I am a remodeling expert that loves to build beautiful homes. I write about our beautiful place in Fairfax and the homes that I have help over the years.

freestanding cabinets

Back to the Future: Freestanding Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets today typically consist of fixed wall and base cabinets. These have finished fronts and sides, but any side that is not visible is often unfinished. This includes most of the sides, as the cabinets join end-to-end, leaving just one side on each end exposed. They also stand on their own legs, so they are seldom fixed to the floor.

Freestanding cabinets are different, as all sides, including the back, are finished. Popular during the 1950s, it has since made a comeback as more people are looking back to the past to improve their future. Here are some interesting things about freestanding cabinets.

A history of kitchen cabinets

prewar kitchen with freestanding cabinets
Prior to World War II, all kitchen cabinets were freestanding. People would make or buy freestanding cabinets and place them in different areas of the kitchen. The only fixed type of cabinet would be the one that held the sink, as the plumbing is not movable.

Wraparound metal cabinets became popular in the 1940 because the technology and materials were readily available due to wartime activities. This made it easy to produce postwar, much easier than making freestanding cabinets as these were made by hand and usually with wood. In other words, it was just more practical to make and buy this type of cabinets, so freestanding kitchen cabinets slowly and quietly faded from the picture.
By the 1950s, metal cabinets were no longer affordable, so homeowners began to choose mass-produced and affordable stock cabinets. They began to take more control over the design of their kitchens, and this meant readymade cabinets installed by contractors.

The old is now new

kitchen island
Freestanding cabinets were popular back in the day because it was convenient. When it was no longer so, new styles came into fashion. As kitchens became bigger, and homeowners more interested in everything retro, freestanding cabinets became more desirable.

In fact, freestanding cabinets are highly functional. Kitchen islands, for instance, are typically freestanding, and provide a lot of badly needed additional storage. Some homeowners even put kitchen islands to better use, putting in either the primary or secondary sink or cook top as well as additional workspace and eating area. Saving space and adding storage are always good ideas.

Don’t think that fixed cabinets are on their way out, however. Wall and base cabinets are still pretty much part of the modern kitchen, especially kitchens that do not have the space for freestanding cabinets on the perimeters. That said, freestanding cabinets still have its place, and cabinetmakers make it their business to have freestanding cabinets in various configurations available to clients. Since these are no longer handmade, they are much more affordable, and a definite choice many homeowners can make.

Freestanding cabinets do still tend to cost a bit more because the materials are ready for a show-ready finish on all sides. This is why many freestanding cabinets have solid wood on all sides, although laminated plywood and particleboard are also acceptable.
Should you choose freestanding cabinets for your kitchen? Consider the pros and cons.

Pros

Freestanding cabinets appeal to homeowners with an eye for the classic and traditional styles. However, the best thing about freestanding cabinets is most are moveable. With all sides finished, you can put them anywhere in the kitchen, or the house for that matter, and it will work. All you have to do is to choose countertops to match whatever room in which you plan to put them.

This also makes them much easier to install because it does not need to be. In most cases, you simply unpack them, and you can easily put several units together to form a whole in different considerations. You can even adjust the height of most freestanding cabinets by fiddling with the leg screws and using a level to make sure the top is straight. This is an obvious advantage if your floor is not completely true.
Cleaning freestanding cabinets is also much easier, even if they are a full-function island and fixed in place. You can go around them to clean each side, not missing any spot as you might with regular cabinets because they are stuck to the walls. The fact that they are usually on legs means you have a clear space underneath the cabinets, so you can clean it more thoroughly.

Cons

The real problem with freestanding cabinets today is that they tend to be a bit more expensive than regular base cabinets, and they are not available in the same range of designs and styles. That will probably change in the future as their popularity grows, but in the meantime, you have to work with what you have. You can choose to have them custom built, but that makes it even more expensive.
Freestanding cabinets also rest on the floor, although it can be base or tall cabinets. However, if you want wall cabinets, freestanding cabinets are not for you.

Conclusion

Quality might also be an issue, as some cabinetmakers produce poor quality cabinets. You have to make sure you get your cabinets, freestanding or otherwise, from a reputable supplier. Fairfax Kitchen Bath is the one for you in the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas.
We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from top-brand kitchen cabinets of all type materials to natural and engineered stone slabs. We carry products from Schrock Cabinetry, Fabuwood, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your RTA kitchen cabinets and other remodeling projects. We guarantee you will love it for life!

well lighted kitchen

Types of Lighting for Kitchen Upgrades

Upgrading a kitchen instead of a full remodel is a less expensive way to improve the home and its market value if budget is an issue. A good way to do that is to replace kitchen countertops with granite, marble, or quartz, or replace kitchen cabinets, or both. It might also pay to add new lights, which can dramatically change the look and character of the kitchen.

Quite a few options are available when it comes to lighting fixtures. Here are a few types of lighting for kitchen upgrades you might want to consider.

Under cabinet lights

under cabinet lighting
An easy and clever way to light up your kitchen is with under cabinet lighting. Wall cabinets often cast a shadow directly beneath them, an strong central lighting only makes it worse.

Under cabinet lights provide illumination for the kitchen countertops, making this a practical choice for additional lighting. Additionally, you can choose what areas you need to illuminate, and may not even need to put on the central lights, helping you save some money on utilities. This is especially true if you use LED lights.

Aside from these practical considerations, under cabinet lighting can bring out the best features of your granite, marble, or quartz countertops and blacksplashes. In some instances, it can even give your kitchen a dramatic ambiance.

The great thing about under cabinet lights is that you do not need a professional to install it for you. You can do it yourself if you choose one of the various LED light types available for this purpose. Of course, you can include this in your design when doing an upgrade, and mist contractors will not charge you extra to install them.

LED lights come in strips, ropes, and bars that you can simply stick to the underside of your wall cabinets, and plug into a regular socket. These LED light types are readily available from hardware stores and home depots in any length you need.

Floor lights

floor lights
Floor lights can be a bit like under cabinet lights but attach to the toe kick of base cabinets rather than the underside of wall cabinets. These are very dramatic, providing you with illumination at night and during parties. You can use any of the LED variants described above to achieve this effect.

Another type of floor light is those you install in the floor itself. You can put them in different areas of the kitchen, not just under the base cabinets. However, this does require the services of a professional remodeler, so expect to pay a hefty price for this upgrade. You might get a break if you are doing a kitchen remodel that includes replacing the floors, so definitely include it in your design.

