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Are flat-pack kitchens poor quality?

One of the things you need to consider when buying a kitchen is whether you want a flat-pack kitchen or a rigid, otherwise known as a constructed kitchen. Flat-pack kitchens are delivered as components, just like an IKEA wardrobe, that needs to be assembled on site, whereas rigid kitchens are delivered fully assembled. Flat-pack kitchens use the cam and dowel method of assembly, where the unit is usually held together with a combination of wooden dowels and metal cams. Rigid kitchens are assembled in the factory using the glue and dowel method of assembly. All of the components are placed inside a jig which gently squeezes them together and holds them in place for several minutes to allow the glue to dry.

The general perception of a flat-pack kitchen cabinet is that it is poorer quality than a rigid one, which has been glued together at the factory. Some retailers play on this by advertising that their kitchens are of a rigid construction and therefore better quality.

The truth is really quite different. A flat-pack kitchen which has been put together properly will be as strong as a rigid cabinet and can always be glued. Just think about the different transportation and storage requirements. A rigid cabinet is simply a wooden box full of air, which is the least efficient and most costly way to transport anything, and if you need to store your kitchen cabinets for a while before installation, just think about the amount of space they're going to take up!

On the other hand, a flat-pack cabinet can be stored and transported flat on a pallet and will be much more efficient and cheaper to transport and store. Many kitchen installers will tell you that they prefer flat pack kitchens, as they're easier to work with, can be adjusted if required and a good fitter can assemble a flat-pack in the time it takes to remove the packing from a rigid cabinet!

8th Nov 2018