Kitchen Cabinets: Types, Materials, Installation & Basic Information

Let your kitchen cabinetry serve you only good memories…

Here is your long guide to kitchen cabinetry. Today we focus on materials, hardware, accessories, colors, and more. We’ll talk about painting, refacing and refinishing. You’ll learn about the installation process, dimensions and custom shaped furniture for your kitchen. Full Ahead!

First Steps

If you plan to add value to your home, remember that kitchen cabinetry including the installation cost will make up to 40% of your renovation budget. If you want to save money, you’ll have to be conservative and choose straight lines and plain surfaces.

STEP 1 BUDGET

Start with the types of cabinetry in order to estimate your budget. Kitchen cabinets can be custom, semi-custom, and stock. The price is generally set for a linear foot.

  • You’ll get them for cheap only if they’re in stock. Stock cabinetry is sold either pre-assembled or not assembled. The variety of colors will be limited, but you’ll be very pleased with the price. Stock cabinetry will cost you about $60-$200.
  • Semi-custom cabinetry gives more design possibilities. It offers a wider range of colors, shapes, patterns, materials, and accessories. Cabinets like these can be pre-ordered to fit the measurements of your kitchen. They make a nice investment to the value of your home. The average price for semi-custom cabinets is $100-$600.
  • Custom cabinetry is the most expensive option. That’s the reason why it will perfectly fit your kitchen, give you the desired functionality and aesthetics. It will be made of anything you may desire, but it will cost you a fortune. A perfect option for a large family home planned as a permanent residence for many family members. Custom cabinetry will cost you more than $650 and up to $1,200.

STEP 2 STYLE & FUNCTIONALITY

Any local kitchen showroom in Sacramento area or in the Bay area can be helpful in finding inspiration. The choice of style is inevitably connected to the choice of materials and additional accessories.

Modern European designs with geometric lines, glass, vinyl and stainless steel elements will save you quite a lot in cash, planning, and installation.

Retro and country-style kitchen cabinets imply the use of natural wood with brass and copper hardware and accessories. You’ll have to invest at least in the high-end veneers to cover the MDF or plywood panels of the cabinetry.

Consider adding an island or a corner with open shelving. Don’t try to save money on a consultation with an experienced designer if you are out of ideas for small kitchens. Don’t be skeptical about convenient cabinets for small kitchens – a cozy galley cooking space with proper lighting and zoning may turn out to be a lot more comfortable in use and maintenance in comparison to a large rustic-styled one.

STEP 3 CONSTRUCTION

Pay special attention to the joints, hinges, drawer guides and wood frames of doors. Choose plywood instead of particleboard or fiberboard panels. Read further to find out more about the materials. Purchase cheap pulls and knobs to save some cash on the installation. You’ll be able to buy decor elements later and install them on your own.

STEP 4 FEATURES

Such things as a pull-out trash bin, spring-loaded shelves or a wine rack should be included in the project beforehand. Search the net for images of hardware ideas and share your desires with building specialists.

STEP 5 RENOVATION

Your present kitchen may look horrible on the surface. However, if the cabinetry is still firm and sturdy, consider refinishing. Renovate the doors and drawers, add new glass doors, search the net for unusual storage ideas and hardware elements, replace the handles, add new wall panels and functional elements – spice racks, new cabinet lights, and faucets. You’ll be surprised at your new custom cabinetry created on the base of the one you have.

Kitchen Cabinets: Materials

From the most expensive ones to the cheapest ones.

WOOD

Any American warehouse be it in Albuquerque or in Chicago area has numerous dark wood or light wood ideas for sale. Hardwood kitchen cabinets from reputable makers are not cheap in any case. Even if you manage to get a discount, you’ll pay no less than $95 per square foot of hardwood kitchen cabinetry.

PROS CONS
Wood is can last a lifetime and it is easily repaired. The cost.
Wood is very different by design and color – that’s why the best custom kitchen cabinets are made of hardwood. Takes a lot of time to manufacture and install.
Hardwood fits any kitchen size and measurements. Demands special care and attention combined with the use of specific cleaning products.
You can easily restain and repaint wood on your own – painting is cheap and effortless even for the beginners. Excessive humidity or dryness can deform the structure of the wood – it will be very hard to repair large cracks or swelling.
Red Oak

Strong, long-lasting with a moderate cost in comparison to the other hardwood types. It has attractive gray colored grains and patterns. Perfect for custom and semi-custom designs of traditional cabinetry.

