nod

German Kitchens

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Just called into Nolte Kitchens 

German quality Bit disappointing to find 4 mill hardboard backs

The salesman said all German kitchens use hardboard backs

ive looked at few German kitchens and haven’t noticed it before

Any thoughts?

 

We looked at an independent kitchen shop that makes there own units and 80% of there doors 

18 mil backs on all cupboards 

To quote the Nolte salesman ‘All British made kitchens are rubbish 

They looked ok to me

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I think all the problems are to found in this one word 'salesman'.

 

No experience with Nolte Kitchens but the key is to look around. Some German are good and some are poor. Some British are good and some are poor. It's the same as windows or anything else you select for the house. You can get good and bad German windows and good and bad UK windows. Shop around until you're happy and never listen to salesmen.

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Pretty sure our (British) Crown kitchen has 18mm backs.

 

We're happy enough with the quality (all Blum hardware, I believe), but don't have a German kitchen to compare it with!

 

@ryder72 will be give you the good oil on this, for sure.

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Certainly all our kitchen cabinets have 18mm backs - I thought it was only really cheap, budget stuff, that still had bits of crappy hardboard slid into slots to form the back? 

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43 minutes ago, nod said:

[...]

To quote the Nolte salesman ‘All British made kitchens are rubbish 

[...]

 

That alone would be enough to make me walk out of the shop. 

And, in this case, on the way out, I think I'd take just a little bit of pleasure telling him that I'm German.

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1 minute ago, recoveringacademic said:

 

That alone would be enough to make me walk out of the shop. 

And, in this case, on the way out, I think I'd take just a little bit of pleasure telling him that I'm German.

I wouldn’t mind Ian

hed spent ten minutes running down the whole of Uk manufacturing 

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Well, as I stand here on my island cooking dinner with a glass of wine in hand, I thought I d double check and confirm that my expensive, Liecht German kitchen did nt have thin hardboard backs. Unfortunately it does. 

  • Haha 2

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Interesting discussion.

 

What I look for in a kitchen is good quality doors and carcasses, finished with a pleasant but durable finish. Quality hinges, quality drawer frames and runners. Inovative designs and range of units.

 

The last thing that bothers me is what the back of the cupboard is made of. You rarely see it, even rarer do you touch it. As long as it looks the same as the carcass I don't see a problem.  I don't think I have ever had a kitchen unit that is not a hardboard back. The kitchen in out last house, the corner cupboards, instead of having a square back (making it very hard to reach into the far corner) had a curved back made of that lovely bendy hardboard stuff. I really liked  that.

 

I think the material the back panel is made of is the least of my worries.

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Conversely, it was the rigidity that the thick and solid rear panel gave to the cabinets that was one of the reasons for choosing the ones we did.  There was a very big difference between some of the cabinets with thin hardboard backs and those with thicker backs. 

 

I've just assembled a cheap (Hygena........) larder cabinet (just as a storage cupboard in the workshop).  It was very far from being rigid, and flexed a great deal from side to side, so much so that after spending ages packing up the base to try and get rid of the tendency for the thing to parallelogram, which stopped the doors aligning properly, I just gave up, cut a bit of 18mm MDF to fit as an inset back panel, and glued it in place.

 

Our kitchen cabinets came ready assembled and were all dead square and very rigid.  Had they had crappy bits of 4mm hardboard slotted in the back I suspect I'd have spent three times longer than I did getting them all aligned and level.

Edited by JSHarris

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Oddly the new Homebase range have 4mm hardboard in the prebuilt ones, and 9mm MDF in the self build ones which are half the price .... work that out..!!  

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1 hour ago, ProDave said:

Interesting discussion.

 

What I look for in a kitchen is good quality doors and carcasses, finished with a pleasant but durable finish. Quality hinges, quality drawer frames and runners. Inovative designs and range of units.

