Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide

Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide

This kitchen cabinet buying guide will help you plan for and buy the best kitchen cabinets for your home. Before you begin shopping for new cabinets, you need to make sure that you have a plan for your kitchen renovation. You will need to find all the goals and priorities. You will even need to have a clear vision of what your kitchen is going to look like, after you check out different designs and layouts and plan for space and storage. Then you will have to have a budget that you are able to work with.

Factors to think about when picking new cabinets:

  • How long you are going to be in the home
  • What improvements are standard for other homes in your area
  • What layout will be used
  • Your budget
  • The exact measurements for appliances that are in the new design

Designing and planning your space

Cabinets are a huge part for home design and it is still a big part of measuring the value of a home. But, there is a bunch that will have to be considered besides the style, the price and material. The most basic remodel can be expensive and can take a lot of time, so use the steps listed below before you start considering materials and products.

1. Address Resale Problems

You want to keep improvements consistent with market data from other homes in your area. You need to think about if the space is going to be resale, a place that you will be in for a long time, or a rental. It is important that you decide how long you are going to be in your home.

2. Determine the Scope

This will depend on the current condition of your kitchen and your budget. If your kitchen just needs some sprucing without changing any of the layout of major appliances, then painting your kitchen or replacing cabinet doors can go a long way. Whenever you have cabinets that aren’t that sturdy, you have layout problems, or new construction, then you need new cabinets.

3. Picking a kitchen layout

Kitchen cabinets are practical and convenient work space for a home. Before you pick a style, start with a floor plan that is scaled with the existing space with doors, windows, and other architecture. The location of your utilities such as sewer and water connections as well as electricity are important to note, especially if your remodel will involve spatial re-configuring.

The plans need to state where the gas piping, heating and air registers, electrical outlets and stove ventilation are. You will have to confirm exact measurements of new or existing appliances that will be in your design which includes hood, range, dishwasher, icemakers, sinks, under the cabinet wine cooler, and microwave before you select cabinets.

4. Sketch out your plan

Make a rough sketch of where your appliances need to be with the most efficient use of your space. Ensure that you keep it accessible yet simple. There will need to be a path between your work triangle which is the range, refrigerator and sink. Place your task centers, storage, accessories and appliances based on how often they get used. Common layouts for kitchens are galley, island, L-shape, U-shape and straight.

Conclusion

Most modern designs have changed traditional arrangements which have really created a larger, more open space. It is these basic layouts which are really beneficial when it comes to determining relationships between your appliances and how close they are. Unless, you happen to be an expert DIY’er, then it is best to get some help from a home center specialist, interior designer, cabinet designer, kitchen designer or architect to find an effective plan for your space and find the right specifications and size for your cabinets.

What Are Mitered Cabinet Doors?

 What Are Mitered Cabinet Doors?

Should you be working on the construction of a new home or perhaps remodeling, either way, you will more than likely be asking the question, “What are mitered cabinet doors?” A very big part of choosing which cabinetry to go with or have installed, and which doors you should order include picking out the right style the type of wood it will be, and their construction. In this article you are going to learn more about Mitered cabinet doors and the benefits they give to you, as well as, how they are being made.

Exactly what a Mitered cabinet door is?

Mitered cabinet doors are cabinets that are assembled using five different sections of wood and having corners consisting of 450 angles in the corners. With the five different sections being a center panel, the top, bottom, and each side. The difference between Mitered cabinet doors and slab cabinet doors is that slab doors is merely a piece of wood, making Mitered doors much more superior.

How do they make Mitered cabinet doors?

The top, bottom, and the sides come together at a 45 degree angle creating the corners of the cabinet doors to be at a 900 angle. There is a grove on the inside of each sections edge that holds the cabinets center section in place. Always having an extra bit of space within the inside channel which holds the insert in place, naturally adjusting to size changes due to the variations in humidity. It is this extra space that ensures the insert is not going to press on edge sections and/or buckle.

Mitered cabinet doors are not the same as the other five-piece cabinet doors that uses the fabrication method referred to as the “cope & stick.” The cope & stick doors come together at their corners, and their center pieces lay flat on the edge fitting straight into each of the sections side.

