Contemporary kitchen cabinets are as much utility as addition to the market value of your home. A modern kitchen tops the list of ideal home improvements that can increase the selling price of your property by as much as 35 percent. While cabinets are the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel, there are kitchen cabinets for every budget whether building your own or buying a ready made version.
Do not presume the installation of these cabinets by yourself is an easy quest. Assembling each box perfectly and hanging them appropriately are difficult tasks requiring high calculation skills and special tools. Besides, you will require some plumbing and electrical skills to fit back the taps, pipes, cookers, ovens, and extractors incorporated into the cabinets. Also, defects consequent upon a DIY installation may void the manufacturer's warranty. As such, leaving your installation to a professional kitchen cabinet contractor nearby is a wise choice to ensure correct and enduring installation that will truly enhance your home value. The following questions will help you determine the best kitchen cabinet installer near you to hire:
Are You A Licensed Kitchen Cabinet Installer?
Kitchen cabinets are made by finish carpenters or woodworkers, who are categorized under carpentry in all states. Hence, your kitchen cabinet maker is required to hold a carpentry license. The conditions for a carpentry license vary by state, with 30 states requiring a specialty or general contractor state-level license. Carpenters and woodworkers are considered specialty contractors in areas like California, Georgia, Minnesota, and Washington. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont where your kitchen cabinet installer does not need a state-level license to practice, county or city authorities may make licensure mandatory. Contact your local licensing authority to determine the licensure requirements for kitchen cabinet installers practicing in your area.
A license is a mark of competence given by the government to guarantee the performance of your contractor at the job. Hence, request to see a copy of your installer's license.
Are You A Bonded and Insured Kitchen Cabinet Installer?
Carpentry is one of the top occupations with the highest fatal injuries annually. In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 11,670 and 3,120 nonfatal occupational injuries among carpenters and woodworkers, respectively. In the same year, work-related fatalities for carpenters and woodworkers are 99 and 16 respectively. As such, it is advisable to hire only bonded and insured kitchen cabinet contractors near you.
A bond is a three-party contract that guarantees the successful completion of your project, while insurance protects you from financial liability resulting from damages, or injuries suffered by workers or third-persons on the work site. Where, the contractor fails to complete a project as agreed, the bonding company steps in to finalize the job or compensate the homeowner for the outstanding part of the job. Requirements for bonding vary by state, county or city, tocal. Therefore, contact your local licensing authority or consumer protection agency to find out the kind and amount of bond required of a kitchen cabinet installer.
Your kitchen cabinet contractor is also expected to carry general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, if they have apprentices, helpers, and co-workers. Ask for a copy of these insurance policies and the surety bond to ensure you would not incur further expenses than the cost of the project. Note that a few states including California, Oregon, and Nevada, makes a surety bond and general liability or worker's compensation insurance compulsory for carpenters.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Basically, there are three types of cabinetry. These include stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets. Each kind has its advantages depending on your budget and requirement. Custom cabinets are the most expensive while stock cabinets are at an entry level price point. Apart from price, designs, styles, finishes, and accessories are what distinguish each type of cabinet.
- Stock Kitchen Cabinets: these are pre-manufactured with fixed size and look. These ready-made cabinets present an economical option for most homeowners.
- Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets: these are middle-range priced cabinets that offer some customized options which may include alternative accessories, and cabinet or drawer depth and height.
- Custom Kitchen Cabinets: These offer homeowners total customization of cabinets sizes, colors, accessories, finishes, and door styles. Generally, custom cabinets are the most difficult to assemble and install, and take the longest period to complete. Depending on the size of your kitchen installation may take up to a few weeks.
Therefore, it is essential to inquire of your installation contractors if they are experienced with the type of kitchen cabinet you want to install. The area of specialization needed may depend on the type of project. Also note, new kitchen construction projects require contractors near you skilled at adding wall cabinet blocking rather than remodeling contractors who specialize in cosmetic changes. It is therefore essential to understand the contractor's specialty to compare with the project needs. Removing and replacing old cabinets require expertise and experience in preventing hazards, wall or furniture damages, and bad gaps, while also keeping the surfaces level.
Who Will Do the Work?
The most basic kitchen cabinet installation is a two-man job. More complex or custom structures require more hands. When working with a kitchen cabinet installer, ensure to identify every worker involved and clarify that they are covered by the contractor's insurance plan and surety bond. Also, discuss with your contractor the cost implication of every additional laborer to ensure the total expenses are within your budget.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Typically, any professional installers near you would offer a warranty for any defect that occurs as a result of their workmanship. However, this warranty is subject to terms and conditions that the homeowner must abide by to make any claim when a defect is discovered. Your kitchen cabinet installer may not be liable for damages caused by misuse, accidents, modifications, and alterations. It is recommended you get the warranty in writing for future reference and ensure to understand the terms and conditions, especially on the warranty duration, repair coverage on parts and labor, services and exchanges, and disclaimers of liability.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
The removal of old cabinets and installation of new ones do not typically require a permit. However, kitchen remodeling, and other installations that involve changing floor plans, mostly require permits. It is important to note that permit requirements differ among cities, counties, and states. For instance, Chicago grants easy permits for simple home improvement projects like replacing countertops and cabinets in condos. Any professional kitchen cabinet installers near you would know if the project needs permits and how to secure such permits. However, homeowners should confirm that the contractors have the necessary approval before proceeding with the project.
Will You Provide Reference?