White Oak

Durable and strong. A lot stronger than red oak. It has honey-golden shades with insignificant grains and patterns. The makers of kitchen furniture mostly use white oak for custom designs.

Maple

They will cost you more than oak ones. It’s a very hard and long-lasting material with a light and warm tint. It’s hard, but not very dense. You can paint it in any color you want, however, designers prefer dressing it with a clear finish.

Hickory

The patterns of hickory are similar to oak patterns and grains. The color is light yellowish with blond undertones. That’s a perfect choice for custom and semi-custom cabinetry in rustic style. It’s light and it is easily stained.

Cherry

Cherry is incredibly elegant. It’s a perfect choice for traditional custom and semi-custom kitchen designs. The surface of it is smooth with fine grains. The color palette is wide from light red to deep reddish-brown. It has to be stained in order to balance the color.

Birch

It has almost the same texture as maple wood. It looks a lot more expensive than it really is. Hire professional painters that will stain it to make it look like noble cherry wood. Birch is usually used in semi-custom and stock designs. It’s cheap in processing and installation.

Ash

It’s as strong and durable as oak is. It is lighter and the wooden pattern of ash is more distinct. Kitchen cabinetry makers mostly use it for custom designs.

Pine

It’s not hard, that’s the reason why it dents and scratches easily. The color is light yellow. Western pine wood is almost white. Pine has attractive knots in the pattern. It makes the wood perfect for rustic and country kitchen designs.

PARTICLEBOARD (LDF)

This term speaks for itself. These are boards made from particles of wood bonded together by resin and pressure. The boards are further covered with vinyl or laminate films of different colors and patterns.

PROS CONS
It doesn’t cost much. It’s weak in comparison to plywood, for example.
The structure is dense. It suffers from excessive humidity.
Particle board is easily painted; you can also cover it with veneers for a more neat and attractive look. Particle board is not an eco-friendly material.
The boards are lightweight.

FIBERBOARD (MDF)

It’s one of the most common materials used for a moderately priced furniture. Any warehouse, kitchen and bath showroom or a kitchen cabinetry expo proudly demonstrates various MDF furniture products. MDF (or medium density fiberboard) is partially similar to particleboard panels. It’s made of wood particles mixed with tiny fibers. MDF is a better alternative to particleboard panels due to its strength and its smooth appearance. Installing and renovating of MDF will not take too much of your time and patience.

PROS CONS
It’s not pricey. It contains formaldehyde – the amount is not critical but health risks can still occur.
It’s made of recycled wood saving trees. It’s hard to repair and the maintenance is tricky because of its structure.
It’s very pliable to painting because it’s very smooth. Water makes it swell in case if you don’t seal the seams properly.
Add veneer fronts and make your MDF kitchen cabinets look like they are made from hardwood. MDF is quite firm and you’ll have to use powerful tools to work with it.
The chemicals in the MDF structure make it poisonous to insects and other parasites.
It’s perfect for elaborate styles with unusual shapes.

PLYWOOD

It’s made of thin wood layers bonded with glue and resin. Plywood is used for the backs and sizes of the cabinets. It may be too heavy for the fronts.

PROS CONS
It doesn’t cost much. It looks and feels bulky.
It works perfectly fine for all types of furniture including sofas, tables, and cupboards. It demands powerful building tools.
It’s flat and smooth. It can be painted, polished or covered with veneers or laminate to imitate the look of natural wood. It cannot be carved into unusual beautiful shapes because of its structure.
It’s durable if you maintain it properly. There are more expensive versions of plywood with waterproof protection. It chips if you are not careful with it.
Plywood can be used for flooring and wall panels.
The chemicals in the structure make plywood resistant to insects of all sort.

Now that we’re done with the base materials, let’s pass on to the description of the additional ones used for the surfaces of cabinets and doors.