Recessed lights

recessed lights in kitchen ceiling
Recessed lights, as the term implies, go into some surface. It could be the ceiling, floor, or walls, but it is usually in the ceilings. The main purpose of recessed lights is to provide lighting without getting in the way. What you get is a sleek, uncluttered look to your ceiling. These are particularly useful in kitchens with low ceilings.

Some people call these can lights because the housing of some variants resembles a can. However, since this is mostly out of sight, recessed lights are a more obvious term.

In most cases, you will need a professional to install these types of lighting, as it requires creating holes on the surface. You will also have to arrange for a power source, so you probably need an electrician as well.
Take note that since most of the light fixture is inside a surface, the light can only shine directly down, rather than down and out like with non-recessed lights. You will need to put several of them together to give off enough light to work.

Side lights

side lights on wall
One type of recessed light are sidelights, which are precisely like those that go into ceilings, but they typically go into walls. Sidelights provide a narrow area of illumination directly beneath it, so you will need a series of these lights in one area to get a good amount of light. Aside from the kitchen, which gives it an attractive light-washed look, sidelights also work well in hallways.

Tray ceiling lights

tray ceiling lights
Tray ceiling lights are also hidden, but they are different from recessed lights. These light bars or strips go into a type of ledge in the ceiling called an open soffit, providing indirect lighting to a room. This is a common lighting type in hotel lobbies, paired with larger central lights such as chandeliers.

When used in the kitchen, you can choose to put in a soffit in the center of the room, or all around the sides. A central soffit works if you have an open layout, while a perimeter soffit is appropriate for a closed off kitchen.
Tray lights give a look of elegance and luxury to any room, including the kitchen. However, it should not cost you too much with a little strategy.

Obviously, you will need a professional to put in tray lights if your kitchen does not have an existing soffit, because you will need to create a space for the tray lights. The best time to do this is during a remodel. However, if you have an existing soffit, you can put in your own tray lights using LED strips or bars.

Conclusion

Different lighting types can have varying effects on the kitchen, but it is an easy way to upgrade your kitchen. If you need professional help to do this, make sure you consider Fairfax Kitchen Bath if you are in the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas.
We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from top-brand kitchen cabinets of all type materials to natural and engineered stone slabs. We carry products from Schrock Cabinetry, Fabuwood, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor. We would be more than happy to advise and assist you in putting in better lights for your kitchen upgrade.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your RTA kitchen countertops, cabinets and other remodeling projects. We guarantee you will love it for life!

kitchen cabinets

A Comparison of Particleboard and Plywood Kitchen Cabinets

The importance of kitchen cabinets cannot be overstated, and neither is the amount of thought you need to put into choosing the right one for your kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinets take up a lot of visual and physical space, so you can be sure they will have a big impact on the look and function of your kitchen. Aside from style and design, which takes up a lot of decision juice right there, you also must think about the base material.

Traditionally, kitchen cabinets are solid wood, and they are very durable. However, those are expensive, and all solid wood cabinets are typically for bespoke or custom cabinets. You will rarely find them in mass-produced products such as ready-to-assemble, stock, and semi-custom models. These may come with solid wood, but only for the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

Generally, cabinet manufacturers turn out products where the cabinet boxes are plywood, particleboard, or a combination of the two. When deciding on the cabinets for your kitchen, you need to know which one works best for your needs. Here is a comparison of particleboard and plywood kitchen cabinets.

Particleboard

particle board cabinet
Particleboard, frequently called furniture board or pressboard, is a type of engineered wood meant to provide an alternative for solid wood. The composition of particleboard includes wood dust, shavings, chips mixed with polymer resin to bind them.

Manufacturers apply high pressure to the “press” them into a solid piece before putting it between two sheets of melamine and cutting them into standard 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. Melamine is a type of hard, durable plastic made from organic compounds that gives particleboard a smooth, paint-ready surface. Most melamine sheets are white, but they may also come in solid colors or mimic wood grain.

Once assembled, you can particleboard with a table, rotary, or hand saw into any shape and size you need to make furniture, hence the term furniture board. Cabinetmakers use it to make the shelves, frame, and box for cabinets as well as drawer boxes.

Modern particleboard is very durable and easy to use, but that was not always the case. When the product first came out in the 1960s, it was so flimsy that it fell apart very easily, especially when it got wet. This understandably led people to form a bad impression about particleboard and avoid it for their homes.

If you do decide to consider particleboard, you should know that manufacturers produce particleboard in several grades. Top brand cabinet brands use only furniture-grade board, which is dense and strong enough for use as furniture, including kitchen cabinets. The material allows a good grip on screws and does not typically contract or expand significantly with fluctuations in humidity and temperature. This is obviously an important characteristic for kitchen cabinets, where heat and humidity are a constant issue.

Plywood

plywood cabinet
Plywood is like particleboard in that it is a manmade wood product meant to replace solid wood in durable construction. However, the composition of plywood is slightly different. In place of loose wood detritus such as shavings and chips, plywood uses several pieces of very thin layers or plies of wood glued together in alternating orientations, and then cut into standard 4 by 8 feet boards.

Alternating the orientation of each ply makes the product stronger, although the number of plies is also a factor. Commercial ½-inch thick plywood, for example, could have between 9 and 13 plies, and a 9-ply piece would be less durable than a 13-ply one, all things being equal.
The best cabinet brands use only high-quality plywood to make the boxes and frames for the cabinets, and in some case use it for the doors as well. Plywood is generally stable, lighter than particleboard, and easier to cut and manipulate, which makes it a favorite with cabinetmakers. The only problem with plywood in relation to particleboard is that it is up to 20% more expensive.

You should understand this, because some cabinet brands stay competitive by using thinner plywood for their products. You need to check this to avoid ending up with an inferior set of cabinets. Cabinets using ½-inch plywood is fine, but if you paid for cabinets that should have 5/8 or ¾-inch thick plywood, you should get it.

Water damage is a real issue with plywood and particleboard, although particleboard absorbs water much more readily. Nevertheless, you want to make sure you protect cabinets made with either of these engineered woods from water exposure.

