1. Painted cabinets.
Painting is the greatest weakness of stock cabinet manufacturers. Poorly sanded joinery, orange peel effect, and a lack of depth in the finish are typical characteristics with painted fronts. Painting exaggerates these quality issues with stock cabinets, because speed and production quantity are critical to profits at the stock price point.
However, I have found the painted finishes on cabinets imported from China to be superior to the painted cabinets of domestic stock cabinet manufacturers. And not because of inferior materials. US Cabinet Depot is CARB2 compliant, meaning its products meet the US standards for formaldehyde emissions. Several other key factors are in play that contribute to the cost of imports, but the finishing material is not one of them.
2. Inconsistent gaps on miter corners on cabinet fronts.
Miter corners have inconsistent gaps. Some gaps are small and others aren’t even on the same front. The door/component suppliers are under the same pressure and efficiency demands as the cabinet manufacturer.
3. Poor stain materials.
Stains lack depth and provide inadequate coverage. The stain looks thin. Inferior quality is most visible for medium and darker stains.
4. Poor top coat material.
The top coat has an almost chalky feel or texture instead of smooth.
5. Limited molding choices.
Stock cabinet lines offer moldings. But the challenge is limited heights in different styles.
6. Door value.
Because stock manufacturers have “loss leaders”, full overlay doors lack the value of partial overlay doors. Even a typical door, like a solid wood Shaker, can seem expensive compared to overall cabinet value delivered.
7. Cherry wood value.
A premium wood like Cherry lacks the value of Maple wood. As a percentage of sales, Cherry is much lower in a stock cabinet environment. Less of it runs through the factory. And costs of Cherry are unfamiliar because Cherry requires a selection and preparation process that Maple doesn’t. For instance, if they sort for sap or fill pin holes, they need to charge for Cherry to bring labor cost in line. You and your customer pay for this lack of familiarity.
8. Painted cabinets value.
Painted cabinets lack the value of stained Maple cabinets. The manufacturer’s charge for painted Maple cabinetry is high by comparison to a stained Maple cabinet. For the same principle as #7 above.
9. Soft close door and drawer hardware.
The soft close door and drawer hardware used in stock cabinets, while providing soft close functionality, is rarely high quality. It may not function smoothly due to lack of adjustability and cheaper hardware within the drawer guide.