would you be able to suggest any good Fabuwood dealers in the Washington DC metro area ?

  86. pmcalary, July 25, 2016 at 8:16 am:

    Any Fabuwood dealer can order the cabinets assembled. I will say that one of the issues with Fabuwood is that they are not picky about who there dealers are so I would buy the cabinets from a reputable showroom and not a contractor or small lumber yard. You might pay a little bit more depending on the dealer but no dealer could be too much more than another and still successfully sell the cabinetry. We have sold cabinetry in DC but it is not an ideal situation to be designing a kitchen remotely. If you can find a reputable Fabuwood dealer locally that has an experienced kitchen designer I would try their first. If you aren’t happy with a dealer you could call us and we could ask you some questions and determine if selling you a kitchen could make sense long distance.

  87. PSHIN, July 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm:

    I would like to know which cabinetry is a better brand between Schuler, Dura supreme, or Kraft maid vantage. Also if its better to upgrade to all wood ?

  88. pmcalary, July 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm:

    All the lines should be upgraded to all plywood construction. Kraftmaid is the best constructed, Schuler has the nicest finishes and DuraSupreme we would not recommend as a company. We used to carry their cabinetry and they did not stand behind their products.

  89. S Rayc, July 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm:

    I have got in touch with a local Fabuwood dealer and their kitchen designer. Let’s see what we get. In the meantime, someone else has suggested a cabinet line called Green Forest. Would you know about this line ?

  90. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 9:04 am:

    I only know that Green Forest is an import and not the quality.

  91. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 1:22 pm:

    I looked up Green Forest and they are a RTA cabinet line. I always would have the cabinet company assemble the cabinetry. Green Forrest cabinetry doesn’t look badly constructed it looks well constructed, but many of the door styles are standard overlay which most people don’t like. When a cabinet line is that out of touch with the market they could be a bad company to work with. Also in the cabinet industry “green” often means “no greener than anybody else and a rip off”. But those are just opinions based on nothing more than a feeling. I have never seen a Green Forest cabinet.

  92. S Rayc, July 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm:

    Thank you once again for your response on Green Forest. You have emphasized many times the importance of a kitchen designer and kitchen design. This may not be easy to discern for me. Would you be able to point me out to any article that you may have written or someone else may have written on kit eg design that can help me. I am currently waiting for the design from my kitchen designer.

  93. pmcalary, July 31, 2016 at 9:38 am:

    The Library page of our web site has a reference library listed on the right side of the page that has answers to many cabinet and design questions. The Library page on our web site is also the location of all of our blogs. Most of these blogs answer important questions about cabinets, design, and construction.

    How to design a great kitchen takes many years to learn, assuming you have a natural ability in the profession. Otherwise it is impossible since every kitchen is different and finding the solution to the puzzle of a particular space will elude most designers. Howerver, all the good designers will gravitate to the same layout. Because every kitchen is so complicated giving simplistic advice on what will work best in anyone’s kitchen isn’t useful. But we can quite easily tell you what are common mistakes designers make. Below are some serious and some funny examples of what not to do. Our YouTube page has videos on some of the same topics.

    Here is our YouTube page address:

  94. Jim, August 11, 2016 at 12:32 am:

    We are looking at InnerMost cabinets, which are sold by home depot. We wish we were closer to Philly to use you guys, but we’re not. It looks like Inner Most is made by Elkay same company as Schuler, Yorktowne, etc. however, we have found some pretty bad reviews. Any thoughts? Thanks! We were planning to go with frameless and all plywood boxes.

  95. pmcalary, August 11, 2016 at 7:30 am:

    Hi Jim,
    It looks like Innermost is a better constructed frameless line. However I would never use a frameless line unless I had to have an ultra contemporary kitchen which would only come in frameless cabinetry. Other wise, why purchase a less durably constructed product? There are framed lines less expensive and better made. Working with a Home Depot designer is not the best idea when the product has issues that the designer probably won’t understand and compensate for. Sometimes I get an inkling that a design is likely to have more serious problems then the cabinetry line and you are setting off my kitchen design warning bells. Feel free to send me your design to look at and see if you have any serious red flags. My email is

  96. Nick Tanzi, August 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm:

    Hi Jim, struggling a little with my cabinet decision. I am working with a good designer and I have narrowed my decision down to a framed cabinet from either Ultracraft or Decora. I know they are both owned by Mastercraft but it seems from my research that Decora has a slightly better reputation for quality. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  97. pmcalary, August 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm:

    Hi Nick,
    Masterbrands makes these lines and as far as I know Ultrcraft is a frameless line only. Decora is the only truly well made cabinet by Masterbrands.

  98. S Rayc, August 18, 2016 at 10:47 am:

    Hi, I have got some initial kitchen design. One of the things that we wanted to change is that I currently have 30 inch cabinets on the upper side ( above counter top) and we wanted to make it go up to the ceiling with a small crown molding near the ceiling. One issue we have with that is that our range hood duct has to go out through the cabinets on the top. Have you faced this problem before ? Currently the space between my countertop and the start of the upper cabinets is 19 inches and then from there to the ceiling is 42 inches.

  99. pmcalary, August 18, 2016 at 10:59 am:

    Those kinds of questions are too difficult to address without seeing and measuring the kitchen

  100. pam, August 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm:

    I am hoping to get your thoughts about Shiloh cabinetry. It is made in the Midwest and I have seen no specific questions regarding this line. You seem quite knowledgeable and a straight shooter. Thanks for your impute.

  101. pmcalary, August 21, 2016 at 8:54 am:

    I don’t know where Shiloh prices out so I can’t advise you on what kind of value they are, but from the web site it appears that they have very nice door styles and finishes but are constructed slightly less durably then we recommend. All in all possibly a fine choice if you aren’t looking for 40 years of durability. With such nice finishes and less emphasis on construction they are a cabinet line trying to appeal to the new home builder market.

  102. Vikki, August 23, 2016 at 5:23 pm:

    What do you know about Eastman cabinets? Also, do you know if a built in corner pantry (4 x 4 square with truncated front) would give more space than regular cabinets in the same place? Thank you!

  103. pmcalary, August 24, 2016 at 7:38 am:

    Hi Vikki,
    I have never heard of either Eastman Cabinets or a 4 x 4 pantry. Considering how long I have been in the industry and the power of a Google search that doesn’t bode well for either. Certainly the pantry would be very difficult to access in the corners so someone would have to make custom lazy susans for the cabinet to be useful. However it sounds like a giant, expensive, custom, waste.

    One issue with custom cabinets is that if a cabinet isn’t made by any non custom cabinet companies then there is probably a good reason. Designers that try to invent cabinetry are usually the least and not the most gifted. I’d be wary of any designer proposing this cabinet behemoth. I can easily see the designer not accounting for getting the cabinet into the room or being able to stand it up once it is inside the space.

  104. sally, August 26, 2016 at 12:30 pm:

    Hi Paul! I finally discovered your site and blog last night. I wished I had found it months ago. We are in the middle of a huge home reno project in GA. New kitchen, baths, etc. We have a lot of cabinetry desired (big kitchen, three baths, butler’s pantry, laundry, office cabinetry). Our GC originally suggested to use two of her local custom cabinet makers, but in the end I just did not feel comfortable with them because their prices were very low and a number of my friends were unhappy with their true custom cabinets due to paint finish, etc… We polled many of our friends and they had gone the semi-custom route and were happy with them.

    I visited the showroom that was recommended by a friend and the brands offered there were Kemper, KitchenCraft, Omega… I actually paid them to do tech drawings for me and they gave us prices for Kemper, but then they told us it was not worth to upgrade to plywood boxes (which we thought was odd) and they suggested Purestyle for our kid’s bath vanity and laundry.

    Another friend suggested the designer that she used for her home, who reps Bremtown and I think a line called Cuisine Ideal. We provided her our designs and she priced out in Bremtown.

    One of my tile showrooms just added a cabinet showroom and they wanted to price cabinets for me. They priced Decora (but also offer Schrock).

    I have been talking to CliqStudios as well, and they have priced my plans and sent me samples, but I am weary about them because of being online.

    Basically, it looks as if Kemper, Bremtown and Decora are very similar in price. My budget will not allow me to do all my cabinetry from one of these companies, so I was thinking about using one of them or a similar company for my kitchen and butlers pantry (butlers pantry will probably be stained and possible inset shaker drawers). Kitchen will be painted shaker style cabinets, probably overlay doors, and island may be stained cabinetry or may be painted but similar stytle.

    I was thinking about using CliqStudios for the three bath vanities and maybe my painted office built-in.

    What do you think about the above? This is a big project for us and we will be in this home until we die, so I want to do it right. I need to order my cabinets today, last week, the week before…but I have been dragging my feet on making a decision because I have not truly feel comfortable with one yet. Your advice is appreciated.

  105. pmcalary, August 26, 2016 at 1:41 pm:

    Clique Studios are fine cabinets especially for a bath. You just don’t have the comfort of dealing with a local company if there are damages etc. 6 Square sold in showrooms is the same thing as the Clique Studios. We sell 6 Square for the same price that you can get it on line so possible another dealer near you does too. Bremtown for the same price as Decora is quite a deal by the way. Bremtown is a full custom line with furniture grade finishes.

  106. Sally, August 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm:

    Thank you Paul. I appreciate your feedback.

  107. Teresa, August 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm:

    pmcalary, you mentioned Fabuwood cabinets are CARB compliant. Do you have a link to the details? I’ve been looking for CARB compliance on Fabuwood but can’t find any info on it. Also, you said not to buy from the value line. Why is that? You also said to buy them already assembled. Why do you recommend that? Thank you!

  108. pmcalary, August 30, 2016 at 3:06 pm:

    Hi Teresa,
    Your Fabuwood dealer can supply the documentation for Fabuwood’d Carb 2 compliance. They have been so since March 2014. The value line needs to be upgraded to soft close drawers and doors. If it is, I think the construction is fine. Buying the cabinetry unassembled means that how well the cabinet is built is left to someone less familiar putting the cabinets together. Dealers that do this themselves usually are less professional and contractors that want to do this will be hit and miss. That really is the greatest problem with Fabuwood as a company. They will sell to small dealers that don’t know what they are doing. This ruins the cabinet companies reputation for all the more professional dealers. It’s really quite a bad business model on Fabuwood’s part and I know many other dealers that are frustrated by this as well.

  109., August 31, 2016 at 12:00 pm:

    If framed cabinetry is more durable that frame-less why is most all institutional casework in schools, hospitals, commercial, severe use, is frame less built out of 3/4″ melamine covered particle board.

    Most plywood used in the cabinet industry currently comes from China, where forests are cut to produce it. particle board AKA furniture board, is made from by wood products and reclaimed material, a much more sustainable method.

    Both Plywood and Particle board purchased through reputable sources are C.A.R.B. 2 compliant.

    I have been in the cabinet industry for 35 years, and plywood cabinets for residential use, is only a perceived value, not a real one.

  110. pmcalary, August 31, 2016 at 1:06 pm:

    Hi Kevin,
    To answer your question. Yes institutions do use frameless cabinetry quite often because it is cheep to make and easy to clean when the surfaces are laminated. However high stress areas like Shop classrooms, Home Economics classrooms, and Chemistry classroom labs are more often done in more durable framed cabinetry in the US. The people choosing the products that are installed in commercial settings are often not very informed about the advantages of one form of construction over another. Which isn’t really surprising since there is little literature and never any studies done comparing cabinet durability as this would upset many cabinet companies.

    Most plywood used in the US is still from renewable US forests and even if there is some perceived “green” advantage to using particle board or MDF I believe it is negated by the fact that a frameless kitchen will last such a shorter length of time. I have also been in our industry a similar length of time and the one thing I have learned is that most of the information we have available to us as designers and cabinet professionals is propaganda.

    Having an engineering background and being a general contractor prior to becoming strictly a designer and cabinet salesperson for the last 20 years has given me a better perspective on cabinet longevity then most people in our industry. And since my company sells both framed and frameless cabinetry it actually hurts my business giving our customers an honest appraisal of what I believe to be true. Nearly all the most knowledgeable people I have met agree on this point even if many won’t express the belief to their customers fearing that they will alienate the portion of their customer base that is attracted to European construction.

    I DO believe that the most modern and contemporary slab door styles should be sold only in frameless construction since the gaps between doors and drawer fronts look so much better being tighter. And of course this is the only way these styles are sold which makes sense. Expecting these contemporary kitchens to last like a better made framed kitchen though is not realistic. As one of my customers said when he bought a frameless kitchen from me “If I can have the style I like and it lasts 20 years I will consider that a success.” He also said that assuming he was still alive, after 20 years he would be ready to move, and that the new owners could do the kitchen of their own dreams.

  111. Lola, September 2, 2016 at 11:02 pm:

    Lola, Oakland Co MI Cabinets offered in my area #1 contractor – Merrillat, Dura & Marsh Tenton 1 by Marsh Furniture Co.
    #2 Kraftmaid, Ultracraft, Quality, Wellborn
    #3 Pioneer, StarMark and SMART
    #4 Kitchen Craft, Dynasty, Omega, Kemper & Decora
    Please rate these for me, just beginning to select contractor and cabinets.

    Thank you.

  112. pmcalary, September 3, 2016 at 10:34 am:

    Wellborn, Kraftmaid and Decora are the best choices listed.

  113. Alison, September 12, 2016 at 9:22 pm:

    I have narrowed the cabinets to Decora and Kraftmaid. Which do you think is the better choice?

  114. pmcalary, September 13, 2016 at 7:29 am:

    Hi Alison,
    Both are good choices. If the prices are from two different dealers I’d pick the dealer with the best reputation. Otherwise pick the door style, color, or price that you like best.

  115. Sharon, September 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm:

    Is there a way to estimate cabinet costs? I got a quote of $34K for a 20×20 kitchen using Crystal cabinets. What’s the best way to compare to other cabinet brands – can it be done oneline or do I just have to talk to several KD and get their estimate?

  116. pmcalary, September 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm:

    HI Sharon,
    Crystal is a custom cabinet line and you probably picked an expensive door style like an inset style. You need a floor plan with cabinetry specs to compare apples to apples. But you need to work with a designer that will explain what you are paying for and why you need to be in one cabinet line over another. Kitchens are too complicated to compare this way. Interview several kitchen designers designers to find a good one and look for a dealer that sells a broad spectrum of cabinets to fit every price point. There are fine cabinets that will be very similar in construction to Crystal that will easily be half the cost.

  117. Sandy, September 15, 2016 at 11:09 am:

    We are looking for new hones and considering buying new construction from a well known builder in the area. I was shown one of his homes that was nearly done, and did not like the kitchen cabinets he offers as standard. He uses Aristocraft. He stated that he does do all wood and dovetails for drawers but that the cabinets will have particle board boxes. He offered that if there was an alternate brand I wanted he could consider it, but I worry about upgrade expenses. I find the whole process very intimidating and the builder shares only the minimum necessary info on what he puts into the house. Is there a list I can provide to help me state what my minimum requirements are for cabinetry, and then easily be able to find a brand that would check off those items on the list but not break the bank in terms of upgrade fees? He does not do business like some builders do by providing an allowance for the kitchen and allowing me to select the brand/vendor so I can try to get what i want under that amount. My guess is he is protecting whatever margin he can? Your site is great in that it gives sold things to ask for…but there are so many brands and so much info out there. not sure how to make sure I don’t get hooked into paying too much?

  118. pmcalary, September 15, 2016 at 11:36 am:

    The problem with most builders is that they intentionally make the cabinets in their homes lower grade and then triple and quadruple the costs to upgrade them as a way to make a larger profit. Aristocraft often referred to as “Aristocrap” by kitchen designers is a builder favorite. Better made cabinetry in all plywood construction in reality probably costs 20% more but builders will make it double. Or a cabinet line like Fabuwood that we sell is almost the same price and comes with thicker sides and backs in all plywood construction, but only in birch wood. Worst of all is that the builders that use these cabinet lines also usually have terrible designs.

  119. ally, September 15, 2016 at 11:51 pm:

    I fell in love with a Starmark cabinet at s showroom and felt that it had nice construction quality. Subsequently, my contractor suggested Fieldstone or Medallion Gold cabinets. I have a hard time finding a good sampling of reviews in these two lines. Does anyone have experience or info to share on build quality and longevity of the products? Thanks.

  120. Charlene, September 16, 2016 at 10:36 am:

    Hi, we are remodeling and adding bathrooms and an office. The cabinet lines we are considering are:
    Signature by Omega
    From reading your blog, I know that you like Decora. Is that the best brand listed? We do not want the frameless look. Thanks for your input!

  121. pmcalary, September 16, 2016 at 10:45 am:

    Hi Charlene,
    If we gave out awards for comments yours would win! Yes I feel that is the best line you listed. Thanks for reading through all the responses to get your answer. When people are that through it is always a good sign.
    Best of luck with your kitchen!

  122. pmcalary, September 19, 2016 at 10:02 am:

    Starmark and Fieldstone used to be made in the same plant. I don’t know if that’s still the case but they are very similar. And son is Medallion. All these lines need to be upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides.

  123. Cheryl, September 20, 2016 at 7:26 pm:

    Looking at kitchen cabinets By Koch, and haven’t seen this Kansas company mentioned. Also considering Shennandoah or Kraft Maid with upgrades to plywood-and a durable painted finish. Your suggestions.

  124. pmcalary, September 20, 2016 at 8:10 pm:

    Don’t know Koch and their web site doesn’t have much information. Kraftmaid and Shenandoah at Lowes are good choices upgraded to plywood. Kraftmaid the better and more expensive.

  125. Leslie, September 23, 2016 at 6:00 pm:

    Do you know anything about Kith cabinets?
    How do they compare to Waypoint? We are getting estimates from different kitchen remodelers.

  126. pmcalary, September 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm:

    For these lower price point lines we really the the Fabuwood line we carry. The cabinetry is better made and more stylish. Clique Studios od 6 Square the dealer version is also a good choice. There are many, many, well made cabinets at higher price points but not too many at the lower price points.

  127. Amanda, September 25, 2016 at 4:13 pm:

    How do you feel about for a bathroom? Thanks so much for all the wonderful information on your blog!

  128. pmcalary, September 27, 2016 at 9:49 am:

    Hi Amanda,
    Even for a vanity, ordering cheep cabinets online doesn’t save much money (if any) and the risk of not getting the right thing or the cabinetry coming damaged and needing to be picked up / replaced is high – so the possible inconvenience is great. You don’t say where you are but around here Solid Wood Cabinets or IKEA would be a cheap alternative with no risk. Or Lowes carries in stock Bertch vanities last I checked.

    There can be questions that need to be asked that don’t get asked when you buy cabinetry remotely. For example: Did you want the vanity drawers on the right or left? Is your plumbing on the other side of the vanity so it doesn’t interfere with the drawers. Do you have door trim, window trim, or a radiator that would prevent a door or drawer from opening. Does the vanity bowl you are buying fit in your vanity. Did you want to order fillers, toe kick, or a touch up kit with the vanity?

    Too often people don’t appreciate how complex ordering even a simple vanity can be if you don’t do it for a living. And people that order cabinetry on line are usually the very people not knowledgeable enough to succeed doing it. I don’t think most experienced kitchen designers would be brave enough to order a cabinet on line so that should tell you something. Here’s a funny video somewhat related:

  129. Amanda, September 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm:

    Thank you! All good points, none of which I had considered. I guess in my mind they seemed similar to cliq studios. I’m in Houston, but have struggled to find a door style and configuration that I like in a light grey color.

  130. PAUL, September 30, 2016 at 6:32 pm:

    Hi Amanda,
    Clique Studios does the best job of the online companies in asking the right questions. Still they are the same as 6 Square cabinets ordered from a dealer and most dealers sell for the same price as Clique Studios does on line. It just makes better sense having a place you can return things that will and responsibility for damages and their own errors.

  131. Terry, October 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm:

    We are doing a bath remodel. I am comparing Merrilat and Kraftmaid. The vanity is 72 inches. The Merrilat bid is 2 27 inch base cabinets with all plywood construction and an18 inch dovetail drawer cabinet. There is a 400-500 dollar difference in the bids. The only difference I see is that the Kraftmaid has I beam construction and a thicker manufactured wood back. Are there other considerations I should be ware of?

  132. Ellen Venturino, October 10, 2016 at 11:19 am:

    Hello, the information provided here has been most helpful. We have “narrowed” our search to Brookhaven, decora, ovation, upgraded medallion, upgraded fieldstone, and upgraded Kraftmaid. Of these, which one or ones have the best, most durable painted finish? Also, we like the look of inset cabinets but we are 0.4 miles from the pacific coast in San Diego. Do you have any advice for selecting inset cabinets that will lessen the likelihood that they will stick? We’ll have an island too that will either be painted or stained wood depending on what you suggest. I read your entire blog and took detailed notes. Thank you.

  133. pmcalary, October 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm:

    The New hidden 6 way adjustable hinge for inset cabinetry will allow you to adjust for any expansion. I didn’t think some of these lines did inset such as Kraftmaod but the finishes on all these lines should be equally durable.

