What’s new in kitchen cabinets?
Everything about cabinets as well as the kitchen industry has changed in a good way. Cabinetry history is quite fascinating. As the cabinet industry is changing and evolving the standards are getting higher. For instance, these days the soft close on hinges has become a standard. But six or eight years ago, it was hit or miss as to whether they had soft close hinges.
This feature is one of the signs of a better cabinet. Now every manufacturer is doing them, plus the majority are using hardware that has a lifetime warranty. Also, there is a way to install adjustable hinges in and out and up and down and left and right. That becomes important because it gets you comfortable so you can move quickly in the kitchen.
If you have an adjustable hinge, there are three little screws on the hinge that allow you to move that door left, right, up, down, and out. This is fantastic for an installer, as when you install all the cabinets, you can then go around and tweak everything so it’s perfect. Then over time, eventually the doors are going to sag a little. Things are going to change because houses move and shift a little. You can always go in and start tweaking those, but it will still be useful.
One other point to touch upon is with these modern hinges that hold the door you can remove it with a push of a little button, and these hinges snap off and you can pull the whole door off. As a homeowner, you might not think you need to do that a lot. But if you need to clean that cabinet, or touch up that door, or any other reason, the door comes off super easy, which is nice. Same with drawers, it’s very easy, just a couple of little buttons and pops, they come right off.
How to remodel kitchen cabinets?
While the cabinetry industry is changing there are always new styles appearing. Such as; frameless, framed, etc. Let’s dive in and mention them more deeply.
- Full overlay is a popular cabinet style to mention. It is a style that has doors and drawers with extra-large fronts. It’s a different, cleaner kind of look. There’s nothing wrong with these cabinets, and they work just as well.
- Then we’ve got inset. A lot of designers like inset and inset it makes a beautiful cabinet. It is very practical and provides you with a lot of space. This style is best for big kitchens. But they are also an expensive way to build that cabinet because tolerances are very tight. One thing about hinges with this style is a lot of times you won’t get soft closes with inset because they use barrel hinges. But still, it is an aesthetic choice. If you’re doing historic renovations or trying to restore or trying to remodel to a certain period, inset cabinets would be the correct choice.
How are kitchen cabinets installed?
Let’s talk about cabinet construction, the different options, pros and cons. There’s material as well, plus craftsmanship and how it’s all put together. The two main lines are particleboard versus plywood. Most people right off the bat would say that plywood is better, but not always.
Just like in cabinets, there are ratings of good and better best within particleboard. With plywood, the particleboard has to do with the weight of it and how smooth it is, so how that’s put together should be considered as an important point. Plywood is all about the number of layers in it. There are different options such as; softwood or hardwood.
There are a few ways of putting plywood together where you don’t have any voids. If there, for instance, was a knothole in it they make sure it gets filled in. If you don’t do that, sometimes you can get away with it but it’s certainly a weak point in it. Sometimes it shows through the finishing year, but maybe not right away. But after a couple of years, you can start to see that shape showing through the finish.
Everybody knows some trees are considered softwood, while others are hardwood. You can find density charts by doing a Google search that tells which woods are what kind. The end finishes take better or worse depending on the substrate that is put on as well.
Plywood is typically less weight than particleboard and more than MDF, which is Medium Density Fiberboard. In layman’s terms, both of those are sawdust and glue that you put together but MDF is smaller sawdust than what particleboard is. You definitely know it when you pick it up as there are no pores left in it and pores in it would equate to air.
Air doesn’t weigh anything when you don’t have the fastening capabilities. That is greatly improved and some of that is due to the manufacturing of the particleboard. But it’s also the screw manufacturers and realizing you need a deeper thread so that it’s going to hold it better.
Inexpensive particle board is not very strong. You can break it easily and a piece can chip off. Then most of the time you’re going to have a moisture issue maybe in your sink base cabinet, but you shouldn’t really have it there either unless there are problems with the plumbing so you keep having moisture issues there.
Also in the bathroom, if you get water that’s running out of the shower or the tub that’s getting all the way over to the vanity, you’re going to have other sheets there too. The plywood is the laminate, it comes down to the hardness of the wood, as well as the quality of the glue that’s put into it.
Everything matters when it comes to construction, it’s just not all black and white. You have both options, you can do a particleboard construction or a plywood construction with various construction costs.
Cabinet construction is tough because you need a lot of experience to really see these differences. It comes down to trust and working with a professional who can give you the real scoop on how these things work. If any of the reputable manufacturers are going to have details about this on their website it might not be right out there in plain pictures initially.
But if you dig a little bit or if you ask what it’s going to be there, it’s going to tell you how many plies are in the plywood panel. It’s going to tell you the density of the particleboard. But when you work with a professional team you can ask everything and they will be able to provide that information to you.
