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Ikea kitchen Cabinets?

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I am about to buy Ikea kitchen cabinets. I want an absolutely plain, flat design in non shiny white. In flat white there seem to be two choices: a painted finish (Applad) which is inexpensive or a foil finish (Solar) which is double the price. An Ikea assistant told me that the painted finish isn't as sturdy and I wonder whether anyone has experience with the painted finish cabinets?
Also I see on a Chowhound thread a mention that the Ikea kitchen cabinet hinges on board are not very strong. I was hoping to line the upper cabinet doors with shelves for spice jars and wonder whether the weight will be too much, has anyone has tried that? or tried hanging a waste bin on a base cabinet door?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

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  1. Not sure about the hinges but the drawer runners are the same top quality as used on high end designer kitchens such a Snaidero.

    1. No experience with those but in general foil is much more durable than painted. The foil finish that I'm most familiar with is a thermal process (much like shrink-wrap). It's far more durable and far more expensive than paint.

      1. I've had IKEA cabinets for two years plus and I haven't had any problems with the hinges--they're Blum (as are the drawer boxes/glides), so they're good quality hardware.

        Can't speak to the foil finish, though--I've got one of the wood door styles.

        The boxes, doors, and hinges/glides still look and work like new, though.

        1. FWIW...Consumer Reports gives IKEA a top rating

          We did not find a style we liked....we went with KraftMaid instead

          7 Replies
          1. re: Yellowshirt

            I just ordered KraftMaid for our kitchen remodel (which starts next week!!). Are you happy with yours?

            What type did you get (wood? finish?). Any other bells and whistles like the Harmony storage stuff??

            1. re: Philly Ray

              We purchased the full wood built maple cabinets....no chipboard, all plywood. All the drawers have full extension and auto close.

              Did not get any Harmony storage stuff.....just a simple pantry with shelves.

              I was very, very impressed with the construction of the cabinets....very well put together, perfectly square....really a quality product

              After 2 years of use they still look brand new. I thnk you will be pleased

              1. re: Yellowshirt

                That's good to hear. We did full maple also.

                As for Harmony, we did an angled lazy susan, tray dividers for the cabinet above the fridge, and rollout shelves in the pantry and in a large base cabinet for pots and pans.

            2. re: Yellowshirt

              I can't find Consumer Reports cabinet tests on line (even though I am a member) .Do you happen to know when they tested cabinets so I can look up back numbers? Thank you.

              1. re: Fuffy

                I think it was in the Aug 2004 issue.

                1. re: Fuffy

                  I just looked online, the ratings don't seem to be there any longer. Last I looked was about 2 yrs ago

                  They do have ratings for countertops though

                2. re: Yellowshirt

                  I WISH I had used Ikea instead of Kraftmaid. I had to replace every single one of my doors and end panels. I used the Venecia, which has been discontinued. Ikea would have been MUCH better.

                3. I have the foil cabinets, about 6 years ole, don't know if they are from Ideak or not as they were put in just before we moved in. THe problem is that the foild is now shrinking away from from the cabinets near the oven and near the dishwasher ( which has a heated drying cycle). THey are easy to clean but I don't know that they are any better than a good factory finish baked on painted surface

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jack_

                    Jack. Thanks very much. Extremely helpful.

                  2. I have installed maybe 10 Ikea kitchens. I am seriously impressed with their stuff, especially when you take cost and flexibility into account.. So lets address your points one-by-one to the best of my limited ability.

                    Painted finishes will chip, but are repaintable. The other big, big advantage of Ikea is that you can go back and replace just a single door if it gets damaged. My advice to customers is to always take a style and colour that have been around for a long time. These generally stay. So Medium Brown will be around forever, as will white. Recent arrivals tend to disappear sooner. For this reason hang on to your Ikea catalogs for the years to come. Foil surfaces can delaminate in the constant presence of water, steam or heat. But they can be replaced on a one-off basis. The best option I find is the solid wood. If you take a veneered surface there will be somewhere in the kitchen (usually a side panel) where you are going to have to slice something and it will leave an unfinished edge. Unfortunately Ikea no longer sells laminate / veneer strips to match each door type. (At least the ones I've installed.)

