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Posted January 1, 2011 by pmcalary

 

Note:  Since posting this blog in 2011 many of the Masterbrands cabinet lines have switched from 3/8″ sides to half inch sides. Possibly due to better consumer awareness. Instead of removing or editing the blog I am keeping it posted as it was to mark the time and place our industry was at in early 2011. We also have three more recent bogs below that discus similar topics:

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

2015 Popular Kitchen Cabinetry Brand Comparison.

What kitchen cabinet brand is the best for me?

Here is the original blog

Kitchen cabinet buyers need reputable, professional assistance for many reasons including safety (see link: https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/is-your-kitchen-designer-going-to-kill-you/ ), good design, and . . . there’s probably no less blunt way to say this. . . to avoid being ripped off.

For example, many cabinet companies sell the same product for different prices by having multiple cabinet line names.  Even in the same cabinet line, exact same door styles and finishes will have different names at different locations. In 2004 Consumer Reports was completely duped — publishing cabinet reviews in which they compared cabinets that were actually the same product and reviewed them differently.  Ikea duped them as well – – garnering top ratings despite durability and construction flaws that take only a few years to become problems.

Here are some examples of advice Main Line Kitchen Design professionals share with our customers:

  • Frameless cabinets are much less durable than framed cabinets. Frameless or European Cabinetry can definitely look sleeker and are better suited to the most modern door styles because of of this, but even the most expensive frameless lines such as Poggenpohl are nowhere near as durable as any well made framed cabinetry.
  • The worst way to make a framed cabinet is with 3/8″ sides and backs. Quality framed cabinetry has 1/2 or 3/4″ sides and backs with solid wood hanging rails.  Watch out for Masterbrands — They are the largest cabinet conglomerate in the US and produce most of their cabinetry with the less durable 3/8″ sides and backs. Many home builders including Toll Brothers use these type lines because more money goes into the door styles and finishes and very little into the cabinets construction.  These lines include:  Aristocraft, Schrock, Diamond, Yorktowne, and Kemper.
  • A cabinet by any other name…. Thomasville, a fine furniture company, sold the right to use their name to Home Depot to sell kitchen cabinetry.  Home Depot’s “Thomasville” cabinets are actually 3/8″  constructed cabinetry with the Thomasville name.  At one point Home Depot actually had Mills Pride their least expensive cabinet line making half of the Thomasville line.
  • Thicker plywood sides, solid wood hanging rail, Ibeam or plywood tops, along with dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks can be had for less. Higher end framed custom cabinets differ in finer finishes and in the availability of custom pieces  —  not construction and durability.  Kraftmaid, Woodmode Brookhaven and Main Line Kitchen Design’s Jim Bishop cabinet lines for example can all provide the same quality construction as higher priced custom alternatives.
  • Selecting a Kitchen Designer is just as important as the cabinetry you select. Unfortunately accreditation in the kitchen industry is fairly nebulous.  Going to the most expensive showrooms doesn’t assure you of getting a good designer or one that has your interest at heart.  Architects are also generally less capable designers because they spend so much less time designing kitchens and therefore have so much less experience doing so.
  • The best Kitchen Designers explain as much about cabinetry and design to their customers as time allows. When you know what you are buying, and why and what the negative and positive aspects of your design are, you can make an informed decision about what matters to you most, and where you want to spend more and or less.  Kitchen Designers also add NO COST as the design costs are included almost everywhere in the cost of the cabinetry.

Getting a great kitchen requires one big investment that many customers have a hard time making.  The investment of their own time.  It always surprises my customers when I tell them that we would prefer them to take more rather than less of our time making their decisions.  It is only the customers that invest too little of their own time that are ever unhappy with their selections.

Watch our very funny video below to see why you need a kitchen designer.

The Main Line Kitchen Design team wishes everyone a wonderful new year and the best kitchens possible  …… and of course Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, Carol, and Julie

 

 

 

339 Comments

  1. Don Beechler, April 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm:

    I am in the market for a complete kitchen. We are looking at craftmade cabinete and custom made cabinets. We live in calif where they only use water base finishes. Is kraftmade finishes better than water base? And are kraftmade 3/4 plywood.
    Thanks

  2. pmcalary, May 4, 2014 at 9:37 am:

    If you mean Kraftmaid their finishes will be water based since they are made in the US. You can upgrade to 3/4 plywood as far as I know. We do not carry Kraftmaid. They are sold at Lowes, Home Depot and independent showrooms. They will be on average 20 to 40% less than custom cabinets and their finishes will be less attractive then the larger manufactured custom made brands.

  3. Terri262, June 18, 2014 at 4:07 am:

    Schrock/Diamond have 1/2″ sides, top, and bottom. The backs are 3/8″. Not sure if this has changed. Thanks for the tips on cabinet buying.

  4. pmcalary, June 18, 2014 at 9:05 am:

    Hi Terri,
    I amended the blog. You are right! Since it was posted in 2011 many of the Masterbrands cabinet lines have switched to 1/2″ inch sides that if you upgrade to plywood should be pretty durable even with 3/8″ backs. Thanks for reminding me to make the update.

  5. tania, February 7, 2015 at 4:28 am:

    So what is a good kitchen cabinet brand I should consider?

  6. pmcalary, February 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm:

    Hi Tania,
    What price point you are in and what cabinet lines are available to you from dealers close by and competitive in price determines the cabinet line that is best suited for you. Home centers are near everyone so if you are at Lowes or Home Depot The best cabinet for the money is certainly Kraftmaid. Lower in price but still well made and not a rip off would be American Woodmark at Home Depot and Shenendoah at Lowes. Stay away from re marketed cabinets like Thomasville and Martha Stewart.

    There are hundreds of cabinet lines though that are well made. All the lines we carry are well made. We carry In order of price: Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Wellsford, Village, and Bremtown.

  7. tania, February 18, 2015 at 4:14 am:

    Thank you, just saw this. I am building a house and the builder is offering Yorktowne and Wellborne

  8. tania, February 18, 2015 at 4:16 am:

    I forgot to add I live in Wheaton Il, near Chicago

  9. Susan, March 27, 2015 at 10:50 pm:

    I made the mistake of going with Home Depot and Thomasville cabinets. It is now 7 months since I ordered and my kitchen is still not done. The cabinet sides are mismatched pieced together fiberboard, wrong cabinets are ordered, delivered products are damaged, workmanship is shoddy. And there’s no end in sight.

  10. Betsy, April 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm:

    What is your opinion of Aspect cabinets?

  11. pmcalary, April 1, 2015 at 4:40 pm:

    I had never heard of them but I looked them up. They are an inexpensive line with particle board sides and shelves. I would say better made than RTA particle board cabinetry or IKEA but there will be less expensive lines that are all plywood construction that I would think were a better value. However they will have Asian made doors which I think is fine but some people will object to. We sell 6 Square and Fabuwood, but there are many alternatives at this pricepoint. Armstrong is a well known line that might be similar in price and is also All Plywood construction.

  12. Betsy, April 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm:

    Thank you so much for your input!

  13. Camille Vaccari, April 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm:

    What is your opinion on Design Craft and Art Craft? Also, for a humid client do you recommend MDF doors for a painted cabinet? Thank you!

  14. pmcalary, April 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm:

    Hi Camille,
    Both cabinet lines are frameless so as the article mentions I far prefer a well made framed line. If you are getting frameless cabinetry IKEA is inexpensive and essentially made the same as other European lines so I would save the money and just get IKEA. Modern slab doorstyles do look better in frameless but traditional or shaker doorstyles look great in framed and the cabinetry can be less expensive and better made as well. For example our least expensive line is an Asian import called Fabuwood that is less expensive and far better made.
    Thanks,
    Paul

  15. joan, June 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm:

    Hi I have been pricing diamond and Keller cabinets. I was told are the same. Upgraded to all plywood box. Still wondering if they are good cabinets or whet you suggest

  16. Ruth, June 20, 2015 at 10:03 am:

    I am considering Aspect or Waypoint. I just read your comments about Aspect and I hadn’t seen that information. What do you know about Waypoint? Thanks.

  17. pmcalary, June 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm:

    Hi Ruth,
    I have never heard of either the Aspect or Waypoint brands. Neither brand shows you how their cabinetry is constructed on their web sites which is almost always a bad sign.

  18. pmcalary, June 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm:

    Hi Joan,
    Sorry I missed your comment and just noticed it now, I hope this is in time to help. I believe both Diamond and I think you mean Kemper cabinets are Masterbrand cabinets with similar construction. Lowes sells Diamond for about the same price as Kraftmaid and I prefer the Kraftmaid. As long as Diamond is upgraded to 1/2 inch plywood sides it is a well made cabinet but as I mentioned I do prefer Kraftmaid in that pricepoint.

  19. Remodeler, July 25, 2015 at 8:45 am:

    I am looking at schuler cabinets for my kitchen. Do they have 1/2 inch plywood sides. How do they compare to kraftmaid

  20. pmcalary, July 25, 2015 at 10:20 am:

    Schuler cabinetry from Lowes is the same cabinetry as Medalion from independent dealers. You need to upgrade the cabinetry to at least Platninum plywood sides. They used to only have 3/8 inch sides and I just looked on their web site and it doesn’t say so that makes me cautious. In general the company focuses on great finishes and not on construction quality, much like their parent company Elkay that makes nice sinks but most are 18 gauge and not the thicker 16 gauge. Schuler cabinetry is more expensive than Kraftmaid and certainly not better made than upgraded Kraftmaid. I am also not a fan of buying expensive cabinetry from home centers. Designing in more expensive lines like Schuler is more difficult and the home center designer will be less familiar designing in that line. If you are going to pay more for cabinetry it’s smarter to pay a little more and get a great designer instead and they will be harder to find at home centers, but not impossible. At Lowes I would stick with Kraftmaid.

  21. Vincent, August 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm:

    Have you heard of Kith Cabinets? Their construction and pricing seems to be pretty good compared to Thomasville quote I got from Home Dept.

  22. pmcalary, August 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm:

    I have not heard of Kith. But Thomasville is way overpriced. Home Depot bought the right to use Thomasville Furniture’s name and they sell lesser quality cabinetry under that name. If you are shopping at The Home Depot buy Kraftmaid, Home depot sells them too, and they are the same price and a better cabinet.

  23. Vincent, August 16, 2015 at 6:17 pm:

    Thanks for the info. I don’t have a set price, so I want to make sure I get quality but also don’t want to overspend. Kith is made in USA and they tell you exactly how their cabinets are constructed on their websites. Are they any brands that you particularly like when price isn’t exactly the biggest limitation? I don’t have a million dollar home that need custom built cabinets, but I would pay the extra money for quality and longevity. Thanks again for the info.

  24. Gig, September 8, 2015 at 5:25 pm:

    i was told that Diamond and Thomasville are the now the same company,is this true.
    If so do they manufacture the cabinets the same? You do not like Thomasville what do you think of Diamond? I am looking for white Shaker with a conversion varnish but here in Calif no cabinet maker can do it. What company make a good quality white Shaker?
    Thanks

  25. pmcalary, September 8, 2015 at 6:19 pm:

    The reason I don’t like Thomasville is that Home Depot is misleading people and making them believe that Thomasville furniture is making the cabinetry and charging more because of it. If you upgrade Diamond to 1/2″ plywood sides they are well made, So assuming you you are right and Thomasville is now being made by Diamond and not American Woodmark you would need to do the same in Thomasville. But Kraftmaid is the better made cabinet of the three and is also sold at Home Depot so why not design your kitchen in Kraftmaid? It should be around the same price. Decora is also a well made cabinet and I think some home Depots carry Decora. I don’t know much about the new Asian made lines Home Depot carries.

  26. Gig, September 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm:

    thank you so much for responding.

  27. Dave, September 10, 2015 at 12:01 am:

    Have you heard of cabinet brands J&K Cabinets, Cabinet City, and FX Cabinets? I believe they are california based prefabricated cabinets, probably being made in China. They seem to be priced well below Diamond and Kraftmaid. Any thoughts?

  28. Dave, September 10, 2015 at 12:06 am:

    Have you heard of Grand JK Cabinets, Cabinet City, or FX Cabinets? They are priced lower then the Diamond and Kraftmaid cabinets. What are your thoughts?

  29. pmcalary, September 10, 2015 at 7:53 am:

    No I haven’t heard of those brands. But 6 Square sold in private dealers and also sold as Cliq Studios on line is a well made cabinet at least 30% less than Diamond. Upgraded they are made identically to upgraded Diamond but even with the un upgraded soft close drawer tracks they are fine.

  30. Trent, September 12, 2015 at 2:50 am:

    Can you offer your opinions regarding Jim bishop cabinets?

  31. pmcalary, September 12, 2015 at 7:11 am:

    We are Dealers for Bishop Cabinets so we like them, and the people at Bishop are great to work with. Among their cabinetry advantages are that they are a very well constructed cabinet when you upgrade them and upgrading is inexpensive compared to most other US cabinet lines. They also will do more customization then any other brand I know of around their price point. For example, if I can draw it they pretty much will make it, they do custom colors and will customize all their doors. And they do inset and beaded inset cabinetry. Their down side is that I find that their stained finishes aren’t as beautiful as some similarly priced lines but this is something that customers usually aren’t able to differentiate. Also if any pieces happen to come damaged or defective getting replacements made correctly can take longer than some other cabinet lines. This can frustrate customers. All in all though Bishop cabinetry is a great value and we are proud to carry them.

  32. Michael, October 4, 2015 at 10:48 pm:

    Hi – I was wondering if I could get your input on the cabinets. I currently have a price from one local dealer on Schrock and Decora cabinets. We liked the Decora a lot but the price was almost 40% higher than Schrock and much more than we were hoping to spend. Are both cabinets 100% American sourced and made? Should I be concerned about Schrock? Currently waiting on prices from Home Depot on Decora and Kraftmaid cabinets (they have taken forever to get back to us) and also a local dealer is going to give a price on Starmark and Fabuwood. I’ve read only positive reviews about Starmark but I think the price will be high. I found out Fabuwood sources the materials from China – should this be a concern? I’ve found that going to the local kitchen places has been a much better experience than Home Depot and another Home Center. I’m curious about the price HD will give on Decora compared to the local dealer. Thank you.

  33. pmcalary, October 5, 2015 at 9:23 am:

    Decora is a better cabinet then Shrock. Never buy a cabinet with 3/8″ sides. Kraftmaid is a well made cabinet equal to Decora. Starmark will be more expensive than the others and is a little over priced and you must make sure you get 1/2″ sides at least. The Fabuwood will be far less than any of these other choices and it is made better than Shrock and is Carb 2 Compliant so no worries that this American company is getting parts from China. There is far less ability to customize sizes and designs in Fabuwood, but since most kitchen designs don’t take advantage of the customization in the more expensive lines it is sometimes a waste spending more when you aren’t taking advantage of the very reason these lines are more expensive. Local dealers can vary greatly in price. Some will be about equal to home centers usually with better service and more knowledgeable designers, and some will also be way over priced. Independent dealers that sell Kraftmaid are often a safe bet to work with since they have to compete with both Lowes and Home Depot who sell Kraftmaid they can’t be over priced.

  34. Michael, October 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm:

    Thank you very much for your response – this was helpful.

  35. Maureen, October 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm:

    Considering Showplace or Yorktowne. I would welcome your opinion. We are planning to go with white painted cabinets

  36. Liz, October 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm:

    We are replacing the kitchen cabinets in our beachfront condo, and want to use American-made cabinetry. We prefer Shaker style, white. What brands do you recommend? Also, what is the difference between framed and unframed? Thank you.

  37. pmcalary, October 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm:

    Just a couple of warnings:
    First, truly “American made” cabinetry that is equal to the best of the cabinetry sold by U.S. companies selling cabinetry made mostly in China will cost at least 25% more. And second, that it is getting difficult to tell what is made in the U.S. and what is not. As many doors styles on American made cabinetry now come from China.

    That being said American Woodmark sold at The Home Depot, Shenandoah sold at Lowes, and Timberlake sold in private showrooms is an inexpensive and well made choice. I would upgrade to plywood sides and full extension drawers. All three lines are made in the same factory and are simply sold under different names.

    Clique Studios is a US company that sells very well made Asian cabinetry on line for at least 20 % less than these choices should you want to compromise on buying strictly American.

  38. pmcalary, October 13, 2015 at 8:15 pm:

    Yorktowne is a poorly made cabinet in my opinion. Showplace doesn’t show on line the thickness of their cabinets sides or how the back of the cabinet is constructed which worries me. Usually if the cabinet is well made the company brags about it. Hiding things usually means 3/8″ sides and poorly made backs.

  39. Joni, November 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm:

    Which is more expensive schrock or aristocraft ?

  40. pmcalary, November 2, 2015 at 11:37 am:

    Schrock. Although I don’t like either line.

  41. Jen doering, November 11, 2015 at 8:56 pm:

    Do you have any opinions on the legacy debut line, the estimate I got was significantly below the others but now I am wondering if they are just a good value or if they are poor quality? ( the other cabinet lines we had looked at are Merillat, kemper and wellborn). My head is spinning right now do any help you could provide would be incredibly helpful!

  42. pmcalary, November 12, 2015 at 8:15 am:

    If it is upgraded to the Presidential or Executive construction cabinet box then Legacy Debut is a better made cabinet then Kemper and Merillat. Wellborn is a more expensive cabinet line with greater ability to customize and with nicer finishes. So it can be worth the money if you are selecting stained wood finishes which will be more furniture grade or if your kitchen design requires the greater ability to customize. Most people however don’t get creative designs and don’t take advantage of what makes a more expensive cabinet line cost more. And if you are getting a painted finish most non designers don’t appreciate the subtle differences in the finish quality. Here is another link explaining about cabinet construction. https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/
    A good kitchen designer helps you understand what you are paying for and whether your design really takes advantage of the better quality cabinetry. Both the Upgraded Legacy and the higher end Wellborn cabinetry will last essentially forever. Whether the cost difference between the two is worth it to you I can’t say. We tell our customers that “it’s all the same money” and while some customers will spend 50K on appliances and 15K on cabinetry or visa versa it is the creativity of the kitchen design and how the designer uses the space that makes the biggest impact on how beautiful a kitchen is. Sadly poor designs are done with very high end appliances and expensive full custom cabinetry all the time.

