Who's using IKEA cabinets? Talk me out of using them!

61 Replies

So we're a few flips in now and we've only used IKEA cabinets with the soft close hinges. They look good and work well but our contractors hate them due to the assembly time. We're probably getting dinged by the contractor for the assembly time too but, outside of that, the cost and quality seems comparable to cabinets I'm seeing sold locally by cabinet distributors. 

Thoughts? Any suggestions on where to get the best quality and price on cabinets in Philadelphia area? I'd love to try something else.

Dose IKEA not offer the assemble onsite at your location. For my ikea they have it at like $100 assemble and 75+ for install.

Hey Troy-

Have you looked into the places on and down below Washington Ave.?  There are a ton of places in that area that have good, cheap cabinets.  Plus pretty close to Fishtown where you guys were flipping.  We got some for our own house when we lived in East Falls.  We used a place on Moore St. called Woodcraft.  Dinky place but surprisingly nice (and relatively inexpensive) stuff.  But there are plenty of places down there to choose from!  Hope this helps.

Tim

I use the preassembled cabinets from Home Depot or Lowe's.

Soft close hinges are a bad idea as they need to be adjusted and tenants will not treat them kindly imo

Hello All,

I've used IKEA cabinets in two properties. I've purchased them, along with 3 appliances and granite counters to take advantage of their 30% off sale - which typically starts up in February and goes thru April?

Yes, it can take time to build them.  You can pay someone else, but after building the first one, the subsequent ones build pretty easy.  I ordered two kitchens at once and ended up with a delivery of over 120 boxes of 'parts'.  It seems like a daunting task at first, but worth it. 

I do not like the way they "hang" their wall cabinets - on a rail.

I will be renovating my own kitchen this year and most likely revisiting a couple other local kitchen cabinet suppliers.  I used Home Depot as a source for an upscale job on one of my previous primary home kitchens and were very satisfied with the quality and value.

I used IKEA's kitchen design program to come up with the new plan. Works OK. It gives me the room platform and design ideas I will take to Home Depot and a local boutique cabinet supplier for cost comparison.  IKEA's prices seem to have gone up more than I would have expected over the past 2-3 years.

I believe you can get the 'soft-close' drawers/doors with most any cabinet maker today.

Good luck!

Cheers,

John

I don't like that they use particle board for the main cabinet. You know it's only a matter of time before those doors are falling off.

They are twice as expensive as regular made cabinets, even home depot are 20% more expensive. There are cabinet warehouses in most metros in my opinion, don't google custom cabinets, they will be more expensive. Soft close is a plus, it is simply a component of the drawers, for a flip, it is ok since they don't go to tenants.

Originally posted by @Andy Robison :

Dose IKEA not offer the assemble onsite at your location. For my ikea they have it at like $100 assemble and 75+ for install.

 I'm sure they do but scheduling that into a full gut rehab is just another step to get screwed up :) I like having fewer parties involved!

Originally posted by @Timothy Godfrey :

Hey Troy-

Have you looked into the places on and down below Washington Ave.?  There are a ton of places in that area that have good, cheap cabinets.  Plus pretty close to Fishtown where you guys were flipping.  We got some for our own house when we lived in East Falls.  We used a place on Moore St. called Woodcraft.  Dinky place but surprisingly nice (and relatively inexpensive) stuff.  But there are plenty of places down there to choose from!  Hope this helps.

Tim

 Tim, there are plenty to choose from down there and that's the problem, too many choices! I'll check out Woodcraft, thanks! 

Originally posted by NA Beard:

I use the preassembled cabinets from Home Depot or Lowe's.

Soft close hinges are a bad idea as they need to be adjusted and tenants will not treat them kindly imo

 I don't disagree but these are for flips, not rentals, so soft close is a must have.

Originally posted by @John Lampertius :

Hello All,

I've used IKEA cabinets in two properties. I've purchased them, along with 3 appliances and granite counters to take advantage of their 30% off sale - which typically starts up in February and goes thru April?

Yes, it can take time to build them.  You can pay someone else, but after building the first one, the subsequent ones build pretty easy.  I ordered two kitchens at once and ended up with a delivery of over 120 boxes of 'parts'.  It seems like a daunting task at first, but worth it. 