                    The wall mounting system for upper level cabinets is very strong, provided your installer uses decent lag bolts and hits the studs. The Ikea cabinet carcases are also slightly thicker than the standard half-inch American ones. They can be loaded up pretty much with everything. I would tend to avoid putting your nested cast-iron cookware up there. The only caveat I would have to that is that if you have a deep over-the-fridge cupboard I would avoid loading that very heavily unless it has some side support.

                    Hinges. Really easy to install, just the simplest mechanism I have come across. And Ikea are really happy about replacing the screw-in portion of a hinge if you have installed them in the wrong holes. (That's awkward to explain, just take it as being a good thing). I would advise getting the hinge arresters (or whatever they are called) that stop the door slamming - they also work well and are easy to install. Same goes for the drawers.

                    In terms of mounting spice racks on the inside - my gut tells me not to do it. But if you must then I would avoid the 24-inch door. Just too great a moment on the hinges. So far I have not had a door hinge fail, although I have had to take two back to be replaced. Their installer always carry spares anyway. (Will you be installing this yourself?)

                    The bits I am seriously impressed with are the drawers. They are steel framed with a thick bottom. You can load them up with tins, bottles, cast iron or whatever. My only caveat is that if they are going to contain stuff that might leak then run a bead of Silicon round the base-edge transition. If you do that you can even rinse them under the tap.

                    The drawers are fairly flexible in how they can be configured. I particularly like the drawers that look like cupboards. (ie you have to pull out the outer cupboard drawer to access the little drawers inside.) This allows you to have any combination of heights. For example in one such cupboard in my kitchen the bottom drawer holds vinergars, oils, hoisin, seame oil, hot saucess fish sauce etc. The next drawer up has a whole bunch of spices and one above that is peelers, scrapers and odd-ball stuff. Seriously consider having a number of narrow ones (say 2 or three 15 inchers). These are excellent for spices.

                    Don't hang the bin on the door. Ikea has a far far better pull out double bin on rails that works. I have one for bin garbage and one for compost. Ensure that your installer installs the drains underneath the sink to maximise them amount of free space to you the customer, rather than making his job easy and installing them nearer the middle where he can get at them. If you are going to put the bin-on-rails system there then tell the installer that he will have to work round it., although you may have to have the larger bin next to the door.

                    You asked for 'any advice' so here are a few things to consider. Consider tiling the complete floor before installing the cabinets, and then put the cabinets on stainless legs. It makes things look more open, especially with light coloured tiles.

                    If you are going to have a shelf in a 36 inch cabinet, then avoid loading it up with really heavy stuff. It will bend with time. This is true of all chipboard based shelves. Alternatively you can add an additional vertical support of stiffen the shelf.

                    Edit: Cannot find the slide-out double bin on the Canadian site although I have installed them. I did notice these though...


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Paulustrious

                      We have two types of Ikea cupboards, and I can recommend them highly.

                      The main kitchen installation is twenty years old and in perfect condition. It doesn't even appear dated. The second group is four years old, also in perfect condition, and comparable in materials and appearance to custom cabinets at several times the price.

                      They are in no way "cheap" and represent a genuine bargain. Indeed, unlike many other things sold by Ikea (Billy bookcases come to mind), the quality of the kitchens has generally improved over time.

                      While I agree with most of Paulustrious' comments, I have one serious warning. DO NOT ASSUME that you can make one off replacements, or change the fittings, over time. IKEA discontinues items and changes designs at will and at whim, usually with no advance notice. It doesn't matter whether you get something currently trendy or you choose a "timeless" style that has been around for years.

                      Kitchen sales are registered with IKEA, so they are capable of notifying buyers that a style they bought will be discontinued. This would provide an opportunity to get replacements, or make additions, while you still can (and at a discount). They do not do this, and you can get stuck.

                      Our original kitchen cabinets have real wood doors, fronts, and sides in a "rosewood" finish. IKEA decreed, at the time, that this style would always be offered. They lied, which isn't really the issue since "style" is an ephemeral thing. But it would have been nice to know that it was going out of stock.

