Recalling a time when the cabinet industry was less transparent. If you are buying kitchen cabinets this blog originally from 2011 is a valuable read.
Note: Since posting “If you are buying kitchen cabinets, beware” 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 a more recent bog below that reviews current cabinet brands:
Here is the original blog from March 2011
Kitchen cabinet buyers need reputable, professional assistance for many reasons including safety (see the blog below), 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 (and again many times after) 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 this, but even the most expensive frameless lines such as Poggenpohl are nowhere near as durable as any well-made framed cabinetry.
When buying kitchen cabinets it’s important to know that 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 when you are buying kitchen cabinets.
The Main Line Kitchen Design team wishes everyone a wonderful new year and the best kitchens possible …… and of course Bon Appetit!
Main Line Kitchen Design