Nobody likes the sound of banging cabinet doors and drawers. And while you can’t do anything about the nuisance caused by these during the rush hour at lunchtime in your local diner, there is a way you can rule this out at home.
You may have heard the terms “self-closing” and “soft-closing” before, but they are not the same. Self-closing systems operate on a spring-like mechanism that pulls in doors and drawers as soon as they are opened, which isn’t always silent. Soft-closing systems, on the other hand, stop the drawer or door when pushed to a certain point, and then activate hydraulics to pull them in the rest of the way, thus shutting them without sound.
According to Cabinetry Factory, self-close drawers have been in the industry for many years, but soft-close pieces are only just beginning to get popular. It seems Europe is the hotbed for testing out these new technologies before the rest of the world picks them up.
Drawers in the 50’s and 60’s contained noisy metal slides on their sides, known as Grant slides. And then inexpensive epoxy-coated slides with ball bearings were created in the 80’s. These revolutionized the mechanism of drawers and quickly became the mainstay of the furniture industry.
When the drawer is a side-mount type, 1/2 inch clearance is required on either side. This is to accommodate the ball-bearings and stamped-steel of the slide. Nowadays, springs for self-closing and pistons for soft-closing are also being incorporated in the design.
In the olden days, soft-closing pistons contained oil, but those had many disadvantages. Currently, these pistons are air-driven, which has drastically reduced the resistance offered by the drawers when you try to pull them out. But one needs to always keep in mind that drawer slides function in a slightly different manner when the drawers are filled.
In case the cabinet design is of the soft-close under-mount type, then the drawer is constructed slightly wider and with a recess underneath to accommodate the slide and piston mechanism. For this a 1/8 inch clearance is given under the drawer. But if your drawer was originally constructed for side-mount slides, then you shouldn’t attempt to retrofit slides underneath it.
Drawers that are side-mount type have four pieces while the under-mount type has five. This is because the front of the drawer is separately fitted to the box once the slide is in place.
Nowadays, kitchen cabinet manufacturers have started incorporating the soft-close feature with the side-mount slide. But if you are a DIYer, then it is better to go for epoxy-coated slides as they are easier to put together without expertise.
Door and Hinges
Cabinet doors can have many different kinds of hinges – knife, exposed barrel, and European cup.
Knife hinges are called that because a small part of the hinge sticks out like a knife. A spring mechanism can make this a self-closing system. Exposed barrel hinges, on the other hand, have their entire spine visible externally, and need a magnetic catch to allow the door to swing freely. European cup hinges are built inside the door with an internal spring for self-closing.
If the cabinet contains a soft-closing feature, then it also contains an additional piston in the hinge mechanism. A blocking element is then needed to determine the position of the piston and the softening effect on the swing. Since cup hinges are built inside the side of the door, the soft-closing system may either be built-in or snap-on.
Soft-close slides, hinges and doors are perfect for homes that don’t want neighbors to complain of banging door and drawers, and prefer peace and quiet.
Where we live – and the methods and products we use to build our homes – can help or hinder the environment. According to the EPA, more than 500 million tons of construction and demolition debris are sent to landfills every year. Once the products are installed, Americans tend to waste more than 180 gallons of water per week and roughly a third of home energy monthly. Fortunately, kitchen and bath manufacturers are working to make products healthier for the environment and for homeowners.
At Cabinetry Factory, sustainability is not just a buzzword, it is the basis upon which our company was founded and is central to everything we do. First and foremost, Cabinetry Factory is about a worldview that our place on this planet is shared. Through our company and the products we create, we hope to change how people interact with environment in their daily lives and, in doing so, inspire a generation of people to innovate toward a more sustainable future.
All our kitchen cabinets are Carb 2 compliant, meaning they adhere to the lowest and most strict formaldehyde emissions standard of .05 ppm. All wood or wood-based products emit formaldehyde, but the cabinet manufacturing process for some companies can greatly increase these emissions. We are taking steps to ensure the air around is healthy and free of carcinogens in all our cabinetry products.
Cabinetry Factory take responsibility for the environment and the safety of our customers and employees, and takes conscious steps to minimize the overall impact of our operation on environment.