I do not like the way they "hang" their wall cabinets - on a rail.

I will be renovating my own kitchen this year and most likely revisiting a couple other local kitchen cabinet suppliers.  I used Home Depot as a source for an upscale job on one of my previous primary home kitchens and were very satisfied with the quality and value.

I used IKEA's kitchen design program to come up with the new plan. Works OK. It gives me the room platform and design ideas I will take to Home Depot and a local boutique cabinet supplier for cost comparison.  IKEA's prices seem to have gone up more than I would have expected over the past 2-3 years.

I believe you can get the 'soft-close' drawers/doors with most any cabinet maker today.

Good luck!

Cheers,

John

 John,

I've heard HD is a little more expensive than the smaller local places. I'd be careful about boutique, that just means more $$$!

Originally posted by @Matt Roberts :

I don't like that they use particle board for the main cabinet. You know it's only a matter of time before those doors are falling off.

 I'd certainly prefer solid wood but I have IKEA cabinets in my quadplex I live in and they've held up fine for almost 9 years now. The only issue I have is the glass paneled doors are heavy and the miters in the cabinet doors are opening up. I need to open them up, glue, square, and clamp...just haven't gotten around to it yet. Other than that they've held up well in all the units. 

Originally posted by @Manolo D. :

They are twice as expensive as regular made cabinets, even home depot are 20% more expensive. There are cabinet warehouses in most metros in my opinion, don't google custom cabinets, they will be more expensive. Soft close is a plus, it is simply a component of the drawers, for a flip, it is ok since they don't go to tenants.

 I definitely need to branch out to some smaller local distributors, I know I can save some money that way, thanks! 

Originally posted by @Troy S. :
Originally posted by @Matt Roberts:

I don't like that they use particle board for the main cabinet. You know it's only a matter of time before those doors are falling off.

 I'd certainly prefer solid wood but I have IKEA cabinets in my quadplex I live in and they've held up fine for almost 9 years now. The only issue I have is the glass paneled doors are heavy and the miters in the cabinet doors are opening up. I need to open them up, glue, square, and clamp...just haven't gotten around to it yet. Other than that they've held up well in all the units. 

 You can get plywood cabinets for the same price as particle board and they're  probably more reliable. But who knows maybe ikea uses strong particle board or something. 

We've used Ikea in the past. Done quite a bit of it, actually. I know them better than I want to, so here it goes -

PROS -
* Easy to pick up if you're missing a piece
* Excellent value for hardware options. Doing fancy hardware combinations would be twice as much from a conventional manufacturer (Pull outs, pull downs, etc.)
* Typically immediately available
* Good longevity for regular human use (Not low-grade tenants)
* Doors are super easy to replace if you need to replace something or change styles later
* The rails are affordable. Frameless cabinets need to be installed on rails, and something from a 'real' manufacturer costs 2x.
* It's very easy to price as a layman
* The homeowner can customize to their heart's content. One time we flipped a house with Ikea and gave the homeowner a $1000 gift card for a full-price offer... and it worked.
* If the cabinets are installed correctly, they're good and sturdy.

CONS -
* Easy to pick up... until that one piece you need is unavailable and will take 6 months to get to you from China.
* Contractors hate them and it's virtually impossible to bill enough to cover assembly.
* It's almost impossible to wrap a typical installer's (or carpenter's) brain around the assembly method. If you weren't a Lego kid, you're basically SOL. Putting together a full kitchen is more like putting together the world's most challenging Lego kit than it is normal carpentry or cabinet work.
* Logistically, they suck. The delivery sucks. The waiting in line sucks. I've never had a kitchen or anything else delivered 100% accurately... there's always parts missing, and half of someone's bed mixed in. 
* Did I mention that waiting in line SUCKS. Someone is going to spend hours dealing with the incomplete or inaccurate delivery.
* Their design software is a total POS. My kitchen and bath people typically run 20/20 and scream bloody murder at the screen when running the Ikea software. 
* The crappy design software makes it very hard to do anything beyond basic, straight layouts.
* The crappy design software and the batching of some parts (like hinges) invariably means that you are going to end up with too many hinges.
* For a frameless cabinet, the reveals are large and unsightly. Granted, that may not matter most of the time... but it will never compare to a good quality frameless cabinet.
* The plastic feet suck, the toe kick sucks worse. We usually end up ripping down 2x6s to make runners for the base cabinets, and then nailing 1x4 in for toe kick.
* The toe kick is sold in absurdly short lengths, making a really clean install of toe kick impossible.
* The parts are downright fragile in the boxes. We've never gotten through a delivery or install without something being damaged in the box either from being dropped, or bending down the middle, or whatever. 
* The last kitchen we did came in 997 (actual number) individual parts/boxes/bags. The delivery guys give zero ***** about sorting things accurately, and so just sorting the parts takes hours and a decent logistical brain.
* Doing that kind of sorting in a small, crowded, dusty, hot, cold space is awful.
* In order to figure out what parts are missing from the delivery BEFORE you need the parts, the only viable option is to have someone stand in front of the delivery truck with your own bill of lading and manually check off every piece that comes out of the truck. Not only do the delivery people hate this, the person tasked with the job will be ready to sit in a hot bath and slit their wrist once it is all over.

