Main Line Kitchen Design
Call us at 610-500-4071

Posted March 1, 2017 by pmcalary


Main Line Kitchen ranks the best selling cabinets in the US

All the designers that gave us input on the cabinet lines below have greater than 20 years experience in our industry. When possible all construction specifics were double checked on the web sites for each cabinet line.

Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, 6 Square, and CNC.  We could be prejudiced towards ranking these lines more favorably, but we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, our ranking them well should not be a surprise. 

Below is our comprehensive list of the top selling cabinet manufacturers in the United States and how they rank for construction quality and  for value considering the price point of each cabinet line. Price point is rated from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive cabinetry on the market.

We rate cabinetry assuming each line is upgraded to the top level of construction available. A grade of A for construction quality will not be equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.

The value grade we give is not a rating about the quality of the cabinetry but a rating of how good an investment a cabinet line is considering it’s cost. For example, many of the most expensive well made cabinet lines receive lover marks on value even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in it’s class. These lines receive lower grades on value simply because there are competitors offering the same quality at slightly lower prices.

Note: The highest grade for Quality in any frameless European style cabinet line is a B. While frameless cabinetry is easier to access and is sleeker looking, it is also less durable than the best made framed cabinetry.


Cabinet line                   Price level 1-6     Quality     Value
6 Square 2 B+ B+
American Woodmark 3 B C+
Aristocraft 2 C C
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A A-
Bishop Frameless 5 B B+
Bremtown 6 A+ C
Brighton 4 A A+
Brookhaven Closed Closed A B
Cabico 4 B B
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CNC 1 B+ A
Collier 5 A B-
Crystal 5 A+ A
Decora 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
(Omega)Dynasty Frameless 4 B C
(Omega)Dynasty Pinnacle Framed 5 A B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood Frameless 3 B A+
Fieldstone 4 A B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem 1 B+ B
Homecrest 3 B+ B
IKEA (frameless) 1 C C
Innermost framelss 3 B B
Kabinart 3 D D
Kemper 3 B C
Kitchencraft Frameless 3 C B
Kith 3 B+ C+
Kountry Kraft framed 6 A B
Kountry Kraft frameless 6 B B
Kraftmaid 4 B+ A
Legacy 3 B+ C-
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 2 B+ B
Medallion 5 B+ C+
Merillat 2 C D
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser Frameless 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B
Poggenpohl frameless 6 B C
QuakerMaid frameless 4 B B
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B+ C+
Shenandoah 3 B C+
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A A
Starmark 4 A B+
Stylecraft 6 A+ B+
Thomasville* 4 B- C-
Timberlake 3 B C+
Ultracraft Frameless 2 C C
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 2 B B
Wellborn 4 A A
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wolf 1 B+ B+
Woodharbor 4 B+ C
Woodmode Closed Closed A A-
Yorktowne 3 C D

* Note: Home Depot can change who manufactures this line although Masterbrands has been manufacturing the line under the Thomasville name for over ten years.

Remember that choosing the designer, the cabinet dealer, and the installer you are working with is just as important as the cabinet line.

The updated rankings for these cabinet lines and an additional 30 popular cabinet lines are included in our

Cabinet Rankings for 2018  

The link below is to a more general review of cabinetry from 2015 explaining types of cabinetry construction:

Hoping you make all the right choices . . . .

and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Paul, John, Stacia, Ed, Tom, and Julie


  1. Claire Duplain, March 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm:

    Great information. I have a kitchen that is to be approx. 10.4 x 11.5 with an additional area for two pantries: one approx. 36″ w X 24″ d x 93″ and one 24″ w x 24″ d x 93″ h.

  2. pmcalary, March 11, 2017 at 7:25 am:

    Hi Claire,
    Do you have a question?

  3. Lisa Smith, March 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm:

    Thank you for this information!! This helps us decide and gives us an idea if we are getting the best for our budget.

  4. pmcalary, March 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for the compliment. These are just the top 70 cabinet lines that we are familiar with. There are many good lines and good values not mentioned here, but if you apply the construction standards we discuss in our 2015 blog:
    You can’t go wrong.

  5. Anne, March 20, 2017 at 1:11 am:

    Do you have information about which companies have 1. made in USA cabinets? 2. Which companies are CARB2 compliant/low VOC?

  6. pmcalary, March 20, 2017 at 12:17 pm:

    All the higher priced cabinetry will be made in the US. The best buy in lower priced cabinetry will be for cabinetry owned by US companies and assembled in the US but the doors and cabinet fronts being made in China. Many cabinet companies will be carb compliant across all price ranges. The less expensive 6 Square and Fabuwood lines we carry are both carb compliant. You will need to ask your cabinet rep about the lines you are considering.

  7. Dp, April 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm:

    Thank you so much for detailed info on how to select cabinets and what to look for in getting good long lasting cabinets. I am getting a estimate for $14k for 26 cabinets and 14 drawers from home depot for American woodmark all plywood construction and solid wood doors. For kraftmaid for exact same number of cabinets and drawers and all plywood construction and solid door is coming to 20k. The woodmark price is very tempting plus I am getting what all good cabinets can have. I am very spectical to decide if I should go for it or not as I read lot of mix and negative reviews for delivery and receiving damaged goods and also lot of other measurement issues. I am planning to call HD person for final measurements before placing the order and most likely my contractor will be installing them. Can you please give me your expert advice to see if I should go for woodmark or not. Thank you so much for your time and guidance.

  8. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm:

    Both cabinet lines are well constructed when upgraded. The finishes will be nicer in Kraftmaid but if you spent the $6,000 on an upgraded countertop, appliances, and flooring you might like your finished kitchen more than the difference in Kraftmaid and Woodmark. This really comes down to how much you care about the difference in door style and finish and the how much tiny imperfections in the cabinet box or side panels bother you. There will me more slight defects in a less expensive cabinet line but they can be touched up or the cabinet replaced under warranty if they are unacceptable.

  9. Dp, April 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm:

    How is echelon brand. I was told they are by Armstrong but don’t hear or read much about that brand being talked about. Thanks!

  10. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm:

    They are a lower price point Pennsylvania brand with a broken web site where they are supposed to show how their cabinetry is made.
    That is not encouraging.

  11. Maura, April 11, 2017 at 10:23 am:

    Hello! Great info since all opinions differ so greatly. Looking at Kraftmaid, Omega (dynasty ) & have you ever heard of Allwood cabinets? Not sure if better to go to kitchen place for Kraftmaid vantage or just do all upgrades at big box stores. Even found dealer that only sells to contractors, but not sure who can actually go there. Big decision & don’t want to mess it up. Costco sells the Allwood cabinetry & only one dealer in Pittsburgh.

  12. pmcalary, April 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm:

    Buying a kitchen at Costco sounds like a bad idea. More than good cabinets you need design help to get a good kitchen. Dealers that only sell to contractors will also be terrible designers. Because customers often don’t appreciate design they overlook the importance of good design. A well designed kitchen is far more valuable that any upgrades to cabinetry. Kraftmaid framed cabinets are the better choice here.

  13. Sury Vepa, April 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm:

    Hi, Your site and blog are very informative. Thanks. We live in Maryland and are in the earlier stages of kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Regarding cabinetry, the proposals we are getting are from Ultracraft frameless (Ferguson suggested this, midcontinent, wolf. From your ratings these seem to fare worse than Fabuwood and CNC. We are given the impression that Ultracraft and midcontinent are a step up from wolf both in terms of quality and price. St. Martin was quoted as the high end. What we want is really a simple shaker cabinet style with reliable and durable construction and few add on accessories. Any suggestions on what we should look for. Thanks.

  14. pmcalary, April 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm:

    CNC, Wolf and Mid Contenents aren’t that different but Fabuwood is a big step up from those lines. St Martin isn’t just a step up from those lines it is a giant step up in quality and in Price. There are lots of well made in between brands.

    Ferguson is not known for having good kitchen designers. It is really more of a bath place. The one thing I always try to get our customers to understand is that the design itself is more important than the cabinet line. It is easy to get well made cabinets just use our rankings. Getting a good design very difficult. And customers because they aren’t kitchen designers usually believe the design they are doing can’t be improved. The blog below stresses this point:

  15. Shamonne, April 13, 2017 at 2:56 am:

    Thanks so much for helpful information regarding the cabinets. Currently I am planning major kitchen renovation. Around where I live, I was surprised to see Shiloh offers a very good price for insets. We also looked at Brookhaven but they have very limited door styles in our budget price range and it’s way more expensive if we want insets.
    So we probably go with Shiloh but your rating seems a little low , which is concerning. Can you please tell me about your experience with Shiloh? Thanks so much!

  16. pmcalary, April 13, 2017 at 5:54 am:

    Hi Shamonne,
    We might have been a little hard on Shiloh. But I worry about the very small hanging rail and the 3/8″ tops and bottoms on Shiloh cabinetry. In general Shiloh cabinetry construction is somewhat suspect. I would never recommend getting inset cabinetry from a cheaper cabinet line. Inset cabinetry is very hard to do well. For example we sell 6 Square cabinetry which is a less expensive line that does inset but none of our designers sell their inset products because the likelihood of problems is so much greater. We all believe that it takes a better made more expensive cabinet line to reliably build inset cabinetry. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  17. shamonne, April 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm:

    Thanks so much for your reply, pmcalary. If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a few more questions.

    1. Shiloh dealer is saying “beaded inset” is usually more forgiving and recommend it. This dealer has a good reputation although they’ve been around only from 2013. They said they don’t really have problems with “beaded inset”

    2. Also we found a couple of local small cabinet makers. They have been in the area more than 30 years and have very very good reputation. I remember you said small shops don’t have “oven” or something for really good finish. But when I looked at their cabinets, their painted finish was amazing and they said it lasts for a long long time. So just wondering if it would be still better to go with a big manufacturer.

    Thanks so much again for your input.

  18. pmcalary, April 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm:

    As far as smaller cabinet makers are concerned. It depends on how small. Small factories and production facilities are probably OK although they won’t have any good designers. Very small cabinet makers I would stay away from. And as I say all the time: The designs that get sent to us are almost always absolutely terrible. So as much as customers worry about cabinets they should be worrying about using a good designer. Here’s a blog on the very small cabinet makers:

  19. Joan, April 18, 2017 at 9:44 am:

    We are planning a kitchen remodel and we want maple cabinets painted white. We have been looking at Kraftmaid and there are some bad reviews online for their painted white cabinets. What brand of maple cabinet painted white do you recommend that has a durable finish that does not expose the cracks as much over-time?

  20. pmcalary, April 18, 2017 at 10:32 am:

    Hi Joan,
    All painted white cabinets have a less durable finish than a stained cabinet and because they are white will show any damage instantly. Kraftmaid has a fine finish. As with many online complaints the complaint is more about misconceptions and misplaced blame than actual faults. Because Kraftmaid is sold at both Home Depot and Lowes the people that buy Kraftmaid are often not informed and have unrealistic expectations. Here is a blog on why online reviews are not reliable:

  21. Joan, April 18, 2017 at 11:06 am:

    Are Kraftmaid cabinets the same at a local dealer’s shop and a big box store?

  22. Joan, April 18, 2017 at 11:10 am:

    Which maple white cabinet would you recommend that your company sells?

  23. pmcalary, April 18, 2017 at 11:42 am:

    Upgraded to the same levels all Kraftmaid cabinetry should be the same construction whether you are at a private dealer, Lowes, or The Home Depot. There usually is little difference in price between suppliers. Home centers and private dealers will all have a few door styles exclusive to them.

    Home centers sometimes offer sales that aren’t from Kraftmaid that can make them a little less than private dealers but they also have been known to inflate pricing to offer discounts which I find dishonest. I also think that encouraging customers to purchase before a deadline breeds mistakes and bad designs which I also find questionable integrity wise.

  24. pmcalary, April 18, 2017 at 11:49 am:

    All 8 cabinet lines we sell have fine white finishes. In maple the least expensive line would be 6 Square. There are reasons customers would want to upgrade to some of the more expensive lines we carry like Bishop, Brighton, and Wellsford but durability of finish is not a reason. You need to work with a knowledgeable kitchen designer to have the advantages of the lines they carry explained to you. And as I am constantly remind people asking questions about cabinetry on our blog: The designs we get sent to us are usually so bad that getting a better design is far more important than the slight difference in construction quality in the cabinet lines we sell.

  25. Cory, April 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm:

    I have a few questions. Why are you ranking Omega Cabinetry’s lines by calling the frameless line “Dynasty Frameless” and the custom line “Dynasty Pinnacle?” Why haven’t you ranked the actual Dynasty semi-custom line? They are Owned by Omega Cabinetry and the different lines are called: Dynasty (semi-custom), Full Access (frameless), and Pinnacle (full custom). Medallion has four lines within their umbrella as well. Why haven’t you ranked them individually either? I actually question a few of these rankings since the lines you carry have better rankings versus what you go against.

  26. pmcalary, April 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm:

    Hi Cory,
    All the ranked cabinet lines are assumed upgraded to their best construction. If we ranked the lines you refer to un-upgraded they would get very low marks. So only listing their upgraded ranking actually skews their ranking upward. My extended family are Medallion distributors across 6 states so I tried to rank Medallion without regard to my own Family. Feel free to use other resources if you feel we are not impartial enough.

  27. shamonne, April 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm:

    pmcalary, would you recommended inset styles in Brighton Cabinetry? As you mentioned, inset can be difficult to be done well so I wonder if Brighton Cabinetry would be good choice if I want inset. Thanks so much for you blog!!

  28. Paul McAlary, April 20, 2017 at 7:03 am:

    Hi Shamonne.
    Yes we have very good results selling Brighton inset and beaded inset. Our Bishop line is a little less expensive and does inset successfully, but we do find that they require more replacement parts when we design in Bishop inset. We sell both Brighton and Bishop inset cabinetry for the same price that Home Centers sell some Kraftmaid full overly doorstyles. Because of this we sell an unusually high percentage of inset cabinetry. So we have more experience with inset cabinetry than most dealers in our area.

    Our Wellsford line does inset at an even higher level of exactness. They are so confident in their construction standards that they permanently attach the Blum Blumotion drawer tracks to the back of their cabinets eliminating Blum’s adjustable back drawer track attachment.

  29. Melanie Morland, April 22, 2017 at 3:08 pm:

    Hello! I am so glad I found this thread. It has really helped me narrow things down! We are looking for mid range cabinets for a suburban house and are looking at Design Craft. Today though we stopped in a local cabinet store who carries ProCraft which I don’t see on the list. Have you heard of them? Impaired to the Design Craft they seem lower quality but maybe I am not the right judge! Thank you very much.

  30. Melanie Morland, April 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm:

    I meant to type ‘compared’ above not impaired 😉

  31. pmcalary, April 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm:

    Hi Melanie,
    No I haven’t heard of Procraft. I checked their web site and they are another frameless line with no specs on how their cabinetry is made. As you will read in our blog we aren’t big fans of frameless cabinetry in general except for very contemporary door styles and not being transparent as a company gives you another two strikes.

  32. Melanie, April 22, 2017 at 4:41 pm:

    Thank you so much for your quick response! This is seriously the most helpful blog I’ve found on the web and have come back to this thread several times. I did see that on your blog about the frameless and now it makes sense to me why some of their drawers did not look straight and kind of moved around when you pulled them out. Thanks again. We are really between Bertch and Design Craft but given they are about $8,000 apart in pricing I might be willing to do the B rated Design Craft for a home we will only be in for about 5 more years as the line does offer some customization. Have a great Saturday!

  33. GSills, April 23, 2017 at 6:35 am:

    I’m considering Kith cabinets for a condo. We’re turning a large dining room into the kitchen. The price is very good in comparison to other product lines. . Any experiences with Kith ?…

  34. pmcalary, April 23, 2017 at 9:36 am:

    Yes we give it two c’s in this blog.

  35. GSills, April 23, 2017 at 9:43 am:

    How would the Kith cabinets compare to Executive Cabinets

  36. pmcalary, April 23, 2017 at 9:59 am:

    Executive is a frameless line but well made for frameless construction. If you aren’t getting contemporary style cabinets that need to be frameless to look the best why get a less durable cabinet? The Executive web site also lies by saying their frameless construction gives 15% more storage than framed cabinetry. Actually frameless construction gives at most 5% more storage space. It is however easier to access that space. Putting lies on the company web site doesn’t give me a great feeling about the company.

  37. GSills, April 23, 2017 at 10:21 am:

    Thanks for the responses. I’d love to buy the best, but I’m trying to keep it reasonably priced. We are doing about a $175,000 renovation in a condo on the ocean. A chunk of that is all new flooring and baths, AC, etc….. I want a good middle of the road cabinet that gives you some options and will wear well over time. Would you consider Kith or their frameless line Eudora to be “good middle of the road?

  38. pmcalary, April 23, 2017 at 10:30 am:

    No we don’t rate them well. There are many other cheaper better choices just look at the ratings in the blog.

  39. GSills, April 23, 2017 at 10:39 am:

    You seem to like Wellborn.. The cabinet company also sells Wellborn. What percentage higher in price would they approximately run ?

  40. pmcalary, April 23, 2017 at 11:07 am:

    Wellborn has several lines from reasonably priced to expensive. All are good values for the money.

  41. Melanie, April 23, 2017 at 7:04 pm:

    Is Design Craft frameless cabinetry? Thank you.

  42. pmcalary, April 23, 2017 at 9:50 pm:

    Yes Design Craft and just about all cabinet brands with the word craft in them are frameless.

  43. Brian, April 24, 2017 at 11:29 am:

    Hello, we are in a small Northern California town.

    We recently got some rough quotes from a Wellborn vendor for our kitchen remodel Price was relatively steep for our home I feel ($40kish).

    How would you say CNC, Fabuwood, Solid Wood, and Wolf compare to Wellborn as we really liked their style and feel of the cabinets?

    Also we are looking to have a lighter grey painted lower cabinet and a white painted upper with quartz counter tops.

  44. Brian, April 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm:

    Hello, we’re from a small northern California town. We recently spoke with a Wellborn provider and the Kitchen Estimate was rather pricey.

    What are your comparison thoughts on CNC, Fabuwood, Solidwoof and Wolf?

    Also we plan on having the cabinets painted and using a Quartz countertop as well.

    Thank you!

  45. pmcalary, April 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm:

    Those other lines are much less expensive than Wellborn. Wellborn is a great line but not a budget line.

  46. Margie, April 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm:

    Remodeling kitchen: Kitchen designer has affiliation with these 4 cabinetry: Schrock; Designers Choice; CNC and Style craft. Can you kindly provide me feed back on these brands? Which if any are good. Thank you.

  47. pmcalary, April 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm:

    Hi Margie,
    Schrock is OK for the money and CNC is OK for a less expensive cabinet line we sell it sometimes. I don’t like the other lines. Actually when a dealer chose to represent all these particular lines it gives me pause that he or she did’t get one big winner out of 4.

  48. Margie, April 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm:

    Thank you for your quick response. The designer did gear towards Shrock and CNC. Are these brands better than Kraftmaid? My budget is limited. I have to also purchase appliances. Any recommendations on appliances?

  49. Rosamond, April 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm:

    Do you have any knowledge of RD Henry Cabinetry? Wondering how they compare to Brookhaven?

  50. pmcalary, April 24, 2017 at 3:53 pm:

    Never heard of them. Brookhaven is a guaranteed good product.

  51. Margie, April 24, 2017 at 4:02 pm:

    Do you have any response to my prior inquiry?

  52. Paul Mcalary, April 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm:

    Kraftmaid is a better choice
    than Schrock and certainly a less
    Expensive Line like CNC. We use The
    Yale appliance website for appliance

  53. Margie, April 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm:

    Thank you very much. Between Kraftmaid and CNC which would you recommend?

  54. Margie, April 24, 2017 at 4:50 pm:

    Do you sell both?

  55. pmcalary, April 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm:

    Kraftmaid is better. We have other comparable lines.

  56. Robin Shiffrin, April 24, 2017 at 10:13 pm:

    We really appreciate your guidance. We are looking at Hanssem cabinets, the ones that are 3/4 inch plywood cases and have blum hinges and drawers hardware, and 1/4 inch bottoms in their drawers. They say their plywood is formaldehyde free (in the ones we would order.) What are your thoughts for those compared to CNC? We are wanting a white finish, so are most concerned with finish durability, carb 2 compliance, and durability for a kitchen with young children.

  57. pmcalary, April 25, 2017 at 3:45 am:

    Hi Robin,
    Even though we carry CNC I would recommend getting a higher grade of cabinet than either CNC or Hanssem if you are looking for durability. Painted white finishes are less durable to begin with but I worry that these very inexpensive lines have finishes that are a little rougher and will get dirty more easily. Construction wise upgraded you should be OK but if durability is a priority I would get a more expensive foundation for the kitchen you are building. Don’t splurge on quartz countertops, more expensive appliances, and farm sinks. Get a great design first and these lines also tend to be represented by less experienced designers. I’d upgrade to a cabinet line at least to the level of Fabuwood or a mid priced line like Homecrest or Timberlake. Timberlake is sold also as American Woodmark (Home Depot) or Shenendoah (Lowes).

  58. Carrie, April 26, 2017 at 7:42 am:

    I’m confused as to why you give Decora a better rating for quality than Starmark? Decora uses staples & glue to piece their cabinets together (I had to dig through their 470 page PDF file to even find that out) where Starmark uses screws & glue. Both use all plywood so this is the only real distinction I can see between the brands besides different finish options. I’m only asking because I’m about to do a big Kitchen remodel and I’m considering one of these lines, and for the sturdiness of the construction I think Starmark might win with this slightly better construction application; staples can slip over time just like nails, but screws won’t budge. Give me a reason you like Decora more, you might be able to change my mind!

  59. Carrie, April 26, 2017 at 7:47 am:

    Also, your blog is the BEST thing I’ve seen on the topic thus far. Thank you for this. Many of us just want quality when spending this much money and it’s really hard to find any substantial comparison shopping in this field. It’s not just about price, it’s a real investment and so it’s equally about quality as well. So again, THANK YOU!!!

  60. pmcalary, April 26, 2017 at 8:26 am:

    Hi Carrie,
    Starmark,Fieldstone, Medalalion, DuraSupreme, and several other high end lines only use a 1/3″ thick back. Decora, Kraftmaid, Bishop and many better made custom lines use a 3/4″ solid wood hanging rail. Even the least expensive line we carry Fabuwood uses a 1/2″ plywood back which is much better than 1/3″.

    The back of the cabinet especially the back of wall cabinets are very important. The backs are what get screwed to the wall and hold the wall cabinets up. Problems with 1/3″ backs can arise because walls are never perfectly flat and have bumps and bows. The contractors are supposed to shim the backs of the cabinets to account for any irregularities in the walls but some homes are very out of whack and this can be particularly hard. A small bow in a wall will pull the back of a 1/3″ plywood back back to the wall when the screw to the wall is tightened essentially pulling the back of the cabinet away from the side.

    Solid wood hanging rails will not flex like plywood and 1/2″ plywood not only flexes about 50% less than 1/3″ plywood but it has more wood to catch and hold onto the side of the cabinet.

    Wellsford the full custom custom line we carry uses 1/2″ plywood backs and a 3/4″ thick hanging rail so it is doubly strong, Or the Bishop Ultimate box uses 3/4″ plywood sides and a 1/2″ plywood back, Kraftmaid that we don’t carry has a similar offering.

    In our rating system you can not get better than a B+ for construction with a 1/3″ back. And so the 6Square line we carry only gets a B+ for construction. But it costs 50% less expensive then some of those expensive lines with 1/3″ backs. Of course the stained finishes on the expensive lines are more beautiful but surprisingly most of our customers can’t tell the difference,

  61. pmcalary, April 26, 2017 at 8:37 am:

    Surprisingly construction quality is not an expensive thing. But many even expensive cabinet companies don’t bother adding 5% to the cost of their cabinetry because contractors and home builders don’t ever want to pay for it.

  62. Carrie, April 26, 2017 at 8:45 am:

    See, that’s what I was missing!!! Thank you so so much!! Lots of info to research, starts becoming jumbled after reading so much!! Thank you, that distinction is a huge one!

  63. Carrie, April 26, 2017 at 10:49 am:

    I wish you guys were closer to my area, with all the information you’ve readily made available here I think you guys are extremely knowledgeable and really very talented. I’m in central NJ, close to the very start of the Jersey Shore, which I believe is right out of your service area, even for travel. We’re 10 miles inland from Sandy Hook. 🙁 I have quite a few KD’s in my area but haven’t visited any in person just yet, we’re in the research stage as of now. I want to go in as informed as I can be in order to be able to make the best decisions for our home and our family, so I’ve been educating myself on quality vs cheap… There are real differences and it’s not very easy to figure it out, it takes a lot of work. And I really want to be able to put my trust into the designer we end up choosing. Thanks to you guys for all the information you’ve put out, sharing your combined years of experience and knowledge has been extremely helpful to me 🙂

  64. CA Clance, April 26, 2017 at 8:52 pm:

    We are considering a Contractor and he said he could get us a good deal on off-white cabinets. He is using J&K cabinets. Have you heard of them? What type of reputation do they have?

  65. pmcalary, April 26, 2017 at 9:26 pm:

    Buying cabinetry through contractors never rarely saves you money and usually gets you a bad design.
    Buy the cabinets from the cabinet companies direct and get the design help you need and then you know the contractors aren’t marking them up or getting a kickback.

    Architects, interior designers and contractors almost never are getting you a better price for cabinets they are getting kick backs and preventing the cabinet showrooms and their designers from helping you. When I was a kitchen designer working for an independent showroom I gave all the contractor, architect, and interior designer jobs to other kitchen designers because I felt the system was wrong, and not being able to tell customers that the design from their “professional” was amateurish made me crazy. J&K is builder line with better choices for similar prices.

  66. Rosamond, April 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm:

    What do you know about Country Cupboard Cabinets? They were bought out last year by R.D. Henry and now go by that name. Also, have you ever heard of Smithport Cabinets? Two of our local cabinet shops are touting these as their top of the line cabinets but I can’t find any reviews for them! Thanks.

  67. Rosamond, April 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm:

    Oops, I meant Custom Cupboard Cabinets were bought out by R.D. Henry. Sorry about that!

  68. pmcalary, April 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm:

    R.D. Henry Cabinetry looks well made. I’d prefer the framed line to their frameless line and I have no idea how they compare price wise.

    Based on their web site Smithport Cabinets must be a tiny custom line. I don’t like it when a cabinet web site has American flags waving and yet no information on how the cabinets are constructed. The lack of transparency and the flag waving worries me but based on our recent election for many it does not.

  69. Rosamond, April 28, 2017 at 4:59 pm:

    Thank you so much for your response! Yes, I agree that it must be a very small operation. Their website leaves a lot to be desired! Ha. Thanks for your input.

  70. Peggy, April 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm:

    Thank you for all of your extremely helpful information. I was leaning toward American Woodmark for my kitchen due to budget constraints, but I checked the cabinet specifications on their website and found that the backs are 1/8 “captured” plywood and the hang rails for wall cabinets are 1/2 inch only, not the recommended 3/4. Need I worry that these cabinets will fall off my walls?

  71. Peggy, April 30, 2017 at 7:41 pm:

    Thank you for all your extremely helpful information. I was leaning toward American Woodmark for my kitchen due to budget constraints but am now having second thoughts–I checked their website and found that the cabinets have a 1/8 inch “captured’ plywood back, and a 1/2 inch hang rail (wall cabinets) rather than the 3/4 inch you recommend. Need I worry that these cabinets would fall off the walls?

  72. pmcalary, May 1, 2017 at 8:05 am:

    Hi Peggy,
    Thank you so much for catching our mistake. Everyone at Main Line Kitchen Design had seen so many Timberlake/American Woodmark/Shendoah kitchens installed with the visible 3/4″ hanging rail on the base cabinets that we assumed that like most other cabinet lines the the less visible wall cabinets hanging rails were built the same way. Because we were so confident we knew the construction we never checked their spec book for the review, We are down grading the three lines now to B construction and C+ value ratings. With this construction feature it is essential that you never purchase these lines without upgrading to All Plywood Construction. But that is the case for many even expensive lines like Medallion, Durasupreme, Fieldstone and Starmark.

    Thankyou so much. This goes to show that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

  73. Peggy, May 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm:

    Thanks for responding to me so quickly. Since even the upgraded American Woodmark has the 1/8 back and the 1/2 inch hanging rail, would Schrock be a better cabinet for the price point? The specs page for upgraded Schrock indicated a 3/8 back, but there was no mention of the hanging rail.

  74. pmcalary, May 2, 2017 at 2:45 am:

    Upgraded all plywood construction in Schrock will be better made but probably more expensive. The finishes will be nicer too. Homecrest another Masterbrands line like Schrock will be less expensive and slightly better made.

  75. Sylvia, May 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm:

    Looking at Huntwood Kitchen white cabinets. They are based in Washington State. Do you know if these are quality cabinets?

  76. pmcalary, May 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm:

    I’ve never heard of this company. They look like a small custom manufacturer that makes framed and frameless cabinet with nice finishes. However they don’t
    give details beyond generalities on cabinet construction – always a bad sign, and from the photos they look less well made than other brands. They don’t even say if all plywood construction is available. Being a smaller company is not a crime but a lack of transparency is in our book.

  77. Peggy, May 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm:

    Can you give me any information about the quality of Showplace cabinets?

  78. pmcalary, May 4, 2017 at 8:31 am:

    We review them in this blog. At some point Peggy you need to find a kitchen designer to help you.

  79. Carrie, May 5, 2017 at 11:06 am:

    Well, you’ve done it. We’ve chosen Decora over Starmark… Priced out the cabinets yesterday, which will cost a small fortune and is kinda making my stomach turn at the very thought (LOL) but I’m confident it the craftsmanship and that’s what counts. This is probably the only time we’ll be remodeling our kitchen so the few extra bucks for peace of mind for the long haul is well worth it to us. Even with qualifying for the Buyers Edge discount it’s a few thousand over the amount we’d initially budgeted, but we weren’t at all familiar with current cabinet pricing anyway to know our initial budget wasn’t going to cut it… And at this point upgrading to what we wanted (all plywood) from any other maker would have more than likely got us around this number anyway, but I’m not sure I’d have been as confident in the construction then. So here we are… Thanks for sharing your expertise, it’s been so very helpful. Can’t wait to see this all come to fruition.

  80. pmcalary, May 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm:

    Hi Carrie,
    Congratulations very exciting!

  81. Cj, May 6, 2017 at 12:37 pm:

    I’m considering Woodharbor Cabinets. Why do you rank them in the 2 category and why do they only rate a C? I thought they were very attractive and well made- especially the option for the walnut draw.
    Have you ever ranked Woodland?

  82. pmcalary, May 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm:

    Hi CJ,
    The backs of the cabinets are only 1/4″ thick. They are set back 3/8″ so you have the ability to turn this cabinet into a well made cabinet if you add 3/8″ plywood to the backs of all the cabinets but to need to do this on an expensive custom cabinet got us annoyed. If you really like the finishes just add the 3/8″ ply with liquid nails or glue and some side brads and you will be fine. I would not recommend only adding a 3/8″ hanging rail.

  83. VADunne, May 7, 2017 at 7:48 am:

    Is the Diamond line from Lowes a decent product? Trying to decide between Diamond and Kraftmaid. We are working with a limited budget.

  84. pmcalary, May 7, 2017 at 8:03 am:

    Diamond MUST be upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides. With a 3/8″ plywood back it isn’t as well made as Kraftmaid but it should be OK and some of the finishes are particularly nice. I would personally still pick Kraftmaid but Diamond has some nice door styles and finishes.

  85. VADunne, May 7, 2017 at 8:14 am:

    Thank you for your quick response. The Kraftmaid quote was actually less cost then Diamond making it a better all around value for us. Thanks again!

  86. RioBrewster - Austin, May 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm:

    I’m planning on doing a cherry or red birch, slab door kitchen in my new house.
    I have two quotes. One is Ultracraft – standard construction which is 5/8″-thick, furnituregrade, medium-density, particleboard. The other one is Kemper – upgraded to all plywood. Both quotes include installation.

    The Ultracraft designer says a slab door kitchen will look better with a frameless line – and the finish on Ultracraft is nicer than Kemper. But the Kemper quote is about $2K less than the Ultracraft and all plywood.

    Both lines have a lot of bad customer reviews – which may or may not have to do with design or installation.

    Should I be wary of the Ultracraft?

  87. pmcalary, May 8, 2017 at 4:25 pm:

    You are asking that question on the comment section of a blog that rates both these lines poorly. That makes me concerned about your project in general. Well thought out kitchens start with finding a good designer first.

  88. RioBrewster - Austin, May 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm:

    You gave Kemper a “B” for quality. That’s not “poor.” And I understand the issues with frameless cabinets, but if the best they can be is a “B”, then it doesn’t seem like “C” is that bad at the 2 price point.
    My options at one dealer are Bellmont, Mid Continent, Starmark, UltraCraft, Legacy and Plato. The other dealer does Wolf, Showplace, Kemper and Decora.

    So why you think the designers involved are not good designers if you haven’t seen the design?

  89. Robin, May 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm:

    Thank you so much for your response regarding the durability of hanssem and cnc. Would you recommend Kraftmaid and St. Martins as better choices for white cabinets in terms of a durable finish? (If so, which one is better?) Do you know if either is carb2 compliant? I cant seem to find that out.

  90. pmcalary, May 9, 2017 at 6:12 am:

    Yes I would recommend both those lines over the first two. However all painted cabinetry is less durable than stained finishes and I doubt there is that much difference between one line and another when it comes to damage by water. Neither Kraftmaid or St Martins advertises Carb compliance but upgraded to plywood that would be less of a concern. If you are especially sensitive to off gassing like with new carpets, new rugs, new cars or fresh paint you could unbox and store cabinetry in your garage for a few weeks before installing which would be extremely effective.

  91. Jen, May 10, 2017 at 8:54 am:

    First of all, thank you SO much for your very informative website. I am grateful I stumbled across it in my search for information on cabinets. Your ratings list and your blog topics have really helped me to make some sense of this unknown territory.

    Two questions:

    1)Bishop vs Kraftmaid? I see that they are in the same price category and that you rate them about the same. How do they compare? Pros? Cons? We just want to do the basic Shaker white and make a kitchen island as well.

    2)What is Wellborn Forest? Is that the same thing as Wellborn? My understanding is it’s a cheaper cabinet line. It’s not on your list. What do you know about it?

    Again, thank you very much for your help.


  92. pmcalary, May 10, 2017 at 9:28 am:

    Hi Jen,
    Bishop vs Kraftmaid. They both have their own advantages. We carry Bishop because they will do very custom upgrades, inset, and beaded inset cabinetry and custom color match finishes very reasonably. Kraftmaid doesn’t offer most of these options and is slightly more expensive. That being said I like the stains and glazes and distressed finishes better on Kraftmaid. However if you are getting a shaker white door both these lines could be more than you need to get a well made cabinet in that style and color.

    Some of the less expensive cabinet lines that have their doors made in China will actually have nicer finishes than any mid range US brands because the US companies don’t go through the added sanding that the doors made in China do because labor there is so inexpensive overseas.

    Wellborn Forest doesn’t say on their web site how the backs of their cabinets are made. So I can’t give an informed opinion. Everything else looks good but the backs of the cabinets are often the “tell” on a cabinet line.

  93. Jen, May 10, 2017 at 3:31 pm:


    Thank you so much for your quick response! I really appreciate your advice about being able to look at cabinets that are cheaper than Bishop or Kraftmaid as I want to do Shaker white cabinets. Which mid range brands would you suggest I consider? I am going to see if I can find a local dealer for 6 Square and Fabuwood, as those are the two you sell and recommend. Any others? The Fabuwood seems like it is made with birch, and I thought maple was better?

    My husband and I plan on living in our house for a while (10-15 years), so we want something we can enjoy using, as well as something that will still look good years from now when we sell the house. Even if the next generation of home buyers feels about Shaker white cabinets the way I feel about 1970’s harvest gold! Lol!

    Thanks again for all your advice. You are potentially saving me a lot of money and time.


  94. Erik, May 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm:

    Hi. I can’t appreciate this blog enough.
    My question is in regards to CWP / New River.
    I’m actually a designer for a kitchen cabinet supplier here in NJ and considering adding them to our showroom.
    I would love to know your thoughts, if you’ve had a chance to check them out?
    A big plus is their recessed line; amongst other overlay options.
    But obviously finish & construction quality is a concern.

  95. pmcalary, May 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm:

    Looks like both the framed and frameless lines have no hanging rail and only 1/4″ backs, so I’d stay away from the line. Also inexpensive lines that do inset cabinetry are dangerous. We would only use high end lines for inset. If you are a Jersey Showroom looking for inexpensive cabinetry to carry I’d consider Fabuwood or CNC which is a little less.

  96. Jen, May 12, 2017 at 8:36 am:

    Hi Paul,

    I am following your advice and looking into more inexpensive options for a Shaker white kitchen. We were quoted $15,000 for Bishop (not including installation) by a local dealer. My understanding is that we could get Fabuwood or 6 Square for less than half of that. The other inexpensive option I can get from a local dealer is Homecrest.

    Of these 3, which do you think is the best and why? I know you carry both Fabuwood and 6 Square. What is the difference between them? They seem very similar. Does Homecrest have any advantages over either of these?

    Thank you so much for your help.


  97. pmcalary, May 12, 2017 at 10:48 am:

    Hi Jen,
    Fabuwood will be less and on on painted Birch. 6 Square and Home Crest will be more and on Painted maple. Strikly on durability the cabinets would be ranked as they cost with Homecrest first the 6 square then Fabuwood but the differenced is so small and the cost differences are an added 15% and 40%.

    Unless my design needed added customization which most people’s don’t because their designs are overly uncomplicate, I would probably get the birch Fabuwood knowing that I am saving 40% or at least 15% and that I may get some added chips with birch over time.

    Having a Guardsman Professional Furniture refinisher out to touch up a kitchen in 10 years only costs $500 which is why I worry less about birch and any added chips. Especially since with any painted cabinet the biggest problems with the paint will be due to water and moisture. Farm sinks and painted finishes are particularly problematic. If you want to be extra cautious pay jut the 15% more for the 6 Square.

  98. Jen, May 12, 2017 at 11:04 am:


    Thank you!! You are truly a life saver. If we lived closer to your showroom we would definitely be coming to see you. (We’re in Central Maryland.) I’m going to look at the Fabuwood after work today. I’m still trying to find a local dealer of 6 Square. Apparently the online company Cliq Studios sells 6 Square. What do you know about them? I am skeptical about someone designing my kitchen without seeing it in person, but can they do a good job just based on measurements and photos? Our design is fairly simple.

    Thanks again,


  99. Michelle, May 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm:


    Do you have any experience with Harlan Cabinetry or Dutch Made Cabinetry out of Indiana? They seem somewhat similar but curious as to your thoughts. Thanks!

  100. pmcalary, May 15, 2017 at 10:04 am:

    Hi Michelle,
    I don’t know either line but their website’s are not very impressive nor informative. I would try to find better known brands that are more transparent in their products.

  101. Pattie, May 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm:

    Hi Paul, Yours’ seems to be the only voice of reason in what feels like a nightmare of mumbo-jumbo jargon in kitchen-reno-world. THANK YOU for the wonderful service you provide to educate and inform. Please help me if you can.
    I am looking for white painted shaker-style recessed-panel framed cabinets with a little more detailing. Ideally I would like inset, but am leaning toward full-overlay doors to avoid fit issues with mid-priced cabinet lines.
    While I would love Rutt Regency or Woodmode cabinets (gorgeous) I don’t know if I can justify the cost, We have a small kitchen in a modest house. Holiday Kitchens (made in Wisconsin) were suggested to me and up close seem to be a quality line, but I can’t find much information out there from others with first-hand experience. Have you heard of the line?
    The dealer, who carries a number of cabinet lines including Decora, said Holiday Kitchens was comparable to Decora, but that Holiday Kitchens had a better finish in painted cabinets. Any feedback you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

  102. pmcalary, May 15, 2017 at 11:43 pm:

    Hi Pattie,
    Sorry I don’t know the Holiday line well. They are not a popular brand in this area. They look OK but give very little construction information on their site. Decora I do know and they are well constructed. If you have a modest home all of these lines might be more than you need to spend and a line like 6 Square might suit your needs equally well. They are sold as Clique Studios on line. Of course the design itself is the overlooked area of most importance. And the designs we get sent are nearly all very poor which is either a testament to how bad most kitchen designers are or of how unwilling they are to criticize the poor designs that customers initially want. The easiest thing for any kitchen designer to do is to give a customer the design that they think they want. The best kitchen designers find ways to educate their customers so that they understand why they might want something else.

