Purchasing kitchen cabinets from one of those Big Box or Home
Improvement stores can turn out to be huge mistake. You have no idea if
the person assisting you in designing and ordering one of the largest
purchases of your life has been working in the cabinet business for 20
years or 2 weeks. If you would like to take a chance with your money and
your project timeline, then don’t bother reading on and just go for it.
Lots of people do, and many of them are really sorry they jumped so
quickly. Please read on.
FIGURING OUT WHAT STYLE CABINETS TO BUY ONLINE
are two basic styles of cabinets available now, the traditional cabinet
and the frameless European style cabinet. For people that would like a
nice clean modern look, the European style is probably right for you.
With no face frames on the cabinet boxes all you see are the doors and
drawer fronts with no trim in between. Kitchencraft or Arch Bay by
Kitchencraft is the most well known manufacturer of the more modern
European style cabinets. Made in Canada.
For an older or historical style home, the traditional style
cabinets are probably what you’re looking for. A face frame is attached
around the entire front of the cabinet box, leaving a visible trim
between the doors and drawer fronts. Kraftmaid cabinetry is the most
well known company for producing the traditional style cabinets. Made in
the USA. Norcraft, Mid Continent, Ultracraft and Somersby kitchen
cabinets also have traditional styles and are manufactured in the USA.
accessories and trim items are available for both types of cabinets
including, but not limited to crown molding, light rail molding,
fillers, corbels, glass door inserts, glass shelves, and the list goes
on and on. It can be quite the challenge to decide on everything you
would like in your new kitchen.
Kitchen cabinets are basically all
constructed the same way. They all start with a box, with or without a
face frame, fixed shelving or adjustable, a door and possibly some
drawer fronts. Ordering cool options for your kitchen is always an
option, like pot and pan storage, rolling trays, full extension drawer
runners, etc. Now you have a box with a shelf or two, possibly a roll
out tray, doors and a couple drawers. So what’s the deal with the huge
difference in price you ask? That is a good question.
and type of material used in the cabinet sides is one of the differences
between cabinet manufacturers and options. Door profiles, wood species
and color of the finish vary a little between companies. Not enough to
create such a big difference in prices between certain kitchen cabinet
companies. The finishing processes are all excellent, but the Canadian
manufacturer Kitchencraft claims to use one finishing process that the
USA’s EPA won’t allow here. Whether it make that much difference in the
quality of the finish, I don’t know. Please don’t spend huge amounts of
time researching all the finish specs from the big cabinet companies.
Get some samples and choose what you like. Move on because there are
plenty of other decisions you are going to have to make before you
kitchen project is complete.
Plywood ends and all plywood
construction are a couple construction options to consider. Some
companies offer plywood ends as a standard construction method.
Furniture board or high grade particle board is what most of us know the
other construction material as. Furniture board is fine for cabinet
ends as they are all going to be screwed together and to the walls. Some
contractors prefer plywood ends in a very humid climate. That’s a
personal choice that I’m not sure I agree with. Now when it comes to a
sink base cabinet or vanity, I would probably order those cabinets with
plywood ends just in case of a water leak under the sink. I think that
plywood would dry out more consistently than furniture board. But again,
the choice is up to you. Do a littler research on that and decide for
yourself if it’s worth the extra cost.
A couple great things to
look for as standard equipment or an option is full extension drawer
runners, and easy closing drawer guides like the Blum Blumotion types.
The full extension runners allow the drawers to be opened all the way so
you can use the space in the back of the drawer normally not accessible
with a standard drawer guides. The Blumotion drawer guides slow the
drawer down as it is closing so they don’t slam shut damaging the drawer
fronts over time. Nice and quiet too.
Specification books and color brochures are a must to
have after you’ve decided on a kitchen cabinet manufacturer. This will
help you decide on the gigantic amount of add on goodies that are
available to you. If you already have an idea of what you need in your
kitchen like storage for baking pans, spice racks, roll out pantries,
you are ahead of the game. Take a walk around your current kitchen and
think of all the things you don’t like about it and with it had, and
make a list to help you design the layout of your new space.
major wood species for kitchen cabinet are maple, cherry, oak, alder,
hickory and pine. Probably the most popular being the maple and cherry
as they have a nice tight consistent grain and take finish very well.
Don’t forget that cherry cabinets will darken with age, so you might
want to select a color that is a shade lighter than what you want to end
up with years down the road. Ask your cabinet specialist more about the
amount or darkening to expect over what period of time.
foil is another finishing process that most all of the major cabinet
companies use. They place a thin sheet of material over usually a
furniture board door or drawer front, heat it and vacuum it down to the
surface. This method creates a very clean, smooth and durable finish on
your cabinets. It is also less expensive than solid wood doors and
drawer fronts. The only major drawback with thermo foil is colors.
Usually the people that order this type of cabinet want a very
consistent white or beige color throughout the kitchen. I’m sure in
comes in more colors than that, but would you really want any of them?
Take a look and see if this is something you would like.
of the cabinet companies running on 8 and 9 week lead times for
delivery, you do not want any mistakes made by the person sending your
order to the factory for production. If they make a mistake on your
order, even the smallest thing like one letter or number on only one
important cabinet and you’ll be waiting weeks and even months to install
your new kitchen. Use a cabinet specialist from a reputable online
cabinet distributor. They do this day in and day out. They have years
and years of training in the cabinet industry. Don’t chance this huge
project on a pimple faced kid and the DIY store that went to 2 week
training course on how to design and sell cabinets. This is a huge
investment for you so don’t make this mistake with your kitchen cabinet
project. You will be so upset if this happens.
Stock up on
brochures from your local cabinet stores. Figure out if you like
traditional or European style cabinets. Pick a couple wood species that
your really love. Look for your favorite colors, finishes and glazes.
Check out the full extension runners and Blumotion drawer guides. Look
at all the accessories in the brochures that you’re thinking about
purchasing. Get really accurate measurements of your space and start
making a list of the cabinets that you’ll need for your project. You may
be able to get a list of the common cabinet heights and widths from
them too. You may want to have them give you a quote on the project and
create a list of cabinets for you as well. If you don’t buy from them,
make sure the company you do buy from triple checks all the cabinet
nomenclature before they order them for you. You may want to get another
quote or two from a few smaller cabinet companies as well. This will
give you some good comparables to work with.
Choosing a good
reputable cabinet distributor online is important. Do your research on
them and read the testimonials. Make sure they have excellent and
knowledgeable cabinet specialists on the sales team, great customer
service and prompt warranty follow up. Ask lots of questions and make
sure they know what they’re talking about when it comes to your new
kitchen cabinets. Fax them the list and go over every detail and every
cabinet with them to make sure you didn’t forget and fillers, end
panels, toe kick, etc. These things are very easy to forget if you don’t
do this day in and day out like the other guys. But you’re going to be
crazy mad if you don’t have everything you need when it comes time to
install your kitchen.