Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posted July 1, 2018 by pmcalary

Seaman 307 Elm St Print 2

NOTE: Due to recent tariffs we have begun updating (increasing) the value ratings on some of the US lines. There are still more updates to follow.

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Below are our updated 2018 cabinet reviews including additional cabinet lines from our very popular 2017 cabinet ratings blog. If you value this blog then take a moment review our top blog LIBRARY on the column to your right . This lists the blogs that consumers find the most helpful.

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If you are outside our service area we are happy to answer any questions on this blog’s comment forum.  But please do not contact us on our web site contact page.

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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.

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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. 

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FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE OUR SERVICE AREA OF WITHIN A TWO HOUR DRIVE OF OUR BALA CYNWYD PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE, BELOW IS A LINK TO RECOMMENDED DEALERS IN OTHER AREAS. GOOD DEALERS CLOSE TO YOU CAN BETTER ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA:

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https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/recommended-kitchen-designers-cabinet-dealers-outside-service-area/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 lower 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.

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Cabinet line Price level 1-6     Quality Value
21st Century 1 A A-
6 Square 2 B+ B+
Adelphia Kitchens 3 B B
Adormus (frameless) 3 B B
All Wood – framed 2 A A
All Wood – frameless 1 C C
American Woodmark 3 B B
Aristocraft 2 C C
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A A-
Bishop Frameless 5 B B+
Bremtown 6 A+ B
Brighton 4 A A+
Brookhaven closed A B
Brubaker 5 A A
Cabico 4 B B
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CNC 1 B+ B
Collier 5 A B-
Crystal 5 A A
Decora 4 A A
Desginers Choice 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty by Omega (frameless) 4 B B
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed) 5 A B
Echelon Cabinetry 2 B- C
Executive (frameless) 4 B B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood (frameless) 3 B B
Fieldstone 4 A B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem framed 1 B+ B+
Holiday (frameless) 3 C C
Holiday Kitchens 4 A A
Homecrest 3 B+ B+
Homestead Custom 4 A A-
Ideal Cabinetry 2 B A-
IKEA (frameless) 1 D C
Innovation 2 C C
JSI Cabinetry 1 B+ B+
Kabinart 3 C+ 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
Kountry Wood 2 C C
Kraftmaid 4 A- A
Legacy 3 B+ B
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 2 B B
Marsh (frameless) 2 B- B
Medallion 5 B+ B
Merillat 2 C D
Merit Kitchens 4 B+ B
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser (frameless) 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B+
Plato Woodwork 4 A A
Poggenpohl (frameless) 6 B C
QuakerMaid (frameless) 4 B B
RD Henry 4 A A
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B+ B
Shenandoah 3 B B
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Siematic 6 B C
Signature Custom 5 A+ A+
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A- A-
St. Martin (frameless) 4 B B
Starmark 4 A B+
Stylecraft 5 A A
Thomasville* 4 B B
Timberlake 3 B B
Ultracraft (frameless) 2 C C
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 2 B B
Wellborn 4 and 5 A A
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wolf 2 A B+
Woodharbor 4 B+ C
Woodmode closed A A-
Yorktowne Now an Elkay CO 4 B+ B

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

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

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Below is a more general review of cabinetry from 2015 explaining types of cabinetry construction:

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https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/

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And for those interested in Cabinet Off Gassing, VOC’s, and Carb2 Compliance, here is our take on the fumes your new cabinets can emit:

https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/cabinet-off-gassing-carb2-compliance-vocs-greenguard-and-what-you-need-to-know-if-you-are-sensitive-to-fumes/

50 Comments

  1. Ted, July 3, 2018 at 8:22 am:

    When I research Solid Wood Cabinets, I am directed to a second company called In-Stock Cabinets for design and quotes. Is this the same company that you have rated so high?

  2. pmcalary, July 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm:

    Solidwoodcabinets.com should get you to the right place. Please remember the good rating we give them IS AS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE LINE YOU CAN BUY AND A LEVEL 1 PRICE POINT. So better than IKEA for the same price for durability. I’d always buy the cabinets assembled. And I would not recommend these cabinets to anyone planning on staying in their home an extended period of time. A line like Fabuwood or Wolf that is 10% or 20% more expensive is a better investment. Those slightly higher priced cabinetry will look nicer and have fewer factory defects that need replacement.

