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  • FIRST POST
    • gigi7
    • By gigi7 8th May 16, 7:09 PM
    • 61Posts
    • 12Thanks
    gigi7
    Are howdens really that bad?
    • #1
    • 8th May 16, 7:09 PM
    Are howdens really that bad? 8th May 16 at 7:09 PM
    Hello

    I am looking to get a new kitchen and new laminate flooring and eventually doors. After much browsing I had decided I would most likely go for Howdens for all. I have a couple of friends with trade accounts with them and have been told that they're great quality.
    So I had a quick google on the reviews and on trust pilot they have absolutely terrible reviews on pretty much all aspects, from delivery to quality and dealing with defects.
    Obviously with the amount of money to be spent I don't want to faff about with constant problems.
    Are they really that bad? I know there is the possibility of mistakes and delays with every company but seeing as they're kind of specialist I'm suprised that they'd be THAT poor.
Page 1
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 8th May 16, 7:52 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 919 Thanks
    the_r_sole
    • #2
    • 8th May 16, 7:52 PM
    • #2
    • 8th May 16, 7:52 PM
    You will always find bad reviews online, they must sell a huge volume of kitchens so it's not a surprise...
    They are one of these companies who are meant to be "trade" and therefore most issues are with the tradesmen installing them rather than the product itself with howdens being the easy scapegoat.
    I have used their doors regularly (something people like about the Dordogne oak!)
    The kitchens are fairly standard and a good fitter will make the difference, just remember that your issue is with whoever has supplied and fitted the kitchen and it's up to them to deal with howdens to rectify any issues
    • leveller2911
    • By leveller2911 8th May 16, 8:14 PM
    • 7,103 Posts
    • 12,703 Thanks
    leveller2911
    • #3
    • 8th May 16, 8:14 PM
    • #3
    • 8th May 16, 8:14 PM
    Hello

    I am looking to get a new kitchen and new laminate flooring and eventually doors. After much browsing I had decided I would most likely go for Howdens for all. I have a couple of friends with trade accounts with them and have been told that they're great quality.
    Originally posted by gigi7
    Howden's quality is no better than B&Q in that quite often the carcases are not square, they are edge-banded with 0.8mm wafer thin melamine. This means the front edges of the carcases are easily damaged when you put away saucepans,glass dishes etc. DIY Kitchens use 2.5mm ABS plastic edge-bandings which are far more hard-wearing.

    Howden's laminate worktops may well still be supplied by Axiom which are pants in terms of quality. DIY and other use Duropal which have a thicker melamine surface and far more hard-wearing. A few years ago I fitted a Howdens kitchen to my sisters house and within 5yrs the Axiom worktops melamine surface had worn through to the white base material .

    The Franke sinks they sell are cheap and ok but you get what you pay for and the same goes for their taps. Their appliances (lamona) are rubbish so if you go for Howdens source your own white goods.

    Their "designers" are not trained in any way other than to use a very simple PC programme to plan kitchens. It doesn't stop them doing stupid designs like putting wine racks either side of the cooker hood extractor which is just plain stupid. It also doesn't stop them from planning kitchens that don't actually fit the spaces.

    I had an account back in 1990's when they didn't have many branches and gave up my account about 3 yrs ago as I could no longer put up with them mucking me about. Over the years the quality has gone down hill as has the service and don't get me started on their discount system....

    The above are from my experience of dealing with Howdens for nearly 20yrs. That said I don't think they are any worse than B&Q,Wickes etc.