  43. jen doering, November 12, 2015 at 11:05 pm:

    Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps to get the advice of an impartial expert. Sadly we are not in your service area or else we definitely be considering main line kitchen since your blog is so helpful.

  44. Namaste, December 10, 2015 at 7:53 am:

    My husband is sold on the Shrock line. We are putting a new kitchen in and our estimate (with %10 off) is around $11,000. I’m not as in love with them. Please tell me why you don’t like them yourself??

  45. pmcalary, December 10, 2015 at 8:40 am:

    Shrock is better made now then it has been in the past. They upgraded to 1/2″ thick sides (they were essentially shamed into it) but it is still a poor buy for the money. The cabinetry is mostly particle board unless it is ungraded. And when you upgrade to all plywood construction it is more expensive and still not made as well as the least expensive line Fabuwood that we carry and it is almost double the price. Masterbrands Shrock’s parent company focuses on door styles and finishes and has always skimped on construction. Decora is the only Masterbrands line that I respect. There are just so many better lines for less money or the same money. Go to Home depot or Lowes and compare Kraftmaid it will be similar in price and is a better product. Or if you want a Masterbrands cabinet get Decora it won’t be very much more. Just as an example we sell 4 cabinet lines all better made and less expensive and only the full custom lines we carry are more expensive than upgraded Shrock.

  46. Namaste, December 11, 2015 at 7:35 am:

    Thank you

  47. Lavender Peony, December 12, 2015 at 11:51 am:

    I am so amazed by this blog! It is astounding that you are taking the time to continue answering comments FOUR YEARS on since you first posted this! Alas, I live on Canada. If I lived in your area, you would be my pick, hands down. What an amazing public service you’re providing!

    That being said… I don’t suppose you have any insight into Thomasville in Canadian Home Depots? 🙂 If not, I’m learning from your posts that the best way to compare cabinets is to find out the specs on their construction materials and methods? Correct me if I’m wrong: I should be looking for 1/2″ plywood sides, screws and framed boxes.

  48. pmcalary, December 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm:

    Home Depot bought the rights to use Thomasville’s name on kitchen cabinets, so whether you are in the US or Canada you aren’t getting the Thomasville Furniture Company’s cabinets you are getting whatever band Home Depot feels like marking up extra and peddling this year as “Thomasville”. This is unconscionable IMO. If you are shopping at Home Depot get Ktaftmaid that’s their best cabinet and around the same price.
    Our web site has all the information you need to judge cabinetry. Here are two great links:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/philadelphia-kitchen-cabinets/cabinets-buying-guide/

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

  49. Vincent, December 15, 2015 at 9:22 am:

    Hello, What are your thoughts on an I-beam brace vs a Corner brace construction. I know the high end cabinets use the I-beam brace, however is the corner brace truly that much of a step down in build quality if you are upgrading to all plywood construction with 1/2″ sides, 3/8″ back, and plywood corner braces?

  50. pmcalary, December 15, 2015 at 9:40 am:

    I do like the I-Beam and it is better but it isn’t a deal breaker for me. All the other elements that go into a cabinets construction are much more important. 3/8 ” sides IS a deal breaker, anything other than dovetail full extension soft close drawers IS a deal breaker. Particle board sides on wall cabinets or on any cabinets with exposed sides IS a deal breaker. So to answer your question I think those specifications with the corner brace is fine.

  51. Robbie, December 15, 2015 at 10:55 pm:

    We are undergoing a 3D rendering with Kemper. It’s got the 1/2″ sides, I-Beam, Dovetail full extension soft close, not sure if particle board on sides. After doing some research after the cabinet vendor dropped this brand on us yesterday, we are now doubting after some research. No price yet to compare. We are using a sole contractor and doing all the design with him. Needless to say, we are feeling stress now as we are getting down to final decisions and choices. Our major kitchen remodel budget is $35k with an allowance of $10k for cabinets. Locally, we were told Wolf and a couple others were having shipment damages. Kraftmaid could be an option since we studied a booklet from Home Depot on that brand weeks ago.
    I guess my question is whether we should upgrade to the All Plywood? We will live here in N. Virginia about 8 years, then will sell the house.
    God Bless and Thank you. Robbie

  52. pmcalary, December 16, 2015 at 8:19 am:

    No matter what you decide the sides of the cabinetry that are exposed MUST be plywood sides. Otherwise they will be a plastic photo of wood grain that will age completely differently then your cabinets and peel over time. So at least make those sides plywood. There are so many cabinet lines that do plywood construction inexpensively that I would pick one of those lines. Kraftmaid is a better line than Kemper, but if you make the exposed Kemper sides plywood you should be fine. I would never have a contractor design my kitchen though. I would find an experienced kitchen designer maybe even the Kemper person to measure and redesign my kitchen. Contractors are known for poor simplistic designs that they make easy to install but don’t increase the value of your home by as much as a professional designer should be able to. The worst contractors are the ones that believe that they can design your kitchen as well as a professional and they will actually try to prevent you from getting good help in an effort to make their job easier. If the contractor was the one that supplied the measurements to the kitchen designer then this is a very bad sign. I have never met a contractor able to measure a kitchen well enough for me to design it. And I was one of those stubborn contractors that just didn’t know any better 20 years ago. Here is a funny video on the subject:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo

  53. Robbie, December 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm:

    Wow. Our Kemper rep was here taking measurements and collaborating with our contractor for hours. Got the pictures. Nice! Will get the plywood. Thanks for the tip.

  54. Nancy Keenan, January 16, 2016 at 9:19 pm:

    Do you know anything about Tru Wood cabinets from Alabama? The two contractors we are thinking of using only use this company. Thanks

  55. lisa, January 21, 2016 at 10:41 am:

    Hi. we are looking at renovating our kitchen and have talked to many contractors and vendors with various cabinets. Presently have priced out Omega with a distributor, and Kith with a contractor as well as kraftmaid with lowes. Reading thru your comments and seeing you had not heard of Kith, a custom/semi custom maker and have not seen any reviews of Omega. So much valuable information in these posts so thanks for that. Any opinions on cabinets mentioned?

  56. pmcalary, January 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm:

    Kraftmaid would be the better choice. Just upgrade to all Plywood construction.

  57. CC, January 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm:

    I’ve always thought of cabinet making as a local industry. Just about every area with any population has a decent cabinet shop. Many “brands” now owed by the conglomerates started out as local shops. However, cheaply made cabinetry will certainly not outlast an expensive granite or quartz counter top. Something else to think about…we are told to source food locally as it is greener, yet we send raw materials (logs) halfway around the world to process into finished goods of questionable quality. How is this “green”. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? The solution is to buy local when possible and support local businesses.

  58. les, January 21, 2016 at 6:16 pm:

    Do you have any info/opinion on JSI cabinets?

  59. pmcalary, January 22, 2016 at 9:07 am:

    I didn’t know JSI cabinetry so I looked at their web site and there is no information on their construction so I don’t know. Use this guide from our web site to help you select cabinetry:

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

  60. Megan, January 26, 2016 at 4:52 pm:

    Do you have any recommendations for kitchen designers in the New York City area?

  61. pmcalary, January 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm:

    Hi Megan,

    No Sorry I don’t know any designers in Manhattan. You could try LinkedIn. Any kitchen designer on LinkedIn will probably be better than the general population. Or the NKBA website lists designers by region. Any designers that belong to the NKBA are at least paying dues to the organization that represents them. I would rate Linked in over the NKBA as a source since you can also review the profile of the designer on Linkedin.

    Maybe best of all is to find one on Houzz.com, Go to the website and search under the “Find a Pro” category for Kitchen and Bath Designers in your zipcode. I’d narrow the search to 20 miles from my zip codes first and see who looks good and has great projects and recommendations. Angie’s list is better for contractors then Designers.

    Best of luck and you can always email me a design to see if it has any blatant mistakes,
    Paul

  62. Karen Thoams, January 27, 2016 at 8:26 pm:

    Do you have an opinion of Wellborn versus Schuler cabinetry?

  63. pmcalary, January 28, 2016 at 8:31 am:

    Schuler at Lowes is sold under the name Medallion in private showrooms. Both Schuler and Wellborn are high end semi-custom cabinetry lines that specialize in finishes that nearly equal some of the full custom lines. For what it’s worth my extended Family reps for Medallion but I would still pick Wellborn in a very close race. Both cabinet lines have beautiful finishes and great customization ability. Make sure you upgrade these relatively expensive cabinet lines to all plywood construction with at least 1/2″ thick sides. I think Schuler allows you to order particle board sides and they used to be 3/8″ thick. Ordering expensive cabinetry with lesser made construction makes no sense. Keep in mind to that how good the designer is is actually more important than the cabinet line you select in getting a beautiful kitchen. Here’s a newer blog of ours that discusses what makes a well made cabinet:
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/kitchen-cabinets/

  64. Karen Thomas, January 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm:

    What if you throw kraftmaid into the mix? How does it stack up with Welborn and Schuler?

  65. Stacy, January 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm:

    Looking at Dynasty, Kemper and Schrock. Was told Schrock and Kemper are the same line different price. Dynasty is 25% more. If it worth it?

  66. pmcalary, January 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm:

    Decora is a Masterbrands cabinet line like Diamond and Kemper that I like a lot more. All three and it should be close to the Diamond price.

  67. pmcalary, January 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm:

    Kraftmaid is just as well made but the finishers aren’t quite as nice. Krafmaid should also be about 15% less. If you are shopping at LOWES where Schuler is sold, then the kitchen designer will be more familiar working with Kraftmaid then Schuler, which might help in the design process.

  68. Stacy, January 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm:

    Was told by the Schrock dealer that they had poor glides, only 3/8 sides, etc. Went back to Kemper, Blum slides and 1/2 wood like Dynasty, felt she was trying to upsellng me to Dynasty which really turned me off. I’ll sp me the star $ for Dynasty if needed, but just not seeing much difference. It appears Schrock is a lesser line.

  69. Stacy, January 30, 2016 at 8:39 pm:

    Oh, and Kemper comes standard with plywood sides.

  70. Stacy B., February 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm:

    First, thank you so much for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. With so many different brands available, I was overwhelmed trying to figure out which cabinets are worth the money and which to avoid. Your web-site has been invaluable to me.

    We are remodeling our kitchen and have decided to put in painted cabinets. One kitchen designer is promoting Elmwood cabinets. Because the cabinets are painted, he suggested we put on a MDF door instead of wood. (We live in North Carolina and he feels the humidity can cause the door seams to expand and contract leaving unsightly cracks on our doors.) The rest of the box is plywood construction. What is your opinion on Elmwood cabinets and MDF doors?

    Thanks again!

  71. pmcalary, February 2, 2016 at 8:35 am:

    Elmwood appears to be a Canadian Full Custom cabinet line. This usually means that they make both framed and frameless European style cabinetry. We sell both these types of cabinets but always warn our customers that frameless cabinetry is less durable since there are no solid wood fronts to the cabinetry. Here’s a link explaining about these types of cabinets:
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/kitchen-cabinets/
    So I would first get the framed all plywood cabinet box from Elmwood.
    As far as the MDF doors go- They will look better over time as far as expansion and contraction goes but they are certainly much easier to damage. It really depends how hard you are on things and how often you cook as to which is the better choice for you. Remember too that if you get solid maple doors and cracks appear then they can be filled with a wax stick to become nearly invisible. And if you get MDF doors you can almost always replace damaged doors later although you may have to pay to color match the doors. Your kitchen will also cost less with the MDF doors.
    What would I do? I would always get the framed cabinetry first. And then since I know how to use a wax stick and I am very rough on things I would get the Maple cabinets. I have customers that have had MDF cabinet doors for 20 years without a single scratch or dent but that unfortunately isn’t me. Whatever you decide to do there will be ways to replace or touch up a well made framed kitchen later which is why I prefer a framed cabinet. If a frameless cabinet is damaged by say when a toddler hangs on a door then the entire cabinet needs to be replaced and that is a huge undertaking with countertops and tile in place.
    Hope that helps,
    Paul

  72. Susie, February 5, 2016 at 2:45 pm:

    Thanks for this great blog! We are putting in a new kitchen and have been working with a Home Depot designer who we know and are considering Kraft Made. It sounds like you really endorse this product so I feel good about that, but have read so many bad reviews about Home Depot, on the installation end and getting replacements for damaged product. What do you think about that?

  73. pmcalary, February 5, 2016 at 7:01 pm:

    Home Centers are reasonable for cabinetry although their designers are often less qualified. They are not a good buy for the installations though. Both Home Depot and Lowes sub contract out to often inexperienced contractors and then mark up the cost approximately 30%. Were you to find the same contractor on your own you would save 30% on installation. The only advantage to using a home center to install your kitchen is that you can be sure that the contractor will not disappear or steal your deposit. If I didn’t know a good installer I would use contractors with great reviews listed on Angies List or on Houzz.com to install my kitchen. Home centers are also usually not organized enough to make an installation run smoothly.

  74. David Cooper, February 5, 2016 at 7:22 pm:

    In the early stages of designing and very glad I found this blog. Very insightful knowledge here and explained in a straightforward manner. I have learned far more reading this than I have so far from my designer at the local box store. Thank you for what you do here.

  75. Kim, February 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm:

    Thanks for all of the good information. Can you recommend a good painted cabinet with a glaze and a brushed look for a moderate price.Can you recommend a good painted cabinet with a glaze and a brush look for a moderate price I have a question about a MDF panel on a maple frame door VS a solid maple painted door which one would be better?

  76. pmcalary, February 6, 2016 at 7:49 am:

    Thanks David. The reference library on our blog page has a lot of great information along with a updated report on cabinets. This blog which is a few years older. Link below:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/kitchen-design-trends/

  77. pmcalary, February 6, 2016 at 8:12 am:

    Hi Kim,
    Answering your questions in reverse order:

    On a recessed panel I think an MDF panel is a tiny bit better than a wood or plywood panel since there will never be any shrinkage. A reversed raised MDF door would be the best choice on a recessed panel. On a raised panel door I would prefer solid wood since a raised panel is more likely to get nicked or scratched and MDF would damage easily. The outside frame of the door is most durable being solid wood. MDF looks better but is less durable which is why some high end lines make entire painted doors out of MDF. Often the most expensive kitchens we as designers sell use painted MDF doors, marble countertops that scratch, stain, and etch, and European ranges that don’t have an oven big enough to fit a turkey. Thankfully nobody is expecting to cook in these expensive showpiece kitchens.

    Brushstokes on a painted glazed door are usually only available in higher end semi custom or custom cabinet lines. Glazing alone can be found in many inexpensive lines. For example, Fabuwood our least expensive line does nice glazing but you need to go all the way up to our 4th most expensive line Brighton or our custom line Wellsford to get the brushstrokes. Brighton is the least expensive line I know of that does brush strokes – but I’m sure there are others at a comparable price point.

  78. Stacy, February 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm:

    Hi,
    I am looking at Executive Cabinetry. What do you think about this line?
    Thanks so much!

  79. pmcalary, February 9, 2016 at 2:48 pm:

    Executive is a custom frameless line and I’m not a fan of that combination of attributes. Expensive custom cabinetry in my mind should also be durable and although Executive is made as well as a frameless cabinet can be made it still doesn’t compare to the better construction of a well made framed line.

  80. Lisa smith, February 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm:

    Hello- your blog is so informational. I would really appreciate you help. What is your preference : showplace or dynasty/omega. We have our prices from both design centers but are struggling with which cabinet is better. Price wise they are pretty close, we upgraded the the showplace to birch interior and 1/2 inch plywood. Any input would be appreciated!!

  81. pmcalary, February 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm:

    Both these cabinet lines make learning about how their cabinets are made very difficult and that’s always a bad sign especially with more expensive cabinet lines. Both their web site are full of fluff but no valuable information. This is not surprising for Dynasty since they are a Masterbrands product. I would pick Showplace simply for that reason. But make sure you upgrade to 1/2 plywood sides. Sorry – I never have designed in either line so what I know about them is limited.

  82. Lisa, February 10, 2016 at 7:03 pm:

    Thank you very much! Showplace it is !! I will check back in once installation is complete, 6-7 weeks I think we should have this project wrapped up ?

  83. pmcalary, February 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm:

    Very exciting! All the Best

  84. curious, February 13, 2016 at 9:06 am:

    Any thoughts on Starmark Cabinetry?

  85. pmcalary, February 13, 2016 at 10:26 am:

    Starmark and Fieldstone were last I checked made by the same people and have much the same construction, door styles and very nice finishes. Upgrade to 1/2 plywood sides and Blumotion drawers and they are very nice. I think Fieldstone sells usually for slightly less than Starmark.

  86. J. Lopez, February 14, 2016 at 3:53 pm:

    Any feedback/comparison between Omega and Recod Cucine?

  87. pmcalary, February 14, 2016 at 7:35 pm:

    When you are getting high end Frameless European style cabinetry you are sacrificing construction quality for style. All these high end European lines are made very similarly and you couldn’t get a framed cabinet to look as contemporary and modern as a European frameless cabinet even if you wanted to. So when selecting from good European lines I just pick the modern door style and finish I like best and if two lines carry it, I just go with the less expensive one. If you decide on getting a more traditional door style I would switch to a framed line.

  88. Silvergirl, February 16, 2016 at 10:14 am:

    Good morning — my contractor offers both Bishop and Candlelight Cabinets. Can you provide any insight and guidance on these two manufacturers and what is a good choice with each? Many thanks!

