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Ikea Kitchens (?) Anyone have them? Pros & Cons
Alice Crawford
November 15, 2012 in Design Dilemma
After visiting the Ikea store I left there wanting to re-do my kitchen with drawers rather than cabinets. No longer young I find it difficult to get onto my hands and knees to search the inner depth of my cabinets looking for a seldom used item. I love the concept of drawers, makes me wonder who or why anyone ever thought a cabinet was the only way to go...like who finally thought of putting wheels on luggage, duh!
Their drawers are large and are soft closing, with lots of accesories to compartmentalize (is that a word?) Also wondering about using the kitchen with legs or a kick plate which is usually standard in the U.S. I like the look or the legs but would like to hear if there're any drawbacks. I currently have therma foil cabinets in white.
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PRO
Cancork Floor Inc.
Hi Alice. I had an ikea kitchen in Germany (you usually have to bring your own kitchen when you rent a house in Europe) and we went with the "legs" or "stand alone" pieces. I liked the look of the kitchen but the counter top was not something I would not recommend (the wood block counters need a lot of work to keep them sealed and clean). I found there was wasted space below the doors/drawers because your "cabinet system" did not go all the way to the ground. Then there were the dust bunnies and the "extras" that find their way under the cabinets. I would go all the way to the floor and get all the use out of ikea's deep drawer system as you can!
November 15, 2012 at 2:02pm     
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Alice Crawford
Thanks, you brought up a couple of things that I see might be a problem. As far as a countertop I plan on taking the plunge with granite, I would never use wood, ugh. I don't know why my good boxes can't just be retrofitted with drawers but can't find anyone willing to do the job. Would you say the quality was OK? The only thing which bothers me is the fact that they're not wood but pressed wood and glue (particle board) and that eventually crumbles when wet. If you don't believe me run your hand under the front of your sink if you have a laminate countertop, the laminate is put over MDF (medium density fiberboard). Feel how rough it's getting? That's why I'm going with granite.
November 15, 2012 at 5:06pm   
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Julie Landrum
We have a stainless IKEA kitchen and we LOVED IT. Of course part of that was because it was affordable! The stainless looks good, the drawer mechanisms are solid (yes, get drawers not cabinets- or at least a combination!), and they are nice and deep. I haven't had storage issues and we don't have that big of a kitchen. I say go for it! As far as the space underneathe the cabinets- yes, dust does collect under there but I like the way it makes the kitchen look roomier somehow. Mopping is easier I think because dirt doesn't collect there like it does when there is a baseboard. oh, and yeah, the butcher block- although I think it looks ok, IS extremely hard to keep up. GOOD LUCK!
November 15, 2012 at 5:29pm     
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Judy M
http://www.shelfgenie.com/

This company adds roll out trays and other handy items to make your cabinets more user friendly. See if there is one near you.
November 15, 2012 at 5:33pm     
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Alice Crawford
Thanks Judy, I'm going to check them out.
November 15, 2012 at 6:20pm     
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Alice,

I've installed a few Ikea kitchens and had one in my own home years ago. (I've from Britain and they're very popular there) Overall Ikea kitchens are a good value, they use Blum hardware which is excellent, and their casework is 3/4" thick melamine. Believe it or not is the most common casework used in cabinetry, whether its low, mid or in some cases high-end. (Plywood is used less and less because many clients just don't see the value in the extra cost, when the warranty is the same as melamine)

One of the downsides to Ikea cabinetry is that they're quite labor-intensive to build. Ikea certified installers charge a lot to build and install them, and if you were to use them their overall price isn't very competitive once their labor is factored in. If you're good with carpentry then you can save a great deal. Are you planning to install them yourself? If not make sure you get a detailed written quote from the contractor.

Also, we've build quite a few kitchens with toe kick drawers, in urban areas clients have to make use of every available space. They are essentially the same as regular drawers, but there are some detailing issues that need to be addressed. Here's an example of one from Houzz.


