Well constructed kitchen cabinets share many of the same qualities as well made furniture, but the surfaces you see are only a small part of what indicates that quality. With kitchen cabinets, it's much like your mother told you about people, “It’s what on the inside that counts.”
The materials used in the construction of the Kitchen Cabinets you buy are the indicators of the overall quality. These details make the difference.
1. Box Construction:
When discussing the materials that make up a kitchen cabinet’s box, consider the options: solid wood, plywood (preferable), medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particle board (the lowest quality material for cabinet construction). The material and thickness that the walls of the kitchen cabinet are made of greatly affects the stability and durability and speaks to the quality of the cabinets. Generally, more durable cabinet boxes possess thicker side, end, floor, and back panels, as well as a form of box reinforcement such as corner or I-beam braces. This is because thicker, reinforced panels with a solid front frame create a more rigid and sturdy box with less chance of the box going out of square during installation.
Adjustable shelves are preferable so you can configure them to suit the way you want to use your cabinets, but shelves that are permanently attached to the sides of the cabinet act as reinforcement for the cabinet box. Keep an eye on how the shelves are mounted and what material is used for the mounting hardware. To keep the shelf from wandering, a locking device such as self-locking adjustment mounts.
3. Drawer Box Construction:
Dovetailed joints are the most durable and a sign of quality in the manufacture of a drawer box. Doweled and rabbet joints are next down the line with the glued/stapled joints at the lowest end of the quality spectrum.
4. Drawer Slides:
When a drawer is supported by two side-mounted slides they are much stronger than those supported by an underneath centered single slide. Nylon bearings are the quietest slides for drawers. Every drawer has a load rating that defines the amount of weight the drawer slides can support, which includes the weight of the drawer itself. Average cabinet drawer slides are rated at 75 to 100 lbs. capacity. Metal slides are the most durable ones you can get. Many of the kitchen cabinets lines have a “soft close” slide available as an option, as well as “soft close” hinges for doors.
5. Cabinet Finish:
The best cabinet finish option is a solid wood door that has a protective finish applied to it. Next is a cabinet with a wood veneer. The last option is an appliqué over the cabinet walls. Several of our cabinet lines have a hand-rubbed glaze finish. This is a multi-step process that insures a consistent covering of the finish.
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