All sawdust generated in our cabinet manufacturing process is collected, removing 98 percent of dust particles. This eliminates virtually any discharge of wood dust into the atmosphere. Our dust collection system not only provides a clean air environment, it also uses a computer controlled, variable frequency drive system that saves a considerable amount of electricity. Sawdust is regenerated to produce heat.
We use eco-friendly paint for kitchen cabinet finish. It has no measurable level of formaldehyde or hazardous air pollutants, and extremely low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The air filtration system in our finishing department removes 97 percent of particulate matter, keeping our air clean inside and out.
A successful finished project first starts with a creative design and then becomes fully functional and inspired during the manufacturing, however, all it takes is a few hiccups during the installation process to turn success into failure and turn a happy customer into a disgruntled one who.
One of the best ways to ensure a successful project is through personnel: You must hire the best people and hiring a great installer is as important as hiring a great designer. An installer should not only be skilled in construction and assembly methods, but they also should be problem solvers, great at time management and skilled at customer service and communication, among other attributes.
Once you’ve hired that person, below are few tips on how to prepare your customer for the install, how to make the jobsite more efficient and how to deal with the common challenge of uneven flooring.
Homeowners have a role to in ensuring a successful closet installation. In fact, how well they do their part is key to the process. Following are seven tips you can share with customers so they can make the proper preparations before installers arrive:
Clean Up: Make sure the room is completely empty and the walls are blank. Not only should all personal items be removed – clothing, shoes, purses, etc. – also remove any moveable item such as shelves, cleats, baseboards and clothing rod.
Paint: Closet walls should be painted at least two days prior to the installation giving the paint time to dry. Painting the walls helps to give the closet a fresh facelift especially if the customer ordered an open back closet system where the wall can be seen. Painting walls to contrast with the color of the closet system can also give the entire closet a
New Floors: All flooring should be cleaned or replaced prior to the installation of the closet system. Once the closet system is installed, it will be a challenge to remove it if the homeowner later decides they want new floors.
Clear the Area: Remind homeowners that closet installation is light construction, so they should remove all pictures, mirrors and knickknacks in the immediate area since the installers need a clear path to the closet and its surrounding area. If the walls that adjoin the closets have artwork or decorative items, those items should be removed as well so that any hammering won’t cause something to shake or fall.
Plan a Playdate: If the homeowner has small kids, suggest that plan a play date at someone else’s home since there will be construction materials lying around. Also, they should plan on where to keep their pets for the day since the workers have to carry materials in and out and you can’t constantly watch the door for a pet that’s not allowed outside.
Decorate: Shop for finishing pieces such as rugs, chairs, footstools and other accents, before the installation begins will allow the homeowner a seamless transition to their new system. This is also the time to replace all old hangers with new ones to give the closet a showroom look.
Make Time: Homeowners should decide on how they want to organize the new closet – whether it’s color coordinating or sorting by seasons. Then schedule enough time to organize clothing and shoes before putting them back in the closet. This is a good time to clean your shoes and purses, get certain items dry cleaned or properly store your occasion clothes.
Make the jobsite efficient
Dan Rush, a professional trim carpenter, specializing in cabinet installs, has the following tips on how to improve efficiency and productivity on the jobsite.
Evaluating Tool Usage: Take time to identify and separate your tools into these three categories:
Daily or weekly use – Keep these in your site kit.
Occasional use – Pack separately but keep in your truck.
Rarely/never used – Put these is your shop’s storage.
This helped reduce his truck cargo by 30 to 40 percent.
Site Tool Kit: Rush uses a Systainer system because it offers a unified approach to tool organization and transportation. Now, along with four Systainer boxes, a worktable, compound miter saw, vacuum and step ladder complete his site kit.
To minimize trips between the truck and jobsite, he decided on a 24 x 48-inch lightweight work cart with 8-inch pneumatic wheels. The large tires help negotiate curbs, gravel drives, cords, etc. on site. Using the Systainers and work cart, saves him 30 to 45 minutes daily.