  3. Ted, July 3, 2018 at 7:59 pm:

    so… Wolf 1-B+-B+ is a better cabinet than Solid Wood at 1-A-A??
    Why?
    Not meaning to be trouble, just trying to make sense.
    Thanks

  4. pmcalary, July 3, 2018 at 10:39 pm:

    Hi Ted,
    You are absolutely right. When we were adding additional cabinet lines and reviewing them we neglected to do a good job updating some of the lines we had reviewed in 2017. Several higher priced lines improved there construction and contacted us to tell us which helped.

    Solid Wood was a early leader in the low cost lines, but they lost some traction. We never updated their rating as they remained static and Wolf, Fabuwood and other lower priced lines improved and also increased in price. I adjusted the lines in question. We will continue to make adjustments to the 2018 ratings as the market changes, and we find time to review past work. Good Catch THANK YOU!

  5. sj, July 5, 2018 at 8:03 pm:

    Your reviews are so helpful, thank you. Many of the more economical lines are not available in the southwest. Any recommendations in this neck of the woods? Looking for a moderately priced painted cabinet line for a townhouse.

  6. Angela, July 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm:

    Are you familiar with Crestwood or Koch cabinets? I have a quote on my kitchen from a designer using Crestwood, and my mouth still hasn’t shut from my jaw falling on the floor. My kitchen isn’t THAT big, and this isn’t the Taj Majal. She also uses Candlelight and Koch, with Candlelight supposedly being about the same price as Crestwood. There is a finish style I adore in Crestwood, but my gosh, we’re at $66,000 and she hasn’t even quoted me the butler’s pantry, or any of the other cabinets in the house.

  7. pmcalary, July 5, 2018 at 10:25 pm:

    You are selecting cabinet lines that are expensive custom lines. Also probably door styles and finishes that are also extra, and most likely working with a designer that overcharges for the cabinetry she sells. If I saw your design it would also most likely be poor based on how things have gone so far. Google and find a better place to work with or at least gain some perspective from another designer.

    Most of all if your kitchen is staying close to what it is now you are focusing on the wrong things needed to create a great kitchen. And probably getting yessed by people out to give you what you think you want and take as much money from you as possible giving it to you. When customers tell us that they know exactly what they want – we know that they have blinders on and can’t see the big picture. They are also easy pickings for designers that simply want to sell them the most expensive things they point at.

  8. pmcalary, July 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm:
  9. Dennie Miller, July 9, 2018 at 9:30 am:

    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.

  10. tk, July 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm:

    How would you rank the following 3 cabinet lines in terms of quality and price: Wolf vs Fabuwood vs All Wood Framed? Looking for white Shaker.

  11. Lee, July 13, 2018 at 11:55 pm:

    Doing a small kitchen remodel for my moms house and trying to choose between waypoint 650F (free plywood upgrade and free sinkbase cabinet) at $5500 or Fabuwood galaxy at $4800. Which cabinet is better constructed and has better ratings. Thanks.

  12. pmcalary, July 14, 2018 at 7:33 am:

    They are both great choices for the price. I would not use cabinet construction as the test here since they are both well made. Assuming the design is identical I would buy the cabinets from the dealer with the best reputation and best reviews on Google and Houzz.

    If both companies have a stellar reputation or if it’s from the same company I would select the door style and finish I liked the best.

    If you like those equally then if the types of wood are different, for example if Waypoint is Maple and Fabuwood is birch I’d pick Maple over birch and get Waypoint. If everything else is equal then just save money and get Fabuwood.

  13. Cyndi, July 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm:

    Hello,
    I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivites) and need to find cabinetry that has low VOC’s, no formaldehyde and good glues. I live in Northern California and can’t spend a fortune because we just retired and bought a fixer that we intend to stay in. We have been pricing all-plywood construction but lots of reviews say to beware of some cabinet companies because even though they say “all plywood” they sneak in MDF, which I cannot chemically tolerate.. (Diamond reviews, for instance.)
    I appreciate your ratings… can you help us find a dealer that sells these type of cabinets?
    Thank you!!

