You’ve identified a cabinet maker with a great portfolio and reviews, but what next? Cabinet makers are part artisan and part contractor with various skills, specialties and levels of customer service. New cabinets in the kitchen offer some of the best ROI compared to other home upgrades, so make this investment count. Cabinets come with endless options for design and features, and are easily the costliest part of your kitchen. Make the most of them by asking your potential cabinet maker the following key questions.
- How do you assemble the cabinets? There are many ways to do this, like gluing or pocket screwing for extra durability. Some cabinet makers keep costs low by choosing stapled cases, and there’s nary a drop of glue in sight. These cheap shortcuts won’t last. Specifically ask if face nails are part of the plan, too, since these can cause ugly, permanent marks. You want a cabinet maker who uses glue and pocket screws only.
- What finishes do you offer and where is this done? Ideally, you want cabinets finished in a shop, not in your home. The use of chemicals and VOCs are often necessary to get the look you want, but you don’t want those chemicals floating around your kitchen. No-door or glass-door cabinets should have matching shelves. Ideally, cabinet installation will include caulking and crown molding (if requested) in order to hide nail holes.
- What materials do you use? Both solid wood and solid wood core plywood are acceptable. Plywood is great for the boxes, and hardwood is fantastic for the face. However, if you hear particle board mentioned for the boxes, it’s time to try another cabinet maker.
- What hardware is available? Choose undermount soft-close if it’s in your budget. Great hardware means drawers and doors that open easily. Soft-close is great to avoid banging, and you can rest easy knowing quality hardware will last for years. Ask if cast pewter is used (which is cheap and tends to fall apart) or if cold rolled steel is available (the best option).
- Tell me about the slide-out shelves and drawers. The strongest drawers are dovetailed, especially with solid wood for the sides. No quality cabinet maker should use MDF (medium density fiberboard), since it’s not structurally sound for cabinetry.
- Do you do the design/shop drawings? You’re responsible for understanding all parts of the drawings, and there’s no such thing as too many questions or too many details.
Finally, don’t forget to ask about installation being included. It’s not a given. This hidden cost might put you way over budget.
For local, superior cabinetry, depend on Swirl Woodcraft. Contact their cabinet makers today to discuss your project and get on track to bringing it to life.