Site Work Area and Clean Up: An MFT worktable is the center point of his site shop, with the work cart and Systainers set up next to it in the same order each day. A consistent loading plan ensures proper workflow, as well as the ability to immediately notice something out of place on a crowded jobsite.
Another time saver: Rush uses a dust extractor with a number of his tools. On average, it saves 15 to 30 minutes during clean-up time.
Anothy Noel, a cabinetmaker and former contributor to Closets & Organized Storage has a few tips on how to deal with a common problem on jobsite - uneven floors. When the floor is uneven, you can typically get away with shimming a system up to ¼ to ½ inch. But what if the floor slopes up to 2 inches?
Tip 1: Panel Sizing
Cut the panels and scribe the toekick.
A. Start with the panel at the lowest end (do not cut that panel)
B. Place the panel in place
C. Draw a level line from the top of the panel to the end of the system
D. At the location of each panel, measure from the floor to line – that’s the height of your panel. Cut the panel on the bottom and continue to the last panel
E. Scribe toekicks in to fit
Tip 2: Hardware Tricks
Mounting hardware can help correct problems in closet spaces that are out of plumb or out of square. Some closet installers, for wall-mounted systems, use brackets that provide an allowance of 1-1/4 inches of play in several directions.
Tip 3: Filling Gaps
Scribe tape, self-adhesive edgebanding, can be used for small gaps. For gaps larger than 3/8 inch, the entire closet organizing system is shrunk down in the design stage and fillers are included.
Tip 4: Scribe Moulding
Make a scribe moulding with the HPL and scribe it to fit the wall and then laminate it to the edge of the board. Fill in any tiny gaps with caulking.
On wood cabinets the finish is just as important as how well the cabinets are constructed. The finish not only provides aesthetic appeal but is a key component in the protection of the underlying wood surface. It needs that protection from the moisture and chemicals that are typical in a kitchen.
(Keep in mind we're talking about wood cabinets here. Cabinets covered in laminate or melamine aren't coated with these types of finishes and surface treatments.)
The amount of material to explain the science behind the varnishes, lacquers and other cabinet surface treatments could fill a book but it's not necessary for a basic understanding of how a cabinet is put together. What we'll focus on here are some of the common finishes that you're apt to encounter in your cabinet research and their important features.
These are the most common finish treatments that you'll find on kitchen cabinets:
The Finishing Process
The cabinet finishing process is dependent on the type of finishes used and the individual cabinet maker's capabilities and formula. Large cabinet manufacturers may have sophisticated facilities and processes to apply the finish whereas smaller cabinet makers may take a simpler approach or even farm out the finishing process to a local firm that specializes in that type of work.
Wood cabinet finishing involves a number of steps that involve preparing the wood, applying the surface treatments and baking the finish. For an example of one large cabinet manufacturer's method, check out the Cabinetry Factory finishing process of cabinet door. It's an example of the multiple steps that are taken in the cabinet finishing process.
Larger cabinet makers may have the resources and advanced production capabilities to produce consistent quality finishes. Smaller shops may not have the same capabilities. One of the things on your checklist when researching smaller cabinet shops should be their finishing process. Achieving a quality finish requires controlled conditions free from airborne dirt and dust. Some finishes require baking to cure. That's not to say that high-tech production facilities are the only way to achieve a quality finish. Just be sure you understand your cabinet maker's finishing capabilities and whether they'll produce a product that will hold up to the rigors of the kitchen environment.
One final point to remember is that the finish options you choose have a bearing on the final cost of your cabinets. Finishes that include hand-rubbed treatments or multi-step coating applications take time and ultimately raise the cost of the cabinets. Glazing can produce some nice effects but it's an additional step in the process. Ask yourself whether it's absolutely essential in your kitchen style. Otherwise you may be able to save some money on simpler finish treatments.
Cabinetry is reaching a new high in the American home. The industry is booming, and according to research, demand for cabinets in the U.S. is forecast to rise 6.6 percent annually to $16.0 billion in 2018 because of the rise in housing and residential construction spending. Meaning, more houses and buildings are being built!