  103. Pattie, May 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm:

    Hi again Paul, After reading about what to look for on your site, I tracked down a phone number and spoke directly with Holiday Kitchens.( I paid attention to what you said about cabinet companies that don’t put their construction info on their web sites.)
    I am told their framed cabinets are built with a 5/8″ plywood box, 5/8″ solid wood drawers (back,front and sides) 1/4″ bottom standard or upgrade to 1/2″ bottom of drawers.
    Holiday Kitchens use Hettich full extension glides (not Blum). In your opinion, how does Holiday Kitchen compare to other lines you have seen? I had never heard of Holiday Kitchens before as they are not widely available on Long Island where I live.
    While your point is well taken with regard to bringing in a good kitchen designer, I have been disappointed with some of the designers I’ve spoken with as they are not as creative as I would have liked and in many cases have contradicted one another. I don’t want someone to rubber-stamp my own designs- I want them to improve upon them and be more creative. Maybe I am expecting too much. I have been playing with graph paper and paper kitchen cabinet cut-outs for years trying to figure out the best layout for our odd-shaped kitchen to make it as functional as possible because I really cook.
    Getting back to the cabinetry: I don’t have an actual quote on HK yet, but having looked at Woodmode’s Brookhaven line, I find it hard to justify spending about $10-grand more for “furniture-grade” particle board construction.
    In terms of the bottom line, I live in a 1000 square foot house in an area where even similar sized homes are going for over $400,000. I’m not looking to sell. For me, I want a solid quality product with nice detailing. It is hard to compromise on features and construction after “seeing Paris” but I don’t want to put a “Bentley” kitchen in my one-car garage either, if you know what I mean.
    Anyway, given what I’ve relayed about Brookhaven and the Holiday Kitchen line, what are your thoughts? Any other lines I might look at?

  104. Jane Anne Sherin, May 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm:

    Do you know the quality of Bishop Cabinets? The kitchen design center I am using deals with Bishop and Greenfield. My Greenfield quote was very high.

  105. Karen, May 17, 2017 at 9:13 am:


    I’m looking a Fabuwood Gallery in Linen. Your reviews suggest these are a high quality cabinet, however I’m concerned they only offer a 5 year warranty. How does this compare to other warranties?

  106. pmcalary, May 17, 2017 at 11:02 am:

    We give all the cabinets we sell a limited lifetime warranty Including ones that only offer 5 year ones like Fabuwood. In general any problems that are warranty-able happen in the first 2 years and no one warranties against wear and tear so longer warranties are more about marketing than construction. IKEA gives a long warranty and they are junk but a smart company when it comes to marketing.

  107. pmcalary, May 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm:

    We Like Bishop and we are a dealer for them. Upgrade to their Deluxe or Untimate box and soft close drawers and doors

  108. Karen, May 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm:

    I am in Kentucky and the dealer is offering an “upgrade” on the soft hinges and drawer closes but I see they are “standard” on Fabuwood according to your information? Thanks so much–your posts are very helpful.

  109. Karen, May 17, 2017 at 2:36 pm:

    Another brand is “Cliqstudios” made in Indiana. Are you familiar with them or their reputation?

  110. pmcalary, May 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm:

    Hi Pattie,
    I don’t know how the backs of the Holiday cabinets are made. 1/2 backs or Solid wood hanging rails are best.

  111. pmcalary, May 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm:

    Hi Karen Yes We carry Clique Studios sold as 6 Square by dealers as well as Fabuwood. Both are well made. But designing remotely is dangerous.

  112. Regina, May 18, 2017 at 10:46 am:

    Our kitchen/bath design company has recommended a brand of cabinets called Kemp. Kemp is an Amish company in Indiana. However; I can not find any more information on them. Are you familiar with this company?

  113. paul mcalary, May 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm:

    Never heard of them. They have a simple web site with no information

  114. Pattie, May 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm:

    Hi Paul, I tracked down a local rep who carries Brighton on Long Island. Because his shop just opened about 2-months ago I am concerned about potential cabinet issues down the road if this place goes out of business (a number of kitchen places here have).

    Should I seek out another (more established) shop that sells Brighton? Or is it a matter of the Brighton company standing behind their product no matter where I buy their cabinets?

  115. pmcalary, May 19, 2017 at 10:44 pm:

    Hi Pattie,
    Even though we are a new company and have only been in business 7 years. 2 months is a very short time. The first customers that bought kitchens from us were longtime business friends that I am so thankful for now. If you didn’t know the people in this company before now it is too risky and I would find a more established dealer to buy from.

  116. Chris, May 19, 2017 at 10:47 pm:

    Thank you so much for this helpful blog!

    We are trying to decide between Bertch, Cabico and DuraSupreme. We are able to pay for a quality product, but don’t want to unnecessarily overpay. Do you have an opinion about the three?


  117. pmcalary, May 21, 2017 at 10:53 am:

    I’d go Bertch. We used to carry Durasupreme but found the company disreputable. So we would recommend avoiding them and Bertch we like more than Cabico.

  118. Chris, May 21, 2017 at 8:05 pm:

    Thanks! Is Bertch worth 20% more in total project cost v. Cabico?

  119. pmcalary, May 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm:

    Actually Bertch for only 20% more than Cabico is a great deal.

  120. Suzanne driscoll, May 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm:

    Hi I am wondering what your opinion is on hanssem cabinets vs fabuwood for wood finish. Thank you

  121. pmcalary, May 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm:

    Even though Hanssem is a popular line none of us has ever sold them and we can’t find info on line so we don’t know. It would be unlikely that they would be as nice as Fabuwood but that is only a guess.

  122. Connie Black, May 23, 2017 at 3:02 pm:

    Which would be a better buy for 96″ bathroom cabinetry, American Woodmark or Waypoint?

  123. pmcalary, May 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm:

    Bathroom cabinetry takes so little stress that either upgraded to plywood would be fine.

  124. TDVH, May 25, 2017 at 12:45 pm:

    We are considering Shiloh cabinets for our new construction house and we are wondering why Shiloh cabinets received a C grade. Here are the cabinet specifications posted on the company’s website.

    Any guidance on this would be very helpful. Many thanks!

    1. Solid wood hanging rail for secure fastening to wall.

    2. Solid wood corner blocks in base cabinets add strength and stability.

    3. 5/8″ hardwood dovetail drawer box standard (3/4″ hardwood dovetail drawer box available)

    4. Guides are Blum TANDEM edge 7/8″ extension with integrated BLUMOTION soft closing mechanism standard (optional Blum Tandem full extension guides with integrated BLUMOTION soft closing mechanism)

    6. Durable and easy-to-clean interior.

    7. 3/4″ plywood adjustable shelving with solid metal shelf clips.

    8. 1 1/2″ wide solid wood frames.

    9. 3/8″ plywood top (on wall cabinets) and bottom.

    10. Catalyzed conversion varnish topcoat that is smooth, very durable and resistant to most household chemicals

    11. 1/2″ plywood sides with finished ends that feature matching hardwood veneer on 1/4″ substrate panel for a great look and outstanding quality

    12. Blum COMPACT BLUMOTION 6-way adjustable hinges with integrated soft closing mechanism available on most hinges. (excludes knife, demountable and 3/8″ inset hinges)

  125. Steve, May 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm:

    If you had to choose between Kith and TRU lines, which would you suggest?

  126. JC, May 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm:

    My GC is installing Wolf Classic Dartmouth Cabinets and my wife and I are a little nervous as a lot of reviews on-line indicate poor quality control and finish with the classic line. Your review gives Wolf a solid “B” score. Should we be concerned?? We were told they were a mid-grade cabinet.

  127. pmcalary, May 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm:

    They are a good value for the money but the lower lever of pricing for cabinetry so expect some issues but to upgrade to a more expensive line might be expensive.

  128. pmcalary, May 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm:

    Finding another company to work with

  129. pmcalary, May 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm:

    We don’t like the backs and the hanging rail. It is too small to be secure and the backs are not thick enough to compensate. Why do everything else so well and leave such an important feature sub standard. That is the most concerning feature here.

  130. John P., May 31, 2017 at 4:52 am:

    You gave the Solid Wood Cabinets two A’s. Is this the company you mean? There is another company called Sollid Wood Cabinets with two “L’s” in Sollid.

    Also, can you confirm if are made in the USA not assembled in the USA, actually material sourced and manufactured in the USA? You gave them two “A’s” so I would like to confirm if we are talking about the same company.

  131. pmcalary, May 31, 2017 at 8:08 am:

    Yes this is the same company, in PA you can get them assembled. And buying cabinets assembled by the manufacture is important. They are very well made for the LOWEST price point level cabinetry. All well made inexpensive cabinetry is now assembled in the US by US companies but has the cabinet doors and fronts coming from Asia.

    Strictly all US made companies that are at very low price points can’t be well made for the low price. Higher end cabinetry is better made in the US but even there some doors may be coming from Asia. Some things can’t be done cheaply and be all US made. No one would buy an iPhone if it cost $2,500. So you can’t get INEXPENSIVE well constructed cabinetry that is all US made, it just doesn’t exist. The inexpensive cabinetry that is all US made is either a company that is lying, which many are, or the cabinetry must be either poorly made or more expensive.

  132. Jamie, June 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm:

    What a great site. We have a 33 year old kitchen. Cabinets are by Merillat.Solid oak doors and frames. Slide out shelves and not much for then that. We just found a broken waste pipe and a cabinet became molded from the moisture. This is inside, end. The insurance company requested us to find estimates for a cabinet builder to rebuild, or replace the cabinet. I have had no luck in this process. So, I have been researching new cabinets. Kraftmaid, Shenandoah,Schuler and American Woodmark. Home depot, Loews and Consumers Kitchen and Bath.I was happy with the Merilatt, they preformed very well over the years, for being builder grade. Just the upgrade of the solid oak doors.
    33 years later I am looking for better choices. Lazy susan,better pull outs and crown moldings.
    I have tried to do my research but it is daunting to say the least. Which cabinets would you recommend over the
    other? And any thoughts over Loews, Home depot and Consumers. I am also having whoever I go with give me the estimated cost to replace what I had, and then I will upgrade to new. thank you so much for this great site. We are located on Long Island NY

  133. pmcalary, June 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm:

    Kraftmaid is the best cabinet you mention. Our 2017 report rates them all. Lowes or Home depot has more to do with who the designer is. I never heard of Consumers

  134. MikeZ, June 1, 2017 at 11:48 pm:

    Two questions: Do you know anything about Woodland Cabinetry out of South Dakota? Website says little about construction materials or methods but per local dealer it is fairly high end. I have an enquiry in to them about construction.
    Also in reviewing Kraftmaid All Plywood Construction the wall cabinet backs are 3/16 inch plywood along with a 1/2 inch mounting rail. Also drawer bottoms are 3/16. Is that OK? I did not even know there was plywood that thin.

  135. pmcalary, June 2, 2017 at 6:45 am:

    Hi Mike,
    Kraftmaid is a 3/4″ hanging rail unless it changed in the last year. If they did and you have documentation please send that if you could. We would need to adjust our rating and amend some of our blogs. The captured drawer bottoms and backs don’t make any difference. Sorry we never heard of Woodland.

  136. Peter Despres, June 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm:

    Hi – Your site and this page in particular are outstanding and have such great info. Researching kitchen cabinets is a daunting task, but you make it manageable. How much difference is there in both price and quality between Kraftmaid and Wellsford? Would you recommend one over the other and if so for what reasons? Thank you!!

  137. pmcalary, June 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm:

    Hi Peter,
    Wellsford is a custom line made is Pennsylvania that is one of the 8 cabinet lines that we carry. Wellborn is a larger National brand so I’m wondering if you mean Wellborn and not Wellsford. Wellborn has many different lines and their higher end cabinetry is like Kraftmaid and possibly a little more versatile. Right now we do not carry either Kraftmaid or Wellborn although we have considered carrying both at different times.

    Wellsford we do carry. It is a custom line and better made and more expensive than Kraftmaid. If you are considering Wellsford you would probably be in our service area and if so I would wonder why you aren’t working with us directly? We carry every price point for cabinetry from very well made cabinetry 40% less than Kraftmaid to very expensive custom cabinetry that would certianly be more. Our company is less expensive than traditional showrooms for cabinetry because we have a different business model. So by not working with us if you are in our area you will be spending more on cabinetry and probably working with a less skilled designer. We will travel within a couple of hours drive of Philadelphia so if you are within that radius I would suggest calling and discussing your project.

  138. MikeZ, June 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm:

    I got the info about the Kraftmaid hanging rails from-
    There are three downloadable pdf specification books linked from that page, for Lowes, Home Depot, and independents. On the Lowes pdf see the Construction Options page C17 which states hanging rails are 3/4″ on bases and 1/2″ on wall and solid wood. On page C14 they say the hanging rails may be either solid wood or plywood. I saw the same in the Home Depot spec download but not sure if the page numbers are identical. For 2016-2017.

  139. pmcalary, June 2, 2017 at 10:16 pm:

    Hi Mike,
    Thank you so much for sending the specs.

    I am still OK with the Kraftmaid construction, although the plywood reference and other issues make me think that the company is heading in the wrong direction. Since the base cabinets still use 3/4″ hanging rails and on the wall cabinets the 1/2″ hanging rails are on top of the 3/16 plywood making the combination very close to 3/4″ The construction is still good.

    You must make sure to upgrade Kraftmaid and most other all US made cabinet lines to all plywood construction to get the same level of durability as many of the the US lines that are using Asian doors and cabinet fronts..

    Seems funny, but today some inexpensive lines are better made un-upgraded, than the most expensive cabinet lines unless they are upgraded.

    Lines like Medallion, Durasupreme, Diamond, Starmark, Fieldstone, and others are beautiful looking but made poorly unless they are upgraded.

    This may change as consumers become better informed.

  140. Pete, June 3, 2017 at 12:50 am:

    Paul – I was talking about Wellsford. I am in NJ and within the 2 hour service area you mention. I filled out the contact form on your website so should be talking to your folks soon. Thanks again.

  141. RPilli, June 6, 2017 at 12:41 am:

    Do you have any experience with Conestoga Wood? The have aome nice inset cabinets. Who do these compare to others?

  142. pmcalary, June 6, 2017 at 2:49 am:

    Ad far as I know Conestoga does not make anything except RTA cabinets and doors and drawer fronts. Other cabinet makers could use their doors to make inset cabinets but Conestoga does not make inset cabinetry themselves.

  143. bkbk, June 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm:

    For China-made cabinets, could you compare Fabuwood with Forevermark and Coline? Thx.

  144. pmcalary, June 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm:

    I don’t know Coline. But with RTA cabinetry I would only buy it already assembled by the manufacturer. I don’t think that’s an option with Forevermark. And they also lose in a quality comparison to Fabuwood IMO.

  145. Robin, June 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm:

    Thanks for your help! It is impossible to get real information about most cabinets. You give really high marks to St. Martin and we are about to go with them (we seem to be getting a good deal), but I have two concerns:They do a great job on their website of describing all components of their cabinets but leave off any mention whatsoever about their drawer pullout hardware. Also, I cannot find out anything about where their plywood is from (you said that carb 2 compliance is not as important if all playwood, correct?) Are you aware that these cabinets are framless and have 1/4 inch backs, which you explain are not great? Can you tell me why you have give them such high grades? I have even gotten a chance to look at their spec book and still there is no info on these things.

  146. Tina, June 8, 2017 at 11:21 pm:

    I am working with a designer and he highly recommends Kith Cabinets. Why were they given a low rating? I must order cabinets asap.
    Thank you so much for your help!!

  147. pmcalary, June 9, 2017 at 7:18 am:

    Hi Robin,
    Unfortunately we were mistaken in our evaluation of St Martin. On closer scrutiny you are correct. While the finishes and door styles are very nice I was relying on another designers evaluation and only checked the St Martin Web site very quickly. Since they are a Pennsylvania company I thought we knew the product better than we did. My Apologies. I am completely removing them from our evaluation since we obviosly don’t full understand their product.

  148. pmcalary, June 9, 2017 at 7:38 am:

    Hi Tina,
    Kith is an inexpensive cabinet line that uses a 1/2 plywood hanging rails, plastic corner braces, and some slightly thinner plywood components in their upgraded framed line. There are better low cost cabinetry options.

  149. Klim, June 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm:

    We are looking at waypoint standard, homecrest all ply for white shaker door style. Are you familiar with 4B wood? Which uses mainly mdf.
    Which of these would you recommend ?

  150. pmcalary, June 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm:

    Never heard of 4B Homecrest the best here.

  151. Klim, June 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm:

    There are so much to consider in remodeling. So glad to see this site. What is better, Full overlay or partial overlay? Pro and con. Would partial overlay cabinets look outdated?

    Would appreciate very much your opinion.

  152. Klim, June 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm:

    Thank you so much for your quick response.
    Would waypoint all ply be still not as good as homecrest all ply?

    Thank you again.

  153. pmcalary, June 11, 2017 at 10:12 pm:

    Partial overlay is just a look but it is not a popular one. I would not recommend redoing a kitchen in an unpopular door style or for example keeping your soffits or getting raised panel oak cabinets. These looks will bring little value to your renovation and you are spending so much money already that saving a little to leave the result something that won’t get the full value of the renovation is not a good investment.

    I constantly tell people that poor designs are the biggest waste of money of all. But not being designers often people don’t realize how bad their kitchen designs are or like many customers we meet erroneously believe that there aren’t better designs for their space. There are ALWAYS better designs and making those better designs happen IS the best money you can spend on a kitchen.

    The things some customers splurge on like very expensive appliances, high level granite, quartz or soapstone countertops, or custom cabinets have very little impact on the value of a home. Good design is usually is not very expensive to implement. And it is the investment in your home that get back many times the amount that you spend to get it.

  154. Klim, June 13, 2017 at 12:38 am:

    Thank you very much for the info on overlay.
    you said the white painted cabinet can show dirt and chips easily. I have white appliance and that is why I pick white cabinet. Any suggestion of stain cabinet color that would not look like I have a white elephant as I have a big white refrigerator in a small kitchen?

  155. Harry, June 13, 2017 at 10:51 am:

    Hi Paul,

    I am in the process of replacing my kitchen cabinets and countertop. Have you ever heard of Winwood cabinets? From the specs alone (1/2″ inch sides and 3/4″ back – birch, center panel of the door is MDF) it seems decent for the price. It’s price is almost 40% less than Fabuwood and about the same as the Wolf Classic This is the link to their product.

    Any thoughts or advice? Thank you

  156. pmcalary, June 13, 2017 at 10:19 pm:

    You are getting bad pricing for Fabuwood or not comparing apples to apples. Fabuwood should cost about 10% or 15% more than Wolf. It is a better product but for 40% over Wolf you could be getting Kraftmaid, Bishop, or Decora.

    These unknown Asian lines are popping up like weeds. How good they are or even how solvent the dealers are that carry them is the roll of the dice.
    Carrying completely unknown lines is a risky undertaking. Some dealers may find a diamond in the rough. But the real question is will they stand behind a product for good or ill. Check out the dealer here. The cabinet industry is in serious flux and good brands are dying and cheep ones growing roots. Who the dealer is is becoming more important than the line.

  157. Marilyn, June 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm:

    We went kitchen cabinet shopping this weekend and sat with a designer for a good length of time. His store sells many brands of cabinets. We are between Wellborn and Fabuwood for a painted white cabinet. After reading the reviews on other websites, I’m not sure which way to go. You rate both very highly. There’s about an $8,000 price difference between the two. I’m planning on living with this kitchen for at least 10 years and I would like it to last, but I’m also redoing many things in this house so I would like to be careful about my spending. Any suggestions or is there another cabinet company you would recommend?

  158. pmcalary, June 19, 2017 at 7:58 am:

    Hi Marilyn,
    In a stained finish the Wellborn would probably have finishes that you liked a lot more and that looked much richer. In a painted cabinet there will be no difference looks wise. The Wellborne will be on harder Maple wood and not Birch like Fabuwood. However the difference in durability because of the harder wood is negligible. Water and getting a painted cabinet wet is what destroys the finish and maple or birch are equally susceptible. When you keep in mind that Furniture refinishers like Guardsman can touch up a whole kitchen and make it look new for $500 I start seriously thinking about Fabuwood.

    I would also point out that you met with a designer one day with no mention of them measuring your kitchen and investigating what’s in walls and considering changes to the footprint of your kitchen. Redesigning the space could give you a better house and not just new cabinets in a poorly designed kitchen. Having one design meeting screams of a amateurish design to me. If you spent half the difference in cabinet cost so $4000 on the construction to redesign the space and removed walls, moved doorways, or possibly windows. Or taking out soffits, stacking cabinets to the ceiling, or moving plumbing and electric. The difference in your home could be mind blowing and that would be money well spent.

    Of course most customers we meet at first say what and all bad kitchen designers say. “There really isn’t much I can do differently with my space. The design has to be this way.” But they say this because they aren’t great kitchen designers. As Doug Mottershead says in this video below “People don’t know what they don’t know!”

    Check out the video it will make you laugh!

  159. Cynthia, June 21, 2017 at 3:14 pm:

    Hi Paul:

    Would appreciate your input on the ‘latest’ cabinet assembly attaching drawer fronts with visible dark screws countersunk on inside front corners of the boxes instead of neatly screwed on the back face? Besides aesthetics, does this affect the durability of the joints or drawer box?

    Among a few other American brands, I recently noticed at an upscale kitchen showroom, Crystal Cabinets now offers two lower-priced lines, along with their original, very high quality custom line.

    Their lowest priced cabinets had five piece drawer headers with MDF center panels affixed with screws countersunk on the inside front corners of the box. Their mid-priced line had large, yet, noticeably neater doweled holes with countersunk corner screws. Their highest priced line still had headers affixed discreetly on the back inner face of the drawer box.

    Are visible countersunk corner screws a new standard for drawer assembly? Do any of your lower to mid-priced lines have this assembly on five piece drawers with MDF center panels? How would you rate this construction quality?

    Thank you!

  160. steve, June 22, 2017 at 12:34 am:

    Love the very informative site and ranking system you have posted. If I was in PA I would defiantly stop by and give you a shot at my new kitchen.
    With that said I’m in VA. and I have two local small kitchen design teams working on my layout. One has Kraftmaid and the other has Mid Continent. Still waiting to hear back from the Kraftmaid on price, but I got a price of 13K on the Mid Continent cabinets. I’m more worried about quality then price, how much better is the top line Kraftmaid over the Mid Continent top line.

  161. pmcalary, June 22, 2017 at 6:49 am:

    Hi Steve,
    Regular Kraftmaid upgraded to all plywood construction is not comparable to Mid Continent as our review states. We give Kraftmaid an A and Mid Continent a C for construction quality. Your comments also hint at a lack of concern with the design itself. From a customer’s attitude I can sometimes almost visualize their kitchen design and it’s flaws. Your comment about “giving someone a shot at your kitchen” conjures up a kitchen full of design errors poor decision making.

  162. pmcalary, June 22, 2017 at 7:15 am:

    Not sure I understand what you are describing. Nearly all well made cabinet lines use visible, sometimes not even countersunk screws, to attach the drawer front to the solid wood dovetail drawer box. If you are saying that the sides of the drawer boxes are not dovetailed but doweled or just screwed I would stick with a dovetail drawer box. Doweled might be OK but even the Asian lines use dovetail so what other corners are being cut?

  163. Susan Braue, June 22, 2017 at 1:41 pm:

    Thank you for this very informative website. I am looking at Plato Cabinets and would like your opinion on them. I think I live a little out of your area. Wish you were in NY.

  164. Susan Braue, June 22, 2017 at 1:50 pm:

    Thank you for this very informative site. I am planning on getting a new kitchen. I have been looking at Plato. I love their finishes. Are you familiar with their cabinets? We live just outside of your area. I wish you were in NY.

  165. Sarah, June 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm:

    We’re looking to purchase cabinetry for a full remodel of our home. We’re looking for mid-range, maple, stained, shaker cabinets. We’re also hoping to get decently constructed cabinets for the best cost, especially for the kitchen since it’ll be the most heavily used. We definitely plan to upgrade to all plywood construction. Right now we’re trying to compare quotes while trying to stay within budget.

    Our interior designer recommended going with Mid Continent or Kitchen Craft. The kitchen designer for Mid Continent is fantastic, so we were leaning towards them. Why do they get a C rating from you? For their all plywood option, they do have a 3/8″ back and 1/2″ hang rail, but together these wouldn’t be fairly sturdy? I’m less inclined to go with Kitchen Craft since it’s frameless.

    The contractor we’re working with recommended Thomasville or American Woodmark. We were told that Thomasville is currently made by Schrock? Our contract has a great kitchen designer at Home Depot he recommends, so I think our kitchen design will still go well with a Home Depot line. After reading your blog, do you think we should we get quotes for Kraftmaid instead while at Home Depot?

    Also, how do the stained finishes between these brands compare, especially in regards to holding up to UV? We live in Arizona and have a lot of natural light coming into our kitchen.

    Any thoughts for just using American Woodmark only in the bathrooms to save money and a higher end line for the kitchen?

    Thank you for any thoughts. We’re very overwhelmed in making these selections.

  166. pmcalary, June 22, 2017 at 9:36 pm:

    Wow. That’s too much to answer. Use our rating system but we can’t get that detailed answering blog comments. Sorry.

  167. pmcalary, June 22, 2017 at 9:43 pm:

    We don’t know enough about them to rate Plato. Beyond the fact that they are a custom line I know very little about their product line.

  168. pmcalary, June 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm:

    Hi Susan,
    Sorry. We don’t know very much about Plato other than that they are a custom line, and their web site doesn’t have enough information to make an educated evaluation.

  169. Jo Ann, June 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm:

    Hello! I am pricing out cabinets and have reviewed your helpful guide. I like the price of wolf and waypoint and the look of the cabinets. But I like the tried and tested reputation of Kraftmaid. Is there a company you feel falls in the middle?

  170. pmcalary, June 25, 2017 at 7:32 pm:

    Hi Jo Ann,
    If you like the Wolf and Waypoint I might stick with them. Cabinet lines in between Kraftmaid and them won’t get you a better made cabinet just more options and finishes.

  171. Sury Vepa, June 26, 2017 at 9:00 am:


    Thanks for your helpful suggestions before. After more than two months of looking around and researching, we are finally thinking of buying Schuler cabinets from Lowes because we liked the styles, finishes, minor customization that our design needed, and features. However, we are still debating whether to upgrade to all plywood construction or opt for standard particle board for the cabinets. This option is estimated to cost us an additional three thousand dollars (total cost of the cabinets around 23K) and we are told that going either way on this option may not make that much difference. You have been kind to make useful suggestions before and I would appreciate your help again. We are almost there but dont want to jump without some expert advice and information.
    Along the way, We have looked at Ultracraft, St. Martin, Mid Continent, Fabuwood, Kraftmaid and some others.
    Thanks. Sury

  172. pmcalary, June 26, 2017 at 9:14 am:

    I couldn’t agree less. Schuler also called Medallion is a terrible cabinet if you don’t upgrade it to plywood. We would give it an F in it’s particle board version. The backs and even the sides in their lowest version are only 3/8″ particle board so essentially expensive junk. Kraftmaid we would give a C in all particle board because there is a solid wood hanging rail (at least up to this date). In plywood both lines are well made. Don’t splurge on an expensive cabinet line and cheap out on it’s construction. The designer is irresponsible for giving you this advice. See the video below:

    If you want to spend less get a well made inexpensive cabinet line not an expensive one compromised by poor construction.

  173. Cathy, June 26, 2017 at 10:00 am:

    You commented about the St. Martin line but I do not see it listed in your comparison. How do they rank?

  174. pmcalary, June 26, 2017 at 10:41 am:

    Hi Cathy,
    We removed our review for St Martin because we realized that we didn’t fully understand their product line and their web site didn’t answer our questions. So we really just aren’t qualified to rate them as none of us has seen the product first hand.

  175. Jo Ann, June 26, 2017 at 11:50 am:

    Hello I have tried to post this question twuce now, hoping this time is the lucky charm!

    I have reviewed your guide and fiybd it extremely helpful. We have a designer and likely a company to purchase cabinets from.

    I like the price point if waypoint and wolf for painted shaker cabinets. But I like the tried and true reputation if Kraftmaid. We live in Cleveland ohio area, so very common product in many homes here.

    In your guide above, there are few “3” brands that rank as well in the criteria you consider. So
    Is there a brand that falls in between the companies I listed above. Plan to sell house in 10 years so want the cabinets to still be looking good then. Plan to hire the refinisher you mentioned in previous posts, such a good idea!

    Thanks for any insight.

  176. Jo Ann, June 26, 2017 at 11:51 am:

    Yikes. I see a few typos above!

  177. Gregory, June 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm:

    I purchased recently unassembled cabinets from the cabinets are manufactured by JSI and the quality is pretty good, it should probably be on your next list, it came standard with the soft close on the doors and drawers. I got the Essex white shaker for the main part and the Norwich grey shaker for the island.

  178. pmcalary, June 26, 2017 at 4:27 pm:

    We would only rate assembled cabinetry. Assembling cabinetry on site is usually not a great idea.

  179. Gregory, June 26, 2017 at 4:43 pm:

    I believe, they have assembled as well for a little bit more, it was a renovation so i had an extra room to assemble them, was quick, easy and saved a lot of money. I agree that for new construction you should probably get your cabinets assembled to avoid damage from other work.

  180. pmcalary, June 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm:

    Hi Gregory,
    Most companies charge about $20 per box to assemble. So the money you save is negligible but having it factory assembled can be invaluable. Of course really knowledgeable people not looking to save money but to improve on a cabinet’s construction can put the cabinet together themselves better than the factory with added glues, screws and even added hanging rails. Unfortunately many people believe they can do this and only a few succeed. But I have seen some really experienced homeowners and contractors turn an RTA cabinet into a something nearly indestructible with just a little more effort and at most $100 in materials.

  181. Larry, July 2, 2017 at 7:22 am:

    I’m tearing out my kitchen and having a whole new kitchen remodel done. What is the average cost per square foot on custom built cabinets? I have been told $200. I priced Merilat Masterpiece cabinets made of maple at $12K, (no countertop yett) as an alternative. Is this a quality brand for the price in a normal 10 X 10 kitchen or is custom built the better option if prices end up being fairly close?

  182. Rachel, July 2, 2017 at 9:10 am:

    I am doing a complete kitchen renovation. I am going back and forth between showplace, CNC and kraftmaid for cabinets. I was surprised at kraftmaid came out higher for a quote. I don’t want to be cheap but I don’t want to spend more for the sake of spending more. The research I have done on all three has confused me more because they are all well made. Can you give me your recommendation?

  183. pmcalary, July 4, 2017 at 11:50 am:

    Kraftmaid is a better cabinet. CNC is well made but a little cheap looking finish wise. Showplace is in between. If you like the finish on the less expensive cabinet lines it might be hard to decide. But don’t expect the same level of fine detail in a less expensive line.

  184. pmcalary, July 4, 2017 at 11:57 am:

    Kitchens aren’t sold by the square foot or by the linear foot for that matter. They are priced by the cabinet and the part everywhere in the world.They are displayed with per linear foot pricing in home center displays just to help people understand which lines are more expensive and which are less but it is a very misleading way to guess pricing. Sort of like car ads where you can get a brand new car for $150/mo.

    We give Merilat terrible reviews so we would select a different line.

  185. Kathy, July 5, 2017 at 2:36 pm:

    We paid a designer to do the layout for us and we have one that we are finally comfortable with. This designer exclusively sells Candlelight cabinets. In shopping for flooring the other day I stumbled upon a dealer that sells Fabuwood. They are able to match or come close to our original design and would be about half the cost of Candlelight. Now I am very torn. You rated both the same for quality and value so I’m not sure how to proceed.

    Also, for the Candlelight design, we had to downgrade to particle board and it’s still almost double the cost of Fabuwood. Is downgrading to particle board instead of plywood a bad idea?

    This post has been very helpful so thanks in advance for any additional insight you can provide!

  186. pmcalary, July 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm:

    Candlelight is a higher end cabinet than Fabuwood. But what you are paying for few people take advantage of. Construction and durability is similar and most people don’t appreciate the difference in the finish between the two lines. Their designs also don’t require the higher end line. Downgrading Candlelight to particleboard certainly makes no sense.

    Sadly the designs we get sent are usually amateurish whether in Candlelight or Fabuwood so spending extra money to be in a more expensive cabinet line with a simplistic design is just a waste and down grading the more expensive line just exacerbates the issue.

  187. Anne, July 6, 2017 at 10:17 am:

    Thank you for this article and your evaluations of many cabinet lines.

    We have looked at many brands and here is where we are: **Merrilat (mixed reviews from consumers ELIMINATED)
    **Kraftmaid (Nice finishes but question longevity ELIMINATED)
    **Bertch (little in terms of reviews but two different designers say they have great customer service, limited door styles/colors, IN THE RUNNING)
    **Conestoga (RTA but great reviews, door styles and finishes, IN THE RUNNING)
    **Shiloh (love the finishes, good reviews, few up-charges, IN THE RUNNING)
    **Brookhaven (great finishes, expensive from local designer, ELIMINATED)

    What are your thoughts? What lines do you carry that compare to those lines we are still considering: Bertch, Shiloh, Conestoga?

    How far do you travel? I am just north of Allentown.

  188. pmcalary, July 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm:

    Hi Anne,
    The research you are doing is compromised by the fact that you know little about cabinetry. On line reviews are not meaningful since they are written by consumers like yourself that will rate a cabinet based on their overall experience. And how happy they are has no bearing on the quality of the product they ordered or it’s longevity. See our blog below for why:

    Falling into this way of thinking nearly always means your design when we see it will be poor. Because you were doing your research backwards. For example, if to want to replace the engine in your car you shouldn’t research how to replace a car engine you should research good mechanics. Find a good kitchen designer and reputable cabinet dealer, they will help you understand what is possible in your space and what’s a good investment.

    We will travel to Allentown to measure your kitchen but you would need to do the traveling to Bala Cynwyd for your design appointments. You’d get experienced help and we only carry well made cabinetry at very competitive prices, but it is a lot of traveling for you. We get customers coming from as far away as Virginia and upstate New York so some people find it worth it.

  189. LAB, July 7, 2017 at 3:06 pm:

    Kraftmaid or Mediallon? We have priced both and they are pretty much the same price point. Don’t know which way to go. Going with cherry wood.

  190. pmcalary, July 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm:

    Medallion is normally about 20% more than Kraftmaid. If you got the same price it sounds like you weren’t comparing apples to apples. If they really are the same price and upgraded to all plywood I would go with Medallion their cherry is more beautiful.

  191. Betsy Rehm, July 8, 2017 at 3:53 pm:

    Are you familiar with Countryside Cabinets out of Wisconsin? I used Thomasville about 10 years ago and was very happy with them. My bathroom reno contractor is suggesting Countryside as an alternative. I’m a little leery. Your advice?

  192. pmcalary, July 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm:

    Never heard of Countryside but I am not a fan of Home Depot’s so called Thomasville.

  193. Eric, July 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm:

    Can I ask your opinion on Kith? I went through the comment section and didn’t see anyone else looking at them. It seems even in upgraded form they run 1/4 back and 5/8 top, bottom and ends.

  194. pmcalary, July 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm:

    We gave them C’s in this review. That tells it all.

  195. Dp, July 12, 2017 at 11:19 am:

    How is decora from Home Depot? I had called decora directly and they said those cabinets get manufactured at the same place as other decora cabinet places and nothing is different except few door styles. I see you have rated best for them so wanted to check on that as I am getting better deal at HD than cabinets places. Thanks!

  196. pmcalary, July 12, 2017 at 11:47 am:

    @Dp Decora Cabinets upgraded will be identical at a home center, although quality of the design itself, the designers attention to detail, and their product knowledge could make an independent dealer a better choice. I would pay 10% more to work with a better designer although often finding a good designer costs nothing more and they actually save you money by being better at their job.

  197. Elaine, July 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm:

    Can you tell me anything about Cliq Cabinetry? I believe they are only sold online. They have very positive reviews, extremely reasonable and have an all plywood construction. We had a “real” kitchen designer do our plan (which we paid for), so they are not involved with the design. Do you have any thoughts on Crystal Current cabinets?

  198. Elaine, July 13, 2017 at 11:41 pm:

    The Cliq Cabinets also come with blum hardware.

  199. pmcalary, July 14, 2017 at 7:50 am:

    Hi Elaine,
    First let me say that I like the Clique Studios cabinetry, it is well constructed and affordable.

    However, there are two major issues with buying cabinets on line. First, I would never order even something simple like an an appliance, or a farm sink on line, much less a complicated cabinetry order. When the product comes damaged or wrong it could be incredibly frustrating replacing it. I have had customers need to replace things they bought on line multiple times without a place to return them or a live person to help them understand what they need. Their kitchen can be delayed weeks and sometimes months and all this to save at most about 10%.

    Most importantly kitchens need to be designed by the person who knows the product line they are designing in. And is available to advise you and your contractor every step of the way along a complex and detailed kitchen renovation. The work the “real” kitchen designer did on your design would have very little value if they weren’t responsible for the design, measurements, and available to solve problems when they arose.

    Finding a good kitchen designer is very difficult and even impossible in many remote locations. But if you are in a location close enough to get good kitchen design help and can find it, then not working with a designer all the way through the process is a mistake. You need a designer that sells you the cabinetry you are buying, and is responsible for the accuracy of the design, and can advise you on the other products you are getting as well as help solve problems if they arise.

    The road to circumventing working with a professional kitchen designer is littered with terrible designs and problems. However since customers are essentially completely ignorant of what constitutes a good design and good installation they never understand the terrible result they got. This is why IKEA and Clique Studios get the best reviews. People focused on CHEAP are less likely to appreciate good design to begin with, And when they get a new kitchen that to their eyes looks great, and they believe they saved money as well, they are always happy.

    Just this week two Clique Studios customers asked us to review their designs as a favor. One customer was spending 50 thousand dollars on a new kitchen and the design they sent us was so unprofessional it was painful. The second customer I couldn’t have send us a design because their design only showed two walls. When a designer only puts two walls in a kitchen there is no way anyone knowledgeable can understand if the design works. Any designer that doesn’t put all four walls and the measurements for the relevant surrounding areas like the table area into the design should not be working as a kitchen designer.

    Working with a single professional kitchen designer from start to finish does not guarantee a great design and outcome. But not doing so nearly always assures a poor design and an unprofessional result. The silver lining to the cloud, if there is one, is that as a customer you won’t realize how bad your result is. And so IKEA and Clique Studios will have another satisfied customer.

  200. Kayla, July 15, 2017 at 1:36 am:

    We are looking to put in a small wet bar in our basement remodel. We have need of only a small run of cabinets (4-5 total including sink base, 2 additional base cabinets, and 1-2 wall cabinets… the run is only 8ft long and will have a mini fridge in it). Looking for a decent set of cabinets that are inexpensive (as in under $1000 total) Located in WV and need them within 7-10 days. What would you recommend?

  201. Aaron Cobet, July 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm:

    How do Downsview Kitchen do in this rating system?

  202. pmcalary, July 15, 2017 at 6:50 pm:

    Sorry never heard of them

  203. Robin, July 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    We are in the process of selecting cabinets for a new house build. I am inclined to go with Kraftmaid based on $$ and your review. I am interested in white painted maple, but my husband feels that Kraftmaid’s “Dove White” is on the gray side when compared with the white of other cabinet manufacturers. Do you have any opinion om the tone of Kraftmaid’s white? (I have white subway tile in my current kitchen which does, in fact, look like a very pale gray, and I definitely want to stay away from a gray-looking white new kitchen.) I’d appreciate any insight you might have.

  204. pmcalary, July 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm:

    Hi Robin,
    Sorry I haven’t sold Kraftmaid for a number of years and can’t remember their white well enough to comment.

  205. pmcalary, July 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm:

    Sorry Magic 8 ball says “Outlook Not So Good!”

  206. Lois, July 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm:

    Hello, I have found a contractor to remodel my kitchen that I feel will do an excellent job. However, his preferred cabinet is Homecrest. I’m not completely sold on this product. It does seem budget friendily. Your opinion about Homecrest’s overall quality would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for you help.

  207. pmcalary, July 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm:

    I like Homecrest. Upgraded it is one of the best values in US cabinetry without all the parts made in China. Some US lines made in China will be a slightly better value but this is a safe choice in cabinet lines.

  208. Lois, July 20, 2017 at 9:30 pm:

    Thanks, Paul, I appreciate your input.

  209. Ron, July 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm:

    Hi, are you familiar with the Jensen cabinets? They are made in California, perhaps a local brand. We also looked at Kemper but all the negative reviews turn us off as there seems to be no recourse if the cabinets are not right. This is just for a bathroom vanity (2 sinks, 30 inches each and a set of drawers, 18 inches). Am I over thinking this whole thing as I’m not doing a whole kitchen?

  210. pmcalary, July 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm:

    For a bathroom I think almost any cabinet upgraded to plywood construction would be fine. Dovetail drawers will most likely come with the upgrade so I’d just get what I liked and worry less about construction. In bathrooms wall cabinets don’t hang on the wall with heavy plates in them and bathrooms get only a fraction of the wear and tear that a kitchen usually does.

  211. Haley, July 23, 2017 at 7:50 am:

    This is a great article! I have been so confused and torn! Thanks!

    I want to get shaker style in white and gray. I have a quote from Wellborne with their Select line with MDF for front. I want good looking cabinets that are durable. Is this line ok since this is not upgraded? And what other lines for the shaker painted style would you recommend?

  212. Margaret, July 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm:

    I have to choose from Aristokraft, Echelon (formerly Armstrong?), Harmony, KitchenCraft, Marquis, Omega, or Sorrento. We need to remodel due to water damage and the house is not in great condition so we don’t want to over-improve. Which is the best value? Does a C rating fit what we are trying to accomplish or could it result in a disadvantage at resale, very likely within 5 years as homeowner is 87? As for style, we are thinking full overlay but likely traditional door. Insurance settlement likely won’t pay for extras so we need to maximize function and cosmetics.

