This is a specialty retailer
that displays kitchen products like cabinets, counter tops, appliances, etc.
If the dealer installs complete kitchens, this is one of the most qualified
types of supplier and contractor. Usually the best qualified designers work
for these and other specialty companies. These designers know their products
thoroughly and should be familiar with the whole installation process.
Any dealer that does not do the
remodeling, even if they refer the installation to "qualified" remodelers,
will not be able to put together a complete project for you. If you do not
have one person or company in charge of all aspects, there will always be
gray area as to who is responsible for some detail and mistakes and
oversights are more likely to occur. A dealer or store that does not install
is usually only interested in selling cabinets and counter tops, possibly
along with appliances, bowls, faucets, etc.
Most dealers will only work with
products that they sell. A full service dealer can seem to cost more, but
they will usually carry only better grade products and they will plan the
project thoroughly making sure not to leave out any details that may be
important to you. A quality company will be more interested in the best
solution rather that the cheapest one.
The best of these companies are
likely to belong to NKBA.
Kitchen Specialist / Contractor
These are kitchen designers that
specialize in kitchen projects from design through installation. These are
also usually among the best qualified designers and contractors. Usually
this specialist will not have a full showroom, but will have samples for
some products that could be brought to your home. They may also work with
dealers or outlets that they suggest for you to make your product selections
or can work with any products or suppliers you may specify.
The best of these specialists
will be capable of providing top notch kitchen design as well as being a
direct source for your major products like cabinets and counters, direct
from the factory. This eliminates having to deal with third party suppliers,
always a potential point of confusion, and offers some cost savings to you. A specialty contractor is interested
in doing a complete and thorough project down to the last detail.
The cost should be a little less
than retail dealers because the overhead will be lower without a showroom
but service will usually be top notch. A specialist who really knows the
business will usually only recommend quality products and will also be
interested in the best solutions.
The best of these companies are
likely to belong to NKBA.
There are specialists that
design kitchens and specify products, sometimes supplying cabinets and
counter tops. Some of these designers are exceptionally qualified to design
high end kitchens and any other areas of your home. Typically, these
specialty designers will not be involved directly in any remodeling or
construction work. Most have contractors that they recommend or may be
recommended by contractors.
There is inevitably room for
error and miscommunication when more parties are involved. A designer that
is not involved in the construction process can more easily make errors or
miss opportunities than a designer whose company provides installation and
Cabinet Outlets, Builder
The focus of these companies is
selling cabinets and countertops. Most sell to builders and projects, but
will also sell to remodelers and homeowners. Most are not involved with or
familiar with all aspects of remodeling and construction.
Like home centers, these
companies have a reputation for low prices. In such a competitive
environment, ways to hold the price down include eliminating or cutting down
on details like molding or options or designing a layout for low price
instead of best function and use of space.
These companies usually sell
products that are moderate to high quality, most have contractors that they
Home centers seem to be popular
for kitchens. Most home centers will subcontract the installation of their
products, although they are not usually interested in remodeling or
construction. Home centers are very large retailers and will not be able to
offer the service or attention that a smaller company can.
Some designers at home centers
may be qualified, but they are mainly involved in cabinetry and tops and
possibly will help with bowls, faucets, etc. They are not
usually familiar with installation issues. The majority of home center
projects are fairly straightforward replacement type remodeling and most of
these are do-it-yourself or done by a contractor that the buyer has
Buying from a home center is
definitely not a good idea for everyone. It takes a certain tolerance and
willingness to get involved. Your salesperson may work varying
hours and may be hard to reach. There may not be others in the department to
help with problems or untangle any confusion. A busy designer who is not
involved in the installation can easily overlook details. The outside
installation companies can only work with the plans and details that are
given to them. Deliveries can be hard to schedule.
Any remodeling project needs a
central coordinator that the specifications, questions and details run
through. When you purchase from a home center, that central person is
usually you. For someone who knows what they want and has the confidence
that they can work out any details or problems that come up, a home center
can be a good choice. Home centers are open the widest range of hours.
Most home centers handle
moderate to medium quality products. Home centers have the reputation for
having low prices, however any dealer, outlet or specialist who purchases
products like cabinets directly from the factory can easily compete. When
any details that were not included up front are added in, costs will be more
than originally proposed.
There probably isn't a
remodeling company around that doesn't claim to do kitchens. But do they
really know the details? Will they expose you to new ideas or products that
could improve the project or will they be interested only in what is
convenient for them? Who will oversee the project and take responsibility
for helping assure that you only get quality products?
A remodeling company should be
able to do a good job of installing cabinetry, counter tops, plumbing,
electric, etc. If the project is very straightforward and the details are
spelled out, a good general remodeler can be a good choice. If the
contractor is not a specialist, the buyer could be responsible for all
specifications and design questions and coordinating suppliers.
A contractor who is not a
specialist may not recognize a design error or may install something other
than how it was intended. Costs can vary, depending on the qualifications of
the contractor and the materials specified and the amount of work required.