Different Kitchen Cabinet Door Types
We talked about the cabinet door’s parts. The part that we all care about the most because it’s what we get to see and use every day. And let’s mention about door styles that you want to reflect your own taste while designing your kitchen. Basically, there are three types of doors, and then there are some subtle differences in other types.
- The raised panel door has a raised panel in the middle. It has subtypes such as; a recessed panel has a recessed panel in the middle and a classic recessed panel door.
- The shaker style is another style that is crazy popular right now. It is a type of recessed panel door. You can see this style in older homes as well. It’s a really great way to build a strong door that doesn’t twist or warp, but more popular today is this recessed panel.
- A slab door and it is a smooth type of door.
The whole panel thing started a little bit ago. A wide board is going to work and it’s going to cover and twist in so these panels have a frame around the outside. Then that panel is actually floating in there as wood expands and contracts, it has space to move. Some years ago, they did the raised panel because they didn’t have the technology to figure out how to do it real thin and still keep the board from falling apart.
Sometimes we get clients asking for a solid wood cabinet and there is something that they should know. If we make a cabinet box out of solid wood, in six months, especially it’s going to split and crack because it’s dimensionally unstable, the same as with doors. Generally, you don’t see one piece 12 inches wide, solid wood doors, because they’ll twist and warp and spread.
When we talk about door construction, this smooth drawer front that is actually three pieces of wood laid up together glued together, which gives it more dimensional stability. All these things are the focal points when you are choosing your cabinetry. But we can guide you through that and educate you to know what is best for you and your preferred style.
Finishes is are also an important part of a door. It is hard to see or understand the quality of the finish just by looking at it. You need to ask about those specs and talk to a professional. There are different types that we will talk about, but paint, or what we might call solid color finishes are very popular today.
There are a few things you can do with a painted finish to make it look different. You can do a solid color like white, you can do a glaze or you can distress them. If you’re doing distressing, here’s how you can do different levels of distressing. You can do very light destressing up top, a little bit more in the middle, and then some down here at the bottom.
Paints are really popular today, but are not as popular but are still around and certainly some people are choosing them. An important thing about stains is the wood species that you’re staining can make a really big difference. In this particular case, we’ve got alder, maple, walnut, and oak, all stained with the exact same stain.
All dramatically different colors, different fields, different looks, because they’re different wood species. With painted finishes, you don’t see the grain. It doesn’t matter if most painted doors are alder or maple because you’re painting over it, so you don’t get to see it anyway and it’s smooth. Whereas if you paint Oak or Hickory you’re still going to see some of the grain because Oak has a really deep grain color that is very difficult to hide and it’s very coarse. Some people want that look, but not real often. It is all up to your taste.
What is more and more popular these days, because of technology getting better and better, are laminate doors. They do tend to skew contemporary because you’re using a slab door style. You’re probably not going to do a traditional kitchen with a laminate door. But they’re dimensionally very stable, very durable, and very easy to clean. They’ve got a lot of advantages and they tend to be less expensive. We’re seeing more and more people choose them down here, not only because of the unique look, but also the ease of care.
Cabinet Box Construction
As another part of the project, the drawer box construction; a good quality drawer box is pretty inexpensive these days. Lots of manufacturers are using them. They are solid wood dovetailed plywood bottoms, with quarter-inch bottoms. You used to be able to get cheap ones, so more and more people tend to have them. Also, metal drawer boxes are much more popular. They are pretty awesome super high-quality glides on a metal drill box. If you want a real pretty one, you should get a walnut drawer box.
But the budget for the box construction or any construction type can get pricey and you can spend a lot of money on your drawer boxes, especially when you start doing custom work. But even some of our semi-custom lines are offering several levels of the drawer box. If that’s something that interests you, we have products for every budget and we can help you with that too.
As an economical method of door construction is better for the tight budget. If you have a full-depth shelf, it’s pretty easy to take that shelf out, cut it, and put it back in. But if you start with a half depth, it’s a little more challenging to make that a full depth, as you don’t have a wood structure, which stretches cost so much.
Many times that half, which is not adjustable in height, is more to the side. But the full-depth shelves are definitely more popular. Also, the floating shelves are crazy popular nowadays. They are a great way to display your pretty pieces in the kitchen or the things that you’re grabbing every day.
Here is some advice from us for people with floating shelves or who want floating shelves; If you put stuff on floating shelves that you use every day, whether it’s your sugar, or your coffee, or flour, or whatever it is, they tend to be low maintenance, and they don’t get dusty. If you’re putting in floating shelves, you put stuff on them that you never touch or that you rarely use, then there is a bit of a maintenance issue. You have to take all that stuff off the shelf once or twice a week, clean it, and put it all back.