  213. pmcalary, July 23, 2017 at 1:42 pm:

    I love Wellborn and have considered carrying the line. But, if you are looking to save money don’t get the cheap version of a more expensive cabinet line. Get a inexpensive line that only comes upgraded to all plywood construction. The cabinetry will be better made and more durable and actually cost less than the cheap version of a better line.

  214. pmcalary, July 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm:

    There are A rated cabinets that are less expensive and far better made. Among the one’s we list are Fabuwood, Wolf, Solid Wood Cabinets, and others.

  215. Sweet, July 25, 2017 at 12:54 am:

    I’m going with Bridgewood Advantage line. I’m surprised they were not on the list since they have been in business for 40 years and make quality solid cabinets for a reasonable price. Their website is excellent and tells you exactly how thick every part of the cabinets are. I’m excited!

  216. pmcalary, July 25, 2017 at 6:35 am:

    Hi Sweet,
    Bridgewater while being around for 40 years is pretty small and from Kansas so not on a lot of people’s radar. We would give the Bridgewater Advantage a pretty good score for construction. Their frameless cabinets are made almost as well as the best frameless lines so we would give them a solid B for construction in Frameless. The Framed line is well constructed but without the bells and whistles of the best made lines. They use plastic corner blocks instead of Ibeam construction or better. This really isn’t that important so I’d probably give them a B or B+ in their framed line depending on where they fall pricepoint wise. We can’t rate them overall just because none of us knows where they fall cost wise. If you wanted to send us the floor plan of your kitchen and what you paid for it we could rate them for pricepont and add them to our list. They look like a fine choice for cabinetry.

  217. Min, July 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    We are in Chicago and also in the process of selecting cabinets for a new house that we will be building soon. Do you know of any good cabinetry lines here in Chicago that you can recommend?

  218. pmcalary, July 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm:

    All the lines we review are sold nationally. Pick one in your price range that gets good construction marks.

  219. Michael Warlick, July 26, 2017 at 11:06 am:

    Hi, we are in the process of building a new home. The standard kitchen cabinets the builder uses are Timberlake Scottsdale. When we were in the design center the salesperson showed us Marsh cabinets as well. We liked the March cabinets and really liked one of the stain colors so we decided to go with Marsh. We are going in this Friday to sign off on everything. The Marsh cabinets we are getting is the Charleston II I believe. The price difference is a couple thousand dollars. In your professional opinion, is it worth spending more money to go from Timberlake Scottsdale to Marsh Charleston II, and does Marsh make good quality cabinets compared to other brands out there? There are other brands to choose from at the design center, so if neither Marsh or Timberlake are really good, we could price out some others. Any advice is appreciated. As far as features, they both come with dovetail and full extension drawers. The Marsh comes with soft close, but the Timberlake does not unless we pay more to add it, which would make the prices even closer between the two brands. Thanks!

  220. pmcalary, July 26, 2017 at 11:37 am:

    Both Marsh and Timberlake upgraded to plywood are similarly made and reasonably priced for US made cabinet lines. Builders usually don’t upgrade to plywood and doing so is a must. Some US import lines will be a better value but your builder may not be comfortable using unfamiliar lines. As long as you get the plywood upgrade the cabinets should last a lifetime.

  221. Michael Warlick, July 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm:

    Thank you so much for the information. I do believe that the cabinets are upgraded to 3/4″ plywood, I think I recall the salesperson at the design center stating that. We will confirm when we go over everything this Friday though. Just so I understand, when you say upgrade to plywood, is that for all of the cabinet framing? I just want to make sure I am asking the right question to the salesperson. Thanks again for the advice.

  222. pmcalary, July 26, 2017 at 12:14 pm:

    Hi Michael, The fronts of the cabinets will be solid wood. The sides of the cabinets you want 1/2″ plywood. Good drawers and hinges will come automatically with the Plywood sides upgrade.

  223. Margaret, July 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm:

    I got some additional information and now Marquis and Aristokraft are likely the two brands we will choose from given our budget. I see Aristokraft gets a C in your rating and Marquis is unrated. The designer said that there are 3 quality levels with Aristokraft. Did you rate the highest level? Any additional information we should look for given our circumstances? Thank you for this very informative blog.

  224. chancey jeffrey, July 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm:

    We are renovating a shore home kitchen. We are looking for a white shaker style cabinet. The kitchen is not that big so I want to make sure I get the most storage out of my cabinets. I also want to make sure they will hold up with the humidity at a shore home. I am considering Kraftmaid,and American Woodmark. The pricing of the American Woodmark is about a third less than the kraftmaid. I have recently heard of Fabuwood and have seen this at a lot of shore properties. What do you think would be a better option considering it is a second home. I think Fabuwood is less expensive but is this an option for builders who want it to look good but may not be too concerned about how it stands up over time. Thanks

  225. pmcalary, July 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm:

    Fabuwood will be almost as durable as Kraftmaid and American Woodmark for a white shaker door. The difference will be that the paint will be on birch instead of maple and because it’s thicker too slightly easier to chip. I wouldn’t worry about that though. The bigger issue will be that Fabuwood has some shaky Dealers. Be careful that you are ordering from a reputable dealer and a real kitchen designer that knows what they are doing. Customers seldom realize how bad their designs really are, and they worry about everything else except what’s in reality most important.

  226. Amy, July 27, 2017 at 1:40 am:

    This is a fabulous site with great information! I am redoing my kitchen and am trying to decide between Fabuwood and Ikea. It seems Fabuwood has a higher ranking but I worry about Formaldehyde and VOC levels from Chinese products. What would be your thoughts on that? Thanks!

  227. pmcalary, July 27, 2017 at 8:44 am:

    Hi Amy,
    Fabuwood is Carb Compliant and to be frank IKEA while also Carb Compliant is junk. The difference in construction quality between the two is monumental. Using IKEA furniture can be sensible because you can get your home or bedroom furnished cheaply and when everything falls apart hopefully you will be older and have more money to purchase real furniture. Used furniture is an even better value if you have consignment stores in your area.

    Kitchens are major expensive construction projects. Using poorly made cabinetry as the foundation of your expensive project is foolish.
    Here is a video on the subject:

  228. nrichard, July 31, 2017 at 6:04 pm:

    We are expanding existing kitchen which contains 10-year old CE solid cherry (glazed cherry finished) frameless custom cabinets. CE is a Canadian company and has since gone out of business so we can’t match the existing cabinets which are beautiful and like new. We don’t want to replace the existing excellent cabinets and contractor idea to use totally different (like white or a painted color) style to the existing is not an option, would be awful. Also not up for stripping the existing and laminating or other contractor ideas which all sound terrible. Looking at Brookhaven cherry cabinets in a practically identical stain and very close style, but cabinet dealer says they must come with frames. New cabinet run would not be connected to existing, is across the large room, but how different would framed product look from the existing frameless? They can’t show me a sample. Thanks!

  229. pmcalary, July 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm:

    These kinds of projects we would never recommend nor do ourselves. That being said Kountry Kraft is a custom frameless line also out of Canada that might do similar or custom stains to match.

  230. nrichard, July 31, 2017 at 6:42 pm:

    Thank you for prompt response. Could you explain what you mean by this kind of project and why you would not undertake it? Suggestion for an other approach without tossing out a kitchen full of expensive like-new cabinets? Thanks very much for Kountry Kraft tip, will check that out right away.

  231. Helen M, July 31, 2017 at 9:24 pm:

    We are gutting our kitchen and are trying to find out the differences between Crystal and Brighton cabinets. Can you make any recommendations?

  232. cjeffrey, July 31, 2017 at 10:16 pm:

    In general how much less are white shaker Fabuwood cabinets vs Kraftmaid purchased priced at Home Depot.

  233. pmcalary, August 1, 2017 at 6:53 am:

    I have sold and like both. Brighton might be a slightly better deal cost wise. Reminder never do ANY demolition until the kitchen plan is finalized and the cabinets are ordered. Starting quickly will save no time especially with cabinet lines with extended lead times. Getting organized and having everyone on the same page and working quickly and efficiently will save time and costs. Starting demolition early is the mark or amateurs.

  234. pmcalary, August 1, 2017 at 6:55 am:

    That depends on the dealer. We sell Fabuwood for about 40% less than Kraftmaid.

  235. Deeree, August 3, 2017 at 10:40 pm:

    Do you have any knowledge of Tru Cabinetry? They have a good price point in the New Orleans area. Trying to decide between Tru, Homecrest and Waypoint. They are all falling with the same range. Thanks for the help.

  236. Linda, August 3, 2017 at 11:55 pm:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. If you mentioned anything about veneer verses solid wood doors, I missed it. Someone told me that veneer is required on the insert of shaker style doors due to expansion. I am looking for stained maple rather than painted wood and want them to look good when I sell in about 10 years. I had considered Kraftmaid raised panel styles because some have solid wood doors. (I never liked the idea of veneer). But is this concern necessary? Also, I am trying to decide where to compromise to better keep to my budget. You seem to favor HomeCrest. Would that be a good alternative in stain? Another contractor deals with Showplace and insists he’s seen no problems, but I am leery. With a plywood upgrade, is that a good choice? Thank you!

  237. pmcalary, August 4, 2017 at 8:49 am:

    Hi Deeree,
    Upgraded to all plywood construction Homecrest is the best choice of the Three. Tru cabinets have thinner shelves bottoms and a plywood hanging rail.

  238. pmcalary, August 4, 2017 at 8:59 am:

    Hi Linda,
    There are solid wood reverse raised shaker panel doors. They are heavier and can look beautiful in a light maple color. If fact I have them in my own kitchen. But be prepared for stripes on the recessed panel where each piece of wood is glued to another. Many customers prefer a veneered center panel not because it is less expensive, which it is, but because the grain goes all the way across the center panel without stripes. Both type doors are equally durable. Don’t pay more and then complain about the stripes you paid extra to get. I believe Kraftmaid carries both type shaker doors. Homecreast will only have a veneer center panel which might be what you want anyway. I prefer those lines to Showplace, but upgraded, all are good lines.

  239. Dee, August 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm:

    Hi. Thanks so much for this information! I know you’re not a huge fan of frameless, but I’m considering Kitchen craft in a painted maple, upgrading to plywood boxes. So cabinets will have plywood boxes and wood drawers and doors. Wondering why with the upgrades you give a C for quality? I remember that you don’t give above a B for frameless. Thanks for answering these comments!! Its so very helpful.

  240. pmcalary, August 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm:

    Kitchencraft makes the sides of their cabinetry 5/8″ thick instead of 3/4″ like most other frameless lines.
    Skimping on an already inferior construction technique shows that they are clueless. They are lucky to get the C.

  241. Dee, August 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm:

    I just read the kitchen craft book and it says the upgraded boxes would have 1/4″ plywood back with 5/8 thick mounting strips. Is the mounting strip the same as the hanging rail? I’m assuming the mounting strip is plywood but I will need to clarify. Would you steer away from this brand or could it be okay?

  242. Dee, August 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm:

    I sent my last comment just as you sent yours. Got it. Thanks!

  243. Linda, August 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. If you mentioned anything about veneer verses solid wood doors, I missed it. Someone told me that veneer is required on the insert of shaker style doors due to expansion. I am looking for stained maple rather than painted wood and want them to look good when I sell my house in about 10 years. I had considered Kraftmaid raised panel styles because some have solid wood doors. (I never liked the idea of veneer). But is this concern necessary? Also, I am trying to decide where to compromise to better keep to my budget. You seem to favor HomeCrest. Would that be a good alternative in stain? Another contractor deals with Showplace and insists he’s seen no problems, but I am leery. If I get them with plywood, is that a good choice? Thank you!

  244. pmcalary, August 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm:

    Hi Linda,
    If you missed the response here it is again:
    There are solid wood reverse raised shaker panel doors. They are heavier and can look beautiful in a light maple color. If fact I have them in my own kitchen. But be prepared for stripes on the recessed panel where each piece of wood is glued to another. Many customers prefer a veneered center panel not because it is less expensive, which it is, but because the grain goes all the way across the center panel without stripes. Both type doors are equally durable. Don’t pay more and then complain about the stripes you paid extra to get. I believe Kraftmaid carries both type shaker doors. Homecreast will only have a veneer center panel which might be what you want anyway. I prefer those lines to Showplace, but upgraded, all are good lines.

  245. Michael, August 8, 2017 at 8:58 am:

    Hello, I’m working on finalizing decisions for our kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and have a couple of questions I am hoping you could answer. I appreciate your previous input and I made the choice to upgrade all of the Marsh cabinets (kitchen and bathrooms) to plywood construction. First, I am looking at the 2″ stiles and rails vs the 3″, and wondering if one or the other is preferred or a more popular style right now, or is it just basically what we think looks better? Second, the drawer faces with the cabinets we selected seem to have a center veneer like the cabinet faces, is that sometimes the case and if so, can the pulls be attached to the veneer on the drawer face so they are centered, or does it have to be above it? Thanks in advance for any advice on these.

  246. pmcalary, August 8, 2017 at 10:20 am:

    Hi Michael,
    These kinds of questions are for the people you are buying cabinets from. We do not carry Marsh

  247. Deeree, August 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm:

    Do you have any information on Jackson and Kaiser cabinetry? They are *supposedly* all wood, soft close doors and drawers… very good price point in New Orleans area, but I cannot find anything about them online at all.

  248. Lala, August 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm:

    I have found conflicting opinions about Kraftmaid cabinets (Home Depot). Can you be the deciding factor? I am looking at Shaker style painted black.

  249. pmcalary, August 11, 2017 at 4:24 pm:

    We rated Kraftmaid well in this blog so that should answer your question.

  250. Phil, August 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm:

    Great information. Thank you. I have been struggling with the decision between Diamond , 8K and Decora, 12K. Both companies seem to have the same basic all plywood construction but the door stiles and finish look better on Decora. Also Decora has better options for tall oven cabinets. I am a designer and wood boat builder so I do understand how a good design AND good construction should play a part in cabinet decision making. I am probably going with the Expensive Decora cabinets because it will save cost on installation. One thing I don’t see discussed: Is there a difference in the quality of wood between cabinet makers? For painted cabinets probably not so important but For a light stained Cherry door the wood needs to be high quality. Please give your opinion on quality of wood for stained cabinets at Decora, Diamond, Kraftmade etc. Thank you very much.

  251. pmcalary, August 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm:

    Hi Phil,
    Great Question. Yes in painted cabinetry customers can’t tell the difference in cabinetry. But in a light cherry wood the price of the cabinetry will dramatically effect the look of the wood and finish. Expensive custom cabinetry should look more like expensive furniture than kitchen cabinets. So in a stain most customers can appreciate the more expensive cabinet lines. And probably you in particular considering your background.

  252. Phil, August 13, 2017 at 10:52 am:

    Thank you very much for the reply. The question that still hangs for me and many others is do the top semi custom cabinet makers, like Decora, Kraftmade, Omega and Fabuwood use a higher quality wood for their stained cabinets? Looks like not much difference in box construction between say Diamond and Decora. I understand the finishes are probably better at the more expensive companies but what has been your experience with wood selection. We have all seen photos of a door panel that looks like it was made from different types of wood. The hard part of buying stained cabinets is you don’t seem to know what you will end up with. Thanks for your comments on this subject.

  253. pmcalary, August 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm:

    When you see stripes on doors that is BECAUSE they are solid wood and more expensive. Many customers can’t tell the difference between the finishes on the more expensive cabinetry and they might even like the finishes on less expensive finishes more. When that’s what you are paying thousands of dollars for just make sure you appreciate the beauty of the wood because the finish won’t last any longer it simply looks better. At least to some of us.

  254. RSaw in FL, August 14, 2017 at 11:37 am:

    Can you tell me more about Solid Wood Cabinets? In your 2017 ratings you list it as affordable (1) and A in both Quality and Value. Is this a particular line of cabinets or just solid wood cabinets in general? Thanks.

  255. pmcalary, August 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm:

    It is a particularly inexpensive line of cabinets that is also well made. Much like the CNC line we carry. Most of the time it makes sense to spend a little more and get a line with nicer looking finishes like the Fabuwood or 6 Square lines we carry but if you want inexpensive and well made and aren’t too fussy, it’s a good choice. Especially if you are flipping a home.

  256. rsaw in FL, August 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm:

    Thanks for such a quick response.
    I have inset cabinets that are pretty, but very dark for the house – it’s a beach house and the cabinets are a very dark cherry and just don’t fit the style of the house. They are in good shape and good quality (all wood, soft close) so I don’t want to discard them. I am having new uppers put in since the soffit around the kitchen is being removed to open up the space, replacing the uppers with 42 inch cabinets. I’m also expanding the kitchen size to add 2 pantry cabinets and 2 bases with deep drawers. I’d be saving the sink base, 2 36 inch drawer cabinets, a corner cabinet and 2 smaller base cabinets. Ideally I’d like to reface the existing bases to match the new cabinets by replacing the drawer fronts and doors. Everything will be changed from a very dark cherry finish to off-white or white. My designer is recommending I replace everything existing and purchase new because the existing cabinets are inset. I can deal with having inset bases and overlay uppers if it will save money and limit waste. I’m told this will be either impossible or very difficult to do since the existing cabinets are inset. I’m investigating various cabinet lines and want to stay with plywood construction without busting the budget. Thoughts on Omega? This is what my designer has me looking at. Thanks.

  257. paul mcalary, August 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm:

    I’m sorry to have to say this rsaw but you may be the kind of customer that will always get a poorly designed kitchen and spend their money unwisely. You shouldn’t shop around to validate your own preconceived ideas. Shop around to find a good designer that will advise you well and prevent you from making mistakes. Keeping any cabinetry in this situation is absolutely a waste of money and will look worse and cost much more. Your ceilings also sound like they are 96″ high and you should be using 36″ high uppers and not 42’s. Your designer may have told you this too.

  258. RSaw in FL, August 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm:

    Thanks for your advice.

  259. pmcalary, August 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm:

    Sorry about the tough love but if you find a knowledgeable expert and listen to them your project will proceed in an organised manor, cost less, and look better when it’s done. When you hear kitchen project horror stories they always involve designers that just sold customers what they wanted without being ethical enough to protect them.

  260. RSaw in FL, August 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm:

    You are telling me what I need to know. Appreciate it.

  261. Mike in Oak Forest, August 15, 2017 at 9:43 pm:

    We are considering Bertch and Kraftmaid. Would you recommend one over the other?

  262. Pkhurana, August 16, 2017 at 1:13 am:

    Thank you for the very useful information! Could you share your thoughts on Dewils cabinets?

  263. pmcalary, August 16, 2017 at 11:34 am:

    I like both lines equally.

  264. pmcalary, August 16, 2017 at 11:38 am:

    Dewils looks equivalent in construction to American Woodmark at Home Depot or Shendoah at Lowes upgraded to a plywood box.

  265. Carol Graff, August 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm:

    I am upgrading a bathroom vanity. I’ve narrowed down my choices of cabinetry to Holiday Kitchens, Bertch or Hanssem in white. Quoted prices were comparable. Which company would you recommend for durability?

  266. pmcalary, August 16, 2017 at 12:34 pm:

    Holiday Kitchens or Bertch are the best choice here either is great I’d get the finish I liked best.

  267. Kathy, August 19, 2017 at 12:54 am:

    Hello. We are considering Starmark and Shiloh cabinetry, white painted. Any thoughts about one brand over the other? We only have a quote on Starmark right now.

  268. pmcalary, August 19, 2017 at 7:27 am:

    This blog rates both.

  269. Susan Hufford, August 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm:

    I have been considering Kraftmaid cabinets (all plywood construction) but have been reading reviews from buyers complaining of receiving broken cabinets and finishes poorly done. Do you have any knowledge of Kraftmaid’s current quality assurance? I would be buying from an online dealer for a laundry and home theater.

  270. pmcalary, August 19, 2017 at 4:27 pm:

    I would never buy online. It’s just asking for trouble. You have bigger worries than shipping damage but buying online dramatically increases those.

  271. Rachel, August 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm:

    Thank you for the information you have provided. I am in the process of narrowing my search for a designer. I was using the cabinet lines and the knowledgeability of the individuals at the cabinet store as some indication of which store and which designer to choose. Do you have a blog on how to choose a designer that I have overlooked? Also, I looked at Greenfield cabinetry, but do not see it on your list. Would you speak to it for me? I have not been able to locate information about the construction in their brochures or website, which I was leery of, as you have noted. On the other hand, they were the higher end cabinet in two of the stores I visited and the cabinets themselves look much lovelier, the dovetailing, the smoothness of the drawers, the finishes, etc. Thank you again for the information you have provided!

  272. Greg Czechowicz, August 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm:

    Hello how do you feel about Fieldstone cabinets? Our kitchen designer is pushing them, we are going to get white shaker cabinets. Are there any must upgrades that you would recommend getting?

  273. pmcalary, August 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm:

    I like Fieldstone. With Fieldstone you MUST upgrade to 1/2″ plywood sides. Un-upgraded I believe Fieldstone still comes with 3/8″ particle board sides.
    They have very nice finishes but with a white shaker door style you really won’t be taking advantage of some of the reasons they are a more expensive cabinet line.

  274. Greg, August 24, 2017 at 9:07 pm:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question

  275. SLErickson, August 25, 2017 at 4:01 pm:

    I am trying to decide between Cabico Essence natural cherry shaker cabinets($10k) and American Woodmark stained maple shaker cabinets ($6k).The difference in price will pay for 80% of the cost of the kitchenaid appliances. Any thoughts as to whether the Cabico cabinets are worth the extra money. Thanks

  276. pmcalary, August 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm:

    Your not comparing apples to apples. But if everything is upgraded to plywood with the same tracks and drawers and you like the American woodmark I’d get them. Be careful though the Home Depot designer could have mistakenly left things off the order and that part of the reason for the big price difference.

  277. Erik, August 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm:

    Hi. A few months ago, I had inquired about CWP. You had mentioned that it has 1/4″ back but after some more investigating, found out it was 3/4″. Maybe because of the 1/4″ birch on 1/2″ you were implying? spoke to someone there and seems their construction is similar to Brookhaven (after considering them too)
    Believe it or not, I’m unsure of the route. Looking into Greenfield also. Any thoughts on them?

  278. pmcalary, August 31, 2017 at 8:57 am:

    A 1/2 inch plywood hanging rail not as durable as a 1/2″ plywood back or a solid wood 3/4″ hanging rail both of which we prefer. A 3/8″ plywood back is also better than a 1/2″ plywood hanging rail so the CWC construction technique comes in a distant 4th to better made lines. Use our 2017 ratings to compare cabinets. We no longer answer questions about lines not reviewed. Our 2018 review will review an additional 25 lines. Non customers must wait until then for the review of those lines.

  279. Lisa Gigliotti, August 31, 2017 at 10:46 am:

    Hi there. We just received our KraftMaid pine painted ivory cabinets. We are very upset and frustrated with the quality. Doesn’t these companies believe in quality over quantity any more? Out of 12 doors, 7 needed replaced, out of 10 drawers, 3 needed replaced and two whole cabinets needed replaced. Some were severely damaged, cracks on inside door, chipped corners, but most were on the raised panel edges. They were rough and not enough paint. They looked dirty. We received all replacements and only 3 are acceptable.The others are even worse than the originals!!! The worst of all came with an inspection sticker! And even worse, when we showed our kitchen designer, he said repeatedly, “They’re not going to replace it. That’s what the touch up out is for”. If we could do it over again, we would not buy KraftMaid. We are very, very disappointed and really upset. I wish I can talk to the owner…

  280. pmcalary, August 31, 2017 at 11:55 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    Unfortunately customers need to understand what they are buying. You obviously haven’t been informed well about what you bought. Your cabinets are not pine I’m sure they are maple, and painted finishes on high end US made semi custom cabinets all show expansion cracks on some doors and drawer fronts. You would have needed either less expensive Asian doors or MDF doors or a very expensive custom line to not have many of these issues.

    In general, all kitchen cabinet manufacturers stand behind their products. So when a customer says that the kitchen designer says the manufacturer won’t replace something we know that the customer’s expectations were unrealistic. Learning about the products you purchase is both the designer and the customer’s responsibility.

  281. klam, August 31, 2017 at 12:31 pm:

    Could you point out which top cabinet lines on your list makes inset style cabinet?

  282. pmcalary, August 31, 2017 at 12:39 pm:

    Any framed cabinet line that is a 5 or 6 pricepoint will make inset cabinets as well as a few 4 pricepoint lines like Brighton, Bishop, Starmark, and Fieldstone. Any line below a 4 pricepoint that sells inset should be avoided getting inset from. It is harder to make inset cabinets and the lower lines that attempt it often don’t succeed.

  283. Sharon in Seattle, August 31, 2017 at 8:27 pm:

    Thank you for all the information you have provided and the time you have taken to answer so many questions. After reading your blog, I realized that I was about to make the biggest mistake of all–not fully exploring my best design options. Now that I understand what to look for in the cabinetry, it’s time to try and find the right designer and perhaps rethink our approach and where we allocate our budget. I live near a major metropolitan area (Seattle)–so I know there are plenty to choose from. What questions should I be asking to determine if they will have my best interests in mind vs impractical or wasteful design? Again, thank you for all the information you have provided for consumers like myself.

  284. pmcalary, August 31, 2017 at 10:33 pm:

    Sharon – You are the favorite customer of any good kitchen designer. You get it! And what a great question. Here are two blogs that sort of cover this:

    All the best and hoping you get the kitchen you deserve!

  285. Lisa Gigliotti, September 1, 2017 at 8:24 am:

    I appreciate the response and the frankness of your reply. Your right, our cabinets are maple. My husband and I researched 6 months before we chose KraftMaid. I’m a bit offended you implied we didn’t familiarize ourselves about the cabinets. No where online or in their catalogs did they state there would be expansion cracks, or dents or unfinished rough edges not fully sanded, or dents or cracks. Neither did our kitchen designer. I am not exaggerating. Would you accept doors with long cracks on the inside of doors? With chipped and exposed corners? With rough raised panels that look dirty on ivory paint? With obvious dents on front panels? If this is what is “normal ” and customers expecting smooth, painted door front and drawers as unrealistic, shame on you and the cabinet industry. It’s a bit sad that average income people need to buy $20,000 cabinets for the best quality. Unfortunately, we read another online blog (too late) where there were 250 complaints about the exact same problem were having on KraftMaid cabinets. Over half stated they it took 4 or 5 doors to replace one damaged door. Isn’t that wasting money? Why can’t they get it right the first time. Like I said before and I stand buy it, it’s about making money, quantity over quality.

  286. pmcalary, September 1, 2017 at 8:46 am:

    You would probably have been unhappy with any medium high end US line. Other than chips, the end grain and expansion joints you are describing are to be expected. All the complaints you read are from similarly poorly prepared customers. A less expensive line might have been a better choice actually. Asian made doors usually don’t show these issues. Paying more to get a product and then complaining about the properties you should have expected having paid more to get them, is a symptom of your designer not educating you on what to expect. Home centers are known for this which is why most of the negative Kraftmaid reviews come from home center customers.

  287. Andy nelson, September 5, 2017 at 9:38 am:

    I was wondering if anyone had experience with Styl Cabinets (Canadian company). Our designer is pushing the “high quality composite” material Styl uses, but I am very uncomfortable with materials in a kitchen that might fall apart when wet.

  288. pmcalary, September 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm:

    Never heard of them

  289. Eric in Las Vegas, September 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm:

    Paul – Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and honest opinions. I’m starting to plan a full kitchen remodel. Quality of construction and finish are very important to me. A local design firm recommended using Fashion Cabinet Mfg. in West Jordan, Utah. Please let me know if your aware of the company and the quality of their products. Thank you!

  290. pmcalary, September 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm:

    Sorry I don’t know the line and can’t find construction info on their web site.

  291. Rebecca, September 6, 2017 at 7:25 pm:

    I found two building supply stores, not HD or Lowes, and worked with their cabinets sales staff. I have a layout that is a combination of online and local cabinet sales staff ideas. I wish I could find a kitchen designer, but It is a very rural area. .The local cabinet supply stores only have a few cabinet brands. Welborn Forest and Norcraft seem nice. Welborn Forest is different from Welborn. Please add these lines for review in your 2018 ratings. Thank you.

  292. N Oregon, September 7, 2017 at 12:38 am:

    There is a lot of great info here! I am undergoing an unplanned kitchen Reno…. Therefore we are on a budget. It is really hard to tell where our money would be best spent. I would love to hear what would be the top two picks and why out of Homecrest, Kemper, Medallion, Thomasville, and Diamond. We’ve met with designers for all and have bids on all. I agree that design is very important so I have a bit of an idea where I want to go but not sure what the pros & con’s are between these lines. They are all in the same price range for the bids we received.

    Secondly, I would really like to do a painted off white, or with very slight grey hue. I’ve read the response that the paint will show any and all problems. I’m kind of a particular, protectionist (without the budget to back it up). I’m worried I may not be happy with what I want for finish in our space. We have a smaller kitchen with dark hard wood floors. I respect a stain finish, I’m just having a hard time seeing what stain cabinet would look good and not too dark with dark floors and somewhat closed in. Do you have suggestions? Is painted finish a poor choice with the lines mentioned above?

  293. pmcalary, September 7, 2017 at 8:21 am:

    You can’t be comparing apples to apples when you are pricing your kitchen which is worrisome. For example Medallion and Homecrest upgraded to all plywood construction would be 50% different in price. If you were actually getting Medallion upgraded to there best box for the same price as the other lines you would be getting such a giant discount that you would have to choose the Medallion. I suspect though that all the lines you are comparing have different upgrade levels and probably different wood types and door styles as well.

  294. pmcalary, September 7, 2017 at 8:26 am:

    Wellborn Forrest is the choice here they are a well made cabinet line. Norcraft I believe is frameless which we give lower ratings to automaticly.

  295. Eric, September 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm:

    Paul – I’m in the process of selecting a designer. One gentleman on the short list partners with Wood-Mode, a firm very highly rated on your list. In general, I feel very good about the company and their product line. The designer is in favor of their “European” look and use of the Wood-Mode seamless door style. Is this style the same as frameless construction you caution against? If I do choose a Wood-Mode product, what is the best design option from a quality perspective (inset or overlay doors)? Thank you for your help.

  296. Fins, September 7, 2017 at 2:25 pm:

    Thanks for all the great info!

    We have been looking at doing shaker white cabinets, but now are a bit concerned regarding how the finish will hold up vs stained. I have read that painted cabinets are much harder to touch up if they get chipped, etc.

    Is this a real concern with painted white cabinets? We entertain, but we don’t have small children living with us anymore.


  297. pmcalary, September 8, 2017 at 8:41 am:

    While white painted cabinets do show chips, scratches and dirt far above what a stained cabinets would there are furniture refinishers like the national firm Guardsman Furniture Refinishers that can touch up an entire kitchen like new for a few hundred dollars.

  298. pmcalary, September 8, 2017 at 9:03 am:

    Hi Eric,
    We do not recommend frameless construction for any kitchen other than a very modern one that would lend itself to the ultra tight spacing of doors and drawer fronts frameless cabinetry offers. Other than those modern kitchens it would make little sense to get a lower quality constructed cabinet.

    Full overlay or inset are just looks and don’t make a framed cabinet better made. If you are getting custom cabinets like Woodmode inset and beaded inset cabinets are the instantly recognized feature of custom cabinets. The inset look is also more traditional so if you wanted a more contemporary look full overlay would go better with that style.

  299. rick coloccia, September 10, 2017 at 2:26 pm:

    great website!!!

  300. Keri, September 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm:

    How are you comparing all of these cabinet lines across the board, and what are dependant on their ratings. I was surprised to see Kabinart with such a low rating, as I sell it and haven’t had any bad issues with them. As a semi-custom line, I feel they have a lot more options and “customizations” per any other semi-custom brand that I have sold, and for a decent price point.

    Same with the Woodharbor …

    I am interested to hear your thoughts and how you came to your decision.

  301. pmcalary, September 12, 2017 at 8:01 am:

    Hi Keri,
    Poorly made cabinets never have issues immediately after installation which is why IKEA cabinetry gets such good reviews from home owners and poorly informed professionals.
    Kabinart falls short on construction in several categories we value for a framed cabinet. The most important are listed below.This is from their web site:

    Cabinet Sides – 3/8″ laminated plywood (WE RECOMMEND and sell NO LESS THAN 1/2″)
    Hanging Rail – Walls – 4″ x 3/8″ plywood concealed hanging rail. Bases – 2-1/2″ x 11/16″ solid wood hanging rail. (WE RECOMEND A 3/4″ SOLID WOOD HANGING RAIL OR A 1/2″ THICK ENTIRE BACK)
    Cabinet Backs – 5/32″ plywood dadoed into end panel

    These particular construction deficiencies will cause wall cabinets to fall off the wall over time and base cabinets while having the security of sitting on the floor will be more likely to pull apart and rack. Being deficient on both the backs AND the sides of the cabinets makes problems worse. If it was only the backs of the Kabinart cabinets that were problematic they might be OK. The combination gets them poor reviews.

  302. pmcalary, September 12, 2017 at 8:10 am:


  303. pmcalary, September 12, 2017 at 8:11 am:

    Wood Harbor is a better choice and I actually upgraded their construction after further review. They do have a back that we don’t like but since the sides are 1/2″ unlike Kabinart they will probably be fine over time.

  304. cmarie, September 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm:

    HI, I noticed that you have not ranked DeWils Cabinets. They seem to feature alot of the components you reccommend. Could you respond if you have an opinion on these regarding their quality and where they fall price-wise with other comparable quality brands.

  305. pmcalary, September 13, 2017 at 8:27 am:

    We don’t know them and how much they cost but they look like a OK made cabinet. Probably not as good a value as some of the Asian produced American manufacturers.

  306. Joanne Murray, September 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm:

    Spent some time on your website and reading your blog. Very helpful information- thanks you. I am specifically trying to decide whether to purchase cabinets from a more expensive company like Wellborn, choosing their less expensive “Select” line (upgrading to all plywood) versus purchasing from a less expensive company like Wolf and choosing their top tier “Designer” or “Signature” line. From reading your blog, it appears that you tend to choose the best cabinets that a company offers, so I am guessing that you would recommend the best line within Wolf products. Could you please tell a bit more about why you feel this way and why you would shy away from the “Select” Wolf cabinets, especially if we upgraded to all plywood. Thank you for your time and the information you provide on your blog.

  307. Joanne Murray, September 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm:

    continued from above…. I meant to ask why you would shy away from the “Select” Wellborn cabinets. We are looking for a well made cabinet and don’t necessarily need the fancy embellishments offered in the more expensive lines.

  308. pmcalary, September 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm:

    It makes no sense to buy any cabinets that don’t meet our construction minimums. IE
    All plywood construction
    1/2″ plywood sides
    1/2 plywood back or Solid wood hanging rail or at the very least a total of 3/4 ply hanging rail or a 3/8″ entire back
    5/8″ solid woo dovetail drawers.
    Blum Blumotion soft close tracks and soft close hinges.
    Once you have met these minimums then pick the finish and style that you like best for the money.

  309. Michigan321, September 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm:

    Hi Paul, Thank you SO much for sharing all of your knowledge regarding cabinetry, the importance of a good designer, and quality construction. Thank you also for the time you take in being so responsive! I read your reviews and blog. We’re doing a pretty complete home renovation in Michigan, which include a brand new kitchen in a new location. I’ve found designers and dealers we like who carry Rutt and Mouser. We have gotten estimates on both of their semi-custom lines- Rutt Regency and Centra (through Mouser). We’re looking at doors similar to a shaker, painted close to white, with a glazed/burnished finish and maybe a rub-through. Can you weigh in on how these semi-custom lines compare? I’m also going to look into woodmode and crystal. I know the importance of a good design and designer. All of our dealers so far have offered that and we have our own interior designer as well. The price variation in the estimates have been massive, so it’s something we have to spend the time looking into. Like you’ve said, we want to spend our money wisely. Thank you Paul!

  310. pmcalary, September 20, 2017 at 12:33 am:

    Only ten years ago: Most new kitchens were stained, and if they were painted they were all glazed; Only the best cabinet lines used Blum tracks and hinges; and it was very expensive to upgrade to all plywood construction.

    Today the more expensive cabinet lines still do stains and glazes far better than the less expensive lines and offer more styles, colors and sizes. But there are now well constructed very inexpensive cabinet lines that have the same hardware, construction, and do solid paints extremely well. The durability of these different lines can be insignificant.

    This makes it even more important to find knowledgeable and honest kitchen designers.

  311. Debbie, September 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm:

    Hi Paul. Your website has been very helpful in looking at different cabinet lines. I’m interested in white painted beaded inset cabinetry. Do you have any feedback on CrownPoint Cabinetry from New Hampshire. I have looked at quite a few lines already and have a call into Wellsford to see if there is a dealer near me and will check out Brighton too. Appreciate your advice. Thanks

  312. Brett, September 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm:

    I’m not sure I’m following your chart for pricing. Is the rating 1 – 6 where 1 is the lowest cost and 6 is the highest, or vice versa? Also, how do the cabinets at Home Depot rank – just to use as a baseline for all these other brands that you have listed?

  313. pmcalary, September 21, 2017 at 8:01 am:

    One is the least expensive. The best cabinet value is Kraftmaid or Decora at Home Depot. And American Woodmark for a less expensive line.

  314. pmcalary, September 21, 2017 at 8:11 am:

    Sorry I don’t know CrownPoint but most lines that do beaded inset will be better made.

  315. Ruth Kaiser, September 22, 2017 at 12:49 am:

    Hi Paul – your blog is amazing – thank you for what you do! I am building on the water and am concerned about the effects of the humidity on the cabinet doors re cracking at the expansion joints. I am considering custom cabinets or Kraftmaid. In reading your blog I noticed a comment to another person that asian made doors have less issues with this concern. Do you have any brand recommendations for me? Also the custom cabinet maker is pushing his drawers that are not dovetailed stating his approach with pins and glue is just as sturdy. Should I take him off my list or am I getting hung up? Lastly- I understand the need for a good designer and completely agree! Thanks in advance.

  316. pmcalary, September 22, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    Hi Ruth,
    Doweled instead of dovetailed drawers probably doesn’t matter. Painted white cabinets in high humidity can be a challenge. But Periodic paint touch ups from furniture refinishers like Guardsman can take care of the added problems and isn’t too expensive. It’s true that some of the Us manufacturers with Asian made doors do seem to have less of an issue with expansion cracks. We carry and like Fabuwood, 6 Square and CNC. The custom US lines we carry also never seem to have serious expansion problems no matter what the conditions. Inset doors with adjustable hinges are fine with the custom lines we carry for use at the shore.

  317. Mary Michael, September 23, 2017 at 11:02 pm:

    I have come to this particular article at least a hundred times – thank you for all of the information!! I went to Home Depot to price Kraftmaid today and right before I left, the designer gave me a pitch on the Home Decorators Collection – I have to be honest and say his pitch as well as the literature he handed me sounded too good to be true. I haven’t been able to find much online other than their website. Are you at all familiar with this line? I had plans drawn up with my interior decorator, so I know I want white shaker full overlay. Any input would be appreciated!

  318. pmcalary, September 24, 2017 at 9:14 am:

    Hi Mary,
    Home Depot has finally gotten into supplying cabinetry with the parts coming from China. The Home Decorators Collection looks like a good version of Asian produced cabinetry. Pricing for the cabinetry should be about 40% less than Kraftmaid and you will be giving up nothing in construction quality only finish, style, and customization choices. When so many people are getting shaker painted white door styles upgrading above a line like this can be almost wasting money.

    All that being said. Having an interior decorator design your kitchen frightens me. The Home Depot designer is probably more qualified to design a kitchen and even he or she will be unlikely to be that good. Good or great designers are very rare at home centers and unfortunately customers aren’t capable of telling the difference until they meet one. Then the difference in the designs is striking.

    There are an infinite number of ways to design a bad kitchen and only a few good ways for any particular space. Great designers will all come up with versions of those few good designs. Less experienced designers will never even stumble upon them. When customers send us their plans about 95% of them aren’t just amateurish they are terrible. And about a third are actually dangerous. Below is a blog on dangerous kitchen designs:

    If your designer is making any of these mistakes you should never buy a kitchen from them. Their design will have many other problems you won’t catch if such an obvious one has been made.

  319. Bob Maurer, September 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm:

    Not sure of my 1st post made it through….so i’m going to try again. —–Hi Paul! Hope you are having a great Sunday. My wife and I are renovating the kitchen and looking into cabinets. We have prices from a few manufacturers but would love to get your advice.

    The lowest price we got is from an online cabinet manufacturer called “Cliq Studios”. They seem to be the same company that you sell, called “6 Square”. We plan to be in our house at least for the next 10 years. You gave 6 Square a B+ for quality & value which are pretty high marks. Are these cabinets durable enough for the long haul, compared to other companies?

    Another price we have is from Starmark, and they are approx $12k more expensive than Cliq Studios. You gave Starmark the same as 6 Square (B+) for quality & value. Is Starmark worth the extra money or do you recommend us buying Cliq Studios and keeping the savings of $12k?

    Another Kitchen & Bath place priced out “Signature Select”, and they were approx $20K over Cliq Studios.

    We live about 30 minutes outside of NYC in a nice town – we don’t want to spend less on cabinets if it is going to sacrifice quality and durability and at some point could impact resale value. Please let us know your thoughts! Your website is amazing! Wish we lived closer so we can shop with you!

  320. Mike, September 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm:

    Thanks for the incredibly informative blog post. I am wondering whether you are familiar with Signature Cabinets (from Pennsylvania) and have any thoughts about how they compare to Brighton in terms of construction and finish quality.