Eighty-one percent of cabinet demand comes from the kitchen, which is expected to see the fastest growth through 2018, with demand totaling $13.1 billion, according to RnRMarketResearch.com. With this type of growth, it’s important to understand the newest trends, needs and technologies hitting the market in 2015. Here are top six predictions for cabinetry this year.
Color Means More. “Black, white and gray have been dominating for a couple of years now,” said Ted Benz, Bay Cities senior designer. “Soft, muted colors are returning in 2015, and accents of strong, saturated color are revisited this year. High gloss, low sheen and no sheen in neutral triads are blending and continuing to trend.”
Laminate is Chic. According to Benz, textured European laminate mimicking the beauty of wood tones is better than ever before. Engineered surfaces are meeting the challenge of replicating our formerly dominant, natural, high-maintenance products. Retro modernist concepts are morphing into more tasteful and refined offerings. Brands like Bauformat have introduced concrete appearance laminate into the market, which gives a unique, cutting-edge look that vies for attention and demands popularity in chic, hip and modern kitchens.
Technology Meets Cabinetry. In a technology-obsessed society, servo drive uses an electronic amplifier to give cabinetry a touch-and-motion-driven behavior. With a simple wave of the hand or touch of the finger, cabinets will slide, open and close. The clean look and simplistic design of these kitchen cabinets give consumers a modern feel.
Storage and More Storage. Storage options are meeting the needs of a clutter-free kitchen, with kitchen cabinets and drawers that can conceal custom features. Swinging doors now open to surprise with pullout doors attached to shelves for pots and pans, holders for recycling, garbage bins or trash compactors and racks for canned and dry goods. Customizable drawer inserts can be set up to hold dishes, silverware or cutlery.
Light the Way. LED lights can light inside or underneath cabinets to give not only ease for eyesight but also provide a stylish look and are considered energy efficient. LED lights for cabinetry come in warm- and cool-toned colors perfect for trends to be seen in 2015.
Built-In Appliances. You can now build in and integrate appliances with custom cabinet fronts so that they blend in seamlessly with the surrounding cabinets and virtually disappear from sight. This provides a sophisticated and modern look that is a trend that will continue into 2015.
Modern and ultra modern are continuing to be in demand – the urge is for simplicity that modern brings to the eye. Cabinetry is reaching its technical zenith with mechanization, ease of use and care and practical options. This year will be the new leading edge of what has come before.
The kitchen is truly the heart of the home — we know, it’s a cliche, but only because it’s true. Think of the last big party you threw—you had the entire home spotless; you arranged comfy seating in every nook of the living room; you had tables set for buffet and hor ‘d oeuvres — but where did everybody end up gathering? The kitchen, of course! Whether it’s hosting high-class guests or doing homework, it seems the kitchen always ends up acting as the home’s central station. Since we spend so much time in this space, let’s make it as modern, glamorous, and inviting as possible. Here are 10 amazing modern kitchen cabinet ideas that will spark your own kitchen decorating:
1) Veneer Wood Cabinetry Can Be A Warm Kitchen Addition
The use of slab, wood veneer cabinet doors is a trend that adds warmth and depth to a modern kitchen. Slab veneer doors have been popular in Europe for decades and are now finally increasing in popularity in the United States.Certainly there are numerous reasons for this growing popularity. One may suspect this is propelled by the growing trend towards natural products and bringing nature back into the home. Veneer slabs showcase wood grains in a magnificent manner; the grain patterns seem to tell a tale from the tree it originated, so of course nature lovers would enjoy this aesthetic.Buyers must beware of the ranging qualities of slab veneer cabinets. It is best to find a highly-skilled, reputable dealer. Not all veneers are created equal and if done poorly, the edging or banding that holds the veneer in place will peel and/or the laminate can begin to peel or chip. If done properly, you can enjoy decades of warmth from these modern cabinet masterpieces.