Recently used Lily Ann cabinets for a flip, and was extremely happy with quality for the price. I assembled them onsite for the crew to hang. Ask for a discount when ordering!

Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis :

We've used Ikea in the past. Done quite a bit of it, actually. I know them better than I want to, so here it goes -

PROS -
* Easy to pick up if you're missing a piece
* Excellent value for hardware options. Doing fancy hardware combinations would be twice as much from a conventional manufacturer (Pull outs, pull downs, etc.)
* Typically immediately available
* Good longevity for regular human use (Not low-grade tenants)
* Doors are super easy to replace if you need to replace something or change styles later
* The rails are affordable. Frameless cabinets need to be installed on rails, and something from a 'real' manufacturer costs 2x.
* It's very easy to price as a layman
* The homeowner can customize to their heart's content. One time we flipped a house with Ikea and gave the homeowner a $1000 gift card for a full-price offer... and it worked.
* If the cabinets are installed correctly, they're good and sturdy.

CONS -
* Easy to pick up... until that one piece you need is unavailable and will take 6 months to get to you from China.
* Contractors hate them and it's virtually impossible to bill enough to cover assembly.
* It's almost impossible to wrap a typical installer's (or carpenter's) brain around the assembly method. If you weren't a Lego kid, you're basically SOL. Putting together a full kitchen is more like putting together the world's most challenging Lego kit than it is normal carpentry or cabinet work.
* Logistically, they suck. The delivery sucks. The waiting in line sucks. I've never had a kitchen or anything else delivered 100% accurately... there's always parts missing, and half of someone's bed mixed in. 
* Did I mention that waiting in line SUCKS. Someone is going to spend hours dealing with the incomplete or inaccurate delivery.
* Their design software is a total POS. My kitchen and bath people typically run 20/20 and scream bloody murder at the screen when running the Ikea software. 
* The crappy design software makes it very hard to do anything beyond basic, straight layouts.
* The crappy design software and the batching of some parts (like hinges) invariably means that you are going to end up with too many hinges.
* For a frameless cabinet, the reveals are large and unsightly. Granted, that may not matter most of the time... but it will never compare to a good quality frameless cabinet.
* The plastic feet suck, the toe kick sucks worse. We usually end up ripping down 2x6s to make runners for the base cabinets, and then nailing 1x4 in for toe kick.
* The toe kick is sold in absurdly short lengths, making a really clean install of toe kick impossible.
* The parts are downright fragile in the boxes. We've never gotten through a delivery or install without something being damaged in the box either from being dropped, or bending down the middle, or whatever. 
* The last kitchen we did came in 997 (actual number) individual parts/boxes/bags. The delivery guys give zero ***** about sorting things accurately, and so just sorting the parts takes hours and a decent logistical brain.
* Doing that kind of sorting in a small, crowded, dusty, hot, cold space is awful.
* In order to figure out what parts are missing from the delivery BEFORE you need the parts, the only viable option is to have someone stand in front of the delivery truck with your own bill of lading and manually check off every piece that comes out of the truck. Not only do the delivery people hate this, the person tasked with the job will be ready to sit in a hot bath and slit their wrist once it is all over.

Great summary and now it's much clearer why my GC bit*he$ up a storm every time we use them! 

