Will You Come to My House for a Free Estimate?

How things are done series

Free?  Nothing is free except trouble and it has costs that you just haven’t seen yet.  All services including shipping is either built into the product or added to the final selling price.

If a cabinetmaker comes out to visit your job site or home he either includes his labor and overhead costs into your job price or he hires a salesman or kitchen designer and pays their labor, insurance, payroll taxes, and business overhead into the price of the cabinets. 

The shops or stores that offer “free” estimates are adding plenty for sales acquisitions and the time and expense of visiting job sites to acquire the job.   Many times the salesman or kitchen designer is on commission, usually 20% mark up of anything they sell to the customer.  A designer might add some value, especially for a customer that believes they have poor taste or judgement.  But you know, most people like what they like and most tradesmen are going to look out for you and talk you out of flying pig ceramic tile backsplash or other choices that will either date your home or lower the resale value.  Higher end homes are usually an exception as they are marketed to very picky homeowners.  For the average person, a designer isn’t needed and the profit motive is removed from recommendations for products.  After all, salesmen will want to sell you a $500 faucet and make $100 commission than a $100 faucet that nets them $20.00, just human nature.

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Costs involved in bidding or selling a job

  • Time and overhead burned up walking customers through options
  • Travel costs and time and overhead visiting job sites
  • Time and overhead spent producing drawings and changes to the specifications and drawings
  • Research time on items such as appliance specs
  • And the actual bidding of the job once the specs are nailed down and any changes afterward.

 

There is no escaping these costs and yes, they will be passed along.  So the better prepared the customer is the final cost of the cabinet job.

The commissioned salesmen will travel out to your home at the drop of a hat and might make twenty bids before they land a sale.  Why?  Because they spend so much money on selling a job and have to recover all the costs of bidding, traveling, and selling the nineteen jobs they failed to land.   We believe this is not fair.

So we ask customers to bring in their crude drawings and measurements, tour the showroom while we talk about options and costs.  The more sure the customer is about what they actually want the lower their final cost will be. Once we have an estimate based upon the specifications (specs) we can quote a price and visit the job site to confirm all measurements so that any mistake past that point is our mistake and our cost to make right. In the end the customer saves money and gets better cabinets.

 

Flooded Home? Can you Save the Cabinets?

How things are done series

Kitchens flood, we count on it happening at least once in a kitchen’s life and we design so that a broken water line, fridge water line, or washer water hose doesn’t ruin all of the cabinets. The cabinets are set up on 4” tall feet so at most the toe kicks and end panels will take the brunt of the damage and they are easily replaced by design in our cabinets, not at all for face frame style cabinets where the doors are an integral part of the cabinet carcass.

We have had only one case to deal with, where a 3/8” copper prep sink water line broke loose after seven years. it sprayed two doors for hours till the customer woke up and was greeted with a half inch of water in the home. The wood floors were ruined and needed replaced but the cabinets cost a bit over $500.00 to put back in first class condition thanks to our construction methods.

But with Oklahoma flooding in May of 2019, we need to talk about flood water damage versus clean tap water that is a half inch deep at most. When homes are built the studs are 92 5/8” tall and three layers of 2 x 4 plate are added, bottom plate, top plate, and an extra top plate to give the proper height. That puts the height of the actual wall or ceiling at 97.125” tall before the sheetrock goes on. Then you are down to 96 5/8” from floor to sheet rocked ceiling. Two 48” wide x 96” long sheet rock sheets are added leaving a 5/8” gap at the bottom and that saves your bacon. 

How We Build Cabinets

Flooded Cabinets Will Have Finish Problems Down the Road

  • The wood will never be as dry as it was before after kiln drying
  • Water will eventually escape and blister or flake the finish or cause blush
  • Blush is a white looking semi transparent effect under the finish
  • Floors and walls behind cabinets will mold if the old cabinets are not taken out

 

But in a flood all sorts of stuff is in storm water runoff. Animal excrement, human excrement, lots of mud, oil, and chemicals. And the water is high so it soaks into the sheetrock, is wicked up into the insulation and wood framing, leaving behind all of the contaminates when it does dry. Including fungus, bacteria, mold spores, and of course the mud and oil.

If you have a clean water flood you might be able to salvage the cabinets IF they were built up off the floor on nylon legs and you get the water out quickly. Particle board of course isn’t going to survive. First, empty your cabinets and remove as much excess water as possible inside the cabinet using towels or sponges. Pull the doors off and lay them around so both sides are exposed to the drier air, might not warp as much. Get fans going in the house and a good dehumidifier going if it is humid outside and close off the house so you can dry out the air inside the home quickly. A wood stove puts off lots of dry heat, not so much for a vent-less propane or natural gas space heater, water is formed with propane and natural gas is burned.

How things are done series

 

 

 

If you can find the original cabinetmaker some cabinets can be repaired and the ones damaged beyond repair can be replaced. The finish might need stripped and water stains removed using oxalic acid, then treat for mold using bleach and water. If you do not do this the cabinets will begin to stink. After the cabinets have dried thoroughly for several days refinish the cabinets.

Now whether or not the cabinets will come through this process as good as new depends upon how much water and how long it soaked in and how quick you get the water out. Wood will never return to its kiln dried moisture content after being flooded. Water will cause finishing problems on down the line as the home heats up or the air dries out and the wood attempts to stabilize moisture content with the surrounding air. That causes finishes to flake off.

How about the Professional Restoration Companies?
They will have better fans and dehumidifiers but in the end they sell a service to insurance companies to try to limit the cost of a claim. The insurance company wants them to try to salvage the cabinets, even paying half of the cost of the ruined cabinets to clean them up and refinish will save the insurance company millions of dollars each year.  And a year later when the finish flakes off it isn’t their problem. Even on the Edmond kitchen with little water damage, we did replace the doors that took the direct spray of water for six hours.

