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deserthousemouse

RTA cabinets, J&K or Cabinet Joint?

deserthousemouse
7 years ago

We are getting ready to have our new house remodeled and need to choose cabinets. My husband is pretty handy and we are ok with assembling RTA cabinets to cut cost, (though maybe have them professionally installed). I've been strongly considering Cabinet Joint (Conestoga Wood Specialties). Them seem like good quality with great selection. I've contacted them and had quick responses too. Our realtor recommends J&K. They are really limited in selection and don't seem quite as nice. They would be available much more quickly though. I'm particularly interested to know how these cabinet lines hold up over time. This is to be our forever home and obviously we want to save money, but not "cheap out" on something as important as cabinets. Thoughts please??

Comments (24)

  • klem1
    7 years ago

    RTA cabinets is only a way for distant manufactures to compete with local shops on priceing. Local shops construct higher quility for the same money plus your choices of wood and style are unlimited. If hubby can assemble knock down boxes then install them,surely he can install completly assembled. If you have or can borrow a trailer, the shop will give a small price break for non-delivery. Be aware that you must pick them up to get them out of shop's way same day you are notified.

  • deserthousemouse
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    klem1 Ok, so you are saying the best route is to buy local pre-assembled? We can totally do our own pickup. How the heck do I choose though? We are fortunate to live in the Phx valley so it seems like we have million options. We are currently getting estimates from contractors and they have their recommendations, but I want to make the best choice, (best cabinet, lowest $$). Thanks!

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  • klem1
    7 years ago

    " How the heck do I choose though? We are fortunate to live in the Phx valley so it seems like we have million options. "

    I don't understand what you mean. You don't know what you like,can't judge quility,overwhelmed by sheer number of styles and material?????? I, your pool service guy or realtor can choose your cabinets but where will that get you? Are you looking for reviews on RTA cabimets? Imo RTA and quility shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Do you have a general contractor or will you be hireing and superviseing all the subs? If you have a GC that can not or will not answer your questions,you are headed for trouble. Browse remodel and old house forums to see what the results are when GCs don't communicate.

  • freeoscar
    7 years ago

    If you aren't going to install yourself, I don't know that you'd save much, if anything at all, buying RTA cabinets. We did a Barker (I think they are relatively closely priced to Conestoga) vs. local custom apples/apples comparison as best we could, and the Barker would have been almost $15k delivered unassembled in boxes, whereas the custom guy was under $18k installed. Our GC gave us a $3k credit for excluding cabinet installation, so we actually paid less for the fully custom. We saved not only assembly time, but measuring time, and of course liability if we made mistakes measuring or damaging the cabinets during assembly/install. There wasn't so much as 1/8" of wasted space, and if there were problems (thankfully nothing major), the cabinet maker would be on site to confirm the damage and fix them right away. With an RTA, even if they agree they are liable, it can still take weeks for them to send out the corrected part. And we got some design help from the cabinet maker (his aesthetics aren't the best, so we did that), but he does use a CAD system so we could easily evaluate changes to the design.

    So much time and potential aggravation saved that I was able to better use for other DIY opportunities to save money for our renovation.

    Of course YMMV, but I do encourage you to find a local guy so you are making an informed choice.

  • PRO
    Sombreuil
    7 years ago

    I got 24 cabinets in QS white oak, plywood boxes, solid maple shelves, dovetailed maple drawers, customized door details, plus some end panels, moldings, inserts, baskets and turned legs, all for $8500 delivered. Similar layout from a KD in Omega was $29K.

    Lead time: 2 weeks (may vary!)

    So yeah, Conestoga worked out great. p.s., they make the doors for Omega Dynasty, so their quality is top of the top.

    Casey

  • klem1
    7 years ago

    It isn't nessary to look at or consider every material and construction method available simply because most are not what you want anyhow. It's no wonder you don't know where to turn. If you decide what wood/high pressure laminate/appearance you want that will eliminate several sources. Style eleminates even more. And so on down the line until you need only compare two or three sources that actually offer what you want. As you have seen,everyone has different reccomendations when all options are open. To help one choose a doctor you would need to know wherether for their heart or head. Then you would need to know if the problem was organic ( clogged arteries) or mental ( heartbroken)..

