USED KITCHEN CABINETS
The concept of home renovation can be exciting and overwhelming, especially when dealing with the heart of your home – the kitchen. If you're on a budget, buying used kitchen cabinets can be a great way to cut down on your kitchen renovation costs. But it's not always straight forward. I'm putting this article together to help understand the ins and outs of purchasing used kitchen cabinets.
Should You Buy Used Kitchen Cabinets?
Kitchen renovations can be taxing on the pocketbook – new cabinetry being the primary offender. Buying your cabinets used can significantly cut down on costs, sometimes by up to 50% off the cost of new cabinets.
Kitchen cabinets can represent a majority of the total kitchen remodel cost. When you add fixtures and accessories like slide-outs, organizers, and lazy susans, the price climbs even higher. So, paring down the cost of cabinets brings down the total project cost commensurately. — The Spruce
Used kitchen cabinets can range in price vastly, depending on the condition, brand, and materials. A set of used cabinets can cost between $200 and $800, whereas new kitchen cabinets can range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the materials and complexity of the design. But like most good deals – you need to know what you’re getting into.
The primary benefit of used kitchen cabinets is cost savings. And, if you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon high-end cabinets that are in great condition at a fraction of the original price.
Inspect pre-owned kitchen cabinets thoroughly before purchase. Look for signs of wear and tear, check the condition of the frames, doors, and hinges. Ensure the cabinets are sturdy and of good quality.
Used cabinets could come with hidden damages such as warped wood, peeling laminate, or damaged hinges. Most importantly, consider the fact that you could face challenges with sizing and fitting the pre-used cabinets into the design of your kitchen. And often times, the cabinets are not already removed when you see a great deal online – so be sure you consider the time or cost of hiring a professional to remove them.
Sometimes, spending more on a new cabinet is more better than repairing a used one.
When purchasing used kitchen cabinets, it's crucial to keep a few best practice tips in mind to ensure you're getting a good deal and suitable fit.
- Measure Twice, Buy Once: Before you even start to look for used kitchen cabinets, take detailed measurements of your kitchen. Remember to include the dimensions for appliances, windows, and doorways. It’s important to have these measurements at hand to ensure that the cabinets you’re eyeing will fit your space.
- Inspect Thoroughly: Scrutinize every inch of the cabinets for any signs of damage. Look out for signs of water damage, mold, or other structural issues. Peeling laminate or damaged hinges could be a deal-breaker, as they may require additional costs to repair.
- Consider the Material: Cabinets made of solid wood tend to last longer and can withstand a bit more wear and tear compared to those made of particleboard or MDF. If you’re planning for long-term use, solid wood cabinets could be a better option even if they cost a bit more.
- Enlist Professional Help: If you’re not confident about installing the cabinets yourself, it may be wise to hire a professional. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to ensure proper installation and fit.
- Resurfacing Could Be an Option: If the cabinets you find are structurally sound but look a little worn, consider resurfacing them. A fresh coat of paint or new hardware can make used cabinets look brand new.
Always prioritize quality and fit over price to ensure your refurbished kitchen stands the test of time.
Where Can You Find Used Kitchen Cabinets?
There are several places to find used kitchen cabinets. Online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, OfferUp, Nextdoor, Freecycle, or even Facebook Marketplace often have listings for used kitchen cabinets.
Buying Used Cabinets Online
Navigating online platforms for used kitchen cabinets can be tricky, but with a few helpful tips, you can increase your chances of getting a deal.
- Set Up Notifications: Most online marketplaces allow you to set up alerts for specific search terms. Set up notifications for “used kitchen cabinets,” “kitchen cabinet Wayfair,” and “kitchen cabinet kits,” so you’re immediately notified when new listings are posted.
- Evaluate the Seller’s Reputation: On platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, you can view the seller’s rating and feedback from previous buyers. Sellers with high ratings and positive feedback are generally more trustworthy. If a potential seller is comfortable enough to list their used cabinets through an online marketplace they should have a history and ratings of selling previous items – steer clear of sellers who have new profiles or sample-size history.
- Ask for Additional Information and Photos: If the listing lacks detailed information or clear photos, reach out to the seller. Request more detailed images, particularly of the cabinet interiors and any hardware.
- Be Aware of Misrepresentation of Items: This is where sellers post pictures of a different item or a new version of the same item, but what you receive is a beaten-up, worn-out kitchen cabinet. Always insist on inspecting the cabinets personally or ask for detailed, up-to-date pictures before making a payment.
