How to Shop for High Quality Kitchen Cabinets

Replacing your old kitchen cabinets is an expensive home improvement project that adds tremendous value to your home. Not all kitchen cabinets are created equal; it’s important to be able to spot differences in quality. Here are some features and tips on what to look for when shopping around for pre-made kitchen cabinets or determining the quality of work by a custom cabinet builder.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #1: Pre-Determine Your Price Range
Whether you’re going to have custom cabinets built by a kitchen designer or you’re looking at pre-made kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to determine your budget prior to kitchen cabinet shopping spree. Type of wood, special features, and hardware adds up quickly, making it easy to go over your budget. Pick out a price range and stick to it.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #2: Will You Be Shopping for Countertops?
New kitchen cabinets and countertops go hand-in-hand. Many folks replace their kitchen countertops at the same time they install new cabinets. You don’t want to be stuck with an outdated kitchen countertop after you install new cabinets, so it makes sense to upgrade your countertops at the same time you replace your cabinets. Keep this in mind for your budget, as countertops can be very expensive.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #3: See a Display Without the Countertop
Stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s often have cabinet setups on display with a countertop installed. If you’re not sure of its quality, ask to see a cabinet model without the countertop to do a complete inspection. Make sure there are no glue spots, loose pieces of wood, or spaces between hinges or joints.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #4: Particle Board-Just Say NO!
Steer away from cabinets made from particle board – over time, the veneer edges will peel and flake. Because particle board absorbs water, the entire cabinet arrangement will eventually warp, losing its structural integrity and cost you more money in the long run.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #5: Inspect Hinges
Both concealed and exposed hinges are found on kitchen cabinets. For concealed hinges, check to see if they’re fully adjustable, as the doors need to be aligned with the cabinet face frame. Exposed hinges need to fully support the cabinet door’s weight. Check to make sure the hinges fully open and close smoothly.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #6: Move the Drawers.
Drawers should effortlessly open and shut. Nylon bearings open and shut the quietest. Drawer slides are typically mounted on the drawer’s bottom or on each side. Look for metal mounts, not plastic. Quality cabinets will have dovetail joints mounted where drawer’s face meets the mounted slide.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #7: Check Cabinet Faces:
Check the wood to make sure there are no knots, wood defects, or scars left over from sanding. Make sure drawer and door faces are made from one solid piece of wood.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #8: View the Interior:
The interior box needs to have ½ inch thick side and floor wood panels.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #9: Look at the Shelves
Shelves should be at least 3/4 inch thick grade, removable, and adjustable. Inspect the shelves’ woodwork to ensure it is free of voids.

How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets Tip #10: Go with your instinct!
What’s the overall feel of the cabinets? Do you feel comfortable with the builder? Do you genuinely like his work? With kitchen cabinets, often times, you get what you pay for.

Kitchen cabinets are an important element to your home and you’ll want to put a lot of research before making your purchase. Taking time to inspect a store display or a contractor’s work can pay off in the long run–whether you’re buying new kitchen cabinets to improve your home’s resale value or for your family’s enjoyment.