Lastly, you'd commented on not being able to find someone to retrofit your existing cabinets with drawers? Here's a good resource for inexpensive custom drawer boxes. (There are many others on the web) A good carpenter should be able to measure and install these for you quite easily.
http://www.barkerdoor.com/Dovetailed-Drawer-Boxes-s/76.htm?gclid=CKmR-rO10rMCFQhyQgodMkwAgQ

Hope this helps,
~Steve
November 15, 2012 at 6:34pm     
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Alice Crawford
Houzz is a wonderful site. Look at all the help you can get from good people.
November 15, 2012 at 6:36pm     
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Alice Crawford
Steve, thanks for all that info but I have a question for someone just like you, glad you tuned in for it.
#1 You said Melamine which is brand name. The only kind that I can think of is what is used as a laminate used with MDF, is that what you're referring to? #2 in next post to give you time to answer.
November 15, 2012 at 6:48pm   
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Alice Crawford
Steve, me again. At the present time I have cabinets which are covered with a beautiful shiny white thermofoil. From a distance it looks great but if the light hits just right on the door below the kitchen sink I'm able to see "waves" under the surface and some corners are coming loose. When I bought the kitchen through HD it came with a life-time warrenty. KraftMaid has gone belly up, so much for the warrenty. I'm vacillating ......hate to spend the extra bucks at my age especially since this stinkin' economy has caused the value of my home to decrease. But I do love those Ikea drawers!! Wouldn't it be almost as much money to have drawers built into the cabinetry as just going whole hog and doing the kitchen with drawers?? Lots of question but no one else to ask here. Thanks for spending time.
November 15, 2012 at 6:59pm   
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Alice Crawford
Steve, I checked out Barker Doors and found it to be a well made product and very, very affordable. For my needs this may be the answer. I could do it myself but the placement of the sliders on the cabinet would leave me perplexed...not sure how to match the cabinet with the drawer.
November 15, 2012 at 7:12pm   
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Alice,

I've not heard of melamine as being a brand name, but it is commonly used in cabinet construction as a coating for particle board. (Made under heat and pressure) Generally speaking it makes for a very good case, but like anything else has its limitations. (As does plywood) Many manufacturers call their version of melamine "Furniture Board" , I would imagine because it sounds nicer than melamine :o)

As for thermofoil, thats another product that I've worked with quite a bit. It is similar to melamine in how its made, but the substrate is MDF not particle board, because its a more dense and smoother material. It is affected my moisture which is usually why it de-laminates.

In general, it is almost always less expensive to retrofit a kitchen than to replace it. If you have a good, creative carpenter, cabinet maker or GC, they can modify your cabinetry to allow for new drawers, and pullouts etc. There are so many different options available with regard to hardware that you can create much of whats available in new cabinetry anyway. The key is working with the right person or people.

Hope this helps
~Steve
November 15, 2012 at 7:26pm   
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Alice,

Looks like we were writing at the same time. There are many tricks to installing the drawers correctly, and many different cabinetry scenarios. The good news is that there are also many different types of hardware available to make them fit into almost any situation. This, combined with a talented and experienced carpenter, will get you what you want.

If they have experience in doing this kind of project, they should be able to give you a ballpark price before they figure out all the details.

Steve
November 15, 2012 at 7:29pm   
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apple tree
Beautiful Remodel - when using Thermofoil, do you install heat shields? We're seriously thinking about Thermofoil, but I keep reading about heat shields. I greatly respect my cabinet seller (who doesn't think we need them), but I keep reading about them on houzz. Might want to use them to be safe? If I would buy them myself, where would I purchase them? Price? Thanks so much.
December 13, 2012 at 2:43pm   
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Alice Crawford
I had HD install my white, shiny cabinets 18 years ago, the company, I think it was Kitchen Maid, is now out of business...so much for the lifetime warrenty from HD. As far as a heat shield is concerned in some cases it's needed. In my case the builder grade oven put out a lot of heat and without the shield the foil would have warped and eventually peeled. It should have been something the HD designer should have taken into account but didn't. Early on I noticed that the cabinet drawer and door next to the oven was getting hot when I baked, thereafter I made certain to open both while baking which took them out of the "line of fire". I now have a better range and apparently the seal around the door is much better so ambient heat is no longer an issue and I keep the cabinets door and drawer close but am ever vigilant. Water and Thermofoil: At just the right angle I can see warping on the door of the cabinet which is directly under the kitchen sink...if another door was available I'd replace it but I've been unable to find one (or any other pieces). Another point....make sure you have a really, really good installer, mitered areas are separating and showing some separation! Hope this helps. I will take pictures tomorrow...currently under the weather with a cold.
December 13, 2012 at 6:05pm   
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Alice Crawford
Note to myself: Always proof read what you write before hitting "submit" !!
December 13, 2012 at 6:09pm   
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apple tree
You are so sweet - thanks so much - and hope you feel better!
December 13, 2012 at 6:10pm   
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Grace Reed
A heat shield should always be used with a thermofoil cabinet. And, the cabinet doors should be opened when the self-cleaning function is used. And, by the way, KraftMaid would be very surprised to hear they are out of business! Good luck.
December 13, 2012 at 6:59pm   
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Grace Reed
Hi Alice,
Home Depot started selling InnerMost, a frameless cabinet - like Ikea's - about a year ago. They are assembled and offer so much more storage than a framed cabinet. You can search them online and here at Houzz.
Grace
December 13, 2012 at 7:05pm   
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Appletree -

