With the number of home sales steady, and the tighter restrictions in the mortgage industry, many homeowners are finding it harder than ever to sell their homes and upgrade to a larger home. Because of this trend, home renovation projects are on the rise as homeowners are finding ways to make their current homes more livable, while adding value to their home at the same time. The easiest way to add value and create the feel of a new home, is to renovate your kitchen.
In a kitchen renovation, the kitchen cabinets represent the largest expenditure in your remodeling budget. Since they are the centerpiece of your kitchen, many of the other decisions about your kitchen will be based off of your cabinet choice. Your countertop, appliance, and hardware decisions will depend on the style and layout of your kitchen cabinets.
The biggest issue with traditional, store bought cabinets is that it could take 8-10 weeks before delivery, so it is very important to make your cabinet selection prior to do starting any demolition or remodeling of your kitchen. There are cabinets available on-line, that could be delivered within 2-3 weeks, but it will depend on what style and construction you are looking for. We will talk about the differences in cabinets later on in the article.
Before looking at cabinets, it is important to come up with a target budget and a basic floor plan or layout. With the average kitchen remodel costing $40,000-50,000 it is important to accurately calculate all of the expenses involved with your project. While it may seem like a challenging project, even a DIY Homeowner with minimal experience can design and layout their own kitchen with accurate measurements and a couple of templates. This could save you a significant amount of money by not using a kitchen designer.
In the event that you think this is a project that you are comfortable tackling, you can either use a kitchen designer or go to one of the home improvement centers and take advantage of their free design services.
There are several factors that are going to affect the cost of your cabinets: cabinet brand, construction, wood type, and features. It is important to research all of your options. What you will find is that a higher price doesn’t always correspond with higher quality, and some of the lesser-known cabinet lines will actually have a stronger construction.
There are however, a few general kitchen cabinet buying tips that may help you in your kitchen cabinet research.
Kitchen Cabinet Wood Choices
Whether you are buying custom made cabinets, stock cabinets, or RTA cabinets, they will all offer a wide range of wood choices. Solid hardwood cabinets, such as Cherry, Maple, Birch, Hickory and Oak typically cost much more than laminate or veneer finished cabinets.
Face Framed Kitchen Cabinets
Face framed kitchen cabinet construction is the most prevalent kitchen cabinet construction type in the United States and usually it is lower cost. This construction technique involves the building of a kitchen cabinet face out of hardwood pieces. Typically the cabinet face is constructed using several 1″x 2″ vertical and horizontal hardwood pieces. The face frame is then married to the front of a particleboard or solid plywood kitchen cabinet box. It is highly recommended that you try to find cabinets that use solid wood or solid plywood for the cabinet box.
Particleboard and Fiberboard will have a tendency to sag or warp over time from moisture. Even mid-priced RTA cabinets are available that are made from solid Plywood sides. Hardwood or veneered/laminated cabinet doors and drawer faces, are then attached via hinges and roller mechanisms to the face frame and cabinet box.
Frameless (European-Style) Kitchen Cabinets
Frameless kitchen cabinet construction is becoming increasingly popular today as frameless kitchen cabinets are considered to be more contemporary. With frameless cabinets there is no face frame. The kitchen cabinet doors attach directly to the sides of the cabinet and are secured with pins and dowels. The advantages of this type of construction, is that there is wider access into the cabinet space and the hinges are completely hidden. Typically “ready-to-install” kitchen cabinets are constructed in this manner.
Kitchen Cabinet Finishes
There are many Kitchen cabinet finishes to choose from when using natural woods. Cabinet finishes include stain, paint and glazing options. In addition there are my types of distressing techniques that can also be employed on kitchen cabinet surfaces. Some options include Rasping, Antiquing and Rub-through.
There are also many types of laminates that you can choose from.
Kitchen Cabinet Sizes
Kitchen cabinets come in a variety of standard shapes and sizes, however custom sizes can also be easily specified and manufactured – at a price. Standards kitchen cabinet sizes, known as stock cabinets, are usually much more affordable then custom or semi-custom cabinets and usually have shorter lead times. Most manufacturers, unless custom built, stock universal sizes so if you have a kitchen designed at supply store or by a designer it will usually be transferable to another cabinet line.
Kitchen Cabinet Quality
If you plan on living in your home for many years, do not skimp on your kitchen cabinets. They are constantly used and abused, and only the sturdiest will stand the test of time.
The best kitchen cabinets employ solid frames, doors and drawers and are fully self-contained (closed backs), with reinforced corners. As I mentioned before, it is important to look for cabinets that have a plywood box versus particleboard or fiberboard. This is why it is important to look at all of the cabinet lines that are available, even cabinets that are sold on-line.