Mitered Cabinet Doors has their benefits

The benefits of Mitered cabinet doors include durable joinery, being resistant to humidity, and having a visual appearance to them. It is these factors, and more, which produces the most popular and sought-after cabinet doors having the highest quality to be found on the market today.

Mitered Cabinet Doors and Humidity

One of the bigger benefits of the five-piece Mitered cabinet doors is that it is constructed in a way that it can hold-up well to the changes of humidity. Since cabinetry can be commonly found in a home’s kitchen and bathrooms they go through a variation on a daily basis as to the amount of water that gets in the air. There could be someone using the tub, taking a shower, or even boiling water, which is going to put more humidity into the air. Whereas, the slab cabinet doors are made of a single piece of wood and is going to temporarily absorb humidity from the air, and this will cause the wood to swell-up, and usually begin bending, drooping, and giving them a warped appearance.

Designed Durability

Furthermore, a slab door may swell-up to 3/16th of an inch. Different types of wood can swell even more than that or it could be less than that amount, that is just the average. When the size of a door size changes from the variations of the humidity is that it can cause the center of the cabinets not to correct fit together, especially during the periods when the humidity is its highest. In fact, Mitered cabinet doors are built to have the space for center panels to expand. This is because of the groves on the inside edging of the stiles and the rails being designed to be wider, as well as deeper than the panel itself, allowing for an expansion. Which means homeowners are more than likely not going to ever have to see those kinds of changes in their cabinet doors.

Conclusion

Choosing a mitered cabinet door design means more than having a great looking door, but also a very durable door.  The design compensates for changes in humidity where the frame or center panel insert will swell with increased levels of humidity.  This is one of the best designs of cabinet doors available on the market today.

How To Measure Cabinet Openings For New Cabinet Doors

How To Measure Cabinet Openings For New Cabinet Doors

If you’re searching for how to measure cabinet openings for new cabinet doors, you’re not alone!  Thousands of home owners across the country take refacing their cabinetry by replacing cabinet doors each year.  By doing the work themselves and buying their cabinet doors straight from the factory online homeowners save thousands.

This post will discuss the correct way to go about getting the measurements for your cabinet openings, and how to go about ordering either single and double cabinet doors for covering the openings on your cabinets. This exercise consists of a face-frame sample to show how to get the measurements, and the illustrations for how the overlay on the openings will go on the cabinet doors (which will be animated). I will also be showing the formula used in calculating the size for either the single or the double doors that will be needed for the opening.

Beginning with the single door

First, you will need to measure the cabinets opening’s width and the height. This is the process that the video will show. For the face-frame. The opening’s width will be 11” and the height will be 13”. It is common for the design of cabinet doors to be a little bit larger than the opening, this is what we refer to as an overlay, whereas, the most common overlay will be ½”. When referring to a 1/2” overlay, we are saying that the opening’s overlay is going to be 1/2” larger than the bottom, top, the left side, and the right side. The animation clearly shows how the outline of a single door is sized in order to fit the opening. Take notice to the 1/12” overlay. The formula is being shown for calculating the size for an 1/2” overlay.

The outline for double doors and properly sizing in order to cover the sample opening

However, the face-frame does not need to be overlaid on four sides for double doors like they would with single doors, they will only overlay on three sides for double doors.

Double Cabinet Door Opening Measurements

Take notice to how the formula or the double doors is subtracting 1/16” away from the calculated width or each of the double doors. It is necessary to do this in order to prevent the double doors from coming into contact with the cabinets center at times when the conditions of the humidity causes a slight expansion of the door. Sometimes you may have to encounter other overlay sizes besides an 1/2”, however, the 1/2” is most common. Should the cabinet doors that you are about to replace have an overlay of a different size, such as 5/8” or a 3/8”, this formula is still going to do the trick and will size those new cabinet doors correctly if you simply replace the 1/2” it calls for in the formula with the size of the overlay you will be using.

