Cabinetry 101

OVERVIEW

As a service to anyone who wants to learn about cabinets, the following may be useful when you shop, or when you speak with a salesperson. It details what goes into making cabinets, and what to be aware of when you purchase. Specifications, materials, construction, hardware, finishes, and installation are covered. At the end are some guidelines for purchasing, and references for national standards. Hopefully this knowledge will enable you to buy smarter, and ultimately deliver value in your investment.

TERMINOLOGY

Cabinets made within the last 30 years or so are generally referred to as being face frame or frameless. Sometimes frameless cabinets are referred to as Euro style. All this has to do with how the cabinet box is constructed. If you look at your kitchen cabinets with the doors open, you may see on the fronts what amounts to a picture frame surrounding the openings. This would be a rectangle of wood that’s about 1 1⁄2” (or more) wide. This type of frame affixed to the front of the cabinet box means its construction uses a face frame. On the other hand, if when you open the doors you see only the edge of the cabinet box itself – about 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 of an inch thick, then your

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cabinets are frameless.

Face frame is considered a more traditional design, while frameless or Euro is considered more contemporary. However, overall appearance is what really dictates how cabinets are seen. It IS possible to cross over, and do frameless in a traditional design, as well as face frame in a more modern

design. It’s not uncommon for a debate to arise, claiming that face frame construction is stronger than frameless. Unfortunately, there are so many aspects to cabinet strength that a face frame alone guarantees nothing. See CONSTRUCTION.

When talking about drawers, we need to understand there is a distinction between the drawer box (where you store stuff), and the drawer front (the part that’s visible when the drawer is closed.

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Doors and drawer fronts are usually either one-piece or 5-piece construction. A one-piece drawer front or door is a single slab of wood. It may be flat, or it may have raised areas or areas where material has been removed. A 5- piece drawer front or door consists of a frame (4 pieces) with some sort of center panel, and will definitely have variations in thickness.

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Not all doors and drawer fronts that appear to be made with a frame and center panel are truly 5-piece construction. It’s possible to take a single piece of wood or MDF (more about MDF in a second), and rout out (i.e., “remove”) sufficient material to make it look like there is a frame and a center panel. The way to tell is to look at the back, and see if the back has the appearance of a single piece or 5 pieces. Don’t rely on the front view only.

In most cases today, drawer boxes are made with 4 sides plus a bottom, and the drawer front is mounted to the drawer box. In older cabinets (1970’s and going back even to antique objects), the drawer front may have been the 4th side of the box. The exception to this rule is modern metal drawer boxes. They often consist of only 3 metal sides, a bottom, and the

wood drawer front. From a cost standpoint, it’s a lot cheaper to produce a door or drawer front from a single piece of wood than it would be to fabricate and assemble a frame and center panel for each opening. Also, a wide single piece of wood is more subject to warping, twisting, bowing, and cupping than something made from 5 separate and smaller pieces.

Warp,twist,bow,andcupreferstowoodnotlyingflat. Warpisageneral term, and includes all the other conditions. Twist is when a piece of wood begins to take on a spiral shape, with one end oriented differently than the other. Bow is when the length of the wood curves like a “C.” Cup is when the width of wood curves like a “C.”

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Wood moves! All wood has some residual moisture in it, whether coated with a finish or not. And all wood, finished or not, exchanges moisture with the atmosphere. All wood used in cabinets goes through a drying process. But sometimes the drying process is not efficient, and the moisture content may not be properly controlled. In addition, the shop or factory where the cabinet is made may not control the relative humidity in the air. Beyond

that, you probably don’t control the humidity in your home. Heating dries the air indoors. Outside, the hotter the air, the more moisture it holds. Both air and wood seek an equilibrium in their moisture content. When the relative humidity of indoor air at 650F or higher drops below 25%, the air is going to seek moisture, and wood is usually a convenient source. As wood dries, it shrinks across the grain causing cracks, splits, lifting finish, and other maladies. Conversely, if your power goes out after a bad summer storm, and you open your windows to relieve some of the heat, outside air that may be saturated with moisture enters your home and the wood inside tends to suck up moisture, trying to establish that equilibrium. The wood expands and swells, and causes splits, cracks, lifting finish, and other maladies for similar but opposite reasons.

