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4 Tips for the DIY Kitchen Remodeler

Let's begin with what type of cabinets you want to buy. Cabinets which come fully assembled will cost more, but they usually have a better warranty and save valuable time during a remodel. If you have a contractor you plan to use, installation costs are considerably less for assembled cabinets. Ready-to-Assemble cabinets, also known as RTAs or Knock Downs, will generally be less expensive, but can require a lot more work as well as a much larger risk of having a finished product which is damaged, out of square, or improperly assembled before it ever gets to the wall. Regardless of which type of cabinet you choose, read and follow the installation guide from the manufacturer. No one wants a voided warranty due to improper assembly or installation.

Cabinet construction matters, know your options. Standard construction is the basic option where the face frame and doors are wood or wood veneer and the cabinet box is made from furniture board with a matching melamine finish on the cabinet interior and sides.

Furniture board cabinet sides will fade or discolor over time and will not age with the cabinet doors and face frames. Furniture board also swells when it comes in contact with water. All-Plywood-Construction is an upgrade offered by most middle to high end cabinet brands. This is the strongest option. The sides of the cabinet will age at the same rate as the doors and face frame (if applicable), plywood shelves hold heavier items without sagging, and plywood is more resistant to water damage than furniture board. Some cabinet brands offer a mid-level upgrade in which the cabinet sides are upgraded to plywood This adds strength to a cabinet box and allows the cabinet sides to age with the doors and face frame.

It's important to buy from a reputable dealer. It is possible to save money by purchasing cabinets from an online store, but if you’re considering this, it may be helpful to hire an Interior Designer who specializes in kitchen designs to help you. Some online cabinet retailers offer design help, but you are relying on a person who’s never seen your kitchen and has no way to verify your dimensions. There’s peace of mind in ordering cabinets from a dealer. A reputable cabinet dealer will verify your dimensions for you and have you work with a designer to make sure your kitchen is functional and to reduce the chance of errors. These services are generally included in the purchase of the cabinets.

Always work with an experienced kitchen designer. If you’ve installed cabinets before and acted as your own designer, you may be comfortable creating your own layout and installing your kitchen without advice from a designer. If it’s your first DIY kitchen remodel, it wouldn’t hurt to purchase your cabinets from a designer you can call with questions. For tips on how to choose a designer, see our previous blog entry, “3 Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Kitchen Designer”.

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