Hinge Decisions

Keeping in mind that cabinets consisting of concealed hinges will consist of different models for all the different overlays there are and when ordering you need to be certain you are ordering the correct hinges. Check to see if you can purchase self-closing Blum Hinges. You will now have the ability for drilling the hinge pockets that your new doors will be needing. You will no longer have to dish out money to the Big-box store to determine the exact cabinet door measurements for you, now that you can clearly see how easy it really is to do yourself. Neither will you have to fork out the high prices of replacing your cabinet doors.

Conclusion

Being able to measure for your cabinet doors yourself gives you the power to save up to 50% on your cabinet doors by buying factory direct.  Cut out the cabinet door supply middleman, retail prices, or custom cabinet install company and do the work yourself!  You’ll stretch your remodeling dollars further, get more for your money, and simply enjoy your home more.

 

How To Match Cabinet Doors

How To Match Cabinet Doors

With literally hundreds of distinct cabinet door styles it can feel confusing to know which drawer front to choose.  This guide will help you learn how to match cabinet doors to drawer fronts.  Cabinet door manufacturers typically offer matching drawer fronts for each of their cabinet door styles.  They will be the same cope and stick or mitered style in the same species of wood.

Matching Cabinet Doors to Drawer Fronts

Cabinetry typically has doors near the floor and over the counter-space in kitchens.  Drawers are directly under the counter-space and are matched to the lower cabinet doors.  While the style of cabinet doors throughout the kitchen may be the same design some interior designers like to have contrasting colors for the lower section and drawer fronts should match.

Drawer Front Design

Drawer fronts are best matched when they are the same style and joint type as the cabinet doors they are installed by.  Your drawer fronts are the same width as your cabinet doors and have the same layout of frame sections and center panel.  The biggest difference is simply the height of the drawer front.

Cope & Stick Drawer Fronts

Cope and stick drawer fronts are a 5-piece design that is assembled using the mortise and tenon joint.  This design features a 90° angle where the frame sections meet and the 4 corners.

Mitered Drawer Fronts

Mitered drawer fronts are also a 5-piece design, but it is assembled using a mitered joint.  This joint differs from cope and stick as it uses matching 45°-degree angles to create diagonal joints at the corners.

Rail Thickness

Rails are the horizontal frame sections at the top and bottom of the cabinet door and drawer front.  In drawer front design the rails are narrower.  This is necessary as there isn’t room to use the same width rails as are used in cabinet door fabrication.

Stile Thickness

Stiles are the vertical sections of the frame in cabinet door and drawer front fabrication.  The thickness and design of stiles varies between the two joint types.

In cope and stick design, they are the same width as the cabinet doors so there is a uniform look between the two.  The visual presentation of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts will be symmetrical and much more aesthetic when the stiles are the same size.

In mitered design, the stiles must be the same width as they come together at a diagonal corner joint.  Cabinet door manufactures typically match the width of both the rails and stiles in mitered drawer front designs and use 1 ¾ width frame sections.

Slab Drawer Fronts

Drawer fronts are also order as simple 1 piece “slab drawer fronts”.  When customers choose slab drawer fronts the edges are machined to have matching visual presentation to cabinet doors.  This design of drawer fronts is an option many customers choose to be more budget friendly.

While it is ok to choose this for a drawer front, slab cabinet doors are prone to warping and cracking due to variations in humidity.  With a cabinet door’s larger size more humid air causes them to swell and over time it leads to degradation.  5-piece drawer fronts and doors are designed with room for the wood to expand and contract with variations in humidity.

Drawer Front Design Options

Just like with cabinet doors the center panels can be inset or raised.  These details give your cabinet drawer fronts the same visual presentation as your doors and brings the cabinetry design together.  Manufactures strive to offer drawer fronts to match all of their cabinet door designs and have similar visual elements.  This will give your kitchen cabinetry a look that’s more coordinated and visually pleasing.

Dowel Joint Pros & Cons

Dowel Joint Pros & Cons

When you’re searching for “Dowel Joint Pros & Cons” you’re likely doing some home improvement or building a new home.  Dowel joints are a common type of wood joint that is used in cabinetry.  When built by skilled craftsmen they create a secure joint that will last for many years.  One of the most common areas in kitchen and bathroom cabinetry for dowel joints is in the fabrication of drawers.

What Is A Dowel Joint?

