powered by
Discussions
Photos
Products
Ideabooks
Discussions
Professionals
Users
Is Our Cabinetry Guy Ripping Us Off?!-Boston Area
genajie
December 31, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Our home is under construction. We are not happy with basic cabinets the builder is offering, so we went to the cabinetry place he works with and ask for "hudson door style" with "antique white color" (see below). We also asked for a spice pull-out rack to be built in and one extra cabinet containing lazy susan. He gave us a quote with additional $6000!(the allowance was only 4500 from the builder). There are about 14 cabinets, our kitchen is not big. That will give us almost extra $450 for every cabinet upgrade! We are new to everything, but I get the feeling the cabinetry guy is trying to make a very happy new year from us!!What do you think?
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Granite Grannies
Not necessarily. You cannot judge a good deal by the price alone. Builder's grade cabinets are notoriously low priced and poor quality. You're making a smart choice by getting an upgrade. Cabinet prices can vary a lot so without knowing the details on the cabinets, it's impossible to say whether you are getting a much better quality cabinet or getting ripped off. Is he custom building the cabinets? Is the building the doors and using pre-made boxes? Or is he just ordering you boxes that are the same quality as the builder grade?

Here's something to consider....how did you find that cabinet company? Were you referred? Or did you just do an online search. Of course, just looking for companies and picking one is not necessarily a bad idea (many of our clients find us that way), but in order to know if you're getting a good deal, you need to know what kind of company you're working with. Have you looked online for reviews?

Have you gotten quotes from other cabinet companies? You really should get at least one or two more on such a high-ticket item as cabinets. I really recommend asking any friends/ family / coworkers who have recently gotten cabinets who they used. Ask them about the pricing they were given and if they were happy with the quality of cabinet and installation. Another great way to get a referral is to ask the houzz community if they know anyone in your area who does quality cabinet work.

Lastly, have you asked the cabinet company why their prices are so much higher than the builders'? When quoting granite for clients with new homes, we are a good deal more expensive than the builder options for granite, but we're very competitive on the market. Many of our clients haven't gotten quotes anywhere but their builder, and they ask us why we are more expensive. We explain to them the various factors that make our granite more expensive and why those factors are important. I'm sure, if you're working with a reputable company, that they would be happy to explain why their prices are higher. If they can't come up with a satisfactory answer, then you may want to move on to a different company.

Good luck!
December 31, 2012 at 3:55PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minissimus
$10,500 is actually a very reasonable price for 14 well made, custom kitchen cabinets. Your builder's $4,500 allowance would probably cover mass produced cabinets from your local home center or their equivalent.

Go to a home center and examine the cabinets they have on display. Look at their construction details (what material are the boxes and shelves made of?) and hardware (hinges and drawer glides, not handles or pulls) to get an idea what the mass-produced state of the art is. Then get the cabinet shop to tell and show you why their cabinet construction and hardware are worth the extra money.
December 31, 2012 at 4:47PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Do your homework and make sure you know what you are getting. The price does not look bad to me - but I am assuming a good (not best) quality. It would be difficult for us as a contractor to get a mediocre set of 14 cabinets for $4500.00 - at our discount.
December 31, 2012 at 4:55PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Judith Taylor Designs
Always get two more quotes for exactly the same product. The price doesn't sound out of line and those doors are lovely. What is probably out of line is the builder basic they started with but get at least one more quote.
December 31, 2012 at 5:00PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
architectrunnerguy
$10.5K doesn't sound out of line. Two items vary widely in price while seemingly looking the same, cabinets and cars.
December 31, 2012 at 5:12PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
genajie
Thank you Guys! The cabinetry guy told us they were "stock items", not "custom made". I am pretty sure that they are the same quality as the original ones, just replaced the different paint and different type of doors. But you are right, we should talk to the guy and ask him to "itemize" the 6000 dollars. if he will be honest about it, I could post the list here.
So anyone knows a good kitchen place we could go to get the second quote?
Thanks!
December 31, 2012 at 5:30PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
designideas4me
go to home depot or lowes. Maybe find something similiar. they will give you a free quote. ask them to separate the charges into cabinet cost and labor cost.
December 31, 2012 at 5:42PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Granite Grannies
If you're going through the money and trouble to upgrade from builder's, there's no point in going to Home Depot or Lowes. They have some cabs that a little better, but not enough to bother. I don't know if there are any Amish communities around you? But, boy do they make amazing cabinets, especially for what they charge. Around here, most of the best custom cabinet makers aren't listed....you have to be referred to them. And some of them have killer prices for the incredible cabinets they make. Are you working with any other niche professionals on your home/ kitchen? We keep a list of unlisted craftsmen for our clients, whoever your working with may have something like that.
December 31, 2012 at 7:36PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Please don't go to HD or Lowes. Not good quality.