2) Add the Sleek Style of Stainless Steel to Your Kitchen
Nothing says sleek and modern more than stainless steel. Most homeowners are opting for stainless steel appliances, even in their country-style kitchens. In order to make this trend completely contemporary, try adding steel kitchen cabinets.Your kitchen will be a stylish modern mecca when outfitted with stainless steel cabinet doors. Aside from the high-end look, stainless steel cabinetry comes with some ups and downs. The down part is obvious, the fingerprints and potential for scratches. However, there are some stainless steel fabrications that claim to be highly resistant to these annoyances.The upside to these steely cabinets is vast. Some of the main perks being: environmental (use of steel over wood), easy to clean, extremely sanitary (which is why they began in commercial grade kitchens), and durable (aside from potential scratches). If solid stainless steel cabinets are out of your price range, then there are options of MDF cabinets that are layered with steel over top. Either way, stainless steel can be an amazing addition to your modern kitchen.
3) Lacquered Kitchen Cabinets Add a Lush Modern Look
Lacquered kitchen cabinets are like a newly painted car parked in your kitchen— bright, shiny and rich in color. Lacquer cabinets are manufactured by a process of applying numerous coats of lacquer, followed by polishing and waxing.If done properly, lacquer finishes can be durable and scratch-resistant. However, most people would say that this type of finish is not the perfect choice for busy families with children because lacquer has been known to chip.If you are willing to risk this, then the high-gloss shine of lacquer cabinets may be the choice for your modern kitchen cabinetry, as its sleek aesthetic is unmatched. You can get lacquer cabinets in virtually any color of your choosing, but be aware that in order to maintain that glossy sheen, you must clean them properly.There are numerous products out there that claim to clean lacquer, but just be sure to use the right thing as some chemicals can actually eat away at the finish.If this is your cabinet choice, it’s probably best to ask the manufacturer for cleaning instructions.
4) Floating Shelves Can Replace Kitchen Cabinetry
The epitome of modern design is clean lines. What better way to achieve a clean, open floor plan than by doing away with kitchen cabinets and installing floating shelves, instead?Floating shelves add straight lines that pair well with any modern or contemporary decor. Most homeowners opt for this style for the upper cabinets and then have closed cabinetry doors for the bottom half of their kitchen. This allows for storage of all those unsightly appliances and utensils.A few wooden floating shelves in combination with a glass backsplash or shiny subway tile backsplash will take your kitchen from blah to breathtaking! The only downside of floating shelves is the lack of hidden storage. It takes a very organized person to keep these open units from becoming cluttered and unsightly.
5) Modern Kitchen Cabinets Can Still Have Color
When most think of a modern kitchen, their minds immediately envision a sleek white or black kitchen void of bright colors, but color can be modern, too.Why not have cherry red lacquer or laminate cabinets? Or bright cobalt blue? Or even try teal on for size? All of these colors can be used in conjunction with contemporary decor. Especially when it comes to mid-century modern decor — well-placed color and pattern is king for this epic era of style.If you want to add a flourish of color to your kitchen, then consider colored cabinets. You may choose to use just a touch of color via one or two upper cabinets, or go for a big bang with an entire fiery red kitchen — either way, it will make a huge style statement.Just be sure to love the color before committing. You will be seeing it everyday (before you have coffee in the morning), so it must be a color you can live with.
6) Modern White Kitchen Cabinets
Maybe the idea of brightly colored cabinets sends frightening chills up your spine, if so, then a simple white kitchen may be the best choice for you.What could be better than glistening white cabinets that reflect the sunshine into your home? White kitchens are popular for a very good reason, no matter the style of the home—they keep the kitchen looking clean (even when the dirty dishes are piled sky-high).This look can be achieved via numerous finishes such as paint, glossy lacquer, melamine, or veneer. No matter what your budget, a clean, modern white kitchen can be yours. White kitchen cabinets also pair very well with numerous styles of drawer pulls.If this clean, easy option sounds appealing, then maybe a white kitchen is in your future. Just keep a cleaning rag on hand to wipe away all those dirty finger prints.
7) Stained Wood Kitchen Cabinet Styles Can be Modern
Pickled white cabinets are not exactly all the rage right now, but you can still stain wooden cabinets with a tint of color to achieve a unique contemporary design.Look at these green tint-stained cabinets in the picture below. They are sleek, clean, and unique. With just a touch of color, the historical grain of the wood seems to be brought to the forefront, allowing the cabinets texture to take center stage.This stained style almost seems to be a mixture of back-to-nature combined with extreme modernism. Solid wood slab doors can be tinted to match any color scheme of your choosing — just be careful to discuss your style with the cabinet maker.Some wood grains can be knotty and if wood knots are unappealing to you, then discuss this beforehand. Stain will only make these knots stand out more.