References are essential to determine your kitchen cabinet installer's reputation. Request for a small list of recent or similar projects with the contacts of customers served. You are at liberty to call and get their unbiased reviews of the services provides, especially in critical areas like:
- Budget and cost overruns
- Workmanship and crew performance
- Contract timeline and missed deadline
- Complaints on services
- Communications and results
Other aspects to consider are the size of projects, if the contractor obtained the necessary credentials or permits, and if the former clients would rehire the contractor if they had other projects. If possible, ask to inspect the work done.
You may also get local third-party independent opinions of the contractor from online sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Review. These are reviews provided by former clients near you based on their satisfaction with the contractor's job.
Do You Have a Business License?
Generally, business owners are required to obtain business licenses. As with other credentials, homeowners should ask if the contractor has a business license to operate in the state. You should request to see the contractor's business license, and confirm details with the issuing body. You can also search for information on the Secretary of State's Websites by using the license number, business name, and so on.
What are Common Kitchen Cabinet Installation Challenges?
The following are common problems faced during or after kitchen cabinet installation:
- High cost of kitchen cabinets and inadequate budget
- Sloped surfaces, gaps, uneven or unlevel floors and walls
- Poor kitchen plan
- Hanging cabinet on drywall without adding blocking
- Disconnecting plumbing and electricity from old cabinets
- Accidents and injuries from improper use of tools or handling of woods
- Removing and disposing of old cabinets
- Damages to the cabinets, walls, and other kitchen fixtures
How Much Does Kitchen Cabinet Installation Cost?
Kitchen cabinet installers can charge per hour, linear foot, or per cabinet. However, the installation costs depend on the size of the kitchen/project and the number of cabinets. For an average kitchen of 120 square feet, installation and material costs may range between $2,000 and $14,000. Depending on the service, installers may charge from $35 to $90 per hour, $70 to $450 per linear foot, or $40 to $80 per cabinet.
For average-sized kitchens and projects, the costs of kitchen installation services are as follows:
Materials and hardware price estimates (per linear foot):
Cabinet price estimates (depending on materials):
What are the Factors that Affect the Cost of Kitchen Cabinet Installation?
Just as the cabinet price varies depending on the materials and the type of cabinet, the installation cost is also influenced by these and other various factors. The quality and type of wood and materials used for cabinet installation is one aspect that may increase or reduce the cost of installation. Furthermore, the project size/type, kitchen size, and the number of cabinets are also vital in installation costs.
Smaller projects take lesser time and come with fewer labor costs and also lesser material required. The disadvantage of replacement projects is that they may cost more because of the removal and disposal of old cabinets, while the advantage is that they do not require much planning and preparation if you are using the same kitchen areas and cabinet dimensions.
Other services that may increase the overall bill are pre-installation changes like repairing damaged walls, removing plumbing or electrical fixtures, pipes, or wires, leveling floors, and adding cabinet blocking. Except for adding blocking, these may be done beforehand by other professionals or at the installer's prompting but will still affect the project cost. Note, hiring contractors near you may help limit the total project cost due to proximity.
Lastly, your geological location also determines how installers will charge their services. The higher cost of living and lack of competition, the higher the fees and lack of competitive prices.
What Qualifications Should Cabinet Installation Contractors Have?
There are over one million employed carpenters in the United States. Usually, there are no formal education requirements beyond high school diplomas. However, to be a carpenter, a background in woodworking, carpentry, and construction is crucial, and there are cabinet installation certification courses available at technical and vocational schools. Moreover, different states like Arizona, California, and Nevada have various training and experience requirements for licensing, such as three to four years of experience, passing a trade exam, completing a specified number of carpentry projects, and proof of insurance. All carpenters must also pass the 10-hour safety course provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Do You Need a Handyman or a Kitchen Cabinet Installer?
Experienced and professional kitchen cabinet installers must have the needed credentials, tools, and skills for the job and can be held liable for failure to satisfy contractual obligations, especially with bonds, insurance, and warranties. Alternatively, a handyman typically works on small repairs or maintenance that do not require permits or specialty skill areas. Therefore, the probability of a handyman near you having as much in-depth knowledge on the right type of screws to use on which materials or the code and safety guideline for proper installation is lesser. Furthermore, most states do not require handymen to obtain licenses, except for high-value projects. Hence, the liability of poorly installed cabinets falls on the homeowner.
In light of the possible risk of injuries, poor installation, damages, or fines from not having the necessary permits, it is cost-effective to hire experienced installers. A handyman may be more suitable for smaller jobs like installing molding and trimming gaps to make the cabinets look solid and flush against the wall.
What are Common Post Installation Expenses?
Typically, kitchen cabinet installation ends with applying finishes, clearing the site, and disposing of debris. However, some post-installation jobs that require the expertise of other professionals include:
Also, damages to cabinets and refacing countertops, or rearranging furniture are common post-installation expenses.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Kitchen Cabinet Installation Expenses?
Generally, homeowner insurance provides financial protection against certain risks like thefts, accidental damage to another's property, and damages to homes caused by fires, lightning strikes, windstorms, and so on. However, standard homeowner's insurance does not cover damages caused by earthquakes, misuse, or floods. While your kitchen cabinets may be replaced when damaged by fire or other risks covered in the insurance policy, the cost of installation will likely be covered by the homeowner. Note standard homeowner insurance does not cover kitchen cabinet installation, refinishing, or upgrades. Hence, ensure to understand the terms of a policy before purchasing it.
Can I Use Digital Payment To Pay My Kitchen Cabinet Contractor?
More and more small businesses, including kitchen cabinet installation contractors near you, are willing to accept their payments through credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, digital bank accounts, and other digital platforms these days. These payments are convenient, cheaper, faster, more transparent, and help enhance your credit score. Note that not all installers use electronic payment services. Hence, confirm with your kitchen cabinet installers if they accept digital payment before work begins.