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Five Tips for Buying Unfinished Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

If you want to update your cabinets, but money's tight, consider buying unfinished cabinets and finishing the cabinets yourself. You'll find plenty of retail outlets vying for your business, but buyer beware--you need to shop carefully to get the best deal.

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Here are five tips for buying unfinished cabinets:

  1. Buy unfinished cabinets from reputable sources: Major home improvement retailers generally deliver the product as promised. Local lumberyards and contractors are also good sources you can trust. If you choose to go for the good deal online or patronize non-local businesses, make sure you're familiar with the return policy, in case your cabinets arrive damaged or were misrepresented.
  2. Inspect before you buy:Look over unfinished cabinets carefully before you write your check or swipe your credit card. Check for sturdiness and frame strength. Look over the hardware if it's included, and make sure it's all there. Open the doors to make sure the fit is tight enough, but not sticking. If there's a problem with the cabinet, now's the time to find it.
  3. Shop around: Check more than one retailer to find the best cabinets for your money. Sales, liquidations, and other must-sell situations can mean big savings for the consumer.
  4. Contractor sales: If you plan to hire a contractor to install your unfinished cabinetry, ask him to let you in on his discount. Most retailers give contractors discounted prices below the regular over-the-counter price. Contractors frequently mark up the cabinets before reselling them to you, but, if asked, he might pass the contractor discount along to you.
  5. Double check the measurements: Ensure your measurements are right, and, if in doubt, measure the cabinets before you leave the store to make sure they're the advertised size. Installation day's not a good time to discover they don't fit their intended location.

Save money--and build your do-it-yourself confidence--by finishing unfinished cabinets yourself.


About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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