8) Take Out the Upper Kitchen Cabinets for a Modern Space
Skipping the upper kitchen cabinets entirely may seem a bit risky to some, but by doing so you can really achieve quite the open, modern space.Take a look at the kitchen in the image below — its sleek black and white styling, sans upper cabinets, is very appealing. In place of upper cabinetry, you can add an amazing back splash that travels up to the ceiling, or you have room for an ultra-modern stainless steel hood over the stove. Of course, this style may not be right for those who require a lot of kitchen storage. As you can imagine, without upper cabinets, your storage space is halved.If storage is not an issue for you, then this open, clean aesthetic may be the best choice for your modern kitchen.
9) Distressed Gun Metal Steel Kitchen Cabinets
Here is a look your neighbors will not have (but they will surely envy when they see it).In the image below, the kitchen cabinets are galvanized, hot-rolled steel with a clear coat finish — the steel is layered over an MDF base. The finished look is nothing short of spectacular!This clean, minimalist style gives the illusion that this is not even a kitchen — the cupboards become a piece of stylish furniture or art, instead.If a hidden kitchen appeals to you, then this unique look may be yours. You would have to consult a metal fabricator and cabinet door maker to have these custom cabinets made to your specifications. One thing to remember: hot-rolled galvanized steel will result in a different look each time — no two will ever be the same.
10) Mix up Your Kitchen Cabinet Styles by Combining Wood, Lacquer and Paint
After admiring all of these unique cabinet styles, you are surely having trouble deciding what appeals to you most.Why not try a mixture of all of them? Even in a minimalist interior you can mix up the palette a bit. Why not try lower wood cabinets in combination with upper white lacquered ones? Or veneered walnut cabinet side panels with shiny lacquered faces? Or stainless steel floating upper shelves with painted lower wood cabinets.The combinations are endless and you are certain to achieve a style that is uniquely you. If mixing it up is something you are interested in trying, then it may be best to consult an interior designer and a professional cabinet maker. There are just too many combos to choose from, and you want to make sure you still end up with a minimalist kitchen, not a messy mixture.
There are so many choices and possibilities for your modern kitchen. This article did not even touch upon cabinet pulls (that could be another story unto itself). Choosing cabinetry to style a kitchen space that is uniquely yours can be overwhelming. It is best to take your time and consider all of the choices.
Virtually all cabinet producers offer a warranty with their product. If they don't, that should be a red flag. Cabinets are not a cheap expenditure and they get a lot of use so regardless of where you buy them, make sure you understand the warranty.
Warranties vary with regard to what's covered, the duration and the manufacturer. A good rule of thumb is that manufacturers who build quality products are not afraid to stand behind them with a solid warranty. Here are some key points to consider:
Duration - How long is the product warranted? What you'll find here are different levels or tiers of coverage, depending on the manufacturer. Typical durations are 1 year, 5 years or lifetime coverage.
Be aware of what the manufacturer considers "lifetime"; some warranties state that a kitchen cabinet's lifetime is considered to be 10 years. This may or may not be a long time depending on your perspective and how long you plan on staying in the same house or with the same style of kitchen.
Some manufacturers also vary the warranty coverage within their product lines. Lower-end product lines have the shortest or most limited warranty whereas the high-end line enjoys the longest warranty period.
Personally, I think 10 years is on the low side of any range of cabinet life. I say this because I had cabinets in my home that (before we remodeled) were original to when the house was built in 1965. They were over 40 years old. The drawer slides and fronts wore out but the boxes, frames, shelves, doors and hinges were still solid. If a manufacturer believes their product's working life is only 10 years, I am inclined to doubt the quality of that product. Call me old-fashioned but I think cabinets that are well made should last longer than 10 years under normal use.