  89. pmcalary, February 16, 2016 at 1:10 pm:

    I like both lines. I would think that the Bishop would be less than the Candlelight. So it would depend on the door style and finish you were getting whether it would be worth it spending more money to get the Candlelight. We carry Bishop so we like the line and I think it is a good value. Allways upgrade any line to all plywood construction and soft close drawers and doors if they hinges are concealed.

  90. Silvergirl, February 18, 2016 at 12:34 am:

    Thank you! Cost wise, does it make sense that upgrading to plywood sides would be an additional 5% and to all plywood box would cost an additional 12%?

    Have you heard of any problems of quality with either brand?

    And what about KraftMaid – how does it fit in with Bishop and Candlelight?

  91. pmcalary, February 18, 2016 at 8:52 am:

    That is the reason we carry Bishop. They don’t charge very much more for the all plywood construction. I assume Candlelight has the 5% and 12% upgrade. Bishop should be about 5% more for an all plywood box. Kraftmaid is a good cabinet line too but will probably be at least 12% more for an all plywood box.

    If the finish you are getting is a solid color paint I would use Bishop, and get an all plywood box. You won’t see a difference in the finish comparing line to line, and I’ll bet Bishop is still less than the other two with an all plywood box. If you really like a particular stain, or glaze or another finish (like a paint with brushstrokes) that you can only get in one of the other lines I guess I wouldn’t pay the extra 7% for the all plywood box and I’d just get plywood sides.

    Remember the design itself is far more important than your choices here in cabinetry (since they are all good ones) and a great designer will give you a far better looking kitchen then you could ever imagine. If the design you are shopping around was something that you or someone less experienced came up with then it is a certainty that a good kitchen designer could improve the design and would probably change the layout. Most of our customers believe they know the design, color, and style of the cabinets that they want when they come to us. But when we show them better layouts and less expensive door styles or finishes that they like equally well they choose those. Their finished kitchen looks far better designed by an accomplished professional and costs them less. When customers shop for cabinets instead of shopping for kitchen designers they usually get an amateurish design especially if the design came from their architect or builder.

  92. Megan, March 4, 2016 at 11:10 am:

    Hi Paul – would it be best to email you through the website or is there a direct email?

  93. Paul Mcalary, March 4, 2016 at 12:44 pm:

    Hi Megan – you can email me directly at Paul@MainLineKitchenDesign.com

  94. Pat, March 23, 2016 at 5:06 pm:

    what do you think about Wolf cabinets.

  95. pmcalary, March 23, 2016 at 5:24 pm:

    I like Wolf Cabinetry better then Aristocraft, the line Wolf distributed before they stabbed their sales partner in the back and came out with a line competing with the line they distributed for over a decade. But it is still the cheapest of the cheap. Solid Wood Cabinets I believe are lower in price and of equal quality. The Fabuwood line that we carry is close in price but superior to both in the quality of the cabinetry and the finishes. I was disappointed with our Governor because I thought that that business move was slightly unethical and must have been in the making during his time with the company.

  96. Diane, April 4, 2016 at 10:16 am:

    How can a girl find out which kitchen cabinets are truly made in America? As in, all the plywood box parts and doors are american sourced and American processed and finished followed with American assembly. This should not be esoteric information, yet I am finding it oddly difficult to discern. Perhaps because so many of the parts are asian processed and currently in disfavor with consumers, hence hiding the info? I would love a nice spread sheet with parts & assembly origins for cabinets.

  97. pmcalary, April 4, 2016 at 11:15 am:

    In General the more expensive semi custom and custom cabinet lines will be made in the US but as doors become better made and less expensive even some expensive lines will outsource some mitered doors from Asia. Less expensive cabinetry made 100% in the US is inferior to the less expensive cabinetry assembled in the US but with parts made in China.

  98. Kim, April 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm:

    We are building a home and are considering cabinetry. We know of someone who is a Diamond distributor so they would not be coming from Lowes and they have an in house design person. Not sure if these cabinets will be the same quality as Lowes. Also considering Wellborn. Your thoughts on these brands would be appreciated.
    Thanks for your time.

  99. pmcalary, April 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm:

    As long as the Diamond cabinets are upgraded to 1/2″ Plywood sides you should be fine. Wellborn will be more expensive but is a very good cabinet line.

  100. Kim, April 13, 2016 at 5:10 pm:

    Thank you for the response. I noticed you are in PA. We are building east of Scranton PA. How far are you located from there and would your company come out to Hawley PA?

  101. Sheri Saldivar, April 24, 2016 at 10:35 pm:

    What do you think of cabinets.com Deerfield? They say they are made in the US…anything I should watch out for?

  102. pmcalary, April 25, 2016 at 8:26 am:

    Hi Sheri,
    They are ready to assemble or built in the US but I’m sure made in Asia. Not that that is a bad thing. It is why they are so inexpensive. They look comparable to the brand Solid Wood Cabinets. Pretty well made but very inexpensive cabinetry probably with less selection and less attractive finishes. All that being said, most people can’t tell the differences between a good finish and a bad one. If you are selling your home in the next 5 to 10 years, then probably a fine pick on a budget. If you are in for the duration spending 20% more on cabinetry might get you a nicer finish and also a better designer to work with. Who helps you designing your kitchen and orders it can be the difference between money well spent and money wasted.

  103. Wendy, April 29, 2016 at 6:14 pm:

    We are looking at Kabinart vs. Waypoint cabinets. Any comments?

  104. pmcalary, April 30, 2016 at 9:59 am:

    Kabinart is a better constructed cabinet. Both cabinet lines are reasonably priced and better made than some more expensive cabinet lines, but the I beam all plywood construction of the Kabinart line gives it the edge. If you don’t plan on living in your home for decades, then since both lines are fine, I’d get the door style and finish I liked best and not give any weight to the better construction.

  105. Amy, April 30, 2016 at 11:58 pm:

    Hi, considering Kith cabinets versus American wood mark. Which would be more durable? And are both made in the us?

  106. Sandra McKenzei, May 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm:

    What is your opinion on Rona Cabinets, Westwood or Euro-rite. They are canadian made.

  107. pmcalary, May 1, 2016 at 2:53 pm:

    I don’t know much about these lines. I tried looking up the first two and found that Rona appears to be a Canadian retail company that sells cabinets. They look less qualified than Lowes and Home Depot at first glance. Westwood looks like a tiny custom cabinet manufacturer and so I know nothing about them. They could be great but I have no way of knowing, and their web site is little help. Euro-rite from the name tells me that these are European frameless cabinets. I prefer framed cabinets to less durable frameless construction so they wouldn’t be my pick. Are you in Canada? is that the reason for all the Canadian lines. Canada is not known for making mass produced framed cabinetry economically. They have some fine custom cabinet companies but most larger Canadian cabinet manufacturers specialize in frameless cabinetry.

  108. pmcalary, May 1, 2016 at 3:03 pm:

    Both lines look like they are US made for the most part but these inexpensive lines all are beginning to use Chinese made doors for some styles. American Woodmark is the better made cabinet especially if you upgrade to all plywood construction. However in inexpensive cabinet lines I think that the Asian made and US assembled cabinetry is less expensive and superior in quality. A company like Clique Studios is less expensive sold on line everywhere in the US and better made than both these lines and the on line designers actually seem to be better than the ones you now find at home centers. Of course having a local designer measure your kitchen and help you select a design and cabinet line is the best option but in the lower priced lines the designers are often inexperienced.

  109. Ronnie Ward, May 14, 2016 at 9:50 pm:

    I am considering Omega Dynasty and Brookhaven by Woodmode for a large, new home project. The price for Omega is better, but after reading reviews on different sites, I’m worried about making a wrong choice. Since so much is at stake, do you have any advice? Should i risk going with Omega, or spend a lot more money for Brookhaven?

  110. pmcalary, May 15, 2016 at 8:40 am:

    Brookhaven is a better cabinet and Woodmode is a better company. There aren’t any other options? How about a compromise cabinet line like Kraftmaid? Kraftmaid is made identically to Brookhaven. The Kraftmaid Plant actually made 1/2 of the Brookhaven line at one point, I’m not sure if they still do but the cabinetry is close to the same animal and less expensive. Always upgrade to plywood sides or all plywood construction at least on the exposed cabinetry and on the wall cabinets. It’s simplier to do it on all of them to avoid mistakes.

  111. Joe in Minnesota, May 16, 2016 at 4:06 pm:

    Wow, am I confused. We almost went with Thomasville at Home Depot but when we looked at reviews on the internet it was discouraging. We are operating on a budget but can afford mid range to higher end cabinets. Your site is awesome in regards to helpful info but now we are so confused we don’t know who to trust or not as far as cabinets go. Any help on cabinet brand references What brands do we look at with some confidence that we are going to be happy.

  112. pmcalary, May 16, 2016 at 4:18 pm:

    If you are working with a Home Depot designer why not Kraftmaid. It should be a similar price and it is a better cabinet.

  113. lisa, May 19, 2016 at 9:08 am:

    Hi. I have seen a few post here about JSI and Kith cabinetry a while back. You hadn’t heard much about either line and was wondering if you know anything more since prior posts. Thanks. To the people, “Amy” and others that asked, have you selected Kith or found out anything more. Thanks…..very helpful blog!!!!

  114. pmcalary, May 19, 2016 at 9:52 am:

    Looked them up on line and Kith is pretty much junk and JSI tells you nothing about how the cabinetry is made that I can find, so that is troubling.In this price point Fabuwood is one of the best lines out there, which is why we carry it.

  115. lisa, May 26, 2016 at 8:07 am:

    Another couple brands that would like to question are wellborn and wolf? Do you have any idea about either and price point comparison? Have seen and look nice but have not priced out. Have seen JSI and it is a chinese made cabinet. Builder uses and customizes it all to look better. Quality is decent with few things to question with rollouts and smoothness. Look very nice with some glazing. Trying to compare the three mentioned and price. Thanks.

  116. pmcalary, May 26, 2016 at 8:36 am:

    Wellborn is a high end Semi Custom line that from what I see at trade shows has some very nice finishes and is well constructed. It could be 60% more than the cost of Wolf. Wolf is made in China and assembled in upstate PA. I like it better than the Aristocraft that Wolf also sells but it is not one of the better made Chinese/American assembled lines. Lots of similar lines at the same or better price points and also better made. Fabuwood would be one that we sell. Solid Wood cabinets are even better made than Wolf, but the designers there pretty much guarantee you get a badly designed kitchen.

    Don’t underestimate the most important thing needed to get a good kitchen at a good price. A good designer! And if you think you don’t need a designer then your over confidence will almost certainly get you a poorly designed over-priced kitchen.

  117. aphome, May 28, 2016 at 8:49 pm:

    Do you have an insight into Mouser Cabinets (http://mousercabinetry.com/)? We are considering Mouser vs. Starmark Cabinetry.

  118. Laura Clougherty, June 7, 2016 at 3:02 pm:

    Hi – We are putting together plans to renovate a small beach-front condo in Florida. I am working with a women over the phone (I live in Boston) on a kitchen design. She will price out both Kraftmaid and Bremtown for the job. I see you sell Bremtown. They look beautiful, but I am not able to find them in the Boston area. What are your thoughts — looking at shaker white style.

  119. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm:

    Bremtown will be much more expensive then Kraftmaid. They are great cabinets but in a painted shaker cabinet there won’t be much of a noticeable difference, unless you got inset cabinetry.

  120. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 6:52 pm:

    Mouser looks slightly better constructed than Starmark but upgraded both will be good lines. Starmark is known for their finishes. Mouser I know less well.

  121. sdowling, June 8, 2016 at 8:45 am:

    We are remodeling an old ranch style house. Looking at cabinets at Lowes Shenendoah vs. Wellborn Cabinets. I don’t have a price yet from Wellborn (designer there working on it) but am wondering if they are more expensive than the Lowes cabinets? Which brand is better? We did opt for all plywood construction from Lowes but the price is still so high!!

  122. pmcalary, June 8, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    Wellborn is a way more expensive and better cabinet.

  123. Paula, June 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm:

    So glad I found this thread! I am looking to remodel an outdated kitchen in an older home with shaker style white cabinets. The kitchen designers I have talked to have suggested Kraftmade thermofoil cabinets and Kemper Purestyle cabinets. Another is suggesting cabinets made locally by Byler. Any opinions on thermofoil or Purestyle? I have read concerning things about both.

  124. pmcalary, June 8, 2016 at 1:31 pm:

    Yikes! I would never get thremafoil cabinets for a kitchen. They are out of fashion and junk quite frankly. Kemper is also an inferior line. I don’t know Byler but the first designer I would stay away from.
    Here is a blog that relates to this topic:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/much-return-get-new-kitchen-investment/

  125. Jennifer, June 16, 2016 at 3:56 pm:

    Love my Home Depot Decora Cabinets

  126. pmcalary, June 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm:

    Both Decora and Kraftmaid are well made cabinet lines sold at Home Depot. However, often the most important thing needed to get a great kitchen is not at a home center. And that’s a great kitchen designer. While there definitely are some very good designers working for both Lowes and The Home Depot, they are the exception to the rule.

    Also Home centers place restrictions on designers that make their jobs more difficult to do well. For example:

    Home centers don’t want their designers moving load bearing walls or moving doorways and windows. The environment inside a home center can be distracting with many interruptions and noises. And many home centers won’t even allow their designer to measure and see the kitchen they are working on. These issues make it very difficult for even a good kitchen designer to be effective working in a home center.

    Because of these chalanges, working as a kitchen designer at a home center can be a trial by fire. I have found that some of the best kitchen designers spent the early part of their careers learning in that crazy home center environment before they were able to move on to more prestigious jobs in the private showroom world.

  127. Alex Zaroulis, June 17, 2016 at 10:29 pm:

    Hi
    Considering Decora vs Kraftmaid vs Medallion. What would you choose?

  128. pmcalary, June 18, 2016 at 8:50 am:

    All good choices. Upgrade all three to an all plywood box. Decora and Kraftmaid are better made and less expensive and Medallion has nicer finishes. Personally, I would select the style and finish I liked best in either the Decora or the Kraftmaid line, as they are a better value. Of course the design itself is most important of all and most designs we see are unprofessional.

    Shop for a great kitchen designer and not a cabinet line and you will get the best kitchen. Focusing on the cabinets you are buying, and even asking this question on our blog can mean that a customer doesn’t trust the advice that their designer is giving them. This is a very bad sign and can signal that the design that they are contemplating is poor because their kitchen designer isn’t inspiring confidence.

    Another bad sign is if you or your contractor came up with the design. It takes many years to become even a competent kitchen designer, so the efforts of non kitchen designers will always look amateurish to any good professional.

  129. kmdc, June 19, 2016 at 1:36 pm:

    Hi- new construction large kitchen in MA- do not plan on selling. Feedback on choosing btw the following semi-customs: (1) omega dynasty, (2) fieldstone, (3) Brighton? All inset, simple shaker doors, white paint finish? Top priorities are durability of construction/function, finish durability. And should these be similar or differently ranked price points? Thanks!

  130. Valerie, June 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm:

    Hi What do you think about using IKEA boxes and pairing them with all wood doors? Some companies, like SemiHandmade, make wood doors that are an exact fit on IKEA boxes.

  131. pmcalary, June 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm:

    Ikea cabinets are considered overpriced junk by any knowledgeable kitchen designer or contractor. There are many Asian lines and other framed RTA lines that are less expensive and better made. 10 years ago if you had no money they were your only choice. Now they really only make sense if you definitely want a frameless less durable cabinet in a modern style and don’t need it to last past 15 years.

  132. Eva, June 23, 2016 at 12:16 am:

    I have a few questions. What criteria should I look for when selecting a designer? When I look at kitchen cabinet reviews I find that the reviews are all over the place. For instance, you like KraftMaid; however, reviews are not consistent at all and even poor in many instances. How do we know what reviews should be discounted or believed? I looked at QualityCabinets today. I determined that I won’t buy them; however, I saw that they only have a 2-year warranty. How important is the warranty and what would constitute a reasonable warranty?

  133. pmcalary, June 23, 2016 at 9:54 am:

    Hi Eva,
    I love this question because the answer makes me crazy. Here goes:

    Kitchen design and cabinetry is complicated. And because customers are always looking to price compare and steal the design work done by kitchen designers we intentionally make it very confusing to shop for cabinets. So the same cabinet companies have different names at different locations and even in the same cabinet line like Kraftmaid doors and finishes have different names at different locations.

    Consumer Reports and other review sites don’t ask professionals to rate cabinets they ask consumers and the reviews are written by staff reporters that know nothing about cabinets. Customers that complain about a cabinet line are often complaining about something that they should have expected in the style and finish they picked but they weren’t educated as to what to expect from their designer. Here are the two most extreme examples:

    IKEA is constantly reviewed favorably by everyone except professionals here’s why: IKEA cabinets are inexpensive, easy to purchase, customer expectations are low and the finishes that IKEA carries are simple and don’t vary much. So if the instructions are not frustrating people are happy that they got a new kitchen that initially looks good. No one follows up 20 years later and sees the kitchen that is falling apart and even if they did they would need to compare it to the same kitchen in a better made product to understand what the difference in longevity is. As a professional I see that kitchen 5, 10, 15, and 20 years later when I am called upon to replace it.

    Kraftmaid (which we don’t carry but is a perfect example) consistently gets bad or mediocre reviews by consumers. This is because customer expectations are much higher and they are purchasing the more expensive cabinet at the home center or showroom they are working with. The types of wood they are buying and the properties of the finishes can be inconsistent because they are supposed to be. And the complexity the kitchens that can be designed in a high end semi-custom line can make mistakes easy. Since Home Centers like Lowes and The Home Depot carry Kraftmaid and their designers are less experienced in general and because the environment in a home center is loud, confusing, and interruption filled, problems are guaranteed. Also home center customers are cheap that’s why they are shopping at the home center in the first place so they don’t pay for needed upgrades and may not even be told that they should be getting them. This is a recipe for consumer dissatisfaction.