  321. pmcalary, September 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm:

    Hi Bob,
    6 Square/ Clique Studios is just as durable as Starmark. They just don’t have as many door styles, colors and cabinetry customizations.
    If you aren’t doing anything unusual they would be a better value if you liked the door style and finish equally. Buying cabinets online is dangerous though. You are responsible for giving the correct measurements and the designers aren’t particularly good. Personally around New York I would find a reputable Fabuwood dealer if you were getting a painted cabinetry and you liked the door style. A larger dealer that sells several cabinet lines including Fabuwood should have experienced designers.

  322. pmcalary, September 25, 2017 at 12:33 pm:

    Sorry I don’t know the signature line

  323. Michael S, September 29, 2017 at 12:58 am:

    Thank you very much for your informative blog

    Can you please comment on these Cabinets:


  324. pmcalary, September 29, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    Hi Michael,
    I don’t know the cabinet line but they look like they meet our construction guidelines.

  325. Tammi, September 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm:

    Thank you for your excellent blog. Do you anything about preassembled kitchen cabinets from Wood kitchen cabinet store/wood cabinets online? Some of their preassembled cabinets meet your construction minimums I think but I can’t find any reviews about them at all which makes me nervous. Thank you!

  326. pmcalary, September 30, 2017 at 8:58 am:

    Hi Tammi,
    New Asian made cabinetry company’s are sprouting up like mushrooms. But even though the construction technique might meet our criteria for well constructed cabinetry, it doesn’t make sense to be buying cabinets from the smaller newer Asian made lines. Let them work out their bugs and stick to the lines that have been around a while. It will probably at most only be only 10 or 15% more expensive. That’s why we sell Fabuwood or even a less expensive line like CNC. They are US owned companies and have been around long enough to get their product right. There are several of these lines listed on our 2017 review.

  327. Maria, October 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm:

    Let me start by saying this blog has been hugely helpful and I appreciate that. I have a question, I’ve been to a design center and priced Decora in a black painted finish with a distressing technique. They came in quite a bit over my budget. The designer is trying to work with me and said that maybe she can come closer to my price point using Shrock. Would love to know your thoughts on that seeing as Shrock got one step lower rating across the board. Thank You.

  328. pmcalary, October 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm:

    Upgraded Schrock now does 1/2″ sides so I think they are fine. The black distressing is the expensive part of the order. You could get black cabinets less expensively but not distressed. That requires a higher end cabinet line.

  329. Joan, October 4, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    I’m in the process of renovating my kitchen and am replacing Builders grade merillat cabinets with fabuwood. I wish I had seen your blog before I proceeded. I probably would have engaged a kitchen designer but that ship has sailed so I am where I am.
    the cabinets have been delivered and will be installed shortly. I’m somewhat relieved to see your high opinion of the Fabuwood cabinets since I did not research except to avoid home depot offerings. I am curious though to know whether they are completely made in China or just the doors. Also how do you distinguish Fabuwood from the higher-priced A-rated cabinets. What is the difference in quality?

  330. pmcalary, October 4, 2017 at 9:07 am:

    Fabuwood is a US company that has all the wooden parts made in China in an American supervised factory. Wooden parts are shipped to New Jersey to be assembled. Hinges and tracks are Blum’s softclose in all but the Value line. Cabinetry is all birch and limited in style and color but well made and reasonable. The best made US lines will have many different woods, stains, and colors to chose from. And more custom US lines will have inset and beaded inset styles as well as other custom sizes and features.

    However since most kitchens are designed so simplistically and possibly in a shaker white or off white door style, wasting money on more expensive high end US lines doesn’t make much sense in my opinion. More custom lines are great and we can design amazing kitchens in the higher end lines but if the design you want can be done in Fabuwood and you like the color and style spend you budget on other things that will make a difference.

  331. Joan, October 4, 2017 at 11:27 am:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for your response. I wish I had found you while I was still in the planning stage. I feel much more comfortable with my choice of fabuwood.

    This is the fourth kitchen I have laid out on my own. I just never thought to have a professional designer — probably should have. I would love to have had input from someone like you.

    My priority in laying out a kitchen is convenience and ease-of-use. I have many times jokingly commented on the kitchen that I was currently using “This kitchen must have been planned by a man who never cooked a meal”. For example, I am left-handed. The location of my current sink is so awkward that I’d like to rip it out — the designers at Lowe’s and HD never asked whether I am right or left handed which can make a difference. Also my current dishwasher is located directly in front of the cabinet where the dishes go. So it is necessary to remove all the dishes from the dishwasher, put them on the counter, and then put them into the cabinet above. My new kitchen will not have that issue. I will stand between the dishwasher and the cabinet so that I can remove the dishes, swivel around and put them into the cabinet in one move.

    Little things — but annoying on a day-to-day basis, which emphasizes your point that good design makes a big difference.

    If I ever do another kitchen, I’d be very interested in your design services.


    BTW, I did sit down with the designers both at Lowe’s and Home Depot. I was appalled at the plans that they drew up. anyone who could add two and two would see that they wouldn’t work. Also Home Depot priced out Woodmark cabinets $3,000 higher than the fabuwood and that was without the upgrades of plywood boxes and soft door closures.

  332. Violette, October 6, 2017 at 7:14 pm:

    To Paul…Thanks so much for the wealth of info you provide to those of us with a passion for beautiful kitchens.. Am working on (designing) my 8th kitchen for young couple with 2 kids and they def want frameless, white painted cabs. We’ve decided on OG trimmed shaker style but concerned about paint issues. I discovered the “Philadelphia” door style in Ultracraft’s Eurotek finish, laminated onto an MDF core which eliminates expansion and contraction and can be upgraded to 5/8″ plywood. Thought I had found solution for them til I read your low ratings for UC. Question for you: shall I abandon this option totally and explore Fabuwood or other sources for white painted cabs that survive effects of expansion/contraction? Appreciate your help.

  333. pmcalary, October 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm:

    The best reason to get frameless cabinetry is that your customer wants a contemporary door style. This style looks better and has the most options in frameless. Never Never get framelesss cabinetry with less than 3/4″ sides. It is just cheap junk. IKEA is better and is 3/4″. If a customer wants a shaker style door then they can spend less and get a better made cabinet in Framed cabinetry like Fabuwood or many other lines. A good designer will convince a customer of this. Less experienced designers just give people what they ask for.

  334. Lisa M, October 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm:

    Your blog is so helpful. We have a coop in NYC and are renovating the kitchen and bath. Looking at both Decora, Kraftmaid and Wellborn. Upgrading to all plywood, etc. Also looked at Fabuwood and Hannsem – not interested in those. Can you say which of the first 3 is the better investment. I believe they’re all rated the same.

  335. pmcalary, October 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm:

    Hi Lisa,
    These are all good lines. When cabinetry is that close it is even more important to pick the best designer to work with.

  336. Debbi, October 9, 2017 at 8:46 am:

    Hi just want a sanity check. We are getting wellborn premier light maple cabs which we were told is a step above fabuwood cabinets. Is wellborn hopefully a better cabinet. If we got fabuwood it would be a painted wood if that makes a difference. We don’t have any out of pocket money. This is all thru insurance for water damage and we are using a reconstruction co as project manager. We were told thru their vendor that wellborn is a step up above fabuwood.

  337. pmcalary, October 9, 2017 at 10:11 am:

    Wellborn is a more expensive cabinet line but not better constructed. However the light maple finish isn’t available in Fabuwood. Fabuwood only sells Birch cabinets which is one reason they are less expensive. I like the light maple finish and have it in my own home but the construction is equal in both lines.

  338. Grace, October 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    we are looking at Brookhaven cabinets, what other brands do you recommend that are equivalent? I want ot make sure we compare apples to apples.

  339. pmcalary, October 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm:

    There are many. Kraftmaid, Decora, Bertch, Starmark, Fieldstone, we sell and like Brighton because they are a slightly more custom line than these other lines and are no more expensive.

  340. Carol Lynn, October 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm:

    You’re blog is the best on the web!

    We are ready to order cabinets for our kitchen remodel. The kitchen has been professionally designed, as well as having a lot of my own input since I have designed several kitchens on my own remodels and flip houses.

    *We want a painted off white shaker cabinet on the wall cabs, and a darker gray painted shaker cab on the island. It sounds like you don’t think it’s worth spend extra money on higher end cabinets when painted.

    *There is a need for some customization when it comes to working in the current “in wall” pantry closet with a “faux” pantry front that is flush with the cabinets.

    *Money is not unlimited but we do want good quality cabinets since this is for our own custom built home.

    Two Questions:

    In your opinion, what cabinet line would you suggest? and,

    Is there any good quality cabinet lines that would meet our needs that we can order online directly? I work with an excellent contractor and carpenter who can work with minor issues/problems should they arise via the online direct buy cabinet.

    Thank you.

  341. Sivi, October 10, 2017 at 1:35 pm:

    Please help! I have lost so many sleepless nights trying to select our cabinetry for our remodel/addition. Long story short, we have it narrowed down to Decora and Yorktowne-upgraded to all plywood. We are looking at about $24K total, including a hutch for our dining area. I thought Decora was the way to go, but everywhere I look online, Decora gets horrible reviews for quality. But then I see you give it an A grade. My gut tells me to go with the Decora, as it APPEARS to be a better quality, but I would absolutely love and greatly appreciate your feedback.

  342. Harold Coghlan, October 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm:

    Have you ever run across Home Decorators Collection Semi Custom Cabinets sold at Home Depot? They are all plywood construction, full plywood back, dovetail drawers and soft close doors and drawers. They are made by a company, I believe named Ideal Cabinetry. They are special order just like the other brands at Home Depot. Just wondered what you think.

  343. Harold, October 10, 2017 at 4:10 pm:

    Have you ever heard of Home Decorators Collection Semi Custom Cabinetry sold at the Home Depot? I believe they are manufactured by Ideal Cabinetry. All plywood construction, full plywood backs, dovetail drawers and soft close doors and drawers. Any thoughts? They are special order like the other offerings in the kitchen area.

  344. Chris, October 10, 2017 at 7:27 pm:

    Hello Paul. Thank you for all the time and effort that you must put into this. Question: do you know anything about the desirability of a particle board material called “Evercore” that Kraftmaid has for stabilizing cabinet door fronts against shrinking and swelling?

  345. pmcalary, October 11, 2017 at 4:04 am:

    No but it is MDF I’m pretty sure and fine for a recessed door or drawer front on a painted cabinet only.

  346. pmcalary, October 11, 2017 at 4:06 am:

    I don’t know the line but they appear to be an Asian made line that meets our construction recomendations

  347. pmcalary, October 11, 2017 at 4:09 am:

    Decora is far better than Yorktowne. Reviews from people that know nothing about cabinetry are not meaningful.

  348. pmcalary, October 11, 2017 at 4:13 am:

    Hi Carol,
    You have lots of alarm bells that go off in your email. And responding is too complicated to do on our blog. Try calling late on a Friday and I may be able to answer some questions for you.

  349. Chris G, October 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm:


    I’m working to instal a wet bar wall in the great room of the house we are buying. The plan isto have the 2 tall pieces on the left and right look as much like a piece of furniture as possible. So far I have been talking to HD about Kraftmaid, Reico about WoodHarbor, and Cabinet Discounters about Brighton. Potentially, I may have the furniture like pieces made from the vendors custom line and the more cabinet like pieces from semi-custom lines. I’m also considering talking to small local custom cabinet makers here in Annapolis Md. Of the option above, which cabinets do you like

  350. Clark, October 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm:

    What do you know about Forevermark Cabinetry? We are leaning towards Decora but the huge difference in cost is something to consider and asking a second opinion from a pro?

  351. Brian C, October 14, 2017 at 9:19 pm:

    Crazy there is nothing else out there like this blog post. Super helpful. I was curious why the Mouser Centra line did not make the cut. They are the semi-custom line below Mouser custom. They offer an inset option at same price as overlay. It’s a beautiful cabinet made by a high end brand (evidenced by your rating). Any thoughts on it, or consideration for adding to the list?

  352. pmcalary, October 15, 2017 at 8:00 am:

    We just haven’t gotten to it. Probably in 2018 or 2019 when we get the chance to do reviews again. My guess is that they would fair very well.

  353. pmcalary, October 15, 2017 at 8:24 am:

    Hi Clark,
    Forevermark is a very low level RTA “ready to assemble” cabinet. There are much better inexpensive lines available. Decora is a completely different animal.

  354. pmcalary, October 15, 2017 at 8:27 am:

    The best designer would be the best fit for you and Home centers and small custom cabinet makers don’t usually have very accomplished designers. A larger independent cabinet dealer would be the best bet.

  355. danmartin, October 15, 2017 at 4:27 pm:

    What a great blog, appreciate the time you spend answering and your ratings. We have enlisted the help of a designer and are pleased with the overall design. We are looking at two cabinet options- American Woodmark- Savannah maple series white painted with auburn glaze with upgraded all plywood construction and option 2 is Solid Wood cabinets-Devon raised painted white with glaze.

    The construction details all look very similar between these two using the guidelines you provided once you upgrade to the all plywood on the American Woodmark. It appears the American is probably 10 plus percent less with the current promo that are being run. We liked the look and value of the American woodmark and looking for our cabinets to last for 20 plus years. Wondering your thoughts and which you would rate higher quality, and if you feel the Solid wood is higher quality is it worth the additional price.

    thank you in advance

  356. pmcalary, October 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm:

    The American Woodmark is a very good deal if you can get it for less than Solid Wood Cabinets. This is a no brainer especially since the guarantee from a home center is a better one. Home center designers while less sophisticated than most private showroom designers are usually better than Solid Wood Cabinet designers.

  357. Beth, October 15, 2017 at 11:13 pm:

    Which are the companies that still use the painted doors from China. I’m looking for the best quality white painted cabinets (at a reasonable price).

  358. pmcalary, October 16, 2017 at 7:09 am:

    All Level 1 and 2 cabinet companies will almost certainly be using Asian doors and paints. We see no difference in durability with cabinets painted in Asia. In some RTA lines the paint is sloppier but in most lines the seams between stiles and rails are less obvious then lower priced US lines. The best paint jobs are certainly the high end US manufactured lines but they will be at least 50% more.

  359. Clark, October 16, 2017 at 10:16 am:

    thank you for your response. I guess Decora it is. What is an estimated cost per linear foot (base and wall)for Decora?

  360. danmartin, October 16, 2017 at 2:18 pm:

    thanks Paul- how about compare of the American woodmark all plywood construction verses Fabuwood-

  361. Patty, October 29, 2017 at 4:55 pm:

    Have my builder trying to steer us toward Aristocraft cabinets instead of Kempor, thoughts?

  362. Patty, October 29, 2017 at 4:56 pm:


  363. pmcalary, October 29, 2017 at 5:14 pm:

    Not a real fan of either line. They are popular among builders that don’t know any better.

  364. Patty, October 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm:

    Thoughts on Homecrest?

  365. pmcalary, October 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm:

    The review sums it up.

  366. Steve Martin, October 30, 2017 at 4:22 am:

    Design center Pulte homes I choose timberland level 5 new haven cognac
    Real wood outside and plywood inside. My wife is concerned with glue
    In the plywood having harmful chemical like formaldehyde. I am told that Timberlake states they are green technology. And this is made in California. Do you think I have a worry here? Wife is thinking about painting the plywood. Would appreciate any help. Thank

  367. pmcalary, October 30, 2017 at 9:47 am:

    Timberlake like many if not most cabinet manufacturers is now carb compliant and so reaches the highest standards for off gassing available to be documented. So painting the cabinets would be foolish. And for those exceptionally sensitive to chemicals extra precaution could be taken by storing new cabinetry unwrapped in the garage for a few months before installing.

    To put things in perspective, carb compliant cabinetry gives off a tiny fraction of the chemicals given off by painting a new home, new carpet, floor sanding and sealing, a new car (you know that smell), and other chemicals we routinely expose ourselves to. I think possibly the worst is that in the US we use Roundup a highly toxic weed killer to harvest nearly all our wheat.

    I am a firm believer in both leaving a small carbon footprint in this would and in exposing ourselves to as little toxins as possible. We are inundated with chemicals and radiation from an infinite number of sources and the hardest part for sensible people is trying to put these dangers in perspective. Some fears are out of proportion to the danger. For example, lead paint while dangerous is only dangerous if ingested and so while pealing paint can be deadly to infants in a home if the house is well kept there is little or no danger. In our area Radon can be extremely dangerous and we all should test our homes, but eliminating radon can be done inexpensively.

    An entire industry has sprung up that feeds on mostly younger people who are rightly concerned about toxins, lead, radon, and mold. The companies that treat these issues very often prey on fear. The key is educating yourself about what are our biggest dangers.

    In the cabinet industry unfortunately “green” has become a bad word. Because the consumers that focus on “green” can be one issue buyers and easily swayed with hype and marketing. The companies that promote how “green” they are first above other issues are usually no greener than their competitors and are most often poorly made and over priced.

  368. Jason, October 30, 2017 at 11:01 am:

    First, thank you so much for taking time out from your actual day job to donate your experience to the community and help educate us all to make more informed purchases. I was trying to put together a cheat-sheet of your bottom line recommendations/ minimal requirements for cabinet features. Here is what I gathered through the blog – did I miss or overstate anything?

    1) Cabinet Box = All plywood construction
    2) Cabinet Sides/Top/ Bottom = 1/2″ plywood sides
    3) Back Panel = 1/2″ plywood back *or* Solid wood hanging rail *or* at the very least a total of 3/4″ ply hanging rail *or* a 3/8″ entire back
    4) Cabinet Front = 3/4″ solid wood
    5) Base Cabinet Braces = plywood tops or I beam construction
    6) Shelves = 3/4″ full-depth plywood (from 6 square)
    7) Drawer Box = 5/8″ solid wood dovetail drawers with a captured plywood bottom
    8) Drawer Glide = Blum’s Blumotion Full-Extension Soft Close Drawer Tracks or equivalent
    9) Other Features = Clear soft round door bumpers (from 6 Square), and for full overlay a 6-way adjustable concealed hinge (from 6 Square)

  369. pmcalary, October 30, 2017 at 11:48 am:

    Hi Jason,
    That says it all and more clearly than in our blog. Well done!

  370. DNelson, October 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm:

    Outstanding information! Based on your post, I have tried to find a Fabuwood dealer but the manufacturer said there aren’t any in Northern California right now…too bad.
    1. Thoughts on ordering Fabuwood online?
    2. We visited several showrooms and the following 3 probably fit our budget; would love your thoughts on comparing. . .
    – 6 Square
    – Waypoint
    – J&K (Grand J&K – not listed in your blog..any feedback)?

  371. pmcalary, October 30, 2017 at 5:46 pm:

    All 3 are good inexpensive lines. Here I would go with the better designer and the dealer with the best reputation.

  372. Dnelson, October 31, 2017 at 2:35 pm:

    Thanks pmcalary:
    I was told from Fabuwood I could order online through a dealer (they gave me a few east-mid coast names). Is that a bad idea?
    Otherwise, I can get any of the 3 above from a local dealer, but don’t see obvious differences between 6 Sq, Waypoint, or J&K…..putting me into a state of analysis paralysis.

  373. Frank Golabki, October 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm:

    How do the J&K cabinet lines compare to Fabuwood? Pretty similiar?

  374. pmcalary, October 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm:

    Similar I like Fabuwood better. But we carry them so I know them better.

  375. pmcalary, October 31, 2017 at 4:52 pm:

    Ordering on line has no professional responsible for things fitting or working.

  376. LWilson, November 2, 2017 at 10:25 am:

    This is very informative. Do you have an opinion on Smithport from TN? (I’m sorry if you’ve addressed this already. I may have missed it in the long thread.)

  377. pmcalary, November 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm:

    Sorry never heard of them

  378. Tony M., November 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm:

    Thanks for the great info Paul!

    Pricing considered equal, would you recommend going with Omega Dynasty cabinets OR Homecrest cabinets upgraded to Full plywood boxes?

    Also, any pros or cons to full overlay vs traditional overlay cabinet doors? Or just matter of aesthetics?

  379. pmcalary, November 3, 2017 at 10:15 pm:

    Both these lines are rated above. Omega Dynasty is a frameless line so it can only rate a B on our construction scale. Frameless cabinetry only comes full overlay since there is no face to the cabinet and only sides. The doors must cover the fact that there is no cabinet.

  380. Mikki S, November 5, 2017 at 8:08 am:

    Back on April 26, 2017, you indicated that DuraSupreme line has a 1/3 inch backing but I am on their website and see (with an upgrade) their backing is 1/2 inch plywood. Is there something that I am missing? Would this affect your quality ranking?

  381. pmcalary, November 5, 2017 at 11:30 am:

    DuraSupreme is a cabinet line we sold until a couple of years ago. The backs then were 3/8″. However they are a company we wouldn’t recommend. They did not honor their warranty to our customers.

  382. Debbie Collins, November 7, 2017 at 9:06 am:

    Thank you for such great information- truly a resource. Wish I was on your coast- lol

    I am looking at two choices in cabinets- Fabuwood wellington line and the Solid wood recessed- the design is the same and they are wthin 400 bucks between. I like them both, but the Solid wood warranty “APPEARS” to be better with lifetime compared to Fabuwood 5 year- Construction of both lines seems to be comparable and in line with your recommendations-

    Can you let me know what you think?



  383. pmcalary, November 7, 2017 at 11:56 am:

    This is a easy choice. Fabuwood is a superior cabinet line hands down. If you like the styles equally I’d use them.

  384. Jackie, November 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm:

    What is your opinion of the Schrock cabinets from Menards? We are planning to buy white painted shaker cabinets and love the price point of these cabinets. Should I expect cracks and chips when they arrive? You also mentioned the “new smell” I’m very sensitive to smells. How long will it last? Thank you for any information.

  385. pmcalary, November 7, 2017 at 2:30 pm:

    We rate Schrock in this blog. They will have no more issues with paint then all painted cabinets do.

  386. Matt, November 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm:

    Have narrowed our choices to Wellborn Premier (per your suggested guidelines)and Brighton. Pondering cherry wood with a stain. Very impressed with Brighton and the Wellborn seems to be well made. Is the Brighton worth the $2500 in price? The designer seems high on the cabinet installation but the designer is the only Brighton dealer in the area. Your thoughts?

  387. pmcalary, November 12, 2017 at 5:25 pm:

    To be honest I really can’t say. We carry Brighton so I know that line better. But both lines are great. Brighton is the more custom line. If you are getting inset cabinetry and other customizations or the stain finish is nicer it might be totally worth it. I all depends on the individual design, finish and door style.

  388. Judy, November 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm:

    We are considering Great Northern cabinetry for a kitchen in a new home. We have asked questions about construction, and it seems that their Classic line meets your criteria. Do you know anything about this company? Thanks so much.

  389. Joan, November 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm:

    We got a quote from a designer for Woodland inset cherry stained cabinets with a glaze. We told her we were going to think about it for a while due to the price. When we went to pay her for the plan she had a second quote using Brighton cabinets, walnut, no glaze. That price was about $10,000 less than Woodland. Are you familiar with Woodland? If so, are they about the same as Brighton in quality? I’m am wondering why the designer did not show is birth options initially. Any thoughtsuggestions on that?

  390. kathy, November 16, 2017 at 10:36 pm:

    Hi Paul…trying to decide between Mouser and Starmark cabinets. The list on this blog has Mouser rated higher and I was wondering why you felt that way? I have estimates for both and they are priced about the same. Also, thank you for such an informative blog!!!

  391. pmcalary, November 17, 2017 at 7:18 am:

    Hi Joan,
    Sorry I never heard of Woodland. But I doubt you could tell the difference from one custom line to another. Brighton is a particularly reasonable custom line which is why we carry it.

  392. pmcalary, November 17, 2017 at 7:27 am:

    Hi Kathy,
    Starmark also sold under the Fieldstone name now has upgrades available making them A or even A+ rated for construction. I think I would select the finish and door style I liked best between Mouser and Starmark price being equal and Starmark upgraded to their best box. I am changing their construction rating now. Make sure you upgrade the back of the Starmark box to 3/4″.

  393. pmcalary, November 17, 2017 at 7:38 am:

    No we don’t know and haven’t looked up or rated Great Northern yet.

  394. Andrew, November 18, 2017 at 8:23 am:

    Thanks for the very helpful list. I cannot seem to find a whole lot of information about the Bellmont line, and it also doesn’t appear on this list. Are you at all familiar with their stuff? A lot of designers in my area (Seattle) carry it, and one designer in particular that I’ve been working with and who has been very helpful carries it, almost exclusively. I just want to make sure if I go through them, that I’m getting a good cabinet.

  395. pmcalary, November 18, 2017 at 9:42 am:

    The Belmont line is a frameless line made in Washington and uses particle board sides. If you are getting a modern slab door style it might make sense. But this is not a line I would recommend. A designer that works almost exclusively in this product would also worry me.

  396. Andrew, November 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm:

    Thank you very much for the quick reply. I misspoke about them dealing with Belmont exclusively. They also work with grand j&k, another brand I can’t remember the name of, and another local Oregon brand called Huggy Bear Cupboards. As frameless goes, would you say Belmont is good quality, or are there better frameless options out there (if we decide to go that route)? I don’t like Kraftmaid because they put their brand name on the inside of every drawer (at least, that’s what I saw at Home Depot and the rep there said that it was standard) and I find it incredibly ugly. Another brand I have found with another designer is crystal, which I see you give a good rating for. But most of these places want to come out and charge me to take measurements and draw up designs before doing anything else, but I already have all of that done through the first designer, who did it for free. But they want their people to do it and don’t trust my designs.

  397. pmcalary, November 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm:

    I think that they are smart not trusting designs you had done for free.

  398. Britt, November 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm:

    Thank you so much for this helpful list of rating on cabinets– it is an incredible resource. I am in the market for white kitchen cabinets (i.e., shaker style with some detail in the door) and I am interested in inset with finial hinges. I have looked at the following brands: 6-Square Cabinets (cheapest), Omega, Decora, Cabico, Starmark, Brighton, and Candlelight Cabinetry. My questions are two fold. First, which company do you think I will get the best value for my money for inset cabinets (considering I only want white cabinets without much detailing, so not very elaborate)? I know 6-Square Cabinets is probably the cheapest of these lines and does inset, but am concerned about quality. I know you sell this line…have you ever sold inset by them? Second, if I didn’t go inset due to price, but did full overlay, would you recommend the same company or a different one? Thank, in advance, for your thoughts.

  399. pmcalary, November 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm:

    Hi Britt,
    We carry and really like 6 Square BUT you can’t do inset cabinetry cheaply. We would NEVER sell 6 Square inset cabinets for a kitchen. Brighton we recommend for inset cabinetry as the least expensive way to get a full custom look. Some of the other lines you mention are nice too. But cheap and inset don’t go together. In a full overlay shaker door style you can even spend less than 6 Square and get a nice product.

  400. Britt, November 21, 2017 at 11:59 am:

    Thank you for your thoughts, Paul. I am currently looking further into Brighton for the inset cabinetry option. You mention with a full overlay shaker door style being able to do less than 6 Square Cabinets and getting a nice product– do you have an alternative brand you would recommend exploring that would be cheaper?

  401. Melissa, November 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    I commented on one of your threads this summer and took your reply to heart. You had mentioned that I might be better off with a semicustom line rather than Fabuwood. The kitchen company I had planned on working with sold Fabuwood and I really liked it. After reading through tons of your comments and blogs about how good you thought Kraftmaid was – when upgraded to all plywood construction (as well as Fabuwood) we ended up ordering Kraftmaid and using a different contractor than the kitchen company that sold Fabuwood. We love our contractor, he is meticulous. I upgraded to all plywood and ordered with lots of bells and whistles that Kraftmaid offered. I am very disappointed with their quality control. While I feel that yes they can make a quality product with a nice finish it is quite difficult to actually receive an entire kitchen in that nice finish. They do not seem to have any type of inspection prior to shipping the product. We have had to actually replace the first kitchen they sent us with a different color. Maybe this was partly to blame on the designer for not alerting us that the cabinet face and doors would be completely different colors, but who could actually know how drastic that difference would be without seeing an entire cabinet, and not just the door. Obviously the Home Depot store manager, customer order specialist, Kraftmaid rep and the parent Masco cabinetry had to agree that it could be replaced since their were unacceptable issues. While we no longer have issues with the drastic color differences with the new color chosen from door to cabinet face or other decorative items we do still have issues with many of the finished doors. Many need to be replaced because their work on them is very sloppy, or should never have been painted in the first place, because the wood or section was subpar. I wish I had done more research on the end user satisfaction with Kraftmaid since there are plenty of complaints out there. I’m not sure if their quality control has just gone downhill recently or if it is just hit or miss, but it seems they spend a ton of money having to replace items not made/finished correctly the first (or second/third etc) time. I thought maybe I was being too picky but my contractor assured me that I was not and he has installed many other brands of cabinetry and has not come across these issues with other brands. I wish I could say that all the problems are due to the glaze, but they are not. Yes, most of the issues we have are glaze related but they also have inconsistent paint coverage on doors, cabinet faces, sides and wood that should never have been released to be painted. A gnawed looking wood section of a glass mullion door should never have been painted. We also have cherry stained cabinets some of them have come in where some pieces are clearly not the right stain color, or it is not evenly applied. A decorative spindle which they have sent us the wrong glaze color, then the next did not have adequate paint coverage, and the third was not glazed at all – and they were always packed in a box for the color we were supposed to be getting. We have a good KM rep that has come out to the house 3x and always gets the problems replaced, but the waiting is what is very frustrating, especially when it is the same piece they can’t seem to make right several times. Sorry to rant to you, but since I noticed you have downplayed online consumer reviews to others, you may want to reconsider doing so, because the problem with quality control is very real with KM. We have been without a kitchen since mid July and I am very disappointed and upset about that.

  402. pmcalary, November 22, 2017 at 3:07 pm:

    Well I guess we determined that you needed to be in a more expensive line.
    And you are very lucky you bought your kitchen at a home center. No independent dealer would have allowed you to not understand what you had bought and then given you a free replacement kitchen because of it. When you are especially fussy you should expect any non custom cabinet line to need some replacement parts and they always take longer. Why people think buying a complex specially made cabinet order should be as simple as buying a toaster always mystifies me.

  403. Wayne, November 23, 2017 at 9:50 pm:

    Hi a good friend of mine is remodeling her kitchen, she wants a natural maple shaker style, uppers need to be 39”. We have viewed and priced many cabinets and it is becoming overwhelming for her. I have fabuwood in my home but they don’t do a 39” upper, we were considering waypoint but someone has been pushing her towards Mid, she also considered RTA but a few people discouraged her based on the fact they are made in China. Is there a few brands you could recommend her checking. Obviously from the brands we have checked she is looking for a good quality and a very good price. We love in CT thank you

  404. pmcalary, November 24, 2017 at 9:51 am:

    Hi Melissa,
    I would first question why she needs 39″ wall cabinets. Often people mistakenly want 39″ wall cabinets when they have 95″ or 96″ ceilings. Any experienced designer knows that you never put 8 lbs of sausage in an 8 lb wrapper. Since no ones ceiling is level you need to stack molding to level the cabinets and reach the ceiling. It also looks nicer to have 36″ walls with the stacked moldings. You would only use 39″ high wall cabinets on a 99″ high ceiling and that would be an unusual ceiling height. In the spirit of Thanksgiving. It is far more likely that your friend is just a sausage suffer.

  405. Wayne, November 24, 2017 at 10:01 pm:

    1/2 the kitchen is an addition she wants 42” but the addition ceiling is not high enough, designers have told us that going 39” and adjusting the crown would be less obvious to get the look she wants. There is a support beam separating the 2 ceilings. The brands are the big concern right now as I am a experienced negotiator I will help her get the best price possible. She will be going with granite countertops and she has good quality appliances. I want to help her get the best cabinets she can at the best price. But there are so many I was hoping you could recommend a few brands that would fit all her needs. She is looking for only all wood, solid doors, dove tail, soft close, other than that she is not interested in too many fancy options. All the cabinets she needs for her design are pretty basic (other than the 39” uppers) and a 12” pantry

  406. Wayne, November 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm:

    One side will have 3.5” crown the other side 2” crown, we have been to 5 different designer and had 3 measurements done plus my own. We took a lot of time and considered all input and suggestions to make sure she was getting the kitchen she wants. I have done several kitchens in my own homes and tried to help her by reflecting on mistakes I made and things I learned to consider when planing a kitchen. Thank you for any help or suggestions.

  407. paul mcalary, November 25, 2017 at 8:17 am:

    Sounds like everyone involved in this project is inexperienced. She should be using 36″ high wall cabinets and a stacked crown molding based on what you say. Having done several kitchens makes you as experienced as a professional kitchen designer after their first day of work. Find good design help and listen to it. Helping you here would only be empowering poor decision making.

  408. Lisa F., November 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m doing a small bathroom. One upper cabinet, one lower vanity base cabinet modified to 12″ deep and 24″w sink vanity. I’m waffling between Kemper and Kraftmaid, painted Shaker style. Kemper has the MDF door panel, Kraftmaid has the entire door MDF. Any thoughts on the MDF? It’s a high humidity area. Who has the better quality paint job? Thanks!

  409. Wayne, November 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm:

    We have spoken to several designers from lows, Home Depot and a few custom kitchen shops in the area. I may be explaining it wrong but everyone agrees this is the best for her kitchen and for the look she wants. If you could give recommendations on cabinets to look into that would be appreciated. If you want to send me an email I’ll be happy to send the full measurements and the design she is currently going with so you can see everything.

  410. pmcalary, November 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm:

    Never heard of a MDF Kraftmaid shaker door. So it must be something new or you are mistaken. In any event we wouldn’t know, and in a bath it probably doesn’t matter.

  411. cliff, November 29, 2017 at 11:10 am:

    This was actually super helpful…..I would love your insight, we are working with a contractor and figuring out cabinets. They are suggesting Wolf the Carver model or the Woodmark Savannah. It really is scary and frustrating knowing nothing in this market about price/quality. Any help or suggestions would be GREAT. Thanks so much

  412. pmcalary, November 29, 2017 at 11:58 am:

    Both are fine choices. The wolf will be less expensive and not quite as nice, but both are well built.

  413. Helen, November 30, 2017 at 12:11 pm:

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. We’re in Albuquerque, NM and one of the kitchen design stores carries Debut, BJ Tidwell, Mastercraft Heritage, Kraftmaid, and Shiloh. I see your reviews for Kraftmaid and Shiloh, but do you know anything about the other 3 brands?
    Thanks so much!

  414. pmcalary, November 30, 2017 at 3:38 pm:

    Sorry, I don’t know those lines well. We will release a more complete cabinet review list in spring of 2018. All our designers will strat working on it after the new year.

  415. Michael, December 1, 2017 at 2:58 am:

    Hi, any thoughts on Bridgewood cabinets out of KS? It’s supposed to be a more affordable alternative to Mouser. We’re in St Louis, MO. Thanks!!!

  416. pmcalary, December 1, 2017 at 7:11 am:

    Hi Michael,
    I gave them a quick check on line. All three of their lines are well constructed, but I don’t know them other than by their online specs.

  417. David, December 3, 2017 at 8:31 am:

    Hi. Great blog here. We’re replacing all of our kitchen cabinets due to the flooding here (a remodeling opportunity) here and after reading this blog visited a dealer selling Fabuwood, Wolf and some higher priced lines, and have contacted Clique. Our layout includes about 40′ of cabinets, and the designer told us that our layout requires some cabs that Fabuwood does not make. He directed us to the Wolf Designer line because of the customization we need and it’s within our budget, barely. Is this specific Wolf line a good buy? (Your Wolf rating doesn’t break down the lines.) Would there be a better alternative at that price point? Thanks

  418. pmcalary, December 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm:

    I think Wolf is a good buy but I don’t know the lines well. I like Fabuwood better which is why we carry it. Your designer is wrong about sizes Fabuwood won’t make. There really are no sizes they don’t make since they do custom sizes, you just have to wait 8 weeks for custom sizes.

    Possibly Wolf makes 39″ high wall cabinets standard and this is what your designer is referring to. But good designers almost never use this size wall cabinet. Your ceiling would need to be to be around 99 inches for that height cabinet to look good and make sense.

    Less experienced designers and builders use 39″ wall cabinets in 8 foot high rooms to foolishly try and maximize cabinet space. Ceilings around 96″ should use 36″ high wall cabinets and stacked crown molding to reach the ceiling. One small piece of molding on a 39″ cabinet looks cheap and since ceiling are never level it accentuates however off level your ceiling is, instead of disguising it, which the stacked molding does.

  419. David, December 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm:

    The customization involved in our kitchen is actually about some configuration issues, like creating cabinets that are rotated 90 degrees at the end of one run (galley kitchen) to create wine racks and bookshelves facing toward the dining room, but the designer did in fact stick in 39″ cabs, which I questioned. We plan to use a cove molding that wraps the dining room and kitchen, which measures 3.5″ vertically, and he said the gap between that cove and the cabinet would be too large, i.e. unattractive, so he went to 39″ cabs with a 3″ riser on top. I haven’t looked closely at the cabinets in the store to see how the space lays out above the cabinet doors myself, but I’m still leery of this. Thanks for bringing that up.

  420. paul mcalary, December 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm:

    Hi David,
    If your ceiling height is 99″ or very close to it you are fine. If however you have 8 foot ceilings you need 36″ high cabinets and a different designer. If he or she made this mistake there will be others possibly just as bad. And your design is most likely pretty poor even though you may not realize it. Bad designers are not capable of creating good designs and since most customers are not kitchen designers themselves they don’t realize how poor their designs are.

  421. Sienna, December 4, 2017 at 1:58 pm:

    Hi, I have been coming back and reading your reviews and comments for the past month. Based on your advice to others, I have gotten a quote for Kraftmaid quartersawn oak cabinets with upgraded construction. Wanting to explore more options and because we are very DIY and handy, I went online for RTA options. After long consideration and review of construction diagrams on online suppliers and observing that in terms of material thicknesses and general approach, the construction appeared to be the same as Kraftmaid and Decora displays I have seen in store. I have found a door I really like from RTA website, so I ordered samples and they just arrived… I still really like it – it is a grey eucalyptus shaker (with opaque grey stain, leaving just a bit of wood grain). Catch is… that it is Forevermark (didn’t say that on the website I ordered from). Based on your comments, Forevermark is nearly a no-no. Here is my question: considering “upgraded” level of construction on Diamond and Titanium line (seems to reflect in the pricing too), do you still feel the same about them?

    I also read what you said about ordering RTA cabinets pre-assembled and although we have that option, we would like to assemble them myself so we can hack a couple of them to fit side-by-side ovens and use wood glue, as well as save on shipping (one retailer offers these pre-assembled).

    Thanks so much for reading and your input in advance!

  422. pmcalary, December 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm:

    Having been a general contractor for ten years and a designer for over 20 I am more than handy. And what you are attempting I would never attempt. It makes no sense to people that do this for a living. There are well made cabinet lines that will be inexpensive but RTA cabinetry is usually of poor quality and the design of your kitchen is guaranteed to be poor and it’s execution disorganized without the help of a professional. RTA companies don’t have real designers only order takers. Go one level up from RTA and get Wolf or Fabuwood shipped assembled if cost is an issue. There will be good designers to work with in these lines as well in most areas.

  423. Sienna, December 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm:

    Thank you for your response.

    That is not at all what I expected to hear from you. I apologize if I angered you with my questions or plans.

    I had followed your advice given to others and went to get free designs at the showrooms prior to asking this question or looking at RTA websites. Three separate designers came up with the same solution for my kitchen and needs (I think outside the box and have designed my kitchen so that every inch is utilized while keeping it simple). I took the professionally designed plans and used them to price the kitchen on RTA website. The advice I got from one designer was to order 30″ cabinets or order a 62″ vanity and modify them to fit my 30″ ovens side by side to avoid the 5″ gap a 33″ cabinet would create. I don’t think that any of the designers I worked with were lacking creativity or were stupid or that my final kitchen design is poor.

    There are no Fabuwood or Wolf cabinet styles that suit my design needs.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to give me advice, it is just a bit difficult to swallow.

  424. pmcalary, December 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm:

    It is not that I’m angry. I am telling you something that you don’t want to hear. As Picasso said “Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist. “Thinking outside of the box” is something that the best designers know is incredibly hard to do successfully and requires many years of experience. In general the people that do it are the least qualified to.

  425. Mica, December 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm:

    I’m really torn between the Crystal’s beaded inset french villa square and Decora’s beaded inset Prescott, both in maple painted white. Hoping to do the island in Cherry with a darker stain. Any advice on quality between the two? Our family has 3 kids with asthma, not sure if one off gasses better too, not sure if you had info on this? Thanks so much! Love your blog and have been following extensively with cabinet researching!

  426. pmcalary, December 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm:

    Both are good cabinet lines. As far as off gassing ask the reps if they are Carb Compliant. If both are and you want to be extra careful unbox all cabinetry carefully in the garage and wait at least 4 weeks prior to installing. That will help significantly.