Coverage - Find out specifically what's covered and what's not. Most if not all warranties will cover defects in workmanship and materials. They usually won't cover any damage that's inflicted once the cabinets are in place or the result of improper use or care. Some manufacturers also won't cover parts that do not have a finish (like bare wood parts).
Some manufacturers provide warranty on separate parts like drawers, drawer slides, hinges and similar hardware. These items are covered separately from the more generic coverage on the cabinet boxes and may also have different levels of coverage. For example one manufacturer offers a 5 year warranty on workmanship and materials and a limited lifetime warranty on the drawers and drawer guides.
Compensation - What's actually provided to you should you have a legitimate warranty claim? In most if not all cases cabinet warranties provide either repair or replacement of the defective component, at the discretion of the manufacturer. Some may offer reimbursement of the cost of the parts if they are no longer available.
One thing to keep in mind is that usually only the defective part or parts are covered by the warranty. There is typically no compensation for any labor or parts required to gain access to repair or replace the defective cabinet parts. Examples would be the requirement to remove countertops or appliances.
The point here is to highlight that while these warranties are not complex, there are enough differences and nuances among manufacturers and product lines that understanding them before you buy is a worthwhile exercise.
Kitchen cabinets are the centerpiece of every kitchen design. They dominate the space and define your kitchen style with a combination of material, shape, color, and finish. Cabinetry is a practical component of the kitchen, containing essential storage space for all your kitchen tools, food, and more. The exterior of your cabinets is where your style is defined, based on your chosen door style as well as the finish. In this blog we will explore the array of cabinet doors available to help define your kitchen design style.
In the simplest terms, a recessed panel cabinet is any door with a frame surrounding a central panel set back from the frame. You will sometimes see these cabinet doors referred to as “flat panel” (though just to make things confusing, flat panel and slab are sometimes used interchangeably). This cabinet style is generally simple, though you can find recessed panels with more intricate details like a beaded frame. Or make your recessed panel beadboard to achieve a more rustic, country style kitchen design. Recessed panel cabinetry works very well with both natural wood and painted wood finishes.
Shaker cabinetry is very popular, particularly with the growing trend toward transitional style kitchen design. The understated elegance of this cabinet style is ideal for transitional kitchens, but can also fit in a more contemporary, modern, or Scandinavian style design. Shaker cabinetry originates from the 1800s when the Shaker community produced simple, but high-quality furniture. Shaker is essentially a variant of recessed or flat panel cabinetry, with a minimalist style, meaning it has a basic frame with no extra decorative features.
Slab cabinetry is the most modern, sleek design available, with a completely flat door. It is sometimes referred to as “flat” or even “flat panel” cabinetry. Slab cabinetry is low maintenance as there are no edges or crevices to keep clean. For the most minimal, modern look this type of kitchen cabinet door can be installed with no handle. It can be found in everything from natural wood to glossy, quirky colors.
Like recessed panel cabinets, raised panel has a frame consisting of four pieces of wood that surround a central panel. In this case, though, the central panel is raised with a profile or contour. This kitchen cabinet style is more typical in traditional kitchen designs, but you could find it suits a transitional style kitchen remodel as well depending on how ornate a central raised panel you choose. There is more customization of the design when it comes to raised panel as you can select different shapes for the panel.
Glass front cabinets effectively replace the flat panel inside the frame of your cabinet door with a glass central panel. They suit almost any style kitchen design and serve to break up wooden cabinetry and enhance the brightness of your kitchen. Be aware that while they contribute to an open, airy feel in your kitchen they also expose the contents of your kitchen cabinets. Many people limit glass front cabinetry to only some areas (like upper cabinets), where they can carefully arrange glassware or more decorative items. Or choose frosted glass that gives a similar effect but helps to hide items inside the cabinet. If you want to go for a more decorative look, choose a mullion style door where the glass panels are broken up by strips of wood.
Cabinet Boxes & Face Frames
Cabinet boxes are made from particle board, MDF or plywood. Solid wood panels normally aren't used to construct the cabinet box except for the face-frame on framed cabinets. Panels made from these wood products are usually covered in either a wood veneer, plastic laminate/melamine or thermofoil.