    DIY Kitchens online are a better product ,better service and far better prices. The only downside is they won't plan the kitchen for you but there is free software on their website to help you plan and order your own kitchen. Anyone in the trade with some knowledge should be capable of planning your kitchen.
    Last edited by leveller2911; 08-05-2016 at 8:23 PM.
    If we in parliament cannot gain from ruling,then there is very little point in us being here: (Lord Manchester 1650) :rolleyes: how true!
    • leveller2911
    • By leveller2911 8th May 16, 8:19 PM
    • 7,103 Posts
    • 12,703 Thanks
    leveller2911
    • #4
    • 8th May 16, 8:19 PM
    • #4
    • 8th May 16, 8:19 PM
    The kitchens are fairly standard and a good fitter will make the difference, just remember that your issue is with whoever has supplied and fitted the kitchen and it's up to them to deal with howdens to rectify any issues
    Originally posted by the_r_sole
    That's a really good point. Many people seem to believe their contract is with Howdens when in fact its with the fitter/supplier who paid Howdens for the kitchen. So if the fitter/friend/account holder goes awol a few years down the line the customer has no recourse to Howdens. Howdens contract is with the person who paid Howdens which is not necessarily the homeowner.
    If we in parliament cannot gain from ruling,then there is very little point in us being here: (Lord Manchester 1650) :rolleyes: how true!
    • gwynhughes
    • By gwynhughes 9th May 16, 10:34 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    gwynhughes
    • #5
    • 9th May 16, 10:34 AM
    • #5
    • 9th May 16, 10:34 AM
    Howden's use 0.8mm ABS edging not melamine, I know cause I work in the factory making it!
    • Dan-Dan
    • By Dan-Dan 9th May 16, 10:39 AM
    • 4,900 Posts
    • 4,312 Thanks
    Dan-Dan
    • #6
    • 9th May 16, 10:39 AM
    • #6
    • 9th May 16, 10:39 AM
    Well my Howdens burford cream kitchen is 32 month old and is still lovely and holding up well to vigorous daily life
    Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
    • iharding
    • By iharding 9th May 16, 1:08 PM
    • 62 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    iharding
    • #7
    • 9th May 16, 1:08 PM
    • #7
    • 9th May 16, 1:08 PM
    Our builder negotiated a free upgrade to their premium cabinets and fittings. Neither of us realized that would mean a change to the pull and swing larder cupboard interior which, while it looked good, offered inferior storage. Howdens were very quick to offer a swap back to the originally ordered interior, delivered to us and collected the one we didn't want despite it having been assembled and fitted, all for no extra charge.

    Very happy with the extra solid premium cabinets, interior lighting, and acoustic seals (but not enough to have paid the £4K list upgrade if they hadn't offered it for free!)
    • dirty_magic
    • By dirty_magic 9th May 16, 6:41 PM
    • 882 Posts
    • 1,477 Thanks
    dirty_magic
    • #8
    • 9th May 16, 6:41 PM
    • #8
    • 9th May 16, 6:41 PM
    I think reviews are skewed because people are far more likely to leave a bad review if they've had problems or a good review if the company has gone out of their way to help. Most people don't bother if they've had a generally good but not outstanding experience.

    We did have problems with delivery quantities and one door was split, but this was easily rectified. The reviews did put me off lamona appliances, but we were intending to buy them elsewhere anyway.

    The only thing I could say if I'm being picky is that I think we could have found a better quality tap elsewhere. The tap was free though, or more likely the cost was absorbed into the other items.

    Definitely get quotes from other companies and haggle, you can get the price reduced by a lot.
    • cddc
    • By cddc 10th May 16, 9:27 AM
    • 1,038 Posts
    • 1,128 Thanks
    cddc
    • #9
    • 10th May 16, 9:27 AM
    • #9
    • 10th May 16, 9:27 AM
    Howdens are OK, but just that,OK. What Leveller says about their designers and appliances rings true.

    Would suggest if going with them you get someone else to plan it and that you get your appliances elsewhere. The quality otherwise of what you get for what your pay, if you pay the right price that is, is fair.

    Howdens discount structure is deliberately opaque and designed to favour the tradesman rather than the end user. So the best way to find out if you are getting a fair price is to get a comparative quote elsewhere.
    • ryder72
    • By ryder72 11th May 16, 10:02 PM
    • 923 Posts
    • 576 Thanks
    ryder72
    About the best comparison you can get is this-

    Is Tesco Value that bad? No its not. You can eat it. It wont kill you. It wont harm you. As long as you dont pay M&S prices for it or expect it to be fine quality you wont go wrong.
    Weíve had to remove your signature. Please check the Forum Rules if youíre unsure why itís been removed and, if still unsure, email forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • PheoUK
    • By PheoUK 12th May 16, 8:41 AM
    • 345 Posts
    • 185 Thanks
    PheoUK
    Howdens sell thousands of kitchens a week. Most complaints I see are the result of people expecting them to act like Magnet / Homebase or IKEA. They don't sell retail, only to the trade, or those with a trade account. Accordingly their services are setup for their customers - builders. Hence sometimes you see bad reviews because people expect Howdens to sort out problems which are the responsibility of their builders.

    Additionally, they have several ranges of kitchen of varying costs and quality, so asking the question "how good are they" is a mixed bag because you are not comparing like with like. For instance they have solid wood kitchens, which won't have ABS banding on them (ref the above).
    • lstar337
    • By lstar337 12th May 16, 9:56 AM
    • 2,709 Posts
    • 1,376 Thanks
    lstar337
    I haven't read the rest of the thread, but I can leave my own comments in hope they may be useful.

