You should always investigate the displays thoroughly in a kitchen showroom, but what do you look for?
There is so much information you can gain about the calibre of a kitchen manufacturer if you simply know what to look for. We’ve put together a few tips for when you next visit a showroom.
Look at the quality of the hardware.
Hinges and kitchen hardware are not made to the same quality level, even amongst the same brand.
Open the doors to look at the hinges and open the drawers to see the runners. If they look flimsy, make squeaking noises when opening/closing or are the kind of hardware you’d find in office furniture, stay away – the hardware will not last the life of your kitchen. The main reason for kitchen repairs is the hardware, and buying a kitchen built with cheap hardware will give you no end of troubles. In general and as a rough guide, hardware made in Europe (particularly Germany and Austria) has the best reputation for durability.
Look at the back of the doors.
An easy way to check if the kitchen has been painted correctly in polyurethane is by opening a door and looking at the back. If it’s a different colour to the front it means the melamine back has been left unpainted.
Common shortcut: Door with unpainted back showing white melamine.
Best practice: Door with polyurethane painted on all sides.
There are a couple of problems with leaving the back unpainted:-
- The doors are “unbalanced” and will warp due to one side being painted and the other not.
- Moisture typically gets inside the door at the polyurethane/melamine edge where the substrate is exposed. Painting all sides creates a seal over the entire substrate giving far greater moisture resistance.
Look at how clean the showroom is and check to see if anything is broken.
You wouldn’t buy a new car from a dealer whose cars are dirty and with scratches on the paintwork. The same applies to kitchen manufacturers, and you’d be surprised at how many showrooms out there with kitchen displays in need of repair and with scuff marks on the panels. It’s a sign that the manufacturer is unwilling to go the extra mile for you.
Check the quality of the paint work.
Polyurethane paint must not be rushed in order for a quality, even finish. A rushed paint job in gloss will have ripples through it like an orange peel, while a satin finish may look uneven in lustre. Look for a reflection to see the finish best.
Look at what appliances they include in their kitchen displays.
This is a good way to guess the market the kitchen company caters to. Usually showroom appliances are donated or lended to kitchen companies. A leading brand such as Gaggenau would not want to associate their $15,000 appliance with a showroom that caters to the low end market (in this case the appliance is worth much more than the kitchen!). On the other hand, a high end kitchen company would not choose to display low end appliances. It certainly pays to research appliances before visiting a showroom and it will give you a sense of the quality and market they cater to.
These tips are but one side of the coin but will help you with your early investigation. The next step to take once you’re happy with the quality is to ask a kitchen designer within the company a few simple questions.