Why not all kitchen cabinets are equal

By : Nick Marr

There is an old Chinese proverb ‘ Good things are not cheap, cheap things not good and when it comes to choosing the best kitchen cabinet this rings true

When it comes to refitting a new kitchen the task can seem over whelming. Cost, design and the array of extras can be mind blowing. The truth is the kitchen is the heart of the home and you will be under pressure to get it right. Open plan living means the kitchen is no longer tucked away and any social gathering will end up with people in the kitchen.

Kitchen cabinets have got to stand the test of time and buying the best ones for your home could all depend on how they are made and what materials are being used. The cabinets you select will set the tone for your new kitchen or bathroom and play a major role in transforming your space.

When it comes to quality kitchen cabinets pre assembled cabinets are best and typically made of all-plywood construction or particleboard.  There’s more risk with flat-packed kitchens that they can be installed incorrectly, leading to joints being less solid. The strongest cabinets have full plywood sides and backs to stay square during delivery and installation.

Cabinets account for 40% to 50% of the total cost of your kitchen so knowing your materials is an important part of the decision making process

How are Kitchen Cabinets constructed?

The cabinet box is basically a wooden box. Manufactures deploy several methods to ensure the box remains sturdy and rigid. You will find that many of today’s modern kitchens have reinforcing using triangular braces in the corners of the box.

Most common kitchen cabinet materials

When it comes to keeping the cost down and to remain practical most modern kitchen are made from engineered wood. Solid wooden cabinets are expensive, heavy and in most cases not really necessary. Particleboard, MDF and Plywood have served as great kitchen cabinet materials lasting the test of time. A study by Which.co.uk found that solid oak came out on top for durability followed by other solid woods. Laminates on chipboard, whether gloss, matt or wood-effect, scored worst. So what are non solid wood materials?

  • Particleboard  made from wood particles mixed with resin and bonded by pressure. It serves as the base for most cabinetry covered with laminate and vinyl film.
  • Medium-density fibreboard is a high-quality substrate material made from smaller fibres than particleboard.
  • Plywood – is engineered wood made up of thin wood “plies” or layers of wood that are glued together in a sandwich form.

A strong connection between the carcass and the face frame (the five narrow pieces of wood that surround the drawer and the doors) is a mark of good craftsmanship.

Once you’ve chosen the style, colour and structure of kitchen cabinets that you want, the final thing to think about is the extra fittings you need to frame your doors.