I do think its a good idea to install heat shields, if the appliance you're installing doesn't have integrated ones. Heat shields are very low profile so there really is no reason not to install them. Having said that, I feel the need for them is mostly for painted cabinetry and Thermofoil, the former because the painted finish can change color over time, even when exposed to relatively mild heat, and the latter because I've seen a fair amount of de-lamination on Thermofoil doors (usually on the back where the wrap ends as it meets the substrate. Its usually caused by moisture, but heat can do the same thing. Heat shields are going to be a good insurance policy. As much as you trust your cabinet salesperson, minimizing risk always makes sense imho :o)

As far as the material for the heat shield - for mild heat exposure, 14 to 16 gauge steel will work, most local metal shops can make these for you. The shields need to be around 3" wide by the height of the lower cabinet (around 30 1/2"). Have the metal shop drill holes in the them for you, so you can simply screw them to the sides of the cabinetry, align the front with front of the cabinet door. The metal can be painted to match your cabinetry if needed, use a high-heat exposure paint if so.

~Steve
December 13, 2012 at 7:41pm   
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Alice Crawford
OK, so it wasn't Kitchen Maid! When you get my age sometimes you even forget why you walked into the bathroom until the pee starts running down your leg. When I was younger I too thought I had all the answers, Just wait....if you're lucky!! BTW, since you're so smart, what is the name of the now defunct cabinet company? Would you like to share that too?

Another alternative to a heat shield would be a spacer. That's a 4/5" board the color of the cabinets which extends from top to bottom of the cabinets, just enough to have that boundry between the range and the cabinets.
December 13, 2012 at 11:40pm   
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PRO
3D-Tile-Design - Bertram Tasch
Hello Alice, Go for your IKEA Kitchen. Good quality for a fair price. You want regret it. ☺

Cheers Bertram
December 14, 2012 at 1:09am   
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
| am in the same situation as Alice in that I was finding it difficult to get to the back of the cabinets. Originally when we bought the house 12 years ago the builder wanted a fortune for all the upgrades so we did the major ones and have been making changes to finally get it the way I wanted it. We are currently starting phase three.

I purchased 3 sets of Grass drawer slides (you do need a gable on each side to attach the slides to so if they aren't there they need to be added. I had a handy man come in and install the slides, and then he attached my existing shelves on the slides - I personally don't need sides or a back because the things I have on the shelves are heavy and won't fall off, but if you need them then they can be built. I have to tell you - it made the world of difference. I'm sooo happy now. The slides were under 4.00 a set and the lazy susan was 50.00 so it was a very cheap fix.

I have always been hesitant to use IKEA kitchens because of their limitations in sizes, but recently did one for a client and he absolutely loves it. He didn't use them to install but found his own installer online by searching for IKEA installers and he saved about 2,000.00 in installation costs and it looks great. We paired it with a great floor, granite counters, not from IKEA and marble backsplash and WOW. So having said that I would use one again, but in terms of design costs I think I will take the advice of other designers in the area and just charge more for my time because it takes more time to fiddle around with trying to fit them into the space you have.

