Thinking of remodeling?
Dreaming of the perfect kitchen? Regardless of whether you are doing a small remodel or a completely new kitchen design, everyone wants the perfect kitchen, after all it’s the heart of the home. You’ve seen the many many many television shows that are on now, you’ve flipped through magazines, you’ve spent hours on the Houzz and Pinterest sites, and you know what you want. Or, maybe you’re completely overwhelmed. You just know that you want something different, something better.
A little overwhelmed with the whole process. . .?
There are tons of choices to make and decisions to think through. Where do you start? And how do you make the best decisions?
From deciding you want a new kitchen to actually getting it. It’s sometimes hard to know how to get the ball rolling and navigate your way through all the decisions you need to make. That’s what the information here hopes to give you – the knowledge you need to make it happen.
Armed with information you can make educated decisions, work more effectively with design and cabinet builders even save yourself some money and more importantly frustration.
Start here. . .
I hope information here help you get your home, or your plan, from where it is now to where you want to be.
Step 1–Where Do I Begin?
Choosing kitchen cabinets is probably the biggest if not the most nerve-wracking decision you’ll make for your kitchen. Cabinets have the biggest impact and generally consume about half of the typical kitchen budget. They’re what you see when you walk in a kitchen and they and have a large influence on the whole “feel” of the room.
Looks aren’t the whole story however and with cabinets there is an element of ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’. That’s because they’re made with a variety of construction methods using several different materials for “good”, “better”, and “best”. Besides that, there are options to consider like full extension drawers, soft-close hinges and many others, these can have a big impact on the overall cost.
Since cabinets carry so much weight in your remodel you will want to be sure you know what you’re getting for your money. The best way to do that is to understand the differences in construction and materials and how those elements impact their quality and durability.
There is a lot more than choosing colors and door styles.
Lets start by answering a few questions:
What don’t you like about your current cabinets?
Pin down exactly what it is you dislike so that you can look for solutions to those issues in your new cabinets. Are there not enough drawers for your utensil near the stove? Do you have to walk all the way across the room to get to the trash can? What about those dark cabinet corners, do you wish you had pullout trays?
The more specific you can be about what it is you want to have or change, the more focused you’ll be about targeting the right options from the myriad of choices that are available.
How long do you plan on staying in the home – Is this remodel for reselling or is this your forever home?
This may determine the price you’re willing to pay as well as the level of customization, and quality of construction you want to build in. If you plan to stay in your home indefinitely, you may want to spend more of your budget on durable construction and materials. On the other hand, if you’re house flipping for a quick resale, you may want to limit your investment to a functional but more cost-effective cabinet style and construction.
What is the style of your home and your kitchen?
Do you want to stay with the existing style or do you want to change it?
How much stuff do you have?
Look at what you currently have on your countertops or in other places where you put things that you’d rather store away inside your cabinets.
What is most important to you – aesthetic appeal or durability and quality construction?
Let’s face it; all of the tv shows we see depicting kitchen cabinets never much talk about the quality of the cabinets, they focus on how they look, on the outside. Achieving your dream kitchen is a great goal but you all have to be realistic especially when there’s a budget. It may not be possible to afford high quality materials and construction as well as exotic woods and finishes. Allocate your money wisely between quality materials/construction and aesthetic items like door styles and finishes.
Step 2 -What Do I Need To Know?
You don’t need to be a kitchen designer or a cabinet maker to be an informed buyer. But understanding a few things can help you out.
It will help you to become familiar with these three things:
• Cabinet Terminology
• Differences between Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom cabinets
• Construction and Quality
There are only a few terms that will be helpful in talking with cabinet companies, the good ones will walk you through all of this anyways. The first is “overlay” all this means is how the doors overlap on the cabinet faces, in other words, is there a gap btw doors and drawers (1/2 overlay) or is everything flush like a sea of doors (full overlay). The next has to do with door style, this is called the door “profile”, there is an outside profile and an inside profile. And there are many to choose from once you get to that stage in your design.
Differences between Stock, Semi-Custom and Custom cabinets
One area that tends to get misunderstood involves the terms stock, semi-custom and custom. Contrary to what many people think, these terms are not related to the quality of cabinets but rather, how they’re manufactured. Here are the basic definitions:
• Stock – Stock cabinets are pre-manufactured in specific sizes, typically 3″ increments, with few if any options for
customization other than some limited choices the manufacturer might offer. They are off-the-shelf products in a limited range of styles.
• Semi-Custom – Semi-custom units are like stock in that they’re also pre-manufactured but come with a wider array of options and in more sizes than stock cabinets. With semi-custom you have some ability to pick and choose various details.
• Custom – Custom cabinets are built to the customer’s specifications, with no limitation on size, style choices, wood grade or finish. They are truly made-to-order.
Construction And Quality
The overall quality of kitchen cabinets is tied to their construction, – how they’re put together and the materials they’re made from. Pay attention to these key features, particularly if you expect to live with them for a long time. Parts of your cabinets, particularly the drawers and a trash pullout, take a lot of punishment so paying a bit extra for some added durability is a wise investment.
Key points to be aware of include the following:
• Materials – they include particle board, MDF (medium density fiberboard), plywood, solid wood, metal and laminate/melamine (the laminate or melamine is laid over the particle board or similar substrate).
• Construction – meaning the joinery and techniques used to assemble and support the cabinets. Structural braces: plastic, wood or metal. Methods of joinery : hot-glue, staples, nails, pocket screws, or even dovetails and dadoes.
• Hardware – drawer slides vary in quality (some use ball bearings whereas others use nylon wheels/rollers) and physical location on the drawer (side-mount or on the bottom) which affects available drawer space..
Step 3 -How Do I Determine How Much Cabinets Will Cost?
Industry statistics show that on average, cabinets make up approximately 50% of the kitchen budget which is also the largest percentage of overall expenditures for the kitchen. Using this as a guideline you’ll be able to determine what your allowance should be. So, if your kitchen remodeling budget is $25,000, expect to pay roughly $12,500 for cabinets.
Step 4 -So Many Brands – What’s Different About Them?
There are literally hundreds of cabinet producers and probably thousands when you include all the local and small-business cabinet makers. While there is skill and craftsmanship necessary to produce quality results, producing quality doesn’t necessarily require highly complex machinery or factory conditions. You can find a talented carpenter or local cabinetmaker with the ability to produce fine cabinetry.
Be sure to compare apple to apples:
• Materials – what are the Cabinets made of? There are a wide range of materials and finishes from solid wood and plywoods, to Fiberboard; and particle board.
• Options – Just like with cars, cabinet makers offer a varied array of options and price points. From dovetail drawers, soft-close hinges, and pullout trays.
Go out and look at some actual product. Visit a custom cabinet makers shop, ask questions. This way you’ll actually see the differences in methods of construction and quality. Compare them to the large commercial builders.
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