New kitchens are one of the most popular remodeling projects people do to their homes. Of course, the focus of a new kitchen usually gets around to cabinets sooner or later. Cabinets are the biggest part of a kitchen remodel, followed by appliances.
Here are three facts that most people find surprising when talking about cabinets:
1. Solid wood construction may not be what you think it is.
Many cabinet manufacturers and cabinet makers like to use the phrase “solid wood construction.” This is an overused cliché in the cabinet world. When the average homeowner hears “solid wood construction”, often they get in their minds that the cabinets are made from single pieces of wood cut directly from trees. When these homeowners get the cabinets to their homes and see that most of their cabinets are made from wood that has a veneer over it, they start to think that they are getting an inferior product. What cabinet companies are not so good at explaining is that solid wood includes plywood or other wood fiber core products that go into the construction of cabinets.
They don’t explain that using truly solid pieces of wood cut directly from a tree is not always a desirable way to build cabinets. Wood expands and contracts as it interacts with the moisture in the air of your home. Plywood and wood fiber core materials tend to be a much more stable product that won’t warp or curl as much as a solid piece of wood cut from a tree might.
Oh, and for those of you who think that putting a veneer over plywood or fiber core materials is somehow a cheaper and inferior way of doing things. Consider this; the history of veneers goes back 4,000 years to ancient Egypt. Since the 1800s, fine furniture makers have used veneer to produce stunning furniture that could be sanded and touched up over and over again. Veneers did not really develop a bad reputation until the 1970s when manufacturers started making the veneers very thin – almost as thin as paper.
When cabinet shopping, ask what parts if the cabinets are made with veneers and what parts are solid wood such as you might find in a tree in your yard. That way, you won’t be surprised by what shows up in your kitchen when the cabinets are delivered.
2. Most cabinets are made by the same manufacturer.
Many people shop at some of the big box stores for cabinets. Each of these big box stores carry different brands, but did you know that many times these cabinets are all made by the same manufacturer. That is right; one big plant can often be making the same cabinets for the big box stores. This means that the quality of similarly priced cabinet lines is pretty much the same across the big box stores. If you are shopping at these stores, find the cabinet lines that have the features and finishes you like.
3. Completely changing your cabinets may be more cost effective than having them refaced.
Cabinet re-facing companies promote re-facing your cabinets and installing new doors and drawer fronts as a less expensive alternative to new kitchen cabinets. Sometimes this is the case; but often times the costs are similar or even more.
If you are considering cabinet re-facing and you are also looking at new countertops, a new sink, and repainting your kitchen, you owe it to yourself to talk with a cabinet maker or manufacturer to see what the costs would be to completely re-do the cabinets.
If you even slightly wish that the existing insides of your cabinets looked better or if you have any secret thoughts of a slightly different layout, I would definitely encourage looking at both options to see which one best fits your needs.
If you would like to see some examples of kitchens for ideas, visit our blog.
If you have more questions about cabinets, contact us.
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