Conclusion

Overall, plywood tends to be a more durable material than particleboard, although the difference in price may offset that considerably. Plywood also mimics the look of solid wood more closely as it has a grain, so you can stain it. This is not possible with particleboard. On the other hand, you may not need a finish for particleboard because of the melamine cover.

If you have the budget for either material for kitchen cabinets, then your personal preference will decide the matter. What you do need to do in either option is to get kitchen cabinets from recognized brands (which also typically have the best warranties) from a reputable supplier.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath is the one for you in the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas.
We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products. We can advise you on the type of kitchen cabinets you need for your remodel or upgrade, as well as other remodeling concerns.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from top-brand kitchen cabinets of all type materials to natural and engineered stone slabs. We carry products from Schrock Cabinetry, Fabuwood, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your RTA kitchen cabinets and other remodeling projects. We guarantee you will love it for life!

bank of kitchen cabinets

How to Accessorize Kitchen Cabinets to Maximize Space

Storage is usually a premium in most kitchens, so kitchen cabinets are essential. The fact that nice looking kitchen cabinets add to the esthetic value of the kitchen is an added bonus. Its main function is to keep the tools, implements, and supplies in the kitchen organized and out of sight.

However, few homeowners can maximize the space provided in standard kitchen cabinets. The solution is to put in optional features on which reputable remodeling companies can advise you. To get you started, here are some ideas on how to accessorize kitchen cabinets to maximize space.

Drawer

3-stack drawers
Most people are not aware that drawers are accessories you need to specify when ordering your kitchen cabinets. You have to indicate how many drawer-cabinet combination and three-drawer stacks you want, and you use your kitchen design to guide you.
Drawers are versatile accessories for your kitchen cabinets, and few kitchens can function well without them. You pull them out and find almost anything you need at a glance if it is well organized.

You would typically store cutlery and smaller implements in top drawers, which are usually 6 inches in depth. If you have a drawer set of one top drawer and two lower drawers, which are 12 inches in depth each, you can also store pots and pans, bake ware, and small appliances in the lower drawers.

Putting in drawers is an excellent way to make your kitchen more efficient, mainly because they pull out and easy to access. They are also an attractive feature in the kitchen of any style.

Dividers

vertical divider
You have quite a few choices when it comes to the dimensions of your kitchen cabinets, but these are still standard. However, some of the stuff you use in the kitchen may not conform to these standard dimensions, so you need to divide the space in nonstandard ways to make the most of it.
For example, cookie sheets and trays are long and flat, and do not stack well in a cabinet or drawer for easy access. The best way to store them would be on their side so you can find and pull them out easily. Vertical dividers provide you with a way to store them in this way without falling all over the place every time you use one. The same principle applies for lids, cutting boards, drying racks, and the like.

In most cases, you can specify the number of vertical dividers you want for your cabinets when ordering them, or you can put them in afterwards. Vertical dividers typically go on the top end of tall cabinets, or in cabinets over refrigerators and other built-in appliances. You can also put them in cabinets between 9 and 12 inches in width, usually to fill in awkward spaces in the kitchen.

Spice pullouts

spice cabinets
Most kitchens have at least a few spice bottles, and they can be hard to keep organized in a cabinet or drawer for easy identification and access. If you have just a few spice bottles, an ordinary spice rack might be enough to satisfy your needs. However, if you have quite a few of them, you might want to invest in a spice pullout.

Several variants of the spice pullout are available. The most popular one is a tiered unit 12 inches wide, and slips snugly between the stove or cook top and a regular cabinet. Standard spice bottles slip into one of three or four shelves in a single layer, so it is easy to find what you need at a glance.

The spice pullout unit is a built-in accessory, so you would ideally order it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets. In many cases, the cabinet manufacturer can provide a matching front for the spice pullout unit so it blends in with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. It might be a good idea to have a pair of spice pullout units installed as they can also hold some smaller bottles of sauce and other cooking ingredients.

Corner units

corner cabinet with Lazy Susan
All kitchens have corners that present a dilemma for remodelers, as these are difficult spaces to use. Cabinet companies do offer corner cabinets that slip neatly into these spaces, but they are necessarily deeper and more difficult to access than standard cabinets. To get around this difficulty, you can opt for or add one or more of the following accessories:

Blind corner cabinets

Installers position these types of cabinets in the space where two rows of cabinets converge, partially blocking access to the contents. These cabinets are often equipped with shelves that swivel and/or pull-out to provide access to the contents.

Lazy Susan cabinets

Most people are familiar with this turning accessory for tables. However, in terms of kitchen cabinets, these are corner units, usually 36 inches in width, which turn 90 degrees when you push or pull on the door. Most Lazy Susan cabinets have two carousels that turn full circle to display its contents, usually supported by a central pole.

Corner drawers

These are special drawer with an L-shaped front, making it a good fit for corner areas. The angle may range from 39 to 45 degrees, and they may look a bit odd, but they do serve the same function as standard drawers.

Conclusion

These are just some of the more useful accessories available with your kitchen cabinets. Many more ingenious storage solutions are available that will make your kitchen all that much more efficient. Ask a reputable remodeling company in your area about these options.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We guarantee you will love it for life. We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs manufactured by leading brands in the industry. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in fabricating kitchen countertops to specifications, and installing them within budget and on time.
We carry the products you need for your kitchen renovation, including kitchen cabinets and accessories, sinks, faucets, natural and engineered stone slabs, shelves, tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring,. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.
Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote for a space efficient kitchen remodeling project!

kitchen with RTA cabinets

What You Should Know about RTA Kitchen Cabinets

Many homeowners take a kitchen-remodeling project very seriously, especially with their choice of kitchen cabinets. Cabinets represent a major investment, so they want to make sure they choose the right ones.

That said, it is perfectly possible to stretch your remodeling budget by choosing to ready-to-assemble or RTA kitchen cabinets without compromising quality and design. Many top cabinet brands such as Schrock, Forevermark, and Fabuwood carry RTA cabinets in many colors and styles.
RTA cabinets are generally more cost-effective than semi-custom or custom cabinets. This is not a reflection on the quality of the materials or construction, but rather a result of lower costs for shipping them. The come in convenient, flat packages that make it easy to transport large numbers of them at one time, and this savings trickle down to end users.

