Think of yourself living in the same house for 20 years or so, and you feel odd looking at your old furniture, cabinets, and fixtures. Perhaps the idea of remodelling your home, or at least refurbishing some cabinets, like your kitchen, comes to mind. But you have no idea how and where to start. Ever think of importing Chinese kitchen cabinets?
I. Why Buy Kitchen Cabinets from China?
1. Competitive Price
China is known as a globally competitive kitchen cabinet supplier of reasonable and bargain-price due to its advanced production processes. It has proven worldwide that while labor and raw materials cost less compared to other countries, the quality produced by top cabinet manufacturers is not compromised.
2. Excellent Quality
Some of the world’s leading furniture designers produce their furniture in China. Major furniture retail stores in the USA, like Williams Sonoma, Ikea, Ashley Furniture, and Raymour & Flanigan, have expanded their production in China. To satisfy furniture buyers, China makes use of highly-skilled workers and advanced production processes to produce furniture of topnotch quality and superb craftsmanship.
3. Diversified Choices and Styles
Large furniture markets offer a variety of designs that have evolved over the years. Using old and new techniques produce cutting edge craftsmanship seen in a wide range of designs that cater to every style preference, from simple to intricate designs. Modern kitchen cabinets become increasingly popular in the recent year. White cabinets, white kitchen cabinets, as well as blue kitchen cabinets are also gaining popularity among the public.
4. Up-to-date Designs
The past years have shown how China integrates the use of relevant and advanced technology to create products that are highly competitive worldwide. Such technology allows China to manufacture high-quality products made according to buyers’ design specifications. Some designs on Chinese kitchen cabinets in these years are selling like hot cakes, such as corner kitchen cabinets, built-in cabinets for saving space; shaker style cabinets for storage. What’s more, more and more people have been raving about the design on kitchen cabinet with abundant storage space.
5. Developed Transportation
China’s manufacturing hubs are modern, economically developed cities with complete transportation network facilities. The efficient and comprehensive transportation systems enable easy access to anyone who lives, visits, and does business in these hubs.
II. Where to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Direct from Manufacturer in China?
How well aware are you of China kitchen cabinet supplier? Where do you find them?
Here are ways to check out China cabinet manufacturers and know about their products.
1. Go to Alibaba.com
Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce business. In its website, you can find millions of Chinese kitchen cabinets direct from manufacturers, suppliers, exporters, buyers, wholesalers, resellers, and traders. You can check the company profile of manufacturers, materials used for production, audit reports, ISO certifications, and customer feedback. All the information you need to choose the right supplier for you.
2. Attend Trade Shows
What’s a great way to meet many Chinese kitchen cabinets suppliers face to face in less time? Trade fairs! There you can directly ask suppliers’ representatives of the company’s profile and inspect their product samples. Take a trip to China and include in your itinerary a visit to the biggest furniture fairs:
- China International Integrated Custom House Expo in Beijing – June
- China International Furniture Fair in Guangzhou – July
- China International Furniture Expo in Shanghai – September
- China International Furniture Fair in Shanghai – September
3. Go to Kitchen Cabinet Factory or Manufacturing Market
As cited by the China National Furniture Association, there are around 45 kitchen cabinet manufacturing clusters in China.
With the numerous manufacturing sites all over China, it may be costly and time-consuming to go to each one. Visiting notable furniture malls such as Shunde furniture markets in Foshan City is the best option for you. Here, most manufacturers have a sales office, showroom, or warehouse, all with a wide array of designs and materials for you to choose from. Also, there is different price level for you to choose, from the budget kitchen cabinets to high end kitchen cabinets.
III. How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets from China?
1. Identify Floor Plan
If you want to maximize the space of your kitchen, it’s a must to have a well-designed, functional floor plan. Measure your area to know what type of cabinets would fit. Have a professional designer create a kitchen floor plan to ensure that the appearance and layout of the kitchen suit you and your budget. A well-made floor plan also considers the limitations of your space.
2. Consider Expected Budget and Function of Cabinet
Cabinet prices vary greatly, depending mainly on material, function, and design.
① There are three types of cabinets that you may want to look into:
Stock cabinets or Ready to Assemble (RTA) cabinets are inexpensive, off-the-shelf cabinets that come in limited, pre-set sizes. Some are fully assembled while others require assembly onsite.
