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Old 05-21-2008, 11:47 AM   #1
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


Well we are searching for kitchen cabinets. I was hoping to find a nice high quality used set. Basically we have a very small kitchen. (9.5x9.5)
Her plans are to paint the kitchen cabinets white so she isn't concerned with a stain. She is going to do all of the install and painting herself. I am buying the cabinets. However, her favorite cabinets have been the cheap premade, unfinished cabinets at Home Depot or Lowes. I am afraid they are too cheap and would harm the resale value of our house. I wanted to get some opinions on here about the quality and see if it would harm resale.
We had a local cabinet builder estimate the job and he isn't too bad but honestly his cabinets from the front don't look much different than the unfinished cabinets at HD or Lowes. I think the cabinets at HD are MDF sides but wood fronts. I just want to make sure I am not wasting money on bad cabinets. Thanks.

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Old 05-21-2008, 12:21 PM   #2
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


You cannot in good conscience put the terms " good, quality, re sale value" in the same paragraph as the words "Lowes and HD kd unfinished" They are junk no matter which way you want to name them

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Old 05-21-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


I've used them personally for a project at home and I didn't have a problem with them. Some will say you get what you pay for, but I was adding cabinets to our old condo and they matched the ones that were there when we bought it, so it worked out well for us.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:38 PM   #4
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


The materials and joinery methods they use in that type of mass-production cabinets isn't on par with the cabinets built by a cabinet shop. That doesn't necessarily make them junk, unless you compare them with high-end custom cabinetry. They're an economical alternative to custom cabinets and will probably serve you just fine. I don't think that the average person without an eye for such things (my wife, for instance) could tell or appreciate the difference in just looking at them.

The differences include, but are not limited to...
  1. Materials: veneered particle board or melamine as opposed to hardwood plywoods the pro's use
  2. Hardware: cheap drawer slides with nyon rollers versus quality slides
  3. Joinery: you're less likely to find dovetails, drawer lock joints, dadoes, or biscuits in the box stores' cabinets. They'll likely use a lot of nails, glue, butt joints, plastic corner reinforcers, etc.
  4. Wood quality: compare the two and it is often self-explanitory. The biggest difference I see is the quality of the plywoods.
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:35 PM   #5
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


OK ya mean I should not have used the term "junk"
Ok would "far less than desirable" be ok?
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


I bought the Lowe's cabinets with the solid oak doors. I put one up, gave it a little tug to see if it would hold some weight and it pulled off the wall leaving the back panel attached to the wall. I didn't pull hard either.

Luckily it was a small kitchen at my beach house with 5 wall cabinets so I squirted polyurethane glue in all the joints and drilled then screwed all the rear panels to the sides of the cabinets. They aren't going anywhere now.

I'm pretty sure I got a batch made by the new guy because they missed most of the joints with the glue and the back panels weren't pushed in all the way before stapling.

I've used the same cabinets before this project and after and they were all put together properly.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:51 PM   #7
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


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Originally Posted by skymaster View Post
OK ya mean I should not have used the term "junk"
Ok would "far less than desirable" be ok?
Sorry, I wasn't trying to nitpick your words Skymaster! Custom made cabinets are like a Cadillac, box store cabinets are like a Kia. They'll both get you there, but one is a lot nicer!!!
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:27 PM   #8
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


Junk by any reasonable standard.

If you open up all the boxes at your house and find all the cabinets in good working condition, consider yourself lucky. You'll likely have to take a piece or two back for replacement if you don't inspect them at the store before purchase.

It's an "economical" choice, and you get what you pay for. They feel and look cheap compared to anything new/modern in someone's house. But they aren't half bad once you finally sort through and find undamaged boxes and get them installed if you're upgrading cabinets from like the 70s in a lower end house or something. No idea what those things will look like in 5-10 years.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:46 PM   #9
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


I am not pushing custom made for sure I just feel that a person would be far better off spending on Merrilatt type which are not that much more money and far far superior to the "less than desirable" stuff I see here at Home Dumpo or Lowes. Just IMHO
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:01 PM   #10
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


I agree that you get what you pay for, but want to add a comment. The unfinished cabinets are often only $20 to $50 less per cabinet than the finished ones. Ask anyone who has stained wood and they will tell you -- pay the extra amount and get cabinets stained in the factory. You'l get an even finish without all the aggrevation.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:23 AM   #11
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How are the premade HD and Lowes Cabinets?


I would only consider those as "utility" cabinets for a storage room or garage. As other have said they are very weak and poorly constructed. I am not saying this because of the mdf boxes, as there are are many acceptable cabinets that have mdf or particle board boxes and wood fronts, this being the typical construction for most factory cabinets under true top of the line priced units; but they are bottom end on everything. Cheapest drawer slides, extremely poor drawer construction, botom end hinges, shelves that will sag without any thing on them, etc.
Since you are not talking about a lot of cabinets, I suggest looking at some of the more modestly priced factory lines(Merillat, Kraftmade,etc). All of manufacturers of what is known as "stock" lines of cabinets have modestly priced entry grades. The main thing you pay for in high end cabinets is the quality of the finish, the second thing is the hardware and drawer construction.Since you are painting them, that is a moot issue. Even though you are painting them , you pay the same price if ordered unfinished or with a standard finish choice, so order them with a "natural" finish (clearcoat only). This gets the hardest part of the prep work for painting done for you , and secondly, protects you in case the units come in with any warped door problems, as the factories specifically do not warrant unfinished doors against warpage. Spend the money on the option to upgrade the drawer boxes to wood construction (dovetail corners are preferable, but even other less expensive joinery methods are still OK, and will give a far superior drawer to mdf or particle board covered drawers. Then consider the drawer glides and hinge upgrades. The standard 3/4 extension roller glides will give you many years of service, even though they don't "feel" nearly as nice as full entension, so let that be a budget call. Same for hinges. Most manufacturers use lower priced 2 way adjustable cup hinges on their modest prices lines, althoug a few still use "knife" style hinges. Again, not as "nice" as the upgrades, but will provide decent service.


Last edited by troubleseeker; 05-25-2008 at 10:25 AM.
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