How are My Ameriwood System Build Kendall Cabinets Holding Up 3 Years Later?

If you’ve been following BNOTP for a while, you may remember approximately 3 years ago I set up these cabinets in my garage so I could corral all my dishes into one place instead of having them spread out over several cabinets/closets. My fine china is still stored inside, but these cabinets have worked great for my everyday dinnerware. (See that previous post here: The Great Dish Storage Experiment, Plus Some New Chargers & Napkin Rings. and one more here: Tablescaping Storage for Dishware, Flatware, Napkin Rings and Glassware.)

Cabinets for Storage, Garage, Basement, Laundry Room, Home


I have so enjoyed this storage area and it gets constant use. You may remember that it was a real hassle getting all the cabinets here because the four cabinets that do not have drawers were being delivered via UPS and the UPS guy complained that they didn’t have the right equipment in their warehouse to move boxes of this size around. He was repeatedly, over and over, bringing out boxes that were broken in half…literally broken in half with the side pieces of the cabinets broken in half, as well. The boxes weighed around 138 lbs and the UPS delivery guy said the cut-off for UPS delivery was 140 lbs, if I’m remembering correctly. So the four drawerless cabinets were within 1-2 lbs of UPS’s max delivery weight.

Cabinets for Storage, Garage, Basement, Laundry Room, Home


The two cabinets with drawers were being delivered via a big truck with a lift so those always arrived undamaged. I finally managed to get the four “drawerless” cabinets to my home in one piece by ordering them from Wally World online and having them delivered to a nearby Walmart Market where I picked each box up individually and brought it home in the back of my SUV. What a hassle!


Then, you may remember, I had to replace every single shelf in every single cabinet with shelving I purchased from Home Depot because the shelves that came with the cabinets would not hold the 35-pound weight stated in Ameriwood’s literature without the shelves bowing/sagging terribly. I literally weighed everything before placing it on the shelves to make sure I didn’t exceed the weight limit, and the shelves still bowed. That was an expensive upgrade (over $200) having to buy all new shelving from Home Depot at $7 per shelf. It was worth it in the end because I have very much enjoyed and used this storage! But now a new issue has popped up. Argggh.

Cabinet Storage Ideas for Dishware, Glassware, Flatware and Napkins


The fronts of the four drawers (on the two cabinets with drawers) have started sagging or separating. It’s as if the front surface/covering of the drawer is acting like wallpaper that wasn’t applied with enough glue. I have this issue with three of the drawers, you can see the sagging/separating in this photo below.

Ameriwood System Build Cabinet, Defective Sagging Drawer Front


I have no idea what would be causing this since it only started last year after I had been using the cabinets for around 3 years. It has nothing to do with using them in a garage because these cabinets are designed to be used either inside or outside in garages, as their ad states. Plus, there are plenty of photos showing them in use in garages in all their ads/literature.

Also, my garage doesn’t get really, really hot or really, really cold because it is surrounded on 4 of its 6 sides by heated/cooled spaces. The laundry room is directly behind the wall the cabinets are on, the bonus/upstairs living room is above the garage, part of the basement runs underneath the garage and the kitchen is against the front wall of the garage. So it’s never freezing cold or extremely hot in the garage. Regardless, these cabinets were designed to be used in garages, anyway.


At one point, I attempted to fix the fronts myself. Since the covering (not sure what else to call it) across the front of each drawer was sagging out and loose, I gently pulled it away from the bottom where it was quite loose and sprayed some spray adhesive inside as best I could. It didn’t work, this was the result. 🙁

Failed Repair, Ameriwood System Build Cabinets


I contacted Dorel Ameriwood, the company that makes these Systembuild cabinets and they had no idea why the sagging was occurring. I was not impressed with their customer service. They talk in uncaring, robotic tones and had no sympathy for the situation. Even though I sent them the exact link to the cabinets where they were purchased and told them the month/year they were purchased, they robotically informed me that they needed the exact part number from the booklet (from 3 years back) in order to send me the correct part. It took me a few days to locate it (I’m still amazed that I kept it!) and I ordered 4 new drawer fronts. They charged me $100 since the warranty for the cabinets is just one year.