A face frame, as well as a door or drawer frame, has 2 vertical members called stiles, and 2 horizontal members called rails. When the equilibrium moisture content between wood and air get out of balance, rails and stiles and other wood components may give off or take up moisture. The result is movement, and the wood may no longer lie flat. The non-flat shape can be permanent.

SPECIFICATIONS

In the US, a convention has been established among most manufacturers that results in some standard sizes for kitchen cabinets. For other types of cabinets, sizes are not standardized. A typical kitchen base cabinet will be 24” deep (front to back) and 34 1⁄2” high. A countertop that’s 1 1⁄2” thick will bring the finished height up to 36”. A typical kitchen wall cabinet is 12” or 13” deep (front to back) with heights that vary in increments of 3”. Wall cabinets generally start around 15” high and go as high as 42” (15, 18, 21… 42). Base and wall cabinets have widths (left to right) that also vary on 3” increments. Widths on both start at 9” and typically go as high as 48”. It’s becoming more prevalent to see some variation in kitchen cabinet depths these days, both base and wall. For example, some cooktops require more than 24” of depth, and so we are seeing some 27” deep base cabinets – especially when downdraft ventilation is used. Oven cabinets may be 30” deep. Many kitchen designs now use base cabinets that are “bumped out,” as well as wall cabinets that are “bumped up.” The effect is deliberate variations of depth and height along a wall. A run of 12” or 13” deep wall cabinets that are 36” high may now have 1 or more that are 15” deep, or 42” high on the same wall. Or maybe all will remain 36” high, but 1 is raised 6” above the others. Different design possibilities can achieve a certain look. In today’s world, most kitchen cabinets will have a height and width that is divisible by 3.

For other types of cabinets, such as those used in entertainment centers, desks and home offices, bars, closet systems, garages, etc., you will often see cabinets with some dimensions similar to the kitchen examples above. But not always. Certain applications may require a cabinet to be 19” deep or 26” high or 23” wide. There is no hard and fast rule. Often if the cabinet is designed for a particular storage function, it will be sized for that function. If cabinets are being built into a recess in a wall, one or more of them may end up odd-sized. Once you leave the kitchen, you can’t assume anything. Moreover, a lot of older kitchens were built onsite by a trim carpenter. It’s not unusual in older kitchens to see really weird dimensions, like a cabinet box that’s 27 1⁄2” wide.

MATERIALS

Most residential cabinets have been made from wood or wood products for centuries. There has been a recent trend to explore some other materials, notably aluminum (generally reserved for cabinet doors only), and several plastics (generally reserved for outdoor kitchens). But it doesn’t appear that wood and wood products will lose favor anytime soon.

Plywood, as it refers to cabinets, is a sandwich of inner layers (usually cut from poplar trees), oriented in opposite directions. Cabinet-grade plywood has outer layers of hardwood veneer – the hardwood veneer being oak, birch, maple, cherry, walnut, or another high-grade wood, sliced about 1/42” thick. The reason the inner layers are laid up in opposite directions to each other is for dimensional stability. Remember what was said about moisture? That wood gives it up and takes it in? When the inner layers of plywood go through their shrinking and swelling, the opposite orientation of each layer minimizes the overall movement, and results in a very dimensionally stable product. The high quality veneer outer layers produce the look of a board sawn from a tree.

Particleboard is a mixture of small chunks of wood suspended in a matrix of glue, formed into a sheet using heat and pressure. When the adhesive cures, what’s left is a sheet that has a high per cent of glue binding the wood particles together. The surface is not usually smooth and flat enough to hold an expensive veneer. But heavier and tougher materials, such as a plastic film called rigid thermofoil (RTF), or a product such as Formica, or a sprayed-on plastic called melamine can be laminated to the surface of particleboard to give a finished appearance.

MDF stands for medium density fiberboard. Like particleboard, MDF is a matrix of glue that holds very finely ground wood (called wood flour), formed into a sheet under pressure and heat. Because the wood particles are much finer than those in particleboard, a much smoother surface can be achieved. Also the ratio of wood surface area to adhesive surface area is greater than in particleboard, and so MDF is more absorbent. That’s great for paint, and MDF is superior to any wood product for painting. However, MDF is susceptible to breaking apart when wet. MDF is often used for surfaces that are painted, and it can also be used as a substrate for high quality veneer. As long as all edges and surfaces are coated properly, MDF can be successfully incorporated into cabinet panels, doors, and molding.