Also, need to understand that many "stock" cabinets are quite good in quality - it doesn't have to be custom to be good. There are stock lines that are full furniture grade plywood boxes (which is what a good custom shop is going to use) and wood doors/drawers. That may be the difference here - it's worth finding out.

There are also some very expensive, cheaply made cabinets that use particle board, frameless boxes - and these are some brand names that people throw out as the "top of the line". To their credit, they do have beautiful finishes.

Good for you for being willing to educate yourself. It takes some time to get through the maze and find out what you are really buying.
January 1, 2013 at 8:15AM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sacapuntaslapioz
does not seem to bad. I paid 6000 for an island cabinets most of which are housing appliances. I am in the NY area. if you want wood and extras you will pay more but your house will be worth so much more, not to mention you will like it much better,
January 1, 2013 at 8:26AM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
feeny
Note what Deborah included in her description of good quality cabinets: "furniture grade plywood boxes, and wood doors and drawers." Make sure that this is what you would be receiving with the upgrade, then get a quote from somewhere else for the exact same quality construction. Ask your builder what the cabinets he provides are made of. You might also want to get a quote or two on this same quality in custom cabinetry, just for comparison. Then you'll have all the information in front of you to make an informed decision. What you don't want to have happen is to pay more for poor quality cabinetry just because you didn't know what you should be asking about.
January 1, 2013 at 8:26AM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
designideas4me
Home depot carries Kraftmade and thomasville just to name a few and all major lines. I am sure you can show them the door you have in mind and they can match it with something comparable (Yes you need to know the specs of what its made of) and quote you a price for free. You do have to compare the same type of wood and extras( such as soft close ) but you can definitely find something comparable . Be sure to bring your exact measurements and how many you would need.
January 1, 2013 at 5:51PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Eagledzines
These are items that drive the prices in cabinets:

Drawers-Solid wood drawers are more expensive than high density fiberboard which has a thin layer of covering. It may be white or it may look like wood. Solid wood drawers that are dovetailed will cost more. Drawer bottoms that are set into a groove are better quality. Lower quality bottoms will be stapled and there is a likelihood that the bottoms will fall out eventually in at least a few drawers.

Doors: Mortise and Tenon (corners come together at right angles) are cheaper but just as good quality as mitered (diagonal corners like you have pictured.) Doors with raised panels in the middle (like you have pictured) are more expensive than doors that have flat panels in the middle. Doors that have an applied molding between the outside and the inside panel are more expensive. What you have pictured does not appear to have applied molding but is made to look that way. Doors that are high density particle board (and are actually harder than wood) are more expensive than most commonly used woods and will not shrink like wood but they are more prone to moisture problems. They have what is called a foil covering, not a paint.

There are two basic cabinet types: Framed and frameless. Framed cabinets often use an exposed hinge and as the name implies, have a part of the fame showing around the door. Frameless cabinets usually use European hinges that are self closing and sometimes self and soft closing. There is hardly any, if any at all, frame showing around the door. (Make sure your doors have bumpers on them so they don't bang when being shut.) Different manufacturers charge differently for the two types of cabinets. Some charge more for one than the other and vice-versa.

Cabinet boxes: You will probably have to ask about these as you will probably not be able to tell by looking at them. 3/4" cabinet grade plywood is definitely more expensive and is used by custom cabinet shops. It is more solid and has a hard lacquer coating. Stock cabinet companies use 1/2" and 3/8" plywood and particle board with a vinyl type covering. Stock cabinet companies use a lot of glue for construction. Custom cabinets companies use screws and glue.

Bracing: All cabinets need some sort of bracing to screw them to the wall. Custom cabinet companies will usually use 3/4" bracing. Stock cabinets often will use shabby thin bracing.

Shelving: A good cabinet will use solid plywood shelving instead of particle board which will sag over time. Look for metal shelf supports instead of plastic. Also look for adjustable shelving in the lower cabinets. Cheaper cabinets will have a fixed solid shelf on the bottom.