  14. pmcalary, July 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm:

    If you call on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm EST we answer questions from people outside our service area.

  15. John, July 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm:

    We are looking at the difference between custom cabinets from Woodland and Starmark cabinets. Do you have any information on the quality of Woodland to compare the two?

  16. pmcalary, July 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm:

    We’d never heard of Woodland Cabinetry. So I checked their specifications online and their web site. Starmark wins hands down and is a more transparent company.

    I hate when cabinet companies talk in generalizations and not specifics using all the buzz words like “green” and “universal design” or “ergonomic” and have US flags prominently displayed but tell you nothing about how their cabinetry is constructed. When you dig just a little you always find the product lacking while the hype is top notch.

  17. Asha, July 17, 2018 at 11:17 am:

    Hello, would you please advise on choosing between Fabuwood and Marsh cabinets, also Birch vs. Maple cabinets, which ones should we go with, are cabinets from both the companies all wood? I do not want any plywood,
    Thank you,
    Asha

  18. pmcalary, July 17, 2018 at 11:28 am:

    Hi Asha,
    You are confused. When companies say their cabinets are all wood that means the fronts, doors, and drawer fronts are solid wood but their sides, backs, shelves, and sometimes door panels are plywood.

    I think Fabuwood is a nicer cabinet than Marsh but if you wanted a light maple stained cabinet it is not available in Fabuwood only in Marsh. Finding a knowlegable designer to help you understand your options might be the best choice.

  19. Audrey, July 17, 2018 at 11:32 am:

    Hi! We ordered custom kitchen cabinets last week and just found out that the front panel is vaneered MDF. We were tossing between two door styles (the other one was $4,000 more). Could you please explain the difference between vaneered MFD and solid wood? We can still make the change to the other door style. BTW, the cabinets are cherry wood that will be stained and glazed.
    Thank you!

  20. pmcalary, July 17, 2018 at 11:47 am:

    Hi Audrey,
    This is my favorite question!
    I love the look of solid wood doors myself BUT>>>>

    Without any expatiation customers think that they would prefer a solid wood panel if the cost was the same. However a solid door panel will have stripes on the door where each piece of wood is glues to the next. The average door panel will have three pieces of wood glued together to make the center panel.

    A veneered door panel will have the grain of the wood continue across the whole door panel. So no stripes! Both types of doors should last a lifetime in custom cabinetry.

    So you pay extra to get the striped look. When customers call screaming that they paid 30K on their cabinets and got stripes on the doors we know that they must not have understood that they paid thousands more to get the stripes. All our designers make sure we explain this. But sometimes people don’t hear what we are trying to tell them.

    Get the look that you like. Do not pay more if you do not like the stripes you should expect getting.

  21. John, July 17, 2018 at 5:39 pm:

    Thanks for the reply on Woodland. I have the spec sheet from them and was wondering if you would like to see it for a reference. Let me know how to send it to you.

  22. Paul McAlary, July 17, 2018 at 8:45 pm:

    Hi John,
    I found their spec sheet on line. You can send a link if you like to double check but I would pick Starmark even if the cabinets could be upgraded to near equal construction. Just on reputation alone.

  23. Alicia, July 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm:

    Thank you for all the time you take to educate us on cabinets! Presently, we are looking at Echelon until I found your site. Awhile back, we looked at Fabuwood and perhaps we should reconsider it now that I’ve read your blog. The only dealer you list for my area is http://www.msbs.net/ and based on your ratings, none of the cabinet lines appeal to me. When we worked with the company selling fabuwood, the designer was also the installer I believe. Is this common? Is this a red flag that we should not go back? How can I figure out if he is a good designer?

  24. pmcalary, July 18, 2018 at 2:11 pm:

    Hi Alicia,
    The Legacy cabinets that Mid South sells are pretty inexpensive and well made. Buying cabinets from a contractor is bad for two reasons. First, he can not be a good designer and installer both so he is almost certainly not qualified to design your kitchen. Second he is too small to absorb the cost of the mistakes he will certainly make trying to design kitchens.

    Picking a designer and dealer is more important than the cabinet line. Remember you are not buying cabinets from the manufacturer you are buying cabinets from the dealer. The fact that Fabuwood sells to contractors is one of the reasons to stay away from them unless a reputable dealer that sells several lines is selling them.