- Pros: This is a money-saving choice if you’re not particular about style options or don’t require a perfect fit. Often, you can bring it home on the same day or within a few days.
- Cons: Usually made from particleboard. Limited size, style, and trim options, as well as accessories.
- Cost: Budget
Semi-custom cabinets let buyers select from a range of style choices, then modify them or add features. This allows a more precise fit for your kitchen.
- Pros: Semi-custom cabinets offer more style options and configurations, such as size, materials, finish, trim, moldings, and accessories such as range hood covers.
- Cons: Features and quality vary. Boxes may be veneered particleboard rather than higher-quality plywood.
- Cost: Mid-range
Custom cabinets are made to fit the buyer’s exact specifications. Custom cabinets are excellent options for those who prefer a unique style to suit the functionality they need. More style and storage options are available. Choosing custom cabinets can easily become fitted kitchen as what you want. While the production time for custom cabinets requires longer lead time, depending on the scope of the job.
- Pros: Design your cabinet to suit your specific needs.
- Cons: It’s a lot more expensive.
- Cost: Expensive
② Functions and Usage:
Do you spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing food for friends and family? You probably need lots of cabinets with many partitions to organize different kitchen utensils and gadgets. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, a basic cabinet would probably suit you.
And do you need lots of storage space for your extensive wardrobe? The type of cabinet and wardrobe you need depends on its primary function and usage.
③ Features of the Cabinets:
Carcass – This refers to the entire box of the cabinet, which can be face-frame or frameless in construction. A framed cabinet has a wood frame around the front outer edge of the cabinet box. In frameless or full-access cabinets, there’s no inside edge of a frame that partially blocks the perimeter of the cabinet opening.
Worktop – This is mostly made of granite, solid surface, quartz, and high-pressure laminate.
Doors – Framed doors are made up of an outer frame that is built around a panel in the center of the door. Slab doors are often one-piece construction or the combination of many solid wood pieces glued and joined together to form a solid slab. The best options are solid wood frames and solid wood or plywood panels.
Drawers and Shelves – Cabinet drawers, like doors, are the most used part of the cabinet, which is why solid wood sides and plywood bottoms are the most durable. Shelves hold weight for long periods, so it must be built from quality materials for the highest durability. You’ll want shelves made from 3/4-inch plywood.
Hardware – Soft-close hinges are preferred than integrated side rails as the former prevents drawers from slamming shut.
Mounting Strips – Use mounting strips of a minimum of 3/4 inch of wood or metal with bolt holes.
3. Determine Materials and Make Quotations
You have to look not just into the kitchen design but also the kind of material used. Remember that you are investing in a cabinet for your home, so choose the best materials you can afford. When deciding what materials to use for your cabinets, ask your supplier for quotations so you can compare prices and know what you can afford with your given budget.
Particleboard – is used primarily in American kitchen cabinets. It is a low-density fiberboard made up of wood chips and particles that are combined with an adhesive, and then fused together into the panels. It’s the least firm of all the material options, and cannot withstand high humidity for long periods. It’s a good choice for those with a low budget.
Plywood – is used mainly in Chinese kitchen cabinets. It is an engineered wood product made up of thin wood “plies” or layers glued together in a sandwich form. It has a higher resistance to moisture and greater stability than MDF. It is used for shelving, doors, and cabinet boxes.
Medium – density fiberboard or MDF – is another engineered wood product made up of wood fibers mixed with an adhesive under pressure and formed into boards and panels. Compared to particleboard, MDF has a finer texture but is denser and heavier. It’s often used in cabinet boxes, doors, and shelves.
Solid wood – is solid homogeneous wood all the way through. It remains as the most durable and long-lasting material for high-quality cabinets. But since solid wood expands and contracts, homeowners may consider other materials. China manufacturers use oak, hard maple, hickory, cherry, rubberwood, birch, bamboo birch, ash tree, pine wood.
Aluminum – is lightweight, durable, and rust-resistant. More resilient, they do not warp or break like wooden cabinets, so you won’t have to replace them for a long time.
Stainless Steel – gives your kitchen a contemporary feel. It is more commonly used in professional kitchens, but it’s hard to clean off fingerprints and scratches. It can be expensive, but it doesn’t expand and contract like wood, making it a good choice for moisture-rich locations.
