All About Cabinet Construction and How To Identify The Quality

How confident are you in your knowledge of kitchen cabinetry? 

Do you know what makes one cabinet company different from another? Why is one company better quality than another? What do you really get with the investment?

Because I know many designers in my community struggle with understanding cabinetry, I’ve been focusing on this topic lately, posting about it in my Facebook group and conducting webinars over Zoom. Follow along with me because I’ve some exciting things coming up!

Today’s guide will be a deep dive into cabinet construction, understanding the different options and identifying what to look for so you can select the correct grade and understand the durability, appearance, longevity and the pricing.

The Cabinet Box Construction, Drawer Box Construction and Door Style are the three principal factors that are going to affect the pricing of your cabinets. Today I will talk about all of these.

All About Cabinet Construction and How To Identify The Quality ~ Alison Solar K&B Design Coach

Factor 1- Box Construction

Let’s examine what is important to consider when choosing the cabinetryMany cabinet companies offer a variety of options and upgrades when it comes to the cabinet box construction and drawer box construction. They often offer different construction levels at different price points to help the kitchen cabinetry to come in on budget.

What are some of the factors that go into the actual cabinet box construction?

  • The box materials and joinery method
  • The interior material and finish
  • Framed or frameless construction
  • The hanging strips and corner bracing
  • Type of door hinges
  • The type of drawer slides
  • The quality of the drawer box

All About Cabinet Construction and How To Identify The Quality ~ Alison Solar K&B Design Coach

Factor 2- Drawer Box Construction

Some companies offer different levels of drawer box construction, allowing you to upgrade your drawer box material, joinery and finish.

What are some things to consider when considering cabinet companies:

  • Is the wood box finished or unfinished?
  • What type of wood is it solid, plywood or finger joint?
  • What quality construction is the dovetail joint?
  • Are the top edges or the box square or furniture grade?

Whenever I go to a cabinet company, and I want to see what the quality of construction is, the first thing I do is pull out the drawer. I want to examine the drawer box, and understand its construction. What are the drawer slides? And what’s the box like? Is it a beautifully finished dovetail? Or is it a lower, shorter box with unfinished dovetail or with poor dovetail construction?

These are the questions you want to be asking yourself. The drawer box speaks a thousand words! You really must inspect the drawer box to determine the quality of the overall cabinet, it is your first clue!

All About Cabinet Construction and How To Identify The Quality ~ Alison Solar K&B Design Coach

Factor 3 For Cabinet Pricing – The Doors

The third factor that comes into play are the cabinet doors and the different things you can customize if available. Are certain doors only available in certain colors? How many door style options and stain options are available? The lower the cabinet grade the less options.  The higher the grade of cabinetry the more options and customizability.

What to look for in a door

  • What is the construction of the door, slab or 5 piece
  • How are the corners joined and quality of the joints
  • What is the center panel made of
  • What kind of woods and finishes are available
  • Is the center panel a veneer wood or solid wood
  • How are the slab doors and drawer fronts wood grain matched

These new five-piece laminate doors are becoming more popular and look amazing. However, you have to consider all about your crown moldings, light rail moldings,  the cabinet side material and the vinyl taped edges on the cabinet box will all be matching. Those MDF molding trims are hard for the contractors to work with, they don’t take well to the nail gun used by most installers.  There is so much to consider!

Knowing the details and intricacies of kitchen cabinetry are the sort of things that differentiate a knowledgeable kitchen designer and a beginner kitchen designer. It’s my goal to provide my community with the technical know-how so they can level up their skills and show up to their K&B projects with more confidence!

Join my free Facebook Group, Kitchen and Bath Design Tips, to come get all your K&B questions answered, connect with fellow designers and industry professionals, and be the first to know about new live training and webinars.  

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