Remodeling can be an overwhelming project. Everyone has heard the horror stories from friends and neighbors about a home renovation project gone bad. Soaring budgets, never ending projects and unforeseen setbacks can turn any renovation into a nightmare. Kitchen cabinets can also be a major source of confusion and stress. Not only is the market full of styles and options, the list of local and international manufacturers is huge. Picking cabinets to live with for years can seem an impossible task.
Fortunately, the process isn’t as frightening as it seems. By breaking down the main differentiators between domestic and imported cabinets, homeowners can start to understand how to build their dream kitchen. This guide will examine domestic and imported cabinetry and explain some of the major differences and features of each.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of cabinetry made in the USA. Domestic cabinets typically feature greater quality than many cabinets made overseas. The proximity to the manufacturer ensures that customers buying cabinets made in America typically have better access to the source, and a greater chance of support, returns, and customer service than customers who purchase from overseas. Domestic cabinet makers mostly use either solid wood or pressed board construction, depending on the desired style and price. While domestic made cabinets might not be the least expensive on the market, buyers have the advantage of enforceable warranties, direct contact with the manufacturer, and world class quality.
The quality of cabinets made overseas varies significantly. At the low end, cheap imported cabinets are poorly built using substandard materials and hasty construction. On the other end, high grade imported cabinets can rival the quality of domestic made brands. Consumers face additional risk from imported cabinets as quality control in overseas factories is often low. Contamination from hazardous materials like lead is a potential risk, particularly among products imported from China. Furthermore, the distance and language barrier can make customer service a difficult endeavor for many. While the price point of some imported cabinets is lower than US made counterparts, the quality, service and reliability is never guaranteed.
Quality and Value – No Guarantees!
Like Chinese cabinetry, European cabinets vary in quality, cost, and beauty. Known for their exquisite doors and beautiful finishes, Italian makers deliver old world quality at a premium. Various factors, including the cost of shipping bulky items overseas can contribute to a higher overall cost for imported kitchen cabinets. Overseas companies aren’t as accessible for returns and quality issues as domestic brands. Some European cabinetmakers on the other hand have dedicated US distribution networks, meaning customers can get the quality of Italian kitchen cabinets with the service of a familiar home-grown company.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, each homeowner has different factors when deciding on the perfect cabinets. Price, availability, and quality, all influence the product’s attractiveness. Although it may seem overwhelming, taking time to study the manufacturers, styles, and components, consumers can find the perfect cabinets for their budget.