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Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide
Selecting new cabinets can be a big expense when redesigning and may account for just as much as 40 percent of your kitchen renovation budget. They arranged the look style for your kitchen and you'll have them for years. No pressure, right?
With such demands on dollars and design, the existing trend is usually to be more conservative. White cabinets are popular. So are cabinet styles that are less fussy and more streamlined-such as the clean lines and square corners of Shaker cabinetry.
Use this buying guide to help you choose, but remember that Consumer Reports will not test cabinets at the moment.
Shopping Tips: What’s in Store for You
It used to be that dovetail joints inside the drawers were practically whatever you needed to distinguish high-end cabinets. That difference has blurred as more manufacturers offer superior features, even on low-end lines. Past cabinet checks at Consumer Reports proved that you can have these and other once exclusive features yet still wind up with shoddy construction.
A little research beforehand can save you time and money. Research manufacturer and retail websites, then have a look at store displays; you'll be able to tell the product quality cabinets from the refined pretenders knowing where you can look. Trust your taste. The kitchen should match the rest of your home, so choose what you like.
THINK ABOUT YOUR Budget
You will find three cabinet types: stock, semi-custom, and custom. (Visit a side-by-side comparison below.) Stock cabinets are sometimes sold at home centers pre-assembled, while Ikea and other stores sell versions that require set up. Stock cabinets are usually limited in colors and styles. Semi-custom cupboards offer more style options and configurations, allowing a more exact fit for your kitchen. Custom cupboards are the most expensive option, but range from many added features you've chosen, and of course, your exact specifications.
Pick a Style
Framed or frameless? Framed are made of a package and face to which the doors, frame and drawers attach. Frameless cabinets, also known as European-style, miss the face body, and the doors and drawers connect directly to the cabinet box. The appearance is more modern and interior access is easier. But the lack of a face framework can bargain rigidity. Better manufacturers compensate by using a thicker package (3/4-inch plywood rather than 1/2-inch particleboard, for example). If you'd like the European look but also want a framed cabinet, choose a full-overlay door. It covers all or the majority of the face body.
Inspect the Construction
Well-built cupboards have solid wood drawers with dovetail joinery instead of stapled particleboard; full-extension drawer guides rather than a built-in rail; and doors with wood structures surrounding a solid real wood or plywood -panel, instead of veneered particleboard or a medium density fiberboard (MDF) -panel.
Focus on Features
Although they can increase cost by more than 20 percent, useful features include a pullout trash can and built-in charging station. A lift cupboard, with a spring-loaded shelf that swings up and out, offers quick access to your stand mixing machine or food processor.
Consider Revitalizing Your old Cabinets
If your present cabinets are plumb, square, and sturdy, consider repainting or refinishing them. To do it right, remove doorways and drawers, clean them with a degreasing agent, sandpaper, and apply a primer and multiple top coats (or pay a pro about $50 per door). Cabinet refacing is also a choice. It's well suited for framed models and involves replacing the doorways and drawers, and applying new veneers to the facial skin structures and ends. Cost is approximately $150 per cupboard. You can also make old cupboards easier to use by adding pull-out racks, lazy Susans, and other inexpensive updates. The final touch: Install under-cabinet LED job lights.
Kitchen Cabinets for each and every Budget
Cabinets can vary greatly in price. Here's an overview of the three types of cupboards in broad price segments that you will find at stores. Keep in mind a typical kitchen has 25 to 30 feet of cabinets.