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Reading the fine print…Do I need a lifetime kitchen cabinet warranty?

Big box stores such as IKEA and Home Depot, as well as cabinet manufacturing companies including Kraftsmaid and Wellborn, tout a variety of warranty deals including “Lifetime Limited Warranties” and “25 Year Limited Warranties,” but what does this really mean for the consumer?

The natural tendency is to think “Heck yeah! A lifetime warranty is the way to go!” But as you begin to read the fine print, you will find that most warranties are not what they appear to be. The majority of warranties cover only defects in materials and workmanship for the original purchaser as determined solely by the manufacturer. In the fine print, you can expect to find limitations and exclusions including:

  • Not transferable to new owners
  • Prorated on the expected lifetime of the product
  • Subject to availability from our supplier
  • Some products become obsolete, and appropriate replacements will be determined at the sole discretion of the company
  • Wear and tear, damage and defects caused by use, improper installation, storage, or handling, are not covered by warranty
  • The company may elect to repair or replace at their determination
  • Parts may differ from those originally supplied
  • Aging or darkening is not considered a defect
  • Does not include indirect expenses, loss of use, or labor expenses in uninstalling or installing materials or parts

In short, what does it cover? Well, if your cabinet door breaks in five years, you might be able to get a replacement door at a prorated rate that may, or may not, match your existing cabinets, with parts that may, or may not, be the same (if deemed necessary at the discretion of the company), and you may have to uninstall and reinstall it yourself, assuming of course, that you bought the house before the cabinets were installed. Really?

Defects in materials and workmanship in kitchen cabinetry should be identified upon installation of the cabinets, so does an extended warranty really matter? When you consider the limitations and exclusions attached to the warranties, paying a higher premium for the warranty just doesn’t make sense.

Jeni C. Powell is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Home Living, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Please visit her website at

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