How can two kitchens look identical, but come at drastically different prices? Take a closer look and the answer becomes clear. The more expensive kitchen is built better and have higher quality components. If they look equally stylish, does it matter? If you want a kitchen that will be a pleasure to work in and withstand the test of time, yes, it does. Here's what you need to know about choosing quality kitchen cabinetry.
Almost all kitchen cabinets today are made from melamine coated waterproofed MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). No matter what the kitchen costs, this is the least you should look for. If kitchen cabinet makers do not use this as a selling point, ask them. Sometimes they may not mention it because it has become standard in the industry.
In the end, any kitchen is only as good as the quality of craftsmanship that goes in to it. After MDF is cut to size, the cabinets can be put together in a variety of ways. The cheapest kitchen cabinets are simply stapled together and made rigid by stapling a thin sheet of melamine on the back of the cabinet. Better quality cabinets can be made in one of two ways:
⦁ A custom cabinet maker will use dowels or "biscuits" to make stronger joints and glue and screw the cabinets together. They will always use thicker MDF for the cabinet backs and make them an integral part of the cabinet rather than simply butting the back on the cabinet.
⦁ Larger joineries use computerised CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to precisely cut large volumes of cabinet components, and will produce flat packs to save time without sacrificing quality.
In a short time a cheap kitchen cabinet will start to cause problems. The weak joints will separate and the cabinet backs will buckle. The staples will loosen and gaps begin to appear at the back of the cabinet. A well-built cabinet will stay rigid and square. The doors will continue to hang straight and parallel. If the drawers are constructed as well as the cabinets, they will always open and close smoothly.
The two most important pieces of kitchen cabinet hardware are the door hinges and drawer runners:
⦁ Cheap hinges look almost identical to quality hinges, but are not strong enough to hold up over time. Eventually, the doors will sag and their edges touch. Better door hinges can be precisely adjusted for a perfect fit and will give you years of trouble-free use.
⦁ The cheapest drawer runners are made of plastic and don't glide smoothly. Metal drawer runners are better, but there are big differences in their quality. The best drawer runners are designed to give you finger tip control even when the drawers are heavily loaded.
A top quality kitchen manufacturer will only use high quality hinges and drawer runners. They will also give you a variety of other quality hardware products to choose from. Light weight metal drawers, for example, are popular in high end kitchens. Hardware accessories such as lazy susans for corner cabinets, pull-out shelves and pantry hardware can make your kitchen work even better for you.
When getting quotes for your kitchen, take a close look at quality first and then compare prices. Kitchen builders are highly competitive. You should be able to choose quality kitchen cabinetry and get it at a great price, too.