 

How We Build Cabinets

Repairing and Replacing Part of the  Cabinets is Problematic

  • Finding the original cabinet maker or one that has the tooling to match doors and cabinets is tough
  • A stripped finish will stain out totally different than new wood on the replacement cabinets
  • Bleach and water and oxalic acid and water adds more moisture to the already wet wood
  • Insurance saves a lot, you get sub par cabinets with a portion of the lifetime use used up already

 And have never had a call back saying anything bad happened with the kitchen. But sanding and striping those doors for re finishing, well, that would be ill advised given the cost of the new doors and finishing was close to the cost for slap dash work to save a few dollars for the insurance company.

If you Google flooded cabinets the restoration companies will talk about using wood glue to fix delaminated plywood and adding braces to strengthen weakened cabinets. Not good long term, you know that. And the floor and drywall behind the cabinets is likely to mold unless the cabinets are removed for drying the wall and even replacing the sheetrock. A month of drying and dehumidifying will help if you have the time.

But is it better to save the insurance company a few thousand dollars or you be made whole with cabinets that will return your home to its previous value?

 

 

Face Frame Cabinets
Frameless or European Style

What is the Difference Between Face Frame and Frameless Cabinets?

How things are done series

Face frame is the narrow border that runs around the face of an old style cabinet and between the drawer and the door.  The idea is that it adds some stability to the cabinet, increases the racking resistance (sideways force).

The problem is that the old style face frame cabinets are very labor intensive and the cost and other drawbacks do not make up for what little racking resistance is added.  After all, once cabinets are installed most are fastened to a wall and most are trapped between walls, racking resistance is hardly needed.  But it was how cabinets were built back in the day.

Then World War II happened and not only were most of the cabinetmakers dead or disabled, most of the other skilled workers were gone too. And there were millions of homes in bombed out cities needing cabinets and needing them quickly.  So frameless cabinets were invented. You can use more technology to build frameless cabinets because of the system holes, a series of holes 32 mm apart, are used to hang drawer slides, hinges, and shelf pins.  Parts can be made with precision and they will fit without being adjusted or fitted by hand.

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Frameless or Euro Style has Benefits

  • Easier to produce with the right equipment
  • around 20% additional accessible storage
  • easier to clean, hardware more solidly attached
  • Must be accurate due to tight tolerances needed

 

Face frame cabinets usually have drawer slides hung on plastic brackets or flimsy wood U shaped dividers, frameless cabinet slides are solidly attached to the side of the cabinet, no bending which causes drawers to drop out of track.

The only downside is the precision needed on frameless because of the super tight reveals or distances between the doors and drawers.  Face frame doors and drawers, get them within a quarter inch and no one will see the differences because of the wide spaces between the doors and drawers.

We started doing frameless or Euro style cabinets in order to slash the labor costs on our work.  Because of that we didn’t have to raise prices for about ten years.  And it is easier to train workers for Euro style than the older face frame cabinets.

 

Getting an Estimate

Drawings can be very simple and crude

 The crude drawing above was done in a few minutes.  A 120″ wall and a 96″ wall in an L configuration.  The ceiling height is marked down, and there are rough elevations showing how the cabinet boxes are set.  The window is located from the  right side but it really doesn’t matter which side is used to measure from.  The drawing does show open space on each end of the L shaped kitchen,, that is important, or if there is a wall there we need to know that the set of cabinets has to  fit in a confined area.

 

Not a lot is needed for an estimate

Measurements?  Get close, we will double check anyway.

The main points are to show how the walls are arranged, measurements locating windows and doors or other things that need to be considered, ceiling height, and a basic idea on how you want the cabinets arranged.

No need to spend a lot of time, a pencil sketch will do fine.  There are room planners online and kitchen planning, most are free and easy to use. 

Some things are assumed like placing the sink under a window or in the middle of a peninsula if there is no window.  We usually don’t move sinks or stoves very far to avoid costly wiring and plumbing changes but they can usually be moved  ten to twelve inches if needed.  

Appliance sizes are needed as well as what kind of sink will be used so the sink cabinet is large enough.  Links to appliances help but the exact specifications can be found later. A few notes describing anything special helps and sending pictures of other kitchens helps as long as you identify exactly what you like about the picture.   The kind of cabinets matters, if you see something off our website right click on the picture and “save as” and send it to us. We will call  if there are any questions.

More info on quotes!

 

I already started building your kitchen cabinets you know….

How things are done series

The Carpenter Shop stocks common cabinet components for building cabinets in both raw MDF and melamine MDF.

We also have melamine MDF stock sizes of upper and lower cabinet that are ready for assembly, over 750 linear feet of cabinets with either stock slab doors and drawer fronts or we can make raised panel or five part doors in just a few days.

Who carries inventory in these Just in Time manufacturing days? The businesses that understand that customers have a choice and go elsewhere if you keep them waiting too long. For that reason, and to keep our costs as low as possible our overseas shop makes common kitchen and bathroom cabinet parts for us by the container load and once or twice a year we get in a container load to re stock our inventory.

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Common Components Stocked

  • Parts like cabinet ends are nearly all the same
  • Working on parts when the shop is slow helps…
  • Construction time cut by about a week
  • Using cheaper labor allows lower  prices

 

We won’t keep you waiting for that new kitchen nor will we have your old kitchen torn up for months.

Call us at 405-942-2644 or email rough drawings of the walls showing locations of the things like doors and windows, pictures are nice as long as you tell us what you like about each picture.

 

Looking forward to finally finishing your kitchen.
Al Gerhart al@thecarpentershop.net

450-942-2644