How long before I get new cabinets?
The length of time between ordering and receiving the cabinets vary by manufacturer, based on their production flow and the number of orders. For example, if they are running a promotion, often the lead times are longer. In general, cabinets take 4-6 weeks to arrive at our showroom. When they arrive, we call you to schedule the installation. (Never tear anything out until you have the replacements in hand!)
What are frameless cabinets?
Framed or frameless refers to the way the front of the cabinet box is made. “Framed” cabinets have the appearance of a picture frame around the opening that you see when you open the cabinet door. This is traditional, and some say dressier, appearance than the “frameless”. Frameless cabinets are sometimes called “European style” because they are used frequently there. They are considered more contemporary and do not have the picture frame look. They are also referred to as “full access” because there is no frame around the opening, thus giving you more access to the cabinet.
How important is it to have plywood cabinets?
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the differences between plywood and particleboard, and which will be the most durable when used to make a cabinet box. Many companies advertise an “all wood” or plywood kitchen, when in fact the only parts made out of wood are the face frame, the drawer front, and (sometimes) the door.
Plywood is made by layering thin layers of wood, with each new layer (ply) placed with the grain going in the opposite direction than the one next to it. These layers are glued together and pressed. The very outer layer will have a layer of paper-thin veneer of the wood species (maple, cherry, oak, maple, etc.) chosen for the cabinet. These plys will remain stable forever in small-sized parts such as in the construction of a cabinet box. However, some grades of plywood come apart (delaminate) quite easily. It all depends on the grade, the glue, and the pressure that was used to produce it.
Particleboard isn't any less "all wood" than plywood is. It's just smaller particles (thus the origination of the name) versus thin sheets/layers of veneers. In a flood situation, plywood is not any more resistant to moisture damage than is particle board. Also, in high humid areas such as Florida, plywood can shrink and swell depending on how consistent the humidity level is in your home. (That is why almost all crown molding and doors are not made of wood, but rather a composite.)
The little round tables you buy in the big box stores are made with much lower pressure particle board and will fall apart rather easily. Industrial furniture grade particleboard is what today's cabinets are made from, and it is made from much better glues and with much higher pressures to set it. It's actually much more "all wood" than plywood, and is therefore much heavier than plywood. It is just as durable as plywood if the proper construction techniques are used for each type of material. There isn't a detectible difference to the end product at all once it's installed, and the warranties are the same.
If you’re on a tight budget and your first area of concern when shopping for cabinets is making sure they are made of wood, consider doing some research on cabinetry. If you don't, you will be susceptible to the sales pitch of every company that sells imported Chinese cabinetry. These companies have been doing quite well over the last few years by selling low-end cabinetry at very high-profit margins. They take advantage of unknowing consumers by hyping up the superiority of real wood cabinets versus cabinetry that uses any type of composite construction such as particleboard or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) construction. Chinese plywood is not the same quality as American plywood!
So what are the advantages of a particle board box? It's usually about 10-20% less expensive in most American made cabinet lines. These savings can allow you to get that door style and finish you really want without having to sacrifice quality and design options.
Our company offers only American made cabinets with both plywood and particle board construction options, so it’s all a matter of your budget and preference. In our opinion, upgrading to plywood is money that could be better spent on organizational conveniences (such as roll-out shelves, cutlery dividers, trash pull-outs, etc.) that will make a difference in how you live!
What's the difference between standard overlay and full overlay doors?
When choosing your door style, you’ll want to consider the overlay of the door. Overlays affect how much of the cabinet frame shows and can change the appearance of your cabinetry. In either case, the size of the cabinet box is the same. The difference in overlay impacts the size of the doors and drawer fronts.
STANDARD OVERLAY DOOR
Cabinetry designed with standard overlay doors and drawer fronts leaves 1.5-2” of the cabinet frame exposed between the doors, creating a more casual look. Many “builder boxes” are made this way, and are less expensive because there is less material in the doors and drawer fronts.
FULL OVERLAY DOOR
A full overlay door style means that there is very little cabinet frame showing around each door and drawer front, creating a dressier, seamless appearance.
Should I reface or replace my cabinetry? There are a few issues to consider when deciding whether to reface or replace your cabinetry.
Boxes: If your cabinet boxes are not in good condition, replacing the cabinets is recommended. If they are in good condition, refacing may be the most economical choice.
Damage: If you suspect that you have water damage and/or mold behind or underneath your cabinetry, the cabinets should be torn out to address the problem and the cabinets replaced.
Countertop: If you are not replacing your countertop you should reface your cabinets. There is no guarantee that the top will not be damaged while removing it, and it is very costly and perhaps impossible to repair.