  25. EricZ, July 19, 2018 at 8:45 am:

    Hi – first thanks for such a great resource! I see your rating on Solid Wood Cabinets – do you know anything about their custom line – Main Line Custom Cabinetry? I am assuming no affiliation with you? http://mainlinecustomcabinetry.com/ – we are looking at inset, we have a local SWC dealership near us, and they have a very small display, a cabinet with a door and drawer and that’s about it. They have 5-6 full displays but that is of their “in stock” everyday line. Your rating system says it grades with assuming we upgrade to the highest level, but this seems to be a separate line vs their standard line, so not sure if your rating reflects their standard line, or this “Main Line” custom line…Specs seem to be 1/2” plywood all around top/side/bottom and 3/4” shelves with solid wood/plywood 5/8” shelves.

    thanks in advance!

  26. pmcalary, July 19, 2018 at 9:24 am:

    Hi Eric,
    I know nothing about this line but I a skeptical. Inexpensive and inset don’t go together. Even the lines we carry that are less expensive but do inset cabinetry we won’t sell their inset cabinetry. And their reps have admitted that there are a great many issues with their own inset product. I don’t know the price point of these cabinets but if they are not double the cost of Solid Wood Cabinets then they are probably not a good idea. I also wouldn’t recommend getting inset cabinetry from a company that is brand new without a track record of success making both inset and beaded inset cabinetry.

  27. Josh, July 19, 2018 at 11:55 pm:

    Hi- your blog is EXTREMELY helpful. Thank you for all of this information. I’m looking at Schuler v Kraftmakd cabinets, all upgraded. The finish would be painted white shaker wall cabinets and plain front drawers. If the prices end up being comparable between the two due to sales, are there other reasons why you like KM more than Schuler. Thanks!!

  28. pmcalary, July 20, 2018 at 6:48 am:

    Upgraded Schuler a better buy for the same price and definitely has nicer finishes. That’s quite a sale. It makes me think that the Lowes kitchen designer made a pricing mistake. Buy them while they are stuck honoring the price.

  29. Michele, July 20, 2018 at 8:39 am:

    How would you rate Mouser’s centra (semi custom) line?

  30. pmcalary, July 20, 2018 at 9:17 am:

    Mouser’s Centra Full overlay and Inset line upgraded to all plywood construction is very well made. We’d give it a 4 of a 5 for price a A for construction and a B+ for value. It could rate higher for value but we aren’t that sure of pricing. The Centra Euro line upgraded to plywood is well made for a frameless cabinet. As always we recommend frameless construction for slab door styles only.

  31. Lisa, July 21, 2018 at 12:14 am:

    Hello! Love your blog, very informative. Do you have any ratings on Pioneer Cabinetry made in Michigan? We are building, and our builder recommends this cabinetry. Thank you for any information you can provide.

  32. pmcalary, July 21, 2018 at 7:13 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    The Pioneer Cabinetry web site gives a description of their cabinet construction but does not show a drawing of exactly how they are made and so leaves some details unclear. My concerns are that the cabinets are described as having 1/4″ thick backs and there is no mention of a hanging rail. If the cabinet is designed to have one added in the field or has one and they don’t mention it they could be OK. Otherwise they are poorly constructed. They also use Grass drawer glides and hinges instead of the preferred soft close Blum hardware.

  33. Sherry, July 21, 2018 at 9:24 am:

    This article is a wonderful resource! We are getting estimates from 2 different designers. One is a Hiliday cabinet with msg panel overlaid with wood painted, the other is Wellborn Forestry cabinet, wood. I am not finding any comparisons of Wellborn Forestry. Do you know anything about it?

  34. pmcalary, July 21, 2018 at 11:47 am:

    Wellborn Forrest is a well made less expensive cabinet line than their neighbor Wellborn. I assume you mean Holiday which we rate. They will be a little higher priced then the Wellborn Forest I would think.

  35. Sherry File, July 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm:

    Are their constructions comparable?

  36. pmcalary, July 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm:

    yes

  37. Anonymous, July 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm:

    How would you rate River run cabinetry?

