If you’re looking to give your kitchen a new look, replacing or refacing your cabinets are probably two of the leading options you’re considering. But who are you going to choose to do the actual work? If you search online, you’ll probably see ads from big box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot offering complete remodels, cabinet replacement, and refacing, featuring major brands and well-known products alongside these services. The message is clear: “Buy your new cabinets and pay for installation, all in one place. We can do it all.”

This sounds great. Many big box retailers like to bundle products and services together, with the promise that you’ll save time and money by having them handle the process from start to finish. But the truth is, big box stores don’t do it all. They outsource. And this can result in prolonged installations, and weeks- or even months-long waits to fix problems if something goes wrong.

How do big box stores handle cabinet refacing?

The advertised advantage of big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot is that you get a complete package of the products you choose—in this case, your new cabinet doors if you opted for kitchen refacing—and the installation service. The problem is that these companies usually aren’t handling the installation themselves, but rather hand off the work to third-party contractors.

Ideally, these contractors are in the store’s network because they are fully licensed, experienced, and have a positive reputation for their work and customer service. In practice, this isn’t always the case. Your home improvement project is often at the mercy of a contractor whose track record is unknown to the big box store.

Rather than having cabinets and installation service under one roof, you’re actually dealing with a contractor you don’t know and didn’t choose.

If something goes wrong with your refacing project, the response may be slower than you expect.

One of the biggest problems with contracting refacing work out to a third party is that the response time for errors is, simply put, terrible.

Let’s say you go to a big box store, select the refacing options you want, and schedule an appointment to have installer come to your home. The contractor they’ve chosen comes out on the appointed day and does the work. But right away you notice something is wrong. The wrong materials appear to have been used, the hardware doesn’t look like what you picked at the store, or the cabinet doors aren’t what you chose.

This isn’t a hypothetical scenario. It happens all the time. Consider what happened to a homeowner in Florida in 2019:

“…After a number of calls and emails, since placing my work order six months ago, the work remains incomplete and no inspection has taken place. Cabinet face boards has began to peel, even before using the cabinets and an open hole is now, where there was none before, under my countertop. Once the charge was placed against my card, I found the salesperson and project team to be very unresponsive and inconsiderate – never responded to my emails or phone calls.”

Alternatively, let’s say that the installer shows up to your home ready to go. But the big box store hasn’t delivered the cabinet you ordered. As a result, you have to call Home Depot or Lowe’s to find out what’s going on, and reschedule with the installer, delaying the project.

Again, this isn’t a hypothetical situation:

“I ordered my new custom designed kitchen cabinets from Home Depot Newmarket, Ontario on April 3. I was told it would be delivered in 4-6 weeks. The supplier was Fabritec. The order finally came 9 1/2 weeks later. The order was a disaster. Items were missing, some were incorrect sizes, most other items were damaged… It has now been almost 5 months and half my kitchen is still waiting for replacement pieces or missing items.”

Why big box stores aren’t the right choice for cabinet refacing
This is exactly where you don’t want a project to be: half-way finished, with product still on the way, and labor now weeks off schedule.

If your cabinet upgrade goes wrong, you now have to deal with both the contractor who did the work, and the store you paid.

If you call the contractor to discuss problems with the work, they might just kick you back over to the store who gave them the job in the first place. After all, they’re the ones who sold the service, this is a customer service issue. If you call the store, the customer service representative you’ve never spoken to before will apologize for the mishaps and promise a solution, and then you’ll have to wait while they either get the contractor back out to your property, or find a new contractor to fix what went wrong.

Depending on just how bad your experience is, this could add weeks or even months of time on your project:

“Ordered kitchen cabinets and countertops. Had to pay 100% at order time. Many came in defective, warped, damaged and had to be replaced. That delayed backsplash by months. Some of the cabinets doors were replaced 3 times over. A 1 1/2 month job took 7 months!!!”

Cabinet refacing should never take that long.

Big box stores might be selling you the product, but they can’t ensure you’ll get exactly what you ordered.

While cabinet refacing services can vary, we opt to do it the right way—we manufacture new cabinet doors and drawer faces in our own manufacturing facility. Home Depot and Lowe’s are more inconsistent. Depending on what you pay, they may offer entirely new cabinet doors, or have an installer install laminate on your existing doors and drawers. Regardless of which approach they take, until the replacement materials are delivered, you have no idea if you’re getting the doors you paid for.

In the best case scenario, any mistakes with delivery are discovered before work is started. But oftentimes, in it can take months before mix-ups are resolved:

“On February 20 2019 Home Depot was to start a reno on the kitchen in our condo using the north Surrey Home Depot. Once they showed up to begin work they realized the largest counter had been left off the order and was not there. This resulted in them not being able to complete the cupboard installation. Because they only realized this part way through they had already torn out the old counter and cupboards and had installed the cupboards they had. This left the kitchen unusable. We were told it would be 2 weeks until they got the new cupboards. It was actually April 15 2019 before they installed the missing cupboards.”

Big box stores often underestimate how long a project will take.

When you’re dealing with a big box store for a refacing project, you’re most likely speaking to a salesperson, and not the people who are actually going to do the work. They’re trying to sell you a package deal, promising swift delivery of both the product and the installation, and it’s their job to make this all sound convenient and fast.

They’re not going to take into account how long it might take to order the cabinets you ordered.  The big box store has no control over or knowledge of the lead times involved.

They also aren’t likely to tell you exactly how much work it will take to install your cabinets or cabinet doors, or whether the job will involve multiple contractors. This presents its own problems, because big box stores almost entirely rely on third-party installers for cabinet refacing. The job itself might only take you a few days, but you could be waiting weeks before a contractor is available to do the job.

With Express Reface, you’re cutting out the middlemen who overcomplicate cabinet refacing projects.

The problem with going to any big box store for cabinet refacing is that so much of the process is entirely outside of their control. If you’re lucky, they might have the necessary refacing products in stock, but after that, they’re relying on contractors to do the job.

There’s a lot of middlemen involved, and when things go wrong, all the promised timelines go out the window. Even with the various service guarantees the big box stores offer, their way of doing things inherently involves more moving parts that can go wrong.

With Express Reface, you’re not just getting the products or the installation service, you’re getting the whole package under one roof. Our employ our own salespeople, our own cabinet door manufacturers, and our own team of experienced installers. We’re not selling someone else’s work. We sell our own work, and we stand by it. The fact that we handle every step of the process from start to finish means we can guarantee the delivery times we promise.

If you’re interested in getting your cabinets refaced the right way, contact Express Reface today!