Shower surrounds/wall tile | >>Cabinets
& countertops | Finish
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Like most building products, cabinets vary in price
depending on quality of construction and materials,
finishes and styles and degree of customization.
A set of kitchen cabinets can range from $2000 to
$10,000 for the same exact kitchen. Cabinets are
usually described in three main divisions: Custom,
stock and semi-custom.
Custom cabinets are made to fit for a particular
kitchen. The cabinet maker must come to the house
after it is framed in to take measurements. He will
compare the actual measurements with the plans and
make cabinets that fit precisely in the space. It
usually takes a couple of weeks to make custom cabinets,
and with typical back work, it may take 6-8 week
to get custom cabinets after they are measured.
Stock cabinets are the cheapest alternative. Large
cabinet companies makes several sizes of "box"
cabinets and has them already in stock. The installer
or designer takes the kitchen measurements and then
attaches several of boxes together to fill the kitchen
space. Filler pieces are used with the boxes to
make the cabinets fit exactly.
Click on thumbnail below
to view stock cabinet installation
Semi-custom cabinets combine some of the stock box
cabinets and some custom made cabinets. They also
may have various upgrades over stock cabinets, such
as improved hardware, better joints, thicker panels,
and so forth.
The overall quality of cabinets is quite apparent
when comparing stock cabinets with custom cabinets.
Here are some of the obvious differences that you
will find in the cabinets.
quality of hardware; quality hardware will be
Joints used. Dove tail joints and rabbet joints
are stronger than butt joints.
Thickness of material
most visible aspect of the cabinets are the type
and color (stain) of wood and the style of door
and drawer fronts.
Cabinets are made in many types
of wood, the most popular being Oak, maple, alder,
birch, cherry and pine. Oak probably accounts for
over half of all new cabinets. Plastic covered laminate
board is also popular. It is usually made of white
plastic but is available in other colors. It has
been popular in Europe for many years.
Cabinets are stained to bring
out the grain and natural beauty of the wood. Currently
light colored stains are the most popular for cabinets.
After the material is stained, finish is applied
to the cabinets. Traditionally Lacquer has been
very popular. However, there are now polyurethane's
that are harder and more durable.
The style of fronts has
a lot to do with the overall appearance of the cabinets.
Panel doors are probably the most popular type of
door, with flat panel doors usually the standard
and raised panel an option.
There are two basic types of cabinets with face
frame and cabinets without face frames. Face frame
cabinets are the traditional type of cabinets that
have been popular in the U.S. for many years. The
cabinet box is wrapped with 1½" wood
strips. The cabinet door or drawer overlaps that
frame, and the door hinges are attached to the frame.
The frame provides strength, but it also makes the
cabinet opening slightly smaller.
Cabinets without face frames were popularized in
Europe after WWII. They were popular because materials
were in short supply and face frames were considered
expendable. A new hinge had to be developed to attach
the door to the inside of the cabinet.
Two types of hinges are used on cabinets traditional
face frame hinges and European style hinges.
Besides the wood color, type and door design, the
counter tops are the most noticeable feature in
the kitchen. Here is a list of the most common countertop:
Plastic laminate Built on site (e.g. Formica™,
Wilson Art™ etc.)
Post-Form laminate countertops
Ceramic tile counter tops
Solid surface countertops (e.g. Corian™,
Granite (real stone)
Fairly durable, unlimited designs and colors,
inexpensive, resists stains. Installed in a
|Can be damaged by sharp
objects, has inexpensive appearance.
||Fairly durable, inexpensive,
resists stains, installs in a half day.
||Limited colors and designs
can be damaged by sharp objects, has inexpensive
||Durable, Many colors and
styles to choose from, unique look.
||Labor intensive, takes a
couple of days to install, difficult to clean.
Grout is susceptible to staining.
||Durable, stain resistant,
looks similar to real stone, several color and
||Expensive (comparable to
real stone) template must be created and countertops
cut off site which takes a week or two.
||The Real thing, Feels solid
and looks expensive, and is durable, about the
same price as many solid surface countertops
||Expensive, template must
be created and countertops cut off site which
takes a couple of weeks, can stain.
Cabinets and counter tops are install after the
hard floor is installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Although the cabinets can be installed prior to
the flooring, we recommend that the flooring be
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