First time we used them our order was short two doors. No biggie, I call up the local IKEA to pull them and I'll run over and grab them. You CAN'T call a store. They don't list the number, it's all online. So, the website shows a couple in stock so I hop in the whip and run over. 

After a frustrating trek through the rats maze that is an IKEA store I get to where these things should be. Shelf is empty. Find an associate and they tell me there are 4 in stock but they're on the top rack, which can only be accessed off hours with picking equipment so they don't crush a customer if they drop a pallet.

Fine, I want two of these cabinet doors and I'll be back to get them tomorrow morning. Next morning I show up, no cabinet doors. Jokes on me, they showed 4 in stock but they actually have none and there's no date to restock. I ask the associate to hop online and find them at the next closest store. No go, sold out from here to CA and they're discontinuing them. At this point, I've got a kitchen 99% done, and we're listing the property in a week or so. Luckily my partner finds one store in CA with a couple left. IKEA won't ship between stores, even when it's their mistake. My partner has to use task rabbit and we hire someone in CA to go to the store, purchase the needed doors, and UPS them to us. Yep, that should've been the last time we used IKEA, thanks for reminding me!!!

Originally posted by @Troy S. :
Originally posted by @Aaron McGinnis:

--- Snip---

Great summary and now it's much clearer why my GC bit*he$ up a storm every time we use them! 

First time we used them our order was short two doors. No biggie, I call up the local IKEA to pull them and I'll run over and grab them. You CAN'T call a store. They don't list the number, it's all online. So, the website shows a couple in stock so I hop in the whip and run over. 

After a frustrating trek through the rats maze that is an IKEA store I get to where these things should be. Shelf is empty. Find an associate and they tell me there are 4 in stock but they're on the top rack, which can only be accessed off hours with picking equipment so they don't crush a customer if they drop a pallet.

Fine, I want two of these cabinet doors and I'll be back to get them tomorrow morning. Next morning I show up, no cabinet doors. Jokes on me, they showed 4 in stock but they actually have none and there's no date to restock. I ask the associate to hop online and find them at the next closest store. No go, sold out from here to CA and they're discontinuing them. At this point, I've got a kitchen 99% done, and we're listing the property in a week or so. Luckily my partner finds one store in CA with a couple left. IKEA won't ship between stores, even when it's their mistake. My partner has to use task rabbit and we hire someone in CA to go to the store, purchase the needed doors, and UPS them to us. Yep, that should've been the last time we used IKEA, thanks for reminding me!!!

The problem is, that experience is 100% typical. As I said, we've installed a number of kitchens, baths, closets with Ikea... ALL of them have required at least 1 return trip to the store and between 10 and 30 wasted man hours dealing with a system designed to cater to Joe and Sally Homeowner who don't care about time or logistical efficiencies and will likely never do another kitchen this decade.

We came to the place where we just say "no" to Ikea for that exact reason.

@Aaron McGinnis ,

"Not only do the delivery people hate this, the person tasked with the job will be ready to sit in a hot bath and slit their wrist once it is all over."

Don't sugar coat it, tell us how you really feel!

LOL Thanks for the laugh

My partner and I use "Quality's Home Center". (Not a typo. There must be a guy named Quality somewhere.) They are located at 18th and Washington. On our first flip we must have had the same kitchen layout priced at 15 different places on Washington Ave, and Quality's came out as the best value. Jack is the guy running the show, and he is very helpful and willing to work with investors.

BTW, we do always use Ikea hardware. They seem to have a good selection of moderately priced, modern looking handles and knobs.

Originally posted by @Dennis Drury :

My partner and I use "Quality's Home Center". (Not a typo. There must be a guy named Quality somewhere.) They are located at 18th and Washington. On our first flip we must have had the same kitchen layout priced at 15 different places on Washington Ave, and Quality's came out as the best value. Jack is the guy running the show, and he is very helpful and willing to work with investors.

BTW, we do always use Ikea hardware. They seem to have a good selection of moderately priced, modern looking handles and knobs.

 Good to know Dennis, I'll definitely find Mr. Quality! 

@Aaron McGinnis nailed it. I love ikea but their kitchens logistically suck.