Failed Repair, Ameriwood System Build Cabinets


I replaced two of the fronts a few nights ago. It involved completely disassembling the drawers–it’s the only way to replace the front.

Dorel Ameriwood Cabinet After Replacing Defective Drawer Fronts


I haven’t replaced the third one, yet. It’s not sagging as badly as the other two were so I may just wait on replacing it. I have a fourth drawer front in case the 4th drawer on the bottom starts to sag, too.

Ameriwood System Build Cabinet, Defective Sagging Drawer Front


If I had to guess, since it’s just the four drawer fronts that are sagging/separating, I am guessing that not enough adhesive (or whatever is used in the manufacturing process) was applied to the drawer fronts when they were first constructed because none of the other surfaces of the cabinets is sagging or separating.

Ameriwood System Build Cabinet, Defective Sagging Drawer Front


If you ever buy these Ameriwood Systembuild cabinets, be sure to keep the booklet that comes with the cabinets FOREVER or Ameriwood will not have a clue what part to ship you when one part of the cabinet fails as the drawers did on my two cabinets. I hope I never have to replace the drawer fronts again, only time will tell.

Other posts mentioned in this post:

The Great Dish Storage Experiment, Plus Some New Chargers & Napkin Rings.

Tablescaping Storage for Dishware, Flatware, Napkin Rings and Glassware.)

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  1. I’m struggling with storage myself as I purchase sets of various colors and types of china and decor. I bought modular, open shelving and emptied part of a bedroom closet to hold it. I just got them together and loaded with all the glass when I looked out the corner of my eye and the shelf was tipping toward me. Thank heavens I saw it and was able to stop it from falling! I like your storage solution but I’m not thrilled with the idea of so many difficulties. I am thinking that I might look at IKEA for a similar type of cabinet for my garage. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jami, just verify they are okay for garage storage. I’m not sure if IKEA makes garage shelves, but they may. Also, verify that they can support the weight of the dishes.

  2. Tina W Reynolds says

    We live in a world where quality and pride in craftsmanship have disappeared. After you add up all of the additional expense you have had, you must feel as if you could have paid a carpenter (are there even any carpenters/wood workers anymore???) to actually build cabinets! Particleboard is something that has no real strength. It flakes when damp and will separate from any surfacing that is applied, be it what the cabinet makers call”foil” or plastic/vinyl. 2 years ago I declared a moratorium on anything made in China. It makes life sparse, but, it is a moral choice and a decision made because I will not fund those who are trying to destroy us. I wonder where the materials came from that made these cabinets. And dang it! Yes! We all do need storage! We were going to work on our 1920’s kitchen. After 5 years of searching, we decided to keep those old 1920’s cabinets and just do the tedious work of repairing them. We just kept the kitchen as it was. Lots of people want a new matchy- matchy , glitzy”temple” kitchen! Ours is sturdy, clean and functional. I have no good advice. Good quality cabinetry is impossible to find. And prices are so high.

    • It definitely would have cost a lot more to have custom cabinets made. Just for a few bookshelves in my upstairs living room without any drawers or doors, it was going to cost around $5,000…and that was for a pretty small area…so not that many bookshelves. Custom cabinetry here is very expensive, especially since the cost of wood has skyrocketed the last few months. Just not worth it to spend that much on custom cabinets in the garage. I know what you mean, I kept my wood cabinets in my kitchen and just had them painted, which I need to have done again.

    • Tina, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a 20s kitchen! I would love to see those cabinets. I think the oldest I have ever seen is 50s. If you’ve ever posted them anywhere, please let me know.

