How to Choose the Right Cabinetry for Your Remodel

Through the 39 years that I have been in the Cabinetry business, I have heard many different opinions on how and what cabinets should be made out of. Cabinets like any products come in a variety of materials, mainly to accommodate different price levels for different buyers. I like to divide them into 3 levels; Stock, Semi-Custom and Custom.

Stock cabinets were introduced in the 1960’s. They were designed for the price conscience consumer. Typically they are massed produced in a large factory in materials such as particle board and solid wood. The frames, doors and drawer fronts are made of the solid wood. The insides of the cabinets like the shelves, tops, bottoms and backs are made in Furniture Board.  Thermador-300x201In the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, furniture board was not the product it is today. Today, it is a much stronger board because of how much denser of a product that they make it. Good manufacturers use what is called Allegheny Board which is very dense. The denser it is, the better it keeps screws tight and the more stable the board is. Most stock companies do offer upgrades to a plywood core if you wish to have it. It usually costs about 20% more. Stock cabinets are nicely made but typically the finishes, sanding and hardware are not as finicky as the other two levels. The average consumer does not see these differences so it makes a great product to have in their home. Most of the time there are limited choices for cabinets, styles and colors. Typically they last 10-15 years but have been known to last longer when kept clean and cared for closely.

Semi-Custom Cabinets typically come made with a plywood core inside and have a real veneer wood side panel. They have much more to choose from in cabinets, door styles and finishes. Quality of finishes, materials and hardware are much better quality than stock cabinets and are pretty close to the quality of custom cabinets. A Lifetime Warranty is offered on semi-custom brands like all custom lines, compared to a 1, 5 or 10 year warranty for stock cabinets. In my opinion, good Semi Custom cabinets like the one we carry; Omega Embassy www.omegacabinetry.com, is probably the best valued cabinet out there with the quality and choices given.

Full Custom cabinets are at the higher level of prices. With this level, you will get an all plywood interior with a wood veneered finish on the inside of the cabinet. Good custom manufacturers use the best of all of all their materials. Wood grains are selected to match as closely as possible. You also have almost infinite selections of styles and finishes. There are many small businesses out there that make custom cabinets but when you want the best finishes and materials, larger manufacturers are heads above in that department. Most small businesses use a lacquer finish which does not hold up to our everyday lives and food that come in contact with them. Larger manufacturers use what is called Conversion Varnish which stands up to most everything.

As you can see, there are many choices and brands that you will come across when looking to remodel a kitchen. Making the right choice for you is all that is important. Good caring sales designers will ask you the right questions and help guide you with that choice. Take the time to interview a few of them before you start your remodel. Choosing the right designer and company will make the difference between a stressful remodel and a stress less one. Always “Dream First” and the rest will fall right into place.

Bon Appetit!

Tim Holick (Food A Holick)

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