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Evaluating Kitchen Cabinets, materials, hardware, functional use!
What is my Kitchen Cabinet made of? Is it solid Construction? Or just a pretty box?
Stock, Semi-Custom, Custom Cabinetry
When you first decide on remodeling your kitchen most of us go to various kitchen design centers or maybe to our local home center, (Lowes, Home Depot). We look though kitchen design magazines and if you have an internet connection, we browse some kitchen cabinetry web sites. This is a great starting point!
Let us start with the basic cabinet itself. After all, it is really just a box screwed to the wall with some fancy doors and trim. However, let us look at this box…these are some of the questions you should be asking…
• How is it constructed?
Is the cabinet screwed and glued together, dados, dowelled?
• What type of material is it made of?
Solid wood, plywood, pressboard (partial board) or something else?
• What about the hardware?
Who makes it? Does the hardware have user-friendly adjustments?
• Most important “Is it functional”?
Will my plates, pots and pans, silverware, baking goods etc…all fit in a nice orderly fashion!
Kitchen Cabinet Construction
First, open the cabinet door and see if the bottom shelf is flush with the framework (bottom rail). Custom and some manufactures of semi-custom cabinets will be. Most if not all standard cabinets will not be. This is a very important consideration and your designer should point this out. It is also a price point you should think about. My reasons for pointing this out is simple, imagine this, your pulling a plate or a glass out of the kitchen cabinet, if there a lip there it is going to catch every time. Perhaps to the point it slips out of your hand and breaks on the counter-top.
Second, look under the cabinet…many people overlook this! Here you can see what the cabinet is made of, plywood or pressboard. In most of my designs, I use pressboard, the reason is its less expensive, and pressboard is now being manufactured using a lot more green technology. Plywood is always used in damp or humid areas. All sink cabinets (including the kitchen sink cabinet, the rest of the room will be pressboard construction, major price point!) bathrooms, laundry rooms’ basements etc… In addition, I like the melamine surface that is applied to the face of the board. Very easy to clean, doesn’t show marks as finished plywood does. Just look at the bottom edges of the side panels. This will tell you what material was used but, also the thickness of the material. Personally, I would never recommend or suggest anything less than ½” in thickness. Push on the back panel of the cabinet if it gives way it is most likely made of 1/8” material with hanging rails behind it. A cabinet with a 3/8” solid back panel not only add more room inside the cabinet but also, in my opinion is a better-built cabinet.
This should be enough to get you started in your selection of what makes a good kitchen cabinet.
In my next post, I’ll explain all about Hardware…
Your kitchen designer,
Roger Gaelens, Professional Kitchen Designer
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We are a kitchen design firm that specializes in bringing your dream kitchen to life! We look forward to working with you.