Each of the wood products above has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to being joined to another piece. Obviously, real wood from a tree (lumber) can be milled, shaped, and joined together in a variety of ways, and has been used for centuries. It has some issues with shrinking and swelling, with the larger pieces being more likely to show the greatest movement. So larger pieces are more prone to warping and cracking, especially if the construction design doesn’t allow for expected movement. Plywood has all the same characteristic of lumber, except that it doesn’t move as much. Lumber and plywood hold all sorts of fasteners extremely well. Screws, nails, and staples are all sufficient. A lot of chemical research has gone into formulating glues and adhesives that form extremely strong bonds on natural wood. As with any material, some construction designs are better than others. But lumber and plywood are unsurpassed for joint strength and load bearing ability.

Particleboard is less costly to make than plywood, and is a great surface for laminates. But one drawback is that fasteners (such as screws and brads) tend to pull out when force is applied frequently. With the large quantity of cured adhesive making up a piece of particleboard, a fastener is going to engage as much glue as wood. Moreover, the irregularly shaped chunks of wood can be pried loose from the glue matrix by a fastener, both when entering the material or being pulled or pried out.

MDF has the same issues with fasteners that particleboard does. Because of the small particles in the wood portion, there is little for a nail to compress and hold, or for threads on a screw to bite into. The wood in particleboard and MDF is not continuous. It’s broken up by gobs or droplets of glue.

Particleboard and MDF are best suited for cabinet applications where the use is going to be somewhat limited. An example might be cabinetry in a living room or bedroom, as opposed to kitchen cabinets that are opened and closed hundreds of times each year.

Natural wood cut from trees may hold fasteners better, but it’s not uncommon for a nail or screw to cause a split. The grain of wood represents an area of slightly different density from the rest of the fibers surrounding it. That, coupled with the fact that grain patterns often swirl and run in multiple directions at once can make joining 2 pieces a nightmare. The wood may want to release tension as the fastener enters, and a split can occur. Fortunately, several methods now exist to overcome this tendency, and most wood can be joined without defects, if care is taken.

CONSTRUCTION

Putting together a case or cabinet box seems like it should be a simple task. But when you stop to consider the weight and wear-and-tear a typical cabinet must withstand over decades of use, “simple” is not always best.

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Early furniture and cabinet makers used dovetail joinery to hold things together. When executed properly, dovetails are both beautiful and highly effective at holding boards together. Unfortunately, they can be tedious and labor intensive to make. Dovetails are still widely used. But other modern joinery methods can be used with equally good results. However, some modern methods are better than others.

Glues and adhesives today are hundreds of times more effective than the boiled hides of farm animals from 200 years ago. Most modern construction methods employ some type of glue to hold a cabinet together. If the joinery is accomplished by ONLY glue, however, there will likely be failure of the joints over time.

Glue plus wooden dowels or screws are much more effective than glue alone. Screws are better than nails at holding wood because the threads actually form a barrier to removal, unless they are rotated. Lumber is better than plywood is better than MDF is better than particleboard at holding screws. Glue bonds lumber and plywood equally well. It bonds MDF pretty well, but MDF soaks up a lot of glue before the remainder cures, and bonds to the adjacent piece. Glue does not soak into particleboard uniformly because so much of the particleboard substrate is already cured glue (impenetrable). So the bond is weak from the start.

A good joint can be achieved in plywood, particleboard and MDF by drilling small holes into both pieces, and inserting dowels with glue into the holes.
If the dowel is natural wood, the glue will penetrate the wood, expand the dowel (because the glue contains some water), and when the glue dries the bond will be at least as strong as the wood itself at that point. Maybe stronger. The dowels can also serve to line up the 2 pieces precisely, assuming the holes are drilled with precision at the start, and the dowels are sized to fit the holes with minimal clearance.

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Probably the strongest joints can be achieved using real wood or plywood. A groove is milled into one of the pieces being joined. This groove is called either a rabbet (pronounced rabbit) or dado (pronounced day-doe), and is as wide as the exact thickness of the mating piece. If glue is applied to the groove, and the edge of one piece is placed in this groove and clamped, the resulting joint is actually stronger than the wood itself along the entire length of the joint. Even more strength is provided by screws placed at intervals along this joint. Sometimes the visibility of a cabinet part makes putting screws into it objectionable. When working with real wood and veneer, there are ways to hide screws on a visible surface, so that the average person would never notice them.