  134. Ellen venturino, October 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm:

    Thank you so much! I am probably mistaken about kraftmaid offering inset.

  135. Kevin, October 15, 2016 at 10:49 am:

    I am planning a kitchen remodel in a high end home. Going for white cabinets and brown/grey island. Is starmark adequate? Also, how does it compare to shiloh? I used mid-continent 2 yrs ago and was not impressed.

  136. pmcalary, October 15, 2016 at 11:42 am:

    Hi Kevin,
    Mid Continent is a very low grade cabinet. Upgrade Starmark to 1/2″ plywood sides and it is well made and has very nice features and finishes. Silo is a little less upscale cabinet line then Starmark.

  137. John, October 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm:


    We are trying to decide between fabuwood and medallion’s silverline cabinets. Our quoted prices were almost identical for each brand. We have upgraded both options to plywood. Would you recommend one over the other? Pro’s and con’s as to why? Thank you for your feedback!

  138. pmcalary, October 16, 2016 at 10:57 am:

    Hi John,
    It’s my understanding that upgrading Medallion to all Plywood would not be Silverline anymore and much more expensive. If you can really get both for the same price then you are certainly getting a great deal on the Medallion and it would be difficult not to choose Medallion in that circumstance. But something sounds off here, be careful.

  139. John, October 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm:

    Thank you very much for your feedback. Ill double check on the pricing and plywood aspect for silverline. We also went and looked at kraftmaid cabinets at HD. We got a rough price but assuming all things being equal from a financial standpoint, how does Kraftmaid stand up against fabuwood and silverline. All three are plywood boxes. Thanks again!

  140. Virginia, October 18, 2016 at 7:38 pm:

    What is your professional opinion and advice on Ready to Assemble kitchen cabinets? What RTA brand/manufacturer do you recommend?

  141. pmcalary, October 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm:

    Great Question! Framed RTA Cabinetry can be a well made durable product and we sell a couple of cabinet lines like Fabuwood that can be purchased unassembled. That being said I would always pay the manufacturer or the Dealer to assemble the cabinets for you. Ideally you want the person putting your cabinets together to have done it thousands on times before and to have all the right tools and equipment to make the assembly perfect. The cabinetry is only as good as the person putting it together and installing it.

  142. Virginia, October 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm:

    Thanks and I agree the manufacturer or Dealer should assemble for me. I like the Fabuwood option but the warranty is only 5 years. Is this typical for RTA cabinets? Do you recommend any other brands? Opinion on RTA Cabinet Store, IKS Cabinets, Conestoga Wood Specialties

  143. pmcalary, October 19, 2016 at 11:43 am:

    The warrantee on a cabinet line isn’t representative of anything of much value. For example we give Fabuwood and all the cabinet lines we carry the standard limited lifetime warrantee whether the manufacturer does or not. These warrantees only cover defects not scratches or wear and tear, and only the closest replacement parts available so no labor. This is why pooly made cabinetry like IKEA can have a 15 year warrantee and some custom cabinet lines will only have 5 year warrantees.

  144. Virginia, October 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm:

    Thank you for the explanation – it makes sense now.
    Do you recommend any other brands? Opinion on RTA Cabinet Store, IKS Cabinets, Conestoga Wood Specialties

  145. pmcalary, October 19, 2016 at 5:16 pm:

    There are lots of RTA cabinetry that’s pretty good. Especially for the price. Obviously we like Fabuwood the best since it is the line we carry. And Fabuwood IS the fastest growing cabinet company in the US with over a 100 Million in sales in 2015. But there are other lines that are fine too, but maybe a little rougher like Solid Wood Cabinets. There is a long list of these RTA lines and rating each one makes less sense than just saying we believe that Fabuwood is the best of these type lines for the money. Actually in the more expensive cabinetry no line stands out above many others. There are many great higher end semi custom and custom lines – they each just have there own unique finishes, specialties, and advantages.

    Of course the worst part about most of the inexpensive RTA lines is not the cabinetry itself but the designer/salesperson that you are working with.

  146. Cindy, October 19, 2016 at 7:57 pm:

    I am looking at upgraded (plywood) Medallion cupboards and upgraded (plywood)American Woodmark’s. What do you feel is the better brand? Or are they about the same?

  147. Christie, October 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm:

    Hi I am building a new home and have a pretty tight budget my KD is recommending Showplace, Aristocraft and Legacy Debut series cabinets. What are your recommendations/ review of these brand cabinets? Thanks

  148. pmcalary, October 20, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    I would Choose Legacy Debut from those choices.

  149. pmcalary, October 20, 2016 at 8:46 am:

    Upgraded Both lines are made well. But Medallion is a much higher end line with better ability to customize and nicer looking finishes. They should also be about 40% more expensive. If you like the finish a lot more and the door style better or need unusual size cabinets then Medallion is worth the added expense. Otherwise 40% is a lot if you are on a tight budget.

  150. Sadie, October 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm:

    Great information here but I have a question which I did not see addressed here. Do you have any input on cabinetry made for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities? A member if my family is very reactive. It has been very hard trying to find companies that address these issues. I know some people state off gassing doesn’t take long ir store your cabinetry somewhere else until it does but these choices are not practical. Having respiratory issues on top of chemical and allergy problems is hard to address in a family like ours. Any thoughts or advise or experience in this area of cabinetry. Just going into some showrooms is an issue for them.

  151. pmcalary, October 20, 2016 at 5:25 pm:

    Carb 2 Compliance is the highest standardized rating for cabinetry off gassing. Many cabinet lines are Carb 2 Certified and many others don’t bother getting the certification even though they would pass. If someone is very sensitive I would get a Carb 2 Compliant cabinet line which doesn’t cost any more once the cabinetry is an all plywood box. And I would have the dealer store my cabinets for at least 2 months before delivery. For example we store our customers cabinetry for 2 months free of charge and it’s only $100 for an additional month. After the cabinets are delivered to you I would take them out of the boxes and store them in a room with open windows that has a fan in a window pointed outside and has the interior door taped or sealed shut. After a couple of weeks airing out they should be OK to install. And after installation you can still keep the kitchen sealed from the rest of the house and the cabinetry airing out until the countertop is installed and the kitchen is ready to use.

    There are small boutique cabinet lines that claim to have zero off gassing. However no outside organization tests them so how do we know for sure? And the kitchen industry has a bad record of companies making false claims.

  152. Sadie, October 21, 2016 at 11:07 am:

    Thank you for your response. Great ideas. Would you know or recommend any manufacturers? I found Executive Cabinetry and and Crystal Cabinetry.

  153. pmcalary, October 21, 2016 at 11:20 am:

    Hi Sadie,
    Crystal is a well respected name in the custom cabinet community. Executive only makes frameless cabinetry and uses some of the buzz words that raise my suspicions. Crystal if you can afford them and the designer that will design in the line will also usually be better.

  154. bill l, October 22, 2016 at 9:34 pm:

    I am considering shanendoah and American woodmark.(both with plywood construction.(lowes and Home depot. How do these compare to shrock

  155. Karen, October 23, 2016 at 3:37 am:

    Hi, I have read through the questions and your responses and appreciate all of the advice. I live in Denver and have just started looking for cabinets for a substantial kitchen renovation. I went to Home Depot and was considering Thomasville but am no longer doing so based on my subsequent research. A kitchen designer at a local private dealer recommended Dacora but a very cursory bid was up to $10 k more than bid for Thomasville. Home Depot also said they can sell Dacora though they have no in depth knowledge of the brand. I have not yet sat down with a designer other than at Home Depot. Can you recommend a dealer in my area who uses reputable cabinet makers with whom I can sit down to go over and finalize my plans in detail to ensure I am making the best investment of time and money? Thanks.

  156. pmcalary, October 23, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Hi Bill,
    American Woodmark at The Home Depot, Shenandoah at Lowes, and Timberlake at private showrooms are all made by the same company and are nearly identical. Each line just has some door styles that are exclusive to them. All three should cost a little less than Shrock. In general with everything upgraded the Shrock has nicer finishes but the Woodmark etc has slightly more durable construction.

  157. Stephanie, October 23, 2016 at 9:32 am:

    Hi, The information in this thread is extremely helpful. What are your thoughts about Wellborn Forest cabinets? is it quality construction?

  158. Donna Noblin, October 23, 2016 at 10:59 am:

    I have enjoyed reading this, as I am doing a kitchen reno!! Started out as a DIY, reusing 30 yr old cabinets, Brammer, in wonderful condition, but now we realize they are outdated with their outside hinges, lack of molding, shiny finish, and cathedral doors. So I appreciate your info, and am taking notes and putting them in a folder. I have decided to use a real kitchen designer this time around, as I really had lots of poor design in my original kitchen. So thanks for your timely info!!!!!!!

  159. pmcalary, October 23, 2016 at 11:25 am:

    Hi Karen,
    First let me say that I don’t know any companies in Denver, and my recommendation is based only on a quick look at the professionals in your area and their portfolios on

    JM Kitchens and Baths in Denver gets great reviews on Houzz. I looked at their projects and they are very well designed. And their web site shows that they carry cabinets at every price range. All the lines that they carry are smart selections which also is a good sign. I’d give them a shot. They obviously design some great kitchens so the design you get from them will most likely be better than you’d get from a home center and judging from the cabinet lines they carry they don’t look overpriced.
    Best of Luck,

  160. pmcalary, October 23, 2016 at 11:28 am:

    Thanks so much Donna. A post just to say thank you! Why what a nice way to start your day. Cheers – Paul

  161. pmcalary, October 23, 2016 at 11:33 am:

    I Like Wellborn cabinetry a great deal. We have considered carrying their line. They are one of the few US cabinet makers that continue to have a big presence at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show KBIS. I hope that they continue. We need good US manufacturers represented at our Industry trade show. Hope to see them again at the show in Orlando this year.

  162. pmcalary, October 23, 2016 at 11:42 am:

    Sorry Stephanie I just realized that you were asking About Wellborn Forrest and not Wellborn. Wellborn Forest from what I can see online does a lot of things right for an inexpensive cabinet company. However the backs of their cabinets are very thin on 1/8″ or 3/16″ and they don’t mention a hanging rail. Without at least a 3/4″ plywood or solid wood hanging rail I would definitely NOT recommend them.

  163. pmcalary, October 24, 2016 at 8:49 am:

    Sorry Stephanie I just realized that you were asking About Wellborn Forrest and not Wellborn. Wellborn Forest from what I can see online does a lot of things right for an inexpensive cabinet company. However the backs of their cabinets are very thin on 1/8″ or 3/16″ and they don’t mention a hanging rail. Without at least a 3/4″ plywood or solid wood hanging rail I would definitely NOT recommend them.

  164. Jay miller, October 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm:

    Any information on Bridgewood . made in Kansas. All wood construction. No MDF. i am looking at their American Value line. limited choices but I believe affordable. i have yet to get a quote but they look well made. Any information is appreciated. i did ask for a ballpark price per linear foot and was told “we have not priced by the foot since the 1960’s”

  165. pmcalary, October 26, 2016 at 3:34 pm:

    Hi Jay,
    I had never heard of them but I looked them up and they look like a well made inexpensive cabinet.

  166. Sandra, October 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm:

    Hi There – wondering if you have an opinion on “JSI” cabinetry? I am told it is plywood box construction. The builder we are working with stated he could use those vs another brand like Aristocraft with no fees for upgrade. One review online stated that the plywood from China they use contains higher levels of foraldehyde? 🙁 We can only use our builders supplier so custom is not an option…he works with National Lumber.

  167. Jay Miller, October 27, 2016 at 4:51 am:

    I appreciate the reply. All wood, good price. I’m getting a quote.

  168. pmcalary, October 27, 2016 at 8:53 am:

    Aristocraft is a poorly constructed cabinet line. I don’t know JSI and it has no information that I can find about how it is constructed. It makes me crazy when a company tells the long story of their history on their About Us page but says nothing about how their cabinets are constructed. Don’t know what to tell you. There are better made cabinet lines than Aristocrat for equal or less money like the Fabuwood or 6Square lines we carry. Many people on this blog have discovered well made lines I never heard of so they are out there. In general the better made lines at the least expensive price point will be assembled in the US and made in China. The strictly all US made lines will not compare well for the inexpensive cabinetry. Of course the higher end US cabinetry can be made the best of all with the nicest finishes and the most construction options. And there are some expensive US lines that need to be upgraded to be as well made as the Asian lines.

  169. Ron, October 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm:

    thanks for taking the time for explaining all these differences, much appreciated. This might be one of the best threads on the internet. Just a question on the Fabuwood, any idea what the typical price is per linear foot from lower to upper end of this brand? Just a rough estimate. Is it 10%, 15% cheaper than cliqstudios/6square?

  170. pmcalary, October 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm:

    Yes Fabuwood is usually 10 ton 15% less than 6 Square.

  171. Ron, October 28, 2016 at 3:06 pm:

    My designer has suggested using Columbia cabinets which she says are a good value. I noticed in a response to a previous question that you don’t like this brand. Is there a particular reason? I’ve also looked at Kitchen Craft, Kraft Maid and executive cabinets. How do you rate these? Thanks you very much.

  172. pmcalary, October 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm:

    As far as Columbia is concerned, I’m not a fan of low cost frameless cabinetry or of companies that tell you how green they are but won’t show you how their cabinets are made. There are many better choices certainly the Kraftmaid that you mention is one. Kitchen Craft is also a frameless line.

  173. Michelle, October 28, 2016 at 6:38 pm:

    My husband and I have done quite of few home flips and kitchen rehabs, and the best kitchen cabinet for the money that we have found is an american made cabinet called Kitchen Kompact. Only thing they lack are the color options and cabinet sizes, but if you like one of their door styles you can’t beat the construction for the money. Great fit for a rental type property.

  174. pmcalary, October 29, 2016 at 8:50 am:

    Hi Michelle,
    Kitchen Compact wouldn’t be my choice. While the cabinets are pretty well made for an inexpensive cabinet line there are many other lines that are better constructed and around the same price point. Also all the door styles are standard overlay. We haven’t had a customer select a standard overlay door style in several years so the styles are out of date. The only good point about the cabinet line is that they are made in the US while many of the better constructed and better priced brands will have the doors at least made in China even if the cabinet line is a US company. Some of our customers place a high value on buying strictly 100% American but I am a believer of simply buying the best product for the money. If a company can’t compete in a certain market they should find something new to do. I don’t care that my iPhone is made in China. Apple is a US company and if I had to pay $2000 for my phone I wouldn’t but that phone. Personally I also don’t like all the flag waving on their web site.

  175. Kathy paulson, October 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm:

    I am looking to buy Woodland cabinets, out of South Dakota, for our new home. They will upgrade to all plywood boxes if purchased before the year end. We are getting the mission door style in quarter sawn oak. Any opinions on this company, it is from our local building center.

  176. M Voss, October 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm:

    Two local kitchen designers work with Urban Effects, Mouser, Adelphi, Wayneco and Honey Brook. I haven’t seen these mentioned yet and curious of your thoughts?

  177. pmcalary, October 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm:

    You don’t say what kind of cabinets you are getting framed or frameless. Mouser makes both well, Adelphi looks fine for both, The other lines are small companies without much information available. Urban Effects is probably only a frameless line and unless you are getting a slab door style I would recommend getting a framed cabinet if it is well made.

  178. pmcalary, October 30, 2016 at 1:49 pm:

    Hi Kathy,
    There is no way to tell how Woodland cabinets are made from their web site. I find cabinet web sites that talk about their quality in glowing terms and tell the companies life story but don’t mention how they make their cabinets a little frustrating. Not being transparent gets you two strikes in my book and sales that expire to put pressure on buyers give you another strike. The cabinets may be well made but I don’t love the company from the little I know about it. Kitchens should never be rushed and sales that make customers order before the project is completely thought out are not in the customers best interest. Why not be competitively priced all year long instead of making projects run less smoothly because they are rushed.

  179. mary, November 2, 2016 at 6:51 pm:

    I noticed you gave Starmark and good rating in one response and not so good in another. Spec say end panel 3/4 hardwood plywood veneer core, top/bottom -1/2 hardwood plywood veneer core, back panel – 1/2″ hardwood plywood, shelf -3/4″ engineered wood. What are your thoughts and this Starmark cabinet? Are there different grades they carry? I worked with a designer for 5 hours and this is what she recommended.

  180. Virginia, November 3, 2016 at 9:34 am:

    I am looking to buy kitchen cabinets (framed, full overlay, reversed raised panel) and seeking guidance on which brand you would recommend from the following list: Bishop, Merillat, Schrock, Fabuwood, IKS or Mainline Custom Cabinetry made by Tedd Wood/Executive Cabinetry?

  181. Sroth, November 3, 2016 at 10:46 am:

    Hi! We are looking into expanding our kitchen. We currently have 17 year old oak kraft maid cabinets that are still in great condition. The problem is they are that yellowish oak color. I would like a white kitchen. I have looked into having them painted, but all the company pictures still seem to show the wood grain, which I don’t want. Should I completely start over? Should I reface and then buy new cabinets to match? Buy more kraftmaid oak cabinets and have them all painted to match amd be stuck with oak grain showing? Does painting really hold up? Thanks!

  182. pmcalary, November 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm:

    Hi Stacy,
    Generally only two approaches make financial sense when you are renovating a kitchen. Either doing and spending as little as possible to make your kitchen better so painting existing cabinets and leaving things at that or doing a complete kitchen renovation. Anything short of a complete renovation will add little value to you home while a complete renovation can often add the complete cost to what your home will sell for. Here is a blog on the topic:
    Refacing make the least sense of all as you can get all new cabinetry for nearly the price of refacing.

  183. pmcalary, November 3, 2016 at 3:15 pm:

    Hi Mary,
    Starmark just needs to be upgraded from what used to be un-upgraded 3/8″ particle board sides to 1/2″ plywood sides and backs. As long as you do this the cabinets are fine and Starmark is known for some nice finishes. Fieldstone used to be made by the same manufacturer and also needed to upgraded the same way.

  184. pmcalary, November 4, 2016 at 9:21 am:

    Sorry I missed this one. For a bath either is fine upgraded to plywood sides.

  185. Brad, November 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm:

    Is Fabuwood comparable to Kraftaid in regards to price & quality. I have a galley kitchen in a rental property which needs to be renovated before i sell. Looking at white cabinets. Thank you, this is a greeat thread.

  186. pmcalary, November 5, 2016 at 9:13 am:

    No Kraftmaid is much more custom a cabinet line and costs about 50% more. You actually have to upgrade Kraftmaid to be constructed as well as Fabuwood but one you do it is a superior line like our Bishop, Brighton, and Wellsford lines.

  187. MJ, November 6, 2016 at 1:01 am:

    I have had bids for a VERY small kitchen and the bids are all over the board – Dynasty $30K, Showplace $20K, Aristokraft $10K, Home Depot $8K, Chinese $6K. I am amazed at the difference in cost and quality. What would you recommend?

  188. pmcalary, November 6, 2016 at 10:03 am:

    You are paying for the ability to customize and high end finishes with the expensive cabinet lines and you probably aren’t using those design features in your kitchen or care about unusual colors and finishes. For example, Fabuwood the least expensive line we carry would probably cost less than $10K and is more durably constructed than Dynasty Omega. You don’t say where you are located or which cabinet lines the Home Depot or Chinese line are. They could be OK or terrible depending. We might consider selling you cabinetry depending on your project and where you are located, and we are very reasonable for cabinetry and only sell cabinets with all plywood construction and the top of the line Blumotion dovetail soft close drawers and soft close doors. We can at least look at your kitchen floorplan and design printouts if you have them and tell you first about any mistakes we see and give you a close estimate on any of the lines we carry.
    Feel free to email or call us.

  189. Lindy, November 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm:

    I am very concerned about white painted cabinets yellowing. In fact, I received a sample from Cliq and put it in a drawer. In one month, I was shocked to see it was no longer bright white! In fact it was really a dull yellowy white. How do we guard against getting a brand that turns yellow? Also, does this possible color change only happen with white, or does this happen with gray, too?
    Another question, with Bishop frameless is there anything that can make them upgraded, because you don’t seem to like frameless. I like the spaciousness and lack of the center stile you get with frameless.( Looking at a white shaker with a wide frame and a little trim inside the shaker frame.)
    Also, can we pay you to check our KD plan for possible mistakes? Thanks!

  190. pmcalary, November 9, 2016 at 5:04 pm:

    Hi Lindy,
    I doubt the Cliq Studios door changed color and it was never a bright white and always a very off white. We sell them and their white is far from a bright white and has stayed the same very off white on our samples some of which are several years old. You just probably didn’t realize how off it was when you first received it. Bishop frameless can be made with a plywood box which is better, almost no cabinets today framed or frameless have a center style between two doors on one cabinet the double door cabinets have butt doors where the two door are very close with a tiny gap between them.

  191. Jane Staunton, November 12, 2016 at 7:24 pm:

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience with Six Square Kitchen Cabinets? Thinking of going with white and wondering how the finish is and do they look nice or cheap?