  38. pmcalary, July 22, 2018 at 8:41 pm:

    No more than a B for construction in framed and less than that frameless. In Framed shelves are only 5/8″ thick and backs use 3/8″ hanging rail.There are better values out there construction wise. Their Driftwood finish is cutting edge.

  39. Gayathri Ravichandran, July 22, 2018 at 10:54 pm:

    Hi thanks for ur informations. Plato Woodwork semicustom or Starmark which is best. Then in Starmark they mentioned the cabinet box construction is all plywood veneer core, but in Plato they just mention plywood but not mentioned about their core like plywood veneer or mdf veneer.so do u have any information about it. Which one s best Plato or Starmark for small kitchen???

  40. pmcalary, July 23, 2018 at 7:01 am:

    They are very similar, When cabinetry is so close in price and construction the particular door style, the finish, the dealer and the designer you are working with become the relevant issues. The Starmark veneer core tells me you might be selecting a painted or foil doorstyle. You would need more specifics for me to comment further.

  41. Nicole, July 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm:

    Hi – thank you for all your great insights. Do you have any information on Greenfield cabinets, 3/4″ plywood construction for both frame and frameless. Part of the Corsi group out of Indiana. I am comparing this line to Mouser Centra and Signature Select – both frameless with the same 3/4″ plywood. Also – any thoughts on using all MDF doors to minimize separation lines on painted doors? Thank you.

  42. pmcalary, July 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm:

    Hi Nicole,
    You are getting a painted 5 piece door because you ask about getting an all MDF door to avoid expansion seams. We do not recommend a frameless cabinet line for this style door. Only for more contemporary slab door styles that may only come in frameless lines and look better as slab doors due to tighter reveals between doors. For these door styles compromising on cabinet durability can make sense. For the style you are getting frameless makes little sense. We we use Mouser or Signature framed cabinetry for your project and not the Greenfield.

  43. patty olivos, July 24, 2018 at 2:03 am:

    I want to say that I really really learned A LOT from your website.
    I am on the beginning stages of remodeling my kitchen… If I am limited to Lowes or Home depot… which brand would you recommend as their best ?
    I thought KraftMaid but then you also said that Shuler is comparable with nicer finishers …
    I just want to make sure to buy a product that would last me for a long time…
    thank you
    Patty

  44. Nicole, July 24, 2018 at 8:02 am:

    Hi Paul – thank you for your reply. Sorry for the confusion – I am not interested in a slab door style, but rather wonder your opinion of using a 5 piece MDF recessed panel door with a frameless cabinet. I like frameless cabinets for the larger drawer widths and tighter reveals (I do understand that you recommend framed – and I will compare once I narrow down the brands) Am I correct that you prefer Signature Select and Mouser Centra over Greenfield? They all appear to have the option of 3/4″ plywood sides – is there something that differentiates the quality between these 3 frameless lines? Should I also look at Brookhaven 3/4″ plywood frameless?

  45. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 8:40 am:

    Upgraded Kraftmaid and Schuler are about equal in construction quality. However Schuler is about 15% more expensive due to their ability to customize and their nicer looking finishes. Not to many designers at Lowes will be able to design a kitchen that would take advantage of Schulers ability to customize. Or even Kraftmaid’s for that matter. If you need to buy from a home center your first job will be to research and to find an experienced kitchen designer working there.

  46. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 8:48 am:

    Sorry Nicole,
    When you start by not taking our advice – asking us to advise you while overlooking the elephant in the room to concentrate on the mouse feels off. Let’s say all these frameless plywood lines are equally less well made in construction quality.

  47. Nicole, July 24, 2018 at 9:05 am:

    Thank you again for your very valuable input. Sorry for any miscommunication – as I mentioned, I will also be looking at framed based on your input.

  48. Jay, July 24, 2018 at 11:57 am:

    How would one differentiate Fabuwood from Fabuwood Frameless? I don’t see a distinction on the Fabuwood website.

    Fabuwood 2 A A
    Fabuwood Frameless 3 B A

  49. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm:

    It is the difference between a framed and a frameless cabinet. See this blog for clarification.

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/

  50. Charley, July 24, 2018 at 2:26 pm:

    Hi Paul: All information that I have read here is extremely useful. One question I have for you? I am looking at Bertch Inset Cabinets. Are there any negatives that you are aware of?

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