As a San Diego homeowner, you are likely always looking for ways to improve your living space—to make it more functional, more beautiful, or just more to your liking. One of the home improvement projects that can have the biggest impact on a home is a kitchen remodel. In this previous article, we outlined some of the options for kitchen remodels, including ready-made kitchen cabinets, semi-custom kitchen cabinets, and fully custom cabinets.
We wanted to delve a little more deeply into the world of custom kitchen cabinets and specifically look at the pros and cons of going with a “big box” store like Home Depot for custom cabinets, versus working with a local San Diego company that specializes in custom cabinets.
The Pros and Cons of Using Home Depot for Your Custom Kitchen Cabinets in San Diego
Many people don’t even know that Home Depot offers the option of a completely custom kitchen, but they do. When you work with Home Depot, you’ll sit down with one of their in-house kitchen designers, and together you’ll design a layout for your new cabinets. You’ll choose all of the custom features and details you want, including the type of wood and the style of doors. Since you’re working with a home improvement store, you’ll also have the benefit of choosing your kitchen appliances and countertops at the same time.
Once you’ve approved the design, your cabinets will be ordered and built. When they’re done, they will be shipped to your home and then installed by a local, outside company with which Home Depot has contracted to do the work (not Home Depot employees).
There are a lot of benefits to working with a large company like Home Depot for your custom kitchen cabinets. As we already mentioned, they are a one-stop shop for everything you need for your new kitchen. They also offer financing for homeowners who don’t want to pay cash or go through the process of taking out a home equity loan.
Some homeowners also like the idea of working with a big company that they can contact if anything goes wrong. Everyone’s heard the horror stories of unethical contractors who take a large deposit from a homeowner and then disappear, or of those who do shoddy or incomplete work and never finish the job as promised. Working with a large, established company like Home Depot gives many people peace of mind, knowing they can contact them if there are problems with their new kitchen.
Of course, there are also some downsides to working with Home Depot for custom kitchen cabinets. Anytime you work with a large company, challenges with communication can arise. It can be difficult to get the same person on the phone twice or to find someone who can actually help you if you ever call with a problem. Some of the most common complaints about Home Depot from homeowners who have worked with them for custom kitchens is that they don’t return phone calls, and also that it can take a very long time for the company to take any sort of action to rectify mistakes or issues.
Another downside to ordering your custom kitchen cabinets from Home Depot is that they are often more expensive than what you would get from a small, independent cabinet shop in San Diego. This is because Home Depot is essentially acting as a “middle man” when it comes to your kitchen. They sell you the products and then contract with outside companies to do the installation. San Diego homeowners would likely save money if they worked directly with an independent cabinet maker for their custom cabinets.
The Pros and Cons of Working with a Local Cabinet Shop in San Diego
There are many great independent companies in San Diego that can design, build, and install custom kitchen cabinets in your home. Some are basically one-man operations, while others are a bit larger, with teams of employees and beautiful showrooms.
The nice thing about working with these types of companies is that you know from the beginning whom you’ll be dealing with. If it’s a small shop, you’ll likely be working directly with the owner. You may even have his or her direct cell phone number to call them with any questions or concerns. And you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a local business and their employees.
Independent companies like these often place a high priority on customer service. They have a great incentive to make sure you are completely satisfied with your finished kitchen, since referrals are often the main way they get new business. They have access to all of the same materials (and possibly even more) that Home Depot does, and they can help you decide what will work best in your home.
Jerry Lund, owner of Wine Country Woodworks in Temecula, had this to say: “We love Home Depot as much as anyone, but I think you’ll almost always have a better experience and get a better finished product when you go with a specialty cabinet company for a custom kitchen. We can offer creative solutions based on our years of real-world experience in the cabinetry business, and our prices are competitive with those offered by Home Depot for similar products. Typically, we are able to beat Home Depot’s prices for custom cabinets, since our overhead is much lower.”
The downsides to working with an independent shop are that you always run the risk of hiring the “wrong” company—one that isn’t properly licensed or insured, or an unethical one that doesn’t do the job as promised. However, a little research on your part can help reduce this risk. Get references. Find out how long the company has been in business and if they have any complaints against them. And be wary of any company that asks for payment in cash only.
A custom kitchen is a huge investment for any homeowner. Take your time to weigh the pros and cons of the various options before diving in. Get quotes from more than one company to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck, and be prepared for a few bumps along the road, as any project of this size is sure to have a few.