A dowel joint is a wood joinery technique that joins two or more sections of wood together.  It is done by drilling holes in the sections of wood that line up and securing them together with a wooden dowel.  Many times it is reinforced by adding high strength wood glue.

Dowel Joint

Dowel Joint Pros

Dowel joints have a number of excellent pros that make them a popular option for many woodworkers and homeowners.  They provide a secure joint for woodworking that doesn’t have metal fasteners, is simple to assemble, and is versatile.

No Screws, Nails, or Staples

Wood joints that are made with nails, screws, or staples leave the surface of the wood marred.  A dowel joint is typically hidden in a way that you’ll see nothing but the beautiful grain of your wood or color of melamine.

Secure Wood Joinery

When the dowel joint is made properly it has an incredibly tight fit and provides a long lasting durable joint.  This is done by using professional woodworking equipment, the right size dowel, and wood glue

Versatile Joint Type

A dowel joint can be made in wood or other materials and join sections of material at a flat or right angle.  This makes them the perfect option for many projects and especially cabinetry projects.

Simple Assembly

Once the dowel joint prep is done by drilling corresponding holes in the sections of wood assembly is simple.  It is done by simply using a rubber mallet to gently tap the dowels into the first wood section and then lining up the holes in the second section and gently tapping it together.

Dowel Joint Cons

There are two main cons to dowel joints, they can be hard for beginners to make and dowels are not as strong as a dovetail joint or a mortise and tenon joint.

Shearing Dowels

Dowels in cabinetry are generally fairly small in diameter.  They are limited in size due to the thickness of the wood sections they are meant to join.  This means that if excessive weight is applied to the joint the wood dowel can shear.  A dovetail joint uses the entire edge of the wood sections to securely join them and provide an exceptionally strong wood joint.

Misaligned Dowels

For new woodworkers or DIY homeowners dowel joints can be frustrating to make.  Without the right measurements, size of dowel, and tools they can be hard to make.  Worst of all they can be made and just not last and fall apart.

Conclusion

Dowel joints are an excellent option for wood joinery for projects that don’t have the budget for dovetail joints or mortise and tenon joints.  They are best made by professional woodworkers with the tools and training to make them last.

Kitchen Cabinet Remodel Guide

Kitchen Cabinet Remodel Guide

If you’re considering a kitchen cabinet remodel project you’re likely wanting to get the biggest bang for your buck.  While come custom cabinet makers will likely want you to completely redesign your cabinetry and gut your kitchen, you can completely change it’s look and style by replacing your cabinet doors.  Doing so will save you a bunch of money.

Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet door make up a large portion of the surface area of your cabinetry.  The frame typically only peeks through around the doors leaving the style, shape, and color of your cabinet doors to make up most of the style of your kitchen.  If you’ve got old, broken, or outdated cabinet doors it will make your kitchen less appealing.  Refacing your cabinetry with new cabinet doors and trim updates the look without the high cost of completely new cabinetry!

Buying Cabinet Doors

The next largest cost in cabinet remodel is the cost of the new cabinet doors.  You’ve already saved at least hundreds, if not thousands, by avoiding a full cabinetry replacement.  The next biggest way to save and get the highest quality doors is to buy your cabinet doors online.  Internet savvy cabinet door manufacturers have full embraced the online market and offer direct sales to homeowners.  The savings for your cabinet door order can be up to 30% or more!

Cabinet Door Ordering Steps

It’s easy to order your cabinet doors online.  Follow these steps to save hundreds of dollars over buying your cabinet doors at a local big box retailer.

  1. Measure for your new cabinet doors. Likely you can order in similar or the same sizes.  Use our post about measuring cabinet doors to ensure you get it right.
  2. Browse the online cabinet door factory’s styles of doors. They typically have hundreds of styles and will custom make the doors in the size you need and wood you prefer.  Make sure you order matching drawer fronts to your cabinet door order.
  3. Order by listing the height, width, wood species, and quantity you need of each cabinet door. List other custom sizes to your cart separately for accurate pricing.

Cabinet Door Installation Steps

Once your order has arrived, or even in advance of it you can being preparing for your cabinet remodel.  You’ll need to remove your old doors and drawer fronts and either paint or stain the cabinets to match your new remodeled kitchen style.