    I live in a rented property with a Howdens kitchen.

    The kitchen looks good, and doesn't look cheap at all. The fittings are comfortable, and well placed.

    The cupboards feel solid, heavy, and well put together. They are also good sizes and offer plenty of customisability (shelf positions etc.).

    After 2 years of daily use they still look new, and show no signs of wear.

    We have a Lamona (Howdens Appliances) oven, hob, and extractor hood. The appliances are basic but functional, and haven't broken down in the two years we have been using them. The extractor hood is underwhelming, but then the hose to the outside is a long run so that could have something to do with it. The oven will try to melt your face off if you open the door, but I guess that is just a sign that it holds heat in well. The hob just works.

    Hope that helps.
    • sl_jones
    • By sl_jones 15th May 16, 4:00 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    sl_jones
    I have literally just had a kitchen put in from howden and i must say i can't complain.

    The price vs the quality is very good but i think there kitchen very much depend on the fitters who put them in. I did have a scratch on one of worktops which was replaced the next day.

    One think i must say is our Howdens designer wasn't that good, we asked him to put a cover over the boiler and he did but it hits the other wall unit just slightly, if he had thought his design through and put a 500 mm unit in it would have fitted.

    Only had it about a week but no complains so far!
    • am_bain
    • By am_bain 15th May 16, 6:02 PM
    • 80 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    am_bain
    I had a howdens kitchen fitted and was very happy with it more than I was with appliances I would recommend the kitchen but buy your appliances elsewhere.
    Ann
    • s4mmy
    • By s4mmy 17th Sep 16, 8:12 AM
    • 538 Posts
    • 4,205 Thanks
    s4mmy
    We are in the process of buying a new kitchen and Howdens have quoted us an initial price for supply however when I didn't agree to price the price was quickly dropped by £200. I'm now wondering how much more discount I will be able to get ��. Does anyone else have experience of their pricing structure/discounts ?
    Thanks
    • chrisw
    • By chrisw 17th Sep 16, 1:02 PM
    • 1,429 Posts
    • 746 Thanks
    chrisw
    See if you can get someone in the trade to buy it for you. Trade discounts are around 70%, so there is plenty of room for negotiation.
    • s4mmy
    • By s4mmy 17th Sep 16, 1:54 PM
    • 538 Posts
    • 4,205 Thanks
    s4mmy
    Thanks for the reply.
    • Agapanthus26
    • By Agapanthus26 22nd Sep 16, 8:52 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Agapanthus26
    What about their front doors?
    Does anyone have experience of living with a Howdens solid wood front door ? I've a front door that gets a prevailing wind and rain plus full sun in summer. My builder prefers to use Howdens but I'm wondering re quality as the majority of their doors are engineered wood. Can anyone tell me if they've had external wood doors supplied by Howdens and whether they would recommend?
    Last edited by Agapanthus26; 22-09-2016 at 9:55 PM. Reason: Accuracy
    • Furts
    • By Furts 22nd Sep 16, 10:26 PM
    • 2,748 Posts
    • 1,705 Thanks
    Furts
    Does anyone have experience of living with a Howdens solid wood front door ? I've a front door that gets a prevailing wind and rain plus full sun in summer. My builder prefers to use Howdens but I'm wondering re quality as the majority of their doors are engineered wood. Can anyone tell me if they've had external wood doors supplied by Howdens and whether they would recommend?
    Originally posted by Agapanthus26
    A number of unknowns here. Do you have a decent porch to protect the door? Will the door have decent locking. or bolts at the top to keep it true? If the locks/bolts are present will you engage them? What finish do you propose on the door - dark pigments are needed for protection, but what protection are you proposing?

    I assume your door is 44mm thick, but check this out.

    Your requirements are demanding, but the sun aspect would also be demanding for many composite doors. On balance I would shy away from a timber door - but many composite doors are dire.
    • Agapanthus26
    • By Agapanthus26 23rd Sep 16, 6:54 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Agapanthus26
    Thanks for trying to help. Firstly there is no porch and I'm not planning on getting one as the house is a terraced Edwardian house and would look out of place. The door is only a foot away from my neighbours so anything I do will reflect directly on the appearance of their property. They, however, have a door recessed back and don't have the same weather problems as me. I can't move my door back as the electric box is in the immediate area inside.
    I'm happy to consider any finish, I had thought to have a painted door and am prepared to maintain regularly. Colour wise I'm not fussy and if recommended to stay away from dark colours I will if it exacerbates sun damage.
    I was surprised to read in the Howdens brochure that they use engineered wood largely - is this better/worse than solid wood?
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