    • I definitely agree! When I can find solid wood cabinet or metal cabinets to use that is a much better option. Maybe not as nice looking but……

  3. I know how particular you are Susan, and how much research you do before proceeding with a project or purchase. I’m sorry this turned out to be less than satisfactory. Quite a few years ago I purchased an IKEA PAX wardrobe for a very small bedroom that had minuscule closet space. It’s turned out to be terrific. There are many configurations and options available for this wardrobe, and it has held up fabulously. Then there are the multitudes of “IKEA hacks” that are online. I have to tell you though, that it is inside my house, not in my garage, so if it were exposed to harsher temperatures, I cannot speak to it’s durability. I also live in CA where the temperatures are much milder. I know it’s very common and convenient to shop online nowadays, but I really like to see an item such as this before moving ahead with a purchase. Don’t know if you do, but I do have an IKEA store relatively close to me. Next time you are in the market for something like this, I recommend checking out IKEA to see what they have to offer.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I do like IKEA shelving, although my IKEA bookshelves in my office sag under the weight of my large hardback books. I really like their Expedit unit, which is called something else now. They have the best instruction booklets, too!

  4. Hi,
    I have had this problem in my garage in FL and now in the mountains of NC. I put a large dehumidifier in both and perfect. Surprising to me, the garage feels cooler in the summer.

    • I read somewhere once that Air Conditioners cool the air by removing moisture from the air, so maybe that’s why it feels cooler. That’s a good idea, Kristy! We have had a lot of rain this past year, way more than normal.

    • Kristy, what dehumidifier did you purchase? Is it built in? Do you have to empty a container every day or does it drain to the outside?

  5. Kimberly - KKAbsherWrites says

    Wow, Susan! What a pain. But it is beautiful storage. I’m like you thinking it’s the adhesive. Is there a lot of weight in the drawers? If so, maybe that’s causing the separation as well? But it all goes back to not enough adhesive or not using a strong enough adhesive.

    • No, I just store napkins there so there’s almost no weight at all in the drawers. I think it may have to do with humidity, but then why do they promote these as being great for garages. I’m hoping I just got drawers that weren’t built correctly with enough adhesive on the drawers since the cabinet doors are all doing great. Thanks, Kimberly…it is def a pain. lol

  6. After seeing your original post, I ended up purchasing the same Ameriwood SystemBuild cabinets from Walmart (I opted to pick them up at the store, after reading about your shipping troubles). I shopped around for the best prices (Ameriwood brands these cabinets under different names, depending on distributor – they’re Ameriwood Home Kendall at Lowe’s, Ameriwood Home Trailwinds at Home Depot, Ameriwood SystemBuild at Walmart, Room & Joy Boost at Target, and Avenue Green Baldwin at Overstock). I have them in my basement, and use them to store platters, serving dishes, cake decorating tools/supplies, casserole dishes, pie plates, and a huge number of baking pans. They’ve held up well so far (I’ve had them for little over a year). Do you get any moisture in your garage? After looking at your photos, it looks as though this could be the cause of the separation.

    • No, just the normal humidity that we have here in the south. Since these cabinets are designed so they can be used in garages as their ad shows, this shouldn’t happen. I hope I just got drawers with defective adhesive the first time…guess time will tell. If your cabinets are inside, I bet you won’t have this problem. Let me know if it ever happens to your, I would be curious to know.

  7. Mary Ann says

    I have collected/am collecting 1940s – 1950s mahogany type hutches for my dish storage! They are built better (actual strong wood), hold more weight, and are pretty! They cost much less than most storage units I have looked at (Ikea, Walmart, Home Depot, online stores, etc.) as I have bought the hutches from local auctions or online sites such as FB Marketplace/Craig’s List. I have 3 lined up in my storage “barn” – so far! (and 3 in my actual dining room!). At first my family thought I was crazy “collecting” hutches but now they see my vision – or so they say!

  8. I am sorry to read you have all these issues. But I must admire the way you are able to take care of things. You picked them up, put them together, replaced the shelves, etc. etc. etc. I recently lost my husband of 53+ years and now realize how much he did and how much I need to learn! I admire you for handling things on your own. I have to learn to do that.