Drawer Slides: There are quite a few drawer slides that are good and both types of cabinets will use similar ones. However, there are features to look for: Some are made to extend the drawer only 3/4" of the way. Others are called full extension slides and will extend the drawer all the way out. These are obviously better and more expensive. Most drawer slides will self close once the drawer front get so close to the cabinet--but not all of them. Some slides are concealed on the bottom. This is for looks, not performance. Some are attached to the sides and some wrap around the bottom of the side and the bottom of the drawer. The best slides are ball bearing which is metal, the others are roller bearing and the roller is plastic. Both types are functional and last. Concealed slides are aesthetically better if you have dovetailed drawers

BTW--Lower priced cabinet lines offer fewer choices in cabinet sizes, which often will change the whole design of the kitchen.
January 1, 2013 at 8:44PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
genajie
thank you!
January 2, 2013 at 2:14AM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
feeny
Really helpful primer, eagledzines. I'm bookmarking this discussion for future reference as I think lots of homeowners renovating their kitchens could use this thorough a run down of what to look for in cabinets.
January 2, 2013 at 5:53AM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Plato Woodwork, Inc.
Suggest you take the time to find a qualified kitchen and bath dealer locally. They are experts in this field and would carry a mix of product price points. They would be able to give you very good information on what to look for at the price point you can afford and provide a design/estimate.

eagledzines had some good points, but not everything is accurate. There are too many variables in cabinetry that affect the price and it is worth the time (if you have it) to understand more of the basics upfront. We can't always have the best of everything, but we should try to get the best we can afford particularly with a product like cabinetry. Good luck with your project!
January 2, 2013 at 6:57AM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
I agree with Plato Woodwork. Some of the information above from eagledzines is not fully accurate. But most of all I agree that you would want to purchase the best cabinets that you can for the budget that you allocate. To do this takes the research and visiting a couple of different shops and asking lots of questions. Take notes at each place and also take pictures to refer back to.

Good luck.
January 2, 2013 at 7:09AM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sarahschleifer
I have purchased both Thomasville and Kraftmaid cabiners from Home Depot and was quite satisfied. As has been pointed out - within each company you can select various levels of quality. How th drawer box is made - the materials they are made out of - the types of hinges and drawer glides. Do they pull out all the way ( to give you access to the whole drawer) or do they stop about 6 inches from that. Do they close automatically when almost closed - or stay ajar. Does the door hinge slam the door? Does the door open all the way to give full access to the cabinet or stop at 90 degrees. The type of wood will affect the price - more expensive woods bring the price up. The type of stain - is it single process or with a glaze - will bring the price up. What I liked about shopping at Home Depot or Lowes was that they have every price point on display and if you ask enough questions you will learn alot. Obviously going to a specialist who only does kitchens you will get ( hopefully) a cadillac experience. But they often carry only one or two lines of cabinets. And they dont usually look to save you money. Good luck.
January 2, 2013 at 7:31AM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
genajie
We looked the specs for the upgrade, the differences are, 1. the upgrade drawers have the full extension, soft close; 2. the doors will be soft close, 3. cabinet front changes from veneer to solid wood, 4, Full overlay. 5. Nicer looking doors (from Saginaw to Hudson style: left to right). Do you still think it is worth 6000 extra? we have about 14 cabinets. Thanks guys! Really appreciate your comments. we learned a lot!
January 2, 2013 at 4:49PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judianna20
Where are you? Near Stoughton? Go to IKEA and compare. Just take a ride and look at the displays (and have a Swedish meatball lunch). You can upgrade with your countertops, hardware, appliances on your own, but the cabinets, finishes and extra touches are amazing.



Otherwise, there is an amazing cabinet maker in Sandwich who does outstanding work.
January 2, 2013 at 5:05PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
1smwolfe
Having just completed this process I can say that the amount is not out of line for 14 good quality cabinets with the features you have described: you could pay more. The question is--are you a person who thinks a 10 year old kitchen is out of date and needs to be updated. If so, don't spend the money. Put it away for the remodel you will surely need ten years from now.
January 2, 2013 at 5:08PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
feeny
I can't speak to the reasonability of the price for the upgrades as I'm not a professional and don't have enough experience, but I do think most of the items you listed are ones that matter to me. The full overlay and solid wood doors are the most important, IMO. The difference in styles doesn't seem huge to me (but I have to admit I don't like most styles beyond simple shaker doors, so I'm not a good judge on this question). The soft close, full extension drawers are great (we went with those too and love them). The only item I might not bother with is the soft close cabinet doors. When my friend put them in her kitchen she actually found them annoying. But otherwise these all seem like useful upgrades to me.

Did you find out whether the cabinet boxes on both the builder's and the upgrade are plywood (and of a comparable thickness/quality)?
January 2, 2013 at 5:10PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judianna20
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/217193/My-kitchen-is-deteriorating--

Interesting discussions about the quality of cabinets.
January 2, 2013 at 5:13PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Chroma Design
Now that you have out described the up grades, yes, this seems very fair. I always encourage people to comparison shop, just do it apples to apples. The upgraded cabinets are lovely, I hope you get them.
January 2, 2013 at 5:16PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
genajie
To Feeny:
To answer your question: "Did you find out whether the cabinet boxes on both the builder's and the upgrade are plywood (and of a comparable thickness/quality)?"
Yes. they are both plywood, and have a similar quality.
January 2, 2013 at 5:25PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
feeny
Good! That helps make the comparison clearer. I say go with the upgrades if they aren't out of your price range. In particular I think you will appreciate the aesthetic difference of the full overlay and the convenience of those drawers that pull all the way out and close gently.