  192. pmcalary, November 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm:

    Hi Jane,
    We sell 6 Square and they are very durable and well made for a relatively inexpensive cabinet line. Their white finish has some grey in it but it is durable and the Blum hinges and tracks are the best made. They have been experiencing delays during production lately and the last few kitchens we ordered took 6 weeks.

  193. Sung, November 25, 2016 at 11:39 am:

    Hi Paul – this information that you posted is extremely helpful. Could you kindly let me know what you prefer between Brookhaven (no upgrade) versus Decora. I’ver received similar kitchen designs between the 2 lines and the price difference was about $8K more for Brookhaven. I know you like both lines, but wondering which you would prefer. The design and pricing for Decora was from a local Home Depot.

  194. pmcalary, November 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm:

    If you upgrade both lines to all plywood construction they will be made almost identically. So the difference between the lines will be how much you like the particular door style and finish and whether the more expensive selections are worth the extra money.

    Of course how good the designer is and how good the design is is the most important thing especially when cabinet choices are all well made. Most designs we see from people that send us their designs are terrible. So while they are focusing on cabinetry because it’s a tangible thing they can understand they don’t realize that the kitchen they are price comparing is amateurish.

  195. Tania Martin, November 25, 2016 at 9:52 pm:

    Thank you for this awesome blog – so much time has been spent answering everyone’s questions, and I wish were were in a location to use you (we are in Colorado)! I can’t seem to find reviews on Karman Preferred or Sollera. Thank you!

  196. pmcalary, November 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm:

    Hi Tania,
    Both cabinet lines I had to look up so I don’t know them first hand. Karman Preferred is a well made cabinet line upgraded to plywood construction. They have nice and varied door styles and finishes and best of all a transparent web site explaining their products and upgrades. Th Sollera web site is the opposite. There is little information and they appear to be frameless construction although they never come out and say so and don’t explain how their cabinetry is made. They tout being green which in the cabinet world is almost code for poor construction when coupled with no other information. I’d stick with the Karman Preferred they look very nice.

  197. Cecelia, November 28, 2016 at 12:38 am:

    Do you know about Huntwood cabinets made at Liberty Lake, WA? I am trying to decide between Huntwood & Medallion.

  198. pmcalary, November 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm:

    Hi Cecelia,
    I don’t know Huntswood and their web site doesn’t get specific about how they are made. They say they are a custom cabinet company which means relatively expensive and from the web site photos the cabinetry is not overly impressive. I would price compare them with a semi-custom line like Kraftmaid, Brookhaven, Bishop, Decora, or Brighten. You might get a better made cabinet for less.

  199. Cecelia, November 29, 2016 at 12:03 am:

    thanks for your input

  200. Pat, November 30, 2016 at 11:25 am:

    Thanks for all the insights. It already allowed me to put on hold an order for Omega (Masterbrand) on my current client’s project. Now getting quotes on Bertch and other cabinets. Years ago I used Quisine Cabico, now Cabico cabinets for red birch. Any comments? Do you have a line that has a basic shaker reversed panel, with a bead inside edge only door style, full overlay, slab front drawers in red birch? The next kitchen to quote is set on euro-style frameless, white cabinets… should I pass or can it be done if i keep door and shelf widths minimized? I am not far – in Delaware.

  201. pmcalary, November 30, 2016 at 12:05 pm:

    Hi Pat,
    We sell frameless cabinetry. There is no question that it has advantages over framed cabinetry for some applications. Modern and contemporary kitchen designs especially ones with slab door styles look better in a frameless line because of the tighter gap between doors and drawers. Frameless cabinetry is easier to access, easier to clean, and allows for larger storage areas in drawers and pull outs. It is only when kitchen designers delude themselves into believing that frameless cabinetry is just as structurally sound as well made framed cabinetry that problems arise. Architects, interior designers, and kitchen designers without much construction experience often haven’t seen the problems that can arise with frameless cabinetry and poor design in the field and so don’t tailor their designs accordingly.

    We let our customers know the advantages and disadvantages of framed and frameless cabinetry and if they select a frameless line we deign their kitchen to limit the stress from larger doors, drawers, roll outs, and other interior cabinet conveniences. Bishop is the most versatile frameless line we carry.

  202. Ken, December 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm:

    Do you have any knowledge with Crown Cabinets based in Salt Lake City? We are wondering how they would compare with Kraftmaid or Shanandoah with upgrades of course! 🙂
    We live in rural Idaho so any help would be wonderful. Thank you!

  203. Allison, December 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm:

    Hi! Do you have any experience with a cabinet line called Pinnacle cabinetry? Their spec sheet looked like they offer everything you advise. I had a design made by a kitchen designer and she recommended this brand. We are keeping our old custom built upper cabinets and replacing the counter tops and lower drawers. This is a great blog. Thank you! I live in SE MI.

  204. pmcalary, December 3, 2016 at 7:56 am:

    Hi Alison,
    Do you mean the popular, expensive and well made Pinnacle line of cabinetry from Omega or the small custom Pinnacle cabinetry shop in Virgina. Omega’s Pinnacle I like a lot. Omega Dynasty is their frameless line and if you wanted a frameless cabinet with all the advantages and disadvantages they would be a good choice in frameless. The Omega Pinnacle is a high end framed line with beautiful finishes and very well constructed.

  205. pmcalary, December 3, 2016 at 8:00 am:

    Hi Ken,
    Crown can be upgraded to be as well made as the Shanendoah line also upgraded but neither of these lower to middle pricepoint lines compares with Kraftmaid.

  206. Robert Cole, December 7, 2016 at 1:53 pm:

    This is a great thread, with a lot of great comments on multiple brands. I just did a video comparison of a chinese cabinet compared with an entry level Yorktowne Cabinet (which you mentioned you hate – but I have had nothing but great experience with at that price level). Here is the link to my video. Hope you find it useful. If posting a link is not allowed, please delete my post and accept my apology.

  207. pmcalary, December 7, 2016 at 3:09 pm:

    Sorry Robert,
    But this video is pure propaganda and very misleading. You can upgrade US cabinetry to plywood to make a better cabinet but you make it sound like particle board is preferred. Everyone in our industry agrees that Plywood is better than particleboard unless the cabinetry finish is a foil or a laminate and the plywood grain would show through the surface. The shipping over water as to why plywood is used in Asian lines is a flat out lie.

    You are lumping all Asian cabinetry together when they are as different as US lines like a Woodmode is from a Yorktowne. And you are comparing the lowest grade Asian cabinet with and upgraded Yorktowne cabinet that much more expensive and yet still particleboard.

    I posted your comment and Video but the information here is full of misleading information. The Asian lines we carry use Blumotion and Blum soft close hinges and are better built then Yorktowne. The US lines we carry also far exceed Yorketown in construction. I don’t know any cabinet professionals that would recommend Yorktowne for it’s construction quality. The Yorktown nitch is as a builders grade cabinet with some nice finishes and styles and different wood types, but not it’s durability. I would agree that the dealer that you buy your cabinets from is the most important decision of all.

  208. erica, December 9, 2016 at 9:50 am:

    this thread is so helpful, thanks so much!! where are you guys located? what do you prefer between starmark and decora? are either a better ‘value’ and are there any others in these range worth considering?

  209. pmcalary, December 10, 2016 at 8:46 am:

    Hi Erica,
    Both good cabinet lines with many others as good and in the same range. I would give Decora for value for the money.

  210. Cheryl, December 10, 2016 at 9:58 am:

    Thank you for all of this. We are in MA and doing a complete kitchen remodel including wall removal. Agghhh the mess !! Oh well. Dreaming of the new look. Knowing that there are good and bad in every choice,help in what I’ve seen. Home crest, waypoint , and Shiloh. I’d like the best wood/stained/glazed cabinet I can find in the upper mid range .. not custom. Also can you shed any light on Amish made cabinets ??

  211. Mike S., December 12, 2016 at 9:43 am:

    Hi, I am replacing a double vanity in my guest bath and planning to get a Wolf Classic vanity (~ 70″ with 5/8 granite on top). However, I see that these can not be upgraded to your minimum standards. They seem to satisfy most of your specs – 1/2 plywood, 3/4 solid wood doors, dovetail drawers. Is the problem mainly inferior drawer closes or other factors that make these undesireable? Thanks for your help, Mike S.

  212. pmcalary, December 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm:

    Hi Mike,
    I don’t think you need to worry too much about cabinetry falling apart in a bathroom setting. It is more about style and finish. If you are happy with the style and finish I wouldn’t worry using a lesser quality cabinet.

  213. Richard, December 12, 2016 at 9:00 pm:

    I am looking to buy mid range semi-custom kitchen cabinets made in the US. I find it frustrating that on the cabinet review sights many brands will have the same number of 5 out of 5 reviews and 0 out of 5 reviews. We looked at Ikea, lowes/home depot and some independent vendors. Prices were all across the board and many were above our budget. We returned to a store to purchase Decora which were above our budget. Then I noticed that Wolf Designer series was having a special promotion that included upgrades to all plywood, full extension soft close draws, glazing and 15% price reduction on some door styles. What do you think of Wolf designer if I include the above mentioned upgrades? What will I be giving up or sacrificing if I go with Wolf designer as opposed to Decora. Our kitchen does not need custom sizes.

  214. pmcalary, December 13, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    Amish is more homemade cabinetry than Custom cabinetry. I would stay away from buying my cabinets that way.

  215. pmcalary, December 13, 2016 at 9:39 am:

    Wolf cabinetry is made in Asia and assembled in Pennsylvania. All the better made low cost cabinetry now comes from US companies having parts made in China. Wolf is OK but one of my favorites.
    If you want 100% American cabinetry you must spend more to get q quality product. If that’s what you want stick with the Decora.

  216. Bruno, December 15, 2016 at 9:58 am:

    Down to 2 cabinet brands Shenandoah (Lowes) and Kraftmaid Vantage (local KD center). Both brands going with all plywood. Kraftmaid is pricing around $2500-3000 more. Besides soft-close really not adding in any bells and whistle options. Not sure how to decide. Any advice?

  217. pmcalary, December 15, 2016 at 10:27 am:

    Both are made well. The Kraftmaid will have better quality control and nicer finishes but Lowes will replace any damages. And you might not care or be able to tell the difference in the feel and look of the finishes. A lot of the finish subtlety isn’t noticed by consumers.

    The design is of course the most important thing once the cabinetry is well made and usually the designs we get sent are all mistake filled. Feel free to send us your floor plan and perspectives and maybe we can catch a few of the errors other designers commonly make.

    Happy Holidays,

  218. david, December 16, 2016 at 9:58 am:

    We are doing an addition/moving the kitchen. We have been looking at cabinets – no we have no picked a KD, our design is very simple. I’ve been more concerned on the lifetime quality of the cabinets. I have not been impressed with big box store lines, nor the internet sales (ie: Solid wood cabinets). My GC says he can install anything fully custom, to big box. We have sorta narrowed down to 2 brands.
    Holiday Kitchen – this ship is only HK, has countertops, hardware, lighting, sinks.. complete design
    UltraCraft – this shop is cabinets only, sends us local for countertops, no flooring, no lighting. He was offering Kraftmaid Vantage as an alternate.

    The research has been crazy – pick a line – 10 reviews (4 will be best ever, 4 will be worst ever and 2 neutral).
    We did like the frameless cabinets and the door hinges on both brands seemed heavy duty. We liked the laminated inside on UltraCraft, as demo he scratched at the surface with a spoon NO damage.
    As best I can find both these lines are similar in construction. (KD 1/4″ back, 3/4″ box, 3/4″ shelf, fused laminate finish inside) (UC 5/8″ back, 5/8″ box, 3/4″ shelf, fused laminate finish inside).

    After all that..
    – thoughts on durability of frameless for KD and UC ?
    – thoughts in general on KD and UC ?
    Our layout is a simple L shape on outside walls 11’6″ x 11’6″, shaker door, soft closer drawers & doors, I think both mentioned blumotion. Uppers to the ceiling with trim to hide the gap.

  219. pmcalary, December 16, 2016 at 10:35 am:

    Hi David,
    Your project shows the signs of most likely having problems. You should be working with a kitchen designer BEFORE the drawings for the addition are even finalized. The designer is the person best qualified to advise you on what kind of design actually works and the advantages and disadvantages of the different cabinet lines. If you send us your plans we can alert you to what has been overlooked so far. But interview designers to find a good one. You are spending to much money to not be getting professional design help and from your questions I can tell that you aren’t receiving it so far.

  220. Sudeep Reyc, December 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm:

    Can you please let me know if there is only one type of cabinet for wall in oven cum microwave or there are quite a few types. What I mean is that how many drawers are there below the oven space ?

  221. Rayc, December 17, 2016 at 7:49 am:

    Can you please tell me the size of the Fabuwood cabinet for wall in oven cum microwave. What I have got has 3 drawers in the bottom and one top cabinet above the cut out space for the oven and microwave.

  222. pmcalary, December 17, 2016 at 9:52 am:

    Most NON custom cabinet lines make one or at most two styles of Oven cabinets. In both styles installers will always be expected to cut out the correct space for the oven, ovens, or microwave and oven. This usually also requires removing the drawers that are not needed and are in the space for the cut out. If this confuses your installer then they are new to the kitchen world since this is not just common but pretty much standard across nearly all non custom cabinet lines.

  223. pmcalary, December 17, 2016 at 9:58 am:

    Yes as with most non custom lines you will need to cut out the correct space for the oven and Microwave you have selected. This will require removing a drawer or two depending on the ovens you have selected. Even in Custom lines we usually order the oven cut out smaller than needed and still require the contractor to enlarge the cut out. That way if a customer gets different appliances then they told us the oven cabinet still works. You can always make the cut out larger, making it smaller is a challenge for a very good carpenter.

  224. Rayc, December 17, 2016 at 5:56 pm:

    Thank you very much Paul. This is very helpful.

  225. Rayc, December 19, 2016 at 8:24 am:

    Hi Paul, my kitchen designer is saying that Fabuwood comes with standard sink cabinet. If I use farm sink, I have to order smaller sink doors but the original sink doors have to be thrown away. Is that true ? Also, my installer is saying that the pin nails used in the toe kick and the drawers of the Fabuwood cabinets delivered are not long enough and so they are coming off. I will hopefully get an answer on this from my kitchen designer but wanted to get your thoughts.

  226. pmcalary, December 19, 2016 at 8:36 am:

    You can’t switch to a farm sink after your cabinets arrive. Farm sink cabinets are completely different fron standard sink cabints. Fabuwood makes 30, 33, and 36″ wide Farm sink cabinets that will hold Farm sinks 3″ narrower than the sink cabinet. Toe kicks are just stapled in place and can get knocked off and need to be reattached. The final matching toe kick cover the cabinets original toe kick. Drawers are solid wood dovetail so the are no nails there. If you designed your kitchen not for a farm sink don’t try to create a farm sink cabinet. Kohler makes a shallow front farm sink that may work on the cabinet you have. Making changes after cabinets arrive is usually a recipe for disaster.

  227. Josh, December 31, 2016 at 4:40 pm:

    Hi do you know anything about cabinets to go and lines they carry Findley myers

  228. pmcalary, January 1, 2017 at 10:22 am:

    Hi Joish,
    I’m not a fan of the absolute least expensive RTA Products for several reasons.
    First they are only 20% less than many preassembled well made cabinets.
    Secondly framed cabinets should be assembled by someone experienced and glued
    together as well. Lastly these lines have no one experienced to help design a kitchen.
    So not only is the cabinetry a lesser quality but you are assured an unprofessional

    Even the simplest kitchens will all benefit from the help of an experienced
    designer. And unfortunately even with professional help many kitchen designers are
    not very good so while they will do a better job designing a kitchen than a non
    professional, their designs are still not so hot. Finding a good kitchen designer to work
    with improves everyone’s kitchen design dramatically.

    We get sent designs to look at every
    week and nearly all of them are terrible. With no one experienced in the mix it pretty much assures that
    the design won’t be any good. Why waste money on expensive countertops, appliances, flooring and fixtures,
    but have the person creating the design and helping you organize the project be an amateur. Would you let a non professional work on your car?
    or even cut your hair? No, then you should ask yourself why are you avoiding professional kitchen design help
    in the most expensive home renovation you are likely to undergo in a lifetime?

  229. njdiyer, January 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm:

    DO NOT choose Waypoint

    So I’m doing a DIY kitchen reno, and purchased Waypoint cabinets via a local dealer. Upon delivery, I inspected my ~10k purchase only to be severely disappointed in their overall build quality as well as defects.

    I brought up my issues with them, and expressed my dissatisfaction. The said that they would send a Waypoint sales rep to assess the situation. The sales rep looked at the defects, and basically told me that this is within the specs of their product. She told me that she would try to replace the specific doors that I had issues with, but could not guarantee that I would get defect-free replacements.

    So I told her that in that case, I would like to return for a full refund. To which she responded that it is not their ‘policy’ to accept returns.

    I am super pissed, and am considering all options.

    pictures below:

  230. Kelly Cole, January 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm:

    I’ve learned so much from reading all your responses, especially concerning kitchen designers and construction. We’re building a home on the lake in Branson, MO. Can you tell me your preference in cabinetry between Shiloh, Wellborn, BJ Tidwell, and Kraftmaid based on price and quality? Like everyone, we want well made cabinets that will last a lifetime for a fair price. Thank you!

  231. pmcalary, January 18, 2017 at 5:39 pm:

    Waypoint is an inexpensive cabinet and it is quite likely that what you are calling defects should have been expected by you and quire possibly would also be present in more expensive cabinetry. That is why it is the designers job to explain to you what to expect and your job to understand the properties of what you are buying when you buy it. It takes time to teach customers about the properties of the wood. the doorstyles, and the cabinet line that they are considering. Customers can complain about mineral steaks in maple, cherry pits in cherry, and nearly all cabinet lines will have these. Often customers in a rush guarantee they are unhappy by not spending what’s most important. Their own time to learn about what they are buying.

  232. pmcalary, January 18, 2017 at 9:06 pm:

    Hi Kelly,
    With these choices I like Wellborn and Kraftmaid.
    We are actually considering carrying Wellborn after
    meeting their staff at the 2017 Kitchen and Bath
    Industry show. I have never heard of BJ Tidwell.

  233. Jacki, January 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm:

    Showplace v. Brookhaven? Planning white perimeter cabinets and black (or dark stain) island. Thank you!

  234. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm:

    I prefer Brookhaven

  235. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm:

    Hi DIYer,
    Waypoint is an inexpensive cabinet line and after looking at your photos I agree that much of what you are probably seeing you should have expected.
    Different cabinet lines have different advantages and disadvantages and it is the designers job to explain what you should expect. It is also your job to learn what you should expect as well. Often people don’t spend the one thing needed to make them happy with their finished kitchen. Not money but their own time learning about what they are buying and finding a good designer to work with.

  236. Liz clarke, January 22, 2017 at 9:25 am:

    I went to look at cabinets. Hanssem was recommended. Do you know anything about this brand? I am looking for painted white cabinets. Shaker style. Do you have any recommendations..

  237. pmcalary, January 22, 2017 at 10:07 am:

    Hanssem is one of dozens of Asian manufactured and US assembled cabinet lines. However unlike US manufacturers that have parts made in Asia. Hanssem is an Asian Corporation. I have found those types companies to lag behind the US companies that do the same thing. The fact that their web site is poor with little information is not encouraging either. I’d stick with the type lines we carry like Fabuwood and 6 Square, or the less expensive CNC, or even LifeArt. They are all US companies doing the same thing a little better.

  238. karbenat, January 24, 2017 at 8:48 am:

    building new home narrowed down to kraftmaid decora and candlelight kitchen cabinets all upgraded to plywood boxes
    ive read you like decora looking for the best quality also for all wood kraftmaid has a veneer

  239. karbenat, January 24, 2017 at 9:15 am:

    building new home and having anxiety over kitchen cabinets. we have narrowed it down to candlelight, decora and kraftmaid upgraded all to plywood boxes prefer all wood but kraftmaid has veneer looking for good quality and long lasting not sure which is better for us. I’ve read you like decora and kraftmaid but not much mention of candlelight could use some help!

  240. pmcalary, January 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm:

    All three are good lines upgraded to all plywood construction and not very different. Pick the best designer in this case or the dealer with the best reviews.