    10 years ago, at the same time that IKEA was rated tops and Krafmaid much lower by homeowners and consumer reports Kraftmaid was on a 7 year winning streak for the best value in cabinetry as rated by professionals. Those same professionals would agree for the most part that IKEA was just junk.

    Today Kraftmaid is less outstanding a cabinet line but still well made and still subject to the same review issues.

    The Warranty on a cabinet line actually doesn’t mean that much as some well made cabinet lines have the industry standard 5 year warranty and IKEA has a 15. A lifetime Warranty doesn’t mean much either as all are limited lifetime warranties, and actually don’t cover that much, and some terribly made cabinets offer limited lifetime warranties. The reputation of the dealer you work with is the most important thing to check out.

    To find a kitchen designer 10 years experience should be a minimum requirement. And since it is a complex profession I think a bright well educated person beats anyone with design degrees or certification. Some of the best kitchen designers I have met are on second careers or never studied design in college. However they all are very bright people with great spacial relations skills and a willingness to learn and to teach. Educating customers about what to value and expect is the sign of a great designer. If you learn a lot from a designer in a short time speaking with them then that is a great indicator. And if they tell you a few ways you can save money, that shows that they also are looking after your best interests.

    Hope all that helps.
    Paul

  134. Eva, June 23, 2016 at 7:22 pm:

    Great response, thank you. Another question, please. We are looking to purchase good value cabinets, environmentally friendly if possible (low to no VOCs. Do you have any thoughts on that (i.e., was looking at PureBond Plywood but can’t find cabinet mfrs. that use this in Phoenix area. What should we be looking for? We will be focusing on many of the recommendations in your blog (upgraded plywood, non-frameless, etc.).

  135. pmcalary, June 26, 2016 at 10:52 am:

    Hi Eva,
    We carry Fabuwood which is an inexpensive line with quality construction that is Carb Compliant. Always get Fabuwood cabinetry from a dealer and assembled in the factory. Or Cliq Studios sells Carb compliant cabinetry on line that is well made and reasonable. Dealers like ourselves sell the same line under the name 6 Square.

  136. Paul, July 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm:

    Have gotten estimates on Norcraft, Bishop and Decora and Diamond. Have seen some reviews on all but Norcraft. Of these, does any one stand above the rest?

  137. pmcalary, July 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm:

    The Bishop Framed line and Decora are the better cabinets. As always upgrade the cabinetry to all plywood construction and soft close drawers.

  138. Kevin M., July 12, 2016 at 11:29 am:

    Thanks for a great blog and sound advice. We’re redoing our kitchen in NJ and we’ve got an estimate for Kabinart from a dealer that also sells Fabuwood. I skimmed the blog but didnt see Kabinart mentioned. Do you have an opinion? I’ve seen some negative reviews, esp about customer service, damages upon delivery, and plastic hinge inserts. Any professional insights you can offer would be much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  139. pmcalary, July 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm:

    We carry Fabuwood so we like it as a product. I don’t know Kabinart well but the product looks equally well made on line. Of course a good design is the most important thing especially if you are selecting from 2 well made lines.

  140. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 11:08 am:

    Sorry I didn’t see this post. Brighton is the best of this bunch construction wise. We just started carrying their product so I don’t have a lot of experience with it but we selected it because it was better made than the other lines you mention.

  141. MAKitchen, July 17, 2016 at 10:25 am:

    Considering candlelight vs fieldstone for large new construction kitchen – white painted finish, inset shaker, thoughts please?

  142. pmcalary, July 17, 2016 at 11:34 am:

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

  143. Pier L, July 20, 2016 at 10:59 am:

    I have quite a disparity in quotes from the Kemper line. Are there levels, i.e. Good, Better, Best within the Kemper line? And is Kraftmaid a better choice over Kemper?
    Thanks in advance!

  144. pmcalary, July 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm:

    Hi Pier,
    There are upgrades in most cabinet lines. And yes Kraftmaid is a better cabinet than Kemper. Upgraded Kemper has a 3/8″ plywood back which is OK but Kraftmaid’s upgraded all plywood construction is better. The Kraftmaid cabinet back has a 3/4″ solid wood hanging rail.

  145. Steve, July 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm:

    Hello, great blog. Just wondering if you heard of woodland semi custom cabinetry? If so, how would you compare to Bremtown. Lastly, is the Bremtown 700 series worth the additional cost?

  146. pmcalary, July 21, 2016 at 3:38 pm:

    Hi Steve,
    Never heard of Woodland and their we site is pretty rough and doesn’t say how the cabinets are made which I think is a bad sign. There are so many well made lines that are less than Bremtown that unless you have an almost unlimited budget I wouldn’t be in a line that was so elegant as well as expensive. The style and color of the cabinets is important in determining what line is the best fit for you. For example, if you are getting a full overlay solid color painted door style then any custom cabinet line makes little sense. The fine finishes or inset doors that make Bremtown stand out above the rest you are not selecting in that case, so why pay extra for your cabinets?

    I try to say it in every response that the design itself is what matters most and since most of the designs we see are poor I’d fix the design first with the help of a good designer before splurging on cabinetry or professional appliances. If you were working with a great designer they would be able to steer you towards the product that fits your needs best and they would also be able to answer any and all questions. That is in fact the defining characteristic of a good designer.

  147. Sandra, July 23, 2016 at 9:23 pm:

    Hi,

    This is a fantastic blog. I learned a lot about the cabinetry companies. Thanks for the questions and answers. I am in the process of building a new home and looking for a good quality and value semi-custom cabinetry company. Of course, it is not easy, there are so many out there. I looked through all the posts here. I got an impression that you really like Kraftmaid cabinetry. So, at one point, I said Kraftmaid is the one for me based on your comments. But, I just did some googling, came across this website http://kraftmaid.pissedconsumer.com/. There are 112 complaints about them, more than any other cabinetry companies. It is alarming. Now, I have to go back to the drawing board. Any other recommendation? Thanks!

  148. pmcalary, July 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm:

    It’s not that we love Kraftmaid it’s just that they are a quality cabinet line if upgraded to all plywood construction and available everywhere so that they come up a lot. There are many, many, well made cabinet lines. For example we carry 6 lines all well made and several are significantly less expensive than Kraftmaid. I read the complaints on your link and they can be explained by the blog below:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/

    As a kitchen designer we hear complaints about things that customers should expect if they were knowledgeable about the product they purchased. Maple cabinets with grey spots, these are called mineral streaks and should be expected. Small holes in cherry cabinets called pits that are the common. Stripes on doors because the customer paid extra for the center panel to be solid wood instead of a less expensive veneer. And we hear what customer’s “feel” such as “I feel that I’m paying to not have any of these issues”. Buying a kitchen is like buying dozens of pieces of custom furniture. You are not buying a toaster. It is the kitchen designers job to prepare a customer for what they should expect and sadly many of us don’t and even when we do many customers just don’t listen.

  149. Gabriella, July 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm:

    Hello! We are looking at both Fabuwood and Cliqstudios for white painted cabinets. Fabuwood uses birch and Cliq has maple doors. Fabuwood has 1/2 inch backs but Cliq uses 3/8 inch. What is your opinion between the two? Are they both good options or is one much better in terms of quality? Cliq offers a longer warranty and they actually received more positive reviews online than Fabuwood. Thanks!

  150. pmcalary, July 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm:

    Hi Gabriella,
    We sell both lines. Fabuwood is slightly better made because the back is 1/2″ thick but 3/8″ is OK just not the best. Clique Studios (sold by dealers as 6 Square) is about 15% more expensive and they offer many more finishes. For a painted white shaker cabinet the Maple doesn’t matter over the birch so I’d use the Fabuwood. For a stained cabinet I’d use the Clique Studios. The warrantee shouldn’t matter and the reviews are going to be much better not because the CS cabinet is better but because Fabuwood is sold through a lot of small inexperienced dealers. You can’t go wrong with either line as long as you have a good designer and installer. Without those it won’t matter if your cabinetry is well made.

  151. Jenna, July 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm:

    Hello, we are looking at Fx cabinets, they are from China, very inexpensive, what do you think of this line? Thank you

  152. pmcalary, July 26, 2016 at 7:56 pm:

    While the cabinetry coming from China is improving quickly, especially with the US companies that are having their cabinetry made in China, there is a big difference between the top import lines and the lower lines. FX is a lower line. You spend so much money on a kitchen with appliances, flooring, countertop, instalation etc that building your kitchen around truly the bottom of the cabinetry barrel with FX, Solid Wood Cabinets, Kitchen Cabinet Kings, or even worse spending more money and getting IKEA makes no sense unless you are redoing the kitchen to sell your home. Since most home buyers can’t tell good cabinetry from bad saving any money in that case can make sense. Otherwise poor construction and the rough finishes that get dirty quickly and only save you 20% on cabinets make no sense. Spend an extra $1000 and get better made import cabinetry that will last. It will still cost 50% less that the better made semi Custom US lines.

  153. Pamela Jones, July 28, 2016 at 11:11 am:

    Hello, and thank you – we’ve relied heavily on your blog for cabinet selection. We’ve narrowed it down to 2 for our kitchen: Legacy Debut (Executive build) or Decora Harmony Maple Pleasant. Both have similar box construction. Legacy Debut came in at half the price of Decora. Curious what would be your preference, Legacy or Decora? Also, one question about the backs: Decora has 3/16″ plywood backs on base and wall cabs; Legacy Debut offers 1/8″ plywood back. Neither offers the minimum 1/2″ as you recommend. Can you comment on this? Thank you again.

  154. Melanie, July 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm:

    Looking at white shaker cabinets. Which is a better quality line, Kith, Woodland Cabinetry or Waypoint?

  155. Brian Yorks, July 30, 2016 at 2:34 am:

    I have been looking for a new bathroom vanity and today I thought I was set in an Aristakraft but now I’m not sure it’s just a 36″ vanity with 4 drawers in the right. I also was considering Costco’s Tuscany which appear to be better quality such as 1/2 sides but it was about 50% more exspesnive. The cabinet is going to be in a corner so only one side will be exposed. Would Aristakraft still be a bad way to go? I’ll check out Kraftmaid tomorrow pricing at Home Depot but I suspect it’s till going to be up there in price. Being a bathroom vanity I didn’t want to spend too much. Even such as initially wanting cherry I decided I’d save a few bucks and gibeith birch as the finish I want it wasn’t noticeably different unless you knew what to look for.

  156. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 1:03 pm:

    Lowes carries some well made inexpensive vanities from Bertch

  157. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm:

    Hi Melanie,
    Zero for three in these cabinet lines, they are all pretty junky. We carry Fabuwood and 6 Square (also sold on line as Clique Studios) both of which are much better made cabinet lines and not much more expensive. There are even cheaper RTA cabinet lines that are better made than Kith, Woodland Cabinetry or Waypoint.

  158. Sandra, July 31, 2016 at 11:50 pm:

    Hi,

    If “it’s not that we love Kraftmaid”, do you mind me asking which cabinet company you love the most? Is it one of the companies you carry. Which one of your cabinet company (or other company) is best in making frameless cabinets. Thanks!

  159. pmcalary, August 1, 2016 at 8:39 am:

    Once a cabinet line meets the requirements we believe makes a well made cabinet then cabinet construction becomes a non issue. That level of construction is a minimum of a solid 1 1/2″ x 3/4″ thick face frame, 1/2″ plywood sides, solid wood 3/4″ hanging rail or a 1/2″ plywood back. 3/8″ back is OK but not preferred. With solid wood dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks and soft close doors if desired. After meeting these construction minimums which many expensive cabinet lines do not, then it is the differences in a cabinet lines finishes and their ability to customize that makes the difference in a cabinet line.

    Some custom cabinet lines have furniture grade finishes and high end semi-custom lines can have beautiful distressed finishes or brushstrokes in their glazes and paints. But most of these distinctive finishes customers can’t even recognize as superior. While Inset and Beaded Inset doors can be recognized as custom cabinetry, the vast majority of customers select full overlay doors.

    The main cabinet lines we carry, Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Brighten, and Wellsford, we selected because they are all well made cabinets and all also do more customization than other cabinet lines in their price point. This makes them a great value. Which line is best? Well of course the most expensive full custom one Wellsford, Can our customers recognize the difference between Wellsford and the least expensive line we carry Fabuwood? Certainly most can not.

    However add to this that almost all our customers prefer and can recognize a well designed kitchen and that most of the designs we see done by other designers are poor and it becomes obvious that customers should be focusing on finding good kitchen designers first and splitting hairs on cabinet lines second. As long as the cabinets they are buying meet the minimum construction requirements we mentioned.

    To answer your other question the Bishop frameless line has the best selection and produces the best frameless cabinets we carry. But ALL frameless cabinets don’t meet the minimum requirements of a well made cabinet. So unless you are getting ultra modern door styles and finishes that are only done in frameless cabinetry why get poorly constructed cabinetry. Frameless cabinetry isn’t even less expensive except in Europe where hardwoods aren’t readily available. This is why Europe and Australia began producing frameless cabinetry. Their cabinetry is all particle board and MDF except in their most expensive custom lines.

    The best well constructed framed cabinetry can last hundreds of years while a frameless line is lucky to make it to 25 years without cabinetry sagging delaminating and falling apart. Think IKEA. Do you believe your IKEA furniture will be looking and functioning well 25 years after you assemble it? All frameless kitchen cabinetry gets more use than furniture and is made nearly identically to IKEA kitchen cabinetry and IKEA furniture.

    To sum it up we recommend getting a well made framed kitchen cabinet line and finding a great kitchen designer to help create a space that is as beautiful, proportional and functional as the imagination of that designer can create with your input working together.

  160. Melanie, August 1, 2016 at 7:17 pm:

    Hi, What do you think of Signature Custom Cabinetry? How is the quality? Thanks

  161. pmcalary, August 2, 2016 at 7:13 am:

    They seem like a fine custom cabinet line although they don’t tell you how their cabinetry is constructed on their web site. I would avoid their frameless cabinetry.

  162. Ella, August 9, 2016 at 9:22 pm:

    Hello, this is very helpful information. We have begun looking at cabinets and have been shown Ultracraft, Luxor, and Birchcraft. Are you able to shed any light on these brands? Thank you.

  163. pmcalary, August 10, 2016 at 9:50 am:

    Ultracraft and Luxor are both frameless lines so not a line I would recommend. Birchcraft I have never heard of and they seem like a tiny company with no information on their web site. Whoever you are working with would not be my choice as a designer as they have very different cabinet recommendations then I would and that can be telling.

  164. Jeannette, August 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm:

    Hello, this is by far the best blog I’ve ever gone thru. Thanks so much for your dedication in continuing to answer for so long. Here’s my question: I have three (3) options to chose from, each quoted by different places. In order, beginning with least expensive, is Fabuwood ($7300), then Shenandoah ($9100) and finally Starmark ($12,800). The prices range significantly, and I’m just wondering what you think of each make… I’m thinking of choosing the Shenandoah, just because it’s mid-point pricing. Would that be a wise choice? I don’t want to regret this decision… I’ve waiting 10 years for my kitchen upgrade and want to look forward to another 10+ years in my new kitchen. TIA, Jeannette

  165. pmcalary, August 12, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Hi Jennette,
    If you upgrade the Shenandoah and the Starmark to all plywood construction then all three lines meet our criteria for a well made cabinet. Assuming you are getting full overlay doors and so styles being equal, the Starmark will have the nicest finishes by far. However most non kitchen designers can’t tell the difference so the expense isn’t appreciated. Many of our customers pick the less expensive finishes as being the higher priced when we show them samples to compare. The Fabuwood might have a nicer looking finish than the Shenandoah but the Shenandoah will be made out of maple most likely instead of birch and so the stain or paint will be slightly more durable. If you are rough on things in general I might go for the Shenandoah if not I’d save the money and go with the Fabuwood.

  166. Jason, August 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm:

    Hello,

    This blog has been a great source of info, so thanks in advance.

    Based on your comments here, I’ve been seeking a 6 Square dealer in our area. Pending that, I see that Cliq Studio is the same.

    Are they actually the same company and product, or some other type of hybrid affiliation?

    It seems like you stand by 6 Square as a good buy for semi-custom quality, but I’d hate to inadvertently wind up with something inferior via Cliq Studio.

    Thanks!

  167. pmcalary, August 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm:

    Hi Jason,
    Product is the same but the help you get from a local designer is usually what gets you a good design.

  168. Kim, August 16, 2016 at 8:27 pm:

    Hi, I have read your blog many times. Thank you! We are looking for a stained shaker cabinet and have quotes for Schrock (which I already ruled out), Kraftmaid, Decora, and Starmark. All had very similar designs and upgraded to all-plywood.. this is our forever home, is it worth the additional cost for the Starmark (median price quote) over the Kraftmaid? Also where would Wood-Mode fit in with these lines?

    Thanks, Kim

  169. pmcalary, August 17, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    Starmark just has some nicer finishes than Kraftmaid and a greater ability to customize. If you aren’t using the customization in your design and don’t like one finish better than the other then Kraftmaid is a slightly better constructed cabinet.

  170. Melinda, August 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm:

    On the Kemper Products, is this the Kemper or Kemper Echo. My brochure show 1/2 Thick I-Beam Braces, 1/2 Thick Sides, Top & Bottoms. Dovetail Drawers and 3/4 Thick Shelving. And, they say they have ” Kemper Cabinetry warrants the original consumer purchaser for as long as they own their home that the Kemper Cabinetry products will be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use.” If I had the budget, I’d do Snaidero. I want this high gloss look. Kemper has a Laminate that fits the look. Your suggestion would be appreciated.

  171. Melinda, August 19, 2016 at 9:40 am:

    Can you help me find a mid-priced company who makes a door style similar to Snaidero? I’m looking at Kemper’s Purestyle Laminate, White. Using the All Pywood Construction. Can I get your thought, Please

  172. pmcalary, August 19, 2016 at 11:23 am:

    Hi Melinda,
    Masterbrands doesn’t show on line how Kemper is made and we don’t carry the line so I know little about it. Not showing how your cabinetry is constructed on line is usually a bad sign. The Fabuwood Prima Doorstyle that we carry would be a better selection I would guess and also cost less.

