Economical kitchen cabinets

35 Replies

I've been rehabbing one side of a duplex, and have just begun looking for kitchen cabinets.  I've read some of the cabinetry-related posts via the BP search box.

I am realizing that I know quite a lot about higher end cabinets, but very little about the inexpensive end of the spectrum.  The look of IKEA can be striking, but as soon as I open doors and drawers on the display floor models, I begin to worry about the quality.  

I've looked into a few online RTA companies, and have gotten a couple quotes for some lower end units that seemed oddly expensive.

I have nothing against using big box home store cabinets if they are decent.

What kind of cabinets are you installing on rental units?    

I just bough from clkitchens.com.  I've also heard of cabinets to go.  Good luck!

I get cabinets at Lowes, Home Depot or Habitat ReStore.  The box stores also have a scratch and dent section for cabinets and for countertops.  I usually try to keep it all under $500 if possible.  Sometimes cabinets at the habitat cost next to nothing and look great with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.

I've been using Home Depot's in stock cabinets. [Hampton Bay]

Here is my latest:

This cost me $5400. That included tear-out of the old kitchen, rewiring & plumbing, cabinets, countertops, sink, faucet, wall tile, stove, hood and dishwasher. It would have been about $300-400 less if we had used 30" uppers.

I need to rehab kitchen cabs on two units and need advice on this area too. How do others feel about granite counter tops in rentals? Are there cheaper materials that give the same nice finish? #imsuchanewbie

Granite tile countertop can be cheaper especially if you can get the $1.89/sqft tiles from Floor and Decor:

http://www.flooranddecor.com/granite-tile

Originally posted by @Danielle J.:

I need to rehab kitchen cabs on two units and need advice on this area too. How do others feel about granite counter tops in rentals? Are there cheaper materials that give the same nice finish? #imsuchanewbie

In my area, Lowes & Home Depot have been carrying some very nice laminate counters in stock. Some of them look a lot like granite. 

$177 for 12 feet isn't bad.

I'll echo what @Jassem A. said regarding granite tile. Also, I get the unfinished oak cabinets from Lowe's then stain or paint myself. My kitchen designer at Lowe's is quick to discount 20% on their in-stock off-the-shelf selection. Once a month they run 10-20% off, so if the cabinet sale isn't going on then ask when it will be. They'll give you the discount that day if they hear you won't be buying until they go on sale anyway.

Are your kitchen cabinets gone or beyond repair?  Have you looked into just replacing the doors?  Or just painting them and adding new hardware?

on counters, i've done it both ways.  I've done as @Sylvia B.  mentions and use granite like laminate.  On one flip and one rental i did like @Jassem A.  mentions with tile counter tops. one of those was the granite tiles exactly like he mentions and one was a ceramic tile.  

I really like the tiled counter tops for lower end stuff.

Only disadvantage with tile is that some tenants will find a way to break them or mess them up which is why I do laminate everything now including floors.

Originally posted by @Eric McCully:

I'll echo what Jassem A. said regarding granite tile. Also, I get the unfinished oak cabinets from Lowe's then stain or paint myself. My kitchen designer at Lowe's is quick to discount 20% on their in-stock off-the-shelf selection. Once a month they run 10-20% off, so if the cabinet sale isn't going on then ask when it will be. They'll give you the discount that day if they hear you won't be buying until they go on sale anyway.

Thanks for that insider! I need to get comfortable shopping around in both Lowes and Home Depot for home discounts!

Anyone can pay to get 10% off at Lowes using mycheapcoupons website

     Hi Kurt, I have been in the cabinet industry most of my life.  I have designed kitchens and baths, installed the cabinetry and even manufactured my own cabinetry.  I have purchased from and worked in the big box stores as well as smaller cabinetry retailors. 

     First, it depends on how high a quality you are wanting to achieve.  In my properties I strive for a good match between price and quality.  Cheap cabinets are not a good value if they fall apart in a couple of years through use. 

    

      I use American Woodmark cabinetry which I purchase from either Home Depot or Lowes, Lowes sell them by another name though, they are special order and take approximately four to six weeks for delivery.  Merrilet cabinets are along the same quality as Woodmark and are found through other retailers.  These are middle ground in quality and have a decent price.  With cabinetry you get what you pay for.   

     In stock cabinetry I only buy for commercial buildings such as Hair salons and small break rooms. 

     I also only use Granite counter tops,  They last forever, look great, and if you shop around you can find granite for a good price as I have.  Do Not Buy granite counters from the big box stores.  You will pay twice the price you could get them for elsewhere. 

     Nice kitchens and bathrooms are a great way not only to increase the value of the property but also demand a higher rent price.  It is one of my own pet peeves and I have always gotten tenants within days of advertising and the amount of rent that I have asked for.  My tenants love the properties and feel a sense of pride to live in them. 

     So unless your properties are in a war zone.  This is what I would do.   