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HARDWARE

Hardware used in cabinets is more than simply the knobs and handles, collectively referred to as pulls. Nowadays, hardware encompasses door hinges and slides for drawers and trays. Additional hardware includes things like appliance lifts, various kinds of lifts associated with vertical opening doors, roller mechanisms for bypassing doors, lock systems, and other features beyond the scope of these paragraphs. For now, we’ll focus on hinges, slides, and pulls.

Most modern cabinets have hinges that are concealed in the interior of the cabinet sides and doors. These are called cup hinges or Euro hinges.

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Most brands are very reliable when installed correctly. Many now come with a soft close feature, where a small piston allows the door to close on its own without slamming. There are even electronic lifts and hinges now that can be activated to open and close a door automatically. Traditional hinges still abound, and are being used in many furniture applications, though not so much in kitchen cabinet designs every day. Those typical 3-knuckle and 5- knuckle hinges that have been around for centuries will not be leaving anytime soon. The same applies to piano hinges, Soss hinges, and other hardware for doors.

Slides are almost always seen on modern cabinetry for suspending drawers in their openings. Slides are also used in kitchens for roll-out trays and a multitude of convenience structures incorporated into modern designs. Slides for drawers are 2 general types, referred to as ball bearing or epoxy.

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All slides use 2 elements for each side of a drawer. There is one element attached to the drawer, and one element attached to the side of the cabinet. The configuration is repeated on the left, the same as the right. A ball bearing slide has ball bearings that facilitate the travel in and out. So called epoxy slides are 2 pieces of epoxy-coated metal that slide over top of each other as the drawer is pulled out or pushed in. These are also referred to as runners, since one piece of metal “runs” over top of the other. Both types of slides have options for how far a drawer will open. This is also called the extension of the slide, and is either full or partial extension. Full extension slides will open the drawer all the way, so the back edge of the drawer box is out at the face of the cabinet. Partial extension slides leave a significant portion of the drawer inside the cabinet opening when fully extended. Recent trends are hiding drawer slides by modifying their design to mount underneath the drawer, effectively hiding them from view.

Pulls are the hardware attached to the faces of doors and drawers that give you something to grab when you want to open the door or drawer. They can be simple knobs or handles, or they can be very elaborate and artistic attachments. Most pulls are metal, formed by pouring molten metal into a die or mold. The type of metal used for the pull, as well as the intricacy of the design determine cost. Whether a pull is hollow or solid also affects cost. Certain styles of pulls seem to date the cabinetry, and so replacing pulls every so often (even without replacing the cabinets) is a popular way to modernize your look. The most economical pulls are made from zinc, and the zinc may be colored or plated to produce the appearance of another metal. Popular today are zinc pulls plated with nickel, chrome, pewter or brass. Plated zinc pulls are generally a bit more expensive than zinc pulls that are just colored. Some pulls are made from solid aluminum, stainless steel, or brass. Pulls made from any solid metal may be either polished or dulled (the matte and brushed finishes), but are not usually plated with another metal. (Brass is an exception when plated with silver or gold). Brass, whether solid or plated, may be described as antique, but this color is done with chemicals added to the molten brass. Solid metal pulls are generally the most expensive. The price of a pull starts at less than a dollar, and can go up to hundreds of dollars each. But just because someone charges a high price for a pull doesn’t mean you are getting the full solid weight of the metal you think you are buying. Be careful and ask questions

if you are spending a significant sum! There are many non-metal pulls also on the market. These can be made from glass, leather, plastic, bone, and a variety of other materials. The same range of price applies to these, as well.

FINISHES

Wood used for any interior purpose requires a finish to be applied to all exposed surfaces. The finish will minimize moisture fluctuations that cause permanent change to the object’s shape. At the same time, the finish can also enhance the object’s beauty. A wide variety of wood finishes exist, and include natural waxes and oils, paint, shellac, and various chemical mixtures typically known as varnishes or lacquers.

Antique furniture and cabinets were made originally with finishes of natural wax or oil (3 examples are beeswax, tung oil and linseed oil). The wax or oil was rubbed onto the wood surface, partially absorbed into the fibers, and acted to retard moisture movement. The residual was wiped off, and the light film that remained was burnished by hand into a low sheen that gave depth to the appearance. Waxes and oils were later joined by shellac, a solution of a waxy substance secreted by the lac bug in Asia. Eventually, solvents such as alcohol were mixed with resins derived from plants and fossils, and varnish was born. Some modern antique reproductions still use these primitive finishes for authenticity. As long as no one sets a wet glass on a table top finished like that, the flawless beauty will endure forever.

