Buying Guide to Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen is a bit blah and in need of a makeover, installing new kitchen cabinets could give your cooking space the facelift it needs. It won’t be a cheap and painless makeover, so do some research and bargain shopping beforehand to ensure that you’re making a wise purchase.

Before you begin the search, consider whether or not your cabinets can be primed and painted, and updated with new knobs and pulls. This will be your cheapest option by far, as paint is cheap and easy to come by and new hardware can run as little as a couple dollars per cabinet pull.

If this is not an option, create a remodeling budget for yourself. It’s possible for some people to spend as much on their kitchen cabinets as others would spend on a fleet of houses or cars. But you can bargain shop and come out with an entire new unit of kitchen cabinets for several hundred dollars. Choosing pre-made, or stock cabinets, will severely cut your costs over customizing your kitchen. In addition to saving money, you can expect to shave off 2 to 3 months of the time that you would wait for custom cabinets. If you’re worried about stock cabinets fitting your kitchen, don’t. Most large cabinet-makers keep warehouses stocked with a variety of pre-made sizes and shapes, and trim panels are available to cover gaps between cabinet units.

In the lowest product category are laminates and thermoplastics/thermofoils. Both cabinet types are created by layering a finish overtop of a substrate, or MDF. This could be a wood-grain pattern with a nice tone, but the quality may be low if it’s not made on a high-end substrate. Still, laminates can be a great choice for families on a budget.

Going up a price category, shoppers may find wood veneers are the way to go. This is an affordable means to get that clean look of striking wood without the high cost. It’s also saves a few more trees from being cut away, for those environmentally conscious shoppers. Another plus: the way wood veneers are made and sealed will keep them from warping over time, which can happen to authentic wood cabinets. Watch out for low-quality veneers, though. Not every veneer is created equally.

If you are dying for authentic oak cabinets, or perhaps maple or cherry, be prepared to up your budget. These hardwood cabinets are durable and made to last. Watch out for pine, which is prone to damage and wear. If you’re going with real woods, keep in mind that satin finish stains are a good option for finishing them. You wont see as many greasy kitchen handprints or scratches and your wood will be protected for the long haul.

Looking for a sleek, modern look? The newest in kitchen cabinetry is in the arena of metals. Aluminum and stainless steel are your best bets here, but you showing fingerprints and scratches will be unavoidable-it simple comes with the territory.

Some tips for choosing cabinetry that will last:
*Drawers should come all the way out for cleaning purposes. If it’s on flimsy plastic runners, it won’t last nearly as long.
*Inside panels of doors are just as well-finished as door fronts.
*Watch out for haphazard joints and doors that are not crooked in any way.
*Doors shouldn’t creak or hesitate at the hinges, but should swing a wide way’s open.
*Beware of mismatched woods from cabinet outlet centers or lumberyards

Whenever you decide what you are willing to spend, browsing through several showrooms, lumberyards, or home stores is not a bad idea at all. Unless you know exactly what sizes and types of cabinets you need, a consultant can help you design your new kitchen with visual diagrams and/or a computerized design program to help you envision your new kitchen space.

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