LAMINATE

Kitchen cabinetry laminate produced from several layers of paper with resin. It can be printed in any colors and patterns you may desire. It has a transparent layer on top to protect your kitchen cabinetry from the excessive external influence of temperatures and humidity. Laminate is used for the wooden surfaces and cabinet door fronts.
Modern laminate can be low-pressure (less durable, but cheap) and high-pressure (more durable, but more expensive).

PROS CONS
Laminate is cheap and can look very expensive. Laminate surfaces demand regular maintenance and sealing.
It’s durable in case if you care about it – it won’t chip, crack or bulge if you’re a neat homeowner. Laminate is the worst solution for wet climates – it simply starts to peel on its own.

VINYL (THERMOFOIL)

It’s a film glued to the wooden or MDF countertop parts under pressure and heat. The most pleasant thing here is that vinyl demonstrates amazing detailing. If you want your kitchen counters to look like real wood for cheap, opt for vinyl. It can be black, green, red, yellow, blue or patterned.

PROS CONS
The maintenance is easy – vinyl can easily be cleaned with special cleaning products. Vinyl suffers from heat and it shouldn’t be installed close to the sources of heat (however, you can install heat shields in certain areas of your kitchen to protect your kitchen cabinets).
Vinyl doesn’t suffer from excessive humidity. However, it should be properly sealed for durability. Vinyl is usually used on MDF panels. It means that ready-made kitchen cabinets will be very heavy.
Huge choice of colors and patterns.

Kitchen Cabinets & Countertops

A countertop is a surface where food is prepared. This surface has to be durable. It shouldn’t be afraid of scratches, stains, heat and other negative effects. Besides, it should look attractive enough especially if you’re planning to spend your life at your present residence. The choice of countertops can turn out to be a very daunting task.

Where To Start?

There are two basic types of kitchen countertops:

  • Pre-cut countertops;
  • Custom countertops.

The choice of materials depends on your demands on durability, functionality, maintenance, and style. All parts of kitchen cabinets: doors, sides, hardware, pulls, and knobs can easily be replaced and restored. Countertops can only be changed in case if you damage them accidentally.

Kitchen Countertops: Materials

GRANITE

That’s one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops among American homeowners. It is released in a wide price range and it is very durable. It is manufactured in a variety of color and shades:

  • Shades of black;
  • Shades of white;
  • Greens;
  • Coral shades;
  • Beige.

The thing is that two pieces of granite will never look the same. It looks very natural. Granite countertops are polished or left matte depending on the preferences of the customer. The price of marble countertops mostly depends on their country of origin.

NATURAL STONE

  • Limestone;
  • Marble;
  • Soapstone.

All of them are more delicate than granite. They demand proper maintenance and care. In addition to regular maintenance, natural stone countertops should be sealed regularly.

ENGINEERED STONE

Engineered stone can be found in numerous color options. It’s extremely durable. Unfortunately, it is not as charming and attractive as natural stone or granite.
Kitchen countertops like these are very attractive. They are durable, they are released in numerous color options and they don’t demand special effort to maintain. However, you need to keep in mind that engineered stone will cost you as much as granite. However, it will literally last a lifetime. It’s bulletproof.

CONCRETE

Countertops made of concrete are perfect for custom kitchen cabinetry. They can be painted with numerous pigments. Concrete countertops can be:

  • Smooth;
  • Sanded;
  • Pressed (the production process makes it look like marble).

Unfortunately, concrete is damaged easily. It suffers from temperature changes and humidity. If you want to protect your concrete countertop, you’ll have to seal it regularly (not less than every three months especially if you live in a wet climate). You also shouldn’t forget about regular waxing (once in three months).

WOOD

Kitchen countertops made of wood have a very warm mood and texture. They are easily fixed and cleaned. There are numerous ways to hide the scratches and bumps on natural wood. It is easily protected from water. However, you should oil the wood countertops in case if you want them to last long.

LAMINATE

It’s the cheapest material for countertops on the market. As soon as it’s almost completely synthetic, it is released in an innumerable variety of color options. The main disadvantage of laminate countertops is that they are easily damaged by hot temperatures. A surface like this should never get in a direct contact with hot pans or casseroles. The greatest advantage of the laminate is that it is almost fully resistant to accidental scratches. As soon as you keep it away from high temperatures, it will last a lifetime.