  427. Denise Boyce, December 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm:

    I want to thank you all for the continued effort put into this blog and the professional help given freely. It’s really wonderful!
    I’m wondering whether there are manufacturers that have budget lines in the same finishes of their semi/custom lines. I have a tiny 1940’s saltbox with a tiny galley kitchen [83 sq ft] as well as a tiny budget. I have my heart set on condiment shelves and slab drawer fronts and was hoping I could get the cheaper boxes and just add some of the higher end accessories to match. I love the Fabuwood Quest Discovery but can’t find a dealer in Texas. My local showroom is steering me toward Omega or Kemper with a 20,000 and 14,000 price tag. Way too much for such a small space.
    I’d also like to know how you get a kitchen designer that’s not attached to a suppler? No one wants to even discuss my remodel due to it being so small.
    Thanks again for all you guys do.

  428. pmcalary, December 6, 2017 at 10:16 pm:

    Those sound like ridiculously high numbers if you are talking about just cabinet pricing. Don’t look for a designer look for a cabinet dealer. Never cheap out on cabinet construction as it costs very little to make cabinetry well constructed, so select a line that gives you a well built box. Rev-a-shelf sells most of the interior conveniences that cabinet companies install in their cabinets so you can purchase pull outs, spice racks, and other units on line and have them installed in any cabinet line.

  429. Deb, December 7, 2017 at 5:51 am:

    Thank you for the comparisons. I am trying to decide between a Kraftmaid kitchen from Home Depot, which is on sale for 30% off right now, and the Deerfield preassembled cabinets sold by Even with the sale on the Kraftmaid, the Deerfield are about $3,000 cheaper for my kitchen. I had a Kraftmaid kitchen in my last house and loved it, even after 11 years. We only had one problem with the trash cabinet about 8 years in, and Kraftmaid sent us an entire new unit, no questions asked. However, the Deerfield cabinets have many, many wonderful reviews by people who have purchased them. What are your thoughts comparing these two brands? I am leaning towards a simple white shaker style, which both offer, so style is not an issue. Thanks for any info you can offer.

  430. pmcalary, December 7, 2017 at 8:13 am:

    While Deerfield is an OK inexpensive line it is far from the quality of Kraftmaid. I would get the better line but be careful. Home Depot sales and their inexperienced designers breed poor design and mistakes due to rushing. Personally I believe cabinet sales are unethical. Kitchen cabinet dealers should give their best price everyday and not rush their customers. Kitchens are too complicated to force people to purchase cabinetry possibly before all the bugs have been worked out of their design and the project has been organized in a professional manner.

  431. Denise Boyce, December 7, 2017 at 11:27 am:

    Yes I thought it was too high also. The “extras” I’m lusting after aren’t inside like pull outs and spice racks. They are the library molding, beaded trim, furniture molding and under cabinet shelving which is often called “condiment shelf” two curved shaped brackets with a 6″ shelf perfect for the original vintage look I’m after. Can you think of a line that has multiple price points with the same finish? I’m going with a white.

  432. pmcalary, December 7, 2017 at 11:36 am:

    Wellborn. But when ever we see what customers are thinking design wise there are always more important decisions to make. The designs we get to see are usually terrible. Mostly because designers were following the customers directions and not being kitchen designers the customers ideas look silly and don’t function well.

  433. Denise Boyce, December 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm:

    I actually took the design from an Omega cabinet catalog so it looks fabulous and not silly at all.

  434. pmcalary, December 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm:

    A design you see in a catalog could never be transferred in a sensible way to a customers individual kitchen. The measurements would never be that similar. You need design help.

  435. Cath, December 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm:

    We are being nudged to Designers Choice Cabs in order to meet budget. Earlier in the post (April) you were asked about DC and you indicated you didn’t like them. Can you elaborate please.

  436. Cath, December 9, 2017 at 5:45 am:

    What is your opinion of Designers Choice cabinets? Looking at both painted and stained finishes for our new home. Are they comparable to any lines you have ranked in terms of quality and value?

  437. pmcalary, December 9, 2017 at 7:46 am:

    The Designers choice web site no longer shows or tells anything about how the cabinets are made. A sure sign that they still have nothing to brag about. Lack of transparency is also the sign of a bad company. With so many well made inexpensive cabinet lines out there I’d steer clear of this one.

  438. Director of Marketing, December 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm:

    Still unclear of the rating for Showplace cabinetry being anything less than GREAT! Every product attribute described in your ratings for a great cabinet are available, if not standard, through Showplace. A couple of years ago, you did follow-up on a posting saying you didn’t realize that 1/2″ end panels were available from Showplace, but knowing they are available didn’t change the rating for Showplace.

    When compared to American-made lines you do rate highly, Showplace is a better value; in some cases, like Decora, a MUCH better value.

    You are doing a great service trying to help educate here, but with inaccuracies like those that drive the rating for Showplace lower than it should be, it calls into question the whole ranking system.

    Help us understand…obviously, this posting is coming from Showplace; we’d like to answer your concerns about our product so your ranking will become more accurate.

  439. pmcalary, December 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm:

    We would be happy to adjust the Showplace ranking if things have changed and the box now meets our criteria for a well constructed cabinet. We adjusted Starmark and Fieldstone recently when they improved their box.

    We had a request earlier from Showplace but no one from Showplace followed up with us showing cabinet specifications. The showplace web site leaves people in the dark as to how the back of the box is made and this was what concerned us all along. Feel free to email me directly at

  440. Tyler, December 12, 2017 at 10:07 am:

    What’s your opinion about Norcraft Cabinetry with 1/2″ all plywood box construction? Norcraft also makes Mid Continent, UltraCraft, StarMark, Fieldstone, Brookwood, and Urban Effects. Some of these have a good quality/value rating above and some are poor so I’m having a hard time judging the Norcraft from the other ratings. I can get these cabinets for about the same price as Schrock with more options.

  441. pmcalary, December 12, 2017 at 10:18 am:

    Norcraft is not a great value. Their Pro line is poor quality and the Signature line is nowhere near as well made as many other less expensive lines. There are better values than Schrock to. If you want a Masterbrands cabinet Decora would be a better choice.

  442. Concerned, December 14, 2017 at 2:05 am:

    Have you heard of GHI Custom Cabinets? I didn’t see them on your list. My contractor would not tell me the brand of the cabinet. I only found out after the cabinets were delivered. I am concerned because at least two of the base cabinets are cracked on the inside where the face frame meets the side frame (near the staples) and appear to be only stapled together with no glue. From my google search it appears that this is a Chinese cabinet company. Is it typical for this kind of cracking to occur?

    Note: I had builder grade particleboard cabinets before and never had any problems (a Canadian brand called Avanti, I believe). The cabinets are being replaced only because of a flooding incident caused by my upstairs neighbor’s contractor who destroyed my apartment by hitting a sprinkler pipe in my kitchen.

    One more thing: the GHI website claims that the cabinets are Carb2 compliant. Can this be believed given that they are Chinese made?

    Thank you!!

  443. pmcalary, December 14, 2017 at 10:03 am:

    Never heard of GHI but I looked them up. They appear to be very low cost Ready to Assemble cabinets. While they are cheap and not the best of the low cost brands, I wouldn’t worry too much about not seeing glue if they were put together in the factory and not by your contractor. The glue is possibly hidden. If it were visible that would be something customers would complain about as well. The cracks also can be covered with skins and base cabinets take less stress than wall cabinets so that is probably OK too. The drawer tracks and boxes are very cheap which would be my biggest concern. You can’t get much less expensive a line than this. In general spending about 30% more on cabinets would have gotten you a well made line still mostly produced in US factories based in Asia but with much better construction, better looking finishes, and most importantly solid wood dovetail drawer boxes and Blum soft close Hardware. All of the less expensive lines we sell would meet these minimums.

  444. Concerned, December 14, 2017 at 8:37 pm:

    Thank you, pmcalary. Your insight is sincerely appreciated. It doesn’t sound like these cabinets are like kind/quality to what I had before (since those were in place for 15 years without any issue), which what I am supposed to get. It also confirmed my suspicions about the cheapness of the cabinets.

    Do you do projects in Northern NJ? If not, can you recommend anyone who serves Northern NJ or the greater NYC area?

  445. Paul McAlary, December 14, 2017 at 10:40 pm:

    We don’t work in Northern NJ but here is a link to recommended dealers closer to you.

    Cabinets have improved a lot very recently compared to builders grade cabinetry from 15 years ago. So even very inexpensive cabinetry now could be better made than mid priced cabinetry from 15 years ago.

  446. Concerned, December 15, 2017 at 12:42 am:

    Thank you so much, Paul. You are a gem. I wish I could work with your firm. Just a couple more questions: (1) do you have a guess as to what the cost per linear foot would be for cabinets like GHI? (2) If you had about $5k to spend for cabinets including install (about 16 linear feet of uppers and 16 linear feet of lowers, which brands would you recommend?

  447. Paul McAlary, December 15, 2017 at 6:38 am:

    Unfortunately you will find out as soon as you price your kitchen that cabinets are not sold by the linear foot. That formula is a misleading one designed to compare door styles to one another but it always underestimates the cost of cabinets. It leave out many of the parts and pieces a complete kitchen needs. Sort of the way a car dealership promotes a car price that you will never pay. While getting your cabinets for under 5K is possible for a simple kitchen, the installation of the cabinets and the cabinets for that price is not. The Philadelpha area is less expensive for cabinets and installation than in Northern New Jersey. And around here the cost of a complete kitchen renovation your size including cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, backsplash and all the plumbing, electric, lighting, and other construction costs is always at least 20K. So you may need to adjust your overall budget. Solid Wood Cabinets, Wolf, or CNC are the lowest cost cabinets I would ever use in an expensive renovation like a kitchen. And if you can afford paying about 20% more for cabinets it is a big step up in quality to an inexpensive brand like Fabuwood.

  448. Betty, December 15, 2017 at 9:15 am:

    Love your blog and have been following for a couple of years. I’m looking into Crystal and Brookhaven. Any thoughts on these which to choose and why between the two? I saw Brookhaven was rated 4 in value. Also not sure if you new if Crystal had a back rail with the backside. I saw a crystal cab and it looked like just the 1/2 particle board, maybe it was old though. I thought it would be plywood. Thanks for any advice!

  449. pmcalary, December 15, 2017 at 10:37 am:

    Both Crystal and Brookhaven as with most higher end semi-custom cabinet lines can be ordered with inferior construction if you choose it.

    Of course why would you want to purchase relatively expensive cabinetry and not upgrade to better all plywood construction. Especially since there are now inexpensive cabinet lines that only come made with better construction.

    But less expensive companies will never have the finish and construction options available with lines like Crystal and Woodmode’s Brookhaven. Both Crystal and Brookhaven offer particularly nice options and finishes. Product wise I like them both similarly.

    As a company I like Crystal better but that is just from my experience with their reps and customer service. It always bothered me that Woodmode doesn’t even have a phone number that a customer could call and all inquiries must go through their local representatives who can take weeks to get back to you. Being sort of snooty seems to be a Woodmode company attitude that probably gets them as much business as they might lose from it. Crystal was always a much friendlier company to communicate with.

  450. evg, December 17, 2017 at 10:52 pm:

    Hi Paul, have you heard of cubitac cabinetry? What do you think? Thank you!

  451. pmcalary, December 18, 2017 at 7:54 am:

    No I have heard of them but don’t know much about them. They appear to be another import with no documentation as to how they are made. They do say they will be at the Kitchen International Business show in Orlando so we will see their product in person on January 10th. I wouldn’t expect to be impressed considering the focus of their web site and it’s lack of transparency.

  452. Ryan Nadherny, December 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm:

    We are looking to add a 4 × 6 island in our kitchen and our options are Galleria Custom, Holiday Kitchens, and Waypoint. Have you ever heard of Galleria and Holiday? Are those 2 custom lines worth the added expense in terms of quality compared to Waypoint?

  453. Claire, December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm:

    We are looking to add a 4 × 6 island in our kitchen and our options are Galleria Custom, Holiday Kitchens, and Waypoint. Have you ever heard of Galleria and Holiday?

  454. pmcalary, December 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm:

    I don’t know Galleria. Holiday Kitchens is a custom line far more expensive than Waypoint. Adding an Island when one doesn’t presently exist is usually not as simple as people might believe. And if the design can fit such a large Island comfortably then the existing kitchen was not well designed. So putting a custom Island into the space probably doesn’t make a lot of sense because if the existing kitchen used such expensive cabinetry it would probably have been designed differently.

  455. Kim, December 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm:

    We are a kitchen bath dealer looking to pick up a good price vanity line that is not in the big box stores. looking for ideas
    Thanks Kim

  456. pmcalary, December 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm:

    Since we don’t design and sell bathrooms we have very limited knowledge about vanities. Fairmont is very good but not inexpensive.

  457. RuthieG, December 20, 2017 at 5:41 pm:

    We have bought a second home that needs a kitchen. At this time it will be a weekend place on the water, but we may end up retiring there. We want to go with white cabinets. This home needs some work, so we are trying to decide where to cut the budget and not feel the effect of the cut. We want cabinets that will last, but not break the bank. Our designer recommended Wolf (because of cost) or Duraupreme. Wolf doesn’t seem to carry a white (only off white) unless we go with the shaker style. Another company recommended Homecrest. We like the color but her price was a little pricey (actually more expensive than the second designer’s Duraupreme). So I guess my question to you is which line do you like best for quality? Where do you think these should fall in price?

  458. pmcalary, December 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm:

    Durasupreme must be upgraded to be a well made cabinet so be carefull. We aren’t a fan of DuraSupreme and no longer carry their line as they didn’t honor their warranty with one of our customers. Wolf is inexpensive but well constructed and Homecrest I like too. If the home crest was more than the DuraSupreme I’d bet the homecrest price you got was upgraded and the Durasupreme not or even in Frameless construction.

  459. RuthieG, December 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm:

    Thank you for your quick response. How do I tell if it is upgrade or not? What is frameless construction?

  460. RuthieG, December 21, 2017 at 11:22 am:

    I spoke to the designer. She said the line she quoted is Durasupreme (framed) Crestwood line. Are you familiar with this line and if so, what is your opinion on it?

  461. pmcalary, December 21, 2017 at 11:36 am:

    We no longer have their spec books. I only remember that crestwood was the least expensive line. But I would not buy from a company that does’t honor their warranty.

  462. Gary Hughes, December 21, 2017 at 6:53 pm:

    Hi Paul- Found your ratings to be helpful. We are in the beginning stages of a kitchen re-do and are planning on painted shaker inset cabinets. Among your listings, we were drawn to Cabico and Woodmode. Cabico had price rating of 4 and B on value and quality. Wood mode was rated a 5 and A+ A. What is the % difference between the ratings In order of magnitude and is the differential worth the $. If possible, which would you choose?

  463. pmcalary, December 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm:

    If the price difference is worth the cost has a lot to do with your design and what door style and finish you are selecting. If your kitchen needs no unusual sizes or colors and you are selecting a shaker white door style than you should be in an inexpensive well constructed line. If you want an unusual wood in a stained furniture type finish then you would probably be happiest with a custom line like Woodmode. The real thing that customers need that they seldom appreciate is a better design. When people send us designs 90% are terrible yet they are consumed with choosing a cabinet line for this poor design.

    Do a great job picking the designer you will work with. And if you do a really good job they will help you figure out what’s the best value for you.

  464. Susan from Florida, December 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm:

    I’m in the process of renovating my kitchen. Our KD has suggested the mid-line Signature line of cabinets. My husband has also been looking into Kraft Maid cabinets at Loews to see what the difference would be. We plan to get stained flat/slab panel maple doors. What is your opinion of the Signature vs Kraft made line of cabinets?

  465. pmcalary, December 23, 2017 at 8:18 am:

    Sorry I don’t know Signature well enough to be certain.

    With a slab door if you want truly the most modern look a frameless cabinet will look better but be less durable. If you are willing to sacrifice the durability for the better look I would probably go Signature. They seem to specialize in this look.

    I would think that for a framed cabinet the Kraftmaid would be a better bargain but that you still might like the finish better on the Signature since modern styling is their “Signature”. If you like the finish on both equally then make sure you are getting plywood construction and go Kraftmaid if it saves money.

    As always who the designer is very important and the Lowes designer is less likely to be any good. But of course there are exceptions to the rule.

  466. Overwhelmed!, December 26, 2017 at 12:35 am:

    Hi Paul, Happy Holidays! Thank you for your amazing site!! Have you ever heard of a Canadian cabinet brand called Avanti? They were installed by the developer of my condo (5/8″ furniture board construction, frameless, full extension drawers, boxes with i braces on top and back of base cabinets, white melamine doors).

    Due to extensive water damage in my unit caused by my neighbor, insurance is paying for new cabinets but I have no idea what cabinetry would be considered ‘like kind/quality’. Can you please help point me in the right direction? I have no idea what price point they would have been.

    I tried to find Avanti’s website but they only talk about cabinet doors and the website is in French.

    Additional info: My cabinets were rock solid with no chipping after 10+ years despite their age and non-plywood construction. How do I get that kind of durability today?

  467. pmcalary, December 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm:

    We know nothing Avanti other that they are poorly made from your description. 5/8″ particleboard on a frameless cabinet is just about as bad as you can get. If they lasted 10 years you were lucky. I would get a different line now.

  468. Kim, December 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm:

    I know this has nothing to do with kitchen cabinets. But do you know of some good closet system company’s. I know calif closets are very nice but on the pricy side. Just thought you might have a couple ideas on that subject. Thanks

  469. Igor, December 27, 2017 at 1:58 pm:

    Hi Paul, my thanks for this blog. Its a great help for landlords such as I who need technical info rather the marketing brochures.
    The asymmetry of information when it comes to the cabinet industry is huge but understandable due to the complexity of the product.

    Im looking currently at a few brands of cabinetry and wanted your take.

    Firstly, Major kitchen cabinets. I cant find a website but found their number and made some inquires and found a distributor. They are a RTA New York operated outfit.
    Was told by warehouse
    * Cabinet sides and bottoms are 5/8″ thick
    * 3/4″ plywood shelves
    * Solid wood dovetail drawer boxes

    My concern is quality. Any experience with the brand. Its an RTA manufactured in New York.

    Also do you have any experience with mountaineer woodcraft cabinets?

    I was wondering on your take on them too.

  470. Drk, December 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm:


    Hello Paul, thanks for this blog. Its a great help.
    Wanted to ask you, what are your thoughts on Major Kitchen Cabinets, i think they are out of Brooklyn, New York.
    They are being sold in the Philadelphia area now. They boust 5/8 plywood box construction.
    Also your thoughts about 21st Century cabinets. (

    I was told 21st century uses glue and staples and in quality no worse the Fabuwood. Your thoughts?

  471. Mackenzie, December 29, 2017 at 1:15 pm:

    Hello Paul, Happy Holidays to you and your family! Thanks so much for sharing your professional insight and knowledge. It’s really helpful for end users like myself. The lower cabinets from Decora suffered from water damage and we are debating if we should repair or replace them. As we are going through info online, we found that Decora is a decent brand and we are not sure if getting rid of it would be a good idea. We have a budget of 30K to redo a relatively small kitchen (175 SQFT) and wonder if it’s a good idea to replace Decora with affordable brands like Fabuwood. Do you know if Decora and Fabuwood are US made brands?

  472. Renee, December 30, 2017 at 2:54 am:

    Happy holidays! I am at the beginning stage of a kitchen remodel with a limited budget. I will adhere to all of your advice when I make my cabinet purchase. I live in Laurel, Maryland- a cabinet distributor in my area would be highly appreciated. I want my kitchen cabinets gray in color. Is it cost efficient to buy cabinets and paint them or purchase the cabinet in the color I desire?

    Thank you in advance

  473. pmcalary, December 30, 2017 at 9:03 am:

    If You have a 30K budget for a small kitchen I would redesign the kitchen and get inexpensive but well made cabinetry. If you have soffits in your kitchen without crown moldings and not reaching the ceiling, or oak cabinets, or arched wall cabinet doors for example then keeping the existing kitchen would be valueless.

    Almost always there are only two sensible approaches to kitchens:
    Do as little as possible just to get by, or do it right. And definitely never splurge on expensive appliances, expensive cabinetry, and quartz countertops while keeping an old out of date design.

  474. pmcalary, December 30, 2017 at 9:05 am:
  475. pmcalary, December 30, 2017 at 9:09 am:

    Both of these lines I not only have never heard of but they barely have the credentials to be considered professional suppliers. Why scrape the bottom of the barrel when there are inexpensive better made lines that show you how their cabinetry is made and with a track record of sucess. Examples would be Fabuwood, Wolf, Solid Wood Cabinets, CNC, and many others. If a company has a no web site or a barely one that says they aren’t a real company.

  476. NH, December 30, 2017 at 11:26 pm:

    I was looking at going with Fabuwood but I have read alot of negative reviews online which is making me second guess myself. I also looked at Ultracraft because I want white cabinets and although they aren’t wood I was informed that I would not see the lines from the expansion and contraction of the wood. Budget is also a huge issue. Can you share your thoughts?

  477. pmcalary, December 31, 2017 at 9:00 am:

    Bad reviews are nearly always from customers that are poorly informed about the product they are buying. And cabinet lines that are good values and well made can get bad reviews simply because the designers and sales people aren’t good at explaining cabinetry to their customers. Fabuwood has some inexperienced dealers and can get bad reviews from people that simply weren’t informed about what they bought and so don’t know what they are talking about. Kraftmaid falls victim to the same fate by being a well made line but sold in home centers where designers are often also very inexperienced.

    Fabuwood is a much better cabinet and investment than Ultracraft.

  478. NH, December 31, 2017 at 6:46 pm:

    Thank you for your response. I initially was going with the St. Martin line and wanted all the bell and whistles i.e. trash pull out, sponge storage, a side cabinet for my broom and cleaning supplies etc… After thoroughly reading your forum I have learned that it is more important to have a great designer. I wish you were close to me… I tried reaching out to the one designer you have recommended in my area and unfortunately both their numbers on their website are not in service so I am uncertain if they are still in business. Is it possible to send you the current design I have and offer any suggestions? Also if I am able to increase my budget and just go with a standard St. Martin line is it worth it vs Fabuwood?

  479. Paul Laferte, January 1, 2018 at 10:43 am:

    Just came across your site and find it very informative and helpful. I am in the planning stage of redoing my modest kitchen with no major changes in the layout. I am considering Shanandoah, SunnyWood and NEKC(New England Kitchen Company) cabinets. Wondering about your opinion on SunnyWood and NEKC since they were not in your review?

  480. pmcalary, January 1, 2018 at 10:53 am:

    Never heard of those lines

  481. Renee, January 1, 2018 at 9:15 pm:

    Thank you so much!

  482. Julie, January 1, 2018 at 11:27 pm:

    Hi Paul , I was wondering what you think of the Evercore “ line by Kraftmaid . Considering the Hayward evercore line with the upgrade to all plywood construction:

  483. pmcalary, January 2, 2018 at 8:53 am:

    Hi Julie,
    Many custom lines use MDF doors for painted finishes because the paint looks better on MDF than on solid wood. However while this looks better and saves money the doors are easily damaged by getting dinged and scratched and outside corners especially can get dented easily with the very soft MDF.
    We have had customers that have had MDF kitchens for 25 years without a significant nick or scratch. However their families were unusually gentile. It depends on your family. Are you rough on things like mine? If so steer clear of the better look and stick with at least a solid wood outside frame on your doors.

    Do you happen to know if home centers sell the Evercore line? I would think that would be a huge mistake given their customer base and return policies.

  484. NASA quality guy, January 2, 2018 at 10:11 pm:

    I am looking between Kemper, Ultracraft, Wolf Signature, and Bridgewood Advantange for our Harvey damaged home. I’m guessing your review of Wolf was for their classic line since you rated it a 1 for cost. I’d prefer framless but it’s not a showstopper and I am more interested in overall bang for buck. In terms of overall costs which brand would give me acceptable quality (e.g. not fall apart in 10 years of normal wear and tear) for the least cost.

  485. Pat, Grand Rapids, MI, January 2, 2018 at 10:48 pm:

    Hello Paul, I have been reading and learning so much from this site! Thank you for being so candid about the different cabinets. Question: Are kraftmaid cabinets only available through the big box stores? The kitchen designers I have found online through houzz seem to deal with only a few particular brands. Is that typical?
    Also, I have sent in the form on Fabuwood’s site without response, then called them at number given on site and was assured I would hear back very quickly about finding a dealer. Still haven’t heard and sent a note again without reply. Is Fabuwood unavailable in western Michigan?
    We are feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to go about this but I do thank you for the valuable information you provide here.

  486. pmcalary, January 3, 2018 at 9:15 am:

    Hi Pat,
    Kraftmaid is sold at independent dealers as well as Big Box Stores. Some lines like Kraftmaid Advantage and particular door styles might not be available at all places but most are and cabinetry can be upgraded anywhere to the best construction. Most dealers including home centers carry about 4 of 5 lines. To carry too many lines doesn’t really make sense. For example we carry 8 but our reps in some of the lines we don’t sell too much of can be frustrated having to service our account with limited sales of their product.

    In an effort to help the many consumers we get on our web site out of our service area we are putting together a list of dealers across the US that look like they carry good brands and are competent designers. The list is only along the East cost so far but we are finishing the rest of the country next week and will post all the recommended dealers in about two weeks. Here is a link:

  487. pmcalary, January 3, 2018 at 9:31 am:

    The Wolf Classic is a better made cabinet than the Signature as it has 1/2″ plywood sides which meets our minimum for the top level of construction. I have to admit that the Wolf line is expanding so fast, improving in some cases and taking a step back as in the Signature line, that I can’t keep up. Signature I see has themafoil doors which while easy to clean and very durable looks cheep to me and has a history of beginning to peel after about 15 years when the glue adhering the foil to the MDF begins to breakdown. Manufactures will give you all kind of assurances regarding the peeling but they are worth nothing and with a budget line like Wolf I would be especially leary.

  488. Bob Mooney, January 3, 2018 at 11:40 am:

    Best sight I have found for cabinet information yet. Found you on the Consumer Report comment section. Was hoping to find information on Tedd Wood Cabinets? Any info would be most appreciated

  489. Chrissy, January 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm:

    Hello Paul,

    Thank you so much for this informative blog. We are purchasing a 1930s home and will be remodeling the (small) kitchen. Kitchen designers we are working with have recommended Waypoint, Showplace, and Kabinart. I see that Kabinart gets a terrible rating on your scale and would love to know why – it seems I should be crossing them off the list. Between Waypoint and Showplace what would you recommend? We will be going with a white shaker style cabinet.

  490. Chrissy, January 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm:

    Hello Paul,

    Thank you so much for this informative blog. We are purchasing 1930s house and will be remodeling the (small) kitchen. Kitchen designers we are working with have recommended Waypoint, Kabinart, and Showplace as good mid range options for us. I see that kabinart gets a terrible rating on your scale! I would love to know why as it seems I should be crossing them off the list. Do you have a recommendation of Waypoint vs. Showplace? We will be going with a white shaker door style.

  491. pmcalary, January 3, 2018 at 2:38 pm:

    Kabinart doesn’t come close to the construction minimums we recommend. Showplace and Waypoint do. Waypoint is less expensive and a better value usually.

  492. pmcalary, January 3, 2018 at 2:47 pm:

    Don’t know much about Ted Wood. They look like a small custom manufacturer that also sells some inexpensive lines. Here I would worry that a company that makes cabinets might do that very well but might not also have good designers. You can’t be good at everything and trying to often means you don’t do either or at least both well. They could be the exception to the rule, but the outside cabinet lines they selected to sell aren’t my favorites so that worries me.

  493. Pat, Grand Rapids, mi, January 3, 2018 at 10:28 pm:

    Thank you! I did see that you had put together a list of designers and dealers but you hadn’t gotten into the Midwest yet. So I am very pleased to know a list will be out next week. After spending more time than I want to admit reading all the info on your site I am happy, relieved and looking forward to receiving this last bit of guidance. Thanks again, Paul.

  494. Jean Kronmiller, January 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm:

    Our designer recommended mouser centra semi custom square inset, painted maple. Do you have any feedback on this line. Would you recommend another company that might be less expensive but similar quality. Thanks Jean

  495. pmcalary, January 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm:

    Mouser is a good cabinet. I would focus on the design – is that good? Do you have any of the typical mistakes in it? See this blog below:
    If you find mistakes in your design you might want to switch designers. If not you should be good to go!

  496. Phil, January 6, 2018 at 3:15 am:

    Great information.
    What could you recommend to someone in southern California? It seams all great value options come from the north-east and are unavailable for us here, or did I miss something..
    Also, right on the beach, humidity, salt… I want it to last.
    Thank you for this site, Phil

  497. pmcalary, January 6, 2018 at 8:36 am:

    We are posting recommended dealers on our site for California in the next ten days. Here is a link to the page:

  498. Sharon, January 10, 2018 at 7:38 am:

    I’m at the point in my kitchen remodel that I need to make a decision between Brookhaven cabinets and Kemper cabinets. Price is about a $2000 difference, with also the Brookhaven cabinet not going all the way to the ceiling, without adding molding to the top. Any advise on quality?

  499. pmcalary, January 10, 2018 at 12:40 pm:

    Brookhaven is a better cabinet. The design itself is equally as important so moldings need to reach the ceiling and many other design features that kitchen designers help you with.

  500. Robin v., January 11, 2018 at 6:57 pm:

    Help! We know nothing about cabinets. We are on our third cabinet retailer. We started with echelon. Realized it was junk then went to showplace and got a 26,000 estimate. Now we are at kraftmaid advatage and durasupreme?!? We are trying to replace brookhaven cabinets we had with something comparable in price and quality. This site has been the most helpful by far! Thank You!

  501. Mary, January 12, 2018 at 1:36 am:

    I found the following on the Design Craft website and have a question about #2. The question is: are they using MDF and calling it plywood? Is “engineered plywood” another name for MDF? Thanks for any help you can give:

    ” Design-Craft uses two types of plywood in constructing our cabinets with a plywood
    1. Plywood with all fir crossbands in the core may be used in standard parts such as shelves, stretchers and hanging rails.
    2. The engineered plywood utilizes an MDF crossband beneath the veneer which creates a superior surface for accepting stains and paints. For this reason, Design-Craft uses engineered core plywood on all finished surfaces such as finished ends and finished interior. It’s also manufac- tured to more exact tolerances which make it ideal for the precision of Design-Craft cabinets”

  502. pmcalary, January 12, 2018 at 6:42 am:

    Kraftmaid is a better constructed cabinet and a more reputable company. DuraSupreme does have very nice finishes but since they didn’t honor their warranty for one of our customers I wouldn’t buy cabinets from them.

  503. pmcalary, January 12, 2018 at 7:01 am:

    An MDF core on a frameless cabinet side is not a bad thing. However the cabinet is still frameless and so not as durable or able to handle stress as well as a better constructed framed cabinet. If you are getting a modern style kitchen with slab doors in exotic woods or foils, these styles will usually only come on frameless cabinetry so you needn’t worry about the MDF core. However if you are getting a more traditional style kitchen such as a shaker or any raised panel door why get the less durable construction? It doesn’t save any money in the United States and the tiny bit of added drawer space isn’t worth the downgrade in durability in my opinion.

  504. Mary, January 12, 2018 at 1:48 pm:

    Thanks so much for your response regarding the MDF core. That’s helpful to know. The designer I chose represents Design Craft, Medallion and Ovation. From your ratings list, and because we want to go with a mid range cabinet in cost, I am leaning towards Design Craft. The cabinets are for the bathroom. Any comments on those lines that you could make that would be helpful in moving us forward with a decision would be helpful. Perhaps we should look at a different designer who carries different lines, although I’ve found her suggestions so far helpful and not sure I want to make a change.

  505. TLGarr, January 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm:

    Your blog is very helpful! Thank you! I’ve read through your posts and have seen a few comments regarding St. Martin cabinets but I’m still not sure it’s the best way to go. We have been working with a really great designer who stands behind SM. We are building a new home and our builder uses Fabuwood. Our preference is to upgrade from this from fabuwood and the designer recommends St. Martin. I like the style of an inset cabinet and St. Martin (if designed properly) can give the look of inset cabinets at a more affordable option.] The panels and doors are also 7/8″ thickness which looks very nice. What I am hesitant on with SM are the bad reviews (MANY). I mean I know consumers can be pretty honest and post more negative vs. positive reviews but there are very few positive reviews. The biggest concern is the cracking of the doors (painted finish which I know most painted finishes will crack). They are a relatively new mfg (about 5-6 years). The materials are also imported from China…. Have you had any recent experience with SM or any recommendations of going with SM over Fabuwood. We also have a quote for Greenfield (inset cabinets) which is in another league from Fabuwood and St. Martin. I like to do my research. I want a quality construction and high end look. We are building a new home and want our kitchen to age well (timeless look). If relevant, we plan to go with a shaker style door, painted finish, inset cabinet. Thank you in advance for your input!

  506. pmcalary, January 14, 2018 at 9:59 am:

    Fabuwood is a better constructed cabinet than St Martin and a better value. St Martin can make a frameless kitchen look a little like a well made framed inset cabinet by boxing their cabinet with particleboard panels but it is far from the real thing. That your designer recommends this and the St Martin over Fabuwood tells me that while they could be very nice to work with, they aren’t that knowledgeable.

    That your builder uses Fabuwood tells me that they are up to date with the cabinet market and so probably up to date on other aspects of construction.

    Fabuwood isn’t perfect and it is a far cry from custom framed inset cabinetry, but it’s almost half the cost. And it beats ST Martin hands down. Like most things in this world you can’t fake real quality so expecting the ST Martin to be close to the same thing as a custom framed inset cabinet will come back to bite you in the long run. Get the real thing or save money and use the Fabuwood if that are your choices.

  507. TLGarr, January 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm:

    @pmcalary thank you for your feedback. Your input is extremely helpful and puts our decision in perspective. Go with Fabuwood or go all out with true inset cabinets…

    A few last questions now that I know we do not want St. Martin….

    We also obtained quotes from another designer for inset cabinets from Greenfield and Omega Dynasty. Any opinion on Greenfield vs. Omega Dynasty Inset Cabinets? We have also considered frameless in these lines which isn’t nearly as expensive….

    And finally, the designer who recommends St.Martin also quoted us for a semi-custom line called cuisine ideale (frameless)….he quoted us on this line only because I expressed my concerns regarding the quality of St. Martin. Any experience with this Cusine Ideale?

    Thanks again!

  508. Jessica, January 15, 2018 at 7:15 am:

    We had a complete kitchen loss and are replacing. We are currently getting 2 quotes the first one came in with HAAS, at first we were really excited about them, our designer has nothing but great to say but online reviews have me doubting.. can you give a second opinion

  509. pmcalary, January 15, 2018 at 8:19 am:

    We rate Haas on this blog. They are OK construction and OK value. Just not the best out there for the money. The better values will be spending more to get a really well made high end US semicustom or custom cabinets. Or spending less on a US company line with an Asian plant for US assembled but Asia fabricated parts in a framed line. That is really how all these ratings are breaking down for the best values.

  510. Kas, January 16, 2018 at 10:07 am:

    Looking for a comparison of kraftmaid vs. Martha Stuart pure style.

  511. pmcalary, January 16, 2018 at 10:41 am:

    Kraftmaid Hands down.

  512. Nancy Untiet, January 17, 2018 at 8:10 am:

    Hi Paul, Thank you for the great information. My husband and I are looking to remodel our kitchen. We can find great designers, but the quality of cabinets offered are either high end (Crystal, Shiloh or inexpensive). We are thinking about purchasing through a kitchen design store Homecrest (painted maple), but when I looked at their information both online and in their printed booklet it seems their rail, back and sides are all 3/8. This is even with their optional all plywood. From reading your article, It appears you don’t recommend 3/8. I don’t see they offer an upgrade. Can you please advise if I’m reading this correctly?

  513. pmcalary, January 17, 2018 at 8:29 am:

    Hi Nancy,
    I checked and HomeCrest offers 1/2 inch plywood sides on their All Plywood Construction upgrade. This would be the construction we rated on our web site’s 2017 review. Un upgraded to this Homecrest would not meet our construction minimums and would get a pretty poor rating. If Materbrands has downgraded their APC construction from what is still on their web site that would be a serious issue. But I think you are just not reading the full spec book.
    Here is their link page:

  514. Rod, January 17, 2018 at 8:10 pm:

    We are doing a complete remodel and the Design company has recommended Integrity cabinets. Are you familiar with them. I think the bid is high. Some of the items KraftMaid has standard are extra with Integrity. Would KraftMaid be a better choice? Thanks Great site by the way!

  515. Hanalee, January 18, 2018 at 3:00 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you so much for all this information. Choosing cabinets is very overwhelming!
    We are building a new house in Tampa, Florida. We are deciding between Fabuwood’s Galaxy Frost and Wellborn’s Select Series.
    The Select Series is MDF doors and drawers. We would upgrade to wood drawers and dovetail and soft close but the box would be furniture board on 3 sides except where there are sinks, it would be upgraded to plywood.
    We are not sure of the additional cost to have the factory assemble Fabuwood and our builder would like to order directly from them.
    We found a kitchen designer that we liked for Wellborn but not for Fabuwood.
    My questions are:
    1. What do you recommend between these two cabinets?
    2. I have heard that MDF is better for a painted door because it does not expand and contract like wood does so theoretically there might be less chipping and cracking of the paint. What is your opinion?
    3.iIs the center panel of the Fabuwood door MDF? I thought I read that somewhere.
    4. Could you recommend a Fabuwood dealer in the Tampa are to design our kitchen?
    5. I feel like we need to get estimates from both lines for exactly what we want in order to be able to compare cost but really would appreciate any advice or opinion or recommend action you have about quality.
    Thank you so much!

  516. pmcalary, January 18, 2018 at 5:07 pm:
  517. pmcalary, January 18, 2018 at 5:09 pm:

    We give Kraftmaid a better rating.

    These are the dealers that we recommend in your area. I’d start there.

  518. Hanalee, January 19, 2018 at 12:09 am:

    Hi Paul, Thank you for your list of showrooms. Unfortunately on their website the one in Tampa does not list Fabuwood as a brand they carry.
    I would still love your opinion on the Wellborn MDF vs the Fabuwood. Also, I would really appreciate if you could answer the other questions.
    Thank you, and thank you again for this blog!

  519. Sharon, January 19, 2018 at 8:25 am:

    Interested in your opinion on Allen & Roth cabinets at Lowe’s in Bowie, MD. I see no reviews on your site. They do include soft drawers closing, 21-inch drawers, concealed glides on drawers & roll out accessories, full depth shelves on their select cabinets. I got a price on them, then went to Home Depot and got price on Kraftmaid cabinets. Kraftmaid are more expensive but then they may be worth the thousands of dollars difference. I would like your opinion of Allen & Roth , if you know.

  520. Paul McAlary, January 19, 2018 at 11:32 am:

    Hanalee- I would say Fabuwood is a better buy. Please get help locally we can’t be the primary resource for the entire US.

  521. pmcalary, January 19, 2018 at 11:41 am:

    Sorry I know nothing about Allen and Roth. They are a rebranded line Lowes sells. We aren’t fans of rebranded lines in general. You are stamping a brand name that doesn’t exist for kitchen cabinets on somebody else’s line and charging a premium to do this. Home Depot has Martha Stewart and Thomasville. Now Lowes is doing this. I find it unethical to rebrand.

  522. Concerned, January 19, 2018 at 11:55 am:

    Hi Paul,

    I just wanted to circle back and thank you for your help a month ago. I was the one who asked about the GHI cabinets. Thanks to your insights about construction of the boxes, those cabinets were taken back and now the contractor is offering CNC cabinets (Elegant line) in white shaker instead. Is this the line that your ratings are based on? Also, do you ever recommend the 33″ corner cabinets vs 36″ or is the 36″ much more functional. Thank you again!

  523. pmcalary, January 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm:

    36″ corners are very accessible 33″ are not. We carry CNC cabinetry but they are a little rough around the edges as far as finish and other intangibles go. We usually recommend them for flipping houses and not for long term when you are staying in your home. Spending about 20% more on cabinets gets you a nicer looking product like Fabuwood. Upgraded CNC is well constructed though.

  524. Dan Whalen, January 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm:

    I am shocked and kinda saddened on how this list gets to the top of google search results. Its misleading at best, and the fact that you are passing off a couple brands of Chinese cabinets as a quality manufacturing should give you a guilty conscious.

  525. pmcalary, January 20, 2018 at 9:02 am:

    95% of these lines we do not even sell. So we have no vested interest in rating a line like Kraftmaid, or Wolf high for their price point.

    People that are knowledgeable about cabinetry know that the lower priced cabinetry that is well made will always have doors and fronts made in Asia.
    You can not make a well made inexpensive cabinet at competitive low prices completely in the US. Labor is too expensive. So much like an iPhone would cost about $3000 were it made in the US, inexpensive but well constructed cabinetry will always be partly made in Asia.

    Of course the more expensive US made semi custom and custom lines have beautiful finishes and offer other features and customisations not available in less expensive lines.

    But not accepting where the cabinet market is right now is simply not being realistic and also not understanding what makes a cabinet well constructed. Expensive US lines like DuraSupreme are beautiful but if you don’t upgrade the box it is 1/3″ particleboard and so terribly made and not even as well built as IKEA.

    To me what is sad is how misleading cabinetry information is. This is why we have our lists and attend the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show every year. To keep current and to help people better understand what they are buying.

  526. Alice, January 20, 2018 at 10:43 pm:

    What do you think about refacing with Cabinet Cures or Kitchen Magic? I have 50-year-old cabinets and they’re rock solid so I hate to exchange them for modern ones which will not be made as well. They are a dark color and I want to replace with a light stain to brighten my kitchen. Also, why have so many manufacturers discontinued the white/off-white stain? Was it just not selling or is there something wrong with it. I don’t want paint.