  241. mark hocin, January 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm:

    Could you tell me your feelings about using an RTA cabinet from Conestoga Wood Products. They make the door fronts for many cabinet manufacturers. There is a considerable savings purchasing these cabinets. We also have a cabinet maker in the Chicago area (Builder’s Cabinet Supply) that makes their own boxes and uses Conestoga doors and drawers. There is about a $5m dollar difference in price between the two for the same features. You do get design help with BCS and they will come out and measure our space. Just interested in your thoughts…

  242. mark hocin, January 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm:

    Also the RTA cabinets from Conestoga are set sizes, where as the Builders Cabinet Supply cabinets will be custom fitted to !.5″ tolerance, so no fillers should be needed.
    Just looking for some opinions or experiences…

  243. Bryan, January 26, 2017 at 2:09 pm:

    We are commencing a large-scale reno with a large kitchen. We are considering Medallion Gold Mission Maple in White Chocolate w/o glaze vs Fabuwood Wellington in Ivory (comes glazed). The price for Medallion are ~ 20% more. While the dealers refer to Fabuwood as low-grade imported cabinets, I can’t see any glaring differences. The finish looks very close if not the same, the boxes are slightly different, it is maple vs birch, they have the same hinges, etc. Is it worth paying the 20% premium which would put the job to $25k to spring for the Medallion vs $20k for Medallion? When you read that a kitchen should be 5-10% of your total house worth it makes me think you have to spring for it, but just can’t see the value difference. Obviously, lighting, granite, appliances, flooring backsplash are to follow so I don’t want to spend in vain.

  244. pmcalary, January 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm:

    Hi Bryan,
    I love Fabuwood and think that it’s a great cabinet for the price that’s why it’s one of the lines we choose to carry. However the Medallion cabinetry is a different animal completely. In fact, Medallion in all plywood construction should be more like 40 or 50% more than the Fabuwood. So you are either paying too much for the Fabuwood or getting a great deal on the Medallion. It is true that most customers can’t tell the difference between the two lines. But as a designer I can design a lot more custom designs with a higher end cabinet. Things like fancier hoods, different style glass doors, stacked cabinetry and many other design customizations. However for simpler designs you won’t be taking advantage of what makes the more expensive cabinet lines more expensive.

    The design itself is the thing that makes the best kitchen. And most designs we see are poor, so finding the best designer to work with is often the best bang for your buck and not the things that you buy.

  245. Len, January 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm:

    trying to choose between Fabuwood , j&k and Lesscare Geneva cabinets all have plywood box. Which do you feel is a best of the 3

  246. Jeanne, January 27, 2017 at 5:35 pm:

    getting ready to remodel my kitchen and the three most affordable options are Lesscare Geneva, J&K cabinets and Fabuwood. Lesscare and J&K come standard with soft close and Fabuwood have to go to Hallmark for soft close. Would like to know which of the three you recommend

  247. dijo, January 28, 2017 at 2:25 am:

    I am looking for white kitchen cabinets. Started with UltraCraft and too high of price point. I need Low to no VOC cabinets that have minimal off gassing. Now looking at Crystal but they are having issues with no voc finishes. Kraftmaid has been recommended but I can’t get a straight answer regarding voc. I also am not sure about a maple painted white finish or a thermofoil/melamine/laminate finish. Can you offer advice in these areas? Thank you.

  248. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 8:34 am:

    Beyond Carb 2 compliance as far as I know any testing for off gassing would be done and reported by the company selling the cabinets themselves. Since cabinet companies have a terrible track record for being honest any data they report makes me uneasy. Some companies have good reputations in our industry. Crystal is one, and they fact that they apparently are being honest about their product is more comforting than assurances from less reliable companies. Most off gassing should occur in the first few months after a cabinet is made. I would trust an honest company and simply store their cabinets in my garage or a storage facility for a few months unpackaged before taking the word from other companies. Especially companies that advertise that they are green and VOC free. Unless you want to get into testing yourself which I understand can be done without too much trouble I’d get the Crystal and store them for a few months unpackaged before installing them in my home. Thremofoil is plastic, not tasteful IMO, and having a kitchen full of plastic can’t be a good thing if you are worried about VOC.

  249. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 8:50 am:

    You are getting inaccurate information. All Fabuwood cabinets come with Blum’s soft close drawers and doors standard except in the value line which is Hallmark and Landmark. The Hallmark frost also comes standard with soft close because it was requested this way so often. The other Hallmark colors have to be upgraded to soft close. Landmark is a standard overlay builder grade offering that can’t be upgraded to. You don’t give pricing so choosing is impossible but if the costs were identical I would pick Fabuwood.

  250. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 9:02 am:

    Hi Mark,
    Conestoga is known for making doors for other cabinet lines. They are not know for RTA cabinetry. I would always buy cabinetry assembled by the manufacturer even RTA cabinetry since most cabinet companies will do it better and cheaper than an individual could themselves assuming they gave the time it took them to assemble cabinetry a value. The fact that you believe that fillers could not be required installing a kitchen also tells me that you possibly shouldn’t build or install your cabinetry. Fillers and stacked moldings are what allow cabinets to be leveled and squared to the room they are installed. No home is level and square so fillers are always needed and doors and drawers often need fillers beside them so that they can open without binding or hitting the trim around windows and doors.

  251. F Noda, January 29, 2017 at 1:08 pm:

    Any kitchen designer you recommend in the Albuquerque, NM area? Thanks.

  252. pmcalary, January 29, 2017 at 1:46 pm:

    I don’t know anyone in your area but The Kitchen Studio has good reviews and nice projects they show on Here’s their web site and Houzz page.

  253. Frank Noda, January 29, 2017 at 6:32 pm:

    Thanks, Mr. Calary. I am enjoying all of the Q&A’s and am learning a lot. I had not previously appreciated the depth of my ignorance.

  254. Jeanne, January 31, 2017 at 2:33 pm:

    Hi Paul what do you think about the fabuwood hallmark when upgraded with soft close

  255. Edie Loughlin, February 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm:

    what do you think about Merillat, Ultracraft, and Wood Harbor?

  256. pmcalary, February 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm:

    All three of these cabinet lines are of inferior construction. There are far better products available for less money. We sell Fabuwood, 6 Square, and CNC all of which would be a better cabinet for less. Solid Wood Cabinets is a better cheaper product too but they don’t usually have knowledgeable designers. At Home Centers like Lowes Shenendoah Cabinetry or at Home depot American Woodmark, especially upgraded to plywood would be a better selections.

  257. Bob Felle, February 2, 2017 at 9:31 pm:

    Remodeling a small kitchen (total gut job)and getting more frustrated than I ever thought.Live in north Jersey and their seems to be every manufacturer represented within a short distance.Not looking for modern style so will eliminate
    Ultracraft because of being frameless,even though the designer at that retailer was the most helpful with ideas.I would say our budget would permit us to use middle quality(with up graded specs)to upper quality.We are going for off white painted cabinets,recessed panel with a small single or double quarter round molding.Help!

  258. pmcalary, February 3, 2017 at 7:55 am:

    Hi Bob,
    Since you aren’t asking a specific question I will giver you the best advice of all and the advice that totally negates most of the value of this particular blog.

    Stop everything you are doing and researching about cabinets and design. Don’t do anything to your kitchen in preparation of a new one. Don’t buy appliances. Don’t call in contractors. Especially don’t call in an architect or engineer. You can not learn enough about kitchen design in your free time to ever gain enough knowledge that to become more that an very beginner at it.

    Now start researching to find the best kitchen designer you can. Google kitchen design in your area. will have profiles and projects of the best designers and design firms in your area. Angie’s List will also have profiles and reviews on many firms with good reputations. Call showrooms or home centers and get the name of their most experienced or what they consider their top designer. And then make an appointment to speak to that designer by phone or at their business. Many companies will be reasonably priced for cabinetry and the best kitchen designers don’t charge for their time it is incorporated into the price of the cabinetry that they sell.

    Once you have narrowed down the designers and firms you want to work with to one or two have each designer you are considering explain to you the benefits of the different cabinet lines they sell. Since the style you are looking for is the most popular sold, every cabinet line a dealer carries will have the door style you like in finishes close to what you like as well. The higher end lines will do any door style in any color. The best kitchen designers will be comfortable advising you on whether moving doorways, windows or removing walls is advisable. Once you find a person you are comfortable with designing your kitchen who works for a reputable firm let them help you by giving you the information you need on design, materials, style, color, and pricing to make decisions.

    Doing all the research finding a great kitchen designer will mean that the designer you select will know off hand all the information it would take you years to gather and understand. Now your frustrations should be minimal. And the likelihood that your project runs smoothly, stays on budget, and that you spend your money wisely on the things that matter to you should be maximized. Great designers can recommend great contractors, appliance stores, granite showrooms, flooring, lighting and fixture stores and usually even give you the names of the most experienced salespeople to work with at those places. Some companies like ours even pass their discounts for materials bought at these places on to their customers but that is less common.

    We also will look at designs sent to us not to redesign them but to quickly catch big mistakes and to give you a heads up. Most designs we receive to review are terrible with multiple mistakes which is why finding a good kitchen designer is so important.

    For those reading this blog which is now over 100 people per day this is the best advice of all.

  259. Bob Felle, February 3, 2017 at 11:32 am:

    Thanks very much.we will not be doing any structural changes to the new kitchen,and I have a excellent contractor who with his son(total of about 50 years experience)Since the kitchen is very small and with his experience did not think I would need a designer,there’s only so much you can do in such a small space.Have been doing as much research on cab.manufactuer as you suggest.I will definitely change my time schedule to start the job and consult with a designer.I do have a very detailed design I did myself using to scale paper and about 5 revisions after checking Houzz.Thanks again Bob

  260. pmcalary, February 3, 2017 at 11:43 am:

    Using yourself and your contractor as the designers guarantees a poor result. Thinking as many people do that not much can be done with their space is what we are forced to hear from nearly every customer we meet and nearly everyone of them is very wrong. It makes life as a designer frustrating. As I say in the video (See link at the end of the blog) People would be afraid to cut their own hair but don’t think they need a professional when it comes to kitchen design.

  261. Kevin C, February 4, 2017 at 1:19 pm:

    We’ve received quotes for Legacy Debut and Homecrest. The Homecrest came in $1400 more, but I don’t know if there is that large of a quality difference. Which do you recommend?

  262. dan, February 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm:

    There are no drain set up below the center isle for the sink. I notice the wall where the gas stove was installed, there are no gas stub. Is this video for demonstration purposes only?

  263. pmcalary, February 4, 2017 at 3:44 pm:

    I assume you are taking about our 211 second video. The plumbing lines were simply run after the cabinetry was installed. The basement was unfinished and it made running the plumbing lines and installing the cabinetry and flooring easier doing the plumbing last instead of first.

  264. pmcalary, February 4, 2017 at 3:51 pm:

    They are both very similar. Not much quality difference. Quotes can also be very different based on exactly how the designer did the design. Upgrading one line to flush sides versus finished sides could make a huge difference.

  265. Gena, February 5, 2017 at 11:21 am:

    Hi! Please advise your thoughts on Kith cabinets. Thank you

  266. pmcalary, February 5, 2017 at 11:43 am:

    Not a fan. Especially for the money. The US companies assembling cabinets with doors and fronts made in China are usually better constructed and a better value.

  267. Joseph W, February 5, 2017 at 11:17 pm:

    We are remodeling our 30 year old cabinets and been watching this forum . Its great with useful information.
    We have a basic L style Kitchen 8′ x 10′ with a fridge and couple cabinets on opposite wall 7′
    Our Budget goal is 8000-10000 for cabinets, and been looking at several brands with only plywood and solid wood fronts. We like traditional style and natural wood color and partial.
    overlay. The brands that fit our budget so far
    and someone told us about Wayneco, but have priced them out.
    We are looking for solid construction, good quality and just basic cabinets, nothing fancy.
    Any suggestions on these choices or any other to fit our budget.

  268. pmcalary, February 6, 2017 at 8:11 am:

    Upgraded Kraftmaid is the most expensive and the best cabinet here and Fabuwood much less expensive but well made and the best buy. As always good design and creative renovations such as moving doorways and changing cabinet layouts cost very little and are the best values of all. It’s such a shame that most people don’t appreciate that their kitchen could dramatically improve spending the same money.

    The best cabinet here is Kraftmaid but give me the $2,500 difference between Kraftmaid and Fabuwood to spend on a customers renovation and I could nearly always reconfigure a home to create a far better kitchen. But as Doug Mottershead says on one of our videos “you can’t know what you don’t know.” And so homeowners nearly always falsely believe that their layout can’t change much or be improved beyond the improvements that THEY can envision. Hence Doug’s quote “You can’t know what you don’t know!”

  269. Oodi Pilzer, February 6, 2017 at 1:32 pm:

    Until yesterday, I was trying to decide between Kraftmaid and Decora. I much prefer the drawers on Kraftmaid but Decora seems more customizable. In 2001, I bought beautiful red birch (natural stain) cabinets from a local cabinet shop which purchased them from a major manufacturer that did custom cabinetry – but I have no idea who the manufacturer was. I just know my cabinets which had all plywood construction – and I think ¾” plywood with raised panel solid wood doors looked beautiful in 2001 and still look beautiful today. They literally glow. I would have gone back to the same cabinet shop, but they retired and closed up shop. I need to renovate another kitchen in what was a rental property which may be sold soon. I recently came upon the Cabico brand which still offers red birch as a wood option along with the more popular wood such as Maple and Cherry. I wondered if he knew anything about them and had an opinion. I am looking for a good quality cabinet. My kitchen is so small, that the price differences are not significant. Also, I am trying to decide if I want a raised panel made from solid wood (or a reversed raised panel if I do an inset style) only if I am better off with plywood due to expansion issues. I don’t know what my current cabinets have, though they certainly look like solid wood, and I’ve never had any expansion issues. But perhaps that is because I have a natural polyurethane, so I don’t see the wood expanding.

  270. Brenda Ward, February 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm:

    I would like to know, what is a good cabinet that has a good polyurethane finish on it? I have to buy kitchen cabinets soon(I have no cabinets on the walls right now). I have been told that cabinets dont have a shine anymore that they are only a satin stained look nowadays? I plan to buy cherry or maple, a medium color. not to dark or too light. I was told by a Lowes CD that only the painted cabinets have a glossy shine? I want a cabinet with a shine not a dry look. I have seen the shenadoah cabinets and they look so dry!! Help! In my area(Richlands,Va) I have considered KraftMaid. A local dealer has Homecrest. What is a good cabinet with a good gloss? not a lot of choices in area!

  271. pmcalary, February 28, 2017 at 6:42 pm:

    Hi Brenda,
    Typically stained cabinets have a sheen of about 40. That’s the level of shine rated from 0 to 100. If you want high gloss finishes on stained cabinetry they will show fingerprints, scratches and skuffs more easily and because of that will usually only be available in custom cabinet lines. All the lines you mention will be well made but they will also all have similar sheens on their stained finishes. To get what you want you will probably need to spend nearly 60% more than the price of Homecreast or Shendoah Cabinetry

  272. Terry G, March 4, 2017 at 10:46 am:

    This is a great blog. You do a wonderful job. Have read the entire blog and have not seen any mention of Holiday Kitchens from Rice Lake, WI. Looking for you input. Appreciate any comments you have. Have looked at Kraftmaid and Martha Stewart Living at Home Depot. Thanks.

  273. pmcalary, March 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm:

    Hi Terry,
    Holiday Kitchens doesn’t offer any explanation of exactly how their framed and frameless cabinetry is made on their web site. They simply state “see a Holiday dealer for information about cabinet construction”. Since I don’t know a Holiday dealer and have never seen their cabinetry I can only say that they look well made from the photos on line.

    It annoys me when cabinet lines keep this information from the public. And not being transparent about one thing is sometimes indicative of a company philosophy that worries me.

  274. Robert, March 8, 2017 at 12:11 am:

    Hi. I purchased a home a year ago which had kitchen remodeled about 8 years ago. Open concept, Crystal cabinets with stained maple, 13 foot long island, soft close drawers – undermount from Grass, Cambria countertops, great layout and design. I am looking at updating by going with painted off white cabinets and inset shaker style doors. Currently they are partial overlay. I have a kitchen cabinet painter and a kitchen cabinet maker both through Angies List who work together and will redoor, paint and change to Blumotion. They work with Crystal cabinets but because they are just supplying doors/drawer fronts I would like to go with a less expensive option. What would you suggest for a less costly brand but still of good quality? Also, should I go with paint grade maple stiles/rails and panel or maple with mdf panel which is what they are suggesting or other such as birch (I live in the northern part of the country)? Thanks for your help.

  275. pmcalary, March 8, 2017 at 8:38 am:

    Hi Robert,
    What you are attempting is actually very hard to do successfully. One reason is that the existing cabinets were not made or installed to be inset. So the openings may be too far out of square to look right. Doors may need to be planed so MDF doors could be a problem. I don’t think any qualified professionals would attempt this. Painting cabinets needs to be done by furniture re-finishers too so that the paint is very durable. We use Guardsman furniture re-finishers.
    I would order a few doors as a test and make sure the people saying that they can do this successfully succeed before ordering your entire kitchen.
    Be very careful here,

  276. Michael H, March 10, 2017 at 10:03 am:

    What’s your take on Cabico? I’m guessing you’re not a huge fan due to their frameless design and 5/8″ construction. Also, I’d greatly appreciate you looking over our kitchen plans and telling me what could be improved.

  277. pmcalary, March 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm:

    Hi Michael,
    Not a fan of Cabico and the B’s that we give them in our 2017 review below, are because of their framed lines. In frameless they would get much lower scores.
    You can email us your floor plan for comments at

  278. MichaelH, March 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm:

    Thanks for the link, it’s exactly what I was going to ask for. Goingb to use that to narrow things down. I’m confused though that the Masterbrand brands other than Decora ( Diamond, Homecrest, Schrock, etc) get B ratings across the board considering your multiple posts about their negatives. Should we pass on them or not?

  279. pmcalary, March 11, 2017 at 8:06 am:

    Hi Michael,
    First these ratings are for when the cabinetry for each company has been upgraded to it’s highest level. So for example Schrock or Diamond un-upgraded would be D’s at best. Meanwhile an inexpensive line like Fabuwood or 6 Square or even the cheapest of lines like Solid Wood Cabinets come un-upgraded already at a B+ or an A level of construction. Why spend 50% more to still get a cabinet that isn’t constructed as well and isn’t a good value for the money?

    Homecrest is well made, but not a great value compared to some of these other lower price point lines. Diamond and Schrock are almost the same price as Decora, Kraftmaid and many other equally priced American lines but not made as well so why buy them.

    We only rank 75 cabinet lines and there are hundreds of US brands. So many listed here get higher marks and there are so many not listed that would also be straight A’s or at least get an A in construction quality. The real question is why settle for B’s?

  280. judy v, March 14, 2017 at 11:05 am:

    Bought a house on LBI wanted to do a pretty beachy kitchen found Martha Stewart line in Home Depot in a soft beachy green only have 15 cabinets a small kitchen…but have been reading that the laminate scratches off or bubbles and the quality of the cabinets are not good. We did a new kitchen in our main home with kraft maid in maple about 7 yrs ago and they have held up well. what are your thoughts on the martha stewart or any that are a color instead of natural wood.

  281. pmcalary, March 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm:

    Hi Judy,
    Buying RE-branded cabinets like Martha Stewart or Thomasville from Home depot is a bad idea. Home depot is taking cheap cabinetry and marking it up extra just to sell to customers that don’t know any better and believe that the re-named cabinetry signifies some kind of quality product. Home Depot actually switches around who makes these lines depending on the deal they can make with different less expensive cabinet lines. If you are shopping at a Home Depot get Kreaftmaid if you can afford a higher end cabinet line.

  282. Laura Doyle, March 17, 2017 at 11:42 am:

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Echelon cabinet line with the allwood construction/dovetail SC drawers and SC doors?

  283. pmcalary, March 17, 2017 at 12:05 pm:

    Hi Laura,
    The Echelon web site appears to have broken links to how their cabinetry is made so we can’t check the quality, and none of know off hand. I can see from what is shown that the cabinetry is not ibeam construction and has plastic corner brackets which is a sign of a lower end line. They still could be well constructed, it’s just less likely with the plastic corners.

  284. Matt Delp, March 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm:

    Hi Paul, I am down to Fabuwood and J&K Cabinets. From what I can tell, they seem to be constructed in the same way and materials. J&K IS 2000 cheaper which scares me a little bit. Any suggestions on either of them. We are doing a 12×11 kitchen and Fabuwood is 7800 while J&K IS 5800

    Thanks and Great blog!!!

  285. pmcalary, March 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm:

    Hi Matt,
    J&K looks like it is made comparably with the Value line of Fabuwood. So with 5/8″ shelves and probably some other features that aren’t quite as nice. If you like the finish and door style equally in both lines then I would consider the J&K especially if you are planning on selling your home after a few years. If you are going to be in your home indefinitely it might be safer to get the better made cabinet. Tough call though. If I was more familiar with J&K I could be more helpful.
    Best Paul

  286. Carolyn, March 21, 2017 at 12:43 am:

    The Wellsford Cabinets were rated very high yet not mentioned once in all of the posts, why is that?
    Can you provide more insight (good/bad) into the Wellsford cabinets. I’m interested in a white painted cabinet with inset shaker door. What is your expierenve with their finishes?

    Does Wellsford offer wood doors only? The painted cabinets I saw felt different, perhaps it was the baked on finish or could they have been mdf?

