According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), nearly 8 million homeowners will be remodeling or completely renovating their kitchen this year. Kitchen cabinets are no longer just a box that you throw pots and pans in. With the variety of options and accessories that are available today, each cabinet can have a special function.
Add to that the extensive array of wood types, styles, and finishes. it is enough to confuse even the knowledgable homeowners. Here are 8 tips that I have put together over the years of remodeling and renovating homes. - Familiarize yourself with the industry terms and lingo The four most common terms you will hear when it comes to cabinets are rta (ready-to-assemble), stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets.
Each one has it's advantages and drawbacks, so it really comes down to your budget and what you are looking for. Ready-to-Assemble and Stock cabinets are the most economical, have the shortest lead times, and are starting to add more and more accessories to their lines. Custom cabinets are going to be the most expensive and have the longest lead times, but there is no limit to the sizes or custom details they can create. - Create customized storage solutions to meet your needs Regardless of which type of cabinets you decide to go with, you can still create customized storage solutions utilizing aftermarket kits and accessories.
Options such as full extension roll-out shelves, spice racks, and pantry organizers help you maximize your storage space while giving you easy access to the everyday items. Large drawers in base cabinets can hold pots, pans, and dry goods; they are as popular as pull-out recycling bins. Built-in open-storage systems like wine racks and china displays look great even when empty. - Choose the right style and finish for your kitchen Light-colored woods, oak and maple make your kitchen seem brighter and larger which is ideal for small spaces or kitchens with very little light. Darker woods like cherry and mahogany create a more dramatic, furniturelike effect. Even with RTA cabinets or stock cabinets, you can still get the custom look by utilizing features such as turned leg pieces that mimic the look of furniture.
Door trim kits for appliances can help tie a kitchen together visually, but always consult the appliance manufacturer to make sure they won't interfere with the units operation. - Don't be fooled by the finish Homeowners have a tendency to get so caught up with the exterior look of the cabinets, that they forget to ask about the cabinet box. The cabinet box is what holds everything together, so you want this to be as strong as possible. Look for cabinets that feature at least 1/2" inch-thick walls and structural rails that can be attached with screws to the wall studs.
There are a wide range of materials that are used to make cabinets, including medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB). While these materials will hold up to normal use, my personal choice is always going to be the cabinets that use plywood. It is less likely to be affected by moisture, sag, or pull apart.
High-quality cabinets have dovetail joints in the drawer boxes, and you will also have the option to match the interior finish to that of the exterior. - Be ready for the inevitable Even with the highest quality cabinets, it is inevitable that something is eventually going to break, whether it is down the road or before installation. When it comes to ordering your cabinets, always ensure that you give yourself some extra time between delivery and installation in the event that something is damaged or needs to be replaced (how much time would depend on whether they are stock cabinets that could easily be replaced or custom cabinets that would have to be remanufactured). Don't forget to unpack all of your cabinets before installing them to ensure you have received units of the correct size. Strange things happen when cabinets are shipped, so at least you will know early on if there's a problem.
Also make sure that the manufacturer or supplier can supply extra stain or replacement parts in the event something small needs to be fixed. - Use the right screws Drywall screws can snap under the heavy load of upper cabinets. Instead, attach cabinets to studs with 2 1/2"-inch deck screws fitted with cabinet washers. usually screw right through the support beams running horizontally across the top and bottom of the cabinets into the wall studs.
Join cabinets together to make a single unit and ensure tight seams between the face frames. - Don't try to install them without some help If you were to ask 20 experts whether you should install the base cabinets first, or the wall cabinets, 50% will tell you one thing, and 50% will tell you the opposite. Regardless of which way you decide, before you lift the wall cabinets into position, screw in a 1x3 cleat just below the layout line to help support their weight.
This is a two person job at the very least, but if you decide to go at it alone you should consider building a T-frame or using a cabinet jack to the cabinet in place while you attach it to the wall (if you need instructions on building a T-Frame, check out the resources section on my website) - Think Green and Recycle Just because you are replacing your cabinets, doesn't mean that they are useless, especially if they are in good condition. Think about re-using them in a garage or for extra storage in a laundry room or basement. Even if you can't use them, there are organizations and charities that will pick them up and take them away. So before taking the sledge hammer to your kitchen, try removing your cabinets and giving them new life somewhere else in your house or in someone elses house.
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