Good luck Alice. I can attach a photo if you need one.
December 14, 2012 at 5:14am     
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apple tree
I would appreciate a photo, if you have time.
Thank you for your help.
December 14, 2012 at 5:37am   
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PRO
Walker Woodworking
I have never had an IKEA kitchen, but I wonder if you have considered local options. A custom shop could make you any configuration you want for your layout, put it together for you, and not waste any of your space. You should buy cabinets made in America by local people and support our economy. Just a thought :)
December 14, 2012 at 6:19am     
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Billie G
We had a small Ikea kitchen with a almost black composite counter top in our rental flat in the Hague and it was good value for money! We have used our experience with the wonderful pull out drawer designs Ikea offers and implemented them in our new kitchen. I miss the countertop the most now, since we have Belgian Hardstone (similar to Granite) as a countertop and it is really awful to use. Any acidity leaves terrible marks and I have sworn I will not use it in my next kitchen. Composite is the way to go and way, way cheaper too.
December 14, 2012 at 6:23am   
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apple tree
Do you remember the almost black composite counter top?
It may be what I am looking for....

Did you have white cabinets, also?

And, yes, I do appreciate the comment on locally/regionally
made cabinets - I agree that's good for everyone!
December 14, 2012 at 6:31am     
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Billie G
@appletree. I don't seem to be able to find the counter top on the Ikea website here. I am sure that it was composite and not laminate. Our contractor installed that kitchen and I know that he loves to install Ikea kitchens. Perhaps Ikea was not making enough profit on that product and decided to change it to laminate. The cabinets were natural beech wood, if that is the correct translation from Dutch. It was really a nice little kitchen and we liked it.
December 14, 2012 at 8:21am   
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Here you go Alice.

Lots of stimulating conversation above. It's amazing and wonderful how willing everyone is to share their knowledge and expertise. You should be able to come up with something that will work for you.

Don't look at the cabinets, or shelf, or shelf liner - I haven't painted or trimmed yet, but this will give you an idea of how this works. I'm trying to make 'GREEN' choices so we reused gables we had to make new shelves as I wanted them deeper, I'm going to paint them out when I do the cabinets after Christmas. As I said, I don't need rails on the side but if you do, just have your carpenter make them.
It's got to be less expensive than an new kitchen, unless your kitchen is in bad shape, then you need to decide whether to put in a new one or not.

MERRY CHRISTMAS OR HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL
December 14, 2012 at 9:46am     
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Alice Crawford
Thanks to all of you great and (smart) guys who've helped me re-think this kitchen thing.

To Carolyn: My kitchen isn't in bad shape, I still love that super shiny white surface as much as I did when I first saw them on display 20 yrs. ago at HD in Deerfiled Bch. The room is bright so suffering through those dull, winter days is more bearable when the cabinets are white,,,,and shine! I made sure, when I bought a piece of property, that the morning sun would shine into my kitchen. I can begin the day in a relatively bright mood, if that makes sense.

If I knew then what I know now, I would NEVER have cabinets....t would opt for deep drawers. It's like the example of who was the genious who finally came up with the idea of putting wheels luggage? Like sheep, we've been schlepping those suitcases the hard way. Unfortunately, few builders think beyond a basic plan, the same mistakes are perpetuated. I learned the hard way, during a "boom" some guys who build houses aren't even carpenters.... let alone designers. In my case, my builder could have been flipping hamburgers at a fast food joint prior to signing on as one of the four assigned, exclusively, to this subdivision. If I wanted to live in this subdivision I didn't think I had a choice. Looking back, I think it shouldn't have mattered since I purchased the lot from the developer.

And then there's the matter of having a Homeowner's Association which has teeth but that's another subject for another day and for anyone who needs this kind of important stuff. : }

I understand that this is a design website but I wish I could spare young people from the mistakes the building industry forces on the public. We, consumers are spoon fed what they push and in most cases we don't know the difference. There's a lot more to buying a house than the financing. Don't allow the pretty furnished models to suck you in!! This will probably be the first and biggest INVESTMENT of your life....tread very, very carefully!! The wolf wears a toolbelt
December 14, 2012 at 11:16am     
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