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Kitchen cabinet types, choices: this article describes the types of kitchen or bath cabinets available, cabinet grades (stock, semi-custom, custom), cabinet materials of construction (hardboard, particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, solid wood), and cabinet finish choices (wood veneer, high-pressure laminate (plastic), melamine cabinets, vinyl finish cabinets, rigid thermofoil (RTF) cabinets, and painted cabinets).
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Also see CABINETS & COUNTERTOPS This article describes common defects found at installed cabinets and countertops. This article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc. We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets. A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included. This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.
Kitchen cabinets range widely in styles, materials, and levels of quality. Well-made cabinets feature sturdy cabinet boxes and drawers, stiff shelves that resist sagging, and solid hardware that operates smoothly. Higher-end cabinets make greater use of veneer-core plywood rather than medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, or other composites.
Doors, drawer fronts, and visible end panels in premium cabinets make use of solid wood, real wood veneer, or high-pressure plastic laminate. At a glance, it is not always easy to discern quality levels since the best wood-grain vinyl facings do a surprisingly good imitation of real wood, at least until someone dents or scratches a corner.
With so many variables, it is not surprising to find that a set of cabinets for a midsize kitchen could range in price from as little as $3,000 for builder-grade cabinets picked up at a home center to as much as $20,000 for a custom high-end job.
The cabinet industry generally divides cabinets into three main grades: stock, semicustom, and custom.
Cabinets use a wide variety of substrate materials for panels. The solid cherry front stock cabinets (left) were installed by the editor during renovations of an 1876 home in Wappinges Falls, NY in the 1980's.
The main cabinet panel products, typically covered with a wood, melamine, or vinyl veneer, are listed below:
These are the most common finish materials used for cabinet sides, interiors, and door and drawer fronts.
Accuride International www.accuride.com Ball-bearing drawer slides
Amerock Corp. www.amerock.com Comprehensive catalog of cabinet hinges, pulls, slides, and accessories
Grass America www.grassusa.com Cup hinges, slides, shelf supports, and storage accessories
Hafele America www.hafeleamericas.com Cup hinges, ball-bearing slides, pulls, and KD connectors
Mepla Inc. www.mepla-alfit.com Cup hinges, ball-bearing slides, drawer systems, shelf supports, and KD connectors
Hettich America www.hettichamerica.com Cup hinges, ball-bearing drawer slides, shelf supports, and KD connectors
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers(AHAM) www.aham.org
National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) www.nkba.org
Ceramic Tile Institute of America www.ctioa.org
Home Ventilation Institute (HVI) www.hvi.org
Marble Institute of America www.marble-institute.com Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) www.porcelainenamel.com
Tile Council of America (TCA) www.tileusa.com
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
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