Installing An IKEA Kitchen

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“Installing An IKEA Kitchen”

Written on: 02/09/2013

A simple answer to "would you recommend to a friend" is not really a fair question. And the '3 star' rating is not necessarily indicative of quality. You'll understand if you read the whole review.

We looked at custom kitchen re-models...way out of our price range. We looked at the standard big box hardware kitchens like Home Depot & Lowes...not the quality or price we felt good about. Looked at IKEA kitchens on-line & in-store...beautiful, functional, great price...just what we wanted, and at the time IKEA was having a 20% off sale. Perfect! We constructed our kitchen with IKEA's 3-D virtual reality planner on-line; then we went to the store to 'kick the tires' and select exactly what we wanted from cabinets & handles to under-cabinet LED strips, etc. I'm not a professional contractor, but I have enough skill & access to a master carpenter friend to get the job done easily...I thought.

I gutted my kitchen down to the walls & floor. Everything was prepped and ready to go.

IKEA delivered 180 packages to our home with a 9 page packing/inventory list. It took me almost a week to unpack the components and re-cycle enough cardboard to build a small house. I organized every component into piles and proceeded to make sense out of what went with what. I struggled for literally almost 3 months and had most, but not all, of the components (cabinet frames, etc.) assembled. Then, aside from tolerable frustration, I began to hit the wall. I called IKEA, (first of many, many calls), to find out that they had forgot to include the cabinet-by-cabinet inventory list, which numbers every cabinet in sequence, (floor & wall), with a list of parts that go with each cabinet. When the support person from IKEA, (during a lengthy conversation), realized that I was never sent this list, he fell all over himself apologizing. He was absolutely mind-blown that I had gotten as far as I did without the list.

I finally got the list and the pace of assembly picked up exponentially. But many, many problems remained.

Probably the biggest complaint and frustration is the almost complete lack of intelligible instructions. A brief video/DVD just shows a 30s-somthing couple in casual dress just going 'click, click, click' and suddenly their new kitchen was completed. Compete horse pucky.

All instructions are illustrated (which are extremely minimal with very sparse information) with virtually no written instruction or details whatsoever. I could literally write pages of painful details on the stumbling blocks I ran into because of the lack of adequate instructions. Suffice it to say that I was on the phone to IKEA's kitchen support team more times than I can remember. The staff were always very helpful, but there should have been no need for such frustration & frequent calling had any semblance of methodical written and/or video instructions been provided. (Which the IKEA support people readily admitted to me. Apparently they get endless similar calls.) Even my master carpenter friend, (who truly saved rescued me on several installation issues), was amazed at a few basic design flaws.

Given the relatively high level of computer generated specifications and tight tolerances built into IKEA's kitchen cabinetry and related products, I am left incredulous at the lack of consideration on IKEA's part in providing adequate written instruction and or step-by-step videos.

It took me almost 4 months to complete the project, (weekends & the occasional day off), but it's finally complete. My wife & I truly love the end result; especially for the good price we got. But I would never, never go through this experience again...ever.

You really have 3 choices if you want an IKEA kitchen:

1. Pay IKEA installers to do all the work. They've done it hundreds of times and you can complain to them if it doesn't go right or takes too long. (I have no idea what that costs.)
2. Pay IKEA to pre-assemble cabinet frames, etc., before delivery. It costs more, but you won't have 200 boxes to unpack...but you will still have to go through the installation nightmare.
3. Hire a contractor you know & trust who has done IKEA kitchens before to do the install.

And if anyone from IKEA is reading this, please charge an extra $100 (or what ever) for a well designed & well thought out set of WRITTEN instructions and/or videos to drastically reduce the likelihood of customer 'kitchen psychosis'. IKEA really blew it on the instruction end.

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