A recent trend in kitchen and bath cabinets are Chinese imported cabinets. While priced at bargain basement pricing we’ve found the quality to be far below our standards of construction, fit and finish.
We want to stress, there is nothing inherently wrong with imported cabinetry, but you need to go into any purchase well informed with your eyes open because the ‘super low, factory direct pricing’ can have you dream of ‘savings’ and you may never fully understand why the price is so low.
Low quality Craftsmanship—the 5 ply panel stock is weak and could delaminate in a few years or upon getting wet. Formaldehyde weakens any glue and they use plenty of these dangerous toxins when manufacturing their plywood. Screws and nails do not do well in the assembly of plywood, therefore biscuits are recommended.
Most of these kitchen and bath cabinets use a cam lock mechanism where the cabinet face frame and cabinet sides/top/bottom are held together with a hook type faster that engages the opposing piece when a screw is turned. A common application of this that we all grew up with can be found in Sauder or Ikea furniture. There are usually some plastic blocks to assist in keeping things square as well. Some manufacturers suggest the use of glue and advise that the client not depend solely on the cam locks.
Green or not—they are laden with formaldehyde, sulfur, lead content and other glue resins which are illegal for American manufacturers to use because they are banned by the EPA and violate the CARB initiative. Chinese import cabinets are illegal in California (section 93120.12(d)(A)1.) because of their high formaldehyde content. The Chinese have few environmental restrictions or health organizations like we have here. People exposed to formaldehyde are at great risk of cancer at worse and asthma at best. Other glues and resins used in the manufacture of Chinese brand cabinets are banned in the USA but permitted to be imported.
Ask about their warranty, you’ll be very surprised at the lack of one.
In order to get and maintain such low prices, the manufacturer offers very few variations in sizes, finishes or options. Since most kitchen or bathroom remodeling projects require some flexibility in the design and installation, these low end selections tend to put a damper on creative solutions.
Another major issues we’ve seen is the sheer lack of replacement parts. Due to the fact that these cabinets are shipped in knock down format, the number of spare parts is almost nonexistent. If a part is damaged, missing or scratched, finding the perfect matching item can take months, and there is no guarantee that it will match.