 

The last thing that bothers me is what the back of the cupboard is made of. You rarely see it, even rarer do you touch it. As long as it looks the same as the carcass I don't see a problem.  I don't think I have ever had a kitchen unit that is not a hardboard back. The kitchen in out last house, the corner cupboards, instead of having a square back (making it very hard to reach into the far corner) had a curved back made of that lovely bendy hardboard stuff. I really liked  that.

 

I think the material the back panel is made of is the least of my worries.

I agree Dave It’s not so much as the look of the backs But I’ve always found the cabinets to be more rigid and square with a solid back

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I am a retired kitchen fitter and I can assure you that all the German Kitchens I have fitted are superior to British made kitchens. Granted most have hardboard backs and 16mm carcasses, but the unit is very ridged, the back is of little importance.

Check the other fine details, shelves edged all round in pvc, not just the front edge, metal tray in sink base which protects unit from water leaks, two shelves in base units, proper made filler panels, not just a strip of MFC, strong base unit legs, plinth with built in waterproof seal. The units are made to fit the specified appliance, not universal units supplied with bits and pieces to be made upon site, the list goes on and on.

From the fitting point of view, they are quicker to fit, all handle holes are drilled, all-plinths and trims are cut to length (with extra allowance), everything is itemised and sorted.

You will pay a bit more for the kitchen, but as long as the plan is right, the kitchen will be right.

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56 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Oddly the new Homebase range have 4mm hardboard in the prebuilt ones, and 9mm MDF in the self build ones which are half the price .... work that out..!!  

 

57 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Oddly the new Homebase range have 4mm hardboard in the prebuilt ones, and 9mm MDF in the self build ones which are half the price .... work that out..!!  

 

Ours are Homebase. I D4 glued the hardboard backs in when we assembled them.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, cherryfountain said:

I am a retired kitchen fitter and I can assure you that all the German Kitchens I have fitted are superior to British made kitchens. Granted most have hardboard backs and 16mm carcasses, but the unit is very ridged, the back is of little importance.

Check the other fine details, shelves edged all round in pvc, not just the front edge, metal tray in sink base which protects unit from water leaks, two shelves in base units, proper made filler panels, not just a strip of MFC, strong base unit legs, plinth with built in waterproof seal. The units are made to fit the specified appliance, not universal units supplied with bits and pieces to be made upon site, the list goes on and on.

From the fitting point of view, they are quicker to fit, all handle holes are drilled, all-plinths and trims are cut to length (with extra allowance), everything is itemised and sorted.

You will pay a bit more for the kitchen, but as long as the plan is right, the kitchen will be right.

Thank you that is reasuring 

 

i couldnt fault the quality

just suprised to see hardboard backs

 

i did notice notice that the side panel etc seem to be sat in a metal trim Great idea 

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The reason a lot of British kitchens have hard 8 or 18mm backs is pretty simple. A vast majority of British kitchens, including some very expensive ones are built using the cam and dowel mechanism of assembly. By its nature a cam mechanism on chipboard has far too much tolerance and play to ensure that a cabinet without a back will be stable or square. A hard back provides this rigidity.

 

German kitchens without exception are glued and dowelled and dont reply on the back for rigidity or squareness. The carcase is assembled on a jig using dowels for location, glued and then pressed using hydraulic presses. This ensure a perfectly square cabinet. The back is there to prevent things from falling out.

 

Of late, some German companies have reacted to the pressure and perception in the British market and changed to 8 and even 16mm backs. Just reaction to market forces rather than any calculated reason.

 

It for for the same reason that all DIY flat pack furniture is hard backed.

 

I wont say all German kitchens are better. Thats a silly sweeping statement but I would say that the most basic German kitchens are better detailed and built than the average British kitchen. British manufacturers simply dont invest enough in their facilities to be able to produce anything of acceptable standard.

 

Generally speaking, the well made British kitchens come in at a price point far higher than their comparable German counterparts without necessarily offering anything meaningfully better. At the top end of course there are some fabulous British made kitchens but this is c £50k+.

