Why I Hate Cheap Free Standing Kitchen Units

If you’ve spent any time in home improvement stores in the kitchen cabinets section, then you’ve likely seen these cheap kitchen units made from medium density fiberboard, generally with some sort of cheap veneer trying desperately to look more expensive. I used to see them as a great deal and never had a problem with them, until I bought a free standing pantry cupboard for my kitchen.

The pantry cupboard that I purchased cost me less then $100, which on paper seems like a very good deal. Once I got it home, and put together, I started to fill it with the cans and such that I had bought it to store. At first it worked like a charm, and it didn’t look too bad in my kitchen, I was quite impressed with my purchase so far.

Fast forward two days and I came home from work to find almost everything I had put into the pantry cupboard strewn all over the floor of my kitchen. I wasn’t sure what happened, until I took a closer look at the inside of the still brand new pantry cupboard. The top shelf was still full of the cans I had placed on it the few days prior, but all of the other shelves were nowhere that they should have been, as they had all broken and ended up in the mess of canned goods on the floor. I wish I had taken a picture of it so I could post it here, but I never thought that far ahead.

My first thought was that I had over filled the cupboard, I had bought quite a few extra provisions when the local store had its “case lot” sale, but it never should have been enough to do that sort of damage to the shelves. I checked closer, it seems that some of the screws had actually broken clean off of the top shelf, leaving one side of it to fall, and rest most of the weight on the next shelf. This repeated until all four lower shelves were broken in a similar fashion.

After I cleaned up, and was thankful I hadn’t put any jars into it, I took some measurements, and being that the sides were intact, I cut new boards for all five shelves in the unit, and restocked it. It has worked well ever since, but with a few more cuts and some plywood, I could have easily made one myself which would last ten times longer then this one will ever be.

I hope that my personal experience with cheap free standing kitchen units can help you avoid the same sort of trouble when you go to get your own. If you do not have a lot of heavy things to store, or you change out the terrible quality screws that they give you with the unit, you should come out of it a lot better then I did.

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