  173. Rob, August 28, 2016 at 8:49 am:

    Great blog! I have quotes for Echelon cabinets and Kraftmaid Vantage line cabinets. Kraftmaid Vantage is sold only through dealers and boosts all plywood construction. We want a painted recessed panel style door. Kraftmaid has many poor reviews in reference to quality control and customer service. What thoughts can you offer? Thanks

  174. pmcalary, August 28, 2016 at 9:51 am:

    Hi Rob,
    Below is a link to our blog on the subject of why Kraftmaid gets bad reviews. Kraftmaid is a much better constructed cabinet than Echelon. The reviews that cabinet companies get has more to do with the dealer than the cabinet line. Good designers and dealers make designing kitchens and buying cabinetry less frustrating and you spend your money knowingly and wisely. Not getting experienced help almost guarantees that a kitchen renovation costs more, is disorganized, poorly designed, and has surprises you weren’t prepared for. The surprises and unplanned “discoveries” you might see on HGTV are made to be dramatic. A well organized kitchen renovation should run smoothly and result in everyone – contractors, designers, and homeowners all being happy with the outcome.
    Link below
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/

  175. Ella, August 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm:

    Hello, this blog continues to be incredibly helpful to me during the process of narrowing down my cabinetry choice. THANK YOU. We have narrowed down our choices to Kraftmaid (all plywood) and Kingswood Kitchens. We want Shaker painted white. Here is my question: because we are getting painted cabinetry, is it advisable to get an MDF panel? One dealer advised against a plywood panel b/c they have found that humidity changes negatively impact the paint appearance and seams. Would you please advise as to best panel material?

  176. pmcalary, August 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm:

    While an MDF panel won’t shrink and might be considered preferable in a painted finish. It really doesn’t matter because all shrinkage will happen the first year when all cabinets are under warranty and any doors that do shrink can be replaced. We usually ask customers to wait a couple of months after they notice shrinkage because half of the doors expand back and then never need to be replaced. If you have central air conditioning, and forced hot air heating this could be slightly more of an issue. Still I don’t use it in deciding which cabinet line to get and both lines you are considering are very well made. Assuming you are upgrading to all plywood construction.

  177. Lorraine, September 1, 2016 at 10:22 am:

    Your blog is amazing!! have been looking at cabinets on and off for a year! I just discovered bremtown on your site. how much more expensive is their semi custom compared to Decora? Do you know how Bremtown compares to Plain and Fancy? I haven’t priced out P&F as I know they will be very expensive. I have looks at most of the brands mentioned on this blog.. I also heard that dealers carry better lines of Decora than Home Depot, and have many more options. Is this true? thank you!!

  178. pmcalary, September 2, 2016 at 10:43 am:

    Hi Loraine,
    Thanks! Plain and Fancy and Bremtown are both top of the line. In fact my extended family owns the company Eagle Associates that are the reps for Plain and Fancy in New England. I don’t know how they compare price wise and that will depend on the dealer that supplies them. But both of those line will certainly be more than Decora wherever you are pricing them. As far as the Decora goes, cabinet lines can always be upgraded to the same construction from a home center as a dealer. That being said, home centers are usually no more then 5% less than dealers for the same cabinet lines. Otherwise dealers couldn’t sell those line successfully. This is even with all the misleading sales promotions that home centers promote. Since designers in general are much better at independent dealers than home centers usually buying special order cabinetry at home centers isn’t in a customers best interest. Of course there are designers and dealers that are the exception to the rule and companies like ours that are actually a little less than home centers in apples to apples comparisons and have great designers.

  179. Nicolette, September 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm:

    This is the best source I have found for cabinet information and after reading it, I am convinced that my gut reaction about our kitchen design is correct. We are having to replace a kitchen that was destroyed after a upstairs water pipe ruptured. Our contractor has tried to connect us with a kitchen designer he has worked with before and they are really pushing Merrilat cabinets. When I told them my concerns based on the reviews I have read, both acted as if they had never heard of problems with Merrilat cabinets. I asked about Wood-mode cabinets and was told they are way too expensive and over-priced but the KD and contractor couldn’t tell me why the Merilatt was just as good other than that they have been using them for years….When I looked at the example kitchens in the KD’s showroom, I saw that the cabinet doors didn’t line up straight and some of the inlaid doors for their semi-custom line wouldn’t open well without a significant tug. I know the showroom cabinets get a lot fuse, but if they look bad and the KD doesn’t realize that, I would think that KD is not the person to use. Based on your blog I think its time to find a new KD.
    Again thank-you so much for taking the time to answer questions, educate us consumers and stress why its worth getting a KD you trust…Please keep on doing this… Wish there was another way to thank-you and improve your business, but rest assured you are helping the good KD’s out there improve their businesses.

  180. pmcalary, September 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm:

    Hi Nicolette,
    The Merillat Masterpiece cabinetry is constructed acceptably in my opinion. It just isn’t a great deal for the money. A 3/8″ plywood back is OK just not great. As far as the doors lining up- they just need adjustment and any cabinet display could have that problem. In one of our display cabinets I have been meaning to adjust a drawer front for a month and still haven’t gotten around to it. All these cabinet companies have 6 way adjustable hinges and drawers with some minor exceptions. Because of your water damage you have the opportunity to fix all the design problems in your kitchen. Generally that is where your concerns should lay and for most people almost never are. Good kitchen design is usually only perceived by good kitchen designers. For example the vast majority of our customers mistakenly think that their layout can’t be improved. It takes a lot of self control to hear for the 10,000th time “well my kitchen layout really can’t be improved so I have to keep things where they are.”

  181. Alex, September 6, 2016 at 12:28 am:

    I received several quotes for kitchen designs, and am favoring the Fabuwood from an independent designer (thanks to your positive reinforcement of Fabuwood). However, I have noticed that the interior dimension of the drawers are 5 inches smaller than the exterior measurement. The Fabuwood drawers are framed and side mounted. My designer says that the 5 inch difference is standard. Is this correct? I believe that losing 5 inches of width on each drawer is unacceptable. Both my current kitchen drawers, and my neighbor’s drawers are only 3 inches less in dimension (they are probably custom cabinets). Does Fabuwood offer undermount? Would that get me more width? (BTW, in my 34.5 height cabinet with external dimensions of 7 inch height drawer and 2-11 in height drawers, their vertical clearance is approx 3 in top drawer, and approx 7 in for the 2 lower drawers. I find this appalling as well. I have not measured the Kraftmaid cabinets that were quoted to me yet. Any advice for me?

  182. pmcalary, September 6, 2016 at 8:01 am:

    Hi Alex,
    What you are noticing is the 1 1/2 inch difference between the width and the height of drawers in framed versus frameless cabinetry. The Fabuwood cabinets and all the better made framed cabinetry have the same size drawer boxes with undermount Blum Blumotion tracks. It is the solid wood 1 1/2″ face frame that makes the opening for drawers smaller for framed cabinets. The face frame is also what makes the cabinet more durable. Door hinges and drawer tracks attached to solid wood and screwing the solid wood frames of each cabinet to the cabinet next to it is what makes the better constructed framed kitchens so much less subject to damage and stress.

    There is no question that frameless cabinetry offers more storage and that it is easier access to that storage. That’s one of the advantages to frameless cabinetry. Another is how much more attractive contemporary and modern slab door styles look using Frameless cabinetry which is why these door styles almost always only come on frameless cabinetry.

    However you may be replacing your cabinets BECAUSE they are frameless if the doors are starting to sag and the hinges and draw track are pulling away from the particleboard box. So you have to choose since you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Framed or Frameless. Here is one of our blogs on the difference:
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/

  183. Alex, September 7, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    I appreciate your input but I am asking a different question. I am doing new construction in a new home. I do not have frameless nor am I considering frameless cabinets. My current house has framed cabinets, as does 2 of my neighbors, and we only lose 3 inches of space for the interior width of a standard drawer. Yet the fabuwood loses 5 inches in width for each drawer. Why is there such a large difference when they are all framed cabinets? Is this the same with Kraftmaid? I want to say yes to fabuwood, but worry about some of the comments from former customers. I was quoted $30K in Kraftmaid for cabinets only from a big box store, and $26K for fabuwood cabinets and installation of 2 slabs of exotic granite (white Alaska) from a small family run independent design store. I really like the small business that I am working with, but also wonder about how much experience they have based on all the reviews where Main Line and others have clearly stated how important a good installer is. I do believe he has given me a great design. Thank you again for your blog and responses.

  184. pmcalary, September 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm:

    Sorry Alex,
    You are mistaken about what type cabinetry you have. The face of a framed cabinet is made of 1 1/2″ stiles and Rails so the opening into the frame has to be 3″ less than the size of the box. Then there is the thickness of the sides of the drawers and the space needed to slide the drawer in and out without rubbing. That requires at least 1 1/2 to 2″ so the inside of all drawers on all framed cabinets using Blum’s bottom mount Blumotion tracks (the best made in the industry) will be 4 1/2″ to 5″ less than the width of the box. Fabuwood’s are 4 13/16″ less. Kraftmaid and every framed cabinet line will be within the same 4 1/2 to 5 inches. Just a note: Kraftmaid in all plywood construction should be about 40% more than Fabuwood at most dealers so you have some issues with the numbers you are getting.

    This blog is not meant to keep people from getting the help of a good kitchen designer. I would recommend that you continue shopping to find a knowledgeable person that can help you. Kitchens are very complicated and doing one without the help of an experienced kitchen designer invites trouble.
    Best of luck – Paul

  185. Alex, September 8, 2016 at 8:13 am:

    Thank you.

  186. Carolyn, September 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm:

    Have you ever heard of Hagerstown Cabinets out of Pennsylvania? Considering them or Decora Or Medallion.

  187. pmcalary, September 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm:

    Don’t know them but the Hagerstown custom cabinetry looks nice. Decora, Medallion, or The Hagerstown all upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides are well made. The Hagerstown and the Medallion I would think would be the most expensive, but if the Hagerstowm was less expensive then the Decora I would probably get them as long as I liked the finis equally or better.

  188. Amy Spear, October 5, 2016 at 10:55 am:

    My Husband and I are in the process of building our home and our contractor has quoted us on Legacy Cabinets the Debut series and we also got a quote from Kraftmaid and Diamond (both from Lowes) they are both within 2k of each and we are not sure which ones to go with. Any suggestions?

  189. pmcalary, October 5, 2016 at 10:58 am:

    I’d rank them this way top to bottom.
    Kraftmaid
    Legacy Debut
    Diamond
    Make sure though that you are getting prices for all plywood construction for Kraftmaid and Diamond. Legacy Debut only comes that way I believe.

  190. Matt, October 10, 2016 at 10:26 am:

    I have narrowed my choices to Fabuwood, Wolf Desighner, and J&K cabinets. They all seem to be made the same. Any preferences between the three?

  191. pmcalary, October 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm:

    Fabuwood is better by far

  192. Raymond, October 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm:

    We have two kitchens (two houses) We just had Shenandoah installed in one of them, which we love. Now it’s time for house #2. Can you please rank the following cabinet lines? Kraftmaid, Shenandoah, Shenandoah Value Series, Quality, Quality Woodstar, Oakcraft. Your response is greatly appreciated.

  193. pmcalary, October 11, 2016 at 3:22 am:

    Hi Raymond,
    Kraftmaid is higher end then Shenandoah although both are well made when upgraded to all plywood construction. The others I don’t know but suspect are not nearly as well made.

  194. Raymond, October 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm:

    Quality and Quality Woodstar are brands within Masco, the maker of Kraftmaid, along with Merillat. Is Kraftmaid truly worth the premium one pays over Shenandoah? Is there truly a bang for the buck?

  195. corina pica, October 16, 2016 at 8:13 pm:

    Hello,
    What do you think about Waypoint cabinets? We are planning to remodeling our kitchen!

  196. kim, October 20, 2016 at 11:59 am:

    Can you please give me your opinion on Truwood cabinets out of Alabama?

  197. pmcalary, October 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm:

    When a companies website is so unsophisticated and offers no information about cabinet construction other than they are made “really well”. I start to get a election day headache. I need more information than someone telling me something will be “fabulous”. In the kitchen industry these type companies pop up regularly. I want any company I buy my cabinets from to be transparent, time tested, and able at least to afford a better web site.

  198. Ry, October 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm:

    Which brand has better quality, Thomasville from Home Depot or Fabuwood from an independent shop. I love the site

  199. pmcalary, October 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm:

    Now that is an interesting question. If you upgrade the Thomasville to all plywood construction and Bulmotion tracks there won’t be much difference. The Fabuwood will be slightly better constructed but the Thomasville will have more kinds of wood and more door style and finish choices. The Thomasville should be much more expensive though since they aren’t a usually a good value for the money. So if that’s the case I pick Fabuwood. If they are the same price I pick the door style and finish I like best or better yet the designer I respect more.

  200. RY, October 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm:

    After reading all the reviews on Thomasville through the home depot, it made me look elsewhere. I find the negative reviews with Fabuwood are associated with it being a Chinese co and not American?? I am being told I can get the Fabuwood with all an plywood box and it would still be far more inexpensive than Thomasville

  201. Paul, October 26, 2016 at 8:22 am:

    Fabuwood is an American company that assembles their cabinetry in New Jersey. The majority of the wooden parts are made in China. They are all plywood construction and use the best hinges and blumotion drawer tracks on the market. They have some questionable dealers so it is important to buy Fabuwood cabinetry from a respected showroom or dealer.

  202. D. Lieberman, October 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm:

    Hi, thanks in advance for your help!

    Which cabinet is the better quality–American Woodmark (in wood, not thermofoil) or Aristokraft? We’re looking for full overlay, white shaker. We are adding a peninsula and then planning to just replace the doors and drawer fronts on the perimeter (boxes are currently maple, doors are peeling thermofoil).

    I have nearly the same price for the AW and the AK with installation. I was considering doing black or a very dark stain on the peninsula cabinets and leaving the perimeter white, or else doing them all in white. I have read good and bad reviews on both brands…

    I would be willing to consider Kraftmaid if that’s better, but how much more expensive would it be? We will probably sell the place in 5-10 years so we want to do something that will work well for resale.

    Thanks again!

  203. pmcalary, October 27, 2016 at 5:10 pm:

    American Woodmark is much better than Aristocraft. However it is unlikely that you can order doors from one cabinet manufacturer and have them work on another. There are companies that make replacement doors for that but ordering the doors is still very tricky.

  204. D. Lieberman, October 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Thanks for your response!

    My contractor determined that my existing cabinets are probably American woodmark because they have the same door sizes that are in my kitchen. Kraftmaid doesn’t have those sizes so they would have to make custom doors. So I suppose we’ll go with American woodmark. Also–I assume we’re better off to buy the wood and not the new duraform line they have? The wood is full overlay and the duraform is partial overlay. I assume the wood is better for resale purposes?

  205. Tbarb, October 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm:

    Home flooded in Baton Rouge. Looking at getting waypoint cabinets. Are these good quality and worth the money?

  206. pmcalary, October 29, 2016 at 9:00 am:

    I don’t know Waypoint pricing and their web site doesn’t say how the back of the cabinet is made but it looks well constructed with a solid wood hanging rail. I would say that they are a good cabinet choice but not knowing exactly how much they cost compared to your other choices locally I can’t say if they are the best buy for the money.

  207. Tbarb, October 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm:

    Thanks for your quick response. Went to lowe’s today and got a quote for Kraftmaid cabinets. Waiting on my official quote from the Waypoint dealer, but the unofficial quote is similar to Kraftmaid (upgraded with all plywood). Would you recommend I go with Kraftmaid from Lowe’s or Waypoint for the best quality?

  208. Paul, October 30, 2016 at 8:22 am:

    Kraftmaid if costs are close

  209. cindy, October 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm:

    What do you think of DeWils cabinets?

  210. pmcalary, October 31, 2016 at 9:47 am:

    Hi Cindy,
    I’d never heard of them but they look like a smaller custom manufacturer that makes the standard top of the line framed cabinet construction. I have no idea where they fall price wise. Some of these smaller manufacturers are only a little more that the larger Semi-Custom lines and so a good deal. One issue is that sometimes these smaller custom shops have trouble getting dealers. So some of the dealers are small part time designers that can be all over the map as far as experience, pricing, and ethics are concerned. If the dealer you are buying the cabinets from has a good reputation that is a good sign.
    .
    Sometimes these smaller custom companies sell directly to the public. This can mean that you get an especialy good price but these companies almost never have a good designer working for them. They are cabinet builders and not kitchen designers and that can mean that you have no experienced person designing your kitchen and helping you organize your project. That is almost never a good thing no matter what the savings.

  211. Tracie, October 31, 2016 at 2:43 pm:

    Hello! thank you so much for all the information, it is truly helpful. I have a question for you about painted white shaker doors. Would you choose MDF over wood and which brand in your experience has the most durable painted cabinet? My KD uses Luxor, and Kountry Kraft Thank you so much!

  212. pmcalary, October 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm:

    I would use MDF for the recessed panel only. Both the Luxur and Kountry Kraft lines that you are considering are probably in frameless construction. So I’d worry about making sure the kitchen was designed accounting for frameless cabinetry first over the finish. Both finishes will be fine.

  213. Kendall, November 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm:

    Wonderful blog! We are looking for white cabinets but framed. Many are pushing the MDF rather than painted wood due to seams opening up with wood swelling. Earlier you had suggested Square 6 for white cabinets. Would you only use wood or would you consider MDF?

