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KITCHEN - buy new base cabinet or retrofit existing with pullouts?

northdixie's picture

Hi - I'm new and have been enjoying reading these forums.  

Seven years ago my husband and I bought an existing 20 year old house.  When we bought the house we also bought the "to-do" list that comes with a 20 year old house.  We intended on redoing the kitchen, but those $$ went to new driveway, new roof, new siding, new furnace etc, over the last 7 years.   Because of this,  I've decided I want to make the kitchen renovation "minor".   We have a child with autism and living with a construction zone that would be required with gutting a kitchen is more than our budget or family can handle.  We did that before kids at our old house. 

I'm looking at getting new countertops, painting present cabinets and having pullouts installed in base cabinets instead of a major renovation. Here's the kitchen I'm speaking of.

Question 1 - would buying a new base cabinet online such as Barker, Sherrs, etc. be about the same amount of money as having someone else build and install pullouts in existing cabinets?  If so, I'd rather replace some base units with drawers. 

Question 2 -  I've heard Scherr's mentioned positively on this forum but can't find any mention of Barker cabinets when I searched.  

I appreciate any suggestions you have.    




We had our kitchen redone (post #205565, reply #1 of 10)

We had our kitchen redone about 3 years ago.  Rather than new cabinets we had the existing refaced, and had several pullouts installed.  The (very skilled) installer removed the center stiles in a couple of cabinets to facilitate full-width pullouts, replaced most of the shelves, etc.  We've been quite happy with the result.  I'm recalling that he charged about $75 per pullout.

The pullouts consisted of factory produced slides (about 3/4 extension) and custom-built shelves.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Re: We had our kitchen redone (post #205565, reply #2 of 10)

Thanks, Dan for taking the time to answer.  That sounds like a lot less than replacing base cabinets.  I want to have the center stiles moved in one cabinet to do that, too.   But I really do like the idea of deep drawers in a couple places if I can swing it.  But with the pullouts there is no worry about matching cabinets.  So that's probably the way I'll go.  

Depands on the quality of the cabinets (post #205565, reply #3 of 10)

A lot of the answer is totaly dependant on the quality of the cabinets that are there, and how they are constructed. 

A home with high end or well made site built cabinets makes the most sense for reworking the existing cabinets, because there is enough meat to work with. 

Cheap cabinets with 1/2-inch particle board sides, and iffy carcase design don't make sense to modify. 

Re: Depends on the quality of the cabinets (post #205565, reply #4 of 10)

Thanks for this - yes this is my question.   I need to figure out how to tell if they're good enough to customize or if they need to be replaced.  The uppers are fine from a functional point of view.  How can I tell if they're particle board if none of those edges are showing?

Just make a nick inside (post #205565, reply #5 of 10)

I'd just make a small nick inside where it doesn't show.  And, see what is exposed.

Also how thick are the panels?  1/2 inch makes it harder because you can't connect directly, and will need some type of blocking to attach to.  In one of my houses the cabinets had 5/16 inch thick sidewalls.  To install drawers in the "pantry" required building an entire interior frame to mount drawer slides to.  If it had been possible to match the style and finish of the existing cabinets I would have bought new.  But, it didn't make sense to gut a two year old kitchen just to install rooling full depth shelves in one cabinet. 

Another indicator of the quality is how are things joined together:  Staples are generally used on factory units at the lower end.  Pocket holes are mid to high range. 

Our units have what look to (post #205565, reply #6 of 10)

Our units have what look to be about 5/16" thick (plywood) sides.  The slides were installed by installing plastic vertical rails that were fastened to the sides, then the slides clip into the verticals.  It's a fairly simple system, and seems pretty solid.  I would guess that the technique could be used on plywood down to about 3/16" thick, and on particle board down to maybe 3/8".

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Thanks! (post #205565, reply #7 of 10)

I will do this in one of the cabinets and check to see.  You're giving me things to think about before I make a decision.  I appreciate it!

Did you put in pull outs and drawers? How did it work? (post #205565, reply #8 of 10)

Thinking about retrofitting our framed base cabinets with drawers.   I was told that it would cost about $900 to convert a 2 door base cabinet with a center stile to two drawers and wonder if it is worth it.  I do want drawers as I get older.

Depends on how you do it, of (post #205565, reply #9 of 10)

Depends on how you do it, of course.  You can leave the cabinet doors and install sliding shelves -- we did this and it worked out real well.  Or a reasonably skilled craftsman would probably be able to cut the cabinet doors and convert them to drawer fronts for "kit" drawers.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

As a finish carp and cabinet (post #205565, reply #10 of 10)

As a finish carp and cabinet maker I enjoy modifying existing cabinets....but each situation is different and I'd bet lunch that you're better off just starting from scratch - and forget buying some name brand cabinet.  Paint grade base cabinets with pullouts are quick and easy to make, but even better is they are just as fast to build in place as one or a few very large boxes so just get a guy with good skills making built-ins and don't complicate the situation.

Existing cabinets are almost always crap - CRAP!  Even if they aren't they are probably not installed level and plumb.  Even if they are the bees knees as far as the boxes and installation goes, they are 100% certain to not be divided in the ideal way.  Pre-made cabinets are made to be easy to make/transport/install and NOT ideal for each situation.  You'll get much more useable space with a guy who knows what he's doing and customizes every area to what you actually need - not to what's there from the last owner.

What makes me cringe is when someone hires a guy who's not so bright, he buys premade stuff for high $$, spends a bunch of time installing it and in the end you have crap cabinets with mediocre pullouts for the same price as good stuff properly made, better designed, as good as any paint-grade cabinet.

The situations where re-using the existing cabinets makes the most sense is when the counter top is difficult or impossible to save, assuming it's worth saving.  Granite can come off like it went down, but intricate tiled countertops, or big $$ high pressure laminates make polishing lower boxes that might be turds much more palitable.




If I could edit my location it would say I'm now in Reno :-)