You may also realize additional savings with RTA kitchen cabinets, as they are relatively easy to assemble. If you have any DIY skills, you might even install them on your own. Of course, it always pays to have a pro do it for you, just to be on the safe side.
If you are still doubtful about the wisdom of choosing RTA kitchen cabinets for your home, here is what you should know about RTA kitchen cabinets.

Definition

RTA cabinet parts diagram
The ready-to-assemble of RTA cabinets is largely self-explanatory. The cabinets are broken down into sections so the manufacturers can lay them out flat. That said, you could easily assemble them because they should come complete in the box. You need to check these first thing to make sure everything is there.

You should see the panels that make up the door, box, and drawers (if any). These will all have the necessary holes predrilled, so all you have to do is line them up. The package should also include all the nuts, bolts, screws, hinges, rails, and plates you need to put them together as well as any pulls and knobs you chose.

Where to buy

showroom
RTA kitchen cabinets are easily available from big box stores and online stores. You simply choose the ones you like and they will deliver them to your home, usually with a small shipping fee.

However, you will probably have a smaller selection if you buy from big box stores because of limited space they tend to keep to just the most popular models. You can order from a catalog, but it may take some time before they get to you.
Space constraints are not a problem with online stores. However, you may not get what you expect in terms of quality and design. This is especially true if you choose the cheapest options, as these are often very poor quality.

You can minimize this risk by choosing from recognized brands, but there is always the problem of reliable after sales service in case you receive defective products, or they ship you something other than what you chose. Most online stores are not great at customer service, and the wait for reasonable action can take a while.

Your best bet is to get your kitchen cabinet from a local outfit and authorized distributor of these top brands with a showroom. You get to inspect the samples before you buy, and they are much easier to pin down when you need some assistance, before and after sales. It is even better to deal only with reputable companies such as Fairfax Kitchen Bath in Fairfax, Va. They will respond quickly to any issues you may have with your
RTA kitchen cabinets.

What to expect

types of RTA cabinets
You can expect to pay significantly less for RTA kitchen cabinets compared to semi-custom or custom cabinets because of mass production. This does not mean you should expect inferior quality, though.

While some RTA cabinets may be of poor quality materials, the same might be true for custom cabinets. It depends on where you get it. For good quality RTA cabinets, opt for ones from recognized brands. They might cost a bit more, but it will be a good investment as these often come with quality assurance seals and warranties.

Why cost varies

flat style RTA cabinets with white melamine
The price you pay for a set of RTA cabinets will depend on a few things you choose. These include the design, finish, hardware, and level of completion.

For the cheapest alternatives, opt for flat panel particleboard construction with a melamine finish that you can paint yourself. The most expensive ones may involve solid wood front panels in an inset style, plywood boxes, and a catalyzed lacquer finish. You might also pay more if your kitchen requires non-standard dimensions, and you opt for optional features such as crown moldings.

How suppliers estimate price

linear foot example
Generally, cabinet suppliers will give a cost estimate based on the area, usually in sets of wall and base cabinets. The supplier will measure the wall the cabinets will occupy in inches, and divide it by 12, so you will get a quote per linear foot.
For instance, if your wall is about 60 inches, this means 5 linear feet multiplied by the cost of the RTA cabinets you choose per linear foot. The unit price varies, but the minimum per linear foot is $250.

How to assemble

people assembling a cabinet or screwdriver
If you have all the parts you need, it is easy to assemble RTA kitchen cabinets. The pieces are clearly marked, and the holes are pre-drilled. Each package will come with a list of parts and assembly instructions, so if you follow this carefully, it should take you as little as half an hour to assemble one set.
For tools, you will probably just need a screwdriver, hammer, and glue. The hammer only becomes necessary if your kitchen cabinets use dowels for some areas.

Conclusion

Choosing RTA kitchen cabinets for your home is a good move in many respects as you can see from these facts about them. if you are still unsure, consult with a reliable remodeling contractor in your area for some advice. Fairfax Kitchen Bath is the one for you in the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas.

We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from top-brand kitchen cabinets of all type materials to natural and engineered stone slabs. We carry products from Schrock Cabinetry, Fabuwood, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your RTA kitchen cabinets and other remodeling projects. We guarantee you will love it for life!

new kitchen cabinets

Standard Dimensions of Kitchen Cabinets You Should Know

Kitchen cabinets are in all kitchens today, yet most people know next to nothing about the technical side of it. In most cases, it might not seem important to you when you think about replacing your kitchen cabinets. Your contractor or remodeling company will probably handle the details for you.

That said, it does help to have some idea of the standard dimensions for kitchen cabinets when planning a remodel. Kitchen cabinets have a big effect on design, and that means you need to know how much space you need for just the right amount of storage you want. This is especially true if you have custom cabinets and plan to put stock or RTA cabinets in its place.
Kitchen cabinets may be a base, wall, or tall cabinet. Here are the standard dimensions for each one of them.

Base kitchen cabinets

base cabinet diagram
No modern kitchen can function well without at least one set of base cabinets. Some kitchens may have open shelves in lieu of wall cabinets, and there is actually a trend in that. You can actually do the same with base cabinets, but a bare frame and support structure would not be ideal for most kitchens.

Base cabinets do the bulk of the work in the kitchens. Not only do they provide storage space, they also provide support for kitchen countertops and sinks, and framework for appliances. You can also only put kitchen drawers in base cabinets, usually top drawers that are 6 inches in height, or a set of three drawers, with the two bottom drawers about 12 inches each.
In many cases, they also house the plumbing and some of the electrical wires that powers your kitchen. They need to be quite sturdy to serve all these functions effectively.

Cabinetmakers typically make stock or RTA cabinets 34 ½ inches high from the floor. This does not include countertops, which is usually 1½ inches, raising the total height to about 36 inches. You also have to option to choose base cabinets with a top drawer, usually 6 inches in height, or a set of drawers, with a top rawer of 6 inches, and two bottom drawers of 12 inches each.

This is the recommended height for workspaces for most people, although you might need something a little higher or lower, depending on your own height. Fortunately, some cabinetmakers offer base cabinets ranging from 32 to 38 inches in height, including the countertop.
You should also not neglect the importance of toe kicks, which are the spaces provided by cabinetmakers at the bottom of the base cabinets to accommodate feet when working in close quarters on the countertop or stovetop. The standard height of a toe kick is 3½ inches and a depth of three inches. It slightly decreases the storage capacity of base cabinets, but they are often quite necessary. This is even more so when the kitchen user requires a wheelchair.