  287. pmcalary, March 21, 2017 at 2:27 am:

    Hi Carolyn,
    Wellsford is a custom cabinet company in Pennsylvania. Since we carry their line it is included on our list. It is a full custom line so any door types and finishes are available. High end custom lines will have soother finishes because the cabinetry is sanded to a to a higher level. Wellsford is a particularly good buy for the level of quality and customization that they offer. It probably isn’t mentioned in blog comments because it isn’t distributed to a large degree outside PA, NY, and NJ.

  288. matt delp, March 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm:

    Thanks Paul, the Fabuwood Line we got quoted at 7800 was the Allure line Galaxy Frost. So I’m guessing that this line is a better product then J and K and should probably lean that way.


  289. pmcalary, March 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm:

    Hi Matt,
    The Allure line is about a 15% upgrade from the value line in Fabuwood so J and K is still a good value. Just less so.

  290. D2, March 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm:

    I am working with a KD and they sell several different cabinet manufacturers — Omega, Medallion, Haas and a few others I can’t remember. I want to go with an off white, shaker, inset cabinet. I believe after reading this blog I need to keep with a framed cabinet for durability. What do you think of these cabinet lines? Thanks for all you are doing. The information you provide is very helpful.

  291. D2, March 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm:

    Additional question — to make sure the cabinets last — does it make a difference which kind of wood? Seems like many who have maple have problems. Is there a better wood to use for white/off white cabinets?

  292. pmcalary, March 25, 2017 at 7:27 am:

    Omega is only framed in the Pinnacle line I believe. The other lines are fine upgraded to all plywood construction. The maple is the most durable wood to use for a painted white cabinet but MDF doors or soft maple might look a little beater but would be easier to chip. A recesssed MDF panel is a good compromise.

  293. D2, March 25, 2017 at 7:39 pm:

    Thank you

  294. Melissa Vernon, March 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm:

    I have started meeting and getting some quotes from local Kitchen designers to redo our kitchen. One designer gave us an estimate for Fabuwood (Wellington Ivory glazed)and what I love about that designer is that they said they can order me a hood I want and have Fabuwood finish it and they quite often make custom pieces for homeowners even if Fabuwood doesn’t offer it, like a corner sink. So it seems they have a lot of experience working with them and customizing to the client’s needs. Figuring that it is important to get several estimates I found Another designer who is about to give me an estimate using Medallion Cabinetry and possibly Elmwood. I haven’t seen anything on your site about Elmwood so I’m not sure how they are, but he said they cost more than Medallion. The hood I want is available in Elmwood, but not Medallion so he suggested matching the hood to the island where we plan to have stained cabinets. I then contacted another designer that seemed to also sell Medallion cabinetry but when I met with them they steered me away from Medallion saying that the quality of the painted/glazed finishes isn’t that great and I would be better off with Graber or Elmwood, (both custom from my understanding). I asked her why and she showed me the finishes on similarly painted door samples of Graber versus Medallion and it does seem to be a huge difference. How do you think the painted/glazed finish on Fabuwood compares? I contacted Fabuwood last Thursday, I think, about finding me another dealer that sells Fabuwood, but I still haven’t heard back from them. I live in Central NJ (Belle Mead) in case you know of any others.

  295. pmcalary, March 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm:

    Hi Melissa,
    I don’t know Graber but Medallion upgraded to all plywood construction similar to Fabuwood would cost at about 50% more than Fabuwood. Fabuwood is an inexpensive but well constructed cabinet line. I know Fabuwood will finish custom pieces like hoods, corbels and legs to match their cabinetry but we haven’t been brave enough to try it. And if a customer is trying to be get a very custom kitchen they probably should be designing it and purchasing a more expensive line than Fabuwood. Asking a less custom line like Fabuwood to stretch to the limits of what they can do can get overly complicated and created delays. We try to stay within the confines of what each cabinet line we sell does on a regular basis.

  296. Michael, March 28, 2017 at 4:44 pm:

    Was looking hard at Bishop frameless but their one year warranty is a no go. Any manufacturer that offers that low of a warranty obviously isn’t sold on their quality. What’s your take on Mouser’s Centra line of frameless cabinets?

  297. pmcalary, March 28, 2017 at 6:04 pm:

    Hi Michael,
    Not to be testy, but you seem to have strong opinions, so why ask us. We believe that warranties tend to have no relation to cabinet quality and are more about marketing strategies. For example we warranty the Bishop Frameless line with a limited lifetime warranty even though Bishop doesn’t. But that is about our marketing strategy. Mouser has a 1/4″ MDF back and no hanging rail so it’s worse than IKEA. Get IKEA if you want inexpensive frameless cabinetry and their 20 year warranty makes you feel more comfortable with the product.

  298. Melissa vernon, March 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm:

    Thanks Paul. I actually meant Grabill cabinetry, not Graber. That designer came out to measure today and only brought color samples from Elmwood with her. She mentioned she didn’t have too many grabill samples she could carry out of the showroom. Do you have knowledge on Elmwood with respect to Medallion and Grabill? By the way, finding your blog with your wealth of knowledge has been a godsend! It’s made me look differently at aspects of my current kitchen andehat I hope to accomplish with a new kitchen without Any structural changes. Thanks for your comments about Fabuwood and what types of expectations I should have. I didn’t think my kitchen would be very custom, but the kitchen designer selling them mentioned that even though Fabuwood doesn’t make a corner sink cabinet or pullouts next to the rangetop, that they themeselces have experience customizing with Fabuwood. Also maybe the people I’ve been meeting with aren’t just kitchen designers but their companies also GC the entire process.

  299. pmcalary, March 28, 2017 at 8:06 pm:

    Grabill has wonderful finishes. Not sure where they fall pricewise except that they are expensive.

  300. Alexis, March 29, 2017 at 12:20 pm:

    Hi, can you tell me what you think of the quality and value of Deerfield line. The video said the backs we only 1/4 inch plywood with a hanging rail.
    Thanks, this has been a very informative thread.

  301. pmcalary, March 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm:

    Hi Alex,
    The Deerfield line looks well constructed for an inexpensive line. As long as a cabinet has a hanging rail like the Deerfield it doesn’t matter if the rest of the back is thinner. Without a hanging rail though a 3/8″ back is the thinnest I would ever use. We should add them to our 2017 review as a well constructed inexpensive line. I just don’t know where they fall price wise. If you get any comparison pricing in other lines it would help us to know where Deerfield falls.

  302. Lisa Tyler, April 4, 2017 at 4:43 pm:

    Hi, I am doing a kitchen remodel and really like the contemporary look of Rift Oak (white) and Walnut that used to be available in Eclipse Cabinetry. Our local cabinet store, however, says that Eclipse is phasing out the real wood veneers for reconstituted wood, which is supposedly more visually appealing, and higher quality than it’s real wood counterpart. Can you tell me what Reconstituted actually means? The website describes it as ‘manufactured using sustainable hardwoods layered together to produce a veneer that is dyed to resemble Quartered Walnut or Rift White Oak in appearance. This process provides a sustainable veneer with exceptional consistency in graining and a modern appearance perfect for today’s styling trends’. I assume that they actually mean layered hard wood and not wood ‘pulp’ And if hard wood, I would be curious about the wood species. Also I am concerned that, because of the consistency/sameness of the grain, the cabinets will look a tad unnatural. I can’t seem to find any documentation about Eclipse – would really love to know what ‘reconstituted walnut/oak’ actually means. I would appreciate any feedback. Thank You!

  303. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 7:18 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    On this topic I am not an expert. Partly because this end of the business is all on Frameless cabinetry that we sell less of and don’t like as much. From the little I know it is true that most exotic wood veneers are being replaced with reconstituted wood veneers. From what I can tell by looking at them they seem actually more durable than real veneers. As far as how real they look, that is all a matter of opinion. And in frameless cabinetry looking real is less the issue. Looking sleek and contemporary is the goal.

  304. RedRider, April 5, 2017 at 10:30 am:

    Any input on the Cuisine Ideale brand of cabinets? I know you’re not a fan of frameless but any experience with the company?

  305. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 10:49 am:

    No I know nothing about them. They are a Canadian Company and their web site doesn’t show how they are made.

  306. Dana, April 8, 2017 at 6:42 pm:

    We are planning on doing a complete remodel and expansion of our kitchen. We’ve met with two designers. One uses Waypoint cabinets and the other uses Brookhaven cabinets by Woodmode. Which would you recommend?
    Thank you for any input!

  307. pmcalary, April 8, 2017 at 7:14 pm:

    Hi Dana,
    Brookhaven is a better cabinet. Below is our 2017 review of the most popular cabinet lines:

  308. Redrider, April 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm:

    From the Cuisine Ideale website.
    The cabinets in this series come with 3/4”-thick (19 mm) plywood box construction with 3/4”-thick (19 mm) adjustable shelves. Cabinet backs are the standard 1/4” thick (6 mm) and can be upgraded to 1/2” (13 mm) if necessary. This construction comes with our first-class dovetailed drawers”.
    We’d do the 1/2″ back if we go this route.

  309. pmcalary, April 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm:

    Sounds like they are Frameless cabinets. Definitely get the 1/2″ backs if you get them. Not the best method of construction.

  310. Amber Martin, April 14, 2017 at 8:12 pm:

    Thank you for all of the information. I am remodeling my kitchen after a water leak and am wading through cabinet options. What are your thoughts about Milzen? They are super inexpensive, but appear to have many of the upgraded features you recommend (e.g., an all plywood box).

  311. pmcalary, April 15, 2017 at 6:48 am:

    Hi Amber,
    I don’t know anything about Mitzen and their web site doesn’t give any information on their construction. From photos I can guess that they are an Asian produced line and inexpensive with some of the features we recomend as you mention. The finishes look a little cheep and the door styles are a little less tasteful. Another sign that they are less expensive and imported. They could be well made and the only issues are finish looks and style but I have no way of knowing. This also makes me leery. Transparency is the sign of a good company.

  312. Anita Lauro, April 15, 2017 at 8:20 am:

    I’m looking to replace the cabinets in my small kitchen and am drawn to frameless to maximize the space & usability (plus I really like the look). I completely understand the durability issues you raise. Frameless would probably work okay for me it’s just me in the household and I won’t live here more than 10-12 years longer. That said, do you have any tips to get the best results with frameless? I see you mentioned 1/2″ backs a few posts up. My kitchen will have one 30″ base cabinet and several 24″ ones. Are drawers okay for those size frameless cabinets?

    Incredibly helpful blog, thank you!

  313. Gina, April 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm:

    What a wealth of information! Thank you. I am in the initial phase of a kitchen re-do with very few choices of KD’s due to living in the most rural area of PA. The one who is available uses Wellborn, Echelon, and Bertch cabinets. I am unconcerned about style, but very concerned about value and functionality. I see that you approve of Wellborn but am wondering how the others stack up.

  314. pmcalary, April 19, 2017 at 8:21 am:

    Hi Gina,
    Here’s the 2017 reviews for 70 different cabinet line. We give both Bertch and Wellborn high grades.

    I don’t know much about Echelon but it is certainly no where near as nicely made as the others upgraded.

  315. Margie, May 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm:

    Your reviews are so confusing. Can you compare the following:
    Kitchencraft; Schrock; CNC; Designers Choice; Style Craft. Which are better in quality/price? Thank you.

  316. pmcalary, May 2, 2017 at 4:22 pm:

    HI Margie,
    Our 2017 blog reviews most of these lines but to be frank customers should be shopping for a good kitchen designer to work with and not trying to research every cabinet line. Below is a link to the 2017 blog if you find it confusing then that is especially why you need the help of a professional kitchen designer. If the professional you chose can’t help you more than our blog then you need a better professional.

  317. Margie, May 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm:

    The cabinets I mentioned are the cabinets my kitchen designer offers. I’m trying to research which is the best for the best cost. I came across this site and thought it would be helpful. You have no comparison info? I’m lost in searching. But thanks.

  318. Gabriella, May 6, 2017 at 11:13 am:

    Hi! So I asked you about Fabuwood months ago and we did decide on going with them. We are building a 16×17 kitchen and we have gotten various prices on the Fabuwood Nexus brand. Some designers are quoting us 37% off their spec book and another 43% off. I saw a company online offers Fabuwood at 45% off their spec book but they don’t service my area. What’s the price point that is fair with Fabuwood? All 3 quotes we got are from heat design companies. Thx for the info!

  319. pmcalary, May 6, 2017 at 11:32 am:

    All those numbers are fair. We charge 45% off the list price too but we have an unusual business model that enables us to sell cabinetry a little less expensively. I would not buy Fabuwood online and I would pick the dealer with the best reviews on line. That’s the most important thing. Saving a little money won’t be worth it if the company doesn’t stand behind the product and have creative knowledgeable designers.

  320. pmcalary, May 9, 2017 at 8:58 am:

    Keep doors to frameless cabinets no wider than 18″ do not get 36″ wide drawer bases. Avoid pantry pull outs and other stress inducing cabinet conveniences. Avoid 42″ high wall cabinets.

  321. Deb, May 12, 2017 at 8:43 pm:

    I would use caution when using Houzz to select a kitchen designer. I love Houzz for the ideas they offer on their site – lots of inspiration. However, I wouldn’t use them as a Yelp or Angieslist type service. I’ve seen too many 5 stars on Houzz designers that I’ve used & would never give more than 1 star. I have been told by another kitchen designer that they get to approve what comments/feedback goes on their Houzz page. I’d suggest getting a lot more referrals if you choose a kitchen designer from the Houzz app.

  322. pmcalary, May 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm:

    Hi Deb,
    I disagree with you on most of your recommendations.

    We advertise on Houzz, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google, Yahoo, and many other sites so we aren’t partial to Houzz.

    You can not approve reviews you get on Houzz, any customer can write whatever they like. However since you can as with Angie’s List, Google, Yelp, and other review sites, ask your most happy customers to review you, reviews tend to be more positive.

    Since Houzz has all the projects of a company available to see online I think it is the best place for discriminating and knowledgeable people to select designers because you can see so many examples of their work.

    Savvy people know that getting three recommendations is not telling. Any contractor or designer can cherry pick real or even fake people to give them reviews. The best reviews to ask for are the names of the last three people a company worked with. That can not be manipulated as easily.

    And lastly remember that designers and contractors are reviewing you too when you meet them. Customers that appear problematic and hard to work with can get very different pricing than nicer people. We will flat out tell people we won’t work with them if their ideas appear ill conceived and they seem controlling.

  323. Jo Ann Carpenter, May 30, 2017 at 11:22 am:


    Such a comprehensive review and info you provide. Glad I found this website and blog. I have a couple different questions, but will try to keep this email very specific.

    My husband and I hired a designer who drew up a kitchen plan, but the clientele he deals with is a bit more “financially healthy” than we are. I am not in the position to pay upwards of $25,000 just for cabinets. He would work more directly with us I think if we were using his cabinet contacts. I plan to sell in about 10-12 years, and we would not realize the investment when we sold. The plan he drew up is the one we are taking to a variety of cabinet dealers and showrooms. This has helped us compare apples to apples with what appears to us to be a good design.

    While we are still getting quotes for cabinets, I think it has come down to 3 companies. I know I want white shaker cabinets. I think it is between Westport, Mid Continent and Kraftmaid. I plan to pay for the upgrades to the cabinets as you tell us to do!

    A main concern is that these will be painted and the durability of the finish. We will find a local company to take care of the nicks and scratches as you also suggested, when we get ready to sell. A stained cabinet would have fewer issues, but the remodeling we have completed at our home seems to speak to white cabinets and I have come to like white cabinets over the years.

    So any opinions on the 3 companies?

  324. Jo Ann Carpenter, May 30, 2017 at 11:33 am:

    I forgot to say that I am looking at full overlay doors as well. Which I guess there is only one choice , frame less. Should i go for half or partial overlay instead.?

  325. pmcalary, May 30, 2017 at 11:33 am:

    Hi Jo Ann,
    You can refer to our 2017 cabinet brand review that gets specific about 70 popular cabinetry brands. We don’t rate Westport but Mid Continent is not a brand we like.

  326. JB Carmichael AKA Gamma, June 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm:

    A bit overwhelming, but a good lots of suggestions. The most important one is taking the time to do it right. So, we will. I sent a letter to you Paul attached to an email. A beginning.

    Off to find the best designers in my area, ranging from Hartford CT up to Springfield MAt

  327. Chris, June 5, 2017 at 6:23 am:

    Reading everyones questions, reviews, comments and recommendations have been a huge help. I’m in the planning stage of upgrading a townhouse kitchen (approx.10’x12′ with island 3’x6′ in Doylestown. I’m familiar with Starmark which I installed I’m my prior home which looks great, well made, durable however pricey once you factor in all the options. Without sacrificing quality, durability, finish what are your thoughts on these “affordable level” cabinets – Fabuwood (RTA), Haas(lifestyle), Canyon Creek(Katana) compared to Starmark ? Cabinets would be frameless, plywood, full overlay, 42″wall cabinets, pullout drawers no more then 27″ or 30″ wide, painted finish (possibly glazing option) applied molding options, soft close doors/drawers. I looked over your kitchen cabinets comparison list and it seems all the brands mentioned above are level 3, even for Fabuwood as an RTA import cabinet (limited styles to select)….. shocked! I’ve heard good things about Haas & Canyon, which gives a wider selection from there low/mid level cabinets. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and I’m not currently working with a designer, contractor or supplier. Regards – Chris

  328. pmcalary, June 5, 2017 at 9:31 am:

    Hi Chris,
    It sounds like you need to find a good kitchen designer to help you. Many of the things you mention tell me you are on a bad path. The room sounds too small for the Island, good designers seldom use 42″ wall cabinets but poor ones do all the time. The style you like will be less expensive and more durable in framed cabinetry like the StarMark cabinets you liked before, but you are asking for frameless construction. Finally you are asking advice on line when you are in our service area and we could be helping you first hand. These are all “tells” of a project destined for problems.

  329. Tim from Ga, June 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm:

    Ive been looking at a few shops and lowes for our kitchen cabinets, and we like the Kraftmaid from lowes so we asked for a quote and they gave us the quote using Diamond instead of Kraftmaid they upgrade it to all wood. is there a reason why there trying to sale us Diamond and not KM, there telling me Diamond is better build and looks just as good.

  330. pmcalary, June 6, 2017 at 3:05 am:

    Hi Tim.
    Diamond and Kraftmaid will be similar in price at Lowes and with both upgraded their wouldn’t be much difference in construction although I’d give the edge to Kraftmaid. Finish I’d give the edge to Diamond. I’m sure it is the designer at Lowes that prefers designing in the the Diamond line. If you asked for a quote for one line and he or she gave you a quote for another I’d have to say that the designer is a bit of a control freak. Changing customers layouts to make them better I can understand. You can always change the design back to what the homeowner thought they wanted after they saw a better design. Flat out quoting a different cabinet line, finish, and door style is odd. I’d have to say this designer is a bit of an strange bird and I’d avoid them. It is also possible that the designer is brand new at a Lowes and only knows how to design well in one line which would be another concern altogether.

  331. Tim from Ga, June 6, 2017 at 11:17 pm:

    Thanks for your response, the finish and style is the same he says “Kraftmaid Durham Maple Square” as “Gresham Maple Square” and Thank You for everthing you do.

  332. Ray, June 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm:

    Are you familiar with Karman Cabinetry? What is your opinion.

  333. pmcalary, June 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm:

    Never heard of them. If it’s Cabinetry by Karman they look like they can be upgraded to APC and a well made box, but I know nothing about the company.

  334. Lynda J, June 13, 2017 at 2:39 am:

    Thank you so much for your updated 2017 cabinet guide. We are doing just a new kitchen island. I see you feel Decora and Bertch are good lines. Those are my two choices for the frameless modern cabinets that we want. Both quotes I received from local kitchen designers are similar. What would you choose between the two? .I have all drawer cabinets except for one door cabinet which is for a trash pull out. Reading some of the comments to avoid some of the pull out features, should I avoid the pull out trash cabinet?Thank you for your time and advice.

  335. pmcalary, June 13, 2017 at 7:57 am:

    Neither of these lines makes frameless cabinetry as far as I know. And trash can pull outs are great. Bottom mount wooden units from Rev-a-shelf I like best for the price. Many cabinet lines use the Revashelf soft close model model.

  336. Lynda J, June 13, 2017 at 11:38 am:

    Thank you for your response! I will look into the Rev-a-shelf!

  337. Peter T, June 21, 2017 at 9:26 am:

    Paul, many thanks for the excellent advise on this board! I have read through all your responses and found them very valuable! I personally tend to prefer modern cabinet styles and was thinking about a frameless cabinet line, but your comments have raised some concerns about that type. Are there reasonably priced frameless cabinets that use plywood box rather than particle board which seems to be the standard for frameless? Other question I have is about slab doors. Most slab doors use MDF core covered with wood veneer. How durable is that versus a solid wood slab door? What is the price difference for solid vs. veneer?

