How to Choose Good Quality Kitchen Cabinets

One of the most important elements in the kitchen is kitchen cabinets. They influence the design of your kitchen. There are wide ranges of kitchen cabinets available in the market with different designs and for different budget. You can choose from a variety of material, construction style, and price range. Since quality kitchen cabinets are expensive, it is important to do your research first. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between good quality cabinets among inferior ones. Inferior quality cabinets lack in functionality and start having issues soon. Some of the common issues you can have are like sagging, loose hinges, deteriorating drawers, and crooked doors. In this post, we will tell you how to choose good quality kitchen cabinets.

Selection of kitchen cabinets begins with your personal style and your budget. You can choose from style to make the most use of kitchen size and floor plan. Another important thing is functionality and accessibility. Keep in mind aesthetic features as well as quality and functionality of cabinets. Good quality kitchen cabinets have quality solid-wood door frames and drawer fronts. Construction material used should be of the good quality such as solid wood or plywood. They have doweled or dovetailed joints which have greater strength as compare to stapled or glued joints. Hinges in the cabinet should be steel hardened, nickel plated with the soft closing mechanism. There are several other construction details mentioned below to recognize quality kitchen cabinets.

Why it is important to choose good quality kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is the soul of the home and cabinets are the backbone of the kitchen. Kitchen cabinets are a good investment even if you are remodeling or just flipping the house. Good quality kitchen cabinets highlight aesthetics and functionality of the kitchen. The potential buyer is more likely to buy considering they don’t have to worry about the cost and energy needed for future remodeling cost. You can check here how to find cheap kitchen cabinets.

With good quality kitchen cabinets, you don’t have to worry about regular maintenance. You do not need to replace them after some time as they will go for years to come. Kitchen with quality cabinets is easy to work in and enhance the aesthetics of the kitchen.

Following construction details make it easier to recognize quality cabinets.

  • Construction material: Good quality kitchen cabinets have plywood construction in cabinet boxes. Plywood is the better option than particle board (MDF) as it is moisture resistant and stronger. They are the better option if you have a heavy countertop or an area which is more prone to water (Sink Area). Cabinets with particleboard material can show the effect of moisture in a short time. They start deteriorating and result in sagging cabinet shelves.
  • Back panel construction: Good quality manufacturer always use full heavy plywood in the back panel of cabinets. This kind of construction is strong and increases the strength of cabinets. Inferior quality cabinets have picture frame construction or thin back panel.
  • Hardware: Hardware plays an important role in the quality of cabinets. For example in hinges which affects the closing and opening of cabinet doors. Low-quality hinges can cause uneven, stiff or loose movements of doors. Good quality kitchen cabinets make sure to use hardened steel, plated with nickel hinges which have the soft close mechanism. Similarly, quality cabinets have full extension drawer guides. This gives smooth and silent movement to drawers. This mechanism is better than integrated side rails or under-mounted double-roller designs.
  • Joints: You should also pay attention to the joint construction. Good quality cabinets have doweled or dovetailed joints which have greater strength as compare to stapled or glued joints. Some cabinets also have Mortise and tenon type of joint which is very strong and reflects the quality of furniture.

Basics you need to know about kitchen cabinets

There are basically three different kinds of kitchen cabinets. This classification is on the way of manufacturing of the cabinets. Based on manufacturing style you cannot simply differentiate the quality.

Stock cabinets: These are also called budget cabinets. They are readymade, off-the-shelf and inexpensive kitchen cabinets. These are manufactured according to the specific standard size. Check here to read about standard kitchen cabinet dimensions. There is very little room for customization in this kind of cabinets. These cabinets are also limited in an option of design and style. Manufacturer of the good quality kitchen cabinet of this kind uses better construction material like plywood.

Semi-custom kitchen cabinets: These types of kitchen cabinets have a wide range of customization option in comparison to stock cabinets. They are also pre-manufactured according to standard sizes. They have more size option and the customer can choose material, hardware, molding and finish. They are most preferred if you want to have personalized cabinet but don’t have the budget of custom cabinets. You can have quality kitchen cabinets if you choose high-grade hardware, wood, and quality finish.

Custom kitchen cabinets: These will be your best bet assuming you have a good budget. In custom cabinets, you can choose a size, material, design and almost everything. They are custom made with customer’s specification. The most important thing to consider is to hire a reputable professional. Custom cabinets don’t mean they will be of good quality. Even though they are handmade from your specification of material, poorly constructed cabinets are common.

Construction and material

Good quality kitchen cabinets have quality construction and use high-grade materials. Construction means how different part of cabinets is put together. There are some key features here to recognize good quality kitchen cabinets. Quality constructed kitchen cabinets will last longer. Material plays important role in quality kitchen cabinets. Engineered wood like plywood is stronger and durable than particle wood or MDF.

Construction and material

Good quality kitchen cabinets have quality construction and use high-grade materials. Construction means how different part of cabinets is put together. There are some key features here to recognize good quality kitchen cabinets. Quality constructed kitchen cabinets will last longer. Material plays important role in quality kitchen cabinets. Engineered wood like plywood is stronger and durable than particle wood or MDF.

Construction

Construction technique helps to understand if the cabinet is well built or not. Some of the features of good quality kitchen cabinets are mentioned below.

I-beam construction: Quality kitchen cabinets have I-beam locked and secured into the upper sides of base cabinets. I-beams are joined are locked with dado joint to give long-term strength to base cabinets. Inferior quality cabinets have gussets and braces attached to cabinets sides using staple, glue or nails.

Joinery technique: Drawers in quality kitchen cabinets are of solid wood with the thick plywood bottom. They also have doweled or dovetailed joints for strength. Some custom cabinets also use mortise and tenon joinery technique. Inferior quality cabinets use stapled and glue joints which lack in strength and can fall apart in small time. Click here to know more about joints in cabinet dictionary.

Drawer glides: Good quality kitchen cabinets have high-quality drawer glides. They are responsible for smooth and silent movement for cabinet drawers. Quality cabinets have heavy-duty full extension slides for increased storage. Undermount steel guides with the soft closing mechanism with quality ball bearing work best.

Back panels: Full back panel with heavy plywood (3/8” or more) give strength in cabinets. Full plywood back panel holds the structure better then metal hangs rails, thin panels or picture frame construction.

The material used for construction

Material plays important role in the quality of cabinets. No matter how well build kitchen cabinets are, with inferior quality materials they will not last long. Materials like particle wood or MDF cannot give strength like plywood or solid wood. With time they start to deteriorate and sag. They also cannot hold any heavy materials and may break if you put any on them. Quality materials are more resistant to water, humidity, dents, and bends.

Good quality kitchen cabinets have quality hardware such as hinges, knobs, glides, and ball bearing. These quality hardware’s lasts for a long time and you don’t have to worry about replacement. Heavy duty undermount steel glides with quality ball bearing give smooth and silent movement for drawers. Soft close 6-way adjustable hinges bear the change of temperature and give even door movement every time.

Interior of kitchen cabinets should be durable, non-porous, stain resistant and easy to clean. Quality kitchen cabinets have interiors such as melamine or tough laminate.

Warranty

Most reputable cabinets offer the warranty with their products. Warranty varies from different manufacturers about duration and products. Read the manufacturer carefully about what is covered and what is not. It is possible there is different warranty duration on different cabinet parts such as drawers, glides or hinges. Also read carefully if the manufacturer will replace or repair the part. And if the part is not manufactured anymore then will they provide reimbursement for the product.

Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association provides certification based on a series of tests. These standards are accordance to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the KCMA. Check out the KCMA website here for more details.