- Bait-and-Switch Scams: This is when a seller advertises high-quality cabinets and then tries to sell you lower quality ones when you arrive to pick them up. Be alert and confirm that the cabinets you purchase are the same ones you saw in the pictures.
- False Claims: Scams often involve sellers lying about the material, brand, or condition of the cabinets. Research to know what high-quality cabinets look like and how to distinguish them from lower quality ones.
- Negotiate Price: Pricing on used items isn’t always firm. If the cabinets seem overpriced or if they require significant refurbishment, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
- Arrange Safe Pickup or Delivery: If you decide to proceed with a purchase, plan a safe pickup or delivery. Some sellers may offer delivery for an additional fee.
Purchasing cabinets online doesn’t come without a layer of risk, so be careful and use a little wisdom. Make sure to inspect the cabinets thoroughly upon pickup or delivery, and don’t complete the transaction until you’re satisfied with what you’re getting.
Architectural Salvage Yards
A Treasure Trove for Used Kitchen Cabinets
Second-hand stores, salvage yards, and auctions are also great places to look.
Architectural salvage yards can be a hidden gem when it comes to finding used kitchen cabinets. These places are essentially repositories for architectural elements salvaged from renovations or demolitions. Here, you can find a vast variety of kitchen cabinets with unique designs and characteristics that you might not find in modern, off-the-shelf models.
But why should you consider salvage yards for your kitchen cabinet purchase? For starters, they offer an opportunity to nab high-quality, sturdy cabinets made with materials that might not be commonly used in contemporary cabinet manufacturing. Plus, these places often have a range of options from different eras, perfect for those seeking a vintage or rustic look for their kitchens.
Remember, though, while hunting for used kitchen cabinets at architectural salvage yards, patience and thorough inspection are key. You might need to sift through a lot of stuff to find the perfect set that matches your kitchen’s size and style requirements. And of course, don’t forget to check the condition of the cabinets to ensure they’re worth the investment.
Habitat for Humanity
Another excellent resource for finding used kitchen cabinets is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. These nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, and building materials at a fraction of the retail price. Not only can you find great deals on kitchen cabinets, but your purchase also supports Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building and improving homes for families in need. Just keep in mind that the stock varies from store to store and day to day, so it’s a good idea to check often and act quickly if you find something you like.
The Buy Nothing Project
An innovative platform for swapping goods within your local community, the Buy Nothing Project is another avenue for securing used kitchen cabinets. Being an online exchange system based on giving, receiving, and sharing, it can be an unexpected source of cabinets for those willing to keep a keen eye on their local listings. As members of this group often give away items they no longer need, you may find fellow renovators willing to part with their old kitchen cabinets for free. Just remember, like other sources of used cabinets, you must inspect the cabinets thoroughly to ensure their quality and suitability for your project.
If you’re in New Jersey or nearby, Renovation Angel is another excellent resource for sourcing used kitchen cabinets. This nonprofit organization specializes in recycling luxury kitchens, aiding both the environment and your budget. From high-end brands to custom-made designs, you’re likely to find quality cabinets to match your taste. Plus, your purchase will support charitable causes, adding a feel-good factor to your kitchen renovation project. As always, remember to inspect any used items thoroughly before purchase to ensure their condition and fit for your kitchen.
Alternatives To Buying Used
If the concept of buying used cabinets seems too daunting, there are alternatives. You can opt for budget-friendly options like ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets, available widely on websites such as Wayfair. These “kitchen cabinet kits” can be a good compromise between cost, quality, and the flexibility of getting something new that fits your kitchen perfectly.
In conclusion, there’s no right or wrong answer in the ‘new versus used’ kitchen cabinet debate. It all comes down to your budget, time, and ability to hunt for the right product. With careful consideration and thorough inspection, you can find used kitchen cabinets that fit your kitchen design without breaking the bank.
Check with Local Showrooms
Another avenue worth exploring is your local kitchen showrooms. Typically, these venues display a variety of kitchen cabinets to entice customers. Over time, these displays get replaced by newer models, leaving the showroom with a set of perfectly good cabinets they need to get rid of. Most often, they sell these display cabinets at a significant discount, as they’ve been “gently used” only in the sense of being on display.
This can be an excellent opportunity to snag a bargain. You might find high-end kitchen cabinets that have been carefully treated and maintained in a pristine showroom condition. However, like any other purchase of used cabinets, you must be prepared to handle any sizing and fitting issues that may arise, as these cabinets were originally tailored for display and not for a specific kitchen layout.
So, don’t forget to add local kitchen showrooms to your list of venues when hunting for used kitchen cabinets. With patience and a sharp eye for quality, you might just find your dream kitchen cabinets at a fraction of the price.