  338. pmcalary, June 21, 2017 at 9:40 am:

    Hi Peter,
    There are some cabinet lines that will have a plywood box and not be too expensive but in general that will put you in a more expensive cabinet line. The slab door looks better if you are getting a stained finish when they are a veneer over plywood because the grain will go across the whole door. Solid doors will have stripes where the pieces of solid wood meet. No one likes that look and you pay more for it.
    On a painted door they will look the same but solid wood will be more durable but much more expensive.

    Often on a solid color door people wouldn’t get a painted slab but would get a foil, or a laminate, or an acrylic (very expensive) door. These finishes will look the most modern/contemporary.

  339. Alison, June 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm:

    We live in Denver (actually in Littleton, a suburb of Denver) and are planning to remodel our kitchen. It’s currently a U-shaped, about 10X12. We know we want light wood cabinets, probably a shaker style. I’ve been researching cabinet lines, counter top surfaces, etc., and am about to lose my mind. I’m so glad I found your blog, as it sounds like I really need to get a good kitchen designer before going any further. Can you recommend a good kitchen designer in our area, or tell me the best way to go about finding one? Thanks in advance for your advice!

  340. pmcalary, June 22, 2017 at 7:08 am:

    Hi Alison,
    I usually use and Angie’s list to try and find cabinet dealers with a good selection of cabinet lines and a portfolio of well designed kitchens. It looks like the Denver area has some great designers but most look very expensive and only sell custom cabinets. The best compromise I could find was this company:

  341. Abby, June 25, 2017 at 7:28 am:

    Lots of great tips here.
    We are planning a full renovation using a kitchen designer who sells Wellborn. Our design calls for white wall / upper cabinets, and stained floor cabinets. Both maple. Wellborn has three grade / price levels. To save some money to use for other details, I’d like to use the least expensive grade (called “Select”) for the painted uppers, since the wood is painted over anyway, and there are no pullout shelves or other upgrades, and use the mid-grade (“Premier” level) for the bases. Same basic design on the doors – recessed panel, full overlay. My biggest concern is the durability of the finish on the painted uppers, and cabinet strenngth. I’ve seen a few poor reviews on the internet, but who knows if they’re real? Should I be concerned? Are there other concerns you can point out about this approach? The designer is not taking any position – he is willing to go with whatever our decision is. Thank you!

  342. pmcalary, June 25, 2017 at 9:51 am:

    Hi Abby,

    I think that spending extra money to be in a more expensive cabinet line but getting their lower quality product is a bad approach. If you want to spend less be in a less expensive line that will give you a great product that is constructed like the upgraded Wellborn but has fewer finishes, and types of wood etc. I love Wellborn but I would get a line like Fabuwood if i wanted to spend significantly less and not get particle board construction with cheep tracks and hinges.

    The cabinets are the bones of your kitchen so I’d get them well made first. Splurging to be in a more expensive cabinet line but getting their inferior product is a bad idea. An even worse decision is to then splurge on expensive appliances, high price level granites, Quartz, or other expensive stone countertops, and other upgrades that have nothing to do with durability.

    Of course the best money that gets spent on a kitchen is to redesign it to get the best layout with the most functional and attractive design. Unfortunately 90% of the designs we see are amateurish and poorly designed. But getting a well made cabinet is the second most important decision.

    The fact that your designer has no opinion on this tell me that they wouldn’t get a job here. Here is a video on this concept:

  343. Abby, June 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm:

    That makes complete sense. Thank you. We’re gutting a tired but high end kitchen (early 70’s Rutt, inset doors and drawers)that already has a fantastic floor plan – I’ve been in it for 30+ years and still marvel at how well it works. I completely agree that floor plan and cabinets are the key, but the counters and appliances need to take a beating too! The salesman thinks the Wellborn lower-end cabinets are still a very good product, but he did originally suggest going with all mid-level, which is what we are now going to do. I especially can’t wait to get rid of the 4″ glazed tile counters with all that horrid grout to clean!

  344. pmcalary, June 26, 2017 at 4:23 pm:

    Hi Abby,
    Nearly all of our customers think their layout is great until they see a better one. Your salesperson is not after my heart and if you aren’t calling him a designer he probably doesn’t deserve the title. I can only pound the design drum so hard but if you are brave you are invited to send us your floor plan and I will critique it.

  345. Mary Anne, July 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm:

    This is a great site! It’s been very helpful. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts regarding the quality of the products at They have ready to assemble and pre-assumbled cabinets. Not a huge variety but nice looking products.

  346. pmcalary, July 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm:

    Hi Mary Anne,
    I have not seen them first hand but they are a lower end Asian Produced line. I would think lines like Fabuwood, Solid Wood Cabinets, Wolf, and 6 Square would be slightly more expensive but better looking and with better quality control. That is just a guess though. You could look up reviews on line but they aren’t that reliable which is why we rated cabinetry ourselves.

  347. Susan, July 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm:

    I’d appreciate your opinion among:
    Woodland/Artizen-frameless (with MDF center panel to resist shrinking on painted cabinets).

    (Lower drawers, and upper cabinets.) Blumotion hardware.
    Framed I would lose width in the drawers, frameless not lose space.
    I expect to be in this kitchen for at least 20 years.
    Are interiors of cabinets made of melamine or all wood?
    Wonderful blog! I have been perseverating over this for too long. Thanks in advance!

  348. pmcalary, July 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm:

    Hi Susan most of your questions are answered on our website. Too many here to address.

  349. Susan, July 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm:

    Thanks. I guess I’m wondering your opinion of Siteline and Woodland.
    Have you covered those?

  350. Tom Simpson, July 16, 2017 at 2:08 am:

    Are you familiar with Dewils cabinets? They are sold by and seem to be popular with our Alaska dealers.

  351. pmcalary, July 16, 2017 at 8:52 am:

    I don’t know the line but from their web site they look well made

  352. Ro, July 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm:

    Hi! Great blog…so helpful.

    Costco offers cabinets (currently at 30% off) from Euro RTA/AllwoodFast. I read through all the comments and don’t think I saw any comments.

    Also, was at Lowes and they priced out Diamond and Shendoah (came to about the same price w/plywood box). Does this sound about right? Based on your comments, I think I’ll have them price out Kraftmaid. They currently have a 20% off sale.

    I have been to 2 Lowes at different times and felt that the reps push Diamond a bit more than the others. Coincidence, or is there a $$ benefit for them to sell this vs. other brands?

    May I send you the plan for a quick review?

    So awesome that you take time to give your expert opinion!

  353. pmcalary, July 21, 2017 at 7:54 am:

    Hi Ro,
    Stay away from Costco for cabinets that will just be trouble in the long run if not immediately.

    Upgraded Diamond, Shendoah, and Kraftmaid and the most expensive Schuler are all good choices at Lowes. Kraftmaid is the best cabinet for the money but will be about 20% more than Shendendoah. I think the kitchen designers at Lowes might push Diamond because they are less knowledgeable and the Diamond manufacturer reps tend to be more hands on helping the store designers. Kraftmaid spreads their reps very thin so that they have little time to help store designers and their product is more complicated so it’s harder to sell without making mistakes.

    Home centers can be a problematic place to buy cabinetry. Contrary to what many customers think both The Home Depot and Lowes do sell several quality cabinet lines. The pricing is usually either the same or at most 5% or 10% less than independent dealers. However their designers are poorly trained and often pulled in too many directions to give designs the attention to detail that they need. The result can be disastrous. Often the great pricing a customer thinks that they are getting at a home center is because all the plywood sides, flush ends, end panels and even moldings that they need for their job haven’t been included in the home center price because of designer errors.

    Of course, some home center designers are great though. Finding that diamond in the rough is the hard part. And to be quite frank most kitchen designers aren’t very good so you can find incompetence almost anywhere. You are just more likely to get it at a home center than an independent dealer.
    Certainly home center designers will almost always be better than a design done by an architect, contractor, or a home owner without professional kitchen design help. But when you are spending 20 to 100K that is small comfort.

    You are embarking on the most expensive home improvement possibly in your lifetime so spend the time to find a professional that knows what they are doing and won’t rubber stamp all your bad ideas. Your home will be far more valuable designed well that amateurishly.

  354. Gail m, July 23, 2017 at 8:38 am:

    Thank you for this blog!
    My head is spinning trying to make a decision on cabinets and cannot really compare between lines. I have 4 quotes waypoint 17k , homecrest 20.5 or 22k depending on the dooor, showplace 26 k and crystal 32k.
    I wanted a painted white cabinet and waypoint is too limited in color so it is out.
    I know from reading the blog that you are not a fan of home crest and I understand why. I have checked the quote and the homecrest is fully upgraded with 1/2 in plywood and all upgraded drawers and closers.
    The difference between the homecrest and crystal will be at least 10 k, any thoughts I would love your opinion.

  355. pmcalary, July 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm:

    I never disparaged Homecrest. I did say that Masterbrands as a company had many bad lines in the past. I should have singled out Homecrest as well as Decora as a better made Masterbrand cabinet line. Today many of the Masterbrand cabinet lines can be upgraded to acceptable construction. Possibly blogs like this one from 2015 helped push them in that direction.

  356. Elaine Pratta, July 31, 2017 at 11:21 pm:

    What do you think of the Plato Custom Brand or Prelude Kitchen Cabinets?

  357. Trudy, August 1, 2017 at 2:33 am:

    Do you know anything about Kemp Cabinets, LLC? They are made in Montgomery, IN.They are sold in IN, OH, IL, MO, & KY.
    I believe they are a custom cabinet. They are made in the heart of the Amish country, but they aren’t known as an “Amish Company.”
    We bought them in ’09, thinking we were in our forever home. Now my husband wants to downsize.
    There is not much info on their website, but it is
    I loved them when we bought them, & still do. I would like to have them again, my husband is thinking something else because I guess the builder typically buys their cabinets somewhere else. We went & looked & they had Shiloh, Medallion, Aspect, & Kitchen Jewels. Those are the ones I can remember. I didn’t think any looked as nice as our Kemp Cabinets.
    Thank you.

  358. pmcalary, August 1, 2017 at 6:58 am:

    Kemp is a tiny line and their web site looks like it hasn’t been updated in 10 years. That worries me.

  359. pmcalary, August 1, 2017 at 7:06 am:

    Plato has a good name in cutom cabinets but their website gives no valuable information on how they are built so we can’t review them. Diamond Prelude from Lowes is not one of my favorite lines but the continue to get better. I would buy Kraftmaid if I was at Lowes.

  360. Carol Tatarka, August 9, 2017 at 9:32 pm:

    Have you heard of Forevermark cabinets? Our designer and contractor really like them. They appear to be RTA but they will assemble. They are all plywood but the back looks like the it might be a picture frame instead of solid plywood.

  361. pmcalary, August 9, 2017 at 10:42 pm:

    If you are selling a home Forevermark might be a good choice. But if you are staying for a while a higher level inexpensive cabinet makes more sense.

  362. Claudia, August 12, 2017 at 10:26 am:

    Hello, we are building a new modern and baths cabinetry. We want a modern European style kitchen,glossy white sleek look. So far I’ve been working with a cabinetry guy that carries CUISINE IDEAL made in Canada. Problem is he would install all maple inside being a better quality but I don’t like the look in a modern all white kitchen ..the metal drawers or white melamine seems poor. I could go with all white cabinets inside and choose a better drawer maybe in maple. Price is high for what I seems to get. My budget is in the 20/30k. I found the same door (gloss hpl finish) with ECLIPSE by Shiloh
    what are your thoughts ?

  363. pmcalary, August 12, 2017 at 10:10 pm:

    Shiloh is not a great cabinet or a good value. But it’s hard to comment when modern cabinetry is not a style we sell a lot of and frameless cabinets are not a construction type we respect. The best you can get with frameless cabinetry is 3/4″ plywood sides or a 3/4″ side with a plywood core. Once you have that that’s as good as it gets in European construction.

  364. Craig, August 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm:

    Terrific blog. Have learned a lot from reading all your comments.

    We are in the final stages of picking our cabinets from an independent dealer. The KD we are working with says she uses Kitchenmaid and Wellborn almost interchangeably. She gives a slight edge to KM stating they are more flexible in their sizing and options. Otherwise she says the two companies are equal in quality, cost and delivery times. She states that the KM Vantage is very different in quality from the top-of-the line KM sold in the big box stores. Is that true and what would your choice be between KM Vantage and Wellborn and why?

  365. Craig, August 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm:

    Sorry. Kraftmaid, not KitchenMaid!

  366. Steve J, August 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm:

    We are considering Crystal and Omega Dynasty cabinets. Initially we’ve only been looking at frameless, but are considering framed based on some of the suggestions above. It seems Crystal has Crystal custom and Crystal Current semi-custom. Do you have any experience with Crystal’s Current semi-custom line? Crystal Current seems to come in a framed plywood and particle option, or frameless particle. Do you think the benefits of plywood with framed outweigh the particle with frameless, if we really like the frameless functionality? Any other feedback on Crystal Current semi-custom or Omega Dynasty would be much appreciated.

  367. pmcalary, August 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm:

    I would always recommend any well made framed line over any frameless line. Custom or semi custom has little importance in quality as long as the cabinetry meets our construction minimums for framed cabinetry.

  368. pmcalary, August 31, 2017 at 9:04 am:

    Two good lines. Regular Kraftmaid at home centers can be upgraded to equal the Kraftmaid Vantage line. However since the Kraftmaid Vantage line only comes upgraded it is probably a better value at most independent Kraftmaid showrooms.

  369. Katie, September 4, 2017 at 7:43 am:

    Thanks so much for your super helpful blog. Based on your blog reviews we are looking at both Woodmode and Wellsford. We aren’t in your service area. Which should we choose and why? How do they both compare to Adelphi Cabinetry? Should we only consider framed Cabinetry if we plan to be in the kitchen for 30 years? Thanks!

  370. pmcalary, September 4, 2017 at 8:07 am:

    I would only consider framed cabinetry unless the very modern door style you like doesn’t come in anything but Frameless European construction. Upgraded, both Woodmode and Wellsford are great cabinets. Woodmode might have nicer finishes but Wellsford is a more responsible consumer friendly company. Adelphi is a small Pennsylvania cabinet maker. I’m guessing from their web site that when they say they use a 1/4″ back that this is because they expect the carpenters hanging the cabinets to add a hangingrail. This is popular with some other cabinet makers we know and have used in PA and is a fine method of construction. However, We don’t know enough about Adelphi to give them a thumbs up or down.

  371. Katie, September 5, 2017 at 1:42 am:

    Thank you! That’s really helpful. Which upgrades would I need to request for either woodmode or Wellsford? How are the finishes nicer with woodmode?

  372. Mary, September 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm:

    I thought I was set on Kraftmaid for white painted shaker cabinets but went to a local dealer today who offers Countryside Cabinets out of De Pere, WI. The only advantage I see is the company offering Countryside has their own installers vs the independent contractors used by Home Depot. So, it basically comes down to quality and finish and I can’t find many reviews on Countryside. Your thoughts?

  373. pmcalary, September 19, 2017 at 7:39 am:

    Don’t know the line sorry

  374. Jeanne Nisbet, September 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm:

    How do you feel about Kemper cabinets vs. Kraftmaid? Are Schrock and Kemper pretty much the same cabinet? i got a quote on kemper cabinets for 9k then changed the door to full overlay and the price increased to 12K. Another dealer was going to price Schrock but when i asked about Dynasty, she priced those at 17K and told me the Schrock would be even more?? I thought Dynasty was a higher priced brand. I have a small kitchen, would like maple cabinets, plywood, 3/4 inch with full overlay style doors in white shaker like the rest of mankind. i wanted to pay 10K. Can you suggest a good semi custom brand that will give me what i want?

  375. MB, September 20, 2017 at 11:07 pm:

    Hi there, any experience with Deerfield or We’ve been directed to Waypoint by our kitchen designer but you’ve mentioned they are a lower end manufacturer?

  376. pmcalary, September 21, 2017 at 7:44 am:

    I don’t know Deerfield but we give Waypoint OK reviews in our 2017 ratings below:

  377. pmcalary, September 21, 2017 at 8:05 am:

    Kraftmaid is better than Kemper. We would not recommend Frameless cabinets. Any of the high ranking cabinets that are level 1 and 2 pricepoints on our 2017 review would be a goo fit for you. Maple will probably not be available in a level 1 cabinet.

  378. MJL, September 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm:

    I wanted to thank you for your insight into what has been an otherwise very opaque process. The cabinets for our large kitchen design came in at $42k w/ Medallion’s Silver line painted full overlay. We really like the look of their Deluxe End panels not available in Gold line. Unfortunately, the budget dictates the decision process and we were wondering if you could recommend a brand that might get us closer to $30k or less without a huge sacrifice in quality and still get that “Deluxe End” look

  379. pmcalary, September 21, 2017 at 9:49 pm:

    I’m not sure what the Deluxe end is in Medallion. Is it an integrated end panel built into the side of the cabinet instead of a door applied to the end of the exposed cabinets? If so, while this look is beautiful it doesn’t really go with a full overlay door and looks more appropriate on inset cabinetry.
    Unfortunately often when people ask very detailed questions like these and we get to see the designs of their kitchen they are not very good. And so there were far more important issues to consider. And in painted solid color cabinetry none of our customers can tell the difference between the expensive cabinets and the less expensive lines that we sell. Everyone can see the difference with stained finishes but if you can’t tell the difference on a solid paint color why spend 42K. You can use our 2017 ratings list to help find less expensive lines.

  380. RoRoRo, September 29, 2017 at 11:54 am:

    Hello! Thank you for all you do! In the pricing stage and comparing some of the brands you mention. Looking for White shaker cabinets – just not a wood girl. What do you think of who sell the Forevermark Ice white shaker? I didn’t see them in the rankings.
    Who would them most similar to in your ranks?
    Also, in terms of range of pricing: they are the least expensive, cliqstudios $1000 more, Costco/Home depot $2000 more and Lowes $2500 more. All priced at what I believe are equivalent lines. My husband who is a contractor will do the install so I’m sure that will be well done. We don’t plan to say in this small condo ( 11 cabinets: 6 wall, 4 base and 1 pantry). THANK YOU!!!

  381. RoRoRo, September 29, 2017 at 11:55 am:

    *** Edit: We don’t plan to stay in this small coop for more than 3-4 years. Thanks.

  382. pmcalary, September 29, 2017 at 12:51 pm:

    Forevermark is really the bottom of the OK constructed Asian/US lines I would spend a little more and get a slightly better cabinet. 15% more should get you a real designer too. Home Depot now sells an Asian/US line that looks OK.

  383. JN, October 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm:

    Very Helpful blog! I received quotes on cabinet lines that are Rated as 5 on your list – specifically Mouser Centra and Omega Dynasty. Also rec’vd quote for Holiday, not listed. (Actually the Centra line is not listed separately – would it be considered a lower price line, 4 or 3?) The Dynasty quote was full overlay but now leaning toward inset, there was no inset upcharge with Mouser. However, I think I need to come down a price level to bring the project within my budget and keep the inset. Are you familiar with other cabinet lines that offer inset with no upcharge besides Showplace and Shilo? You’ve recommended against Shiloh for inset so I’ve ruled that line out. Would you give the same advice for Showplace? Are there any within the Level 4 pricing with no inset upcharge that you recommend or do you suggest sticking with level 5/6 for inset? FYI – White painted Shaker cabinets approx 36 ln ft of cabinet run including appliances plus a narrow 8ft island.

  384. pmcalary, October 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm:

    Sorry Too many questions to type answers to. You could call on a Friday and talk on the phone for a few minutes

  385. Bill, December 2, 2017 at 8:19 am:

    Misleading when saying plywood box is superior. Depends on type of plywood and thickness. Some cabinet manufacturers use furniture board with a perafin wax as the resin. Much better than standard plywood as shown in tests. Only plywood that is superior is marine grade plywood. Which is too expensive for most manufacturers. Please quit misleading homeowners.

  386. pmcalary, December 2, 2017 at 9:23 am:

    We say that 1/2″ plywood is needed for the sides of a framed cabinet. And I completely disagree with you. You are talking only about the strength of a particular type of furniture board and not how it functions on a framed cabinet with it’s added weight. The manufactures that use this type of furniture board are almost always on frameless cabinetry. And in the less durable frameless lines it does have it’s advantages, especially on foil and laminate styles. But not on framed cabinetry. I suspect you have some vested interest in this particular issue.

  387. Vicki, January 5, 2018 at 1:43 am:

    I had Brookhaven cabinets installed in my kitchen about 7 years ago. Some are stained cherry and some are painted.By 5 years, the finish on both painted and stained cabinets started to get shiny around the handles. They look greasy but I keep them clean. Their website says this is to be expected, and that wiping around the hardware causes it,but I certainly didn’t expect it and hate that my cabinets always look dirty. Do you have recommendations for cabinets that don’t do this? I am looking at Kraftmaid and Starmark but don’t know if I would end up with the same problem.