Wow!  Thanks for all the great responses.

@Shawn Thom  unfortunately, the old cabinets were toast.  And a little gross.   Granite tiles -- I've never minded that look if it's well done -- it can look especially clean / contemporary if you use the same tile for the backsplash.

@Jassem A.  Great ideas -- I have a ReStore near me as well -- I need to get into the habit of keeping an eye on their inventory.

@Eric McCully  A 20% discount sounds worth asking for...!  Your idea of buying them unfinished has crossed my mind since they seem to be MUCH cheaper.  Any pics?

@Sylvia B.  Have you used the in-stock cabinets before in rentals?  What's your impression of general durability and quality?  My personal residence came with the Hampton Bays in the laundry room and storage rooms -- they seem fine over the last 5 years.  By the way, nice job on your remodel!

@Phillip Hunt  I must defer to your career expertise!  I will definitely check out your recommendations.  I completely agree on the granite as a means to elevate the quality of a kitchen. 

@Kurt F.   I've had good luck with them. They aren't going to hold up as well as those with plywood boxes, but I've had no issues. Years ago Home Depot used to carry a line of RTA that I wish they still had. We put them in our own home 12 years ago and have had zero issues with them. I guess as long as you don't have any major water leaks the MDF holds up just fine.

Kurt, in case you didn't realize, I save a lot of money because I design, tear out and install my own kitchens and bathrooms.  It is easier for me to take some of the money I save doing this and put it into higher quality materials. 

@Phillip Hunt  As far as the design, demo, and install --  I'm doing that as well right now -- for me it's out of sheer necessity.  Plus I enjoy it. 

   

I would go with Home Depot for Rentals and Low End Flips.  They have improved significantly over the past couple years and are actually dovetail construction drawers now.

Also being in-stock saves a lot of time ...

@Kurt F.  

if you're a Vet you 'should' also get an additional 15% off at Lowes.

But the last 2 kitchens we bought (delivery) were through Home Depot (through their Pro bid room).

I believe they were US made Komfort Kitchens.

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Sylvia B.:

... I guess as long as you don't have any major water leaks the MDF holds up just fine.

Unfortunately, kitchen and bath cabinets under a sink are places where you WILL eventually have water leaks at some point. And that will be when you discover that MDF and particle board products don't serve well in those locations. 

This post has been removed.

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Phillip Hunt :

     Hi Kurt, I have been in the cabinet industry most of my life.  I have designed kitchens and baths, installed the cabinetry and even manufactured my own cabinetry.  I have purchased from and worked in the big box stores as well as smaller cabinetry retailors. 

     First, it depends on how high a quality you are wanting to achieve.  In my properties I strive for a good match between price and quality.  Cheap cabinets are not a good value if they fall apart in a couple of years through use. 

    

      I use American Woodmark cabinetry which I purchase from either Home Depot or Lowes, Lowes sell them by another name though, they are special order and take approximately four to six weeks for delivery.  Merrilet cabinets are along the same quality as Woodmark and are found through other retailers.  These are middle ground in quality and have a decent price.  With cabinetry you get what you pay for.   

     In stock cabinetry I only buy for commercial buildings such as Hair salons and small break rooms. 

     I also only use Granite counter tops,  They last forever, look great, and if you shop around you can find granite for a good price as I have.  Do Not Buy granite counters from the big box stores.  You will pay twice the price you could get them for elsewhere. 

     Nice kitchens and bathrooms are a great way not only to increase the value of the property but also demand a higher rent price.  It is one of my own pet peeves and I have always gotten tenants within days of advertising and the amount of rent that I have asked for.  My tenants love the properties and feel a sense of pride to live in them. 

     So unless your properties are in a war zone.  This is what I would do.   

 My property missing the kitchen cab. drawers that the evicted tenant decided to take with him... yes I suppose could kinda be considered in a war zone.... 

So does anyone know what kind of cabinets these are in the photo and what the chance of buying these drawers somewhere are? What are my other (least expensive) options? Any estimates as to how much these drawers and blanks should cost? Right I need new handles too. Thanks

Nothing wrong with home depot cabinets. They are not as good quality as those made from all solid wood, but its all in how you care for them and how your kitchen is designed. Any water leaks will destroy the particle board, so make sure your plumbing is in good shape and educate your tenants on care.

As for laminate countertops. I ran out of money on my live-in flip and had to cut costs. Spending over 2k on granite had to go. So I bought the granite looking laminate from Lowe's. Cost was great - I probably spent about $350 on all countertops. The problem was that the installation was difficult for me. Nothing was perfectly square in this kitchen (old house) so the cuts were tricky. I had to buy a special blade for my circular saw and take special precautions to not chip the laminate finish when cutting. Cutting around the built in backsplash was also a learning process.

All in all it came out great but the installation took me a full day. I will most likely keep them in place for the duration of my stay (~5 yrs) and upgrade to granite before I sell.

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