A Buyer's Guide: Kitchen Cabinets

Informative step-by-step guide on how to choose your kitchen cabinets, which materials to pick, and which kitchen cabinet supplier to use.

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Do you want to buy new cabinets for your kitchen, but don't know where to begin? Well, look no further. This article will guide you through the process of choosing cabinets that are most appropriate for your kitchen and will advise you on which supplier to choose. Make a Wish List The first step is to write down a wish list of which features you would like to include in your ideal kitchen. The next step is to determine your budget. When writing your wish list, be realistic and organize the items on it in order of importance, taking into account that, depending on your budget, the items on the bottom of your list might not make it into your kitchen. For example, the first item on your list might be the very popular bottle drawers, followed by the pot drawers, and the fancy new non-slamming drawers in third and last place. Price of Cabinet Features When planning your dream kitchen, and the combination of features you would like it to include, it is important to note that the price of kitchen cabinet features increases in direct proportion to the complexity of the hardware, such as a hinge or drawer mechanism, within each item. A kitchen cabinet unit with a combination of a door and a drawer will cost more than a unit with a single door but less than a unit with three drawers. Select a Finish Next, you should consider the type of finish you would like to have on the exterior of your cabinets. The final price of your kitchen will be most influenced by the finish. There are three types from which to choose: 1. Formica - The cheapest of the three alternatives, this is simply a photograph of a wood pattern or matte color that is glued onto a plywood door. Although the patterns are now starting to resemble wood, it is still obvious that the cabinets do not have a wood finish. In terms of their design, Formica usually only comes with an unframed finish - it is virtually impossible to find a store that sells Formica with a framed exterior. 2. Veneer - A single millimeter of wood glued onto a plywood door. Veneer gives the illusion of wood while providing the strength of plywood, but for better or for worse, will not age in the same way as wood. In contrast with Formica, which is usually only available with an unframed finish, you can buy veneer cabinet doors with wooden frames, which adds a great deal from a design perspective. 3. Wood - This is the most upscale of the three choices. It will eventually show its age, but some people will say that this is part of its charm. This alternative offers the most choices from a design perspective and is available with both a regular unframed finish as well as a framed finish. Kitchen Cabinet Suppliers Now that you have decided which features you would like, as well as the type of finish, it is time to choose a supplier. The kitchen cabinet suppliers can be classified in the following three ways, the first option being the most expensive and the third option being the most economical: 1. Top tier - These are the Israeli brand-name kitchen companies, such as Regba, which claims to be Israel's oldest kitchen company, and Avivi and Ziv, which are considered the best kitchen companies in the country. These suppliers will usually offer reliable warranties and service. 2. Middle tier - These are mainly the stores of smaller and less widely known kitchen companies. This group also includes stores owned by glorified carpenters. The middle-tier suppliers will also usually offer reliable warranties and service. 3. Carpenter - This is a single serviceman who has his own shop and can customize your kitchen cabinetry. The carpenter will usually not offer reliable warranties and service. Even if a carpenter offers you a ten-year warranty, there is no guarantee that he will stay in business for that long. However, if you find that the carpenter gives you a quote that is half the price of that offered by the bigger suppliers, you might want to consider taking the risk, bearing in mind that, if necessary, you can replace your kitchen with the money you saved by not using top- or middle-tier suppliers. Exploring a Different Option Another option is to buy almost everything from a well-established supplier, and only hire a carpenter to make small customized changes. Remember, though, that if you do choose this option, you will have to ensure that the carpenter is able to match the color of the cabinets that the kitchen company supplied. This may be a difficult task for the carpenter to accomplish. Surprising But True... There is another option that might surprise readers. Consumer Reports' ranking of kitchen cabinet companies for last year rated Ikea's kitchen cabinets fourth best out of 14 kitchen cabinet suppliers in the U.S. In addition, Ikea's prices were the cheapest out of the top eight cabinet suppliers. It is important to note that Ikea sells ready-to-assemble cookie cutter style cabinets. They will not customize cabinets based on your needs, so if the Ikea cabinets don't fit perfectly into your kitchen, you may be left with unwanted gaps between your cabinets. Although Ikea offers several beautiful design choices, the main suppliers will offer a much wider selection. But if you find units in Ikea that are appropriate for your kitchen, they will only cost you a fraction of the price of the first-tier kitchen suppliers, and they carry a good warranty. A final piece of advice: unless you are a seasoned handyman, don't skimp - Ikea's installation fees are not that expensive and if you make a mistake while installing their cabinets, you might not be covered by the Ikea warranty. All in all, Ikea is a great option if you can make it work within your kitchen. In Conclusion There are several stages involved in the process of choosing your kitchen cabinets. Before you even approach a kitchen cabinet company, you need to have a firm idea of the types of features you would like to include in your kitchen. The different types of kitchen cabinets and materials vary significantly in price, so it is vital that you consider your budget. Once you have decided on the above, you are ready to choose a kitchen cabinet supplier that will be able to provide you with the quality and service that you need at a price that is right. Visit Israelhomeowner.com to view its full selection of articles. Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal or professional advice but rather a discussion of general issues. Readers are advised to receive professional advice before making any decisions or entering into transactions.