  388. pmcalary, January 5, 2018 at 8:33 am:

    Hi Vicki,
    Your problem is unusual but not unique. Unfortunately, this can happen with every cabinet manufacturer if the cabinet finish is a paint or a stain. There are only a couple of solutions. Since the acid on peoples fingertips combined with extra cleaning of that small area is what causes the problem selecting a knob or pull that keeps your fingers away from the finish is a good start. Test how you will use the hardware you are selecting to see if it will bring your fingers into contact with the cabinets finish. Also when cleaning clean the entire door or drawer front evenly spending no extra time on one area than another.

    The only cabinetry finish that this will not happen to are laminate, or acrylic finishes on very modern frameless cabinetry or foils that can be on either modern or traditional framed cabinets. The foils look cheap to me when they are used on more traditional styles. Plastic just looks more appropriate on contemporary style kitchens.

  389. Marc, January 5, 2018 at 9:46 pm:

    I am choosing between Bertch and Starmark. What are your thoughts on quality of the cabinets, customer service, costs, best value.

  390. pmcalary, January 5, 2018 at 10:05 pm:

    Both are good cabinet choices. Finding a good designer is much harder than finding a good cabinet line. Is it the same designer for both lines? If not the better designer is the choice. If it is the same designer and you believe they are good then listen to their advice.

  391. Marc, January 6, 2018 at 10:48 am:

    Different designers/companies. I like the design better with the bertch dealer and they seem to be adding a little more. However, their cabinets are overlay vs inset with the starmark designer. Starmark is more expensive with the inset cabinets. Your thoughts?

  392. Naveeda Khan, February 11, 2018 at 1:04 pm:

    Hi folks this is a terrific source. I am interested in contemporary under the counter kitchen cabinets with channels by which to open them (so no visible hardware). I am looking for brands available in and around baltimore, excellent quality but not bank breaking prices (like poggenpohl). i am looking for either high gloss or matter white. what would you recommend? i had found elmwood by cabico as a possibility (haven’t yet confirmed a local deal…perhaps SD Kitchens). Am also interested in a floor to ceiling thin pantry cabinet to be made of natural walnut, rift cut or quarter sawn wood. am i am likely to have any luck with semi-custom cabinetry here (elmwood or others) or should i pursue a custom cabinet maker? any thoughts much appreciated.

  393. pmcalary, February 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm:

    If you wanted to get the white and the wood cabinets from the same manufacturer that will almost certainly put you in custom cabinets. Walnut is always custom and quartersawn oak and the contemporary style white door aren’t normally done together. And so quartersawn oak is seldomly available in frameless semi-custom cabinetry. Even the no visible hardware is unusual enough to put you in a very limited number of brands that aren’t custom. If you want very specific unusual styles expect to pay more.

  394. Laurine Mccaffery, February 12, 2018 at 8:08 pm:

    I have a very good contractor, but he uses CNC cabinets. I’m a little leery. How does that compare with Decora or Medalliion?

  395. pmcalary, February 12, 2018 at 9:29 pm:

    Hi Laurine,
    We sell CNC cabinets and don’t sell either Decora or Medallion but I am very familiar with all three lines. CNC is much less expensive than the other two lines and for good reason. While upgraded all three lines are well constructed and durable, the quality of the finish and craftsmanship between CNC and the other two lines is very different.

    If you are flipping a home or it is a rental property you would be silly to spend the extra 50% or 60% on the expensive lines. If it is your own home and you plan on being there a long time you should be in at least a little more expensive line than CNC. Helping you make the choice is what good kitchen designers are supposed to do.

    Getting the best design is the most important thing and a contractor that only uses CNC will never understand and value good design. So while you think he is good, I would probably never recommend a contractor that always uses a very inexpensive line.

  396. Alex, February 21, 2018 at 3:32 pm:

    I think of new kitchen cabinets and have 4 questions.
    1) Between Home Depot Thomasville (Quality B-) and Waypoint (Quality B) first is more expensive. Does it mean that quality of both is more or less the same?
    2) Both brands seem do not have CARB certification. Is it important?
    3) Veneer door versus solid door – which one is more durable, or it is all about look?
    4) Is it worth to pay more for all plywood construction?
    Thank you

  397. pmcalary, February 21, 2018 at 3:43 pm:

    1 Thomasville is not worth the money.
    2 and 4 If you are sensitive to chemicals like new carpet or paint it can be important otherwise it’s not very important especially if you spend the money to get all plywood construction. which IS worth it. Plywood off gases less than particleboard.
    3 Same durability all about the look and feel.

  398. Audrey, March 7, 2018 at 5:33 pm:

    Hi, Would like to know how the following cabinets compare in quality/price: Kingswood Kitchens, KraftMaid Vantage, Eclipse (Shiloh), Omega, and Executive Cabinetry. Will have cherry wood with glaze. I think Eclipse (Shiloh) is frameless and others are not. We want all wood cabinets/frames. Probably transitional or traditional doors. Thanks in advance

  399. pmcalary, March 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm:

    Use our cabinet rating list below and out recommended dealer list to find a reputable designer and dealer near you. You need a local designer to help you navigate cabinetry decisions Links below:

  400. Audrey, March 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm:

    Hi, do you know anything about Kingswood Kitchens? They are a local cabinet company (North East) and not on your list. I am wondering about the quality of their cabinets.

  401. Janet, March 12, 2018 at 10:23 am:

    Hello- so much great information here. Just decided to do a kitchen re-model. On a somewhat moderate budget. Have plans done, and awaiting estimates using the following cabinet companies: Allwood (merged with IDEAL), Wolf Classic, and Kraftmaid….planning a white shaker door style. We aren’t changing our foot print much at all, so the design is pretty much done. Wondered if you have any opinions on these three cabinet companies.

  402. pmcalary, March 12, 2018 at 6:10 pm:

    Ideal and Wolf will be 40% less than Kraftmaid and a good buy. Don’t expect the same level of quality control from the lowest price point cabinetry but both the inexpensive lines are well made. The best money you spend is on changing the foot print of a kitchen so I’d encourage you to find a good designer that can show you how your design can be improved. 90% of the customers we meet believe they know the layout they want and 90% of those same customers end up getting different designs once a good designer shows them what we can do with the space.

  403. Janet, March 14, 2018 at 2:31 pm:

    Thank you so much for your response….and I can now say, BOY ARE YOU RIGHT….I had a meeting yesterday, at our home, with a kitchen designer, doing this for 20+ years….she offered some suggestions that I hadn’t thought of…..but I am still waffling amongst all the various cabinet lines…seeing one other kitchen designer tomorrow night, who will of course have other lines from which to choose…so now the list might include: St. Martin, Waypoint, 21st Century, in addition to the Kraftamid, Wolf (classic), and waiting the ALLWOOD proposal from Costco. I really want to work with the designer and hope her proposal comes back in our price range…she is the one with 21 century, kraftmaid and Shiloh….ugh too many choices! Thanks so much for this BLOG, amazing!

  404. pmcalary, March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm:

    Hi Janet,
    So glad you had a good experience with the kitchen designer. Not all kitchen designers are good but any professional exclusively devoted to kitchen design and selling cabinetry full time for a long time will pretty much have to better than any consumer, architect, contractor, or other pseudo kitchen design professional. The best kitchen designers will always work for a cabinet dealer, and usually not a home center since both Lowes and Home Depot stopped paying kitchen designers well about 6 years ago. Good designers will all have one thing in common. They will want to show you designs they prefer first and rubber stamp the ideas you had second. Giving people what they think they want before you have shown them what is possible is the lazy path that great kitchen designers will never take. If we are not surprising you with better designs to consider we simply can’t be good at our jobs.

  405. Janet, March 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm:

    Thanks Paul…but how to sift through all the reviews and the various cabinet lines…..I’ll probably have proposals using at least 4-5 different lines…..UGH…..
    Any thoughts on the ones I listed?
    Tks again for your time…..

  406. Els, March 16, 2018 at 8:07 am:

    We are trying to compare Shiloh versus Cabico. We see you rate both a 4, but Shiloh a C and Cabico a B. We have quotes that place the Cabico at more than $10,000 MORE than Shiloh. Is Cabico really worth it?

  407. pmcalary, March 16, 2018 at 9:12 am:

    Why pick one of the lines we rate lower than others? I am always confused when people that read our blog and ask advice start with not taking the advice we give. This happens 5 times a day. There are better choices on our list – I wouldn’t pick either line. List below:

  408. Tess, March 17, 2018 at 8:00 am:

    Well it has taken me a couple of days to read through this whole blog but it was time well spent! While I am not a kitchen designer I couldn’t agree more that a good design is most important, find someone good to work with first they will lead you to your best choice.
    And if I could add, it’s just as important to light it properly too – just like Architects aren’t kitchen designers, electricians aren’t lighting designers.
    Thank you and keep the info coming!

  409. pmcalary, March 17, 2018 at 10:49 am:

    Well said and thank you! That philosophy is true all the way through a a complex kitchen renovation. Consult lighting, flooring and tile people, countertop specialists, appliance specialists, and general contractors on each aspect of your project. Let your kitchen designer steer you to good selections for all those experts and if you have chose wisely for a kitchen designer 3/4 of your work finding the other experts will be done fore you.

    I always marvel that many customers will take my advice on their cabinetry and with their design but then think that they will do better finding their own contractors and other professionals to work with. We work with about 100 different contractors every year and know all the flooring, countertop, lighting, and appliance places in our area. How could a customer find better people to work with on their own? Unless of course they are picking a family member or your good friend and even then that could lead to the worst situation of all.

    This is the theme of out most recent blog about two families. The Smarts and the Knowbettas. They may not all be related but we run into a heck of a lot of Knowbettas. The smartest people I have met are always quick to say “I don’t know” when they aren’t sure. And look for advice from professionals. It is why we send our customers to great contractors, appliance, countertop people amd other professionals. We can’t know everything about every part of a kitchen renovation. So we let the experts in their fields help our customers who get discounts from each professional because they were referred by us. This not only assures our customers are getting help from the most knowledgeable people we have found and gets them trade discounts, but the power of the referrals makes sure of it.

  410. Sarah Campbell, March 20, 2018 at 11:42 pm:

    Your blog has been so helpful.
    Are you familiar with Kountry Wood, Kabinart or Haas? We are redoing our kitchen because the cabinets we originally bought are pealing and falling apart. The store we bought them through has discontinued them because of lack of quality and giving us a credit to get new ones. Which would you recommend?
    I’m worried these aren’t much better.
    thank you for your help!

  411. pmcalary, March 21, 2018 at 8:32 am:

    Hi Sarah,
    Not a fan of any of these lines they would all score low in our 2017. Link below:

    If you could pay a little extra to get a better line I would. If you have to choose here I would choose Haas and make sure that all the exposed cabinet sides are Flushed Finished Plywood Ends. Also pay to upgrade to soft close drawers.

  412. msfauss, March 23, 2018 at 7:59 am:

    I posted an earlier question and I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I have another one…we are considering Shiloh (based on a push from a KD – although questioning it based on earlier comment), Mouser Centra and local Amish “custom”. My question is what is your opinion of Amish that uses a “catalized” finish that is baked. We are looking at their painted cabinets with MDF center panel only and 3/4″ wood box construction. It almost sounds like they are using a preconstructed door. I am trying to get more information on their finish process but my research has brought up pre-catalized and post catalized finishes. (1)-Thoughts or opinion on this type of Amish or finish? It is priced out to the Mouser Centra but I question their design as they only build the cabinets. (2) – Should I hire a KD and where would I find one? I know Shiloh is less but that KD is asking me for a $350 fee before releasing any info. Thank you!!

  413. pmcalary, March 23, 2018 at 9:42 am:

    I am running out of gas beating the drum on the importance in finding a good kitchen designer from a reputable dealership to work with. We recommend dealers and designers around the country link below:

    If only the over one thousand people a day that use our web site to research cabinet lines and cabinet construction would spend their time researching finding the best kitchen designer from the best cabinet dealership they would be spending their time wisely instead of focusing on the thing that should come second. Good kitchen designers from good cabinet dealers will automatically carry good brands across all price points.

    Because homeowners aren’t kitchen designers themselves many don’t understand the dramatic difference between working with a very good kitchen designer or a bad one or worst of all an architect or interior designer. It takes at least a decade of exclusively designing kitchens at a good dealership to become just competent at kitchen design and to be able to advise your clients on design, style, and cabinet line trade offs.

    As a kitchen designer it is frustrating when customers focus on the only thing many can grasp. Brands and colors. They must have Wolf and Subzero appliances, custom cabinetry and a particular off white finish. However they do zero research finding a good kitchen design professional to work with as “they know what they want”. Our funny video below makes light of this issue but it is what drives all good kitchen designers crazy. Video below:

  414. BeachLoverInNM, April 4, 2018 at 4:50 pm:

    I live in a smallish community with two main cabinet stores that have good reputations. I am looking to simply replace cabinets and countertops, no big changes to layout, etc. Owner/designer at first store doesn’t seem interested in my business but has the most experience. Designer (not owner) at the other shop is not as experienced but trying very hard. Designer 1 is recommending BJ Tidwell cabinets as mid-range option and Designer 2 recommends Sollid Cabinetry as mid-range. I am leaning toward Designer 2 and Sollid because of her customer service and because Sollid looks to be a better line (judging from web sites). What do you think? Thanks in advance for your time!!

  415. pmcalary, April 4, 2018 at 5:28 pm:

    I suspect you are getting a bad vibe from the more experienced design firm because you are telling them what you need and not letting them give you advice. It costs next to nothing to change the layout of a kitchen and customers that insist on simply replacing what they have not only short change themselves they are difficult to work with. Here is a funny video on this concept:

  416. BeachLoverInNM, April 5, 2018 at 11:21 am:

    Perhaps. The first firm wanted to do a bunch of demo work that we don’t want done. We may not stay in this house and don’t want to do more than update the kitchen and the budget is already stretched. Simply replacing cabinets in a kitchen I am happy with made sense to me. I actually think I am very easy to work with and very patient with both of them. The first designer took a month to get back to me initially and hasn’t called since our last meeting another month ago. Thanks for your input.

  417. pmcalary, April 6, 2018 at 9:51 am:

    Replacing cabinets as they are may make sense to you but it may have far less value when you go to sell your home.

    That’s what kitchen designers do. We help customers make smart decisions. And it is often smarter to do nothing at all than to redo a bad design.

    Since homeowners are used to what they have they often don’t understand that when they sell their home even though they like the updated kitchen the new homeowners will just rip out the work that they just did because it’s a kitchen that is not very desirable.

    Not listening to professional advice if it is given in your best interest is what makes customers less desirable. And we never call back customers since after meeting with us the ball is in their court so to speak. Either they get that we have their best interest in mind or they want what they want independent of our advice. And so they will find less professional people that will simply sell them what they ask for even it is a poor investment.

    It is easy to find people who will just sell you what you tell them you want. It is much harder to find people that have your best interest at heart and will disagree with you to help you spend your money wisely. Kitchens are more complex that almost everyone except good kitchens designers realize. And what is a good investment is usually not obvious to non professionals.

  418. Mdw24, April 11, 2018 at 11:45 pm:

    Hi, I’m about to undertake a major renovation and have been working with a contractor who is also a certified kitchen designer and has experience renovating apartments like mine for 20 years. But he seems to only carry Luxor brand cabinets. Do you have experience with this brand? I prefer the slab door look, but am concerned the quality I am getting will not last. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  419. pmcalary, April 13, 2018 at 7:29 am:

    Slab doors are often used for frameless cabinetry like Luxor. I don’t know Luxor well. It is an inexpensive Canadian frameless line. I have never heard of a contractor CKD and would be very surprised id he wasn’t certified to install kitchens and not to design them. I would Google your contractor and make sure he gets good reviews and has no complaints with the BBB.

  420. Joe, April 18, 2018 at 6:29 pm:

    Thanks for all the information you provide as it has been very helpful. We have visited several kitchen cabinets stores and have been dealing with a designer at each. We prefer frameless for the extra storage. One of the designers uses Design-Craft and says the boxes are 5/8″ plywood. I read on your site that the sides should be 3/4″ although you rated (in 2015) the Design- Craft fairy well. Can Design-Craft be upgraded to 3/4 or was you rating based on the 5’5″ size? The other designer uses Showcase and DuraSupreme. What are your opinions on those companies? We had told both designers we are moving within 3-5 years so we wanted have minimum design changes to what we have now. One designer crated a design with what we told him the other totally disregarded it and created something different. I was originally thinking hey the 2nd guy didn’t even listen to me but reading your articles in sounds like you think that is a sign of a better designer?

  421. pmcalary, April 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm:

    Since most existing designs are poor, and most customers not knowing any better want to keep things as they are, designers that just give people what they want are taking the easy road and their customers will always get worse designs. You aren’t going to buy a kitchen you don’t want. But you certainly can’t buy a possibly better kitchen design that you never saw.

    For this reason the better designers don’t start with designs directed by the least experienced person designing, namely you. They start with what a knowledgeable professional would recommend as the best investment for your home for your budget. Then you both begin making compromises from there. They risk loosing you as a customer but you will get a better kitchen in the end.

    Sorry I don’t know DesignCraft well but if we rated them OK I would assume we checked and found them OK 5/8″ plywood is better than 3/4″ MDF. The additional storage you will get with frameless is also a minute overall percentage and a good design should get you a far better use of space than the difference between framed and frameless lines.

  422. Cheryl, April 24, 2018 at 7:14 pm:

    I was looking to buy upgraded Kemper but see you gave them a C for value. What comparable mid level cabinetry would you suggest? Or should I go to a higher priced brand like Bishop or Kraftmaid? My kitchen is a small galley and going with white Shaker

  423. pmcalary, April 24, 2018 at 8:38 pm:

    Low end US made cabinetry is no longer a good buy. It is better to upgrade to higher end US made cabinetry or to spend less on US brands with the doors and fronts made and finished in Asia. Either way you will get a better constructed cabinet, usually a better finish, and certainly a better value.

    With a white shaker cabinet this is especially true. I would even say that to get a better cabinet and a good value in a white painted shaker cabinet you need to upgrade to a custom US cabinet. The mid to high range US made cabinets don’t even reach the nice finishes on some of the less expensive lines like Fabuwood. So a Fabuwood kitchen can look nicer than a Kraftmaid or Bishop kitchen for a solid white cabinet but not as nice as a Woodmode or a Brighton kitchen. Of course the customization you require might not be available in a less expensive line.

  424. Ali, May 8, 2018 at 11:53 pm:

    Have you ever heard of Plato? I do not see them in your list, but our KD is recommending them. They look good, but price seems very high. Wondering if we should seek an alternative

  425. Carol Groome, May 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm:

    Have you heard of cwpcabinets? Here is a link to their website. Can you tell me if they look like quality cabinets. Are the standard drawers good. Thanks very much.

  426. Vanesa, May 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm:

    Hi, Lowes asked me for 15K for s Schules kitchen (very basic design). Then was wasked 3K for a Forevermarc kitchen. Have read all the posts and no one has mentioned it? This last place also carries Wavepoint. Any ideas?

  427. Suzie, May 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm:

    Any opinions about Wavepoint or Forevermark? Thanks

  428. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm:

    Waypoint is better

  429. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:10 pm:

    Schuler is very expensive cabinetry. Waypoint is inexpensive but OK

  430. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm:

    They look good and the standard drawers are fine as long as the are soft close.

  431. D Ross, June 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm:

    We are doing a kitchen remodel. Our contractor referred me to his tile and cabinet source, and the choices are Raywal, Ideal Cabinetry and US Cabinet Depot (also Kabinetart, but I noted on your website that this line did not receive high marks.) . I do plan to do an all plywood kitchen in shaker white. Our budget is moderate; I do not require the most inexpensive line but also would like good value for the quality.
    I have tried searching these brands online but found very little information as to quality and durability. Your opinion is much appreciated.

  432. Dave, June 10, 2018 at 5:52 pm:


    Thanks for all the great information you’ve shared here.

    We’re doing a bathroom remodel now, kitchen later. For the bathroom, we’re considering KraftMaid with their Evercore doors, made by “super-compressing wood fibers mechanically,” with a painted finish. The idea is to avoid shrinking and swelling that occurs with regular wood doors.

    From what you know, would you recommend the Evercore doors?

  433. pmcalary, June 12, 2018 at 10:08 am:

    You don’t say where you are but there are inexpensive better choices. For example Fabuwood, J&K, or Clique Studios sold on line.

    As always customers worry most about cabinetry when the design itself is even more important and most designs we see from less expensive dealers are horrific.

  434. pmcalary, June 12, 2018 at 10:11 am:

    MDF doors will not shrink and expand like real wood doors. But if the get scratced or damaged they cannot be repaired and if they get wet they get ruined quickly. I would rather live with the expansion cracks and touch them up. Our family is hard on things.

  435. Frank, June 13, 2018 at 12:36 am:


    Took your advice and found a good kitchen designer instead of using Lowe’s. Received a quote for all plywood construction for Kraftmaid cabinets. However, the designer only sells Homecrest. Instead of all plywood, she was recommending flush plywood ends to save a little money to get a better countertop. It would have furniture board back and drawer hangers. Even if we went all plywood, I know you recommend 1/2 inch plywood back, but homecrest only offers 3/8 inch. Also the kraftmaid quote was for their momentum line. Any experience with that line? Any advice is appreciated!