Kitchen Countertops: Edges

Standard edges are square. They will be perfect for a sleek modern European design with sleek lines. In addition to the usual square edges, you’ll have a chance to purchase countertops with various decorative edges:

  • Bullnose;
  • Radius;
  • Egg;
  • Ogee;
  • Bevel.

In addition to the basic edges design, you can pre-order completely custom shapes. Keep in mind that they will cost you a lot more than standard edges.

Mix It Up

If you have no idea on what material to choose for countertops, you may opt for unusual designs. Add a butcher block into a natural stone countertop or order a broken tile mosaic counter (it’s one of the cheapest variants because it is made of the remnants of natural material).

Kitchen Cabinets: Knobs, Pulls & Hardware

Kitchen cabinetry is rarely sold with hardware. The choice of hardware styles is huge, but you should stick to the basic steps:

  1. Your theme. Choose sleek pulls for modern European cabinetry. Purchase simple and smooth copper knobs for traditional-styled kitchens or invest in antique bronze hardware for a custom-looking antique-styled kitchen cabinetry.
  2. Matching finishes. Make sure that your hardware matches to the decorative finishes of your cabinetry in general – bronze, copper, silver or else. Your hardware should coincide with the finishes for a neat look.
  3. Knobs or pulls. Knobs are for traditional kitchen cabinets and pulls are for modern variants. Knobs are perfect for cabinet door fronts with ornaments.
  4. Matching colors. Make sure your kitchen cabinets pulls and knobs match to the design of your appliances. The charm of your new cabinets can be easily spoiled by the neglect of hardware design.
  5. Quality is important. Kitchen cabinetry hardware is used very often. It has to suffer in a lot of everyday traffic. Sturdy hardware won’t cost you a dime.
  6. Standards are optional. Nickel, bronze, and gunmetal are ok, but there’s always a way to go for something unusual: mirrored or glass accessories and hardware will look very attractive.

Questions & Answers

Are kitchen cabinets considered to be a capital improvement?

Anything that adds additional value to the property is considered to be a capital improvement. New water heater, a new deck or a new kitchen are all capital improvements because all of them demand rebuilding, reconstruction or installation. Renovation of cabinets (repainting or restaining) is just a maintenance work that is not considered to be capital.

Are kitchen cabinets expensive?

They mostly are, because the kitchen is one of the most valuable places in any home. However, it all depends on your needs. Here are the approximate prices for an entire kitchen renovation. Here you’ve got three basic variants to go.
If you’re renovating your kitchen to prepare your house or apartment for sale, opt for stock cabinets. Find a wholesale kitchen cabinets warehouse and get a set of basic stock cabinets. Kitchen cabinetry kits like these are limited in styles and colors, but they will cost you about $10,000 together with the materials.
Semi-custom cabinetry and materials for installation will cost you from $20,000 to $50,000. They still add value to your home giving you more design possibilities.
Luxury cabinetry for sale also known as custom will cost you about $100,000 and even more. Be careful if you’re planning to sell your house or apartment in the future – your potential buyers may be indifferent to your exquisite kitchen design vision and they won’t agree to pay more for it. Expensive custom cabinetry can be a perfect decision for a big family home inhabited by many people at once.

Are kitchen cabinets a standard size?

Generally, yes. They are split into categories depending on height and a kitchen cabinet depth. There are four basic types of cabinetry:

  • Base cabinets. 24-36 inches tall. Cabinet depth is up to 27 inches. Base cabinets have a toe kick that is 4 inches tall.
  • Wall cabinets. 12-48 inches tall. Cabinet depth is generally 12 inches. In some cases, it can be changed up to 17 inches.
  • Tall cabinets. 84-96 inches tall. Depth may vary from 12 inches to 24 inches.
  • Specialty units. These are not cabinets, but functional elements that maximize the cooking and storage areas. Specialty units include suspended units, wine racks, corner cabinets, open shelves, hutches, etc.

The width of the cabinets may vary from 12 inches to 48 inches depending on your personal dimensions.

How should kitchen cabinets be organized?

