Over the past few posts, we’ve discussed the strength, durability and ease of care of HDPE outdoor cabinets. This time, we wanted to get the perspective of someone who makes his living installing outdoor kitchens.
In his 12 years in business, Clark Trautweiler, Jr. of Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets & More (Lakewood Ranch, FL), has installed thousands of outdoor kitchens. And while he’s dabbled in other brands and materials, he says almost all of his installations are now polymer.
But not just any polymer… And not just any cabinet. Let’s talk to Clark…
Q: Clark, describe your experience with HDPE cabinetry, and how it compares with other materials you’ve seen or worked with.
A: 95% of everything we do now is based around HDPE cabinetry. This particular material, and especially Werever’s construction methods, have never failed us. We’ll order thousands of cabinets a year, and we’ve never had a scenario where there’s been a warranty issue or problems with hardware. It’s worked so well we never even had to consider dabbling with others… it’s a set-and-forget, bulletproof-type of product.
It seems too good to be true, but it kind of is!
Q: So, you’re a big believer in HDPE?
A: Yes, since 2005. Early on, I had my hands on PVC and other kinds of materials. Many products have come and gone… the more I battle-tested them, the more they just fell short.
Q: In what ways do you see HDPE superior to other materials, namely PVC?
A: What is superior about the HDPE is its strength, stability & rigidity compared to PVC, its zero porosity, and it’s incredibly durable finish that carries throughout the product.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about HDPE you’ve encountered?
A: For the last ten years I’ve heard, “well, it looks kind of plastic.” Other products do have a good look, but let’s get past that. Werever’s HDPE cabinets are UV-stable, weather-resistant, power washable, and never need finishing.
We want customers to ask questions when they’re shopping around… and now they’re even asking me, “you can power wash this stuff (HDPE), right?” Absolutely! And when I see you again in 15 years you’ll be smiling and saying, “this is an awesome outdoor kitchen!”
Q: You’ve probably seen your share of substandard materials and installations over the years, right?
All the time. We’ve seen plywood boxes out there, metal, pressure-treated framing… everything. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of weekend warriors out there that say, “I can get it to look like that,” but the result is not the same.
There have been times we’ve been called to come out and install a new appliance in a kitchen that had existing (substandard) cabinets. If we have to make modifications to fit a new grill in there, the kitchen probably won’t last much longer. It’s just better to gut it and start over.
We try to tell people too, if you want to leave any pool towels or dish ware outside, with a stucco kitchen, for example, you’re going to have moisture issues, etc. Think about that.
Q: In your years in working with outdoor kitchens, what are you most proud of?
We have a section of exposed kitchens at the showroom… they get sun, get rained on… full element exposure. When someone can say, “Wow, these are really outdoors? And they’re 12 years old? And they’re in the same condition from when you put them in?”… we know they’ve bought into what we believe.