                      Then they changed the (originally metric) Canadian kitchens to the imperial measurements used in the US, though Canada had long since gone metric across the board. This meant none of IKEA's newer, and greatly improved, interior fittings could be used and no parts could ever be replaced. All IKEA stores outside of North America sell only metric stock.

                      When we decided to extend the kitchen, we found a new, and quite compatible, real wood IKEA style that we liked. Though the new and old looked good in proximity, we learned that every IKEA store outside of the US and Canada had doors and fronts in the new style that would fit our original metric cupboards.

                      We also learned that while IKEA can source almost anything from anywhere in the world, they cannot figure out how to accept an order at a British store for shipment to Canada.

                      They don't even have a way to ship merchandise between two IKEA locations. When our "timeless", top-of-the-line, storage system (I can't recall the name) was discontinued without notice after being available for twenty years, I needed to replace a broken top. I had to drive from Toronto to Ottawa (where they hadn't yet sold out), a nine hour round trip, to get the part.

                      More recently, we got a PAX storage system, another top-of-the-line unit. We liked it so, a couple of months later, we decided to get more. We couldn't because, in that short time, we couldn't match the doors - which are pure white.

                      1. re: embee

                        OK, OK - so I lied. Sue me.

                        I agree that Ikea change styles from time to time. How could they not and still respond to customer demand? However, I still think they retain designs and colours longer than most kitchen stores. I would still stick to my advice and go with the 'timeless' designs and colours. After all, keeping a style for twenty years is pretty good in the kitchen design market. That's usually the period at which the complete kit and caboodle is being replaced rather than upgrading a door.

                        I had never considered the concept of importing from foreign markets. The US and Canada must be the only places left on the Imperial system. Incidentally I am relatively new to Canada and have lived in eight or so countries.

                        I have fabricated a few doors and panels for people - but only wood ones. If you google you will find recommended pre-stains and stains to match their colours. Luckily with wood (solid or veneer) with its variation from one panel to the next you do not have to be too precise. The same cannot be said of laminate or foil surfaces.

                        1. re: Paulustrious

                          I think you need to read my post again. My bitch is not about the quality, or about their changing the styles. We love our Ikea kitchen and saved tens of thousands of dollars by going that route.

                          It's about Ikea's failure to notify of important impending changes, given that they maintain a detailed register of all kitchens sold.

                          Since they market their kitchens using the proposition of easy repairs, updates, and refacing, It's important for buyers to know the truth.

                          It is sometimes possible to repair, modify, or reface an Ikea kitchen. However, there's a good chance that you might need to replace the "complete kit and caboodle" because the door, side, or drawer front you need isn't available any more.

                          In short, get an Ikea kitchen because they are very good kitchens and a great value. While the touted carefree upgrades and replacements are sometimes possible, don't use this as a primary basis for your decision.

                          Ikea Canada's distribution, though greatly improved in recent years, has long been a local joke: "Ikea: Swedish for out of stock". Given the ability of this (actually Danish) company to source merchandise throughout the world, and manufacture parts of an object in multiple places before bringing them together for packaging, their consumer logistics are deplorable.

                          It is also impossible - literally impossible, for a consumer to communicate directly with any particular Ikea store, or to reach the actual "Resolution" Department, though this department really does exist.

                          BTW, you are wrong about "The US and Canada must be the only places left on the Imperial system". Canada has been completely metric since the seventies. Schools do not teach imperial measures, and most children (even many adults in their thirties) don't know that an imperial measurement system even exists.

                          Ikea was in Canada for many years before they entered the US. Everything they sold here was measured in metric. They switched our kitchens and beds to US measures sometime in the nineties, though everything else remains metric. I chuckle when I realize that most high end US kitchens now use metric measures.

                          1. re: embee

                            Yet again I should read what I wrote rather then what I thought I wrote.

                            I meant in terms of the building industry. You are still completely Imperial in that arena since you have to be 'compatible' with the US in terms of receptacle boxes, lumber, brick sizes, 4 x 8, 2 x 4, 3/4 ply, 1/2 inch copper, 3 inch paint brush etc

                            ...and to get back to Chowy things....