  214. pmcalary, November 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Hi Kendall,
    On a recessed center panel MDF is fine with the outside frame of the door solid wood. If the whole door is MDF then you would need to be very gentile with the cabinets as MDF is very soft and easily damages. Many custom cabinet lines use MDF doors because they look better painted. But often customers that are hard on things would be better off with a solid wood door at least for the outside frame.

  215. Lucy, November 11, 2016 at 8:06 am:

    Hello…have you ever heard of A company called Solid Wood Cabinets. They are a factory direct company out of NJ/PA. The face frame and shelves are 3/4″ plywood and the box construction is 1/2″. It seems like a good cabinet for the price I received. What do you think?

  216. pmcalary, November 11, 2016 at 9:13 am:

    Hi Lucy,

    Yes Solid Wood Cabinets are a very good choice “for the price”. They will cost you about the same or less than IKEA and they are much more durable. If you are renovating a property to sell they would be particularly appropriate.

    They wouldn’t be my choice as a homeowner though for two reasons. The first reason consumers often won’t appreciate and that’s the fact that like IKEA Solid Wood Cabinets doesn’t hire experienced designers. They are really just sales people and are usually less knowledgeable than even home center designers. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but getting knowledgeable help with designing and planning your kitchen usually makes a dramatic difference. It always amazes me how many people would never think of having a non professional style their hair or work on their car but when they are embarking on what will probably be the most expensive renovation in their lifetime they don’t think they need experienced help.

    The second reason I wouldn’t chose Solid wood cabinets is tied to the first in a way. The next step up in cabinetry like the Fabuwood or 6 Square lines we carry have noticeably nicer finishes and more stylish door styles. While this might not be a big enough reason on it’s own to pay about 20% more, when you add the fact that if you find a good designer you will be getting a nicer cabinet AND someone that knows what they are doing helping you, it is worth the added expense.

    For example,
    For a medium size kitchen in our area:
    A cabinet order in Solid Wood Cabinets might be $6,000.
    Granite countertops $2000
    Appliances $3,000
    Flooring $1,000
    sinks, faucets and handles, $1000
    Backsplash tile, Light fixtures, and other Misc Materials $2,000
    And construction costs $8000
    This all totals $23,000

    Saving $1,200 on a slightly less expensive less attractive cabinet line isn’t so important when you will be giving up the advice you could get spending over $20,000.00. So when you are looking for bargains I don’t skimp on the skill of the person helping me. With their assistance you would probably save on other materials and avoid pitfalls and mistakes. Not to mention that it is the creativity and attractiveness of the design itself that adds the most to the value of your home.

  217. Craig, November 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm:

    We are looking at putting in new kitchen cabinets in our summer cottage in Canada. This place is not heated in the winter. Is there a particular type of wood that is better/worse to use for this situation? We have been told to stay away from painted doors and are currently looking at hickory. The cottage is log construction, so we are also looking for a rustic appearance. Thank you.

  218. pmcalary, November 12, 2016 at 10:45 am:

    Hi Craig,
    Any kind of wood should be fine and yes a painted finish would develop hairline cracks showing more of the joints in the wood due to the extreme temperature variations. Hichory is a rustic looking wood and hard but it has so much variation in color and grain that if the walls in the cabin, the ceiling, beams, and the floors are all wood the hickory might be a bit much for my taste. Birch, maple, alder or cherry would be common woods with less extreme color and grain variations.

  219. Sally, November 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm:

    What is your opinion on CabCraft?

  220. pmcalary, November 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm:

    They don’t appear to be an independent cabinet manufacturer and are the “house brand” of a contractor/builder. There is no information about their construction on their web site.

  221. Brian, November 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm:

    Have a kitchen Reno on a house I’m getting ready to sell. What are your thoughts on Fabuwood vs Forevermark. Since I will not be using the cabinets price point is slightlybmore important then quality

  222. Roni, November 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm:

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful resource and for your time and thoughts. How would you rank Fieldstone, vs Omega vs Knight Kitchens( out of VT)?

  223. pmcalary, November 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm:

    Hi Roni,
    Fieldstone is a nice high end semi custom cabinet line. Upgrade to plywood 1/2 inch sides at least. Omega Dynasty I don’t like because it’s frameless but Omega Pinnacle is a nice framed line. Knight Kitchens is a small custom shop that appears to make a very nice product. Depends on the pricing, and I have never seen a Knight cabinet but I get a very good vibe from their web site so they might be the best pick here but you should look at the door style and finishes to see which you like best. You can’t go wrong with any of those three I mentioned.

  224. Jan, November 23, 2016 at 9:34 am:

    We bought a 4-yr old home w timberlake Thermofoil cabinets. We cannot replace the whole kitchen but 2-3 of the cabinets have delaminated w one totally loose on a 42″ door. Original owner had 5-yr warranty, not us. What do you know about this? Door wasn’t next to oven or heat source. Could have been. Over a toaster or coffee pot.

  225. pmcalary, November 23, 2016 at 9:35 am:

    Hi Brian,
    Fabuwood is nicer but more expensive then Forevermark. I think all these line should be purchased assembled by the factory. It would depend on the value of the home you are selling but for any home more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars the added expense of the Fabuwood I think would be worth it. Fabuwood Galaxy frost would be the most popular style and color. Hallmark frost would be the most reasonable popular style and finish.

  226. pmcalary, November 23, 2016 at 9:46 am:

    Hi Jan,
    Sorry but unfortunately all Thermafoil eventually delaminates as the glue breaks down. Once more than one door is delaminating the others will most likely begin to follow suit. I wouldn’t invest any money refacing or replacing all the doors. I would replace a few doors as needed and save my money to replace all the cabinetry in the future.

    Investing any money in this kitchen such as getting new granite countertops would be spending money you could have put towards a new kitchen. New granite tops, backsplash tile, new flooring are all usually not able to be saved when you redo a kitchen so the sensible thing to do is to spend as little as possible on an old kitchen until you can afford to do a new kitchen right.

  227. Lisa, November 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm:

    Very useful info. We are currently looking at Tedd Wood’s Landmark cabinets through a local kitchen designer but also like the KraftMaid and American Woodmark lines at Home Depot. This is for a seasonal home so we don’t want to spend a fortune, but we want something well made and durable, in a painted (shaker) finish. Do you have thoughts on the Tedd Wood cabinets?

  228. pmcalary, November 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm:

    Hi Lisa,
    Ted Wood is a semi custom and custom cabinet line. The Landmark semi-custom line is very well made but probably a little more expensive than Kraftmaid. American woodmark is a nice line but at least 20% less expensive than Kraftmaid. Make sure to upgrade Kraftmaid to at least Plywood sides and Woodmark to to all plywood construction. The Ted Wood cabinet line is the nicest and the designer is probably more knowledgeable in the showroom than at the Home Depot, but I assume it will be more expensive that the Kraftmaid and certianly significantly more than American Woodmark.

  229. Robin Smith, November 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm:

    Great blog! I have a question for you. Are there any circumstances where it would make sense to just reface existing kitchen cabinets instead of replacing? I’m had a few friends do this. The end product is nice however the pricing can be almost as much as replacement.

  230. pmcalary, November 27, 2016 at 7:32 am:

    Hi Robin,
    The answer is it almost never would it make sense. The only time it could would be if you were selling your home and you had a time constraint on doing a renovation. Frequently people refacing will splurge on appliances or countertops and spend more money than they could have done a complete renovation using better made cabinets had they only selected cabinets, tops, and appliances wisely. The most valuable thing about remodeling a kitchen is redesigning the space with a great kitchen designer. The materials that you splurge on selecting will have very little impact on the resale value of your home while fixing the design flaws that nearly every older kitchen has, and that customers are unaware, of can have dramatic effects on the resale value of your home and how fast it sells.

  231. Jason k, November 28, 2016 at 12:13 am:

    Hello. We are looking to do a home office. Got a design and quote for diamond from a retailer, not lowes. Most discussion here is about kitchens. Should I be looking for some thing different for an office? Is diamond a good choice? Are options like plywood construction just as important for offices as kitchens? Thank u.

  232. pmcalary, November 28, 2016 at 1:51 pm:

    Plywood is probably not as important in an office but Diamond not upgraded is relatively expensive but not well made. There are many cabinet lines that wouldn’t need to be upgraded and are cheaper. What the office design was would determine if a less expensive line could do the design. We sell Bishop for example that upgraded would still be less than Diamond and is better made and even has more options.

  233. Birdman, November 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm:

    Hi there. Thanks for all the info here. What do you think of GEC cabinet depot in Minneapolis? Any experience with them?

  234. pmcalary, November 29, 2016 at 9:53 pm:

    GEC is the bottom of the barrel in RTA cabinetry. This might not be a bad thing if you are immediately selling a property. But if this is for your own home and you plan on being there more than a few years spend about 15% more on cabinetry to get the higher end US assembled Chinese cabinetry. It has better finishes and is better made. I would actually go IKEA before GEC, because IKEA has nicer finishes.

  235. Birdman, November 29, 2016 at 10:20 pm:

    Appreciate the reply. Well that’s discouraging as I just committed to buying them for our kitchen which we do plan on living in for a long time. We had a smallish budget but these still weren’t cheap. Less than KM though. We were drawn to them because we though the finish looked nice in the showroom. They seem to meet all your criteria for quality cabinets – 1/2″ plywood boxes, solid face frames, not sure about the hardware though..don’t think it’s Blumotion. Can you elaborate on where they come up short?

  236. pmcalary, November 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm:

    They aren’t that bad. They are just the least expensive of the OK cabinets. The finishes aren’t quite as nice and since the rest of the kitchen is built around the cabinets not the absolulte best choice. Kraftmaid should be at least 40% more than these cabinets. I would have picked a cabinet line in between.

  237. Sarah, December 3, 2016 at 10:42 am:

    Hi, I have been looking at Cabico Espresso line. Are you familiar with this line and it’s quality for the price?

  238. pmcalary, December 3, 2016 at 11:09 am:

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m not too familiar with the Cabico lines. I know they make custom cabinets but they probably now make a semi-custom line to stay competitive in today’s price driven market. Their custom line is a nice cabinet although about 20% more than many well made semi-custom lines. How their semi custom line might stack up I don’t know. If it has all the requirements we give on our blog to be considered “well made” then they will be a good choice.

  239. Jennifer, December 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    Hi Paul. Your blog is filled with incredibly invaluable information. I live in Richmond Virginia and am in the process of planning a kitchen renovation. We happen to have an excellent kitchen and bath designer at a local Lowes (rare, I know) who has been designing kitchens and baths for 25 years. We are still working on the design so I have not begun pricing the cabinets. I’m trying to decide on the cabinet brand and always assumed I’d go with Kraftmaid. I’m looking to do a whitish color painted cabinet with a glazed finish, probably raised panel, but I also like a recessed panel with some type of beading if that’s the right term. Is one more expensive? Also, in a previous post you mentioned that Lowes marks up installation by 30% so get a contractor to install and save the money. My designer said Lowes cabinet prices include installation. The price does not change for just the cabinets. Does this sound correct? Finally, you mentioned that one could possibly find better prices on cabinetry through a local or independent dealer. What is the difference? Our kitchen designer said pricing comes down to the incentives offered by Lowes as well as the manufacturer. I do plan on upgrading to the minimum requirements you suggest. Keeping in mind the style/color of cabinet, can you recommend a brand that might save me money over Kraftmaid without sacrificing beauty? Thanks!

  240. pmcalary, December 6, 2016 at 7:02 pm:

    Hi Jennifer,
    No cabinets at Lowes certainly don’t come with installation included. You are either confused of your designer is. Independent dealers will on average be slightly more expensive than a Lowes but there are exceptions to the rule like our company. Incentives by Lowes and cabinet manufacturers are sort of gimmicks and essentially prices are inflated so that there can be a sale going on most of the time. In general encouraging people to rush to buy cabinets is not in their interest and so I believe is somewhat unscrupulous. When a designer at Lowes designs your kitchen on the computer using the 20-20 design program the computer is pricing the cabinetry at the same time. So the designer should be able to tell you how much the cabinetry costs at any given moment. If he or she can’t then they haven’t been designing kitchens for very long on the computer which all home centers have used for pricing for 25 years.

  241. Mike, December 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm:

    I am looking at redoing our kitchen cabinets in white painted shaker cabinets. I have looked at Lowes and Home Depot. I am also looking at Haas cabinets. Which of the cabinets would not only have the best finish but also be of the best quality.

  242. pmcalary, December 13, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    Kraftmaid from Lowes or Home Depot is the best choice of those

  243. Linda, December 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm:

    Thanks so much for continuing to answer questions on this very confusing subject! We live in Western PA and have spoken with one designer that we hired and another who provided the service for free. We were able to meld the two designs and then took them to two different places for cabinet estimates. We are looking for white painted cabinets – shaker or simple raised panel. We can get 1/2″ plywood frames and real wood doors on both brands. We are between Kraftmaid through Home Depot (their designer plugged cabinets into our design) and Dura Supreme Crestwood through an independent, locally owned store. The local salesman has a good reputation for addressing any concerns from the homeowner and seems to take pride in his product. He did tell us that we could spend less by using pressed board on the interior cabinets, but after reading this blog, we will not take that short cut to save money. The Kraftmaid estimate (before any sale pricing) is about 50% higher cost. Do you have a recommendation and any thoughts about specific things we should consider?

  244. pmcalary, December 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm:

    Hi Linda,
    Please don’t buy DuraSupreme. We used to carry their line and they cheated both us and our customers. They are a not an honorable company. Stick with the Kraftmaid to be safe.
    Happy Holidays,
    Paul

  245. FS, December 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm:

    should I be concerned with purchasing FABUWOOD??

  246. pmcalary, December 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    That depends on your expectations and who the dealer is. Fabuwood is a great product for the cost. In the inexpensive lines there is no better bargain in my opinion. This is why they are the fastest growing cabinet line in the US. However they do have some poor dealers, and you need to know what to expect. And as always the designer is the most important component of all and most customers don’t understand the difference between a good kitchen designer and a poor one. Add to that that most kitchen designers aren’t very good and you get a lot of poor designs and outright mistakes.

  247. Mark, December 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm:

    What a Great Place to get some real insight.Not just the salesmans. I was wondering what your thoughts were on Medallion Silverline Just getting started in is whole process Thanks

  248. pmcalary, December 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Medallion has beautiful finishes but particle board sides on expensive cabinetry seems like a huge waste unless the home is being sold shortly after the renovation. If you are in for the long hall either upgrade to plywood or select a less expensive line that will cost you less than Medallion but be better constructed. Kraftmaid, Decora, Bishop, or Brighton are just 4 of many lines you could get a plywood cabinet in and still get very similar customization options and finish options.

  249. Bryan, December 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm:

    I am looking at doing a small kitchen remodel on a budget. I have already gone to many different kitchen designers and the big box stores, but the one I am pretty close to pulling the trigger on has two lines that are in my budget with our design. They are the 6Square and US Cabinet Depot (about $600 Cheaper)? Are the 6Square worth the extra money?

  250. Judy, December 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm:

    i am replacing three bathroom vanities and I went to a jim bishop dealer in my local area. he quoted me a price of approx. $1900 for 3 vanities deluxe cabinet box – just the vanities no tops or sinks. birch wood York door style and stained. does this sound like a reasonable quote to you? is there anything else I should be asking about or need to know

  251. pmcalary, December 24, 2016 at 10:28 am:

    Hi Judy,
    The cost of a vanity will vary more than 100% depending on the width of the vanity, how many drawers it has, and if there are any customizations, so I would need more information to answer the question.

  252. Marc, January 1, 2017 at 8:19 pm:

    I notice that Fabuwood has a few different levels of cabinets. Which would be the best grade of Fabuwood for the money : Allure,Classic, or the Value ?

  253. pmcalary, January 2, 2017 at 8:33 am:

    Alure and Classic at built the same. The value line can be upgraded to Soft close full extension Blumotion drawers. It will be slightly less well made but still be a fine cabinet for the money.

  254. Marc, January 2, 2017 at 9:33 am:

    Thanks, pmcalary. We are trying to get an idea of about what Fabuwood cabinets would cost for the kitchen. We have a basic kitchen. One wall has built in oven and refrigerator, another wall has the stove, and the 3rd has the sink. About 10′ x 10′. I think it is shaped in the “G’ formation. Any idea if such cabinets would cost closer to $ 5k or $ 10k ? Thanks. Happy holidays.

  255. pmcalary, January 2, 2017 at 10:44 am:

    Oven cabinets are expensive and so I’d think closer to 10K. But keeping your design as it is now is not a good idea. Just eliminating the oven cabinet could save you $3,500 on cabinetry and appliances and make the room seem larger. I’g worry about the design first and then get the cabinetry, countertops, and appliances within your budget.

  256. Marc, January 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm:

    Thanks, pmc. I guess maybe getting a few estimates might shed light on the range of cabinet costs. Of course, then the cost of labor needs to be added in on top of that. I sometimes wonder if the labor costs can even exceed the cost of materials, supplies, etc..?

  257. Diane, January 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm:

    Thank you for all the great information. We are working with an small kitchen cabinet business/designer in our area and have the design pretty much solidified. They have given us a quote for Cabinet Corp. cabinetry as their most budget-friendly line. The quote says “all plywood construction,” but I need to check on the thickness. They are framed cabinets with soft-close dovetail drawers with full-extension glides, and soft-cose doors. Have you heard of Cabinet Corp? I am thinking, after reading this, that we should ask for quotes for some of their other lines, since you haven’t mention the company. However, if this cabinet line meets your minimum construction standards, what else should we be looking for? We are getting white shaker style cabinetry. Also, should we insist on the Blum hardware? Lastly, we have found a contractor do do the structural modifications we need in the house and he says he can also install the cabinets. My gut says that the kitchen design company should install the cabinets and be in charge of the countertops so that we have follow through with them start to finish. What do you think?