There’s not a one-fits-all approach in matters of kitchen cabinetry space organization. However, there are several simple rules that always work:

  • Declutter the storage space. Be brave and donate are throw away the items you don’t actually need.
  • Everything you need on a regular basis should be close at hand. Use boxes and cans for sugar, coffee, tea, cereals, and pasta. Use as more cans as possible. Get beautiful sets of cans and glass bottles and place them on the tops of the wall counters to keep something you don’t need often.
  • All items should be kept on places where you use them. Leave a cabinet space for your kids’ snacks and let them know they can use it themselves.
  • Keep the food separately from the dishes.
  • Use butcher paper or cork sheets to cover the inner surfaces of the cabinets to protect the contents from excessive heat or humidity. Besides, whenever you spill or break something right inside the cabinet, you can simply wrap the cork or paper sheet, through it away and get a new one.
  • Use kitchen organizers as much as you can – surf the net for numerous solutions. It will save time on clearance and renovation procedures.
Are kitchen cabinets easy or hard to install?

A properly installed kitchen with firm cabinetry is one of the biggest selling points. Keep this in mind before you decide to install the cabinetry yourself. The assembly and installation demand special skills and tools. Even experienced contractors can spend many hours on installation to make you enjoy the result for many years ahead. Yes, it’s hard.
Before you decide to try your hand in installation, consider the following:

  • Cabinets are heavy – sometimes they have to be fixed not only to the wall but also with additional reinforcement. Besides, you must be strong with a lot of stamina to be able to hold the kitchen units with your bare hands. You’ll have to find at least one person to help you.
  • You should be precise in measurements – even half an inch missed may cause potential problems with further installation. It may happen that you’ll have to find specialists to reinstall the cabinetry again, which will cost you more than a simple installation because a pro will have to deal with your mistakes first.

A professional won’t miss a single outlet and do his best to properly combine your kitchen cabinetry with plumbing and lights. If kitchen cabinetry is a long-term investment, so why not to invest cash into the professional installation with a corresponding warranty?

Are kitchen cabinets installed before or on top of the flooring?

It’s simple. If you’re planning to install hardwood or any other floor that will be nailed or glued to the surface, you’ll have to install the cabinetry after the flooring. If you floor will be floating (laminate, linoleum, cork…), you’ll have to place the cabinetry first. Then comes the flooring.

When to buy kitchen cabinets?

The best time to purchase and install cabinetry is late autumn or early winter. That’s a great time to get a fat discount from a wholesale kitchen cabinetry manufacturer.

Can kitchen cabinets be stained and painted?

Yes, they can. They only need to be made of wood: both hardwood, MDF, LDF or plywood panels will do. The steps are always the same:

  • Choose a stain (gel-based, oil-based, water-based or an all-in-one formula), but don’t purchase a stain for the deck;
  • Remove the hardware and label it in case if it’s hard to remember the location of each detail;
  • Get rid of the old finish and sand the surface of the cabinets;
  • Stain the surface;
  • Enjoy!

You can also apply a coat of clear varnish for more protection of the surface.

Can kitchen cabinets be painted on the inside?

Why not? Just sand and prime them before painting. The point is that it will take more time and effort. Nevertheless, seeing a pop of bright color from the inside of your cabinets will be very rewarding!

Can kitchen cabinets be used in the bathroom?

There’s no significant difference between a bathroom and kitchen cabinetry. They can be crossed over easily. It’s just that kitchen cabinets are deeper, taller and generally larger.

How much weight will kitchen cabinets hold?

No more than 25 pounds for a metal clip and no more than 10 pounds for a plastic clip. If you manage to adjust the shelf or the cabinet properly on several metal clips, it will be able to hold about 100 pounds. Plastic clips are cheaper and weaker and will hold no more than 50 pounds in a fully installed construction.

A+ Construction Pro has a lot of renovation and rebuilding experience in your area. You can trust us in a choice of materials, in taking measurements, in refacing and installation of kitchen cabinets. If you’re still asking yourself:
“Are there durable kitchen cabinets and hardware for sale near me?”
“Can I hire a trustworthy contractor in the area near me?”
“How can I deal with the refacing in the shortest time possible?”
We know all about kitchen furniture stores in your area, we’ll provide you with impressive before and after ideas and we’ll deal with your kitchen cabinetry renovation even if you’ve picked out a home for sale by owner. We’ll improve the atmosphere and turn any house into a home.

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