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Kitchen Cabinets

fromPok | Posted in General Questions on

Experts – Any suggestion on buying quality kitchen cabinets at reasonable price.
Anyone has experience with MDF kitchens like wrens. From what I read, MDF & Water don’t go well together and cabinets get destroyed easily. Any realword users with wrens kitchens?

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  1. rockies63 | | #1

    Well, if you want quality cabinets that are a good price and have loads of functionality, why not get Ikea Sektion? I'm serious. They use top of the line Blum hardware, have tons of options for the cabinet configurations, interior organizers, and if you don't like any of the door options you can go the Semi-handmade route and get custom doors that fit the Sektion boxes. One thing often not discussed with going with an Ikea kitchen is that should you damage a door you can pop it off and pick up an exact replacement at the store - you typically can't do that with other companies.
    One thing I would recommend is skipping the plastic levelling legs and building your own wood bases to support the cabinets. There are lots of video on Youtube on how to "harden" and improve an Ikea cabinet install.
    Build Your Own Sektion Base.

  2. matthew25 | | #2

    There are some decent RTA cabinet manufacturers that use full plywood boxes out there. Close friends of ours used this manufacturer linked below. They even use dovetail boxes. We considered them for a kitchen remodel and they offer free design and take-off services but we ultimately found a local cabinet maker that was just as cost competitive and offered more customization.

  3. Expert Member
    Akos | | #3

    +1 on Ikea. I have installed a fair bit of Ikea kitchens including my own. Solid design, quality hardware and quick to install. Their pantry cabinets also work great as custom built in storage.

    The only water issue you can have is around a sink cabinet and there are ways working around that.

    I find the leveling legs work fine for any base cabinet provided the back rail is used, where you want something better is for an island.

  4. fromPok | | #4

    I thought Ikea is all MDF. From what I read water + mdf == bad choice. Kitchen there can be a leak at some point in the lifetime of kitchen.

    1. kewilso3 | | #5

      This is true but the large faces are all coated, leaving the edges as your most vulnerable area for water damage. You could probably coat the edges before assembly to mitigate this risk. I have an Ikea kitchen that was about $20k less than my 'mid-grade' estimate from the contractor, and I had a pipe burst one morning under the sink. The cabinet filled with water and all the interior surfaces were coated by the spray. Turned the water off, wiped it out, fixed the pipe, and all is well 5 years later. If the leak had gone unnoticed it could destroy the cabinet, sure, but I could order a whole new box for a couple hundred bucks and replace it on the weekend. Could do that 100x before approaching contractor price for the cabinets.

  5. brooksbend | | #6

    I remodeled my kitchen last year and used Cabinet Joint ready-to-assemble cabinets. Fully custom, quality quality quality and they make the assembly easy with design and tons of videos for someone who has basic carpentry skills.

    I’m sure prices have changed but I did my whole kitchen, with 9 units, for 5000. It would have been another 1000 to get them painted but I sprayed them myself.

    They are all solid plywood boxes. You can get either mdf faces or solid maple, same price. Went with mdf because they’re more stable but if I did it again I’d probably do maple for durability. But the mdf has been great.

    1. nynick | | #7

      +1 on The Cabinet Joint.
      I bought one bathroom vanity as a test cabinet and was thrilled with the quality, fit and finish. They're not the least expensive option but give you first rate cabinets at Home Depot prices. Yes you have to assemble them and it takes a little time, but they're not the imported RTA crap that you can find all over the internet.

    2. Expert Member
      DCcontrarian | | #8

      I've also used Cabinet Joint and been pleased. I generally like ready-to-assemble. Most of the time I work by myself or with one helper. Assembled cabinets are a pain to store and move. With RTA I can move even the largest cabinet by myself by taking it in pieces, they're easier to store until I'm ready to install them and I can assemble them in the room they're going to be installed in which minimized the amount of moving of the cabinet.

      The downside is you have to assemble them, but they're less expensive so it evens out. The Cabinet Joint cabinets assemble pretty easily. For lower budget jobs I've used Discount Kitchen Direct ( ), their stock size cabinets are very reasonably priced. They're a little harder to assemble than the Cabinet Joint ones but it's still something a handy person can do.

      All cabinets will get damaged by water, the approach shouldn't be to make the cabinets waterproof but instead to limit how water can get to them.

  6. jollygreenshortguy | | #9

    I haven't used Wren. Like others I've used Ikea with perfectly acceptable results.
    My suggestion for any brand/type of cabinet is to provide a little extra attention to the sink cabinets. I can think of 2 approaches.
    1. Get a local metal shop to make some stainless steel pans with a nice, tight fit in the bottom of your sink cabinet, or...
    2. Do what I did. Get a roll of some really good quality 6" roofing tape (UV resistant) and tape the joints between the cabinet bottom and sides, extending the tape up the sides 3".

    Both solutions are invisible with the cabinet doors closed.

    By the way, get a stainless steel pan for under your dishwasher as well.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #10


      That's good advice that is too frequently overlooked. The possible moisture damage is really only in those two places, and mitigating the risk is fairly simple.

      I also like to glue a piece of laminate to the underside of the counter above the dishwasher door, where steam often causes some swelling.

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