The width of base cabinets vary much more than the height as it may be anywhere between 12 and 48 inches. The width you should choose will depend largely on what you want to put in them. Narrower cabinets (between 12 and 24 inches) are filler cabinets, usually with pullouts, and ideal for storing cleaning supplies, spices, pots, and pans. To accommodate a sink, you need at least a 30-inch wide cabinet for a single sink and a 33-inch one for a double sink. Ultra-wide cabinets (48 inches) may be the ideal choice if you only have space for one set of cabinets. This will make the most of the space for storage.

While the height and width of base cabinets may vary, the depth is typically 24 inches. This makes most of the interior of the base cabinet accessible for most people. Any deeper and it would be hard to reach the contents at the very back.
Kitchen countertops will also have some effect on the depth. A typical countertop will push you out one or two inches away from the interior, making the effective depth between 25 and 26 inches.

Wall kitchen cabinets

wall cabinet diagram
Wall cabinets are lightweights in the kitchen. Because they have to hang on the wall, it cannot handle as much weight as base cabinets, which sit squarely on the floor. In most cases, you use wall cabinets for food, some kitchen tools, glasses, plates, and decorative items.
That said, wall cabinets tend to hog the limelight in terms of design because they are at eye level, serving as the focus of the room. This is the reason most people choose fancy wall cabinets and plain base cabinets.
Dimension wise, wall cabinets tend to vary much more than base cabinets. The ones you choose will depend on the height of your kitchen and the available wall space.

Standard kitchen ceiling heights is 8 feet (96 inches). Since the bottom of your wall cabinet should be at least 18 inches from the countertop, you need to add that to the height of your cabinet to find out the ideal height of your wall cabinet. For example, if you have a 36-inch high base cabinet, the maximum height of your wall cabinet is 42 inches if the kitchen floor-to-ceiling height of 8 feet.
Standard heights for wall cabinets are 12 inches (for going over wall ovens or microwave ovens) and 36 to 48 inches (for kitchens with higher-than-standard ceilings). The width is between 12 and 36 inches, although the standard is 30 inches, which might have one or two doors. The depth cannot be more than 24 inches to keep it accessible, but it can be as shallow as 12 inches.

Tall cabinets

pantry cabinet
Tall cabinets are great space savers if you do not mind giving up some countertop space. These are basically base cabinets that go from the floor to the ceiling.

They come in 84-inch and 96-inch variants, where the shorter ones allow for about 12 inches of open space at the top if you have a standard kitchen ceiling height. The 96-inch tall cabinet will have no such space. The width can be anywhere from 12 to 36 inches, while the depth is between 12 and 24 inches. The ones you choose will depend on your available space.
Most people use tall cabinets as a pantry or utility cabinet. You might want to choose a shallow cabinet (12 inches) for storing food, so that you can easily see what you have, although you can get deeper ones to make it more multi-purpose, and just use pullouts for foodstuff.

Conclusion

Knowing the standard dimensions of kitchen cabinets can help you choose the right ones for your kitchen design. Fairfax Kitchen Bath can help you love it for life as well.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in supplying and installing kitchen cabinets to specifications, in budget and on time.

We carry the products you need for your kitchen remodel, from cabinets to natural and engineered stone slabs, including shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only top brand products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.
Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your trendy kitchen remodeling project.

granite countertops

Using Granite Color Psychology in Kitchen Remodeling

Using Granite Color Psychology in Kitchen Remodeling

One of the biggest decisions you must make for kitchen remodeling is your color palette. This seems obvious, as the colors of your kitchen have a major impact on the design of your kitchen, and it is an excellent opportunity for you to express your personal style.
However, most people are not aware that colors have a significant psychological impact. Since you will probably want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you want to make sure it affects you in a positive way. Choosing the right colors can be quite challenging, as it is tempting to go with what happens to be trending in kitchen now. You can do this, certainly, but you must be careful. You will have to live with your choices for a long time.

If you want granite countertops, many people use this as a jumping point for this, choosing the cabinet colors, appliances, tiles, wall paint, and fixtures to either match or complement them. Fortunately, granite comes in a wide variety of color combinations, and this gives you some flexibility in your color palette. You can go with the dominant color or choose to tease out the subtle highlights. The point is to choose granite colors that will put you in a good mood.

Important notes

The psychology of color works for most people, but there are deviations. The effects can vary from person to person, depending on their life experiences and peculiarities. For example, red is usually a high-energy color, but it may have a depressing effect on people with red-green color blindness, who might see the reds as dark blues.

The classifications below are only a guide to psychological effects of basic colors as it affects most people. Use your own reactions to colors to help you decide if you are the norm or the exception. Look through design magazines and sites to help you identify colors that please you. This can help you decide on the granite colors you will choose.
Once you have established the colors you want, strive to keep your color palette down to less than four colors. This will make your kitchen design cohesive.

Granite color psychology

Granite comes in a wide variety of colors, and the color combinations can be quite extensive. However, due to its composition, some colors are much more prevalent than others are. You will find below a description of the typical effects of these colors.

Gray

kitchen with gray countertops
The most recognizable granite color is gray, and as a neutral color, it is very popular with interior designer. In terms of psychology, gray tends to reflect existing personalities. The strength of this effect will depend on the shade of gray, of which there are far more than 50. Lighter grays tend to be more reflective than darker ones.
If you have a managing disposition, gray tends to make you feel more authoritative. If you are a happy person, it makes you even more so. On the flip side, if you tend to be morose, gray will make you feel glummer.

Brown

kitchen with blue-streaked granite

Another common color in granite is brown. This is particularly ideal in rustic or country kitchen styles because it goes well with many wood species for kitchen cabinets.
As with gray, shades come in a large variety of shades. Generally, brown induces a sense of warmth, reliability and dependability. Lighter browns emphasize nature and resilience, and medium browns a sense of sophistication. However, darker browns tend to look brooding, and a predominantly brown kitchen in darker shades can easily feel isolated, so it is important to lighten it with other colors.

