Consumer Guide to Kitchen Cabinets

A home’s kitchen cabinets will set the tone for the kitchen’s look and function. Cabinets come with a hefty price tag and can use up to 40% or more of a renovation budget, but getting the cabinets right will improve the renovation. High-quality cabinets can last 20 to 30 years without deteriorating, sagging, cracking, or having loose hinges or fixtures. Consider the following areas when planning a kitchen renovation.

High-Quality Construction

Considering the cabinets high cost, many homeowners may try to keep their overall costs down and purchase lower-quality construction cabinets. However, because the lower-quality cabinets will deteriorate sooner, they may not provide the best overall value to the homeowner. Consequently, look for high-quality, solid wood construction using dovetail joints. Better quality cabinets will have full-extension drawer guides and high-quality hinges.

Cabinet Types

Consumers can choose among three major types of cabinet systems. Stock cabinets are available at home centers and come either assembled or ready-to-assemble depending on the store. These cabinets are the lowest in price but offer the least flexibility or customization. Semi-custom cabinets offer more configurations and style options to better fit the available space. Custom cabinets will fit the exact specifications, but they are the most expensive option.

Cabinet Styles

Cabinets are available either framed or unframed. Framed cabinets consist of the cabinet box and a face frame, which provides a base for the hinges and glides. Framed cabinets have more stability to keep the cabinet box square over time. Frameless cabinets, also known as European style, are more contemporary looking because there is no face frame. With frameless cabinets, the doors and drawers attach directly to the cabinet box. The installation must be very precise to avoid problems later on.

Consider Revitalization

Homeowners may consider repainting or refinishing their existing cabinets as long as the current cabinets are sturdy, square, and plumb. Remove the doors and drawers, clean them with a degreasing agent, sandpaper, apply primer and then multiple top coats in the new color. For framed units, cabinet refacing is another alternative to change the look without completely redoing the cabinet structure.

In Summary

Kitchens set the tone of the home, and kitchen cabinets set the tone of the kitchen. Take time to assess the design options and purchase the highest quality cabinets for your budget for the best long-term results.