  258. pmcalary, January 9, 2017 at 9:53 am:

    Hi Diane,
    I haven’t heard of Cabinet Corp, but they appear to be a US company selling Asian made RTA cabinetry to contractors. There are many of these companies sprouting up. The good news is that the cabinetry is usually pretty well made for the bottom of the cabinet price points. Always better made then IKEA for example. The bad news is that there aren’t any good or experienced designers that work for companies like this. Many customers fail to appreciate how important working with a good designer is. Home owners not knowledgeable about kitchen design often mistakenly believe that their design is good and that there weren’t any other options that were very different and within their price range. As one of our videos points out: when you don’t know much about something like kitchen design and cabinetry, you don’t know what it is that you don’t know. That’s why working with a knowledgeable professional kitchen designer is so important.

    Who’s best to install the cabinets is tricky. If your contractor isn’t good enough to install the cabinets he or she isn’t good enough to prepare your kitchen for the cabinet installation. Too many cooks spoil the broth – so hiring one person to do part of the job and another to install cabinetry is usually calamitous.

  259. lkeaney, January 10, 2017 at 7:51 pm:

    Hello! I’ve found this post helpful so I thought I would see if I could get some insight on my cabinet purchase. I’m on a budget and I’ve been to see a few kitchen designers. One at Home Depot with a quote from American Woodmark, another with a quote on Aristokraft, and one with a quote for Wolf Classic. Prices are pretty comparable. I liked working with the designer that did the Wolf design the best, however I haven’t seen the greatest feedback on the Wolf line. This is a starter home for us and we plan on being there for about 5 years. I would like them to hold up well though and not be falling apart in that time frame. I have just been so overwhelmed with all the different brands and quality of cabinets that I’m at a loss as to which to choose (or if I should go in a completely different direction). We are wanting a classic white shaker door style. Do you (or anyone else) have any experience with Wolf cabinets? Which of these three is the best quality? Or any other recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

  260. David, January 12, 2017 at 9:40 am:

    Any thoughts on the Cabico brand cabinets. Working with a local designer and she mentioned that MAY be the brand that she recommends because the may be more flexible than 6 square as far as cabinet sizes

  261. pmcalary, January 12, 2017 at 11:02 am:

    Cabico is a more expensive cabinet line that doesn’t show how their cabinets are constructed online. So I can’t advise you on how they are made.

  262. Wendy, January 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm:

    We are in the beginning planning stages and based on our floorplan (open living, dining and kitchen) there is very little room for “design” of the kitchen. it is basically one long wall and an island. So i’m wondering if the Kitchen Design expert you keep recommending will really be worth it for our project. As far as cabinets, we are considering Cliq Studios, Koch Cabinets (imperial line) and Haas cabinets. Painted white shaker style, full overlay, framed etc. What are your thoughts between these 3 companies?

  263. pmcalary, January 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm:

    Hi Wendty,
    Essentially this is what we mistakenly hear from nearly all customers. In general the more you think you don’t need design help the more likely you actually are to need it. The very premise of your plan, a long wall of cabinets and an island could be ill-advised considering the space that you have and it wouldn’t be brought to your attention because the places you are working with just want to sell you cabinets. You can send us a floor plan or even post one on Houzz.com and a professional can tell you what’s wrong with it. You would need to make a commitment to purchase cabinetry from a dealer to have a good professional kitchen designer work with you to create a better design. However telling you what’s wrong with a design is much easier. There are a 1000 bad designs for any space and only a couple of good ones. It is unlikely that an inexperienced designer will come up with one of the good ones. Here is a link to our funny video on this topic:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo

  264. Wendy, January 12, 2017 at 8:34 pm:

    Thank you for that and I can look into ways that it might be changed. As far as the 3 brands, do you have any experience with them and what are your thoughts: Cliq Studios, Koch Cabinets and Haas. Which ones are a superior product and value?

  265. Mark, January 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm:

    Really informative thread. Thank You. Feel confident now in either Kraftmaid or Cliqstudios.

  266. pmcalary, January 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm:

    Thanks. Both good choices. Remember the other mantra “Get good design help”

  267. Kimberly, January 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm:

    I am beginning the planning stages for our kitchen update. We visited Allied Building today and they carry the following lines: Woodland, JSI, and Ultracraft. Any thoughts between the three? Are we better off going to a Lowes or HD?

  268. pmcalary, January 17, 2017 at 8:36 am:

    Not a fan of those lines or of getting a kitchen designed by a builder. Find a kitchen cabinet dealer that specializes in design and let them help you navigate designs and cabinet lines. Unfortunately Lowes and Home Depot have some good lines but not many qualified designers. Any designer that is any good leaves a home center after a short time to make more money in a better environment.

  269. Mila, January 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm:

    Please, please help me. My remodeling guy quoted a 90% markup (he didn’t know I got a look at his cost sheet). I’m sick, crying and completely without a kitchen.
    I have Lowe’s and Home Depot in the area. I’ve read your comments on their brands.
    The other option I have is a store in town that sells Shiloh, Aspect or Eclipse. I know nothing about these brands.
    I seriously need help as to which brand, from either this store or the big box stores, to pick. I’m looking at 9 upper cabinet doors that have glass and the rest with a recessed panel door.
    I like drawers for the lower cabinets plus two regular boxes with shelves.
    I do not have a contract for cabinets with my remodeling guy, so. I do not have to use him.
    Your help would be so greatly appreciated!

  270. Jackie, January 19, 2017 at 11:34 am:

    We are currently considering Forevermark Diamond Level, Homecrest upgraded to all plywood, and Kraftmaid upgraded cabinets for our kitchen remodel. Which of these has the best quality in your opinion? Should we be concerned that Forevermark is made of birch rather than maple and only carries a 2 year warranty on painted finishes? Thanks so much!

  271. pmcalary, January 19, 2017 at 11:58 am:

    The Forevermark is a much less expensive cabinet line. They are RTA cabinets that can come assembled but they are inexpensive even for an RTA cabinet. Homecrest is a much better cabinet and should cost at least 20% more and Kraftmaid is an even more expensive better line and should cost an additional 20%. These lines you can’t compare apples to apples. The warrantee doesn’t worry me as much as the inexpensive look and construction of Forevermark.

  272. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm:

    Hi Mila,
    I think there are bigger problems here if you are correct and your contractor is marking up your cabinets 90%. Most kitchen showrooms mark up cabinetry 50% to 80% and we get the cabinetry wholesale far less than a contractor can get cabinetry for. Your contractor is cheating you and is not qualified to design a kitchen. Selecting a cabinet line is less important than somehow getting away from working with this person. Continuing to work with this person if you are right could be truly calamitous.

  273. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm:

    Sorry Brian my reply never got posted. Yes spend the extra $600.

  274. Tania, January 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm:

    Hello! I just purchased home and the kitchen has Yorktowne cabinetry in oak. We just received a price to paint the cabinets white and fillin the grain of 11k. We decided to just paint the bases white and get new doors instead for an updated look. The question I have is can I get the doors from a different company or do I need to stick with Yorktowne. On a side note, we need 69 door and drawers so it would be too expensive to get a whole new kitchen.

  275. pmcalary, January 25, 2017 at 6:43 am:

    Youktowne is such an inexpensive cabinet company and the oak door are usually on their lowest level of cabinetry. The plan to invest so much money on such a cheap product isn’t a good idea. I’d live with my kitchen until I could replace it correctly. Also without even seeing the kitchen I can only guess how poor a layout you have is. Toll Brother homes have some of the worst designs with Yorketowne cabinetry. Big badly designed kitchens that fall apart in 10 to 15 years. Investing in those kitchens is throwing money away.

  276. Jackie, January 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm:

    This is a great blog. We did a kitchen renovation in our first house. We used American Woodmark (not upgraded to plywood) from Home Depot. I was very happy with that line in terms of price and quality and believe or not we had a pretty good designer. However, we only lived in the house for five years after the rennovation. We are in house number 2 and are again redoing the kitchen. We went to a kitchen showroom at the recomendation of our contractor. He quoted Dura Supreme which I do not see discussed here at all. There is very little to no information on this brand other than their website. In your opinion what is a comparable brand to Dura Supreme. You talk a lot about Fabuwood? What would be the difference between these two brands. Do you have any other suggestions. I know that you like Kraftmaid? Would that be comparable? How about Medallion?

  277. pmcalary, January 26, 2017 at 5:42 pm:

    Hi Jackie,
    DuraSupreme and Medallion should be similarly priced. Fabuwood is a much less expensive line that is far less custom than these lines. However in both DuraSupreme and Medallion you must upgrade the cabinet construction to be as well made as the Fabuwood. So always upgrade those lines to all plywood construction.

    We had serious problems with DuraSupreme when we sold their cabinetry. I would not recommend buying cabinetry from them. In fact they are one of the few cabinet lines that I have ever heard of that gets complaints from their own dealers and their own independent reps.

  278. Tracie, January 27, 2017 at 8:31 am:

    Hi Paul thank you so much for this extremely informative and interesting blog. I’m wondering if you have any information about Kountry Kraft cabinetry. I know they are in Pennsylvania and so are you so I’m wondering if you have ever used them and what your thoughts are. My designer has recommended frameless cabinetry and I can upgrade to all plywood for a 3% fee. I am concerned about a frameless cabinet after reading your blog so I’m wondering if I should upgrade to a framed cabinet. I’m going to be doing a shaker door that is painted White which is obviously another concern. I have thermofoil now that has held up for 20 years and still looks brand-new. Do you know anything about the finishes on Kountry Kraft? Thank you so much for any input.

  279. Jackie, January 27, 2017 at 9:24 am:

    Thank you. I was little leary about Dura Supreme when I found little to no information on the line and I kept coming across bad reviews. So with Fabuwood you have little or no ability to customize and I guess they use birch instead of maple. We are considering a painted white cabinet, so I am not sure that makes a difference. My grandmothers house has brich canients and they have lasted a long long time. We are trying to decide between purchasing an American Made Cabinet vs. a Chinese import. After reading through all of the comments her I am going to seriously consider Fabuwood. This blog is great and provided good insight into the different cabinet brands, their differences and price. Thank you so much!

  280. Jacki, January 27, 2017 at 10:19 am:

    Paul, do you have any thoughts or information on Greenfield Cabinetry? I’m ready to commit Brookhaven but our designer mentioned Greenfield as an “at least as good” option.

  281. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 11:03 am:

    Hi Jacki,
    I don’t know Greenfield. They seem to be a high end line from their web site. But they don’t say on their site how they make their cabinets. I don’t like when cabinet companies do this it makes me uncomfortable.

  282. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 11:09 am:

    Hi Tracy,
    I prefer Framed cabinetry to Frameless cabinetry in a shaker door style since the style doesn’t suffer from the slightly larger distance between doors and drawers and framed cabinetry is a better constructed produst.

    That being said Kountry Kraft makes a great frameless cabinet with very nice finishes. My only complaint about Kountry Kraft which they may have changed since I designed with them is that they don’t package their cabinets. So they are more likely to get damaged during shipping and installation.

  283. Jim, January 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm:

    Great information here! It has really “framed” my perspective on what to consider. You may have answered much of this in previous discussions, but I’m looking for a direct head-on comparison of 4 cabinet companies: KraftMaid, Brighton, Shiloh, and Fabuwood. I currently have 3 cabinet offers: 1) KitchenMaid from Lowes ($27.2K, on special discount from the holidays), 2)Shiloh from an independent designer ($27.5K – not sure if includes freight), and Brighton from Cabinet Discounters ($30K – $33K). The independent designer said he could get a lower cost with Fabuwood (not cost figure quoted yet)but that it wasn’t customizable. While there may be some value with the independent designer, I like the Lowes designer as well (one of the good/experienced ones). Independent guy might have some additional value (lighting ideas, etc.). Suspect that you’ll say KM has the better product and with quotes, it’s the best deal. Just want to confirm that and that Brighton isn’t worth the extra $5K – $7K in cost.

    One final question. Designers seem to MUCH prefer clean lines in their design. Most don’t like incorporating a full sized refrigerator. However, I’m doubling my kitchen size (incorporating the formal dining room), adding cooking capability (additional oven and possibly second microwave) but losing refrigerator space. However, I don’t see the benefit of spending the extra $6K + to get one or more built-in refrigerators. Maybe I could live with a counter depth (and more expensive) refrigerator. However, from an initial or future replacement cabinet cost perspective, is there any reason not to have a designer order a non-standard, larger than counter depth cabinet wall (approx. 9 ft or less). That would require finding an independent KM designer to get part of my cabinetry (or all of it). I know that Lowes can use additional faux sides to make it look somewhat custom but then it still wouldn’t all be in line apparently. This might be more of a designer question, in general, but would like your general opinion.

    Thanks!

  284. Jim, January 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm:

    Forgot to mention that all have 1/2 inch all plywood construction, the Blum glides, etc. Oh, and one other question. CD gave me the following reasons Brighton cabinets might be better than KM: KM is mass produced, but Brighton is hand made and totally customizable, allowing for fewer fillers. Finish is hand applied and an all over glaze, not just door profiles. Not sure if the final finish would be superior to KM, but maybe. Curious on your opinion. Not sure if I’d notice if that’s a difference. Finally I was told that the Brighton glide system is extremely smooth and substantial – mostly metal (versus some other brands with more plastic parts). Are they using something other than Blum and is it really better?

  285. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 3:43 pm:

    We carry and love Brighten cabinetry but upgraded Kraftmaid will be similar and most customers wouldn’t appreciate the custom color, inset and beaded inset and other advantages including 13″ standard depths on the inset wall cabinetry. Fabuwood should be at least 40% less than upgraded Kraftmaid. Fabuwood can be customized to do most designs but it a completely different level of cabinetry and all birch. Builtin refrigerators have significantly less space than counter depth refrigerators for a 36″ wide space. If you want a full depth refrigerator you could possibly recess the refrigerator into the wall. It doesn’t make sense to make kitchen cabinets deeper than 24″. You just pull 24″deep cabinetry off the wall and close in the sides with panels.

  286. Marti Selle, January 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm:

    Hi, Paul. We need new kitchen cabinets due to a water leak from an upstairs bathroom. I certainly want cabinets that look good and will last but my main criteria is what’s on the inside as far as storage. Currently my pantry is in three places one of which is on an enclosed back porch. Merillat has exactly the tall pantry I would like plus several other cabinets with storage features I like as well. I have read your recommended construction guidelines. We have a limited insurance budget of about 10K. What do you think of the Merillat brand? I notice they are way down at the bottom of most lists.we have shopped the box stores just getting ideas but didn’t like any of their brands. I can’t seem to see the inside of cabinets on brand websites I have checked just style, color and wood. I want a painted off white exterior and pull out shelving and drawers. A designer is coming after the weekend and his company doesn’t carry Marilatt. I’m frustrated because I can’t seem to get the storage I want without going lower end. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  287. Bill, January 27, 2017 at 11:38 pm:

    This site is wonderful for information. We have been working with a kitchen designer that our contractor provided. She gave us a price of 9800.00 for Fabuwood cabinets. I checked with Lowes .and their price for the Kraftmaid cabinets upgraded to the all plywood was $5747.00. From what I read on this site the Fabuwood cabinets should be less than the kraftmaid? Are we being overcharged for the Fabuwood cabinets from the dealer ? There is such a difference in price.

  288. Bill, January 27, 2017 at 11:48 pm:

    This site is wonderful for information. We have been working with a kitchen designer that our contractor provided. She gave us a price of 9800.00 for Fabuwood cabinets. I checked with Lowes .and their price for the Kraftmaid cabinets upgraded to the all plywood was $5747.00. From what I read on this site the Fabuwood cabinets should be less than the kraftmaid? Are we being overcharged for the Fabuwood cabinets from the dealer ?

  289. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 8:40 am:

    Sounds like either you are being robbed by the Fabuwood dealer or more likely the Lowes designer made a huge pricing error. $5,700 in Kraftmaid cabinetry would be a tiny kitchen. Home center designers are prone to mistakes due to inexperience and the home center environment full of interruptions and distractions.

  290. Bill, January 28, 2017 at 9:00 am:

    It is a small kitchen with only 6 cabinets on the top and 7 on the bottom and 2 of them are very small – a tray cabinet and a spice cabinet. Lowes had a special deal going on now so I am unsure of what to think. Thank you.

  291. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 9:07 am:

    Lowes is always having a deal that’s how they pressure people into buying cabinetry. 13 cabinets in Kraftmaid upgraded to all plywood construction could not be less than $6000 so there must be a mistake in the math at Lowes. And the Fabuwood also sounds high. Sounds like you have two problems.

  292. Zev67, January 29, 2017 at 12:09 am:

    We are building a new house and are looking at frameless cabinets. I see that you don’t recommend them, but I am set on them. I was looking at Hanssem but see that reviews are mixed and they have only a 5 year warranty. Provided that we get all 1/2 inch plywood with solid wood doors, full overlay, full extension, self closing, etc, what brand of cabinets would you recommend? We got a $24k estimate on Hanssem and about the same or a little higher on Kraftmade. It is going to be a white shaker style kitchen. This is a larger kitchen. I need to make a decision but would like to make sure that the quality is good.
    Thank you so much for your input.

  293. pmcalary, January 29, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    The sides of the cabinets need to be 3/4″ thick as well as the tops bottoms and shelves. Once the cabinets meet these requirements in frameless cabinetry they usually meet the best construction for a frameless cabinet. I would say that asking for our advice knowing you are not taking some already sets off bells for us as designers. We occasionally work with customers who make all their design choices asking our opinions but not listening to most of them. These kitchens are usually some of the worst that we sell.

  294. Zev67, January 29, 2017 at 6:56 pm:

    Actually, I took all of your advices to heart. The only exception was frameless cabinets. And I intend to follow through with my designer on all the points you made. (Have a list copied out of your posts). I don’t understand why you would think that my preference implies that I would not listen to anything else.
    Would you please post what you think of Hanssem and if there is a better alternative in frameless?
    I will go with 3/4 inch plywood cabinets if Hanssem makes them and with something else if they don’t..
    Thank you

  295. Judy, January 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm:

    Love the blog. Currently remodeling fl condo. Contractor recommended Aristokraft with a $7500 estimate. We looked at the showroom and like the PureStyle white shaker. From reading it seems you’re not a fan of Aristokraft. What do you recommend at the same price point. Or has your opinion ofAristokraft altered.