 

I still contend that in the £15-£40k market a German kitchen beats a British one hands down. Their starting price points are higher though but I doubt anyone in Germany will accept that tat Howdens produce, regardless of their price point.

 

So in response to OP's question, dont be put off by the hard back. Look at other brands. I dont particularly rate Nolte. Its fine but you can buy similar quality cheaper or buy a better kitchen for the same money.

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So taking your point @ryder72 you could easily increase the integrity of a flat pack kitchen by gluing all the joints. This is an approach I’ve used on a lot of Ikea style ones and tbh when the backs are glued in they become very solid. 

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1 - I wonder how it plays into this that 

 

a - Half of all German homes are rentals.

b - Standard practice is that Tenant not LL is responsible for fitting the kitchen / bathroom.

 

2 - I wonder what percentage of kitchens are in that 15-40k range. What do you think?

 

What is the median cost of a replacement kitchen excluding and including appliances? I would put it in the 6-10k range including appliances and fitting.

 

3 - How thick is a normal German sink? That seems to be one good test of quality, in that zip always end up buying some way above the base models for rentals.

 

4 a I think my recent pre-assembled purchase from Howdens has 8mm mdf backs. Glued?

 

Ferdinand

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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As an aside I always add extra glue to the flat pack crap wardrobe / chest of drawers crap my missus insists on buying. Not had a sock draw fail yet! :)

 

Means you have to weight them down and wait 24hrs whilst things dry but worth it.

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7 minutes ago, Onoff said:

As an aside I always add extra glue to the flat pack crap wardrobe / chest of drawers crap my missus insists on buying. Not had a sock draw fail yet! :)

 

Means you have to weight them down and wait 24hrs whilst things dry but worth it.

 

The subtle difference between just building it, and building it RIGHT.

 

Current house has an MFI fitted bedroom that I built and installed seventeen years back. Carcasses and drawers are still as square and tight as the day they went in.

 

Likewise the kitchen. A relatively pricey (to me at the time) design from the now-defunct Space Kitchens, but 18mm all over and dowelled; still great after 20 years. Can't say the same for the Blum hinges tho with their little plastic internal detents cracking and jamming for the past five years...

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20 hours ago, PeterW said:

So taking your point @ryder72 you could easily increase the integrity of a flat pack kitchen by gluing all the joints. This is an approach I’ve used on a lot of Ikea style ones and tbh when the backs are glued in they become very solid. 

Sort of. Flat packs usually come with cams which are inherently never going to give you the same level of rigidity as dowels and glue.

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19 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

1 - I wonder how it plays into this that 

 

a - Half of all German homes are rentals.

b - Standard practice is that Tenant not LL is responsible for fitting the kitchen / bathroom.

 

2 - I wonder what percentage of kitchens are in that 15-40k range. What do you think?

 

What is the median cost of a replacement kitchen excluding and including appliances? I would put it in the 6-10k range including appliances and fitting.

 

3 - How thick is a normal German sink? That seems to be one good test of quality, in that zip always end up buying some way above the base models for rentals.

 

4 a I think my recent pre-assembled purchase from Howdens has 8mm mdf backs. Glued?

 

Ferdinand

 

 

You are right that Germans rent more than buy and rentals are not supplied with kitchens. This gives rise to a requirement to buy kitchens that are relatively portable (one of the reasons why keeping down weight is important).  This also means that tenants spend as little as possible on kitchens for their rental properties buy buying laminate worktops is far greater numbers than we do. That immediately realises a large saving on the cost of the kitchen. Kitchens in rental properties tend to be smaller too. I was recently in a conversation with our supplier and it was a bit of a revelation for me that the average German order was 10-12 units while the British order was in excess of 20 units. Being a temporary property, every requirement is squeezed down to essentials. They very rarely go for more than 2 ovens. 2 fridges is a rarity and 60cm hobs are the norm. Finally this market is served well by what I call the German budget kitchen manufacturers such as Nobilia, Hacker, Schuller etc. They produce mass produced kitchens of a very reasonable quality for very little money. These same brands come into the UK hitching onto the premium German kitchen bandwagon and sell for surprisingly high prices.

