Cabinets are the most significant element in your kitchen, it will dictate the style of the kitchen, and will take the biggest bite off the budget. There are many options and styles for kitchen cabinets, wood, laminate, polyester and each have endless finish options.
You start off by picking the material style and finish you like. Kitchen renovation is not something you do every other week, fashion changes quickly, and you need to make sure you can live with choices you make.
Frame or frameless
Two types of cabinets are commonly available:
Framed cabinets(“American” style) – the actual box parts of the cabinet are joined and held together by a wooden frame, which gives it more stability and strength, and allows the frame to be seen when doors are closed. The disadvantage of that is that the door’s openings will be smaller, and access may be more limited due to the middle vertical frame.
Frameless cabinets (“European” style) – the box is frameless giving a clean, doors only look, and allowing the doors and drawers to be opened to their full potential, high accuracy is required when assembling.
There are three basic types of cabinetry construction:
Stock: created by manufacturers in standard dimensions, finishes, and mass quantities. Will be the most economical option, but probably not fit to the exact size of your kitchen – which will make space be wasted due to fillers. Will usually be available within a week.
Semi-custom: allows a bit more flexibility then stock cabinets, more choices in cabinet’s dimensions, depth, colors, and finishes. Will usually be available within a month and will cost more than stock cabinets.
Custom: allow almost unlimited flexibility regarding, size, depth, color, style, finishes, anything can be done to suit your specific needs. This will usually be the most expensive option of all, and will take longest to be available – 6-10 weeks.
Cabinets boxes themselves are almost never made of solid wood, which tends to warp and curl in extreme changing moisture and temperature changes. The boxes will be usually made of wood products as:
Plywood – one of the best materials to be used in cabinet boxes, made of laminated layers of wood plies.
Particleboard – made of resin and wood particles bonded together under pressure. Poor quality may warp and will not be able to hold a screw.
Medium-density fiberboard – made of higher quality fibers than particleboard, has a smooth surface, but does not give as strong support as plywood.
The doors will be the most significant visible area in the kitchen, and will give the tone of the kitchen’s style. There are several material options to choose from:
Wood – gives a warm cozy touch to the kitchen, there are many wood species to give a brighter or darker look to your doors, plus, solid wood doors can be stained to a darker color, if say, you like the maple look but want it a bit darker than it naturally is. Wood doors are humidity and temperature sensitive and should be sealed properly prior to installation.
Wood veneer – thin slices of peeled wood, attached to plywood or particleboard to give it strength. Will cost less than solid wood doors, and patterns of wood may be more consistent. It is less sensitive to humidity and temperature than solid wood.
Plastic laminate – smooth synthetic surface made of several layers of kraft paper, and a layer of decorative paper coated with clear plastic, available in every color, texture, and pattern. Easy to clean, and durable.
Stainless steel – gives a very sleek modern look, yet shows scratches and finger prints. Does not require special chemicals for cleaning, and considered a “green” product, as it is recyclable and non-toxic. It also stands very well in humidity and temperature changes.
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