Yellow

kitchen with yellowish granite countertops
Yellow evokes happiness, as most people associate it with daytime and smiles. Some studies suggest t purifies the body and stimulates nerves.
Yellow has a lighthearted energy that uplifts the spirits. In small doses, yellow is an excellent choice for kitchens with little or no natural light. However, stronger shades of yellow can also be too bright for most people. It stimulates rage in some people when in large quantities. Fortunately, solid yellow granite is very rare, so you are most likely to find predominantly yellow granite with a judicious sprinkling of other, less enraging colors.

Red

kitchen with reddish granite countertops
Red tends to be exciting and dramatic. If you want to make sure people remember your kitchen, this is a good color choice.
However, unadulterated red may not be very comfortable. The intensity of this color raises the blood pressure of most people, and induces quicker breathing, so too much red might not be a good idea in a kitchen.
If you want to raise the energy level in your room without passing out, choose red granite with black veins or streaks to keep it to an even keel. This color combination is interesting ad elegant, especially with the right light.

Blue

kitchen with blue-streaked granite
Blue is rather rare in true granite, but if you find one you like, know that it will have a calming and relaxing effect in your kitchen. Blue keeps your blood pressure low and breathing and pulse rates slow. This effect will depend on the shade of blue, with the medium blues having the most impact.

However, lighter blues tend to feel stark and cold, while darker blues evoke feelings of sadness. You can counteract these negative effects by choosing blue granite interspersed warm browns, golden yellows, and sparkling white.

Conclusion

The granite color you choose for your kitchen can affect your mood and health, so make sure you consider the psychological effects. This guide can help you make that choice, but only as far as it conforms to your own reactions to certain colors. You can do that in a practical manner by visiting the showroom of a reliable remodeling contractor and looking through available granite slabs.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.

We guarantee you will love it for life.
When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We specialize in kitchen remodeling and carry the products you need, including natural and engineered stone slabs, sinks, faucets, shelves, tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, hardwood flooring, and cabinets. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen renovation needs, manufactured by leading brands in the industry. Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote and design consultation for your kitchen upgrade!

traditional kitchen with nice cabinets

Factors to Consider when Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Factors to Consider when Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

There is more to kitchen cabinets than most people know, and quite a few would not really care. However, when choosing them for a kitchen upgrade, you do need to know at least enough to make an informed decision. So many options are available that you might find yourself floundering in it if you do not how to whittle them down to just a few candidates to fit your needs.

The differences in cabinet styles and designs are slight, but significant. If you have no idea what you are looking for, you may not even realize their impact before it is too late. This is particularly crucial if you tend to follow design trends, because kitchen cabinets last a long time. If a trend is fatally unsuitable for your needs, then you are stuck. On the other hand, if you have a handle on the situation, you will be more discerning over whether to follow a trend or not.

You need to list down your priorities. Do you need something that will maximize storage space? Is form more important than function? What dimensions do you need? How much space do you have? What is the budget? If you can answer a couple of these questions, you are well on your way to making the right choices. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing kitchen cabinets.

Box style

Cabinets are primarily a box with a door, so the style of the box boils down to whether it has frames or no. Frames are strips of wood on the face of the box that provide some support for the box itself as well as the door.

Framed

framed cabinets
As you have probably guessed, framed cabinets have frames. The strips of wood forming the frame or face are 1½ inches in width, and this is where you attach the hinges of the door. The strips on the sides are the stiles, and the top and bottom strips are the rails.
The frame usually attaches to the outside of the box, so it impedes access to the inside a little bit. However, the frame (and the center stile if you have adjoining cabinets) makes the cabinets very sturdy. It also makes it more versatile because you can choose one of three types of doors.

In most cases, you may see part of the frame after attaching the door. This is the reveal, which can be partial or total. A partial reveal results with a partial overlay door, which has gaps between the doors. If you choose an inset cabinet door, which fits precisely inside the frame, the reveal is total. If you do not want any reveal, choose full overlay doors.
Framed cabinets are an American style of cabinet, and appropriate for country, rustic, or traditional kitchens.

Frameless

frameless cabinets
Frameless cabinets have no frames, so the door necessarily attaches to the side wall of the box itself using concealed hinges. The absence of frames and center stile provides more access to the contents of the cabinets as well as a bit more storage.
However, since there is no frame, the door can only be a full overlay or inset. Partial overlay doors are not suitable for this type of cabinet. It is also not as sturdy as framed cabinets.
This cabinet type is a European style, but it has become quite popular in the US as well. It is appropriate for contemporary or modern kitchens with its clean and seamless lines.

Fabrication

Making cabinets requires considerable skill and time, and very few people today have enough of either to make their own for their homes. As such, you turn to cabinetmakers to do it for you. You have a choice of standard, semi-custom, and custom cabinets.

Standard cabinets

Wolf Classic cabinets
Cabinetmakers mass-produce cabinets in standard sizes and configurations. These are either stock (preassembled) or ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets that you can find in retail stores and cabinet suppliers. You can simply drive to one of these establishments, pick one out, and bring them home with you. Standard cabinets are the most inexpensive type of cabinets today, and they are easily available.
The problem with standard cabinets is you have to pick from a set of fixed sizes and configurations. This might work with most kitchens, but not always. If you have very limited space with non-standard dimensions, you might not be able to maximize it.

You also must be careful when choosing standard prefab cabinets as some are of very poor quality. If you want to make the most out of your investment with standard cabinets, stick with known cabinet brands such as Wolf Classic Cabinets, which has a 5-year limited warranty against material and manufacturing defects.

Semi-custom cabinets

Echelon semi-custom cabinets
Semi-custom cabinets are also prefabricated, but they have some degree of customizability in terms of sizes, configurations, styles, and colors. The extent of this customization will depend on the manufacturer. Semi-custom cabinets are more expensive than standard ones, but not as much as custom cabinets. You should consider them if you have special needs for your kitchen.

Custom cabinets

Shrock cabinets
Custom cabinets are definitely a great idea for making the most of your space. It is also the ideal choice to make your kitchen unique, as these will follow your specifications. However, custom cabinets are quite expensive, so you need to be ready for a big bill. That said, they are worth it if you can afford it.

Quality

diagram of cabinet parts
The best way to ensure you choose the right cabinets for you is to go to a dealer’s showroom and see what they have to offer. Most remodeling companies will have samples of the products they sell, so this is a good opportunity to get up and personal with them. Keep in mind the following when inspecting the samples:

Doors

The door construction will give you a good idea of the overall quality of the cabinet brand. See if the panels that make up the door “float.” This means the panels fit into grooves that allow them some room when the wood contracts or expands over time. If they come together with glue, that is not a good sign. A couple of months in fluctuating weather can cause the wood to crack if they are not floating panels.