  436. pmcalary, June 18, 2018 at 8:46 am:

    1/3 Plywood back is OK, and gets a B+ rating from us in construction. Kraftmaid also now only gets a B+ rating. Homecreast should be upgraded to all plywood construction unless you plan to move in a few years then upgrading only all the exposed ends would be OK. However usually to get Blum softclose doors and drawers it makes sense to get the whole upgraded package.

    Never buy cabinetry without full extension soft close drawers as this is the primary thing perspective home buyers use to evaluate cabinets and it is a valid tool. I looked up the Kraftmaid Momentum line. Sadly Kraftmaid appears to be continuing it’s decent into lesser made cabinetry. Stay away from this line it sacrafices durability for price.

    Upgraded Homecreast should price out at least 15% less than an upgraded Kraftmaid cabinet. The Kraftmaid Vantage line is the best bargain from what I understand but Ktraftmaid is on the move and where they are headed may be not such a good place.

  437. Ather, June 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm:

    I just purchased an Aristokraft kitchen with an island base from Fabuwood. Looks like Aristokraft does not have a good rating. What should I look for as time passes? Have their ratings improved at all? I purchased Purestyle laminate which I was told holds well.

  438. pmcalary, June 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm:

    Thermafoil will be easy to clean and will be durable as a finish over at least 15 years. Your problems are that Aristocraft is not the best constructed cabinetry. So do not overload your wall cabinets in particular.

    And Thrmafoil can discolor and begin to peel as the glue that holds the foil onto the particleboard door begins to break down. In the past they lasted about 15 years. However they claim to have improved the glue so who knows? As a finish Thermafoil is durable but consumers tend to view plastic cabinets as cheap. Aristocraft does make the nicest looking thermafoil though.

  439. Cathleen, July 13, 2018 at 10:50 am:

    Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions of overwhelmed novices! I have a small L shaped kitchen (12’x 9′) design from a designer (which is almost identical to what is currently in place). I want a quality cabinet, have chosen inset because I like the sturdy feel and look. I live near the ocean. Are there considerations for inset design I should be aware of? Is being near the water a detriment for this type of cabinet?

  440. pmcalary, July 13, 2018 at 11:11 am:

    Hi Cathleen,
    In the past inset cabinetry could be a problem at beach locations. Today though most manufacturers offer a 6 way adjustable inset hinge so swelling of doors due to moisture or shrinkage do to central air is now longer an issue and just requires some quick adjustments.

    Getting inset cabinet is only a good idea from custom cabinet companies since inset cabinetry requires a higher level of exactness in cabinet construction. Keeping a design as is would be very unusual when you were splurging on cabinets. There really has to be better designs possible that you should be considering before upgrading cabinetry to the most expensive cabinet lines.

  441. Alex, July 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm:

    We live in East Brunswick NJ and are planning to remodel our 45 years old kitchen. It’s currently a L-shaped, about 14X11. Sounds like I really need to get a good kitchen designer. Can you recommend a good kitchen designer in our area? Are you close enough to do it yourself? Thanks in advance for your advice!

  442. pmcalary, July 27, 2018 at 10:22 am:

    Hi Alex,
    Unfortunately you are farther away from us then it makes sense to work together. However you are too close to be in an area that we recommend other dealers as some will be competitors. Feel free to call us on any Friday between 2 and 4 pm when we give our time answering questions to people outside our service area. We can look on line and see if we can find a good dealer near you.

  443. Sandra, August 27, 2018 at 12:28 am:

    Do you know what cabinet companies carry a ceruse color? I can only find Omega as a cabinet line that carries this.
    Also when I looked up Fabuwood on Yelp they had really bad reviews so I’m not sure if you still recommend them or if they have let their standards slip?

  444. pmcalary, August 27, 2018 at 10:28 am:

    Many of the more expensive cabinet lines carry a Ceruse type finish. We carry Brighton which does but there are many.

    Homeowners reviewing cabinetry is always problematic. Often cabinet companies are blamed for designer and contractor mistakes and for a homeowner’s unrealistic expectations. Reviews are never done 10 years after cabinets are installed, and IKEA which professionals all consider a terrible cabinet line consistently gets the highest ratings from home owners. Here is our blog on this topic:

  445. Jamie, September 5, 2018 at 1:44 am:

    Hi, We have been in the planning stages of renovating our kitchen and entire downstairs area with an open floor plan in mind. It’s going to be quite costly. We had a kitchen and bath designer come in and they sell waypoint and diamond. We picked out a cabinet style we like from Waypoint. We wanted a contractor to come in and make sure that everything is done properly since we will be taking out walls, etc….he is recommending Wolf Classic Cabinetry and he says it will be a lot less money than the Waypoint. We really don’t know what to do. The Wolf Classic doesn’t have exactly what I want…similar that I could probably live with, but I’m worried about quality. Which one is better? This will be the last time we remodel a kitchen. We want it to be done right and what we want in it. Or maybe you suggest another brand of cabinetry that won’t break the bank. Any help is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.

  446. pmcalary, September 5, 2018 at 8:34 am:

    If the Wolf Classic and Waypoint are upgraded to the top construction of each there shouldn’t be more than 20% difference between both in price. They will both last as long (essentially forever just getting beat up as time goes by, but not falling apart) Waypoint will have some nicer finishes (Wolf does have some new nice ones now too) and I’d expect more customer service and shipping mishaps with the less expensive line but a good dealer will make those thing right. Waypoint probably has more ability to customize as well. You don’t say the door style and finish you are considering so I can’t recommend a different line.

  447. Aly, December 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm:

    Hi, I am working with a contractor who has suggest JSI Cabinetry. Can you please give me some honest feedback? I know they are very inexpensive and I do believe in the saying, you get what you pay for but my contractor say they are good cabinets. Please help

  448. pmcalary, December 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm:

    Hi Aly,
    We rate JSI on our most recent ratings blog:
    They are pretty well made and a pretty good value which their rating reflects. You could be getting a better price then we got in our sample and so they could be a better vale than we listed.

  449. Jean, December 22, 2018 at 10:24 am:

    Hello, I’m considering going with Jim Bishop cabinetry line, upgraded of course. I know they are KCMA/ANSI A161.1 certified but are they also KCMA/ ESP certified? The brochure only has the KCMA/ANSI seal. I would like to purchase cabinets that are KCMA/ESP certified as well. Doing a little bit of research, it seems to me you need the ESP seal to claim CARB compliant. Your input would be appreciated. Thanks!

  450. paul mcalary, December 22, 2018 at 10:49 am:

    Bishop is not sold in California so while I’m sure any US made all plywood box would be fine concerning off-gassing I doubt they bother getting certified. Consumers that focus on these certifications above all else are easy to sell to and most often the cabinet companies that tout their greenness and carb compliance are the worst and not the better cabinet lines.
    The kitchen industry is all about dangling shinny objects in front of consumers. Getting a good kitchen designer to help you navigate through all the cabinet, countertop, and appliance companies BS and to help you design a good kitchen is more important than anything else.
    Universal design is another shiny object that less able kitchen designers focus on. All well designed kitchens should conform to the principles of UD but the least knowledgeable designers hang their hat on this one aspect. Followed by an obsession with color. This is because there are such complex issues involved in good kitchen design and the job is so difficult that less knowledgeable designers use these one issue topics to appeal to one issue customers.

  451. Kay Weiss, January 16, 2019 at 5:51 pm:

    What is your opinion of Great Northern Cabinets out of Wisconsin?

  452. pmcalary, January 17, 2019 at 9:10 am:

    Hi Kay,
    Don’t know much about them or how they price out. They are well constructed though and would get a solid A for construction on our ratings system.

  453. Judy S., January 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm:

    Hi, Paul. Our contractor recommended a kitchen design company nearby. We met with a designer today. She suggested choosing between Plain & Fancy and Teddwood. I asked about wood construction, and she said they are both 1/4” plywood on the back with 5/8” hanging rails. Also, she suggested frameless because of the increased storage space and “that’s what everybody wants.” I believe we could upgrade to framed on both. What do you think of these two companies in general and what do you think about the 1/4” back with hanging rails? Thank you for your assistance.

  454. pmcalary, January 24, 2019 at 9:02 am:

    Hi Judy,
    The 1/4″ back and hanging rails are fine. Both those lines are well made and also expensive. Frameless cabinets have the sane amount of intertior cabinet space but each drawer IS 1 1/2″ wider so you get a little more drawer space. I would never make the trade off for a little more drawer space and lose the better framed cabinet contruction.
    On slab doors the cabinetry does look a little sleaker with frameless cabinetry so if your kitchen is ultra modern frameless can make sense, but if you aren’t getting very modern cabinetry frameless is a poor choice.
    Designers that always use frameless cabinetry are showing thier ignorance as well as thier lack of attension to construction detail in general. These type kitchen designers will routinely over stress cabinetry with extra wide drawer bases and interior cabinetry gadgets because they are not critical thinkers and assume that if the cabinet company makes a cabinet everyting is fine. Wiser professionals know not to push the envelope on stressing cabinetry, particularly with frameless cabinetry, if you want a kitchen to hold up over time.

  455. surferdj, January 31, 2019 at 1:43 am:

    Hi, Amazing info on here, just priceless!! I was considering Kith and Medallion for my small galley kitchen (35 lin/ft). Kith was $8k + install, Medallion (Silver line) was $9k + install. Seems pricey for such a small kitchen. Fabuwood came in at $3,600 installed. Problem is I’m not sure about that dealer and their installs. Do you know of anyone in the Saint Augustine / Jacksonville area you trust that is a Fabuwood dealer?
    I just moved from NJ to FL, so I’m clueless. Any info appreciated.

  456. pmcalary, January 31, 2019 at 7:57 am:

    We have looked in your area a couple of times and not found a company that met our criteria for recommending. That doesn’t mean that the place you found isn’t any good just that from afar we can’t tell who might be good in your area. Google the place you got a quote from and see if they get good reviews on Google. Then check any reviews they have on YELP,, and Angies LIst. If they have been in business for a while and haven’t accumulated negative reviews that’s a good sign. If they have many positive reviews that’s a very good sign. Finally ask who’s kitchen they are installing right now and ask for the customers phone number. Any place can did up a few satisfied customers to recommend them. However, they can’t cheery pick the place that they are at presently. Speak to the people they are working with now and check back a couple of weeks later. If those customers are happy you should be too!

  457. Patty, March 2, 2019 at 10:28 pm:

    Great blog. Wondering your thoughts on Sorrento by Decor Cabinet Company or Wynbrooke Cabinetry? Good quality? Thanks.

  458. pmcalary, March 3, 2019 at 8:48 am:

    We rate many lines on our 2018 cabinet review, Link below:

    The Decor web site is full of vague interior design bull**** but says nothing about how their cabinetry is constructed. Quotes like “Our clients love of California drove the whole personality of new space” make me crazy.
    This is only from memory but I believe Decor started as an higher priced but poorly made frameless cabinet company. What they are now I can’t say because they don’t say.
    Wynbrooke Cabinetry seems like a similar but nicer looking animal without the platitudes. Remember that these frameless lines are less durable then the better made framed lines and often more expensive. For very contemporary slab door styles they are definitely better looking but you will always sacrifice construction quality in any frameless line. The best made frameless lines are made with 3/4″ plywood or plywood core sides. I doubt either of these lines do this otherwise they would say so.

  459. Amber Carlson, March 17, 2019 at 1:19 pm:

    This article, questions, and your replies are a goldmine. I know others have said it, but just have to say THANK YOU! We are building a custom home on a tight budget. This will help us pick our cabinets. Hoping Decora is not out of range. Anyway to my question….. we are having mostly lower cabinets, and I really want drawers, but my builder was very discouraging that this may be cost prohibitive.
    Are lower drawers worth the extra cost?
    Is there a percentage estimate on higher cost?
    If we are priced out of Decora shaker stain grade, what is the next best option for affordability ?
    Do you recommend elminating the drawers and going with the Decora or going with a less expensive cabinet and getting the drawers? Sorry for all the questions and thx again.

  460. pmcalary, March 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm:

    Adding a drawer to a cabinet adds on average about $100 per drawer. So drawers shouldn’t break the bank. Door style color and cabinet line can be big percentage changers.

  461. George Sadusk, May 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm:

    We are talking to a contractor who wants to use a designer that sells Schrock cabinets. With so many reviews on the Web that complain about quality control and customer service issues with Schrock, we are reluctant to go forward. It seems like Brighton is a better alternative, even though they have a back panel that is only 1/4 inch thick. Since I doubt that you do business in Northern Virgina, is there someone you can recommend here that is a Brighton dealer?

  462. pmcalary, May 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm:

    Hi George,
    Brighton has 1/2″ hanging rails in back of the 1/4″ back so where you attach cabinets to the wall they are 3/4″ thick. We have done business in Northern Virginia but it really is inconvenient for customers making selections and having meetings so usually it only makes sense with new construction where nothing is built yet and where the door style and finish is already known. These are the Brighton Delers in VA listed on the Brighton Web site:

    Cabinet Discounters – Chantilly, VA
    14501 F Lee Jackson Hwy.
    Chantilly, VA 20151
    Local Phone: (703) 650-0659
    Phone: (800) 843-3732

    Cabinet Discounters – Springfield, VA
    5228 Port Royal Rd.
    Springfield, VA 22151
    Local Phone: (703) 657-8106
    Phone: (800) 843-3732

    Norman’s Inc. Cabinetry & Decorating
    1116 West Main Street
    Radford, VA 24141
    Phone: (540) 639-1162
    Fax: (540) 639-0414

  463. Natalie, May 23, 2019 at 5:26 am:

    We recently ordered Wood Mode cabinets only to find they are no longer in business. The store we ordered them from wants to give us executive cabinets for the same price (I’ve already put down half the money as a deposit). Do you know if the prices are comparable or if I’m now paying for a higher end cabinet and receiving a lesser quality product? Also, it seems from previous posts that I should have upgraded to plywood which I did not, so I’m assuming I should do that with the new order.

  464. pmcalary, May 23, 2019 at 7:08 am:

    Executive is a frameless line as far as I know. What kind of cabinets were you getting from Woodmode? What door style and finish? The Wood-Mode Contemporary Expressions door styles were frameless. If you weren’t getting a frameless cabinet I would not switch to one. If you were the Plywood upgrade would make pricing similar.

  465. Natalie, May 24, 2019 at 9:49 am:

    Brookhaven I frameless with 5/8 particle board, natural wood grain melamine interior, wood veneer finished ends, door style is edgemont recessed, full overlay with recessed oak doors and drawer heads.

  466. pmcalary, May 24, 2019 at 9:57 am:

    Executive upgraded to 3/4″ plywood is way better than the Wood-Mode that you ordered. 5/8″ particle board would get a C or a D for construction in our 2018 ratings. Still, I would not recommend that style door in a frameless cabinet line. A framed line would be no more expensive and would be better constructed. I usually recommend frameless lines for the most contemporary slab door styles where they look so much better that the loss of durability is worth it.

  467. Natalie, May 24, 2019 at 3:19 pm:

    Thank you this is very helpful!

  468. MarkT, May 27, 2019 at 8:34 am:

    Hi, does anyone know or have experience with Kith kitchen cabinets. We are considering a vendor who uses them, but the construction seems to be below minimums. Would appreciate any insights from your readers. Thank you!

  469. pmcalary, May 27, 2019 at 8:40 am:

    We rate Kith in our 2018 cabinet ratings blog along with 78 other brands, Link here

  470. Joanne, July 31, 2019 at 9:37 pm:

    I am researching different cabinet lines, Signature, Crystal or Fieldstone. Any suggestions or comments about these lines?

  471. ITSAdmin, July 31, 2019 at 10:21 pm:
  472. Karen F., August 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm:

    I live in Knoxville, TN and am interested in a kitchen renovation. I want a modern design with horizontal wood grain doors, probably walnut or maple on the lower cabinets and island. Upper cabinets would be painted. Because of this aesthetic choice it seems that frameless is best. I also I’m interested in plywood construction. The KD professional that my contractor recommends seems to be pushing KitchenCraft. The aesthetic I want only comes with bamboo and MDF boxes. This just doesn’t seem like the right thing, so I haven’t pursued a kitchen design from him.
    1. Do you have recommendations of cabinet companies that offer horizontal wood grain door doors or veneers on plywood construction and I’ll see who the local distributors are.
    2. I didn’t see a recommended KF on your list for my area. Did I overlook someone?
    3. have you heard of MOD Cabinetry out of Berkeley, CA? Thoughts?

  473. ITSAdmin, August 6, 2019 at 9:24 am:

    Hi Karen,
    Any custom cabinet line that sells frameless cabinetry should offer what you want. They will be much more expensive than a line like KitchenCraft though, but also far more durable. Omega Dynasty might be a line that would fall in between the most expensive custom frameless lines and KitchenCraft. They are very popular and have dealers almost everywhere.

  474. Katerina, August 9, 2019 at 3:05 pm:

    Very helpful blog!
    Do you have a thought about Executive Cabinetry? Looking for Frameless, clean-cut, Contemporary look, perhaps shaker style doors… Thank you!

  475. ITSAdmin, August 9, 2019 at 6:17 pm:

    I would not recommend a frameless cabinet for any door style other than a slab door style. That being said for a frameless cabinet Executive looks good at a glance.

  476. Steve, August 10, 2019 at 2:35 pm:

    What a great blog—thank you! My KD in Southern California uses two cabinetry lines: Eclipse by Shiloh, the pricier frameless option, and Aspect by W.W. Wood, the less expensive framed option. I see your Shiloh rating on the 2018 list (and the rated quality worries me for the cost), but not Aspect. Any feedback on that line? They are at:

    Thanks, Steve

  477. Steve, August 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm:

    Sorry, ignore my post…after a bit more research, I see that Aspect is also made by Shiloh. I’ll have to talk with my KD about why that’s the only company they work with. Thanks for the great blog and the cabinet ratings!

  478. ITSAdmin, August 11, 2019 at 9:38 am:

    Hi Steve,
    Not a fan of either line. Also ONLY offering these two lines shows less professionalism. Good cabinet dealers usually offer several selections at several different price points for both framed and frameless cabinetry.

  479. HawkFan, August 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm:

    We are evaluating Showplace (SP) vs Fieldstone (F) and a private small company custom line.
    1) SP quote for our kitchen is $20.7k and F is about the same.
    2) SP rep has done a great job working with us but it seems F is better materials
    a. side walls F 3/4 vs SP 1/4 except for exposed sides upgraded to 5/8
    b. tops and bottoms F 1/2 vs SP 3/8
    c. shelving F 3/4 plywood vs SP 3/4 chipboard
    Your thoughts? Thanks.

  480. HawkFan, August 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm:

    To add to my previous post…we are looking at 3cm quartz countertop (91 t 97″) on top of four base cabinets. Will the 1/4″ side walls (on the interior walls) and 5/8″ on the outside walls of an island. I believe you have posted somewhere about concerns of supporting that much weight. Again your thoughts? I really appreciate this great blog.

  481. ITSAdmin, August 17, 2019 at 8:01 am:

    Hi Hawkfan,
    Sorry, way to little information to give you an answer as far as the quartz is concerned. Although if the interior sides of your cabinets are 1/4 thick your kitchen will fall apart so quickly I wouldn’t be getting an expensive quartz countertops.

  482. ITSAdmin, August 17, 2019 at 8:20 am:

    Hi Hawkfan,
    Never buy a cabinet with 1/4″ sides. They will fall apart rapidly and were wall cabinets made this way I can’t even imagine them staying on the walls for any length of time were you to put heavy plates and glasses in them. If the Showplace rep has really suggested 1/4″ sides he or she should be avoided as any information and design work that they helped you with is surely mistake riddled.
    Doing a great job for a kitchen designer usually means telling customers things that they don’t want to hear. Conversations with a good designer might include being told things like:

    You need pay to upgrade these cabinets to make them well constructed
    Your island needs to be smaller
    You can’t put cabinets all the way to the ceiling without a stacked crown molding
    You need filler in the cabinet run to level the cabinets
    That design idea is not a good one for these reasons

    Being pleasant and “helping” customers do the designs they want without criticism of poor designs and warnings about design and cabinetry problems is not helping it is being unprofessional and the definition of a poor kitchen designer. So be careful here.

  483. HawkFan, August 17, 2019 at 5:09 pm:

    Thanks for your honest opinion. The Showplace rep has recommended upgrading to 5/8 for the outside walls of the cabinets (those that are visible) but to save costs, he recommends 1/4 for interior sides that are not visible. WE can get 5/8″ upgrade for the other sides but it adds 10% ($2k) to the cabinet costs.

  484. Paul McAlary, August 17, 2019 at 5:42 pm:

    Hi Hawkfan,
    Anyone that would recommend that scares me. You must upgrade or your money is wasted.

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