Like everyone else that has the DIY bug, I found myself addicted to watching the Home Improvement shows. I was watching a show about installing concrete countertops, and it looked like a challenging project that I would be able to tackle. Little did I know that actually making the countertops might be the easiest part of the process.
I took some measurements of my kitchen, went to one of the big home supply stores, and started shopping for kitchen cabinets. It was great. the guy helped me design the kitchen using a fancy software program, we picked out the style I liked and he was able to select all of the cabinets that I needed. Then he asked about countertops, and that is when everything went down hill. As soon as I mentioned that I wanted to install concrete countertops, the salesperson jumped in and said, if you install concrete countertops you are going to void the manufacturers warranty. I couldn't believe it.
How could installing a countertop completely void the manufacturers warranty? This really got me thinking. do I really want to by kitchen cabinets that the manufacturer is afraid to stand behind. It also had me questioning why. I started doing some research to see if it was only this particular manufacturer that wouldn't honor the warranty when concrete countertops were installed, or if was the industry standard. I quickly realized that it had nothing to do with the price of the cabinet, or the type of countertop I was going to be installing. it came down to what the cabinet is actually made of.
I couldn't believe that a very well known cabinet manufacturer that promotes their cabinets as being a high quality cabinet, actually use fiberboard for the box of the cabinet. for those of you that don't know what fiberboard is, it is essentially a high density cardboard. Do I really want to install cabinets that are made of cardboard? After doing a lot of research in all of the available grades, price ranges, and styles of cabinets, I was actually shocked by the results of my research. Short of having kitchen cabinets custom made by a carpenter from solid wood (which are not cheap), the most solid cabinet that I could find was actually an RTA Kitchen cabinet line (Ready-to-Assemble).
Could it really be that the most affordable cabinets are actually one of the most structurally sound cabinets on the market? I took the kitchen design from the store and had an online RTA distributor quote my kitchen so that I had a good benchmark. I went back to my favorite home supply store to talk to the same sales guy that told me I couldn't install concrete countertops without voiding the warranty. I really wanted to know what cabinet lines I actually COULD use with concrete countertops and what it would cost me. Sure, he had a cabinet line that I could buy, as long as I was willing to pay for it. When compared to the quote I got for the RTA Cabinets, it was nearly 5 times as expensive. Needless to say, I ended up installing the RTA cabinets along with my concrete countertops and I couldn't be happier.
The next time you are shopping for kitchen or bathroom cabinets, ask them if there is anything that would void the warranty. If the big name manufacturers are not willing to back their product, is it really something that you want in your kitchen or bathroom?.
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