 

On the other hand the German premium market is very much in the 15k-50k Euro range. However at this point its more about nicer finishes, higher spec appliances worktops etc. Just as an example, Miele sells 5 times as much in Germany than the UK, a country with only 20% more people. Go figure that one.

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1 hour ago, ryder72 said:

the average German order was 10-12 units while the British order was in excess of 20 units

 

I suspect the reason for the mismatch may be that most Germans leave in (rental) apartments rather than houses : seems to be 55% as opposed to <20% in the UK

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Distribution_of_population_by_dwelling_type,_2015_(%_of_population)_YB17.png

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@ryder72

 

Does that mean they buy smaller units, too?

 

Do Germans use 1000mm sink units? Tricky to move in one piece.

 

I am never sure where Miele fits as a brand. The most prominent use I have seen in the UK is probably as token bling in high end cityboy flats where they never cook anything except on Bank Holidays when they have broken their leg. I am sure it is different for private purchasers :-). Are they good enough to justify the price? Or are they perhaps as Mercedes used to be ... premium in the UK, taxis and premium in Germany -  though Merc have gone downmarket in the UK too now.

 

Aside: are you familiar with aspects of the German rental market eg do they have annual Gas Safety Checks by law? I would like to know more about some of these aspects.

 

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand said:

@ryder72

 

Does that mean they buy smaller units, too?

 

Do Germans use 1000mm sink units? Tricky to move in one piece.

 

I am never sure where Miele fits as a brand. The most prominent use I have seen in the UK is probably as token bling in high end cityboy flats where they never cook anything except on Bank Holidays when they have broken their leg. I am sure it is different for private purchasers :-). Are they good enough to justify the price? Or are they perhaps as Mercedes used to be ... premium in the UK, taxis and premium in Germany -  though Merc have gone downmarket in the UK too now.

 

Aside: are you familiar with aspects of the German rental market eg do they have annual Gas Safety Checks by law? I would like to know more about some of these aspects.

 

 

 

Smaller units - not necessarily so.

 

Sink units come in up to 1200mm so they must buy them.

 

Miele is a premium if somewhat overrated brand. The placement in high end apartments is a strategic one regardless of how little it gets used. The idea is to create brand awareness and familiarity. If a 25yo in a million pound flat has Miele, chances are they will end up with a bigger family home at a price point that justifies the Miele brand and it is one they already know.

 

IMO generally Miele prices are justified only on their entry level dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and laundry. Rest of it carries a huge brand premium. For instance, I know where they buy their hobs from and the exact same hobs can be sourced for up to 40% less. All it is missing is the labelling. Miele products are good, but so much of it is bought in that it makes one wonder what the premium is for.

 

I think Mercedes is premium in Germany and has always been. Taxi drivers bought them for their bullet proof reliabillity (I have been in a E280 CDI in Munich with 480k km on it) rather than because they were cheap. I wouldnt say Merc has gone downmarket in the UK. Its just that incredibly cheap money has made them much more affordable. I was speaking to someone in Audi marketing not long ago who said Audi sales have gone from 30000 units to 125000 units in 15 years in the UK most of it attributed to a wider product range and cheap credit.

 

Cant comment on the German rental market.

 

 

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5 hours ago, ryder72 said:

IMO generally Miele prices are justified only on their entry level dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and laundry.

 

I was told it's worth buying anything of theirs involving the pumping of fluids, so exactly as you say. We recently bought a relatively low range Miele washing machine (barely affordable when on special, with £200 cashback) and so far I've been very impressed. 

 

I believe Liebherr make their freezers.

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