Best of luck!
January 2, 2013 at 5:28PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
genajie
Thank you, Feeny! It is a little expensive for us, considering it will be our starter house. but I do spend lots of time in the kitchen, it would be very nice to have a better quality in all.
January 2, 2013 at 5:30PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
It ends up being a balancing between features and price. The change in door and drawer style is significant and the change to solid wood front. I would suspect that these two make up much of the cost difference. The softclose drawers I would do, the softclose for doors could be added later if you wanted it, but might cost more later. The full overlay is nice -are these frameless cabinets? If not, then you might want to ask about 3/4 overlay and see if there is a price difference. For me the things you listed would be worth it. Good luck.
January 2, 2013 at 5:35PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kobley
Go with the better quality. You will be happier in the end.
January 2, 2013 at 5:45PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cavecay
STOP!!!! I just heard STARTER HOUSE!!!!!! I think it's Great you're getting an education on cabinets, me too... I don't mean to be the spoiler but I remember reading something that if you don't stay within your budget and give in a few hundred here and a few hundred there it all adds up. You can have a really nice kitchen with lower grade cabinets and add hardware ,etc and it will look beautiful. Like I said, I don't mean to be the spoiler. You've gotten wonderful advice, just remember it's a "starter house". Have fun with your beautiful new kitchen.
January 2, 2013 at 6:17PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
feeny
I suppose it depends on what "starter house" means to you. We stayed in our "starter house" for 15 years.
January 2, 2013 at 6:20PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cavecay
I know "starter house" has a different meaning to everyone. I only have good intentions!!!
January 2, 2013 at 6:39PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Chroma Design
Cavecay offers a reasoned caution.
I've been in my "starter house" 9 years. Kitchens are the number one feature that sells a home. Baths are number two. Upgraded cabinets are something that adds equity to your home. But remodeling is all about balance and budget.
Good luck!
January 2, 2013 at 6:44PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Granite Grannies
Yes, starter home budget. But if you can afford it, doing it right the first time, even in a starter home, means you won't have to replace as much down the road. This makes for a more environmentally sound house (not designing with the intention of tearing it all our in 10 years), and like others have mentioned, will definitely increase the value of your home. Not to mention, you are going to live in it for however many years. And while, yes it's good to think about resale, you are trading your hard earned money for this home, and you should make sure you enjoy it while you are there. You may even find that a starter home approached with an attitude of permanence and quality can last you many more years (in terms of comfort and size) than a starter home that was always treated like a transitional home.
January 2, 2013 at 8:01PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cavecay
I agree, You have ask yourself how many years your going to live there. Bottom line, you have to be HAPPY in your home......
January 2, 2013 at 8:24PM     
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
designideas4me
I would buy that kitchen for 10,500. But my kitchen is bigger and will cost more. When you say 14 cabinets what does that mean in terms of dimensions? what are the overall dimensions the cabinets will fill? Thats a good quality product it sounds like.
January 2, 2013 at 10:52PM   
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Eagledzines
Another thing that will drive the price of cabinets is the showroom sale and involves your taste:
1) Your choice of wood. More expensive wood does not mean better quality wood. (with the exception of pine which is a softwood and dents easily. If you want the look of pine, try an Alder or Knotty Alder. It is a hardwood and looks similar).
2) Moldings on the top and the bottom of cabinets, corbells, pillasters and other ornamental items that do not add to the quality of the cabinets but to the looks.
3) Glass doors and shelves, interior lighting, light rails, pullouts on the bottom, appliances such as turntables, trash pullouts, silverware trays can sell for a premium.
4) Your choice of finishes. Some do entail more work such as a glazed finish. Some stains entail spraying, some wiping and some a combination of both. Higher cost is justified but is a matter of taste.
January 3, 2013 at 6:46AM   
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help design my country/vintage/modern idk what it is kitchen!
okay, here is my kitchen. Just had the granite installed...
Best way to keep shower glass clean?
Do you have any tips or tricks to keeping shower glass...
Experienced dog owners,please help !
We got a puppy ,she is 4 months old now and my life...
Having Problems putting some order in my bed room!
Hi everyone! Right now im having a hard time trying...
what is missing?
I'm starting a furniture line focused on maximizing...
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.