  527. Alice, January 20, 2018 at 11:10 pm:

    I said “replace” but I meant “re-face” so as not to replace the cabinets but rather to change the color by changing the doors and refacing the frames.

  528. pmcalary, January 21, 2018 at 10:49 am:

    Refacing kitchen cabinets is nearly always a poor investment. Here is our blog on why:

  529. pmcalary, January 21, 2018 at 11:03 am:

    I also notice Dan that you are a sales rep for several of the lines we rate poorly in our cabinet analysis. So you do have a vested interest in the ratings we give.

  530. Leila Nowroozi, January 21, 2018 at 11:53 pm:

    hi. our designer is recommending Omega cabinets, but they are not on your review list and i am finding mixed reviews – some really bad. thoughts on this line?

  531. Concerned, January 22, 2018 at 3:03 am:


    Can you elaborate on what you mean by CNC being rough around the edges and the intangibles that make it less ideal than Fabuwood, for example? The sample cabinet that the contractor delivered looked ok but the face frame was stapled to the box. Is that a bad sign? Other than that, both cabinets (CNC and Fabuwood) have 1/2″ plywood boxes, 3/4″ face frame, soft close hinges, etc — so it is hard to understand the difference between them just by reading the specs. Thank you SO much for your help.

  532. paul mcalary, January 22, 2018 at 8:42 am:

    Compared to Fabuwood for example CNC will be about 15 to 20% less expensive, still well constructed, but there might be more shipping damage, slight paint imperfections, and just more of a likelihood of the cabinets coming slightly out of square etc. If you are not too picky and want something about the price of IKEA that is already assembled and more durably built it is perfect. For resale homes where home buyers don’t put cabinetry under a microscope and just want a good design and soft close solid wood dove tail drawers we think it can especially fit the bill.

  533. Alice, January 22, 2018 at 8:56 am:

    About your refacing blog. The question isn’t what to do about a bad design but rather what about refacing in a good design. Some of the refacing companies claim to use top-line tracks and glides and provide new drawer boxes.

    Also, I, for one, wish to retain my formal dining room so opening up the kitchen/dining room/living room because the NEXT owner might prefer it is not what I wish to do.

    I am interested to know
    1) what you think of Conestoga cabinet doors and drawer fronts
    2) what companies offer a white or off-white stain (not paint) on maple since several companies have discontinued that finish. Why was it discontinued? Did it not sell? Or is there some technical flaw in it? KraftMaid had a stain called Parchment but discontinued it. Conestoga offers an Alpine stain and Conestoga doors and drawer fronts are used by at least one re-facing company.

    I have not yet decided whether to reface or buy new. As I said, new cabinets will not be as sturdy and well-built as the ones I have.

    AND do you do design for kitchens that are hundreds of miles away? I have precise measurements.

    Thank you very much.

  534. paul mcalary, January 22, 2018 at 9:04 am:

    No we don’t work far away or would never reface.

    Not refacing and finding a good designer and dealer would be our best advice. Refacing companies are most often encouraging customers to do projects that are not in their best interest.

    So even if you were one of the 5% of the public that refacing made sense for, you would be working with a company that has a business model that we don’t feel has integrity.

  535. Leila Nowroozi, January 23, 2018 at 7:38 am:

    Hi. I was hoping you might share your views on the Omega cabinet line. I am seeing a lot of mixed commentary on various sites and we are about to sign a contract with them on a whole new kitchen. Thank you so much. Leila

  536. pmcalary, January 23, 2018 at 8:16 am:

    Omega Dynasty is a good Frameless line but since it is frameless can only get at most a B for construction on our rating system.
    Omega Pinnacle is a well made framed line and a little pricey but possibly worth it if you have the money.

  537. Alice, January 23, 2018 at 8:56 am:

    Should I be worried about drawers made of birch if they have the other necessary characteristics (e.g. thickness)?

  538. th, January 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    Great blog. Just starting my cabinetry research and this has been a great help.

    Your specs for well-made cabinetry have been especially helpful, but one thing you have not mentioned (unless I missed it) is the paint job/technique. I have been told more than once that painting technique is extremely important for durability, just as important as construction.

    We are considering Fabuwood (painted – Frosted White Galaxy) and would like to know more about their painting technique and its long-term durability. One of our potential contractors mentioned that a few years ago, KraftMaid had an issue with their painting technique that has since been resolved.

    According to Fabuwood specs, the Frosted Galaxy doors in the Allure line (the one we are interested in) is a solid wood door frame with a ⅜” MDF center panel. 1) Does MDF help with the longterm durability of painted cabinetry 2) Do you have any long term experience with Fabuwood to speak to paint durability? Fabuwood has only been around for ten years as opposed to other companies like KraftMaid. I would think that a company that is more established has more experience with trial and error and the ability to self-correct if issues like painting technique arise, such as the case with KraftMaid.

    Thank you!

  539. pmcalary, January 25, 2018 at 9:28 am:

    There is not much durability difference between painted cabinets done in a factory using powder melted onto the cabinetry in ovens, the technique most large manufacturers use. However paints are much less durable than stains. And in the less expensive lines there can be more of a durability issue with the paint on the plywood sides of the cabinetry. This can usually be fixed if a problem arises and in Fabuwood it is uncommon. The problem arises from the fact that Asian plywood is not quite as good for finishing as US plywood. This is why some companies and designers skin the exposed sides of less expensive cabinetry with a matching painted piece of luan. For the huge difference in cost it is a small issue to work around and even in the most expensive US lines we have still occasionally had the issue.

  540. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm:

    Omega cabinetry is most often referred to by the line name Dynasty. I added (Omega) to the front of the Dynasty name in our reviews.
    Omega Dynasty is frameless
    Omega Pinnacle is Framed

    Pinnacle is a great cabinet but on the expensive side. Dynasty is a well made frameless line but being frameless can’t get higher than a B for construction on our review.

  541. Debbie, January 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    Any thoughts on Wellborn Select all plywood construction?

  542. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 4:36 pm:

    Yes we rate them highly and have considered caring the line.

  543. Pattie, January 27, 2018 at 6:34 pm:

    Hi Paul, Thank you for all you do to inform and inspire. From an earlier post, you mention an updated 2018 cabinetry rating coming out. Any idea about timeline? I was hoping you might include “Holiday Kitchens” in your forthcoming revue. Thanks again.

  544. pmcalary, January 28, 2018 at 6:31 am:

    Hi Pattie,
    We should get to updating our new 2018 review in March.

    I took a quick look at Holiday kitchens and they make a very well made framed and frameless cabinet. So they would get A or A+ for construction in their framed line and a B (the best we give) for their frameless construction. I don’t know their price-point so I can’t rate them in value compared to the market.

    Much like I am a little biased towards a framed cabinet probably due to my engineering and construction background, Holiday seems biased towards frameless. Many cabinet companies that sell both types of cabinets like the versatility of the frameless construction and the European cabinet interior gadgets available. The Bishop and the Wellsford custom line we sell also feel this way. However cabinet builders seem to value being able to offer variety over durability, so take the Holiday enthusiasm for frameless with a grain of salt.

  545. Michellr, January 29, 2018 at 12:36 am:

    Any more info on Cubitac?

  546. Kendell, January 29, 2018 at 1:58 pm:

    Someone asked about Smithport. Last time I looked there website was horrible and outdated. Please don’t judge them by their website. I shopped a lot of lines. They have a gorgeous product with lots of options, lots of finishes and great quality. They are family owned in the mid-west. Great value.

  547. pmcalary, January 31, 2018 at 10:39 am:

    Smithport appears to be a small custom shop. They could very well do a good job and have a bad web site.

  548. pmcalary, January 31, 2018 at 10:46 am:

    I saw them at KBIS but didn’t stop in. I wasn’t impressed from what I saw at a glimpse. Their web site offers no information on construction features. This makes me even more skeptical.

  549. Kyle, February 4, 2018 at 3:39 pm:


    We are trying to choose between KraftMaid, Shenandoah, and 21st Century. The Kraftmaid quote came in at $18.5k and Shenandoah and 21st Century quotes were between $12-13k. We are first time home owners/renovators and we don’t want to make the wrong decision. Would you suggest we save up a little more and buy the Kraftmaid? We are looking for a simple shaker door in dove white and an island in distressed or plain medium gray. Thanks!

  550. Kyle, February 4, 2018 at 3:40 pm:

    *Sorry, Shenandoah quote was for $14k.

  551. Janet, February 5, 2018 at 10:53 am:

    Thank you so much for all this great information and your responses to comments. It’s my new kitchen remodel bible.

    I’m looking for the most durable, non-cracking, non-peeling, and nice looking white cabinets without spending more than I need to. I’m comparing the upgraded Schrock (Entra) and Omega framed. Should the door inserts be all wood or what do you think of veneer inserts? I know to stay away from Thermafoil, but I don’t know if I should go with veneer or painted.

  552. David, February 5, 2018 at 5:57 pm:

    I am a Kitchen Designer for over 30 years. These articles are excellent. Thank you.

  553. pmcalary, February 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm:

    Thanks David!
    Getting praise from an experienced kitchen designer is a great compliment. Especially considering some designers might not approve of my direct and less gentile approach to kitchen design and cabinetry. There are many ways to design great kitchens. The most experienced successful kitchen designers find a way to educate their customers and encourage them into make good decisions. Doug Mottershead who appears in some of our videos has a much softer approach than myself but many approaches work. I never criticize the approach as long as the result is a good kitchen.
    Thanks again for the praise,

  554. pmcalary, February 7, 2018 at 10:07 pm:

    Hi Kyle,
    Upgraded to all plywood construction both Kraftmaid and Shenandoah are built well. Kraftmaid will have more customization available and have somewhat nicer looking finishes. I haven’t heard of 21st Century sounds like an import which can be good or bad.

    As always when customers worry about construction especially when working with home center designers they are most likely overlooking that for the 4 1/2 K difference in cabinetry costs they could of had a much better design moving anything! Doorways, walls, plumbing, removing soffits, even enlarging or moving exterior windows. This is why working with a good designer is more important than the cabinet line. Sadly when people send us the designs they are considering and having trouble deciding which cabinet line to choose the designs they send are almost always terrible.

    Shopping for your designer is the most important decision of all. And if you choose well selecting a designer all the other decisions will be made with the help of someone that knows far more than you could ever learn researching.

  555. pmcalary, February 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm:

    Door panels can be wood, veneer or MDF with painted cabinets and all are fine. Painted finishes no matter from what company are simply less durable and will easily be nicked, scratched and sensitive to water. Touch ups can be done by furniture refinishers like Guardsman so there are ways to fix damages. I believe we spoke so I think we answered your other questions.

  556. Joanne Wahl, February 8, 2018 at 8:56 am:

    Thank you for the valuable info you provide. I’m located north of Boston and looking for affordable quality cabinetry in white Shaker to remodel 20 year old kitchen, which we plan to sell in 7 years. Appreciate any input on Universal Factory Direct in Portsmouth NH ? Also, J&K cabinetry? Trying to locate showrooms offering Fabuwood or 6square in my area as well.

  557. pmcalary, February 8, 2018 at 9:20 am:

    I would never buy cabinets on line. That is quite likely a recipe for disaster. J&K is inexpensive and pretty well made. You could also start with better designers that carry lines across all price points. Not realizing the value of good kitchen design help is the most common mistake people make. We have a list below of recommended suppliers in your area.

  558. Joanne Wahl, February 8, 2018 at 9:46 am:

    Universal Factory Direct has office/showroom actually located in a no frills warehouse in NH. We went there & met with Joe White , a designer who seemed knowledgeable, and well liked in reviews. Their Cabinets are supposed to be all wood construction as well. Can’t find specs on them and wondering if you might be able to provide info on the quality & durability of their product? I agree with you about buying online. Had contacted Cliqstudios, after reading so many unfavorable reviews decided not to order from them, but according to posts on your blog, it appears they feature 6square cabinetry, which is one of the value lines you recommend? Also, Thanks for sharing the link for showrooms in my area, unfortunately all are at least 2+ hours away😞

  559. Janet, February 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm:

    We didn’t speak but I really appreciate your response on painted doors!

  560. Jim, February 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm:

    Hi. We are looking at Omega Dynasty cabinets, and I see that you do have the Omega brand highly rated, however, I’m now having second thoughts, as I’ve seen some very negative reviews online, regarding poor quality. This is a large purchase (over $30k), so I don’t want to make a big mistake. Any comments about the negative reviews online. Should I be concerned? Thanks

  561. pmcalary, February 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm:

    We rate Omega Dynasty highly for a frameless line. But I wouldn’t get a frameless cabinet line if I had a choice in the style door I was selecting. For anything except the most contemporary door styles a framed line would be a more sensible choice.

  562. Jim, February 8, 2018 at 5:33 pm:

    Sorry. I should have been more specific. We are going with framed cabinets, not the frameless style. Do you still think Omega is a good choice (for framed cabinets)? Have you heard anything negative about the quality? We are going for the typical shaker style, in white. Thanks

  563. PJA, February 9, 2018 at 9:16 am:

    Hello – I love this site and discussion, thank you so much for educating me!

    I am considering Waypoint and Kemper cabinets for my kitchen renovation. However, the finish I am considering (a white laquer) is not available in Waypoint and quite pricey in Kemper. My designer suggested we look at Golden Home, which is a Chinese company. I can’t find out much about them – does anyone know anything about them. Thanks

  564. Jerry, February 9, 2018 at 10:09 am:

    We recently received Thomasville all plywood bottom cabinets from Home depot that we ordered during a 30% off sale. Unfortunately of the 5 white and 2 black cabinets, we were able to find issues with all of them. Oddly the materials look to be of very good quality, but the fit and finish was not so good. One question I had was about the corners of the frames. On some of the cabinets, the front and side did not line up at the corner. Some front face frames were about 1/8″ higher than the side panels. Is there an acceptable tolerance for this? The Rep is coming by at some point to look at them and it would be nice to know what repairs should be allowed instead of replacement. Other issues were top braces not glued at front, chips, marks in paint, small drawers not centered over doors, large drawers sticking out more at top than the bottom of the drawer above it, middle shelf in corner cabinet not all the way back in left corner causing left frame to bow outward. One cabinet was dropped and cracked, I don’t expect that would try to repair something like that. I can’t find anything on what to look for when inspecting your new cabinets. That may be helpful.

  565. pmcalary, February 9, 2018 at 6:05 pm:

    Never heard of Goden Home

  566. pmcalary, February 9, 2018 at 6:09 pm:

    Some of what you are asking about as far as alignments of doors and drawers is adjustable and not even set in the factory.Your contractor is expected to adjust them on site. I’m not a fan of Thomasville but Home Depot will replace whatever is truly defective. The Masterbrand rep will be honorable and reliable I am sure.

  567. Catherine, February 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm:

    Hello. We bought a home and are looking to update our kitchen. We got a quote from Home Depot for white shaker Kraftmaid cabinets. It was pretty pricey. Do you think we should dish out the cash or is there any line comparable at Home Depot that you can recommend for the same, white shaker style? Also, would a smaller company offer better deals? Thank you!

  568. pmcalary, February 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm:

    It doesn’t make much sense to be working with a less experienced designer and getting relatively expensive cabinets. I’d work with a better design professional. We have a recommended list below:

  569. Jwahl, February 13, 2018 at 12:31 am:

    Our ceiling height is 97 ‘& 7/8”…currently looking at Fabuwood Nexus galaxy line, however they don’t offer 39” uppers. We want cabinets & crown molding to go to the ceiling. Should we order 36” & build up or 42” uppers with small crown? Also, we like white shaker cabinetry and in both Fabuwood, & J & K lines, and plan to look at 6 square. We’ll be selling this home in 5-7 years, which cabinet line do u feel would provide better quality, durability and be the better investment? Thank you for your assistance and sharing your expertise!

  570. pmcalary, February 13, 2018 at 8:42 am:

    There are some inexpensive very well made cabinet lines that offer 39″ high wall cabinets. For example we carry Green Forest. That would be my first pick in your case. Definitely don’t use 42″ wall cabinets.

    With 36″ wall cabinets I would use unfinished pine for my two piece crown and color match the paint to the cabinet color. While most contractors resist doing this, for a white cabinet it costs less and looks far better over time. The scanners that paint stores use to color match are that good! Then you can use a taller 1 x 8″ piece for the riser of the crown molding. If you want to get fancy the contractor could rout an OG edge on the bottom of the 1 x. 8.

    Nexus and Galaxy are two different door styles by the way. Nexus is 18% more expensive. 6 square offers no advantages other than more color choices on a painted cabinet.

  571. Amy, February 13, 2018 at 9:58 am:

    Hi! We are building a new home. In the past, I have always had Kraftmaid cabinets in my homes. We are looking into Kraftmaid, Mid Continent and York. The price we received on York was so much less than the other 2. The quote was based on York Classic. Is this the York line you used for the comparison above or was it York Designer? I prefer Kraftmaid based on quality and past history. Although we don’t plan on being in the house more than 2 or 3 years (no kids or pets to worry about wear and tear). At this time, based on a B+ York vs A- Kraftmaid, I’m having a tough time justifying the difference in vs the $10 – 12,000 in price.

  572. Terri Holley, February 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm:


    Fabuwood v. Waypoint? It looks like both are close on your rating system. Waypoint has a lifetime warranty as opposed to Fabuwood which is 5 years. Recommendations?

  573. pmcalary, February 13, 2018 at 5:45 pm:

    Warranties are meaningless. They are just marketing devices. Often the worse the line the longer the warranty such as IKEA. I would buy the cabinets from the most reputable dealer and the better designer when lines are close in quality.

  574. pmcalary, February 13, 2018 at 5:59 pm:

    I’ve never heard of York cabinets. Yorketowne is the line we rated and we gave it a bad review.

  575. Eric, February 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    When selecting a kitchen designer what are your expectations with respect to their overall work scope? We have started discussions with a designer who designs and sells cabinetry meeting all your recommended criteria (Woodland). However, the designer’s scope is essentially limited to the cabinetry. The shop (Willbanks Cabinets in Las Vegas) gets favorable ratings online and the staff seems very competent. My concern is that we would be on our own or at best working with the general contractor for all other materials (i.e., countertops, backsplash, lighting, appliances, etc…). I’’m fairly comfortable making the decisions, however, professional help along the way would increase my confidence level. Although the cabinetry design is the most significant challenge, should we expect (or do we need) more professional involvement in other areas of the overall project?

  576. pmcalary, February 15, 2018 at 2:21 pm:

    Kitchen designers should help you coordinate the styles and colors of the other materials and recommend appliance sizes and answer question for the contractors. It’s part of what’s needed when you buy cabinets from them

  577. Jim, February 17, 2018 at 10:09 am:

    Wellborn did not have the color we wanted so thinking of going with bertch. Are both lines comperable?

  578. pmcalary, February 18, 2018 at 8:27 am:

    Hi Jim,
    Upgraded both are very good lines and very similar in their offerings.

  579. kimberly kirkman wainwright, February 18, 2018 at 11:49 am:

    What do you know about Kith cabinets?

  580. pmcalary, February 18, 2018 at 12:29 pm:

    It makes me a little crazy when people ask our opinion about a cabinet line we reviewed in the blog they are on. As you can see above we gave Kith C’s

  581. Alice, February 19, 2018 at 11:18 pm:

    Do you have any information about or evaluation of Lauriermax cabinets? It’s a Canadian company. Thank you.

  582. Alice, February 19, 2018 at 11:47 pm:

    Please remind me of your advice about cabinets going to the ceiling. I couldn’t find it when I tried to review the blog. Cabinets that a designer is suggesting (6″) seem to end 2″ below the ceiling and they put in a soffit or molding above. I’m not even sure I’m describing this correctly but would so appreciate your clarification and advice. Thank you.

  583. pmcalary, February 20, 2018 at 7:04 am:

    Lauriermax appears to be a high end cabinet line that like most Canadian lines specializes in European frameless construction. However they also make expensive beaded inset and regular inset custom framed cabinetry. Unfortunately on their web site they gives very little detail on how they construct their cabinets. I suspect that they are well constructed for either line but you would need to see their spec book to confirm this. Not being transparent on cabinet construction I find annoying but their web site is being updated and cabinet brands out of Quebec have the reputation for not being overly accommodating. S’ais vrai!

  584. pmcalary, February 20, 2018 at 7:10 am:

    Hi Alice,
    Once cabinetry is within 9″ of the ceiling, you usually should have a two piece crown molding or for contemporary styles flat stock reaching the ceiling. See blog below:

  585. Jay, February 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    Great article. Looking at KraftMaid in APC w/ Maple painted white cabinets and drawers. Narrowed list down to non-mitered shaker style doors but we haven’t decided on whether it will be a raised or recessed panel. Quality is important to us since we plan on being in our house for a long time. Had a few questions below. Look forward to hearing your feedback.
    1. Any quality or durability reasons to choose either raised or recessed panel doors over one another?
    2. Money aside is it worth picking a door style that offers a solid panel inside rather than a veneer?
    3. Any cause for concern w/ KraftMaid having a 3/16 plywood bottom for drawers? Have been comparing against Cabico, which were a little thicker.
    4. Would you recommend upgrading the plywood sides from 1/2 to 3/4? We’ll likely do a decorative side if that matters in any way.

  586. pmcalary, February 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm:

    Hi Jay,
    1 No quality reasons but solid panels feel heavier and so make the doors “feel” more sustancial. Durability there is no difference.
    2 Up to you It does feel more expensive when you are opening doors.
    3 No concerns
    4 Not worth it for a normal home. The sides on the exposed ends will be 3/4 when you add the decorative side. I get 3/4 inch thick cabinets for free and I chose 1/2″ in my own kitchen.

  587. Molly, February 21, 2018 at 10:51 pm:

    Hi there — Working on a new construction on the coast in Maine. I am still in the early stages and visited a kitchen design place for the first time the other day. My initial impression of the designer there was very positive. We were looking at Cabico cabinets, which I see you didn’t rate really highly. Thinking of inset (I understand they are not recommended for coastal areas) white shaker uppers and stained lowers. What is it that you don’t recommend about Cabico? Thanks!

  588. Shana, February 22, 2018 at 12:00 am:

    we are building a large new kitchen. Our kitchen designer is offering us omega dynasty cabinetry for 28,000 for our kitchen or waypoint after promos for about 19,000. The impression we are under is that the main advantage of Omega is the nicer finish. Is our kitchen going to actually look significantly nicer from the Omega finish? We have only seen samples of waypoint and its hard to tell how they would look in a full kitchen. Please advise,thanks!!!

  589. Shana, February 22, 2018 at 12:14 am:

    $28,000* Omega does have a lot more styles and door sizes then Waypoint, but those features don’t help us.

  590. pmcalary, February 22, 2018 at 8:36 am:

    Cabico gets B’s because it is a European frameless cabinet line. B’s for construction is the highest rating possible in frameless construction.
    So because they are frameless they do not do framed inset cabinetry. Unless Cabico has just started making framed cabinetry, I’m not too impressed with the designers if they didn’t explain that Cabico doesn’t make inset cabinetry. Possibly other things were discussed but usually framed and frameless construction is one of the first things a designer would explain. With today’s 6 way concealed adjustable hinges inset cabinetry would be fine for coastal areas. Just don’t get a pin hinge which is the old fashioned way to do inset cabinetry.

  591. pmcalary, February 22, 2018 at 8:40 am:

    Yes the Omega finish will be nicer but the Waypoint is a better constructed cabinet. Which is better for you would depend on the style color and design of your kitchen. For popular painted cabinets in a shaker door style that would be the least noticeable finish difference. To most customers the difference would be undetectable. On light stains the difference would be obvious.

  592. Shana, February 22, 2018 at 9:14 am:

    Thanks for your response! We are going for a stained wood. Either cinnamon or a little darker. Is that considered a light stain?

  593. pmcalary, February 22, 2018 at 9:30 am:

    With stains you can judge how much you like them for yourselves. Durability is the same so it is simply a preference issue. If you want the best of both worlds there will be framed cabinetry with similar higher quality finishes around the Dynasty price point. A good kitchen cabinet dealer would carry one of these lines too. Examples would be Kraftmaid, Decora, Fieldstone, Bertch, Starmark, etc

  594. Molly, February 22, 2018 at 10:29 am:

    Thanks, Paul — I’m confused because the Cabico display in the store had inset cabinets. I specifically discussed inset cabinets with the designer and she showed me examples of both the Omega and Cabico inset cabinets… (She thought Cabico does inset better than Omega.) I am taking a wood sample back today and will certainly ask them about it. I appreciate your speedy response!

  595. Chris, February 22, 2018 at 4:17 pm:

    Where does the Fieldstone lose points in the value rating? There are frequent comparisons to Decora which has a price rating of 4 and an A in constructions like the Fieldstone but is an A in value vs a B+. Is that because you have to upgrade the 1/4″ back on the Fieldstone and you don’t need to on the Decora which looks to have a 3/16″ back and a 3/8″ hanging rail?

  596. pmcalary, February 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm:

    It really depends on the pricing you are getting from each dealer. We consider both lines equal when they are upgraded to the same construction. The Fieldstone would usually be more expensive by about 15% so that’s why we give it a lower value rating. However since different dealers have different mark ups you could get them for the same price in which case I would select the Fieldstone finishes by a tiny margin.

  597. Molly, February 22, 2018 at 7:12 pm:

    Hi again Paul — I was at the kitchen design center today and, as I was told (and saw), Cabico does indeed do framed and inset cabinets. They also do frameless. FYI.

  598. Molly, February 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm:

    Hi again Paul — Just wanted to confirm to you that Cabico does indeed do framed and inset cabinets. FYI.

  599. paul mcalary, February 22, 2018 at 8:51 pm:

    I think it is worrisome that they don’t say and show this on their web site. I don’t know that I’d be comfortable buying from a company who’s web site lacks any transparency and isn’t up to date.

  600. Jerry, February 23, 2018 at 10:00 am:

    Thanks for your response on 2/9 about Thomasville cabinets. After I sent my list of issues, the rep chose not to come and look at the cabinets. Instead they responded to H.D. by stating they would take back the defective cabinets at a 20% restocking fee and the ones with decorative panels on the sides could not be returned. Home Depot found their response unacceptable and gave us all of our money back. Great customer service. By the way, the new method that Thomasville uses for drawer front attachment is no longer adjustable. Also, when we looked at the black 30″ drawer fronts again, it was obvious that some were touched up after a poor paint job. We are now looking at Kraftmaid and may also go to other design centers that you suggested in the area. We considered Decora also until I found out they are also made by Masterbrand.

  601. John, February 23, 2018 at 11:22 am:

    Hi Paul,
    Your website is a true treasure and so helpful. We met with a kitchen designer who carries Decor Cabinets out of Canada. I think they are different than Decora. Do you have any experience with this cabinetry? Unfortunately their website does not detail how their cabinet boxes are constructed so I am worried about the quality as I can’t find much in the way of online information. Thanks! PS – The KD also carries Wellborn and Plato cabinets.

  602. pmcalary, February 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm:

    Yes the Decor website tells you nothing which tells me a lot. To my knowledge Decor is a frameless Canadian line. Not giving more information other then assurances and platitudes and touting themselves “green” is a bad sign. Wellborn is a great line and Plato also carries good choices across the entire cabinet spectrum. Plato doesn’t spell out construction details so while I know their custom cabinetry is great and a expensive, I don’t know the other lines.

  603. pmcalary, February 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm:

    Hi Jerry,
    That’s one good thing about home centers. While many dealers go the extra mile, some don’t. Home centers are safe if you know nothing about the reputation of an independent particular dealer. Kraftmaid is a good choice although designers tell me that they don’t have the customer service and quality control that they once did. And while I am not a fan of Masterbrands in general, Decora has always been the shinning star of their many different lines. Decora has remained a quality line for decades since being bought by Masterbrands, so hopefully it isn’t in danger of being compromised by their parent company.

  604. Lucy, February 24, 2018 at 5:26 am:

    Hi Paul, love the website. Could not agree more about your repeated responses regarding a knowledgable and truly skilled kitchen designer. Have been doing research on cabinets for 2 weeks now. Looking into Fabuwood, Wolf, Waypoint, Shenandoah and 6 square. Looking to stay within our budget and will likely not be in the home longer than another 5 years so looking for good quality at a good price point (I am realistic about the flaws of cabinets in my price range). Of the 5 mentioned, what would you recommend? Thanks so much

  605. Pat, February 24, 2018 at 5:33 am:

    GREAT website, thanks for sharing your knowledgable thoughts and expertise. I am considering WOLF cabinets for our kitchen remodel. Will be in home for another 5-7 years. I know most reviews are often from unhappy customers that had a poor experience, but researching WOLF cabinets is concerning with the negative results. I see you scored WOLF very favorably. Was hoping you could detail this a little further. Also, saw you mentioned Wolf Classic would likely be better than Wolf Signature (granted classic has less options), why do you think this? I like WOLF price point but a little worried about quality of product.

  606. pmcalary, February 24, 2018 at 8:13 am:

    With all of these well made inexpensive cabinet lines it would come down to the door style, color, and the designer which line I would choose. Wolf has been having some manufacturing delays for certain colors. Shenandoah from Lowes might have the least qualified designer. Fabuwood has some sketchy dealers. And all things being equal I might place Waypoint 4th. Google the dealers and use the one with the most positive reviews. Or if there is a door style and finish you like above the others I’d lean that way.

  607. pmcalary, February 24, 2018 at 8:21 am:

    We don’t sell Wolf so I can’t be completely up to date about their recent issues. I know they have been having some extreme delays on certain products. Like the Fabuwood line we carry they do have some sketchy dealers so you should Google the dealer you are buying from. If they are a good dealer they should be better help than I and know what styles are delayed and be honest about lead times. Delays can be the problem when cabinets are very popular and most of the parts are coming from China.

  608. Robin, February 24, 2018 at 8:45 am:

    The information you have presented has been so helpful. Glad I stumbled upon this before making our cabinet selection. One line of cabinetry I do not see listed, or mentioned, is Clique Studios. We were drawn to them because of their inset cabinets. Their color/stain options are limited, but it might be because it enables them to keep their prices down. Have you had any experience with them? We were very close to purchasing their cabinets. Then someone recommended we take a look at Shiloh. After reading this blog, I have reservations about that. We are in the process of building a home with a rather large kitchen. Only looking for simple shaker-style cabinets — wall cabinets white; islands stained. It is a huge investment and don’t want to make a mistake by being penny wise and pound foolish. I don’t need over-the-top, but do want something that is structurally sound.

  609. Lucy, February 24, 2018 at 8:52 am:

    Hi Paul, Thanks so much for the speedy response. I am looking for simple and traditional white shaker style cabinets with slab front drawers. Having difficulty deciding between Fabuwood, Wolf, Waypoint, Shenandoah and 6 square.

  610. Jon, February 24, 2018 at 8:59 am:

    Good morning Paul, I have been trying to find the nearest CNC and 6 Square dealer to me but have had no luck. Any chance you could help? My zip code is 13205.

    Also, I am intrigued by your ranking of Solid Wood Cabinets. They seem to only have stores in PA and NJ so unfortunately I guess I cannot see these cabinets locally near me unless by chance a dealer would carry them near me. Any further detail on the high ranking for them?

  611. pmcalary, February 24, 2018 at 9:48 am:

    I would use our recommended dealers page to find a good dealer near you. They should have a full range of brands. Link below

  612. pmcalary, February 24, 2018 at 10:13 am:

    Hi Robin,
    We do not mention online cabinet dealers because we don’t believe it is wise buying cabinets on line. The Clique Studios cabinetry is in fact well made for an inexpensive brand and is sold by dealers like ourselves under the name of 6 Square. However no reputable dealer would sell an inset cabinet for a whole kitchen from an inexpensive line like Clique Studios/6 Square. Return issues, terrible design choices, and bad advice such as selling their inset line are all reasons to buy cabinets through a local dealer.

    You can not make good decisions and have responsible people help you when you buy on line. This is why Main Line Kitchen Design does not sell cabinets farther away then is convenient for our customers to drive. We are asked to sell cabinets outside our service area nearly every day. And all our suppliers ship throughout the US. However we do not sell outside our service area. Responsible dealers know that every kitchen needs to be measured by the designer creating the design and face to face meetings with customers are essential in making sensible choices. I would use our recommended dealers list to find a responsible dealer near you. They will be able to advise you, measure your space, and be responsible for your cabinetry and design choices. Link Below:

  613. Robin, February 24, 2018 at 4:09 pm:

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I have one more question — a local cabinet shop is recommending Shiloh. What is your opinion of this cabinet-making company. Also, is there a noticeable difference between a drawer being 5/8″ vs 3/4″? It is only an 1/8 difference, but maybe in the cabinet world, that is significant. Shiloh comes 5/8″ but you can upgrade to 3/4″.

  614. Lucy, February 24, 2018 at 8:50 pm:

    Does Fabuwood offer a full overlay white shaker style door with slab drawer front? Couldn’t find one on their website. Thanks

  615. Paul McAlary, February 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm:

    Hi Lucy,
    Not yet but it is in the works. They presently only have a slab shaker drawer front on a standard overlay shaker door that makes no sense since it is not really the combination that anyone wants.

  616. Paul McAlary, February 24, 2018 at 10:32 pm:

    Hi Robin,
    We think Shiloh is a poor choice. It is the back of the cabinet and the hanging rail that are sub standard. Cabinets will pull off the wall with any significant weight or stress. The other construction features are fine. Why they cheap out on this important feature is a mystery.

  617. Robin, February 25, 2018 at 8:51 am:

    Last question. In general, does the 1/8″ difference between 5/8 and 3/4 inch make a significant difference for the drawer box? We are finding that some companies tout the 3/4″ as obviously being superior. Thicker is probably better. But is it one of those areas of cost saving that should be considered or avoided? In other words, should we stay away from any company that uses 5/8″ for the drawer box? I so appreciate the time you are taking to answer these questions. We are hearing conflicting opinions from local dealers where we live — probably because they have a vested interest in making a sale.

  618. K. Fisher, February 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm:

    Not responding to any comments, but want to mention this site is a wonderful resource. Your cabinet ratings have been invaluable to me since I started my dream kitchen quest!
    Do you have any information or input about Costco’s Tuscan Hills by Ultimo full-custom cabinetry? The samples sent seem to be very high quality but wondering if anyone has had experience with ordering on-line & phone with designers.

  619. pmcalary, February 26, 2018 at 3:40 pm:

    Yikes! Kitchens are complex and the more experience you have the more you realize there is to know. Ordering a kitchen from Costco would be crazy. Ordering an appliance from them is fine – a complex kitchen design is not. This is why even though we all have decades of experience we DO NOT sell kitchen over the phone. We get asked to nearly every day. Selling kitchens by phone is unethical.

  620. K. Fisher, February 27, 2018 at 7:23 am:

    Thank you Paul. Great advice!

  621. Paul McAlary, February 27, 2018 at 8:08 am:

    Hi Robin,
    I answered you directly I think, but the short answer for others reading this, is that 3/4″ dovetail drawer boxes are no better than 5/8″ You get a tiny bit less drawer space for no needed advantage in construction. Most companies have switched to “5/8 once that size hardwood became readily available.

  622. Austin, March 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm:

    Paul, Thank you for such invaluable cabinetry information. My wife and I have sought a experienced designer in my Encinitas CA area and we were very pleased with the outcome. The designer showed us the specs and they meet your expressed level of full plywood/hardwood construction, I-beam dado upper sides for lower cabs, 3/4″ melamine coated full-depth shelving(white exterior cabs),5/8″ hardwood drawer box with dovetail joinery, under mounted soft-close Blum drawer glides,steel 6-way soft-close adjustable hinges,3/4″ hardwood face frame, full overlay cab doors, integrated toe-kick and limited lifetime warranty. The designer was encouraging us to go with Upgraded Shrock but also sold Decora which we were originally interested in and why we chose the designer’s company. The design for the two comparably built cabinet brands were $4K apart. My question is what could make up the difference in costs between the two brands? Both are made by Masterbrand cabinets.

  623. pmcalary, March 1, 2018 at 5:25 pm:

    Decora has some nicer finishes and is a more custom line. Schrock upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides would be fine. It really comes down to can you tell the difference in finish and is it worth it to you. Durability if upgraded to the same construction would be no different. Also some designs might not be able to be done in a cabinet line with less customization. But if the designs the same too than spending the extra money becomes harder to rationalize.

  624. Laura, March 3, 2018 at 3:33 am:

    This is a great article. My problem, however, is that it doesnt go into the different lines under the brands. We are buying and remodeling a condo in south Florida that is right between the beach and intracoastal with sliding glass doors all around. This means high humidity. Many people I talk to are scaring me to death about wood cabinets and losing function due to expanding and contracting. Others have said laminate peels in that environment. One recommendation is for Kraftmaid Evercore. Kraftmaid is not a bad brand but I dont know about Evercore specifically and MDF doesnt particularly thrill me. Any comments or suggestions? Or any woods that are less susceptible to expansion?

  625. pmcalary, March 3, 2018 at 8:04 am:

    MDF doors and drawer fronts will look nicer painted than solid wood doors but will easily be dented and scratched if you are hard om things.
    I would never use them in my home but I am very rough on everything. I have known families that had MDF doors and drawer fronts for decades without even a scratch. The cabinet boxes should always be solid wood and all plywood construction. But the doors and drawer fronts are really a case by case basis depending on how rough a family is on cabinetry fronts. If you do get MDF and you damage a door you can always get a custom made replacement even a decade later if the color has changed slightly and the door is no longer available from the manufacturer. It will just be expensive and a pain.

  626. LOL, March 3, 2018 at 8:22 am:

    We are remodeling a kitchen in an extremely humid environment. We want white shakerish doors and will upgrade to all plywood construction. I am honestly confused about what material to use for the best durability and function considering the possible expansion and contraction of wood. We are looking at Decora or Kraftmaid for wood, Martha Stewart for Laminate or Kraftmaid Evercore for MDF. What material would you recommend and do you have better recommendations for brand if you recommend laminate or MDF? For wood, is one type of wood better than another in humodoty? Thank you so much in advance!

  627. pmcalary, March 3, 2018 at 8:47 am:

    Martha Stewart is a re-branded line which I don’t like. Decora and Kraftmaid are well made lines upgraded. White thremafoils for anything but a slab door have never been tasteful in my opinion and are very unpopular at the moment. You don’t give me a door style but I’ll assume it’s Shaker in which case I would select a solid wood door with an MDF recessed panel. In the lines you are considering hard maple is your only choice I believe. Asian birch or soft maple would be fine in other lines. US birch will show grain through the finish which some people like and if so that would be fine too.

  628. Cathy, March 5, 2018 at 10:33 pm:

    How would you rate Wellborn Forest Kitchen cabinetry? How does it compare to Showplace?

  629. Dbgiii, March 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm:

    Hi pmcalary:
    Have enjoyed your blog and have been giving me some good insight. Picking out cabinets is like picking out wallpaper.
    I have been Looking at cabinets for a full kitchen remodel. Have narrowed it down to Decora, Diamond and Kitchen Craft. The Diamond brand also comes in Diamond Vibe.
    Your thoughts?

  630. Amy, March 11, 2018 at 5:29 pm:

    Hi Paul. I am considering Fabuwood. Two questions: 1. Is there a considerable con to getting a birch cabinet line (like Fabuwood) vs. maple (like Wolf)? and 2. I am considering a farmhouse sink. You made mention to them possibly being problematic. Why would a farmhouse sink be problematic and would it be ok with the Fabuwood line? Thanks in advance!!

  631. pmcalary, March 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm:

    Our thoughts are expressed in our ratings and all three are rated in this blog. Decora is the best choice.

  632. pmcalary, March 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm:

    On a painted cabinet there is little advantage to maple over birch. On stains the maple can be a more durable finish.
    Farm sinks require difficult installation for contractors. Paint can easily be damaged by water and farm sinks tend to let water drip onto the cabinet doors below the farm sink, ruining the paint on the tops of the doors over time.

  633. NH, March 12, 2018 at 9:07 pm:

    Hello thank you for this wonderful blog. I listened to your advice and followed your ratings and chose the Fabuwood line for my kitchen. I am excited to have them installed. I am updating my bathroom as well and I haven’t seen any bathroom vanities I like that and the fact that many of them are very expensive for MDF products. I know your expertise is in kitchens but do you think I can use Fabuwood for my bathroom as well? I only have room for a 60 in double sink vanity. So I would have two 24 in bases and a 12 in drawer in between and would have to purchase my own sinks and counter-tops. I would love to hear your opinion. Thank you

  634. pmcalary, March 12, 2018 at 9:31 pm:

    Couple of issues. Even though Fabuwood is a good buy for kitchen cabinetry they have a very limited selection of vanities. Because of this you are forced to buy three cabinets from Fabuwood when a slightly more expensive line would carry a 60″ double vanity cabinet. This would be end up being less expensive, look slightly better and be easier to install.

    Second issue is that everyone wants two bowls for the convenience of two sinks. However they don’t consider that they give up useful countertop space, cabinet storage space, and that a single vanity looks better and functions better that two bowls. I always try to encourage customers to consider the single bowl for a 60″ or less vanity in a master bath. In a Jack and Jill bath two bowls is probably better with two or more children sharing the bathroom.

  635. Amy, March 12, 2018 at 11:47 pm:

    Thank you for the great article and the generous amount of time you answer questions here.

    If possible, what grade would you give Scherrs?