Today, commercially produced cabinetry for kitchens and baths – and most any other residential cabinetry – will use coatings that meet standards set out by the National Kitchen and Bath Assn. (NKBA). These standards specify minimum limits for things such as moisture resistance, abrasion resistance, peeling, fracturing under a dent, etc. The coatings used are generally classified as lacquers or conversion varnishes. In some cases, 2-part urethane, enamel, epoxy, or polyester coatings may be seen. The latter 4 finishes are usually reserved for specialized applications or very high end products, due to the expense of the coatings, the equipment required to apply, and the specialized performance characteristics of those coatings.

The base color underneath everything may be a stain or a pigmented lacquer. There may be additional steps prior to and/or after a stain is applied. A glaze might also be used to shade the color. Glazing is at least 1, maybe as many as 3 more steps in the finishing process A properly finished wood cabinet should have at least 2 topcoats of finish applied, with sanding in between coats to ensure proper adhesion. Depending on the final appearance, the finishing process could involve as many as 8 -10 individual steps, or more. Much finishing in large scale cabinet production is

automated. But even in those operations, some handwork is inevitable. For a small shop, finishing represents a huge investment of labor. The bottom line is that finishing can be the most complex part of bringing a cabinet to market, and is usually one of the biggest factors in determining cost – automated or not. Finish is always the first aspect of a cabinet that people use to judge quality and appearance.

INSTALLATION

No matter how much money is spent on cabinets, be it a single piece or an entire kitchen, the installation is critical to ensuring the cabinets work and look good. Each cabinet has to be at the correct location, level, and plumb. If not, doors won’t open and close correctly, slides may not work well, and items can fall over on the shelves. For any cabinets installed as a built-in, that is – screwed to the rear wall, touching a wall on the end(s), and completely filling a space – proper installation is required for everything to fit properly. All cabinets have inherent tip-over danger if not screwed to the studs in a wall. So antiques or any free standing cabinets have the potential to tip over when not secured. Installation for those may mean simply positioning the free standing piece in a room, and leveling. Use caution if they are not secured. Kitchen cabinets and many other types require attachment to the wall. Running some screws through the backs and into the walls would be easy if all studs were placed on 16” centers, if all floors were level, all corners exactly 90 degrees, all ceilings level and parallel to the floor, and all walls were flat. Sadly, few of those conditions are ever met. Fail to find a stud, and load a wall cabinet with 100 lbs. of grandma’s heirloom china. Don’t be surprised when you are awakened at 3:07 a.m. by the sound of wood being torn from drywall, as china breaks when everything hits the floor. It actually happens, and it’s not funny.

A competent installer will make certain of stud locations, even doing some test drilling to verify. He will also survey the floor, wall, and ceiling to see what challenges they represent. Your cabinets will consume shims to level them out and make them plumb. You should be able to lay a level across 4 to 6 feet of cabinets and see little or no deviation from level or plumb. You should be able to look across the run of cabinets and see all the doors lying in the same plane. The tops of all doors and drawer fronts should be at the same height, and the side edges of all doors should be vertical and parallel to each other. The separation between 2 doors on the same cabinet should be equal, and that same amount of space should exist on all pairs of doors. The reveal, that’s the amount of wood behind all 4 sides of each door, should be about the same on each cabinet. Doors should open and close with ease, there should be no rocking of the hinges when they open. Any

roll outs should extend their full length without hitting the cabinet side or a hinge. Drawer slides should open and close without binding. Soft close features should work properly, if present. There should be no gaps between 2 adjacent cabinets, and there should be no gaps visible between a cabinet and the wall it touches. Crown molding should not have open joints at the corners. Under-cabinet lighting should not have electrical cords dangling. Toe kicks should not have gaps where they do not hit the floor. Doors on one cabinet, when opening, should not encounter interference from an adjacent cabinet. Base molding on a cabinet should be properly coped or mitered or caulked to join base molding on a wall. Pulls should be installed at the same exact location on each door and drawer, and should look uniform throughout. Finally, all debris should be completely cleaned up. To sum it up, the cabinets in your home should look like a showroom display.