Mess: Refacing will eliminate the mess of tearing out the existing cabinets, but will still require removing much or all of the contents of the cabinets.
Timing: We can usually do the refacing project sooner since we aren’t waiting on cabinets to be made, but the time actually in your house or office will be about the same to do the reface as it is to remove the existing and install the new cabinets.
Cost: Decisions about replacing hinges, hardware, drawer boxes, and glides, and adding accessories such as roll-out shelves, etc., will also impact the cost and can be done with both refacing and replacing.
Getting quotes for both refacing and replacing is a wise choice, as the labor to reface can be almost as much as getting all new cabinetry. With either choice, you can choose a whole new look with wood, color, door style, etc., and make it your dream come true!
When selecting your wood species, choose one that is in sync with your life — the drama of varied hickory grains, the reassuring hues of cherry, or the durable comfort of oak. Look at how distinct/noticeable the grain is, the pattern (lines, curves, etc.) of it, and the base color. All of these characteristics come together to give you an overall impression when you see your cabinetry and will impact the color of the stain.
Color is a very consistent light brown with a reddish tint
Straight and curved grain pattern
Lightens with age, reds diminishing and shifting toward a soft yellow
Finishes smoothly and takes stain well, absorbing more stain at the end grain because of its porous nature
Colors range from creamy vanilla to deep, rich red
Darkens with age, mellowing to reddish-brown with a golden luster
Elegant, flowing curved grain
Fine, uniform, smooth texture
Good shock and dent resistance
Excellent finishing qualities because of its uniform texture
Color ranges from cream to light reddish-brown
Light, creamy brown color accentuates mineral streaks and color variations
Color will take on a golden hue with age
Fine and uniform texture
Extremely durable, strong and stiff with excellent resistance to shock, dents, abrasion, and indentation
Uniform texture and tight grain make it excellent for stains and paints
Color that varies from rich wheat to warm yellow and rich reddish-brown
Medium-coarse to coarse texture
Straight prominent open grain distinguished by rays that reflect light and may vary from sweeping arches to tight grain patterns
Very high dent and shock resistance
Responds well to a wide range of finish tone
Quarter Sawn Red Oak
Harvested from northern red oak by a special sawing process, with boards cut along the radius of the log
Appears darker than regular oak due to the tight grain
Reduces twisting, warping, and cupping
Color varies dramatically from white sapwood to near-black heartwood, sometimes with inconspicuous fine brown lines
Use of both sapwood and heartwood provides striking contrasts called “calico”.
Generally fine and straight-grained, but may also have flowing variations in grain.
Course and even texture
Extremely tough and resilient
Stains and finishes well with natural grain pattern accentuated by medium to dark finishes
Bamboo is much denser and stronger than hardwoods, making it a renewable resource.
Fine, even grain
These fine wood species have the added character given them by the random size, quality, and placement of knots within the wood.
Knots will vary in size, quantity, and placement.
Effects of Moisture in Cabinets
Any solid wood, or wood components, will expand or contract with changing moisture and climate conditions. All wood, when exposed to air, will release or pick up moisture until it is in equilibrium with the humidity and temperature of the climate. (Picture a kitchen sponge that swells as it absorbs water and then dries out again).
Wood products located in humid climates (such as coastal communities) are especially susceptible to expansion. As humidity levels increase wood products will expand due to extra moisture in the air.
In low humidity conditions (such as well air-conditioned homes), wood will release moisture and shrink or contract in size. In a dry climate, (or in a home that does not have a humidifier in the winter months) wood will shrink, exposing gaps at the joints where wood is trying to contract. This may result in the appearance of an unfinished line along with the center panel. Cabinet manufacturers do not consider this a defect and will not replace doors due to this situation.
As wood expands or contracts due to moisture content, it does not shrink or swell equally in all directions. Note that just because wood is finished with a stain and topcoat, it is not immune to moisture. Cabinets will still take in moisture through contact with liquid or absorption from the air.
Preventing Humidity Problems
Air conditioning, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers can help maintain satisfactory levels of moisture in a home. Using a hygrometer will make it easy to check the humidity level. (Hygrometers can be purchased at a hardware store.) The recommended range is between 35% and 45% humidity.
The density of wood affects how much, or how little, wood expands or contracts. Some door styles may be better suited for homes that are located in areas that are more susceptible to humidity issues. Vacation homes should maintain climate control when not in use. In an uncontrolled environment, wood is a dimensionally unstable material.
Cabinet warranties are written with the expectation that cabinets will be stored and installed in a climate-controlled environment. Warranties will be void if cabinets are stored or installed in buildings with extreme temperatures or humidity levels.