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Friday, October 30, 2009

Everything about Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets are the key ingredient in any kitchen layout. They will influence the look and feel of the kitchen, which is the heart of your home, more than anything else because it is the most visible part of the kitchen. Picking the right style of kitchen cabinets is essential in creating your kitchen's personality. This article helps you in choosing the right type of cabinet design.

What are Stock, Semi-Custom and Custom Cabinets?

'Stock', 'Semi-Custom' and 'Custom Cabinets' are terms that denote the type of production method used to make the cabinet.

Simply put, stock cabinets are mass-produced, semi-custom are stock cabinets that can be slightly altered and custom cabinets are built to order to meet individual needs and specifications. All three varieties are available in framed (a box with a frame surrounding the front edge) and frameless (a box with no face frame) construction. With the amount of styles, materials, brand names, accessories and hardware in the market, the price can greatly vary.

Stock Cabinets

These are the economical cabinets, because they are produced in large quantities on a mass production scale. Cabinet manufacturers, dealers and home improvement centers stock pile large quantities of cabinet parts so cabinets can be assembled quickly. Stock cabinet manufacturers have greatly improved and expanded its product line to include a large variety of sizes, shapes, styles, wood species and finishes.

The drawback to using stock cabinets is that you cannot make any modifications, so what you see is what you get. You may also have to use filler materials to fill up any changes in size during fitting. Stock cabinets still remain the most popular choice because they're affordable and readily available.

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are a stock line of cabinets where simple modifications will be made at the time of production. Semi-custom also offers you more choices when it comes to style, construction materials and colors. You can be a little more creative when going semi-custom by choosing some unique built-ins like pullout bins, matching interiors and inverted frames. Be sure to ask the manufacturer about the options available. Be thorough with semi-custom designs because changes can be very expensive and increase delivery time (which is usually a month or more) and they may not be returnable if they don't fit.

Custom Cabinets

The word custom in the case of Kitchen cabinets does not mean that you will be able to draw a design and have it made to your specifications, because that is hard to find and very costly. In the world of Kitchen cabinets, custom can mean anything from slight modifications to elaborate add-ons. Most manufacturers start out with a basic product line offering cabinets in standard sizes and customize from there. The big difference between a semi-custom and a custom manufacturer is the number of changes they are willing to make to their product lines. Most manufacturers offer a large selection of finish options, trims and storage configurations and accessories. You will have to be patient if you order for custom cabinets because it can take 3 months or longer before your cabinets are delivered; and in many cases payment in full is required when the order is placed.

Cabinet Doors

Be sure that your countertops, flooring, and other design elements complement the cabinets you choose. The first thing you need to decide is the material you want to use and how you want to finish it off. Their style, color, and decoration will contribute most to your cabinets' overall look.


Wood doors remain the most popular choice, not just because they're so plentiful but because they're durable, beautiful and versatile. The top woods in Kerala are teak and mahogany. You can decide on what natural wood to choose by the kind of wood grain and color you like.

Shaping The Door - Slab, Raised and Recessed Panels

When it comes to deciding the shape of your cabinet doors you can choose flat, raised or recessed in a pattern that can be plain and simple or intricately carved.

Slab is a flat door style that gives the appearance of a solid piece of wood with no raised or recessed profile. They're usually made out of several pieces of sawn timber and joined with an adhesive. If you opt for laminate slab you'll get a door made of plywood or MDF panels and then covered with laminate.

The best way to understand the look of a recessed panel is to think of a picture frame with a flat panel. The frame can be attached to the panel by using a cope and pattern joint. These panels are easy to decorate and popular when made with a groove.

A raised panel is constructed in the same manner as a recessed panel except it is given an edge by cutting it dimensionally and then routing or shaping the desired edge profile, like square or arched.


Due to modern hi-tech finishing techniques used by cabinet manufacturers, cleaning your cabinets is no longer a major household task.

By using polyurethane finishes, your cabinets should only require a good dusting or wiping. Think about durability, when you choose your finish, because a clear finish will show the natural changes in wood over time, while staining the wood in its natural color will lock that shade in forever.

The interior of cabinets

Always keep in mind that the primary purpose of Kitchen cabinets is storage. After deciding on the Kitchen cabinet appearance and material, it is time to get practical and decide about what is inside the cabinet. After all, a cabinet is a storage box...and the quality of the cabinet lies in the construction of the box and not the door. The majority of cabinet manufacturers offer several different levels of prices based on quality.

Your storage area is usually combined of a series of individual cabinets, joined together side-by-side. Cabinets that are on the floor (base cabinets) are covered with a countertop, and may have all drawers, doors, shelves, pull-outs or a combination of these.

Kitchen sinks usually have doors, but no shelves or drawers, leaving the interior space open for the sink and plumbing.

Wall cabinets offer storage above countertops and appliances using shelves. The panels (sides) that make up the cabinet need to have enough strength and structural integrity to keep it stable. In the base cabinet, the side panels support the full weight of the cabinet on the floor in framed cabinets.

Solid wood is rarely used for cabinet panels. This is because solid wood tends to warp over time when exposed to moisture. Engineered wood, particle board, furniture-grade flakeboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood are more stable than solid wood, and are used in majority of cabinets.

To help make the panels more water-resistant and durable they are usually treated with special chemicals. All of these material have an excellent reputation for durability and screw-holding power, especially plywood. So before you make you're final decision, be sure to look at the quality of its panels.

It may not sound like a big deal now, but when you start washing dishes or preparing a meal you'll want to know that your toekick board was installed properly. The toekick is a recessed area at the front of the cabinet near the floor that allows you to stand close to the counter. It also adds support to the cabinet floor and keeps unwanted insects from getting inside of the cabinets.


The cabinet drawers are usually made of solid wood or MDF, have framed or flat slab fronts and be held together by dovetail, mortise-and tenon or butt joints. Always go for bigger drawers, because that is usually the first place where storage space is never enough. A top drawer should be able to support at least 30 kilograms.
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