  1. Remove old doors and drawer fronts when you’re ready. Your order should be shipped directly to your home so you can do this in advance or after your order arrives.
  2. Clean and prepare your cabinetry frame for the new doors. If you’re switching to concealed hinges this is a good time to fill in the screw holes.  Then stain or prime and paint your cabinetry to match your new cabinet doors.
  3. Paint or stain your cabinet doors to match the style of kitchen you’ve chosen. Typically people choose to order unfinished cabinet doors not only to save money, but so they can match stains or paint perfectly to the rest of the their project.  Make sure you also match your drawer fronts to the rest of your project.
  4. Attach the hinges and hardware to your cabinet doors and drawer fronts after they’re done drying from painting.
  5. Install your new doors into the cabinets either with the old hinges or new concealed blum type hinges. Click here for more information about how to install your cabinet doors.

Conclusion

Homeowner’s have a choice when it comes to cabinet remodels.  You can choose to hire in a contractor or custom cabinetry maker to do the work, or you can save a bunch of money by ordering and refacing your kitchen cabinets yourself.  Most families have a budget for home improvement, and by doing some of the work yourself your dollars can go much further.  For more information, click here for: remodeling your kitchen with unfinished cabinet doors.

 

Shaker Cabinet Door Fabrication Guide

Shaker Cabinet Door Fabrication Guide

If you want to learn how to make your own cabinet doors, or you want to understand how shaker cabinet doors are made, this guide is for you!  Our shaker cabinet door fabrication guide will take you step by step in how to make the popular shaker cabinet door style.

Shaker cabinet doors owe their origin to the humble yet incredibly talented Shaker woodworkers from the northeastern United States.  These doors are popular as they are durable, stylish, and offer a simple appearance. This is due in large part of the minimal woodworking tools the Shakers used and still use today.  This style is described as a clean and simple design which is incredibly popular.

Steps To Fabricating Shaker Cabinet Doors

The steps are the same for woodworkers in home shops or for cabinet door manufacturers.  While it’s easier for factories to crank out cabinet doors they can be made by patient and skilled individuals with a table saw and some hard work. Follow the steps below to make your own shaker cabinet doors.

Step 1: Measure

The saying “measure twice and cut once” will never go out of style and applies to any fabrication project.  To start your shaker cabinet door construction project you need to know what size they should be.  To measure for cabinet doors you’ll need to consider the “overlay”.  This is how far past the opening in the cabinet face the door extends past.

The standard overlay size for a single door is ¼ inch on the top, bottom, and sides.  For double doors hung over a single opening you should plan for the same overlay on the sides but not in the center.  Plant to remove 1/16th of an inch from the inside edge of double cabinet door sizes so they don’t close together in the center.

Step 2: Select The Wood

Next you’ll have to select the wood type you want to build your cabinet doors in.  Consider matching the type of wood already in your kitchen so your doors will match better.  If you’re going to paint your cabinet doors ensure you’re ordering paint grade cabinet doors.  Great wood species for cabinet doors includes: alder, soft maple, poplar, hard maple, and cherry.  Prices will vary for each different type of wood, so choose the one that fits your budget best.

Step 3: Rip The Frame Stock

The frame that makes up the rails on the top and bottom is not likely to just be laying on a shelf at your hardware store.  This means you’ll need to rip some of the thickness from the wood that’s locally available. Using the table saw is a good way to rip the thickness of wood, if done carefully.  This is one of the advantages cabinet door factories have in ordering the right sizes and having highly precise woodworking machines to rip wood to exacting specifications.

Step 4: Cope, Stick, Rails, and Stiles

The shaker cabinet door is made up of cope and sticks.  This is to say that the frame sections at the top, bottom, and sides are named cope and sticks.  These sections are joined with a mortise and tenon joint. To make that joint you can use a table saw, but this is incredibly dangerous.  Extreme caution should be used as these cuts will bring fingers very close to saw blades.

In addition to prepping the cope and sticks for joining to each other you’ll need to cut a grove on the inside edges of the frame sections to hold the center panel.  This area should be made small enough to securely hold the center panel, but with enough extra space to allow expansion.