Stainless steel is another material used to make cabinets though it's much less prevalent than wood. Stainless steel cabinetry provides a novel look and depending on the setting, resembles professional kitchens. On the plus side steel won't expand and contract like wood will in a kitchen environment. One of the down sides is the challenge in keeping the cabinets free from fingerprints which can be tough to clean.
The cabinet box is essentially just that - a box. The key point to understand here is that there are several methods used to reinforce the box and make sure it remains rigid. One means of reinforcing the cabinet box involves the use of triangular braces in the corners of the box. They're made from either particle board, MDF, plywood, solid wood or plastic. Another reinforcing feature uses an "beam" brace that runs from the front of the box to the rear on the inside of the side panels or along the back from side to side. The beam brace usually fits in a dado slot in the side panel.
Cabinet drawers are predominantly made from the same materials that are used to construct the cabinet cases such as particle board, MDF, plywood and solid wood. On higher quality drawers more of the drawer parts tend to be made of solid wood to stand up the abuse from more frequent opening and closing. On stainless steel cabinets the drawers are made from stainless steel. Some cabinet manufacturers offer options for metal drawers on their wood cabinet lines. These drawers are coated with an epoxy coating.
Drawer fronts, the part of the drawer that you see, tend to be made from solid wood or MDF that's either painted or covered with thermofoil.
The way a drawer is built plays a large role in its durability and longevity. The drawer box is made up of two side panels, front and back panels and the bottom. Most cabinet drawers have a separate front piece that's attached to the front drawer-box panel although on some drawers the drawer front and front panel are the same piece.
The parts that make up the drawer box can be assembled in several ways. Dovetail joints that are tight form the strongest connection at the corners of the drawer. Doweled joints where one side of the drawer box has dowels installed on one end that fit in holes in the mating panel end is another form of joinery. Drawer bottoms that fit into dado slots in the drawer slides are stronger than bottoms that are just nailed and/or glued to the bottom of the drawer box. Glue, small nails and staples are also used to fasten drawer parts together.
Cabinet doors, except for stainless steel cabinets, are made from solid wood or one of the engineered wood products (particle board, MDF, plywood). Engineered wood doors are covered with a wood veneer, laminate or thermofoil.
One of the benefits of MDF is that it can be routed and cut, similar to solid wood, with better results than particle board which is less dense and tends to chip. This feature allows MDF to be formed with a smooth finish to resemble raised-panel doors. The only drawback however is that unlike solid wood, MDF can't be stained (it has no grain) so it has to be painted or covered in thermofoil.
There are two basic types of cabinet door construction - framed and slab. Framed doors are made up of an outer frame that is built around a panel in the center of the door. The edges of the panel fit into slots milled into the inside edges of the frame and are allowed to "float" within the frame to allow for normal expansion and contraction of the wood. Raised panel doors are a common variety of the frame door style.
Slab doors don't have the separate parts like a framed door and are usually one-piece construction or the combination of several solid pieces of wood glued and joined together to form a solid slab. Slab doors made from plywood or MDF are covered in a veneer, laminate or thermofoil covering.
Cabinet shelves are made from one of the engineered wood products - either plywood, MDF or particle board. Regardless of which material is used they're normally covered with another material such as a wood veneer or laminate ply.
There really isn't much to a cabinet shelf's construction except for the mention of thickness and whether it's built with a reinforcing rail. Beyond that we're just talking about straight boards made out of one of the materials mentioned above.
Shelf thickness varies based on cabinet manufacturer and the particular product line (often equating to the level of quality) within a certain brand. Shelf thickness ranges from 1/2" to 5/8" to 3/4" thick. Obviously thicker is better when it comes to longer shelves on wide cabinets in order to avoid sag.
The reinforcing rail is an additional strip of wood that's attached to the front edge of a shelf. It provides added rigidity which is especially helpful in avoiding sag, particularly on long shelves. It's a worthwhile feature if you can find it but it's not a prevalent feature on many manufactured cabinets.
One additional aspect about cabinet shelf construction lies not so much with the shelf itself but how it's held in the cabinet box and whether or not it's adjustable. Shelves are held in place with a variety of hardware that come in different sizes and materials (metal or plastic).
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