    Also, any cabinet lines you like that use Walnut or Walnut Veneer fro slab doors?

  636. pmcalary, March 13, 2018 at 10:16 am:

    This is frameless cabinetry similar to IKEA. Not a fan of these type products. Get IKEA to be safe before this line.

  637. Lucy, March 13, 2018 at 7:52 pm:

    Hi Paul, I am looking to purchase traditional shaker door in painted white. Going with slab drawer fronts. Regarding the doors, would it be better to go with a 1/4 veneer center panel or the 3/8 solid MDF panel?

  638. Stephanie, March 14, 2018 at 3:56 am:

    Paul, thank you for all your work answering these questions and helping us make informed purchases. I see you did not score Yorktowne cabinetry well. I would love some more insight into what got it such low grades. We have a kitchen design center near here that uses it as it’s main line…we had a great customer service experience there, but were quoted what we thought was a very steep price for our cabinetry needs. The pricing seems to go along with your grade. Any suggestions for design centers in the Baltimore area dealing high quality but reasonably priced cabinets?

  639. pmcalary, March 14, 2018 at 9:43 am:

    We recommend better dealer across the US including in Baltimore. Yorktowne is a builder grade cabinet used by contractors and builders with little concern about construction quality. Link to better dealers are below:

  640. pmcalary, March 14, 2018 at 9:47 am:

    Hi Lucy,
    Usually doesn’t matter. MDF is probably less likely to have issues but any panel shrinkage should still be warrantied. If you have forced hot air heat and central air definitely get MDF. Some cabinet companies won’t honor their warranty if you don’t humidify your air.

  641. Joe, March 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    Are you familiar with the following Brand? I got a quote recently from a Kitchen Designer. Total cabinet linear footage of my kitchen is about 24 linear feet, which I think is fairly small but I was quote for about 390 per linear feet. I read online that 200-500 is the pricing range for semi-custom cabinet, and since the ones I order are custom. I am not sure why the price I am quote is so high. I know my kitchen design is maple inset constructure with lazy susan and a garbage bin pull out. I am just trying to figure out if my kitchen designer has put a big markup on what the cabinet price should be. Any of your input is appreciated. Thanks.

  642. pmcalary, March 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm:

    Hi Joe,
    I don’t know the cabinet line but it sounds like you are getting a quote for expensive cabinetry and not that the mark up is unusually high. You need to work with a designer that will first explain to you what lines are expensive and why so that you can pick a line that makes sense for you. Expensive cabinet lines only make sense if the design itself requires it. Talking about how many linear feet of cabinetry you have tell me your design is most likely simple and wouldn’t require an expensive cabinet line.

  643. barbara coon, March 17, 2018 at 5:35 pm:

    Thanks so much for your very helpful information. Could you please comment on Strasser bathroom vanities verses Fairmont and Bertch. I am interested in white vanity for the bathroom.

  644. pmcalary, March 18, 2018 at 8:19 am:

    Since our company doesn’t normally sell vanities I am less knowledgeable about what’s available. All three of these Vanity lines are nice. My guess would be that Strasser is the best constructed and Fairmont is the most stylish while still being well made. Bertch is the least expensive, a good value, and sold at Lowes.

  645. Paul, March 18, 2018 at 10:02 pm:

    Hello – does anyone have any experience with Aldephi cabinets? I was somewhat expecting to see them on the above list since they are in PA. I am considering them for my kitchen renovation, and any info would be Greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  646. David, March 18, 2018 at 10:31 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    We are moving into a to be constructed townhome that is providing Wolf – Dartmouth cabinets in their offering. We would like to upgrade to Decora – Artisan but were told the upgrade would be an additional $19K. The kitchen is open concept with an island, and the only design change we requested are 42 upper cabinets. Does the $19K sound reasonable?
    Your input is appreciated.

  647. pmcalary, March 19, 2018 at 9:42 am:

    Hi David,
    Builders usually severely over charge for any upgrades. Some builders as much as 300 percent of the value. By the way good kitchen designers almost never use 42″ wall cabinets so we can also guess that your design needs help.

  648. pmcalary, March 19, 2018 at 9:50 am:

    They are a small PA company that offers no construction information on their web site. There are many of these companies in upper Pennsylvania. Some are good, some are not, but nearly all of them know nothing about kitchen design so using their products requires an extra good kitchen designer to prevent designing with and ordering cabinetry that is problematic.

  649. Cindy, March 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm:

    The designer we are using for our kitchen remodel works for a cabinet dealer that sells Merillat. She said this is the exact same product as Kraftmaid, made in the same factory, just under a different name. Is this true? I notice your reviews of these two are very different. She also said the same about Kemper and Diamond. She is recommending we used Kemper, but I have seen a lot of bad reviews of this product. I would appreciate your input. Thank you.

  650. pmcalary, March 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm:

    Merillat and Kraftmaid are both Masco Company products but they are very different lines. Possibly the the relationship is why Kraftmaid has been slipping of late but it is still a whole different animal than Merillat. Diamond and Kemper are both made by Masterbrands. While I don’t like Masterbrands their products have at least been giving the option to upgrade to better made construction. I still pick upgraded Kraftmaid in this bunch but the choice is getting tougher. Merillat and Kemper are definitely the lesser lines.

  651. Charles stoffel, March 24, 2018 at 11:52 am:

    My contractor has quoted “Forevermark” cabinets. I’m interested in a painted panel called Uptown White or glazed panel call Signature Pearl. know they come from China and have dovetail fronts but not any other information. Do you have any comments on these cabinets?

  652. pmcalary, March 24, 2018 at 12:05 pm:

    Forvermark doesn’t give enough information for us to grade them. They are an inexpensive made cabinet line with all plywood construction.

  653. Jean, March 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm:

    I am a kitchen designer and we sell Woodharbor cabinetry (among others). We also sell Wellborn and Waypoint. A client just pointed out to me that “Wood Harbor” on your list had scores of 2 B C. I am wondering if the “Wood Harbor” on your list is a different company than the Woodharbor that we sell. Just on price alone, I would categorize Woodharbor at a 4, not a 2, and the other 2 scores would be A’s. It is higher priced than Wellborn (which you gave 4 A A) and the finish and construction are better. Can you please check this?

  654. pmcalary, March 24, 2018 at 10:25 pm:

    Great input. Thanks and we are looking into it.

  655. pmcalary, March 24, 2018 at 10:45 pm:

    Hi Jean,
    It turns out after examining our review that we would rate the cabinet slightly differently, considering that we mistook the price point that Woodharbor is sold and didn’t see all it’s upgrades. Overall it can be better constructed IF it is upgraded and would rate a B+ barely. But because it still isn’t an A in construction and is more expensive than we thought it is even a worse value. We left the value rating a C but it is a lower C. Wellborn upgraded to either the Select or Estate line is a significantly better constructed cabinet than Woodharbor. Hopefully the cabinet world will change and some of these lines that offer nicer finishes will elect to make their cabinets as durably as their less expensive but better constructed competition.

    The reason many high end lines have been able to offer poorly constructed entry level cabinet construction in the past is the fault of builders and kitchen designers that valued the sale above construction quality. Lines like Medallion, Fieldstone, Starmark, Diamond, Schuler, DuraSupreme all used to offer their higher end cabinets in 3/8″ MDF sides and backs. Expensive builders like Toll Brothers sold million dollar poorly designed homes in Yorktowne cabinetry with 3/8″ MDF sides and backs.

    Fortunately consumers are becoming better informed about cabinet construction, and this is forcing a change in our industry. Better constructed US/Asian lines are also shaming US brands into building better cabinetry.

    Unfortunately consumers are also becoming misled about kitchen design and the renovation process by terrible remodeling shows on HGTV. See our scathing blog on remodeling shows below:

  656. Luna, March 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm:

    Where can I find a kitchen designer to work with high quality cabinets mentioned in the list ?
    How to shop for a good designer

  657. pmcalary, March 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm:

    Hi Luna,
    Here is our list of recommended dealers, Hopefully one is close to you.

  658. Nancy, March 25, 2018 at 9:30 pm:

    I am looking for a comparison of Forevermark, CNC, and Bertch for bathroom cabinets in painted white. The prices I was quoted go in order from lowest to highest. All were quoted in solid wood. Thank you.

  659. pmcalary, March 26, 2018 at 9:22 am:

    The cabinets not surprisingly go up in quality just like the prices. On bath cabinets the construction doesn’t matter as much. However don’t expect the same level of quality control from way less expensive cabinetry, You may wait a while for replacement parts from these two less expensive lines.

  660. Barbara Mackey, March 26, 2018 at 9:49 am:

    I am in the process of designing a new home,which will be much more contemporary than my current home, in which I have Woodmode cabinetry. I love the cabinetry, but the design people were not very helpful – since I am going very contemporary I was thinking of using Poggenpohl, and wonder how they compare in quality to Woodmode.

  661. pmcalary, March 26, 2018 at 10:02 am:

    Contemporay cabinetry like the very expensive Poggenpohl will be European frameless construction and so they will not be able to get above a B for construction quality in our rating system. Woodmode is a far more durable line because it is a well constructed framed line. However if you want very modern styles and slab doors in foils or other artificial surfaces they will look better and only come in frameless lines. If you go ultra modern I don’t know that it is important for your cabinetry to last 40 years as it will completely unfashionable in 20 years. Timeless and modern don’t coexist. If the kitchen is designed understanding frameless cabinetry’s limitations some of the contemporary finishes and the cabinets can still last a very long time. But don’t expect foil finishes and exotic veneers to make it much farther than 20 years.

  662. Pam Weston, March 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm:

    Your site is a treasure trove. However, now being located out here in the boonies of the Tucson, AZ. area where early American is the style in more ways than one, is proving to be a handicap. I’m looking for frameless cabinets with slab doors that can be ordered with a warm light stain on Maple doors. Like to stay with price point below 4. I checked all the cab’s. you recommended but they don’t seem to have what I wanted. I can’t seem to get a dealer list from the Quakermaid website. I’d rather find a good dealer than use a big box store because I value the expertise. Can you suggest something?

  663. pmcalary, March 27, 2018 at 9:14 am:

    Hi Pam,
    As I told you over the phone, you can call us between 2 pm and 4 pm on Fridays and a designer can look for a dealer in your area. We offer this service to people outside our service area as a courtesy. When you tell us you can’t wait until Friday it makes me wonder why we do things for free for so many people. Some people can’t be helped not because there aren’t avenues or services to help them but because they lack either the patience or the willingness to take the generous unbiased advice they ask for.

  664. Jayne, March 29, 2018 at 8:13 am:

    You are nor correct about Home Depot’s Thomasville Line. That is not rebranded. It is Thomasville

  665. pmcalary, March 29, 2018 at 8:32 am:

    Sorry Jayne it is a Masterbrand cabinet and has nothing to do with the Thomasville Furniture Company. It has been made over the years by Mills Pride, Timberlake (American Woodmark) and for the last 10 years or so by Masterbrands.

    Interestingly it was the first deceptively remarketed cabinet line. Prior to remarketing Thomasville Home Depot and Lowes used made up names to remarket cabinets like American Wookmark, Shenendoah, and Schuler. After the success of rebranding Thomasville Home depot started rebranding other things like their GE Water Heaters that have nothing to do with General Electric. Why companies are willing to hurt their brand for a payoff by a Home Center is probably routed in short term goals of CEO’s, but that’s another story.

    Thinking you know our industry better than professionals doesn’t bode well for your potential home renovation. Here is a blog about people that think they know better:

  666. Dave, March 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm:

    My wife and I really like inset cabinetry. We live near the water in Michigan and get a lot of expansion and contraction in our wood floor and crown moldings during the different seasons. I was told inset cabinetry would be a poor choice because of this. I would appreciate your opinion.

  667. pmcalary, March 29, 2018 at 5:56 pm:

    Inset cabinets in the past used hinges that were non adjustable. So any expansion or contraction of the wood or settling of a home could cause doors to bind or at least make the gaps between the door and the frame out of square.

    Today most people choose 6 way adjustable hidden hinges on inset doors. Using these hinges if doors swell or shrink the hinges can be easily adjusted to reduce the effect. Because of this I worry much less. Unfortunately these same hinges also allowed inexpensive cabinet companies that couldn’t make cabinetry to the required exactness able to sell inset cabinetry. While I don’t worry about expensive mass produced and kiln dried custom inset cabinetry using 6 way adjustable hinges in moist environments, I do worry about any inexpensive line that tries to sell inset cabinetry. It is an unforgiving way to make cabinets. Only high end lines will succeed doing it.

  668. Amy, March 29, 2018 at 7:32 pm:

    There are previous posts about shady Fabuwood dealers. As long as I have a good design from a good designer familiar with Fabuwood, does it really matter which Fabuwood dealer I use? What makes one shady? I recently found a Fabuwood dealer practically around the corner and it would be very convenient to use them.

  669. pmcalary, March 29, 2018 at 8:11 pm:

    Your contract is not with Fabuwood. It is with the dealer you are buying the cabinets from. If they are disreputable don’t be surprised if you have a bad experience. If you are taking another dealers plans you might deserve what you get.

  670. Bob in MA, April 1, 2018 at 9:12 am:

    Hi – I’m looking for cabinetry outside the kitchen. We have a master bath that requires two vanities and a makeup desk in between. The tricky part is a mudroom where we’re looking to install some 28.5″ height desk cabinetry. A couple of dealers we’ve spoken to have steered us toward Medallion, Showplace, and Shrock. I’ve looked into Conestoga online and other RTA dealers, but very few have the desk height stock that we’re looking for. Wondering specifically if Fabuwood carries this height? If not, could you recommend others that make desk height cabinets? Thanks very much,

  671. pmcalary, April 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm:

    Less expensive cabinet lines have limited options for desk and vanity cabinetry. I’d try a local dealer or home center. Here are dealers we recomend:

  672. Janet, April 5, 2018 at 8:47 pm:

    Your blog is very helpful–thank you! We visited one of your recommended designers in Greensboro, NC who carry Smithport Cabinetry. Do you have any opinions on them since they aren’t on your list? The ones we looked at are frameless 3/4 plywood. We are looking for durability in a long-term home and are doing installation ourselves (husband is a carpenter). We’re looking for white, painted shaker doors and considering Smithport, Marsh or Kraftmaid from Lowes. We prefer made in the USA and local but also looking to be cost effective. Thank you!

  673. pmcalary, April 6, 2018 at 9:34 am:

    I don’t know Smithpoint and prefer the more durable Framed cabinetry to Frameless. Upgraded Marsh framed would be the most cost effective and durable choice on your list.

  674. pmcalary, April 7, 2018 at 8:17 am:

    See our 2017 cabinet review. Both Kraftmaid and Starmark upgraded are good lines

  675. Angela G, April 8, 2018 at 9:03 am:

    Hello, I was wondering if I could get your input on cliq studios based out of CA. I love how they help you design your kitchen, but I was wondering about the quality in comparison to solid wood cabinets from PA and fabuwood.

  676. pmcalary, April 8, 2018 at 10:21 am:

    Clique Studios out of Michigan is a pretty well made cabinet and reasonably priced per cabinet. But designing and buying a kitchen over the internet almost assures that it is poorly designed and that unforeseen issues will arise that there will be no one local to help you with. We get sent their designs on occasion and they are always terrible and not cost efficient. Saving money this way on cabinetry never makes sense unless the home is tiny and the cabinets are under $4,000 and so the design is so simplistic that very little can go wrong.

    Once you start adding moldings and using wall cabinets higher than 30″ and pantries you are in trouble if a good local kitchen designer isn’t assisting in designing and purchasing the cabinets. Customers send us designs every week and over 95% of the designs we see aren’t just poor they are terrible. Usually because less experienced people are in my opinion arrogantly thinking they they are qualified to design a kitchen.

    Every professional kitchen designer know that it take unusual talent and many years experience exclusively designing kitchens to be even competent at designing kitchens much less good. Even it the design is adequate without outright design mistakes without professional assistance nearly all customers will buy cabinet styles, accessories and colors that don’t go together. For example, they will mix traditional cabinetry with contemporary backsplash tile or a chimney hood.

    Our video below makes fun of the people that think they know better and don’t need the help of a kitchen designer. The video makes fun of engineers who, along with architects, are the worst at designing kitchens.

  677. Jane Morgan, April 9, 2018 at 9:17 pm:

    I’ve tried to read as much of this as I could! I’m getting everything twisted so I am just going to ask my question. I want a good mid grade cabinets and island. I’ve researched Diamond (reviews don’t look great but your site says to upgrade and they will be okay) and I like the doors and finishes, kraftmaid (which seems to be a fav but should be upgraded to make sure it’s also all plywood) and lastly waypoint. All would be in maple with a mid grey painted finish. So far, I have a price back on waypoint which is about 21k~more than I was hoping for and that is just cabinets. No install, no extras. I don’t want to do Lowe’s or Home Depot for kraftmaid. I’d have to search for a different designer as I’m waiting for am estimate on Diamond from the other…any recommendations or comments about the 3? I feel like I’ve been studying for finals about flooring and cabinets trying to plan this build and thank goodness Cali Bamboo is on sale. Otherwise, I may continue living in this barn (no kidding! We thought we’d be in a house by now a threw up a pole barn to stay in while we built but the husband’s knee replacement got infected. If I don’t come up with something good price wise I may just order a casket!)

  678. pmcalary, April 10, 2018 at 5:31 pm:

    Hi Jane,
    Single sentence answers are what we can handle online in general. Or design philosophy or shopping strategy. Possibly if you are near one of the dealers we recommend below they could help you first hand. Otherwise what we can help people with outside our service area is pretty limited. Link to recomended dealers below:

  679. Vanessa, April 12, 2018 at 7:10 am:

    Hello I am interested in purchasing cabinets at a local cabinet place. They sell the brand FMG, but not too much information is provided online. They looked sturdy and are inexpensive but can’t decide. My other two options are kraftmaid or fabuwood. I need a simple white shaker style cabinet, but and want the cabinet to be sturdy but also not have a cheap feel. Please let me know your opinion

  680. pmcalary, April 12, 2018 at 4:14 pm:

    Easy answer Fabuwood. It is the best value on the market today.

  681. Josh, April 13, 2018 at 5:50 pm:

    Looking through the various posts, I see you recommend CNC for quality but are not as impressed with their finish options. Does that apply to all CNC lines? We are looking at the Concord line and the finishes looked nice to us. Also, from a quality perspective, do you see a big difference between CNC and Fabuwood? Based on initial pricing we’ve received from a local cabinet retailer (in Baltimore), it seems Fabuwood would be about $5K more, which we’d be willing to pay if we’re getting significantly better quality (but from a design/finish perspective, we are happy with either). Thanks.

  682. pmcalary, April 14, 2018 at 9:51 am:

    Fabuwood should be about 15 to 20% more than CNC. If you are flipping a house it’s not worth it. If you will be in it longterm I would pay 20% more for the nicer finish. Assuming that the Fabuwood dealer is reputable. They have some clunkers.

  683. DCV, April 16, 2018 at 6:15 am:

    Hi Paul, in your point of vies. Do you like Fabuwood in your kitchen Or Decora or Kraftmaid. Pick one for me . Which place and good recommendation about KD in my area Bergen county NJ .Please help me. We live in a flood zone. If we sell our home in the next 5 yrs? Do you think its worth is to get money back for our investment? I also want to have nice kitchen since this house is a 45 yrs old.Let me know your idea please Thank you

  684. DCV, April 16, 2018 at 6:20 am:

    We have few Kitchen builders who came over but it looks like they want more money. if you compare the price in the Kitchen showrooms near us.The demolitions is way up high . I really appreciate your opinion.

  685. pmcalary, April 16, 2018 at 7:42 am:

    Not sure what you are asking

  686. pmcalary, April 16, 2018 at 7:49 am:

    Depends on the door style and color you are selecting and how long you will stay which line makes the most sense. Generally for a painted white shaker cabinet that’s the most popular style now I would stick with Fabuwood. For stains I would probably spend the extra money on Decora. You can call Fridays between 2 and 4pm and we help people outside our area research to find designers or review cabinets we don’t already review.

  687. Margaret Reilly, April 17, 2018 at 9:02 am:

    Hello, we are looking at Omega Dynasty cabinets and the brochure says they are framed not frameless so I am confused by your statement that they are frameless. Am I missing something? Thanks!

  688. pmcalary, April 17, 2018 at 9:13 am:

    Omega Pinnacle are framed. Omega Dynasty are frameless.

  689. Krystal W, April 17, 2018 at 12:32 pm:

    Hi Paul, I have really enjoyed reading all the blogs. They’re so informative but I am still a bit lost. Our house is very modern and I need to go with frameless to match it. We are building an island (about 12 ft x 4 ft) with white gloss slab front and a white quartz counter. Our other cabinets are a frameless dark espresso slab. I have found a really good kitchen designer but her company only works with higher end and if I stay with her, I will have to go with Brookhaven which is still on the higher end of what I want to pay. I have also looked at Fabuwood but I do not like the line around the cabinet as their’s uses foil. Do you have any other lines in mind that might do the trick? Thanks for any information!

  690. pmcalary, April 17, 2018 at 2:10 pm:

    Hi Krystal,
    I think you need a better kitchen designers help.
    Brookhaven isn’t Frameless, Fabuwood doesn’t use a foil but a laminate on their slab doors, and the maximum slab length for a Quartz top is 10 feet.

  691. Margaret Reilly, April 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm:

    More confused than ever, after a month of researching I am sitting here with catalogs from Timberlake, Kemper, Omega,Fabuwood, Brookhaven, Decora, Medallion, Kraftmaid, Merillat Masterpiece, Signature and Quality. Which in your opinion, have the best construction. We have a 15′ straight wall kitchen to remodel and I want well built cabinets. Have visited several kitchen shops, we live in Wilmington, Delaware. Thank you.

  692. pmcalary, April 18, 2018 at 1:58 pm:

    We service the Willmington Delaware area so I would recomend you started working with us. You are wasting your efforts trying to learn an industry over the internet. And helping you avoid getting good help wouldn’t be in your best interest. We only sell well made cabinetry and we are very reasonable for cabinets. And all our designers have decades of experience.

  693. Margaret Reilly, April 18, 2018 at 7:03 pm:

    Thank you. We do have an appointment at A and C kitchens in Chester this weekend which will be our third different place for a consultation. They sell Kraftmaid and Medallion. Everyone sells different brands so its hard to compare. I may be in touch, do you charge for the consult?

  694. Linda Boles, April 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm:

    Do you know anything about Sollid Cabinetry or Salt International? We are looking for a modern frame less Cabinets.
    Also Era Cabinetry. Thanks

  695. pmcalary, April 19, 2018 at 3:05 pm:

    Sorry never heard of these lines.

  696. Joan, April 20, 2018 at 6:21 pm:

    We are remodeling 3 full baths—the master is the only one really used very much. We are in mid range to upper neighborhood and probably not our forever house (maybe out in 5-7 yrs). We started looking at Timberlake but saw BBB rated them F and another review put them at 38 out of 39 so really not looking for problems. Also looked at Eschelon and Starmark and going to look at Fabuwood next week. Would you consider Asian companies for only painted cabinets—not stained? I think I’m the only one not looking at all white shaker cabinets! Does it really matter if I upgrade to 1/2” for the bathroom? how would you rank these lines in terms of cost and value? Like many others, I can’t thank you enough for your help! Also, do you have a recommendation in Charlotte, NC?

  697. Erica cook, April 21, 2018 at 8:45 am:

    This blog is very helpful! My contractor is pushing Green Forest cabinets, any thoughts on this particular company? Thank you.

  698. pmcalary, April 21, 2018 at 9:17 am:

    WE Just started carrying Green Forest. They are well made and a great buy. Be careful of the fact that they do not make 36″ high wall cabinets. Using 39″ wall cabinets in a room with 8″ ceilings is asking for trouble.

  699. pmcalary, April 21, 2018 at 9:20 am:

    It’s not durability that is the issue. Stained finishes from US companies just look nicer. Starmark has especially nice stains. Timberlake is OK upgraded for construction but their stains are only a little nicer than companies like Fabuwood and price wise you are getting closer to the more expensive but really nice finishes.

  700. Erica, April 21, 2018 at 1:32 pm:

    Hiw would you say Green Forest would rate based on your system above? Also how does it compare to Waypoint ans CNC?

  701. Erica Cook, April 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm:

    How would you rate Green Forest based on the system above? How does it compare to Waypoint and CNC?

  702. Margaret Reilly, April 23, 2018 at 7:28 am:

    Do you know why Kraftmaid drawers have an L shaped metal bracket screwed to the outside of the drawer even though it has dovetail construction?

  703. pmcalary, April 23, 2018 at 9:17 am:

    Hi Margret,
    You are in our service area. People inside our service area we believe are best served working with us.

    To answer your question. Kraftmaid doesn’t have a metal L bracket on their drawers so I have no idea what you are looking at. Please ask these questions to the designers at the locations you are at. If you are working with A&C kitchens that is fine but they should be the ones helping you.

  704. Erica cook, April 24, 2018 at 4:36 pm:

    Do you think waypoint or green forest is a better option to go with? Can you tell me how you would rate green forest so I can compare? Thanks!

  705. paul mcalary, April 24, 2018 at 4:44 pm:

    I Like the Green Forest construction they don’t make 36″ high wall cabinets though and that can be an issue with many designs.

  706. KAREN DYSER, April 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm:


  707. pmcalary, April 25, 2018 at 2:52 pm:

    Sorry I don’t know the Choice. They look OK but have no specs online.

  708. Jack, April 26, 2018 at 12:05 am:

    Do you know the Mouser brand well — specifically their Centra series. I met with a kitchen person locally who really liked them. His opinion was they were a great value. Do you have any thoughts on their quality and how they hold up over time? Thanks much.

  709. pmcalary, April 26, 2018 at 9:20 am:

    Mouser does not say on their web site how thick the back is on the Centra cabinet line which makes us worry. This is the weakest point on their well constructed Premier upgraded to plywood line being only 3/8 inch thick. We actually gave them a pass they normally would have only recieved a B+ for construction but the rest of their box made up for it. If the Centra back is thinner than 3/8″ then I wouldn’t recommend them. If it is 3/8 for Centra I’d rate Mouser Centra a B+ for construction and the same for value.

  710. Hana, April 27, 2018 at 8:49 am:

    Hi, Paul,
    How does Green Forest compare to Fabuwood as far as quality, finish, service, and cost? What grades would you give each one for 2018? Which one would you recommend more?
    Do you have your 2018 ratings yet?

  711. Hana, April 27, 2018 at 8:54 am:

    Which Fabuwood Frost painted style is more popular, Galaxy or Nexus?
    Which stain is more popular Expesso or Chestnut?

  712. Joan, April 27, 2018 at 9:01 am:

    What height do you recommend for bathroom vanities. It seems many are going to 36”. I am looking at Starmark and I heard they may be 31.5 w/o granite. Will that look dated.

  713. pmcalary, April 27, 2018 at 9:34 am:

    Starmark makes 34 1/2″ high vanities. This is now the standard height except in kids baths. The lower height would be inappropriate for an adult bathroom.

  714. pmcalary, April 27, 2018 at 9:37 am:

    Galaxy is more popular but partly because it is 18% less expensive than Nexus.
    Espresso is more popular than chestnut but again partly because of the cost.

  715. pmcalary, April 27, 2018 at 9:43 am:

    They are both well made. Fabuwood would get an A for construction. Considering the pricepoint I would give Green Forest an A+. It is the best made inexpensive cabinet on the market IMO. However the green forest door styles and finishes while durable are not as stylish as Fabuwood’s. And they do not make a 36″ high wall cabinets or 90″ tall cabinets which are the sizes most homes would require.Unfortunately Green Forest is behind the times on style and function. They are just ahead of the curve on construction quality.

  716. Hana, April 27, 2018 at 9:43 am:

    How does Green Forest compare to Fabuwood as far as quality, service, finishes, and cost?
    What score would each receive on your rating?
    When will your 2018 ratings be available?
    Is there a difference in cost between Fabuwood Nexus and Galaxy?

  717. Hana, April 27, 2018 at 9:51 am:

    Thank you, Paul for your quick responses. Sorry about the repetition!

  718. Kim, May 2, 2018 at 11:57 am:

    Know anything about the quality of Tru Cabinetry? We are working with a designer recommended by you in our area and they’ve recently had good luck with this line/are recommending it more than others now.

  719. pmcalary, May 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm:

    I didn’t know much about Tru cabinetry so I Googled their specifications. They look pretty well made. They’d get probably a B+ or A- for construction and I assume they are pretty reasonable but I wouldn’t know how to grade them on price.

  720. Kim, May 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm:

    Thanks – yes, about 20% less than Kraftmaid, which is why we’re considering. We don’t want to give up quality, but if it’s just as well made, we think the price is right! Our dealer seems to think it’s a good option so we’re going to take a look at a showroom set. Appreciate your input.

  721. Scott, May 9, 2018 at 12:45 pm:

    Great site, thanks for such useful info. I am way out of your area, and it’s awesome that you share like this!

    I’ve recently seen a cabinet claiming “KCMA certification for ANSI A161.1”. Now that cabinet is (according to the web site) pretty well built. But I’m wondering if that certification is actually something useful to look for as an indicator that a cabinet is at least good enough, or just a marketing gimmick which only excludes the lowest level of most awful crap?

  722. Susan Johnson, May 10, 2018 at 10:20 pm:

    Are you familiar with the Marquis, Koch, or Woodland brands of cabinets? Thank you.

  723. Matt Zory, May 11, 2018 at 8:02 am:

    Holy cow…what a great resource you’ve created here! I’m in a quandary and would love your input. We’ve received several design ideas from several certified KD’s in conjunction with their contractors. The KD whose design we like best (and liked her too) uses only Aspect and Shiloh. I’m a little uncertain about the look of the finishes on those lines and looking at your ratings above…not the best choice perhaps. What compounds the issue is we have 25 or 30 year old Starmark cherry cabinets now that to my amateur eye have an awesome finish. Do we go with the KD and Aspect/Shiloh? Or, pay her for her time and take the design elsewhere or…? You get the picture. Really like her contractor too BTW!

  724. Gloria, May 11, 2018 at 3:08 pm:

    I tried purchasing from solidwood cabinets based on your reviews. They have the worst designers and customer service. The designers just know how to do a computer 3D design that anyone with any computer skills can use the same program that all designers use. They have no creativity and do not use any insights to try to make a kitchen efficient or appealing. They just pop in spacers here and there to fill gaps. This reduces your usable space! ! Also, be aware of their false advertising on their website. Indeed BBB has sent them a notice about their false advertising!!!

  725. Jen, May 13, 2018 at 8:32 am:

    If using CNC Cabinets, is it an absolute must to upgrade to Blum hinges and hardware or do the standard components meet your minimum requirements as well?

  726. Susan J, May 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm:

    How does the Kraftmaid Vantage line compare with the Candlelight brand of cabinets? Also do you have any thoughts on Marquis or Woodland brands of cabinets. Thanks.

  727. mfauss, May 14, 2018 at 7:50 am:

    Wellborn question – I have spoken to two KDs and one builder that dropped Wellborn due to quality issues. Specifically Wellborn could not get orders straight for months at a time (regularly) and cabinets damaged from shipping and factory quality control. Are you familar with these issues?

  728. Joshua Erez, May 14, 2018 at 10:44 am:

    If using CNC, is it a “must” to upgrade to the Blum hinges and hardware, or are the standard CNC materials sufficient quality? Is there are significant price increase to upgrade to Blum?

  729. Andrea, May 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm:

    We are just starting to gather bids on our kitchen and bath remodel and had a contractor recommend Wolf Cabinets because they’re solid wood and “affordable.” When I called a local Wolf dealer,who is a kitchen contractor in business for 33 years, they told me Wolf cabinets are contractor grade (even though made of solid wood & have too many issues with them and have a 5-8 year life span at most) The 33 year kitchen contractor recommended I look at Koch Cabinetry as a better product for price comparison, but I don’t see them on your list. Any info on Koch Cabinets?

  730. Eileen, May 15, 2018 at 9:36 am:

    I am looking for a shaker style vanity (bathroom remodel project). We are looking for all plywood construction. I see some shaker doors are solid wood and some are veneer. In the wood stain I am looking for, Woodmark has the shaker door in a veneer finish. Mouser Centra has the shaker door using solid wood construction. Is there much difference in durability between solid wood vs veneer (for the cabinet door)? I already see that I need to upgrade the Mouser cabinet to use plywood construction since that is not standard.

    On a separate note, if I have a 60 inch vanity between two existing side walls (with a total of a 1/2” spacer on one side right now), should I get the vanity in 3 pieces to make it easier to install or can I get away with just buying one 60 inch vanity (and using spaces on one or both sides)?

    Lastly, is it better to buy Mouser Centra or Starmark over Wolf (which is much cheaper at our local wholesaler)?

  731. John P, May 16, 2018 at 10:34 am:

    Hi Paul,

    Are you familiar with Forevermark, Cubitac and JSI? How do they compare to others?


  732. Regina Lacoff, May 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm:

    We are building a new home in Houston, TX with Design Tech Homes, they are using Fabuwood exclusively. I noticed that Fabuwood are framed cabinets. In our current home we have Brookhaven, which are frameless. For me to go from frameless to framed is kind of step down, and I am not sure, what to do. Also, after reading your comments, I have a concern, that I didn’t get to work with the designer, in fact I was the one who designed my kitchen. And last, but not the least, the only color I like is “blanc”, but it comes with antique bronzing, which I am not sure about, because it has traditional look but I like everything more contemporary. Thank you.

  733. Regina Lacoff, May 17, 2018 at 4:07 pm:

    Sorry, I meant to ask, what is your take on this.

  734. Terry, May 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm:

    Your ranking of “Merillat” is considerably lower overall than “Kraftmaid”, yet the construction components of the Merillat “Masterpiece” line and the Standard line of Kraftmaid appear to be very similar, if not the same? Even finish color names are the same. And since both are owned by Masco, I’m confused as to how your rankings of the two could be so different?

  735. Terry, May 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm:

    Your ranking list shows Merilatt ranked significantly below Kraftmaid. I’m considering purchase of Merillat “Masterpiece” series cabinets and from the specs they appear to be constructed from same components as “Kraftmaid” ? Is it possible that you based your Merillat ranking on their entry level “Classic” series? How would you rank Merillat ” Masterpiece” series compared to Kraftmaid? Thanks for any info you can provide.

  736. Diane, May 18, 2018 at 2:44 pm:

    I am interested in Kraftmaid cabinets. I can’t decide
    if I want to purchase EverCore fronts or Maple painted in Dove White. Do you have any knowledge on EverCore?
    Other than not seeing the seams I don’t know if they will seem “cheap” since it is some type of pressed material.

  737. Susan J, May 19, 2018 at 8:40 pm:

    Have visited the local Kraftmaid dealer and found a cabinet style that I like. The dealer does kitchen design, orders the cabinets, but does not do the cabinet installation. That is left up to the individual’s contractor. Is that “normal”? Thank you.

  738. Ellie, May 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm:

    Hi, am considering Shiloh white shaker, but then saw you gave them 2 C grades in your review. Would you please let me know why?

    Thank you.

  739. Brigid, May 29, 2018 at 9:00 am:

    We are considering Kraftmaid and Solid Wood Cabinets. I’m skeptical about the long-term durability of Solid Wood Cabinet’s products, but the price is great. We can get the cabinets and quartz countertop for about $1000 less than Kraftmaid cabinets alone. After reading your reviews, I understand that Solid Wood seems to be a good option for the price point, but I’m wondering if Kraftmaid would be the better long-term investment. We’re getting white cabinets, and durability is my biggest concern. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

  740. Brigid, May 29, 2018 at 9:13 am:

    We are considering Kraftmaid and Solid Wood Cabinets. The price that Solid Wood has given us is great, and we’d be able to get the cabinets and quartz countertop for about $1000 less than Kraftmaid cabinets alone. However, I’m concerned about the long-term durability of Solid Wood. We are getting white cabinets, and durability of both the finish and the cabinets themselves is my biggest concern. I have read your positive reviews of Solid Wood, but am wondering if the good reviews are based on the quality for the price point – meaning that they are good quality for that price, but since they are cheaper, they naturally won’t last as long or hold up as well. Your thoughts would be appreciated!

  741. Mreilly, May 29, 2018 at 11:46 pm:

    Hello Paul, are you familiar with Woodmasters or Signature?

  742. Magnolia, May 30, 2018 at 9:32 am:

    What an outstanding site I have stumbled on here detailed information has been tremendously helpful. I’m considering purchasing cabinets from Cabinets To Go but having a difficult time finding legitimate reviews. Are you familiar with this product in can you give me any insight? I’m considering their white finished cabinetry for a full kitchen remodel. Price is exceptionally good compared to big box stores. I’m concerned it could be a get what you pay for scenario. The display product seems to be of good quality and decent workmanship. In concerned the deliver product may not be equivalent. Any insight would be most greatly appreciated. Thank you

  743. Jeanie, May 31, 2018 at 4:53 pm:

    I am redoing my kitchen. The salesman at Lowes recommended Shenandoah cabinets when I told him I wanted good quality cabinets. He did not mention other brands. It made me wonder why.

  744. Linda, June 2, 2018 at 1:19 am:

    Hello, First, what a great website. A true gem indeed. I am in Chicago and due to water damage, our kitchen cabinets need to be replaced. A contractor suggested an Amish line of cabinets Plank and Son Woodworking in Arthur IL, but insurance company has deemed too expensive. Second choice from contractor is Remodelers Mart. Current cabinets were installed in 1979, oak cabinets when house was built. I’ve written down all the basic minimums for a good quality cabinet that you have posted – thank you. Are there any cabinets in my area that you would recommend? Also, what is your opinion on the two that I have listed. Just trying to find the best option to replace with limited time and money. I wish I lived in your area. Many thanks.

  745. Simmons Kathleen, June 3, 2018 at 10:46 pm:

    I live in AZ and am looking at frameless cabinets for a kitchen redo. Do you know anything about Belmont cabinets out of WA? I think their 1600 line is not good enough, but their 1900 series looks good. Any thoughts? I had a gorgeous kitchen using Meson’s from Italy and was entirely won over with frameless and tons of drawers and drawers within drawers. I also love metal drawer interiors.

  746. Simmons Kathleen, June 3, 2018 at 10:48 pm:

    Oh, are you familiar with Plato cabinets?

  747. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:26 pm:

    Yes they are expensive custom cabinets

  748. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:26 pm:

    Don’t know those lines

  749. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:33 pm:

    They are a good line on a budget. Upgrade to plywood box. Kraftmaid at Lowes will be about 20% more

  750. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:39 pm:

    Not a good idea. There are alternatives like dealers that sell Fabuwood or J&K that will be slightly more and you will get a professional to work with.

  751. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:40 pm:

    Not Really. We look up things for people outside our area Fridays 2-4

  752. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm:

    Huge difference here. Splurging on quartz tops or high end appliances with Solid wood cabinets is a stretch. I’m spend a little more for Fabuwood or another slight higher end line.

  753. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm:

    Read what we consider well made and they do not meet those requirements.

  754. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm:

    Yes and it’s a smart idea. You want one person responsible for construction. Otherwise prepare for finger pointing.

  755. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm:

    Ever-core is MDF doors. The paint looks great but it’s easily damaged and not a good idea for people rough on things

  756. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm:

    They are creeping up closer to a higher ranking but there are better less expensive lines. They are not a good value.

  757. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm:

    Brookhaven is a made by Woodmode and is not frameless. Frameless is less durable than better made framed cabinetry so not a step down. Designing your own kitchen is another mistake. And glazing is not contemporary. Get help.

  758. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm:

    All inexpensive. Maybe JSI of the three.

  759. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:05 pm:

    Mouser and Starmark are expensive. Wolf while well made is one of the cheapest lines.

  760. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm:

    Wolf is a contractor priced line. But it is also well built. Koch is a very nice line but very expensive. They are apples and oranges. The 5 – 8 year comment makes me think this guy is a dishonest and trying to upgrade you for his own profit.

  761. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm:

    Yes upgrade. It’s the first thing a home buyer checks for. It won’t cost too much.

  762. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:17 pm:

    I haven’t heard this. Southern cabinet makers often have quality control issues, but Wellborn was the exception to the rule in the past. The builder is not reliable only because he isn’t ordering direct. The KD’s complaints are troublesome. If they are both from the same company it could be their ordering process and not Wellborn. One of our designers was happy with Wellborn up to 2 years ago.

  763. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:21 pm:

    Don’t know the last two. Candlelight is custom very high end cabinetry so more beautiful that Kraftmaid and much more expensive. Both are well made.

  764. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:21 pm:

    Yes upgrade it’s silly not to.

  765. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm:

    You are shopping the least expensive line and want customization, great customer service, and think you know everything. We wrote a blog about difficult customers like you. It was re-posted by dealers across the world and says it all:

  766. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:33 pm:

    I would not select a kitchen designer recommended by a contractor unless they were a reputable independent showroom or home center. I worry that the contractor is getting a kick back. Choose an independent showroom or dealer and have the contractors bid the job without the cabinets included.

  767. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm:

    KCMA certification is worthless since it is from the cabinet makes trade association. Every line is certified. Carb Compliance is a real rating since it was instituted by the state of California. It only addresses off gassing though. That’s really why we started reviewing cabinets ourselves.

  768. Patrick, June 9, 2018 at 8:34 am:

    Hi Paul, When will your 2018 ratings be available?

