5 Traps to avoid when getting quotes for a new kitchen.

January 30 2017

So you’ve bitten the bullet and decided it’s time to replace the old kitchen and update. This should be an exciting time. At the end of the process you will have your dream kitchen. Or will you?

Getting quotes from joiners can be a minefield of technical jargon, different hardware and finishes. At the end of this first stage you could have three quotes for three very different kitchens and a seemingly impossible task of choosing one. If you are not using a professional design service to fully design and specify your kitchen you will need to educate yourself to avoid the most common traps that can befall you.

#1 Soft close drawers.

There are many manufacturers of drawer runners on the market. They all have a different price point, weight  capacity and quality. Just because your quote says you are getting softclose drawers does not mean you are getting a quality drawer system. A good cabinet maker will have a showroom where they can show you the difference between the softclose options. You will notice a difference in the feel of the drawer as you open and close it. You should also be aware that some systems can take different weight loads and be larger drawers than others. Your needs will influence which system is best for you. Obviously there is a cost difference that may influence your decision here too. Above all though it is important that when your quote arrives you know which drawer system has been allowed for.

#2 What materials have been specified?

This can be a mine field! There are so many different finishes and companies manufacturing them it can be very hard for those not in the industry to know what they are getting. Each cabinet maker will have different buying power with certain companies and they will steer you towards those products first. Now this is fine because generally speaking a reputable company will only use reputable products. It can make comparing quotes very difficult.

Doors are made from many materials, check that everyone is quoting you on the same style and finish. The biggest thing to look out for though is does the cabinet maker do a matching under panel on the wall cabinets or have the carcase white showing! NOTHING LOOKS WORSE than this. It is a cheap cost cutting method used by some kitchen manufacturers.

Stone benches can be made from a reconstituted 7mm granite that is laid on a substrate and built up to the standard 40mm. Or 20mm reconstituted stone such as Caesar, Smartstone and Quantum Quartz can be used and also built up on a substrate to make up 40mm. Again just make sure all your quotes are for the same range.

With timber benches there are a multitude of species and finishes available. Tasmanian Oak/Vic Ash tends to be the entry level with Blackwood a close second. Bamboo is also very popular entry level top. These can be finished with a clear polyurethane to give a high gloss or an oil/wax which tends to have less luster. The finish will determine how careful you need to be with your top. An oil/wax finish can be easily repaired if the top gets scratched whereas a polyurethane top cannot.

Laminate tops have come a long way and are widely used in the average kitchen. There is a plethora of patterns available. The Duropal top shown above looks so like a real timber and even has a texture to it. The only trap with laminate tops can be the edge detail allowed for. Technology in bench manufacture has meant that a very square look is now achievable with various thicknesses of bench from 25mm, 33mm to 38mm. Don’t forget to check which range and style you are being quoted.

#3 What hardware is included?

Don’t forget to check that you have a bin that suits your needs. What sort of cutlery tray has been included if at all? Is there special consideration for cooking utensils? Are LED lights included. How have the corners been dealt with? All of these little things will make or break how well your kitchen will function. They are so important and so often forgotten by someone who just wants to sell you a kitchen rather than design you one!

#4 What has been allowed for installation?

You need to know how much the additional trades will cost you so you can get a clear idea of budget. Do you need the cabinet maker to remove the old kitchen or can you take care of that? The gas/electricity will need to be disconnected and re-connected and the sink and Dish Washer re-plumbed. There is usually a bit of plaster work to have tided up too. Does your quote include these costs?

#5 Does the design work and is it really your dream kitchen or an easy design for the cabinet maker?

Ultimately, you need to have confidence in the cabinet maker. Your final choice should be an informed decision. You need to take into account the quality of the work the joiner does. Check out the website for testimonials and ask around. The design that has been proposed should take into account your lifestyle, needs and budget. This is a big deal and a good design is going to make your dream come true.