    • Thanks, Nicki! I am heartbroken to hear you lost your hubby recently. I don’t handle those types of things well at all, so my heart goes out to you. ♥
      Yeah, I’m kinda used to doing stuff like this…hardheaded, I think. lol Even when I was married for 21 years, I was always the one to handle this type of thing. I grew up with a very, very sick Mom and Dad (both died when I was in college–dad when I was a Freshman and my Mom when I was going into my Senior year) so I basically had to be very independent from an early age in life. I probably shouldn’t have taken on as much as I did when I was married, but I just have trouble letting others do stuff if I know I can do it myself. I cut my own grass for the first 25-30 years as an adult and only gave that up when my lawnmower broke and after taking it to two shops, they never were able to repair it. I finally hired someone to do it and I do love how my lawn guys edge my yard, something I never really did well.

      My best advice is don’t do anything where you can get seriously injured…no super heavy lifting where you can hurt your back…and no climbing high on ladders…like cleaning out gutters. If you need to do something like repair a leaking toilet and don’t want to hire someone, just go to YouTube and search for that issue. It’s amazing all the videos you’ll find there. That’s how I learned how to replace the seals in my toilets when they failed. Also, Google will help you find answers to a lot of home repair issues.

      The older I get, the more I hire some things out just because I don’t feel like dealing with it…like painting. I’m sort of tired of painting after doing that for so many years.

  9. Sorry to hear this Susan, as I remember all the issues you had with these cupboards and how in the end you had to go and get them. It’s sad that this company doesn’t have a good customer service. Looks to me too, like the drawer “lamination” didn’t have enough glue. Because if it was glued down everywhere well, it wouldn’t sag like that. It’s sad that it is hard to get good quality products anymore. And I’m sorry, but with everything being delivered, there is no reason why UPS isn’t equipped to deliver things like this. It’s crazy to me, but I’m just a country bumpkin and what do I know?! Glad at least you were able to get new draw fronts, just hate that you had to pay anything. Let’s hope this is the last issue!!! Hugs, Brenda

  10. You are amazingly well organized. I’m not kidding. Your garage cabinets and all the stuff inside is so, so well done.

    And I grew up w/ a dad who was super organized.

    Nice post. The perfume is still my favorite. 🙂


  11. franki Parde says

    It’s like a 3-Ring CIRCUS @ times!!! Good you can smile about it at the end of the day…I say this “tongue in cheek!!” WHAT A HASSLE!!! Good luck! franki

  12. Fasinating idea, Mary Ann. If a person had a store room where one didn’t care about matching, adding hutches for storage is a great idea. Several years ago I bought an old sideboard for my dining room. My son helped me pick it up and put it in the dining room. He jokingly said I was making my house look like Downton Abby!

  13. Martha Karen Lovell says

    I really like the looks of your storage units in your garage and how you have arranged things. I think, however, I might inquire about similar units from Cabinets to Go and compare pricing. I think that Cabinets to Go would have superior products. Just saying. . . . .

  14. How incredibly organized you are! It really shows in the photo with all the cabinet doors open. Some day something will go so smoothly and perfectly, that you’ll say, “oh how boring”!!

  15. Susan, I am in awe of your talents as a “handyman,” the projects you take on alone that I would quickly give up on! Lousy customer service is a growing epidemic. We have had such HORRIBLE service in the past year, from Lowe’s, their kitchen and bathroom subcontractors, Ethan Allen, and Thomasville. They shrugged off all of their mistakes, wrong information, and repeatedly-missed deadlines to “Covid.” The pandemic has become a chronic crutch and lame excuse for bad service in general.

  16. The high humidity in your garage is probably what is causing the problem. We have had so much rain in the sunny south, combined with the heat and high humidity of summer. High humidity can really cause havoc on wood, paint, particle board, most everything really. A small dehumidifier might help…. just a thought.

    • Thanks for that suggestion, Mary. The sagging actually started last year, it just took me until this year to finally get around to dealing with it. I agree, the humidity may have something to do with it but since these are designed to be used in either inside or in garages, the humidity shouldn’t be an issue. I think something must have gone wrong with how they manufactured the drawers because they def didn’t hold up as they should have.