  769. Lucy, June 9, 2018 at 8:53 am:

    Paul, I am looking forward to your 2018 updated Kitchen Cabinet Rankings. When will this be available? I know you originally mentioned April. Thanks!

  770. pmcalary, June 9, 2018 at 9:06 am:

    Unfortunately we are very busy and are still only halfway done. I’m hoping by July 4th.

  771. pmcalary, June 9, 2018 at 9:08 am:

    Unfortunately we are very busy and are still only halfway done. I’m hoping by July 4th.
    We answer questions Fridays 2 to 4 pm so if you have a line you want us to examine we can look it up then.

  772. Brian, June 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm:

    Hello, I am in the VA Beach, Virginia area and cannot find a good KD. Can you recommend one please?

  773. Riki, June 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm:

    Hi there. Really found your blog helpful. You say it as it is and don’t sugar coat. Question for you – I think I’m moving ahead with fabuwood cabinets. Just wondering if you’ve seen how they hold up to the test of time – as my Kitchen is heavily used. We aren’t rough but do spend a lot of time in the kitchen and do a lot of cooking. I liked the hardware it uses and the price point worked for me – but that being said – the construction costs of this project are high – so whereas I may not be spending relatively a lot on the cabinets – I do need to make sure they hold up.
    Thanks in advanve. It is much appreciated.

  774. pmcalary, June 12, 2018 at 9:58 am:

    Hi Brian,
    Here is our complete list of recommended dealers. One is in Va Beach:

  775. pmcalary, June 12, 2018 at 10:04 am:

    Fabuwood holds up as well as the more expensive lines. That being said – All painted finishes are easily scratched and dinged and Fabuwood like most inexpensive lines has a little more shipping damage than the expensive lines. A responsible Fabuwood dealer will replace anything damaged which hopefully is just a door or two. And we sometimes send out furniture refinishers to touch up a scratched cabinet if replacing it would hold up a job. This happens in the expensive custom lines too. Just less often.

  776. hungryjack, June 13, 2018 at 10:03 am:

    Great content. Do you know which dealers sell Fabuwood cabinets in the Northern Virginia region? I filled out their online form but havent heard back yet. Thanks!

  777. Ellen H., June 16, 2018 at 9:14 am:

    We’re planning an update to our 16 year old kitchen in preparation of down-sizing in the next 5-10 years. I don’t want to break the piggy bank, but want to get good quality cabinets that will look great when we decide to sell. Our kitchen is designed very well, so we will not change the layout. Here are my questions:

    1. We’re looking at Fabuwood, JSI, and Waypoint cabinets. Is there be a huge difference in price/quality between these manufacturers? I understand that Waypoint is made not far from where we live, so supporting local business would be satisfying, but not if the product isn’t as well made as the other companies.

    2. I initially wanted a pale grey painted cabinet, but in reading the posts here, I’m worried that the painted cabinets won’t stand the test of time. I don’t want to replace my cabinets now only to have them need extensive repairs or repainting when we decide to sell our house. Our kids are grown, so it’s just my husband and I and I don’t expect we’ll be too hard on our new cabinets. However, would you recommend that we chose a stain over painted cabinet considering our plans to sell the house in 5-10 years?

  778. pmcalary, June 16, 2018 at 11:18 am:

    Hi Ellen,
    We posted this blog rating cabinetry to be a helpful resource, but I fear we are feeding the beast that kills kitchens.

    Customers spending inordinate amounts of time researching cabinetry only to help them make all their decisions themselves almost guarantees them wasting time and money.

    When I want my transmission repaired I don’t research who makes the best transmissions and how to install them. I do research to find a reasonably priced garage with top notch mechanics to do the repairs.

    Most non professionals believe that their present kitchen design is fine and that changing it will cost too much money. The opposite is true. So much missinformation is given out on HGTV shows that most of what homeowners believe about kitchen renovations is false.

    Almost no kitchen design a customer is replacing can’t be improved, and changing the design has very little impact on what you spend. Getting a particular color cabinet or door style, or a quartz countertop instead of a lower level granite top, can add several thousand dollars to a kitchen renovation. Moving a sink, gas line, doorway, removing a load bearing wall, or removing the soffits over cabinets rarely adds 5% to the cost of the overall kitchen renovation and can be the difference between prospective buyers loving your kitchen or wanting to rip it right out after closing. Getting the best kitchen design possible is what will sell your home for many thousands more and all the other choices you make pale in comparison.

    Accepting that you are not qualified to judge how your kitchen can be improved is the first step to spending your money wisely. This may sound presumptuous but it is not. Why people accept that lawyers, accountants, mechanics and other professionals know more than they do about their areas of expertise, but don’t think this applies to an expensive kitchen renovation is what’s foolishly presumptuous.

    Seek out a good professional kitchen designer’s help at respected and not overpriced local cabinet dealer. Research this FIRST!

    The designer who you find assuming you pick well will educate you on what sensible cabinet choices and designs you should consider. This is what kitchen designers do and this is what will make the money you spend on your renovation well spent.

  779. pmcalary, June 18, 2018 at 8:33 am:

    We recommend these dealers in your area:
    South Atlantic

    Best Kitchen and Bath Baltimore MD 410-762-4329

    KBR Kitchen and Bath Bethesda MD 724-471-4890

    Virginia Kitchen and Bath Herndon VA 703 594-9004

    MidSouth Building Suppy Alexandria, Fairfax and Richmond VA 703-940-1271

    B&T Kitchens and Baths Virginia Beach, Norfolk VA 757-502-8625

    Creative Kitchens Charleston WV 3049250450

    While most will not carry Fabuwood working with a competent kitchen designer is more important than the cabinet line. In Stock Cabinets carries Fabuwood in your area but we don’t believe working with less experienced designers is a good idea.

  780. ND, June 20, 2018 at 10:29 am:

    Your rating list is an incredible resource! I am wondering if you are familiar with Goebelwood industries in Folsom, PA. We are adding an island and a bit of cabinetry to an existing kitchen. The other option we are looking at is CNC Fashion line. It is a busy kitchen, so we need something durable.
    Thanks so much!

  781. pmcalary, June 20, 2018 at 11:48 am:

    Goebelwood looks like an expensive custom Frameless line and CNC is very inexpensive framed line. Without knowing at what line ans style your original cabinets are I can’t comment other than mentioning that adding an Island to an existing kitchen often makes the space too tight. Be careful not to leave less than 42″ between the Island countertop and the other countertops, appliances and walls.

  782. Jason, June 21, 2018 at 9:35 pm:

    Hi Paul- great information you offer here. Curious on your thoughts Tru Cabinetry vs. Kith

  783. Jason, June 22, 2018 at 8:38 am:

    Paul- great information you have shared here- Curious on your thoughts of Tru Cabinetry vs Kith. Thanks

  784. pmcalary, June 22, 2018 at 8:51 am:

    Kith is pretty well constructed. Our only issue with Kith is that the pricing customers quoted to us were higher than other lines we liked better. Tru cabinetry we couldn’t find specs on the construction so we didn’t rate them in 2017. However, I just found specs on line and they look about equal to Kith. I have no idea were they price out compared to each other.

  785. Janet, June 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm:

    We are downsizing and have a $22,000 cabinetry budget. I am looking at Aristokraft and Homecrest painted shaker style cabinets in a cream color.. Both are painted maple, plywood and dovetail. Your website rates Homecrest higher. Could you please provide me with more information regarding your rating so I can make the best decision.

  786. pmcalary, June 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm:

    Homecrest is a better constructed cabinet specifics you can get into detail with the designer you hire to work with you.

  787. Lindsey, June 22, 2018 at 10:02 pm:

    Do you know much or recommend Century Cabinets? What brands are they comparable to?

  788. Robert A., June 23, 2018 at 11:58 pm:

    Hi. I’m considering Signature Custom Cabinets Select line (their lowest cost line). Specifications include:

    Cabinet sides: 1/2″ plywood
    Cabinet tops: 1/2″ plywood
    Cabinet bottoms: 1/2″ plywood
    Cabinet backs: 1/4″ plywood with 3/4″ solid wood hanger rail top & bottom
    Shelves: 3/4″ plywood
    Drawer box: Lenga, 3/8″ dovetailed with 1/4″ bottom
    Drawer slides: Soft close full extension concealed under-mount

    Full specifications can be found on page 11 here:

    The estimated cost of just the cabinets through the dealer (a dedicated and respected kitchen design firm) is $18,000-20,000.

    Based on this information would it be possible to obtain your opinion of the price level, quality and value of these cabinets? Thank you.

  789. pmcalary, June 24, 2018 at 5:12 pm:

    I’m not a fan of Century cabinets. And my question would be since Century is only sold in our service area and we get 5 star reviews on Google, Yahoo, Houzz, Angie’s List, Yelp etc and Century gets poor reviews why are you working with them. And why are you using our web site as a reference to work with our competitors. We are less expensive for quality cabinetry than Century and our designers are more experienced.

  790. pmcalary, June 24, 2018 at 5:18 pm:

    Cabinets look well constructed and would get a B+ for construction on our rating system. Drawer box is 5/8″ by the way. There is no way to rate their pricing without floor plan.

  791. D. Hoffman, June 26, 2018 at 11:41 am:

    We installed Schuler Cabinets from Lowes and I do NOT recommend them. They are beautiful to look at when installed and function well but the finish doesn’t hold up over time. After just a few years, the finish is completely wearing off in areas. The areas are mainly around the handles and near the floor. They looked so bad that when I posted a few photos on the company’s Facebook page, they contacted me to replace the worst worn out fronts and gave me a free touch up kit (the touch ups don’t last long).

    While I’m grateful for their response, it doesn’t excuse the poor quality. My much cheaper cabinets (Kraftmaid) that I installed in my bathrooms and laundry have NO sign of wear on the finish at all. I wish I would have saved the money and installed the cheaper ones in my kitchen too.

  792. pmcalary, June 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm:

    Unfortunately many customer complaints are based on not understanding what they are buying. I love Kraftmaid but their finish is no more durable than Schuler and not as nice looking. All painted finishes are more easily subject to wear. The same finish will stand up better in a bathroom or laundry room where conditions are less stressful than a kitchen.

    This is one of the issues with buying cabinets at home centers. Customers are not informed about the properties of the products they buy and the designs they get are usually amateurish because the designers are beginners.

  793. Robin, June 27, 2018 at 9:37 pm:

    Doing new kitchen in painted cabinets. Should I go with Home crest, Shenandoah or Craft made?

  794. Robin, June 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm:

    Doing a kitchen remodel. Want to use Gray cabinets. So I use Homecraft, Shenandoah or Kraftmaid?

  795. pmcalary, June 28, 2018 at 7:22 am:

    Hi Robin,
    I’m going to combine both your questions and assume you mean Homecrest, Shenandoah or Kraftmaid?
    Upgraded these three lines are all well made. The answer is whichever lines color and style you like best, and that can successfully do the best design. Homecrest and Shenandoah will be about 20% less than Kraftmaid. You will have more customization, more door styles, more colors and more cabinet sizes and configurations available in Kraftmaid. That’s WHY they are more expensive for the most part.

    Of course like most consumers you are focused focused on quality which is not in any way tied to price. The least expensive cabinet line we carry Fabuwood is actually better constructed than any of these lines unless they are upgraded and then they are all equal in my opinion. Fabuwood is 20 to 40% less than these lines. The reason the three you ask about are more expensive is that they offer more choices, different species of wood, and other things you are almost certainly not utilizing with grey cabinets and a home center designer.

    Your design is far more important than any choice here. Most people falsely believe their design can’t be very different and is good as is. Since any design we are sent is absolutely terrible over 90% of the time and these three lines upgraded are fine it is very likely that you need to stop worrying about cabinet quality and start worrying about finding a better kitchen designer.

    If you call us on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm one of us can review your design. We can tell you what the biggest issues are. To fix those issues you will have to find a good local designer but at least you will better focused on the big picture.

  796. Lisa Siglag, June 30, 2018 at 11:58 am:

    Paul–Thank you for all this amazing information. I was wondering what you thought about the Canadian products. I’d love to know your opinion of the following companies:
    North American Cabinets
    Urban Effects

    Thank you for your help.

  797. Lisa Siglag, June 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm:

    I just tried to ask about the Canadian brands–Urban Effects, Cabico, Mirallis and North American Cabinets. I forgot to ask about LaurierMax /Cuisimax. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these. Thank you for this great forum.

  798. Lisa Siglag, June 30, 2018 at 12:26 pm:

    I just sent in a question, but I forgot to ask about LaurierMax /Cuisimax. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Canadian cabinet companies. Thank you for this great forum.

  799. pmcalary, July 1, 2018 at 8:15 am:

    We are just about to post an updated 2018 cabinet review for the most popular cabinet lines in the United States but unfortunately most of these Canadian lines are still not listed. However there are some generalizations you can make bout Canadian lines.

    Most Canadian lines are European style frameless cabinet construction and so the best they can rate in our system for construction quality is a B.

    Canadian lines are not the bargains that lower priced (framed and frameless) US lines with parts are made in Asia can be. So the best they will usually do on Value is a B. Except possibly for the very high end lines.

    Since they are more expensive than the those US/Asian Import lines Canadian pricing for cabinetry usually falls between a 3 and a 6 on our price point scale.

    The Canadian lines Cabico and Kountry Kraft do well in our ratings so you could compare any other Canadian line to them for construction quality and value. The best you will do is equal these Canadian lines for ratings in framed and Frameless construction.

  800. M Paulsen, July 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm:

    I didn’t have time to read through all the comments to find my answer…But, we are on a strict budget, but want quality;based on online reviews, we are looking at the Bertch Marketplace line (an alder raised panel) or the Medallion cabinets carried by Menards(cherry raised panel). Do you prefer or recommend one over another?

  801. pmcalary, July 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm:

    Both lines need to be upgraded to all plywood construction. And both these lines and the door style and the wood species selections are not budget friendly.

  802. Doug Eggemeyer, July 8, 2018 at 10:44 pm:

    Can you recommend a designer and the St Louis area? We were considering American Woodmark and Waypoint, they are made by the same company, are they the same cabinets? Is Koch a decent brand. If we upgrade the American Woodmark cabinets to all plywood construction, it is still missing the I-beam. Is this major?

  803. pmcalary, July 9, 2018 at 1:18 pm:

    If you call on Fridays between 2pm and 4pm one of our designers can see if they can find a local dealer for you.

  804. Dennie Miller, July 10, 2018 at 8:26 pm:

    Excellent blog and great job on the reviews. I am in Baltimore, MD and looking for quality lower price point cabinets for a new kitchen. How do 21 Century cabinets compare to Fabuwood and Wolf cabinets with respect to finish and style? Thanks.

  805. Paul McAlary, July 11, 2018 at 10:37 am:

    Looking at the 21st century web site they appear to be a frameless line with no listed specifications. And I’ve never heard of them. All bad signs. Fabuwood is the best of this bunch and Wolf and a few others second. Why go with a brand with no history that is not even transparent?

  806. Jill Whelan, July 16, 2018 at 5:33 pm:

    You have incredibly helpful articles! Thank you! I live in the Seattle area and would love to do inset painted cabinets. Do you have any recommendations on what brands to start with? Would like to be budget conscious but I am aware that inset typically costs more and it’s important to pick a quality brand. Thank you!

  807. pmcalary, July 16, 2018 at 6:06 pm:

    Fieldstone, Starmark, or Decora would be good choices. Budget conscious and inset do not go together though.

  808. David, July 22, 2018 at 10:27 am:

    My contractor suggests CNC for our small galley kitchen (6 top & 3 base cabinets). He chose CNC because we want white shaker door style.

    Are we better off getting Fabuwood or Kraftmaid?

    If we stick with CNC are there any upgrades that must be added?

  809. pmcalary, July 22, 2018 at 2:52 pm:

    CNC is about 15% less than Fabuwood and about 60% less than Kraftmaid. It is a well constructed cabinet if you upgrade the hardware.
    But it also looks a little cheap and has more damages in shipping and quality control issues. We use CNC on houses being flipped but not on homes for homeowners planning on staying. Spending 15% more for Fabuwood is the better choice if you want to be at all picky.

  810. Cabinets4me, July 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm:

    Do you recommend Procraft or J&K for white shaker cabinets?

    I am waiting to hear from Fabuwood to confirm if there are distributors in Fort Lauderdale.

    Someone told me that J&K cabinets were not as good as Procraft. Could you give me your review. Cliqe I think was much more.
    Kabo cabinets are like 3 times the price.

  811. pmcalary, July 25, 2018 at 2:29 pm:

    I don’t know enough about the difference between Procraft and J&K to compare them against each other. They are both inexpensive but pretty well made lines

  812. Mike, July 27, 2018 at 7:36 pm:

    Hi we are located in the Tacoma area of Washington state. Looking for a quality white shaker style cabinet, had been looking at Kemper but reviews scare me. Any recommendations on a kitchen designer and cabinet line serviced in our area. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  813. pmcalary, July 28, 2018 at 11:08 am:

    We recomend Luna Kitchen and Bath Seattle WA 206-338-3763

  814. Barb, August 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm:

    Hi there, Paul. Your site is invaluable for consumers like me who are navigating the complicated world of cabinets. We live in Warsaw, IN, near Ft. Wayne, and are working with a company called Copper River Cabinets. We have worked with a designer there, and are pleased with her design for our remodeling of our 1968 kitchen in our ranch style home. Copper River carries Homecrest, Shiloh, and a company based out of Harlan, IN, called Harlan Cabinets. From what I see, the finish is superior, the customization is readily available, and they’ve been in business for thirty years. But I’m also new at this game, and could use a professional’s opinion on this company. Are you familiar with Harlan, and what are your thoughts. Thank you in advance for your response. It’s really appreciated. By the way, we’re planning on going with a painted cabinet from Harlan, not stained, not that it makes any difference. Thanks again!

  815. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 10:15 am:

    Hi Barb,
    I don’t know anything about Harlan cabinets but the do something that puts me off. They fly the US flag on their web site and say God bless America but tell you NOTHING about how their cabinetry is constructed.

    Companies that try to appeal to peoples hot button issues by touting their patriotism, religion, or by being “green” or “environmentally safe” but not telling you how their cabinets are made are often shams.

    We would never carry a line that promoted themselves this way.


  816. MMalloy, August 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm:

    I recently went through the design and renovation process and we ended up going with St. Martin as opposed to Fabuwood because while the price was a little bit more, it wasn’t enough to dissuade me from getting a nicer product with a better warranty. St. Martin has a 10 yr warranty as opposed to Fabuwoods 5 yr warranty, the doors are thicker and more solid than every other product I saw, and St. Martin uses actual American hardwoods as opposed to cheap substitutes (I think my designer told me Fabuwood uses Chinese birch and not American Cherry or Maple?). Also, while the Fabuwood display in the showroom and pictures online were badly cracked at all the joints which I was told they don’t warranty, St. Martins finish on their display seemed thicker and seemed to have held up much better with aging. I also looked at Kraftmaid but plywood was an upgrade from particleboard whereas St. Martin was standard all plywood 3/4 construction. Getting a new kitchen is very stressful and confusing so I would advise anyone looking for cabinets to do their own research and actually do a real comparison between lines as many designers seem like they just want to steer you into a product where they make the most money and spend the least time..

  817. pmcalary, August 9, 2018 at 9:23 am:

    There are many misconceptions in your comment. Most importantly that price point and warranty have a bearing on construction quality or durability. IKEA has a much longer warranty than St Martin and is a lesser quality cabinet and also costs much less. Fabuwood is far better constructed cabinet than St Martin but is also less. If you want to do research on cabinetry our web site would be a good place to start and anecdotal evidence of what a particular display looked like is not very telling. The age of the display as well as the particular door style and type of finish will be more telling than the brand in most cases. For a raised panel door style I would not choose a frameless cabinet line like St Martin.

  818. MMalloy, August 10, 2018 at 5:17 pm:

    I wasn’t just looking at displays Pmcalary, my designer actually put the two cabinets side to side and while I am not an expert on construction I can say that the St. Martin cabinet appeared to be much more solid and the finishes were much higher end. There were no loose screws, clips, or nails to be seen. The Fabuwood cabinet had seams in between where the sides met the bottom and the shelf clips were not stainless steel. St. Martins shelves have stainless steel clips that fit into a groove on the bottom for support and are not chintzy looking, the dovetail drawer and plywood are 3/4, and the entire cabinet is laminated so there is no rough plywood at all which I was told reduces off-gassing. Also,the wall cabinets are 13′ deep which is another reason I was sold on the line as all my bigger plates fit finally!

    While I agree that a warranty is not indicative of quality, I also looked at Woodmode which was much more but has a lifetime warranty and it has been my experience with other products that the warranty time frame is normally indicative of how long a product will last. Personally, I will always happily pay for peace of mind. Anyway thanks for the information, it was very helpful in my search and I would happily invite you to come over and have a beer to check out the finished project.

  819. pmcalary, August 11, 2018 at 7:20 am:

    It appears you are discussing the difference between a framed and frameless cabinet and finding the frameless box superior looking to all the parts and pieces in a framed box. Yes they look more substantial to a person not understanding the structural engineering advantages of a framed box over a frameless. As you say you are not an expert and the designer you are working with sounds like they are either confused or quite a salesperson if they came up with the off gassing explanation.

  820. Amy, August 14, 2018 at 12:34 am:

    Hi Main Line team! I’m curious what advice you have for a customer who’s cabinet order has gone poorly. Would you allow the manufacturer another chance? the

    Our microwave cabinet arrived and the MDF was facing up. When we received the replacement it was the same way. A base cabinet door was chipped and another was missing the corner brackets. They didn’t include the upgrade of the soft motion doors and roll trays with plywood and dovetail construction. We ordered a shaker style door and the center inserts are veneer. The amount a movement and give is not like anything we’ve experienced.

    I look forward to your feedback. Thanks in advance!

  821. pmcalary, August 14, 2018 at 10:46 am:

    Hi Amy,
    Nice speaking with you. Hope it all works out OK. If you want to send us your design I’d be happy to check it to help the second time around go better.

  822. Jeana montgomery, August 16, 2018 at 9:32 pm:

    Can you tell me if CNC, omega or Fabuwood
    in bright white are known to fade or yellow over time?
    Thank you so much?

  823. pmcalary, August 17, 2018 at 8:31 am:

    The white cabinetry that we worry about yellowing is usually plastic coated white thremafoil. So it is the material more than the cabinet line that is the issue. All these cabinet lines make at least one of these plastic coated door styles.

    I have always discouraged customers from getting thremafoil cabinetry for their kitchen Thrmafoil is easy to clean and hard to nick or scratch but it can melt due to oven heat and it can delaminate after 15 years or yellow if you get a bad batch. And usually the doors and drawers are made by third parties so the cabinet company has less control over quality.

    Not to mention plastic coated white cabinets are presently unpopular for any door other than a modern slab door. For slab white modern door styles I would recommend laminate instead of thermafoil. Plastic raised panel doors or shaker doors look less tasteful then paint since plastic and traditional door styles don’t go together. Painted white cabinetry is the better looking alternative to plastic. Paint can be more easily nicked or damaged by water. However, touching up paint is easy while fixing a kitchen when the thermafoil fails is impossible.

  824. Amie, August 20, 2018 at 12:13 am:

    I tried to leave a question via Facebook, but in case it went astray I’ll try here as well. We live on Maui so our ability to get cabinets is limited. We are updating an older condo. It has a great kitchen/bath layout that was professionally done, it’s just time to update. We tried going to more than one designer but hit two problems. Some are tied to specific brands and will only sell those and you have to buy through them. And the remaining ones want to do a complete redesign, tearing the condo out to the studs. Again, the existing design is great and we love it. We found a source for Crystal, Ovation, and Bellmont cabinetry that is not tied to a designer. Our contractor likes Bellmont, which I don’t see reviewed. The condo is very small and open. Like most people on Maui our island-style furniture is a type of Mahogany from Indonesia and we are hoping to find a stained wood to blend with it. How does Bellmont compare to Crystal and Ovation? Thank you for your help.

  825. pmcalary, August 20, 2018 at 7:08 am:

    Hi Amie,
    Belmont is a frameless less expensive particle board cabinet that is far below Crystal. Ovation has nothing to do with the Crystal line and I can’t find any reliable information on them.

    Your story has a thread that concerns me. Usually when customers try to avoid designers as you are and the designers they meet want to do things the customers don’t want it is because any sensible professional would make these changes and do the recommended construction. Shopping to find the advice you want to hear is never a good idea. Whether you are getting advice from a kitchen designer or a another professional such as a doctor. Find the best professional and listen to their advice. You get into trouble when you only listen to what you want to hear or don’t listen at all.

  826. Amie, August 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm:

    Thank you for your help. We bought a small but high-end condo that had been professionally, and beautifully, designed several years ago. The kitchen and bath layouts make efficient use of the space, look really good, and more than meet our needs. For some reason they skimped on the actual cabinets and left the original and inadequate lighting as it was. We wanted to upgrade the cabinetry from laminate to stained wood and do a few small things, like change some of the units to drawers and/or pull-outs which we like better. While the current cabinetry layouts are fine, the lighting could definitely use improvement. That’s where we sought help. It’s hard to get a grasp of what the actual cabinets cost because everything has to be shipped in. Some businesses hid huge mark-ups in their “shipping costs”, on top of their regular fees. I definitely do not begrudge their regular fees because they would be dealing with the manufacturer, shipping, delivery, installation, etc. I just don’t like hidden mark-ups. Unlike on the mainland, we don’t have access to many “kitchen and bath” stores or home stores (except for Home Depot and Lowe’s). By the way — although we have met with several designers and contractors, not one has addressed our original need for improved lighting. We’ve gotten several proposals requiring major changes to the condo (which interestingly left the cabinetry layouts as they were) but made no changes to the lighting. At this point, we are doing internet research and visiting everybody else’s condo to see what they did and how it has worked out for them. It has been a frustrating experience. We remodeled our house a few years ago, but we lived in a major metropolitan area and knew who the respected designers and businesses were. We did a little research on specific issues, but by and large took their recommendations because we trusted them and understood why they made their proposals. I definitely agree that finding a trusted business would be the way to go if we were making major changes or were wondering what else might be possible. In this instance, we only want to replace existing basic cabinets with nicer ones and get a little more light. Your blog has helped a lot.

  827. pmcalary, August 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm:

    Hi Amie,
    If you have a floor plan of your existing kitchen I would be happy to look at it and give advice. Lighting is the last thing designers work on so not getting a lighting plan is not unusual. No one would do one until you hired them.

    Lowes and Home Depot sell Kraftmaid which upgraded is a fine cabinet line and Lowes carries Schuler (Medallion in private sectors) which upgraded is a high end cabinet. If you are committed to keeping the same design Lowes is fine. We almost never recommend this because most customers believe their design is fine until we show them one they hadn’t thought of that’s better. Changing the layout in a kitchen also costs next to nothing and can even save money.

  828. Nina, September 7, 2018 at 11:03 am:

    I’m having a tough time deciding on kitchen cabinets. The lines that I’ve gotten quotes on are Starmark and waypoint. Both prices were reasonable but I really want to make sure I pick a better quality cabinet since we don’t plan on moving or remodeling kitchen. Any advice is appreciated!

  829. pmcalary, September 8, 2018 at 9:26 am:

    Starmark should be more expensive and a better cabinet upgraded.

  830. Carolina Prokopis, September 8, 2018 at 11:22 am:

    How about Fabuwood vs Starmark? I know fabuwood is a big price difference but I plan on getting a painted cabinet and I just want to make sure it holds up for years to come. Thanks for your feedback. I’m having a hard time deciding.

  831. pmcalary, September 8, 2018 at 3:39 pm:

    There won’t be a difference in durability of finish between Fabuwood and Starmark on a painted cabinet. However all painted cabinets are less durable finish wise than stained cabinets. They can be inexpensively touched up though by professional refinishers if the paint gets nicked, scratched or damaged from water.

  832. Christa, September 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm:

    Wow, there is a wealth of information here and I really appreciate your time and guidance!
    We are renovating our kitchen and are narrowing in on about 18 cabinets and 1 tall pantry for the new layout. I have a range of quotes from kitchen designers. All suggested very similar layouts. In order of increasing price: Waypoint 10K, Wolf Designer 13K, Yorktowne 15K, Centra by Mouser 17K, and Diamond 17K. All are full plywood with painted shaker doors. Would you say these prices are reflective of quality? Anything you can suggest to help make this decision? I’m not sure where the “quality” differences will be, though I have noticed that the Mouser cabinets will allow for a little more fine tuning with measurements, though we don’t need many.

  833. pmcalary, September 18, 2018 at 3:37 pm:

    Price and quality are not directly related in the cabinet world. I don’t know the Wolf and Mouser lines as well as the Yorktowne and the Diamond lines but I think either Wolf or Centra are the better values for the cabinetry you list. If you can afford the Centra I would get them.

  834. Steve, September 24, 2018 at 12:13 pm:

    I recently was shown cabinets by Greenfield. We liked the cabinets and we were told they were a step above Decora, so fairly high end. I can’t find much info on them. I noticed there are a few inquires about them in the comments of this webstite as well but no answers. If anyone can give me their experience.

  835. pmcalary, September 24, 2018 at 12:49 pm:

    Hi Steve,
    I did some research and Greenfield cabinet looks well constructed. However their construction was posted on line by another dealer and not by Greenfield themselves. We know nothing about the company and they don’t show specifications on line so we can not rate them on our cabinets ratings guide.

  836. A Miller, October 2, 2018 at 5:25 pm:

    Hi, thanks for the great advice…I need some! I understand the Wellborn brothers parted ways some time ago and I’ve heard mixed reviews on the quality of the Wellborn Forest line. Dilemma is, W. Forest has a brushed glazed finish that I really like. Last year the upcharge for the brushed glaze was apx 2k. Now its quoting at 3300. more than basic painted finish. I’m just not sure if the quality of WF is worth the price.
    Second, while trying to get over the glazed finish, I ran across a line called Wolf “Signature” which has SmartShield Technology, making them really easy to clean and less damaged by water. It’s basically a laminate (which I would usually NEVER consider) but it looks like a beautiful painted finish. And with white, easy to clean is a factor.
    I would appreciate your feedback on the Wellborn Forest (and your experience with brushed glaze) as well as quality of Wolf “Signature”. Thanks!

  837. pmcalary, October 3, 2018 at 9:09 am:

    As far as Wellborn Forrest – I don’t know the finishes well enough to comment. Upgraded their cabinets are well constructed but shipping issues or quality control I can’t know since we don’t carry them.

    Wolf has now branched off into several different cabinet lines and types of construction. Unfortunately the good construction values and concepts the line began with in their Wolf Classic are not the same for other lines. Wolf is now gravitating towards the concepts of the Aristocraft line they left to create Wolf. What a shame! We will need to rate their lines separately in 2019. Wolf Signature is only 3/8″ thick sides and backs which we would never recommend.

    Also the expensive foil doors like the one you are considering are not a good idea. They can easily be melted with heat from a range even when you use heat shields. And since thermafoil doors fall out of fashion quickly and can’t be reproduced after the style is discontinued, if you melt a door ten years from now you will most likely not be able to replace it. Then what?

    Years ago when I worked at a dealer that carried what some designers called “Aristocrap”. Every Saturday brought former customers into the showroom with melted or discolored doors in discontinued thermafoil styles we could no longer replace. I tried never to sell the Aristocraft line even though other designers at the company sold it in abundance.

    That dealership and the way they approached our industry is why I started my own company. Every time I needed new business cards I fought to have my job title say “Kitchen Designer” but the company insisted that my tile remain “Cabinet Salesperson”. Today we are competitors and while they are still a larger company than mine I think the wave of the future is better designers and a more a cost effective business model like ours. It allows you to sell better designs at a slightly lower price than the companies that just want to sell cabinets and give people what they ask for without regard for the quality of the products they sell.

  838. MMJ, November 1, 2018 at 9:45 pm:

    I’m happy to read all of this advice on kitchen cabinets since it is very difficult to choose companies. My designer has recommended Sorrento or Kemper for a level 3 price range. I am planning to use white Shaker cabinets. I see your rating for Kemper, but have you heard of Sorrento? I think it is part of Decor Cabinet Company. Also do you have a bias toward wood (maple) over MDF? I’m looking for something durable, easy to care for, not too expensive and nice looking.

  839. pmcalary, November 2, 2018 at 8:00 am:

    I don’t know Sorento or Decor cabinetry well. However, like many frameless lesser made cabinet lines their web site talks about the nice people that make the cabinetry, the environment, and everything BUT how they make their cabinets. If this Canadian manufacturer was a US company you could be sure that they would also be waving an American Flag on their home page. When cabinet companies refuse to give you specifics and instead talk in platitudes or about patriotism, BEWARE. Their are much better choices in cabinetry then you are considering and better constructed cabinetry in the level 1 and level 2 price point.

  840. Stephanie, November 6, 2018 at 1:09 am:

    I am looking into Wellborn and kraftmaid.
    Do you have a recommendation of one over the other?

    Also, we are going with white shaker style doors.
    Thoughts on MDF vs solid wood painted white?

    Thanks in advance!

  841. pmcalary, November 6, 2018 at 6:59 am:

    Upgraded both are good lines. Getting MDF doors is a tough question. MDF center panels are definitely a good idea. The whole door MDF depends on how tough you are on things. Some people will be fine. People with kids and dogs maybe not. Although replacing a few doors down the road probably costs less than the savings in getting the MDF. MDf doors will certainly look better and be smoother without seams in joinery when new. But wood doors will be easy for re-finishers to touch up and so an easier fix than replacing damaged doors later. This is a difficult call and depends not just on how hard you are on things but on how fastidious you are about home improvements and how picky you are about wear and tear.

  842. DAW, November 7, 2018 at 4:52 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve read thru allll of these comments and your ratings. I have only consulted with my builder’s 1st contact (Graves Lumber) here in OH but I fear she’s exactly the type of kitchen designer you warn against. The design we have so far may be fine but she literally just drew up what I had in mind the 1st time we met. She hasn’t suggested anything else and while I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted I certainly went in wanting consultation and expertise. I ask questions but she is so shy and timid. I’m about 6 hrs away from you so I’m guessing cabinets thru y’all isn’t possible but would you mind taking a look at the design at least? She’s also pushing only Diamond which you don’t rate all that highly especially for simple white shaker.
    Thanks so much in advance!

  843. pmcalary, November 7, 2018 at 10:11 pm:

    We would be happy to look at your design it if you send it in on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm. This Friday we won’t be able to get back to you until Tuesday due to a price increase deadline that has us swamped.

  844. Daphne Warren, November 8, 2018 at 3:43 pm:

    Ok, great, thank you! I will reach out with that tomorrow then. Also before I forget, I’ve seen you talk about cabinet heights being too high for any given ceiling height and that you should use stacked crown molding instead to reach ceiling. What height cabinets should I get if I have 10ft ceilings? Thanks!

  845. pmcalary, November 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm:

    10ft High ceilings are complicated as their are many solutions if you want cabinetry to reach the ceiling. Tray ceilings can be particularly nice if it works in the design.

  846. Cinda Capone, November 12, 2018 at 5:26 pm:

    I have read a lot of reviews on Fabuwood, which is what my contractor uses. Many people complain about the awful smell of these cabinets. As someone who is very sensitive to smells, I am concerned. Have you ever heard of these issues with thus brand?

  847. pmcalary, November 12, 2018 at 5:52 pm:

    I have never seen that complaint and being in the industry I read most of the reviews out there for any brands we sell as well as reviews for other brands. Where are you reading this? I Googled Fabuwood smells and nothing comes up. I have a hard time believing you. Let us know where you saw this and if we can verify it we can answer it otherwise we will have to delete your post or assume that you have ulterior motives.

  848. Joi, November 17, 2018 at 11:16 am:

    Can you give me some feedback on JSI cabinets? They have the CARB 2, 1/2″ plywood boxes, soft close doors and drawers, 6-way hinges, dovetails, 1/2″ backs & 5/8″ hang rails, 3/4″ maple drawer boxes, doors and shelves. I am looking at the Designer Series in gray shaker style. I am just adding a few extra cabinets to an empty wall in my kitchen breakfast area. I have the shaker style kitchen in white with gray granite. They are reasonably priced and I would order pre-assembled. (My husband installs…experienced as a previous Lowes/HD installer and builder.)

  849. pmcalary, November 17, 2018 at 11:39 am:

    I have never seen JSI cabinetry but they meet all our requirements for an A cabinet construction rating. If you have seen them and like the finish I think you are safe.

  850. Alli, November 18, 2018 at 6:42 pm:

    Thank you for your blog, it’s very informative. I’m doing a complete remodel on my kitchen and bathroom. My designer recommended to me KCD Cabinets. Have you heard of this brand. I think they’re from China. They are made of solid birch and polar hardwood with a 5/8″ backing. I think I have read every comment you have made and there has been no mention of these cabinet makers. I noticed that the Property Brothers just used them in one of there remodels. Would you recommend these cabinets?

  851. pmcalary, November 27, 2018 at 8:52 am:

    Yikes! Don’t use HGTV as a recommendation for any product. On the contrary even though I like some episodes of Property Brothers they are making a TV show first and are getting free products as advertisements from suppliers. We never recommend RTA cabinets. That assures that the people putting your cabinets together are inexperienced doing it, and it guarantees that you aren’t working with a good kitchen designer. Here is our blog on HGTV shows:

  852. Steven, November 27, 2018 at 6:18 pm:

    Hi Paul,

    I have read the majority of these comments on here and your insight has been very valuable. I have been researching my kitchen remodel for a few months now. The only design and quote I have received was from CliqStudios. At the time I choose their inset design in a painted white finish. Cabinets came to about 18k (4k less if I choose the full overlay cabinets). This was for roughly 18 base and wall cabinets, 1 floor to ceiling pantry and 6 cabinets in the island. With that said, do you think another cabinet manufacturer listed in your ranking could offer the same quality at a better value OR better quality at around the same cost. I would truly hate to spend 20k on cabinets just to regret choosing a certain manufacturer over time.

  853. pmcalary, November 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm:

    I wouldn’t buy cabinets on line and not have a designers help from measuring through installation. The inset cabinets are a terrible idea from an inexpensive line. I would recommend buying cabinets from a Fabuwood dealer if you have one in your area. They should be similar in price and they have more sizes and customizations available. And if you have a local dealer you will get the help you need.

  854. Steve, November 27, 2018 at 6:29 pm:

    Thank you for the recommendation. I do have a dealer nearby, though a friend is using Fabuwood now and I do believe they will be more expensive at least based on what he claimed he was spending on a smaller kitchen.

    Also I don’t think I would go with an inset from any line as I feel like they may get damaged more easily taking pots and pans etc out of the cabinets though they do look very nice.

  855. Lisa Steinberg, November 27, 2018 at 7:10 pm:

    I’m trying to decide between Bertch and Medallion cabinets for our master bathroom renovation. The Medallion were quoted at $3,700 and the Bertch at $4,900. Bertch is more due to a special cabinet being made, Medallion line has it as a standard cabinet. It’s a lot of extra money for the same design. So my question is, which line is better and is the additional cost worth it if Bertch is better? Thank you.

  856. pmcalary, November 28, 2018 at 6:19 am:

    It sounds from the pricing that the price difference might be more than just one cabinet. Check and make sure that the Medallion Quote has the same construction upgrades and the same hardware (tracks and hinges) as the Bertch. If they are the same than save the money. If the Medallion quote was for particleboard and lesser hardware while the Bertch was not, I get the Bertch.

  857. pmcalary, November 28, 2018 at 6:27 am:

    Hi Steve,
    Fabuwood and Clique Studios are normally very similar in price. Kitchens can vary in price greatly from far more than size. Customizations, tall pantry and oven cabinets, interior cabinet conveniences, door styles, special colors, stacking cabinets, and other things can double the same size kitchen in price. So I would take nothing definitive from a friends pricing.

  858. Dan, November 30, 2018 at 11:12 am:

    Hi Paul,

    Does Bertch make their two-tier cutlery drawers with a soft-close mechanism?


  859. dan, November 30, 2018 at 11:16 am:

    Hi Paul,

    Another question – what is a reasonable tolerance for height differences for two inset-style doors in the same cabinet?


  860. pmcalary, November 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm:

    That would depend on the cabinet line. The more expensive the cabinet line the less difference you should expect. This is one reason why we do not sell any inset cabinetry that isn’t custom cabinetry, even though some of the less expensive lines we carry offer the option.

  861. pmcalary, November 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm:

    No idea we do not carry Bertch please ask your designer.

  862. Julie Gehling, December 3, 2018 at 10:15 am:

    We are replacing kitchen cabinets, including an island and I have been reading your blog for insights and information. My question is regarding three different companies. We are planning on solid maple painted white, with a simple shaker design. We plan on being in this house for another 5 years, and then moving to a smaller home. Our home is in the 400,000 range. The three lines we are looking at are KraftMaid, Marsh and Tuscan Hills Cabinetry. Any information on those?

  863. pmcalary, December 4, 2018 at 9:03 am:

    Hi Julie,
    I don’t know Tuscan Hills cabinetry but if they are the line sold at Costco then please don’t buy your cabinets there!

    Especially if you will only be in a home for 5 years then you are primarily redoing your kitchen for resale value and to enjoy it in the interim. You do not need a more expensive line like Kraftmaid for this. Nor do you necessarily need maple cabinets if you are getting white painted shaker cabinets. Asian birch could look nicer than maple depending on the line.

    What you do need is a good kitchen designer since how much your h