One of the most important considerations when remodeling your kitchen is what type of cabinet to select. Kitchen cabinets define the room’s overall appearance, anchor the layout, and organize the cooking and serving accouterments. Choosing the right cabinets can be daunting because of the many features, options, and materials offered in nearly every price range. Good research is key
The experts at the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommend that you look at a variety of kitchen cabinets, from top-of-the-line custom designs to unfinished stock items. By seeing a range of cabinet quality and costs, you’ll be able to budget for those handmade pulls you must have while avoiding pricey upgrades you can live without. BHB will help in this selection process during the Conceptual Design Phase of your project.
CUSTOM CABINETS – Specialty Work Space
STOCK Cabinets – BHB install new Granite Counters
Refinished Cabinets – with Wood Veneer, NEW solid Doors and Drawer Fronts
Cabinet Options: From Custom to Re-claim
Here are six of the most popular kitchen cabinet options.
Custom – Available through better manufacturers, interior designers, architects and cabinetmakers, custom cabinets are designed and built to your exact specifications and measurements. Doors and drawer fronts are typically constructed of solid wood. The result is a one-of-a-kind kitchen at a premium price.
Semi-custom – Less costly than custom, semi-custom cabinets offer a great variety of styles, finishes, interior options and accessories, but may be limited to standard sizes. Doors can be made of solid wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) with a thermofoil or wood veneer.
Stock – These are mass-produced items available in standard sizes and a limited range of styles and finishes. Doors are usually made of MDF covered in thermofoil or wood veneer. Stock cabinets can be an economical choice if they are of good quality.
Unfinished – Another way to achieve a custom look for the price of stock is with unfinished cabinets or do-it-yourself cabinets available from a variety of manufacturers. You can finish these with your choice of paint, stains, or other surface treatments.
Resurfaced – If existing cabinets are solidly built, and the basic configuration meets your needs, you can give them a facelift for about half of what you would spend for new cabinets of comparable quality. Whether it’s replacing the cabinet fronts or simply updating them with new paint or stain, there are a number of skilled service providers who can help you achieve great results
Reclaimed cabinets – Provided that you’re not too picky about the fit, finish, or style, there are ways to find custom cabinets for less than the price of stock. Keep your eye on Craigslist or visit stores that specialize in reclaimed home goods, such as Stardust Building Supplies and Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Stores, both of which will also accept your old cabinets as donations for resale
What You Need to Know about Cabinet Construction
Whether your cabinets are labeled “custom,” “stock,” or something in between, how they are made is much more important than what they are called. The key elements you’ll want to know about are box construction, drawers, doors, hardware, and finish.
Box construction – Also known as the carcass, the box is the cabinet’s foundation. And while it may be hidden behind a gleaming bird’s-eye maple exterior, everything depends upon its strength and quality. The boxes in budget cabinets are usually made of inexpensive particleboard or melamine. While these materials keep costs down, they can be prone to water damage or chipping. Plywood costs more but it’s also stronger, holds screws and hardware well, and can be repainted or refinished.
Drawers – Depending upon the price range or style, you’ll find drawers made of particleboard, wood or metal. Particleboard drawers are usually glued and stapled at the corners and don’t hold up well over time. Wooden drawers with dovetail joints are far more durable. You’ll want to make sure that there are no gaps in the interlocking parts and that the joint is carefully finished. Metal-sided drawer boxes tend to pair well with sleek, contemporary cabinetry designs.
The best-quality drawer glides for kitchen cabinets operate on nylon wheels or ball bearings. They also have built-in bumpers to cushion the impact of the drawer front closing against the kitchen cabinet. Top-of-the-line glides allow for full extension, although three-quarter extension glides can be a practical alternative. High-quality drawers are self-closing when they’re within about an inch of being closed.
Other upcoming articles:
- Countertops – Materials
- Countertops – Styles and Finishes