  17. Hi Susan –

    Even though I live much farther north (Massachusetts), my state ranks #16 in terms of annual relative humidity (of the southern states, N. Carolina is 23rd, S. Carolina is 32nd, Georgia is 17th, Mississippi is 4th, Alabama is 12th, Tennessee is 29th, and Florida is 2nd). I imagine that after several years I would have same problem that you’re experiencing if I were to put these cabinets in my garage. Even though they’re designed to be used in garages, the manufacturer likely didn’t take long-term exposure to humidity into account as part of the design process, especially the humidity that can occur in the south during summer months.

    I’ve been using DampRid for years to combat moisture in my basement (it comes in a variety of sizes/formats, and doesn’t require electricity or daily maintenance). It also helps to keep the air fresh, since our basement is underground, not temperature controlled, and we can’t open windows to get fresh air circulating. You may want to try a larger format DampRid in your garage (since I’m assuming it isn’t temperature controlled), and see how it works for you.

    I hope that you’re able to get replacement drawer fronts for your units, and that there’s agreement from Ameriwood that what you’re experiencing is a manufacturing flaw (especially since it’s only happening selectively, and not to all your cabinets). It could also be occurring because the laminate on the drawer fronts is applied horizontally, rather than vertically, so humidity (coupled with gravity) will affect the drawer fronts more than the cabinet doors.

    If not, and you have to fix them, two suggestions:

    1. When applying spray adhesive, spray in sections, then use a foam roller to smooth down the laminate over that section – this will help to eliminate any bubbles, creases, or bunching.

    2. If this doesn’t work, you may want to consider removing the laminate entirely and replacing it with a waterproof adhesive vinyl contact paper. Use the same technique to apply – remove the backing a section at a time, then smooth with a roller before moving to the next section.

    Good luck!

  18. After reading several of the comments I do think that the issue is the humidity that caused the separation. I think those types of finishes are baked on as far as I know, not necessarily applied with an adhesive. At least I was told that by a cabinet guy one time. Anyway I think a humidifier might be your answer. Sorry for the hassle but once again you dogged it until you got it fixed! Good for you!

  19. I have always admired and have been very impressed (and a little jealous) of your labor intensive abilities to build and decorate. You really are a “can do” type of woman. I bought those same cabinets from Walmart after you showed yours and was happy with them. But then, we had an earthquake and two shelves collapsed breaking a bunch of my antique dishes. Sob, I just shut the doors until I can face the carnage.

    • Ohhh, nooooo! 🙁 I’m so sorry, Judy. That must have been a heck of an earthquake to make the shelves actually collapse. Wow! I would never have even dreamed of something like that happening.

  20. Cyndi Raines says

    Good for you Susan that you still had the books and were able to tell the not so friendly customer service person the exact part numbers. My husband and I have always saved the booklets/manuals from any product and try to remember to staple the receipt to the cover. We keep them all in a box in the basement marked “Manuals”. Periodically we will go through it and discard those items that have been replaced. I will keep up this tradition now that he has passed as it has been so helpful to us. It is fun/interesting to see how long ago each item was purchased and how many years of service we were able to get from that purchase. I am glad you were able to get new fronts and hopefully they will last a long time. Your cabinets look so nice against that garage wall, like soldiers at attention. As an alternative for others needing cabinets for dish and linen storage, I too had the thought it may be more advantageous to buy up older china cabinets or hutches from flea markets and antique stores, if a person doesn’t care if they match. So many young people today don’t care about fine china or even nice dishes, that the antique stores have lots of them. It would be very ecclectic.

    • That is so smart, Cyndi! I need to gather all of mine together into one place instead of keeping them in different files.
      Definitely, older china cabinets are built so much better…better than even newer china cabinets.

  21. The exact thing happened to my daughter’s bathroom vanity. My husband removed the plastic (or whatever material it was) from the drawer fronts. They came off in one piece. There was mdf beneath (I believe) and he primed and painted the drawers to match remainder of the cabinet. I think he used oil based primer and paint because it didn’t raise the grain in the mdf, which he learned during a previous project.

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