  296. pmcalary, January 30, 2017 at 9:01 am:

    Aristocraft used to be 3/8″ sides and backs which is a terrible way to make cabinetry. Not sure if you can upgrade to 1/2″ plywood construction but Fabuwood, CNC, and some other lines are better made and usually less expensive.

  297. Judy, January 30, 2017 at 5:37 pm:

    Thank you so much for getting back to me about the lower grade cabinetry. I looked at the CNC and Matrix lines of cabinet s today. The 1/2 inch vs 3/8 inch sides and backs made a MUCH more solid cabinet. They both looked very good. One more question, so far. Both CNC and Matrix boast painted MDF cabinet fronts vs the PureStyle fronts of Aristokraft. How will painted MDF hold up? Or is the PureStyle a better choice?

  298. DavidR, January 31, 2017 at 5:47 pm:

    Hi Paul, and thank you SO much for this fantastic blog. It has been tremendously informative. We are diong a total kitchen redesign, and our contractor has bounced us from Omega, to Wolf, to Kemper, and now Bishop. HE wants to stay in his budget (which has been a bit of a moving target for us) while we know we have some flexibility. Our biggest concern is that we want stuff that will look good, of course, but will look good for more than years, etc.
    .
    Can you provide a little insight on where these cabinets rank in quality and bang for the buck. I’m not hung up or adverse to a higher price, but I want to make sure we have quality. I’m also trying to make sure we’re not getting pushed into something and sacrificing quality.
    .
    I understand you carry Bishop and it’s been good to see some positive words about it, because it was tough to find a happy review of them elsewhere. I know it’s (too) easy to find the complaints, but not finding very much positive has given us pause.
    .
    We deeply appreciate any input/guidance you can provide regarding where we should be ranking these makes and quality.
    Thank you 🙂

  299. pmcalary, January 31, 2017 at 6:04 pm:

    Hi David,
    Bishop is the best choice among the ones you list but there are many less expensive cabinet lines than Bishop that are still well made and a good buy. We sell Fabuwood, 6 square, and an even less expensive line that’s still OK named CNC. The Wolf line is like CNC but I like CNC better as a company.

    Of course the never ending frustration for us as designers is that we rarely see even competent designs and so the all the worrying about which cabinet line to get is less important than the invisible Elephant in the room – that the kitchen design itself isn’t any good.

  300. DavidR, January 31, 2017 at 7:31 pm:

    Even better than the Omega? I was under the impression that was the “Cadilac” of the group.
    .
    Thank you so very much for you consideration. Your site and the generosity of your experience have been a wonderful find!

  301. Judy johnson, January 31, 2017 at 7:59 pm:

    Paul, Love the blog. Which is a better choice for cabinet and drawe fronts, painted mdf or PureStyle vinyl laminate? Thanks

  302. pmcalary, February 1, 2017 at 8:25 am:

    Hi Judy,
    Both have issues. And I assume the laminate door is coming from Aristocraft which I am not a fan of. If you are hard on things the laminate will not chip and scratch easily. However I think plastic looks cheep, is out of style, and usually delaminates before 20 years. Both these choices sound Builder driven and so from companies that don’t often value durability.

    A wood painted cabinet would be more tasteful than a foil and more durable than an MDF door. However if you are very gentile on things MDF can look great. And as long as the cabinetry the doors are on is well made the doors can be touched up or replaced if damaged.

  303. Jackie, February 6, 2017 at 11:47 am:

    Hi again! So we spent a considerable amount of time with a kitchen designer. The kitchen was designed and a price was quoted with Starmark. We had a previous quote with Dura Supreme. In addition to the Dura Supreme quote being $13,000 higher than the Starmark quote, the Dura Supremem designer provided a design without our input. We are also not going with Dura Supreme due to the bad reviews. Here is the question: while Starmark was considerably lower than the Dura Suprmeme, we are still considering Fabuwood. We have to change a few minor things with the Fabuwood (for instance we have a 33 in pantry in Starmark and Fabuwood only makes a 24 in pantry, also Fabuwood only has 30 in microwave cabinet vs the 27 in Starmark, plus in the Starmark the oven cabinet is custom to our ovens specifications. In Starmark the cabinet doors would be overlay painted maple with an MDF center, and the Fabuwood would be Birch. Both use the same hardware. Our kitchen designer told us that the Fabuwood would be about 40-50 percent cheaper than Starmark. With Starmark there would be a lifetime warranty vs a 5 year with Fabuwood. The price of the Fabuwood is very appealing, but I am torn on the Chinese vs. American. There are differences, but is there enough of a difference to choose Starmark over Fabuwood. Thoughts please?

  304. Christine, February 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm:

    Hi, do you have a basic “checklist” of must have items anyone looking to purchase kitchen cabinets should follow?

  305. pmcalary, February 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm:

    Hi Christine – Not a check list of things you must have. That is always about trade offs for any design. But we do have a check list of what things you need to do and how long things should take. Here are links to both:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/new-kitchen-checklist/

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/kitchen-renovation-timeline/

  306. Regina, February 21, 2017 at 10:22 pm:

    Any advice on Kemp cabinets or plain and fancy

  307. pmcalary, February 22, 2017 at 9:14 am:

    I don’t know much about Kemp cabinets and their web site is a little rough which tells me that they are a small manufacturer. Plan and Fancy is an expensive high end custom cabinet so upgraded you can’t go wrong with their cabinetry. But they won’t be a bargain.

  308. Craig L, March 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm:

    Has any one heard of
    St Martin
    Candellight
    Schrock

    Any of these a good vale for the money

  309. pmcalary, March 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm:

    Hi Craig,
    We are about to post our 2017 Kitchen cabinet review. I’m emailing you the unedited version.

  310. Craig, March 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm:

    we are looking to spend in the area of 25k the kitchen is 17 feet long with a open floor plan, Island 120 x 48. the left side turns left for 8 ft and the right side extends 12 ft into dining room with cabinetry along the wall 30 inch floor to ceiling 80 inch buffet cabinets under and duplicate cabinets floor to ceiling on left. Large fridge,2 single under counter ovens, separate range, dishwasher, under counter microwave. do not want cheap but are spending a lot on whole first floor renovation, we entertain a lot so we need durability. dealing with 2 contractors and designers to get the best solid ideas together. we are most concerned about the cabinets. first designer has Decor $$$ and St mart 2nd has Schlock and candlelight…..we are leaning towards SCHROCK.
    would love you opinon…..or my wife might kill me if I pick wrong…LOL

    Craig

    not sure if you ever talk live

  311. Craig, March 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm:

    I see you posted 3 of the 4 My contractors are showing us
    1 contractor has Decora and St Martin
    2nd has Schlock and Candelight
    Going through a major renovation 1st floor
    very open floor plan
    contractor is still up in air based on $$ and cabinets
    Most of the choices are easy but the cabinets
    entertain a lot, durability, good quality with out breaking bank around 25k is in budget
    left side of kitchen 8ft run starting with fridge
    from left to right counter then runs 17 ft starting with dish then sink counter range counter pantry-this is break point from kitchen to Dining room

    conter continues 111/2 ft
    base cabinets 24 with 2 draws and cabinets to ceiling 18 in
    80 in buffet style counter in front of window 18 in deep
    then duplicate cabinets and draws/cabinets above

    Island in front of kitchen counter 42 inchs from counter and 48 from leftist counter
    120 x48

    other appliances 2 under counter ovens, under counter microwave, dish, and separate range

    so with that all being said we really are at a crossroads with cabinets……As you can see we have picked most everything out but cabinets
    looking at white kitchen with Island brown and buffet area brown as well

    OR do you have another cabinet in mind….We are kind of leaning towards St Martin but reading on internet lots of issues 2-3 years ago with finishes of paint splitting or cracking

    HELP Craig and Bridget

  312. Craig, March 1, 2017 at 10:21 pm:

    sorry for duplicate didn’t think the 1st comment posted

  313. Jeff, March 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm:

    Paul,
    Thanks for the blog. Been reading through it as we’re doing a kitchen remodel. New kitchen will be an L shape 12×24′ with 4×8′ island. Off white painted maple shaker doors. Our contractor’s cabinet guy is quoting Brookhaven framed or frameless for around $30k. He’s pushing frameless but I’m leaning toward framed. Our friend’s cabinet guy is quoting framed Medallion-Gold for around $25k. Same designs. Both lines upgraded to all plywood. We have 3 small kids, so I am most concerned with durability, especially considering we’re doing painted. In the showroom both brands seemed fine, and their build quality seems about the same on paper. Brookhaven seems to be a bit higher regarded in general when reading online. Would like to save $5k, but it’s close enough that I would rather get the cab that will hold up the best in the long term. Not sure which way to go…..any help you could offer would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

  314. pmcalary, March 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm:

    Hi Jeff,
    Either cabinet choice is fine. I would do framed cabinetry if you are looking for durability. My concern would be your design. A 4′ x 8′ Island will not fit in your kitchen with any good design that I can conceive off. If you want to send us the plan I’d be happy to critique it. But my opinion of the design might be disappointing to you. Often designers give customers what they want at the expense of good and sometimes even safe design. The problem we see most often is jamming too much cabinetry into a space in a way that makes it less attractive and dysfunctional.
    Here if you need us,
    Paul

  315. Jeff, March 2, 2017 at 6:46 pm:

    Hi Paul-
    Thanks for the reply. Part of that long run of cabinet/counter serves as a hutch type thing for the table as well as a window seat. Maybe that is what is throwing you off. I’ll bring in the design and scan/send it over for your opinion. It seems to work on paper, but maybe there are some issues you could help identify. Thanks again.
    -Jeff

  316. Bridget, March 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm:

    Do you know anything about St Martin Cabinets based out of Cressona, Pa.

  317. pmcalary, March 6, 2017 at 9:06 am:

    Hi Amy,
    Yes we give them good reviews in our 2017 cabinet rankings. Link below:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-ratings-2017-reviews-top-selling-cabinet-lines/

  318. Robin, March 14, 2017 at 8:37 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I am remodeling my kitchen and I am trying to decide if I should go with Kraftmaid or Starmark cabinety, both being all plywood. I do like the color and finish on the Starmark cabinets. Mostly I want to make the right choice on the best quality cabinetry.
    Thanks in advance,
    Robin

  319. Donald, March 15, 2017 at 12:03 am:

    Hi Paul – thanks for this great blog and information. We are out in CA and our local dealer is recommending Columbia or Dynasty vs Decora. We don’t a huge need for custom cabinetry except for color (shaker style dark navy & white. Looking for a good solid cabinet without breaking the bank with a non standard color. Decora is $4k more than the Columbia frameless. Any recommendations for us?

  320. pmcalary, March 15, 2017 at 8:27 am:

    Hi Donald,
    For a shaker door style I would always recommend using a well made framed cabinet. Columbia does all the things that make me suspicious about a cabinet line. Namely talk about how green, and carb compliant, and wonderful their cabinetry is but not tell you how it is made on their web site. Touting yourself to be green is a lie when your cabinets are less durable because no matter how much wood you recycled in the production of your cabinetry if it needs to be replaced sooner because it is falling apart the material savings were valueless. I’d get the Decora upgraded to plywood.

    The cabinets are the foundation of your kitchen and everything you do and spend is wasted with a poor foundation. Of course as I have said before the designs we see are usually quite bad so most people’s cabinetry concerns are outweighed by there design issues.

  321. pmcalary, March 15, 2017 at 8:31 am:

    Hi Robin,
    If you upgrade Starmark it is almost as well made as Kraftmaid and Starmark does have nicer finishes. I would get the finish I like best since the construction differences are minimal and the finish difference is more important.
    Best of luck. You really can’t go wrong with either.
    Thanks,
    Paul

  322. Robin, March 15, 2017 at 8:50 am:

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for your advice. I will go with the Starmark cabinets. Can you tell me what specificely I should be asking to be upgraded in the Starmark cabinets.
    Robin

  323. Debbie, March 18, 2017 at 6:10 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I want curved cabinet doors, both convex and concave, and have found them only in the Durasupreme line in the St. Louis area. After reading your remarks and other reviews I am skeptical about using the brand. I would prefer metal curved cabinets but they no longer seem to be made. Do you have any suggestions for a different line that carries curved doors besides high-end european lines?

  324. pmcalary, March 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm:

    Hi Debbie,
    Having been Durasupreme dealers for a short period of time we found the company “creepy”, if you can use that word to describe a manufacturer.

    Most custom cabinet lines will make convex and concave doors. These doors usually add between $500 and $1500 to the cost of any cabinet for each door depending on the style of the door. The more detailed or unusual the style door the more expensive. Even some mid to high end semi custom cabinet lines sell convex doors. I once had a mid priced cabinet rep offer me a free diner at an expensive restaurant for any order I sold with a convex door in it.

    Stainless Steel or metal cabinets are still made by companies like this one:
    http://www.stainlesssteelkitchen.com/home.html
    Most of these companies specialize outdoor kitchens and they will be expensive but durable.

  325. Debbie, March 20, 2017 at 8:37 am:

    Thank you, Paul

  326. MaggieM, April 4, 2017 at 12:20 am:

    Hi Paul,

    I just want to say, your comment section here has helped me so much during my cabinet search! Thank you! We have narrowed it down to 3 manufacturers, we are going with inset cabinets and got quotes from Shiloh, Fieldstone and Mouser. All plywood. Which would be your pick? They are all relatively similar in price, but Fieldstone came out the lowest, is it true they are the same as Starmark? Same quality? I have been seeing the Starmark is very well reviewed. Thank you so much in advance!

  327. pmcalary, April 4, 2017 at 8:05 am:

    Hi Maggie,
    All three lines are rated on our 2017 cabinet brand review. Link below:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-ratings-2017-reviews-top-selling-cabinet-lines/

    Mouser over Fieldstone. Yes Fieldstone and Starmark are made by the same people with the same construction details. Shiloh construction and pricing does not impress us.

  328. MaggieM, April 4, 2017 at 10:59 am:

    Thank you Paul, sorry one more question. For an inset cabinet which wood do you think would be best, Alder or Cherry? We’d like to avoid the maximum amount of warping, although we are aware there will be some over time.

  329. pmcalary, April 4, 2017 at 11:19 am:

    Alder is more likely to warp than cherry. But all the cabinetry will be warrantied and warping always happens in the first year. After that you are pretty much safe unless you install central air or change the conditions in your home dramatically.

  330. Peter McCann, April 5, 2017 at 11:35 am:

    Your website has been incredibly helpful to me so far. Do you have any opinions on either BJ Tidwell cabinets or Kemper cabinets?

  331. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 11:51 am:

    Hi Peter,
    Here is our 2017 cabinet brand review:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-ratings-2017-reviews-top-selling-cabinet-lines/

    You’ll notice that we don’t love Kemper. BJ Tidwell has no information on their site on how they are made other than their claims of excellence and no specifics. 9 out of ten times this means that if we knew the answers we wouldn’t be impressed. There are better choices out there. These line are the types recommended by builders who don’t in general know anything about cabinetry.

  332. Mark, May 1, 2017 at 9:42 am:

    Any thoughts on Conestoga RTA cabinets? I don’t see them on your review page, unless they’re under another name. Thanks for the very informative web site.

  333. Paula Beatty, May 2, 2017 at 7:53 pm:

    Have you heard of Merillat Cabinets? Considering them for our kitchen. Price comparison cam in considerably less than other cabinet ps we have priced.

  334. pmcalary, May 3, 2017 at 6:21 am:

    Hi Paula,
    We give them pretty bad reviews in our 2017 cabinet review.
    Here’s the link:
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-ratings-2017-reviews-top-selling-cabinet-lines/

  335. Randy, May 4, 2017 at 10:41 am:

    Hello Paul,
    Very generous of you to provide this valuable advice. Our house has some non-standard features requiring 19″ deep base and 14″ deep wall cabs (or we knock out walls and closets). Going with painted shaker style. You’ve convinced me on 1/2″ plywood and Blumotion drawers and probably MDF door panels for durability and better ability to handle weather extremes (we live in WI). No kids in the house and our kitchen is used lightly. In light of our basic door design, paint finish, and the need for custom depths are there any brands that stand out to you? Have shopped Medallion, Schrock, and am looking at Kraftmade and Shenendoah today.
    Again, thanks for your willingness to share.

  336. pmcalary, May 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm:

    Hi Randy,
    Based on your email I think you really need to be think through what you are planing on with a good kitchen designer. While almost all semi custom cabinet lines will make wall cabinets 14″ and base cabinet 19″ using these unconventional depths will create challenges and costs that would almost certainly leave you with a less functional and more expensive kitchen than you would get doing extra construction work and using standard depth cabinets. This is where most less experienced designers error. Knowing how much more you are spending to create custom sizes and the problems that creates, such as having wall cabinets in your face when you are trying to work at your countertops, versus how much moving a wall would cost is what good kitchen designers help you weigh. When you have unusual spaces you need very experienced designers.

  337. pmcalary, May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am:

    Sorry Mark we missed this one. Conestoga doesn’t say how the backs of their cabinets are constructed and is not detailed with other construction features on line so we don’t know.

  338. Mark, May 16, 2017 at 9:41 am:

    Paul,

    Thanks for the response. Conestoga RTA specs can be found here: http://www.cabinetauthority.com/Cat_Designer/3.0_Specifications.pdf. More info here: http://www.cabinetauthority.com/catalog_access.php.

  339. pmcalary, May 22, 2017 at 7:29 am:

    Hi Mark,
    Sorry it took me a while to look at the specs. The Plywood Conestoga box is well constructed. I’d make sure I upgraded to soft close doors and drawers.

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