  • deserthousemouse
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    We definitely want wood, no particle board, laminates or veneers. Style is either painted shaker or medium dark stained wood in a pretty generic style. Obviously two different design styles and I don't feel strongly either way, either is fine. I want to find the best value for a solid cabinet and we are willing and able to assemble and possibly install. My husband is a self employed tradesman and works with his hands for a living. That being said, we are well aware that it is possible to waste time DIY if he can make more money per hr than it costs to have a professional do the work. I am very much in the info gathering stage of the process and I'm sure many questions will be answered as our estimates come in. I'm all for custom cabinets if they prove to be the best VALUE. I just want to be sure. There are things I don't understand yet. For example, there is a million dollar house being built up the street and they installed local RTA cabinets. Our house is only $7k, so are we overdoing it to have custom cabinets when very good RTA cabinets are readily available for less? Is it apples and oranges bc I am a home owner and not a contractor?

  • _sophiewheeler
    7 years ago

    Why are you even comparing cheepchinesecrap with a high quality,American made product? It's beyond apples and oranges. It's apples and durian.

  • deserthousemouse
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Sophie Wheeler the J&K is the chinese crap or RTA in general?

  • _sophiewheeler
    7 years ago

    In general, 90% of RTA is garbage. Conestoga, Scherrs, etc being in the 10%. The trouble with most good quality RTA is that you really are not saving very much, if any, over a standard mid grade already assembled line. BTW, all ply is not worth paying anything extra for. Good furniture board is much better than crappy Chinese ply. And that is what most of the 90% import stuff is made from. Chinese ply, fabricated in china, finished in china, and only assembled here.

  • deserthousemouse
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Sophie Wheeler I see. Can you rec any standard mid grade already assembled cabinets?

  • bry911
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My dissenting opinion, again -

    First, the facts - I priced my current kitchen at a dozen places, here is the highlight reel: Cabinets.com - $11,462; Home Depot - $16,800, (estimate depends on monthly promotions); local cabinet maker #1 - $19,250 and local number 2 - $21,480. It is possible that my cabinets are just different than yours or that my local shops are expensive but there is no comparison for me. I didn't get a quote from Cabinet Joint or Barker because I didn't want to waste their time. I feel certain they are higher than cabinets.com and close to Home Depot, but with very good quality. I should mention that I didn't use any of these (the cabinets.com quote I did yesterday and the others were a few months old).

    Next, quality - I have a small woodworking shop and one of the things I specialize in is hard to make cabinets. Usually things that are curved or take a lot of math to do. I do a lot of wainscoting which is really all the cool parts of cabinet making without the boring boxes.

    For the most part cabinets need good door and drawer fronts and good hardware, and most of the craftsmanship garbage you hear is just sales crap. I can build my own cabinets at cost, and yet I have installed two IKEA kitchens. I can't make cabinets for what IKEA charges and they avoid a lot of quality problems with smart engineering.

    Finally, Chinese crap - This can be a real concern. There are bad manufacturers of just about everything and wood is no exception and this includes U.S. companies. However, U.S. wood makers are typically a lot better than Chinese wood makers (oddly enough, domestically used Chinese wood is pretty good, but they have higher quality standards in China for wood than we do in the U.S., so they ship us the crap). That doesn't mean that there are not good wood suppliers in China and I doubt that any sizable cabinetmaker is going to be using bad plywood - they are simply big enough to demand a stable core in their plywood. But if you are concerned about it then don't just go with cabinet makers who you assume use better woods find someone certified by KCMA - KCMA Certified Manufacturers

  • deserthousemouse
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    bry911 Thank you for your comments, they are very helpful. I'm going to hit up the local preassembled shops and see what they offer and look into cabinet.com too. Thx again!