Also, there are some other materials for kitchen cabinets making, such as oak kitchen cabinets, metal kitchen cabinets, cherry kitchen cabinets, acrylic kitchen cabinets, melamine cabinets, high gloss kitchen cabinets and etc.
4. Confirm Design
When buying your cabinet, it is crucial to be specific about what you want. And make sure that your supplier knows your exact specifications. Before finalizing your order, you need to have the specifications in drawings or illustrations, complete with precise measurements. Be sure that the final design will have your final approval after you have thoroughly reviewed all specifications as well as the terms and conditions of the contract. Confirming the design helps avoid the shipment of items with wrong details such as sizes or colors and other specifications, especially for the custom cabinets.
5. Pay Deposit and Schedule Production
When the final design is approved, make a payment deposit of your kitchen cabinet or wardrobe order. Your partial payment serves as the go signal for the manufacturer to start production of your order. Allow the usual lead time. The production time of custom cabinets takes 45 to 70 days, excluding delays such as holidays and other unforeseen events.
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IV. Problems with Imported Kitchen Cabinets from China
Nobody wants to get into trouble importing kitchen cabinets from China, right?
Here’re are some possible problems you may encounter:
1. Problem on Quality
The quality of kitchen cabinets has always been an issue for most buyers. Typical quality problems include scratches, uneven colour, substandard finish, and cheap drawer guides. The best way to address a quality issue is to make sure that your supplier has strict product quality enforcement. A sourcing agent in China should help you identify manufacturers worth considering.
2. Problem on Shipment and Delivery Time
When importing items from overseas, you often encounter delivery schedule problems. Some delays may be unavoidable, and shipment costs may add up when you come across such delays. To avoid long delays, check out the list of holidays in China, any one of which can affect production, shipping, and delivery schedules. Know the manufacturer’s shipping procedures and shipping service policies. Negotiating for late delivery compensation in your contract may also help discourage delays.
3. Problem on Installation
While Chinese kitchen cabinets are generally easy to assemble, installation problems can happen when measurements were not done correctly. Make sure to give the correct measurements to your supplier.
4. Problem on Non-complying Dealers
Smaller or newer manufacturers may think of doing production shortcuts or use hazardous materials to reduce costs. Some manufacturers use sulfur, lead, and formaldehyde in the cabinets that they produce. To avoid this, check the manufacturer’s environmental compliance certificates to see if they follow environmental safety guidelines.
V. How to Find the Best China Kitchen Cabinet Supplier?
Your kitchen cabinets define your style and serve as featured pieces of your home. In choosing the right kitchen cabinets manufacturer to ensure a fitted kitchen, you must be specific in identifying what you want.
Do you have any idea where and how to start?
When you begin your research to look for the best Chinese kitchen cabinets, you’ll likely find an extensive list of cabinet makers online. But not all will have what you want. To narrow down your search, look for trusted company or cabinet maker with these qualities:
1. Support Team for Project Solutions
Make sure that your kitchen manufacturer in China has a customer support team or a dedicated customer service representative to assist you in your project. Especially when you need vital information or when you’re having problems. The support team members are ideally very knowledgeable in kitchen cabinets, and fluent in speaking and writing in English. They can answer your questions and can offer alternative solutions.
At the start of a business relationship, it helps to ask about your supplier’s business challenges such as problems with previous clients, and how they resolved such issues. That way, you’ll have an idea of how they deal with customers when faced with difficulties.
2. Strict Quality Control Prior to Shipment
Kitchen cabinet manufacturers must be capable of consistently meeting quality standards. Quality control inspections must check for damages like dents and scratches, incorrect details, incorrect dimensions and sizes, and improper use of materials and components.
3. Good Market Competitiveness/Industrial Competency
Before finalizing your choice of China kitchen cabinet supplier, make sure that you have checked the manufacturing capabilities of the company. Look into details such as the number of years they’ve been in business, other companies they’ve worked with, and the certifications and awards they have received.
Your kitchen cabinets occupy a lot of space in whatever room they’re situated.
Talk to professionals such as architects and designers to get a clear vision of what you want to have in your kitchen. Outsourcing to China for your kitchen cabinet needs is a great option if you have all the relevant information you need.
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