All about Kitchen Cabinets – Different Boxes, Construction, Door Styles & Price Points
Quality Types of Kitchen Cabinets
All Kitchen Cabinets fit into one of the these categories. What you need to know first is why they are in their particular section and is there a reason you should or could switch.
Custom Kitchen Cabinets
Custom Kitchen Cabinets
Fantastico! A dream come true. Most custom cabinets companies will do anything you can imagine. We had a client that wanted 24-karat gold pinstripes on her kitchen cabinets, and she got them!
We also use custom cabinets because some manufacturers can be competitive in their prices against some semi-custom cabinets depending on what their standard no charge upgrades are vs semi-customs charging for certain upgrades you may want. Custom cabinets work well with room additions for library and bookshelf cabinets as well as built in home offices. Many custom companies have also developed semi-custom lines but still keep their finishing processes, (typically hand finished), the same on both lines which gives you the benefit of a superior finish rather than a production finish. Definitely consider the quality of cabinetry since the life span of new cabinets for anywhere in your house is usually twenty years. Consider these cabinets an investment, just as you would furniture. Look to your Designer for guidance on Custom Cabinets that have a good reputation in your area. Adelphi Kitchens and Cabinetry has been a favorite for many years for custom cabinets as well as their semi-custom line. They are a privately owned company and very proud of their reputation and customer service. No matter what the issue, they have always satisfied us and our customers, not to mention making a beautiful product.
Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets
A wonderful alternative to going full custom. They typically have all the bells and whistles for the interiors that custom has, and you can usually pick and choose your upgrades according to how you live with your cabinets. When remodeling kitchens, this is the number one choice. This field has many different price points, since many Stock cabinet companies have developed Semi-custom lines and Custom cabinet companies have their own Semi-Custom lines. Find out the origins of your Semi-custom line, and if it has developed from another line, find out what processes came along with it, (ie, finishes, clips, etc.). Nice Semi-Custom lines can be a good money saver, and best of all it can look very custom if you have the right Designer. Bridgewood has one of the best lines we have seen. Their semi-custom line is so versatile and complete that you can pretty much do any style possible. They also have one of the biggest selections of stains and paints and glazes that we have seen, especially on their semi-custom line. Also a great price-point, and with this cabinet line, you can go up or down in the line depending on what you need or the budget you need to be in.
Stock Kitchen Cabinets
A great solution for the budget conscious, and especially for those with a need for speed. Stock cabinets pretty much mean what they say, they are usually in stock at your local Big Box store. ( There is another even less expensive version – the kind you assemble yourself…you’re on your own for both advice and allen wrenches.) Stock cabinets can be great, nothing too fancy, limited sizes, but with the right design and a few Designer touches, nobody but the pros would ever know. Make sure you know what quality you are getting and if that will satisfy your project. Even if some of the bells and whistles are not available from the manufacturer, you can buy them aftermarket at the Big Box stores.
We think Diamond Cabinets is one of the better stock cabinets sold by the Big Box stores. We dealt with them long before they made the decision to leave independent dealers and go to the Box stores, and they were a good product with a solid reputation. So now they have a special stock line for the Box stores, and for “off the shelf” it’s a nice product for the price.
Types of Box Construction of Cabinets
Framed or Frameless Kitchen Cabinets
- Framed Box is generally the typical American cabinet that is a box with a face frame opening where the hinges are set for the door to attach. This allows for any overlay door.
- Frameless Box is a box with no frame (frameless) and the hinges are set on the inside of the box for the door to attach.
All Wood Cabinets – No such animal, that I know of anyway, in the manufacturing world. Maybe if you have your own woodworker you might have a chance, but the term “all wood” is loosely used. It is typically accepted to mean hardwood doors and frames while the box of the cabinet is plywood. Most of the time even the shelves may be a particle board with an upgrade to plywood. The exposed sides are usually veneered in your chosen wood. The drawer boxes are typically maple. Wood species is a wide variety, but most common is Cherry, Maple, Birch. Stains are endless, especially in the Custom world. Glazes on top of stains is still very popular giving the color a deeper look. Paints, and glazes on paints are also still prominent for European and Country styling. Of course, combinations of paints and stains ultimately gives the most unfitted look, something William and Kate would be proud to have.
Particle Board Cabinets – it’s not your mother’s particle board anymore. Today’s particle board is much denser than years ago. Most people’s concerns are – “will it warp under the sink if it get wet” – well…yes, but so will wood or plywood. The other issue years ago was the screws stripping out of the frames of the doors. Since most manufacturers make the door frames out of hardwoods, this is no longer a problem. When you are in a semi-custom cabinet line, the drawer boxes usually are maple. We typically don’t recommend a particle drawer box unless it is going to get light usage. Wood species and finish treatments are the same as “All Wood” with one big exception. If you are having any special treatment like glazes or paints, make sure any exposed ends can be wood veneered rather than what may be a typical vinyl decal.
MDF, Medium Density Fiberboard, Cabinets – usually reserved for laminating or thermofoils, and sometimes painting. Laminate cabinet are making a resurgence. We have seen a comeback of the very High Gloss Laminate cabinets in some great colors.
Thermofoils– are still popular, mostly in baths – they do really well with moisture since they are basically a plastic wrap over the MDF. Painting works out well on MDF since there are no seams to split with expansion and contraction.
(1) Inset Doors – when the door fits inside the frame of the box, considered a higher end look. Watch that the reveals, (open space), are equal around the door.