  • homechef59
    7 years ago

    We selected Scherr's RTA. Made in the USA. Completely custom. Independent family business. Customer service is a phone call away. Our independent kitchen designer estimated we would have spent $40,000 on comparable cabinets in her store. We spent $18,000. They are beautiful frameless painted cabinets. We couldn't be happier. We had a great time assembling. We had someone else install them. Would we use them again? Yes, without hesitation.

    The three RTA cabinet companies that are frequently mentioned and recommended are Scherr's, Barker's and Conestoga. All are US manufacturers. The Chinese companies should be avoided. You just don't know what kind of chemicals were used in the manufacturing. Also, there have been reports over in the kitchen forum of really poor quality and poor quality control.

    deserthousemouse thanked homechef59
  • camsgt
    7 years ago

    Just finished a remodel on my house,used J&k,awesome cabinets,easy to assemble,soft close,dovetail drawers and 3/4" plywood construction.Surprised at the quality of the lazy susans,not a cheap piece of plastic on a metal bar,solid wood.These are Chinese cabinets.The only cabinet i had to modify was the tall oven cabinet.They usually only want to deal with GC's though

    deserthousemouse thanked camsgt
  • Don
    7 years ago

    One thing to remember is that all cabinet makers eventually go out of business. Every high end local cabinet shop I did business with went bankrupt in the great recession.


    Also, many people don't have access to a local company that makes cabinets at the value of Barker and similar. That quality small local company may exist, but a homeowner is not necessarily able to identify such as business. Perhaps the best approach for the value seeking homeowner is to get a design, get a lot of quotes, and ask a lot of questions. And to run a credit report before giving a $10K deposit.

    deserthousemouse thanked Don
  • bob_cville
    7 years ago

    It was about 8 years ago now, but we selected Scherr's RTA for our kitchen remodel, and couldn't be happier with the decision. As homechef say they do completely custom, made-to-order cabinets. It was a little difficult at first to figure out how to assemble the cabinets, but after a few, it was taking something like 5 to 10 minutes to assemble an upper cabinet.

    The contractors we were initially taking to drew up a quote that included $35000 for the cabinets, not including the installation. I feel we got higher quality cabinets through Scherr's and the total was somewhere around $17000. Furthermore I like that the pricing was fairly transparent and made sense. For instance a 17" wide cabinet would be more than a 15" wide one, but less than an 18" wide one. Whereas in most "custom" cabinet the 17" wide one (since it is a non-standard size) could cost three times as much as the 18" wide one.

    deserthousemouse thanked bob_cville
  • kismetique
    3 years ago

    I know this thread is old, but for those that find it looking for direction, I'll give my experiences. I did Conestoga for my own remodel. It was an extensive and very very customized order. $22k, from Home Depot it was $32k. Lowes wouldn't even quote it, the plan was so custom. Every cabinet was individually designed to look like a piece of furniture with legs. I have no run of cabinets anywhere, each section is separate with finished sides. I couldn't have been happier with the value, quality, look, and cost. I LOVE my kitchen. The finish on these are impeccable, smooth as silk and the maple stained and glaze is absolutely beautiful. A couple years later I remodeled my daughter's kitchen and used them again. We ordered cherry wood and I regret it. The look was good, but the wood was not quality and I had 2 pieces snap in half during install. Also, several issues with the ordering process. If you go Conestoga with lots of customizing, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time making sure the order is correct. Recently I did a rental house with RTA cabs from a place I found online. I didn't expect much for $2500, but was impressed! They were nicely done and while not very customized, the quality was on par with Conestoga! I think it was rtaonline.com

  • pamesue
    2 years ago

    @kismetique I would LOVE to see picture(s) of your kitchen from Conestoga.

  • _lmnop
    2 years ago

    kismetique, I'm considering Conestoga and would love to see pictures of your kitchen!

  • katiedsmith
    2 years ago

    Me too! Re: pics of conestoga cabinets

  • mojavemaria
    2 years ago

    i can show pics of our conestoga cabinets we bought through cabinet joint. They were great to work with, good quaility cabinets and their instruction videos are the best.





  • JasonAmos
    last year

    @mojavemaria Looks great!