                            9" pie dish, 3 oz flour, 2 tablespoons (Imp??), 6 fl oz pint of milk, cup of sugar, 30 inch fridge, ...

                            Imperial cooking units is one of my personal rants. Especially after one ingredient was half a cup of very cold butter.

                            1. re: Paulustrious

                              The building industry measurements are nonsense in any measurement system. A 2 x 4 hasn't been 2 x 4 in many years. Plumbing comes measured in both systems, but sometimes not clearly marked as to which one. Screws and their like are probably the worst.

                              Yes, chow measurements are maddening. Forget metric vs imperial for a moment - US pints, quart, and gallons are significantly different from imperial pints, quart, and gallons. Of course, "real" cooks measure by gram weights and "professional" cooks by sight and feel :-)

                    2. we put ikea cabinets in a rental.. and used applad... not sure how they will hold up and one lazy susan for the blind cabinet was chipped on the corner.. didn't notice it until we installed it and ikea won't take it back so now we're looking for paint to try and match the color.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: ikeauser

                        One year later two factory painted Ikea kitchen drawers are chipped at the corner - no idea how or when it happened. Also where our electric coffee maker is extremely close (1 1/2 inches) to the bottom of a top cabinet, I have just noticed the paint edge of the cabinet is fraying above the coffee machine.

                        1. re: Fuffy

                          P.S. Three years after buying, the paint on our white painted Ikea kitchen cabinets (Applad) is fraying and chipping a little after very, very light use (we are two adults and away for half of the year) so we think this is not a good finish to buy. Someone above suggests patch painting, we have on the corners but it shows up. Our wooden Ikea kitchen cabinets in another flat are impeccable after seven years full time use. .

                          1. re: Fuffy

                            These are 8 year old IKEA kitchen cabinets and doors. The countertops are local black granite. We clean the doors each week with a wipe of soap and water on a cloth. We also use the same doors on cabinets in other rooms. They look and work very well.

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              In another room, another photo of IKEA cabinets and doors. This perhaps better illustrates the reflective qualities of the white "foil" door material behind the Rimowa travel case.

                              I drew up the designs to fit the house interior, and my wife and I assembled everything during one summer. There is marine-grade plywood we added between the granite countertops and the cabinet frames. The installation, being on a close schedule, went like Swiss clockwork. No rush, a few adjustments and trimmings, but relaxed and enjoyable.

                              I would add that the hinges are stock IKEA, while the drawer slides are the best we could find, being ACCURIDE.

                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                Thank you very much Swissaire. So I see that next time I should choose the Foil finish rather than the (cheaper) painted one - Applad. I chose Applad because I wanted a mat rather than shiny finish. A visiting architect friend took a look when they were installed and said "Those Ikea cabinets look so good when they are new..." I should have asked her first.

                                1. re: Fuffy

                                  I have two friends who are architects who (separately) just installed Ikea cabinets in their own homes. Someone above mentioned the foil finish can separate (which happened with my MUCH more expensive non-Ikea foil cabinets--every single door, drawer and side panel had to be replaced, but that was a manufacturing issue.)

                                  Not minimizing your issues, but just saying that all cabinets are going to wear to some degree.

                                  1. re: gliterati8

                                    Thank you gliterati8. Though I am comparing my Ikea painted with my Ikea wooden. The wooden are four years older, MUCH more used and yet are absolutely as good as new. So that is what I would recommend to anyone wondering. Definitely not the painted, alas.

                      2. We design & install Ikea kitchens all the time (in our 6th year of business). I would agree with the assistant about painted finish not being as durable.

                        As for the hardware, Ikea uses Blum components, which I used to spec on higher end custom kitchens in my previous life.

                        We've found in our experience that it's better to use Ikea's interior organization components, which most of are used in drawers (dividers, spice racks, etc). The lazy susans Ikea uses are also well engineered, but can't hold a lot of weight. Their interior mounted pullouts & bins for base cabinets are excellent for both garbage and recycling purposes.

                        In my own Ikea kitchen, I had custom wall cabinet doors made with steel frames & opaque glass inserts.

                        Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ecomod

                          Thank you ecomod - too late for me I am afraid.