Hinges

The hinges need to be good quality, or you will need to replace them after just a few months of regular use. You want them to be the adjustable type, in case you need to do some tweaking for proper alignment. Soft-close hinges are also ideal, but not essential.

Drawer support

In most cases, you will want some drawers to go with your kitchen cabinets. Make a point of inspecting the position of the support slides. You want to see side-mounted slides rather than bottom-mounted ones, as these are sturdier.

Wood

different types of cabinet materials
Kitchen cabinets come in many wood species, and all of them are great. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the one for you. Note that most kitchen cabinets have solid wood on the doors and frames, but not the cabinet box. This is usually some type of wood composite with a laminate or veneer.

Cherry

hardy and looks well with wood species

Maple

appropriate for any type of kitchen, which makes it particularly popular

Oak

extremely durable, available in light and dark varieties

Pine

a softwood, so it is not as tough as cherry or oak, but it looks great for country and rustic style kitchens

Conclusion

Choosing kitchen cabinets is not that difficult if you keep these factors in mind. You do need a reliable remodeling company to source and install them for you, however. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love it for life. We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, including custom and RTA cabinets in different finishes, manufactured by leading brands in the industry.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in carrying out kitchen remodeling projects within budget and on time.

We carry the products you need for your kitchen renovation, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.
You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your kitchen remodeling project.

quartz countertops

Facts about Quartz Countertops for Kitchen Remodeling

Facts about Quartz Countertops for Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen remodeling typically includes replacing kitchen countertops, and that can be a problem for many homeowners. Many excellent options are available for kitchen countertops, ranging from inexpensive ceramic tiles to stainless steel. Choosing one is crucial for a successful kitchen remodel as it can greatly affect the look and function of the kitchen.

One of the most popular options today is quartz countertops. Quartz stone has only been in the market for a few decades, and has only become a go-to material in last five years or so. Some people are still doubtful about choosing it, as quartz countertops are typically more expensive than granite, and they are not available for DIY enthusiasts. Nevertheless, there are very good reasons why quart countertops should be in your short list for your kitchen countertops. Here are some facts about quartz countertops for kitchen remodeling.

The basics

Marcello Toncelli
Quartz stone for kitchen countertops is an engineered stone, which is another way of saying it is a manmade material. Some homeowners dismiss it for this fact alone, preferring only natural materials in their kitchens. If you are not of this tribe, then you should read on.
Quartz stone or engineered quartz is just one of many types of manmade stones. The reason for the name is that the primary component of this type of stone is natural quartz materials such as dust, chips, and pebbles. Manufacturers add in resins to bind the quartz pieces as well as pigments to give it color and design.

Initially, manufacturers created quartz stone that mimicked the look of natural stones, specifically granite and marble. They promoted it as the better alternative to natural stones, and they are correct in some ways, although it does have its drawbacks, such as its cost and tendency to fade under direct sunlight.

Nevertheless, quartz stone is an intriguing option for many homeowners. It is available in a extensive range of styles under different brands, each with unique colors, designs, and features. Each manufacturer says they are better than their competitors are, and this may be true. However, they do have one thing in common: they use the same technology.

The method used to make engineered quartz is Bretonstone, a patented process owned by Italy-based company Breton S.p.a. Company owner Marcello Toncelli invented this process in the late 1960s, and began licensing companies internationally to use the method to produce their own brands. Currently, over 50 companies can legally make quartz stone using the Bretonstone process. These companies include the top brands that currently offer quartz countertops to American homes.

Other things that quartz stone brands have in common include:

• A minimum content of 90% quartz materials

• Little or no contamination of softer minerals and other impurities due to the Bretonstone process, making it more durable than natural quartz or granite, which may contain these softer materials

• Non-porous, with an water absorption rate of 0.5%; this is comparable to porcelain tile

• Quartz component can stand heat up to 360 degrees; however, the resins and pigments are not heat resistant at all

• Edge treatments are manufactured rather than fabricated, as with natural stones

As mentioned earlier, quartz stone brands are distinguishable from each other, primarily due to differences in design. Each brand may patent a certain color, or lay claim to a certain shape, size, and population of streaks, striations, and other coloration. Some brands deliberately include “impurities” such as sparkly components and recycled materials. Some offer unusual texture options.

Another definite distinction between quartz stone brands is the warranty. Each one will offer different length, coverage, or conditions in their product warranties. Some would offer limited lifetime warranties, while others will offer shorter, but more flexible ones.
Other differences between brands are the size of the slabs and the price structures. Some brands will offer longer or thicker slabs, depending on the requirements of the client. Most manufacturers will not sell directly to end-users, so you will have to find an authorized retailer to make your needs known. This may have an impact on the overall price, as some manufacturers may have price structures that allow retailers to negotiate lower prices for some of their customers, while others may not.

Quartz brands

Now that you have a general idea of quartz stones, here is a brief description of some of the top brands available in the US. This should help you choose one for your needs.

Silestone

Silestone countertops
One of the most recognizable brands of quartz stone in the US is Silestone. A subsidiary of Italy-based based Grupo Cosentino S.L., Silestone has a wide range of bold and vibrant quartz stone designs unique to the brand, and one of the first quartz stone companies to produce slabs that are definitely manmade as they do not mimic natural stones.

Currently, the company produces quart stone in 142 colors, available on demand in your preferred one of three thicknesses and of 15 edge treatments. Silestone includes a line of vanities, sinks, and shower pans to match their quartz stone lines. The warranty is transferable in a limited fashion over 25 years.

Caesarstone

Caesarstone countertops
Claiming to be the “original quartz surface manufacturer,” Caesarstone is one of the first quartz stone companies to offer its products to the residential market. Technically, however, it is not the original manufacturer, as that honor goes to Breton S.p.a., which also produces its own line of quartz stones.

The Israel-based company began manufacturing in 1987, and has factories in the Bar Lev Industrial Zone and the Kibbutz Sdot Yam. Traditionally, these areas were famous for terrazzo tile, which has since declined in popularity.
Caesarstone quartz stones are distinct for the inclusion of semi-precious gems and wood in so of its product lines such as the Concetto. It also offers unusual textures for the artistic homeowner, including crocodile skin and lace.
Among your options with Caesarstone are 53 designs with your choice of eight edge treatments, three textures, and two thicknesses. You have a lifetime warranty, and you can transfer ownership, but on a pro-rata basis of 10 years.

