Disclosure: I participated in a trade for labor with Ryan Reeder Cabinets only. Thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.
Our kitchen and bathroom cabinets have been repaired and repainted and I couldn’t be happier (revisit our process here). I know it’s a little pre-mature to be singing praises after only a few short weeks but there is such a huge difference in the quality this go-around. Ryan Reeder did a first rate job and the next time I do another custom kitchen I’ll be using him start to finish. You can also count on me doing a review in a year from now to update you. In the meantime…here are a few before and after shots.
When we hired our cabinet maker three years ago we felt fairly comfortable that he would do a good job but their were a few red flags. When I talked with Ryan I felt 100% confident that he knew what he was doing. I pumped him with a lot of questions and he agreed to allow me to share some of his answers.
What questions should people ask cabinet makers when they start a kitchen/bath remodel?
– If they are looking for painted cabinets – what type of wood are they bidding – maple is recommended for painted cabinets it is hard/durable and it holds the paint really well. Popular and alder are softer woods where the paint/wood will get dinged easier.
– What look and feel are you going for with your cabinets – you need to understand the difference between European, face frame overlay and face frame inset? (The face frame with inset doors are the most desirable cabinets).
-Know what kind of hardware is being used – soft close, drawer runners, drawer boxes (and is the hardware included in the bid).
– Are moldings included in the bids (they should be)?
– What are end panels made of and how are they applied to the cabinets?
– What type of finish is being used? Most shops use a precatalized laquer, I use a conversion varnish which has a higher build up and is more resistance to water (same with the paint that I use).
What are some red flags to look for?
– If they are selling a face frame overlay cabinet – it is a production cabinet.
– If the bid doesn’t include a 4 to 7 inch crown molding in bid they are trying to under bid.
– If someone bids a printed job as poplar or alder they are trying to under bid.
– They should be able to show door samples that are perfectly smooth and have a great finish – that is what your cabinets will look like.
– If it is a painted job and you can see the wood grain – huge red flag…
– If bid does not include soft close they are trying to under bid as well.
What makes your process different than what one might receive from a kitchen manufacturing company?
– The main way I can answer this is that my work is custom – it is my name, my business, and my reputation. My shop is small so every product that leaves my shop goes through me and I am personally doing the work. But other than that, I use a high quality product, and I sand more and put on more product so that my cabinets are more durable and smoother. I do believe that a lot of the difference is that I don’t want my name on anything that is not to the quality that I would want in my own home.
Thanks Ryan for those insights!
Some other tips I myself would add when shopping for a cabinet maker…
-Do they warranty their work?
-How long have they been in business?
-Ask for references/portfolio and if any of their past clients would allow you to come see their cabinets?
-Read any reviews that may have been written online about them such as sites like Angie’s List.
Be sure to check out Ryan Reeder’s website!