If none of your competition has soft close doors, etc.  You are kinda taking on the logistical problems to save money to over improve the property. If all your competition has high end cabinetry, it could be a way to use lower cost materials that offer the same feel as something much more expensive.

Had a guy on site for about 2 weeks just building the things.  It took a while to get all the doors level and true with each other, they are very tight so misalignments Telegraph and show up on the top or bottom drawers or in weird ways.  

We had a carpenter wrap them with wood to mimic the countertop and build out frame boxes to set them on instead of using the ikea feet.

I believe all those cabinets were about 1800, and the doors were 2200.  We got this on the 20% off sale and were out the door including countertops for about 7k.  On the low end, if you are comparing them to off the shelf cabinetry it for sure isn't worth it.  Comparing them to comparable cabinets on higher end flips.  That is where ikea's prices start to shine.  

Originally posted by @Tyler Weaver :

@Aaron McGinnis nailed it. I love ikea but their kitchens logistically suck.

If none of your competition has soft close doors, etc.  You are kinda taking on the logistical problems to save money to over improve the property. If all your competition has high end cabinetry, it could be a way to use lower cost materials that offer the same feel as something much more expensive.

Had a guy on site for about 2 weeks just building the things.  It took a while to get all the doors level and true with each other, they are very tight so misalignments Telegraph and show up on the top or bottom drawers or in weird ways.  

We had a carpenter wrap them with wood to mimic the countertop and build out frame boxes to set them on instead of using the ikea feet.

I believe all those cabinets were about 1800, and the doors were 2200.  We got this on the 20% off sale and were out the door including countertops for about 7k.  On the low end, if you are comparing them to off the shelf cabinetry it for sure isn't worth it.  Comparing them to comparable cabinets on higher end flips.  That is where ikea's prices start to shine.  

That is a gorgeous kitchen! I'm tagging my partner and design guru @David Ross so he can check this out. What's the flooring? 

We're not playing in the cheap end of the pool any more so everything we'll do flip-wise will require soft close for sure. We don't have anything lined up that needs true "custom" cabinets yet but it's not out of the question in the future. I went through several houses with a prospective GC yesterday and he showed me several ranges of cabinets they'd used, two from local distributors and the last being custom built for the kitchen. I honestly couldn't tell the difference in any of them. What is the difference? 

Cabinetry often times comes back to the manufacturer. Installation is important, but manufacturer more so.

(Fair disclaimer, we are a distributor for CWP, Wood Harbor, Wellborn, and Wolf cabinets)

The advantage to a big, established player (like any of the above) come to things like -

* Quality of finish (Paint in a controlled shop is way different than paint at some guy's uncontrolled shop)
* Warranty
* Quality control of doors and boxes
* Quality of construction
* Service and Logistics
* Quality of hardware

When you're talking about local manufacturers, they're oftentimes not building in an environmentally controlled environment. This means that doors and boxes are going to shift and move as humidity changes, and paint finish is probably closer to a hand sprayer than a controlled and baked-on finish (Think rattlecan paint job vs. factory on your car)

There's also the question of design. A good cabinet shop/distributor is going to be running a good program like 2020 or Prokitchen (Although 2020 is more of the industry standard), which (hopefully) means less potential problems with the layout. 

Most manufacturers are only 'sort of' custom... boxes come in 3" width increments from about 9 inches to 48 inches. The really fancy manufacturers doing 'true custom' or 'super custom' will manufacture any size you want... sometimes this means half inch increments, sometimes it means "Anything you draw in CAD"

(This, by the way, is another problem with Ikea... they do have limited box sizes and especially limited corner box sizes)

Last note: Please resist the urge to buy Chinese flat-pack cabinets. I know they're cheap, but you really are getting exactly what you paid for.

Ikea cabinets are simply cheaply made and a pain to install.  We routinely turn those jobs down at HandyANDY and ask the client to consider a different product.  You can probably find an installer through thumbtack who specializes in Ikea stuff...so many millenials buy this stuff but can't put it together.  That's probably your answer but once you've done a couple of them....it's pretty straightforward as long as all of the parts are there.

I think you will find a much better value if you shop around a bit....you can find hardwoods with plywood boxes at pretty decent prices.  You'll save some money, save some headaches, keep your contractor happier and have something to highlight in your flip listings.....real cabinets

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here