Cambria

Cambria countertops
Cambria is the only quartz stone manufacturer based in the US. It started out in the unrelated dairy business in 1936, an important supplier in Minnesota for dairy products. It only began producing quartz stones in 2000 when it assigned 150,000 square feet of space for its manufacture. It has since expanded to three times that space as it gained popularity in the residential market.
Currently, Cambria has one of the largest numbers of options for quartz countertops with 133 designs and 19 edge styles. You can ask for one of three textures and three thicknesses. Cambria offers a lifetime, no-transferable limited warranty.

Conclusion

Quartz stones are definitely an excellent option for your kitchen remodeling, although it is not the only one. To help you decide, you need to consult with professional remodelers. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love you new kitchen for life.
Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products. Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in carrying out kitchen remodeling projects within budget and on time.
Contact us today to get a free quote for your kitchen remodeling project.

kitchen cabinets

What You Should Know about Kitchen Cabinets

What You Should Know about Kitchen Cabinets

Most people take their kitchen cabinets for granted until they have to pick out new ones. Aside from color and style, you need to make sure they are going to be functional and last for a long time. That requires a bit of knowledge about cabinets in general. It sounds like a bore, but it is essential because new kitchen cabinets are a major investment. Here is what you should know about kitchen cabinets.

Box and frames

cabinet box diagram
Kitchen cabinets are nothing more than boxes with an opening on one side covered by a door. The difference from a good cabinet from a bad one is the material used for the box itself and the frames, if any, and the construction.

Material

Most modern cabinets today use wood composites rather than solid wood for the box and frame, mainly as a cost consideration. Wood composites are not as durable as solid wood, but they can last for a long time with reasonable care. Some cabinetmakers use solid wood for the face frames of higher-end models of framed cabinets, but the cost difference can be considerable.

Wood composites include medium density fiberboard or MDF, particleboard, and plywood. These materials do not have the graining of solid wood, which is why cabinetmakers apply some type of veneer or lamination over the box surfaces and face frames to simulate the look of wood. However, since cabinet boxes are out of sight, a layer of point or perhaps a thermofoil cover is a more durable, albeit less “woodsy” option.

Stainless steel is one option you can consider for cabinet boxes if you have an industrial-style kitchen. They are extremely tough and not vulnerable to the usual problems associated with all-wood cabinets, unless you have a wooden door. However, stainless steel cabinets are pricey, and if you have steel doors as well, you will have to wipe it continually for fingerprints.

Construction

The key thing about construction with regard to the box and frame is in the reinforcement, which maintains the shape of the cabinet box. This is the case for wood box and frames, not stainless steel.

Cabinetmakers use a variety of methods in reinforcing cabinet boxes. One of these is securing the corners with plastic, word composites, or solid wood triangular brackets or braces. Another method is the use of a beam brace slipped into a trench, also called a dado slot, made along the back panel or the length of the inner portion of the side panels. Both these methods are excellent ones for fixing the shape of the box.
If you see adhesive instead of these support features keeping the panels together, you run the risk of damaging the wood. Adhesive does not allow the wood any type of movement, which can cause the wood to crack as it naturally expands and contracts with changes in the temperature.

Doors

different cabinet doors
Cabinet boxes and frames are just one part of the equation, however. The doors are the other part, which turns open shelves into cabinets. Here are some key points about materials and construction of different cabinet doors.

Material

Most cabinetmakers offer a selection of cabinet door styles in solid wood to cater to people that want the natural beauty of wood and are willing to pay a premium for them. However, budget conscious homeowners also have the option of getting them in less expensive wood composites, which are still attractive.

The most popular alternate material to solid wood for cabinet doors is MDF. This is due to its flexibility as a construction material. MDF cuts and finishes in similar ways to solid wood, with the exception of staining because it has no grain. This is otherwise with particleboard, which would chip and fray. If you put good quality wood-type veneer or laminate on MDF, it would look a lot like solid wood.

Construction

Cabinet doors come in slab or frame styles. A slab is a solid front of wood or wood composite. The slab may be a single piece of material, or several pieces glued together. If made from wood composite, cabinetmakers usually covers it with a veneer, laminate, or themofoil layer to hide the lack of a grain.

A frame door typically has separate pieces for the outer frame and the center panel, which may be slightly above (raised) or flush to the outer frame. It is not a good sign of the quality if there is adhesive keeping the center panel in place. Putting these panels together usually involves a slot along the inside of the frame into which the center panel fits, although not too tightly. This is to allow for some room for the wood to expand.

Shelves

(cabinet shelf parts diagram
Shelves are not a necessary part of kitchen cabinets, especially if the cabinets are quite short. However, their presence in cabinets that are more than a foot high increases the storage capacity as well as the structural integrity. However, you still need to make sure the shelves are durable and properly constructed to maximize your investment.

Material

Shelves are usually the same material as the cabinet box, so it may be solid wood or wood composite, and between ½ and ¾ inches thick. If you have a wide cabinet, make sure the shelves are on the thicker side, as thinner shelves tend to sag when they are too wide. The shelves should have a smooth finish or some type of covering such as a wood veneer or laminate to protect the material and make it easy to clean.

Construction

As with cabinet boxes, the key to durable shelves is in the reinforcement method. You want a shelf with some type of reinforcement, such as a strip or rail of wood about ½-inch in depth that runs the length of its underside. This is to ensure the serviceability of your shelves over time and to prevent sagging even under heavy loads. You will usually see this in custom cabinets and good quality ready-to-assemble (RTA) or stock cabinets.

Conclusion

These are basic things you should know when choosing new kitchen cabinets. This knowledge can help maximize your investment for a long time. You can consult with a reliable remodeling contractor for specific concerns about kitchen cabinets. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love it for life. We sell only top quality kitchen cabinets such as Schrock Cabinetry and other products manufactured by leading brands in the industry.
Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in supplying and installing kitchen cabinets to specifications, and installing them into your kitchen within budget and on time.

We also carry other products you need for your kitchen remodel, including natural stone and engineered stone slabs, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.
Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your inspired kitchen remodeling project.