PURCHASING GUIDELINES

Probably the first thing to do when anticipating any cabinet purchase is to establish some sort of budget target for what you want to do. That’s true whether you are buying a TV cabinet from a furniture store, or building your dream house and putting dozens of cabinets and built-in’s all over. The best way to develop this idea of a budget is to research the market. If you’re buying something already made, the internet is a great tool as well as some mileage and your time. See what’s available and how it’s priced. If you are having something built, or replacing an entire kitchen, talk to a couple of suppliers and try to limit your specifications to the low end of what you are looking for. Get some estimates based on what you need, not the up-sell of what a salesperson says you should have. This will give you a baseline amount, and may help in trying to compare apples-to-apples. (You can always opt for upgrades, once you choose your supplier).

There is nothing wrong with holding the budget as low as possible. But be careful of buying the cheapest thing you can find. As they say, you get what you pay for. The opposite is also true: there is no need to pay more to get less. With that in mind, here are some thoughts about different types of cabinets, based on their materials and construction:

 Always ask what a cabinet is made of. If the answer is “real wood,” or “solid wood,” ask what species of wood. Salespeople will often use those terms to mislead. Or because they don’t know. Particleboard and MDF are solid, and they are made from wood (partially). But to the average consumer, the terms “solid wood” and “real wood” imply boards cut from a tree. If you want to explore further, ask what parts are veneer and what parts are dimensional lumber (another term for a board cut from a tree). That will probably get you speaking with a manager. This is not meant to downgrade any material. Rather, it’s for your own information, so you know what you’ll be getting.

  •  Cabinets made from particleboard or MDF are sold everyday by the thousands. If what you are looking for is an economical storage solution, buy these. But do so knowing they are not built to last for decades under heavy use. Know that thermofoil laminate, when sitting next to an oven used on a regular basis, may eventually begin to delaminate (“lift off the surface”). Know that when you are down on your hands and knees looking for something in a base cabinet, the open door is not there as a lifting point to help you stand up. The hinges will pull off. (True, regardless of what materials are used to construct). Know that particleboard and MDF cabinets can and do support granite countertops. However, granite may be pushing the weight bearing limits of these cabinets. Know that particleboard and MDF cabinets can be ruined by repeated or long-term exposure to water, if the water finds an uncoated or “raw” edge. Invest in particleboard and MDF cabinets when the location and function make them a good choice.
  •   While the cost of materials is significant, the cost to fabricate and finish and ship is where the real expense lies. Fabrication shortcuts can be present with any material, but are more prevalent at the lower end. (Hot melt glue + staples, instead of aliphatic glue + screws or dowels to join the cabinet box, is one example of these shortcuts). So be wary of construction methods. However, unless you know what to look for, you may not be able to see how the cabinets were constructed. This is where “getting what you pay for” comes into play.
  •   The cost of convenience features, lighting, and other add-on’s make for a higher price tag, but that’s regardless of the materials used. Elaborately detailed hardwood doors and moldings can also elevate prices. Often, cabinets with very high-end finishes will have elaborate doors and moldings. Not only do they look good, they are labor- intensive to make and finish. Expensive high-end cabinets do not necessarily carry higher % profit margins than their cheaper cousins. They may simply cost more to make.
  •   Wood veneer does not equal “cheap.” The truth is, the very best logs (when graded by a lumber mill) are usually sold to a veneer mill because they bring a higher price and are more highly sought. Cabinet grade plywood with hardwood veneer faces is the highest quality material available for cabinets today. It surpasses all other choices because of (a) dimensional stability; (b) ability to be machined; (c) ability to hold fasteners and accept glue; (d) ability to take a multitude of finishes that can impart timeless beauty; and (e) durability and repairability.

 Drawers that do not fully extend, whether on epoxy slides or ball bearing slides, will frustrate you over time. If possible, buy something with full extension drawer slides so you can see all of what’s in the drawer. As a corollary, ball bearing slides have longer life expectancy, and may have more weight bearing capacity. Full extension ball bearing slides are the best choice, and often indicate a higher level of overall cabinet quality at every price point. The only difference between under-mount and side-mount slides, when comparing the same slides in both positions, is visual. Function and durability do not change.

INDUSTRY STANDARDS

Several organizations are recognized as having established standards adopted widely in the manufacture of kitchen and other cabinets. Among these organizations are the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the Architectural Woodworking Institute (AWI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Links to these organizations can be found on the Premier Cabinets of Virginia website under the Links tab on the main page, www.premiercabsva.com.