A recent home show episode interviewed the homeowners during their kitchen renovation. Congratulating themselves on selecting the hand-crafted option over the more well known cabinet manufacturer, they proudly led the tour of their installed raw wood kitchen cabinetry, visibly anxious to begin the next phase of painting them. Shaking my head, I had to change the channel.
Hand-crafted is one of those words people feel must be a positive and must mean quality. Not so fast. In our industry, we see hand-crafted projects up close and personal… when we are ripping them out. Give me the furniture grade stuff over the quaint hand-crafted version any day. I want quality hardwood, not even a hint of prefinished foreign plywood. I want hardwood that is dried in a kiln to a one digit percentage moisture content. I want engineering that shows no short cuts and deficiencies. (Look inside a hand-crafted project and see if all the wood grains are going in the correct direction. Did they short cut any thing else?) A kitchen client complained that her hand-crafted bathroom vanity panels would free float and show areas on the edges that were unfinished during seasonal changes (see image example below). AKB could have offered her an option made by one of those well known cabinet manufacturer‘s (Mouser Cabinetry) that is constructed, primed and finished so that never happens.
Paint? Go ahead, paint the cabinets in your first house, your rental property, paint flowers on your daughter’s vanity in her pink and purple bathroom… paint new cabinetry? There is a reason they don’t paint new cars and boats anymore. Paint is an inferior product. Not sure what warranty you get on the finish of the hand-crafted option, but manufacturers using the lovely Sherwin Williams product can only offer a 2 year warranty on their painted finish. If I am going through the investment of a new kitchen, sign me up for the superman version- a catalyzed conversion process. Chemical Bonding, Catalyzing, Sanding, Sealing, Curing, Finishing in a lovely Dust Proof Room…whatever any of that really means, I’ll forgo being quaint, I just want the guarantee.