Step 5: Center Panel Fabrication

Most cabinet doors feature a center panel.  There are inset center panels and raised center panels.  Ensure that the thickness of the edge of your center panel fits tightly in the grove you cut in the frame.  Shaker cabinet doors are typically built with a flat center panel, so you should only have to cut it to size and get it read for final assembly.

Step 6: Shaker Cabinet Door Assembly

To get ready for this step you’ll want your clamps, frame sections, center panel, and any wood glue you’re planning to use ready.  Assemble 2 or 3 sections of the frame and then insert your center panel.  Use clamps and you assemble your door to hold the sections in place.  After the center panel is secured in the groves attach the last sections of your frame and clamp it together.  The biggest challenge in this step is making sure your doors are square.  Use a square to ensure you’ve got 90° angles at each of the corners.

Step 7: Sanding & Edging

You can use a router or sandpaper to go around the edges of your doors to shape them and make sure they are smooth.  Sanding helps make sure there are no sharp points on the doors.  It’s best for DIY door builders to use a sanding block or electric sander to complete this step of the build.

Step 8: Finishing Shaker Cabinet Doors

This is the step where style comes into play.  Will you stain, dye, or paint your shaker cabinet doors?  Most of the authentic shaker cabinet doors are simply stained or dyed to give them an authentic look.  With that said more and more people are opting to paint their cabinet doors in earth tones and shades of white to keep up with style trends.  Choose the finish you feel best matches your home, style, and look you want for your kitchen.

Step 9: Shaker Cabinet Door Installation

Once your doors are completely dry you’ll be ready to install them in your kitchen.  The hinges, handles, or knobs you want should be installed at this point.  Hang your new shaker cabinet doors using the old hinges from other cabinet doors or purchase new Blum concealed hinges.  Follow the instructions for the hinge type you choose and complete your shaker cabinet door installation.

Cabinet Fabrication: What Is A Dovetail Joint?

What Is A Dovetail Joint?

Are you searching for an answer to “What Is A Dovetail Joint?”  If so you’re likely choosing elements for your new cabinetry.  Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an older home you want to know you’re getting the best of everything.  The type of joints you choose for your cabinetry and cabinet drawers will affect how long they last and how they look.  Learn about the dovetail join in this post.

What The Dovetail Joint Is

A dovetail joint is a type of joinery technique utilized by woodworkers to fabricate strong joints between sections of wood.  It is considered the premium long lasting joint that is preferred by discerning homeowners and builders.

Types Of Dovetail Joints

There are a number of types of dovetail joints which all share the angled “finger” and hold section or sections.  Some dovetail joints feature a single joint in the case of sliding dovetails or it can consist of a number of interlocking sections of wood on the edges of the sections of wood.  Read more below to learn about he types of dovetail joints.

Secret Mitered

The secret mitered dovetail is one where there is no visual evidence at the edges of the joint.  This is also commonly know as the full-blind mitered joint.  The secret mitered joint is used when the end grain of the sections of wood should be hidden.  This is common in finer furniture and less common when the dovetail is used for woodwork that will be hidden inside cabinetry such as drawer boxes.

Secret Double-Lapped

The secret double-lapped joint is almost identical to the secret mitered with one minor difference.  This difference is that a thin section of wood will show at the edges of the adjoining sections of wood.  This can provide a clean edge look that some woodworkers enjoy.

Half-blind

The half-blind dovetail joint is a joint where one side of the joint shows end grain but the other is hidden.  This is where the name “half” blind comes into play.  Half of the joint is hidden while the other will show the end grain of the joining boards.  Many times this can be great for wood joints where the end grain will be hidden at the back.

Through Dovetails

A through dovetail joint is one where the ends of both board show at the corner or joint.  This is a very common type of dovetail and desirable by many homeowners as it shows that a finer type of joint has been included in the fabrication of furniture or cabinetry.  Some of the very best drawers, cabinets, and furniture are made with the through dovetail joint.

Sliding Dovetails

A sliding dovetail joint is one where the joint is made up of one dovetail channel that runs the length of the first board.  The second board’s edge is shaped to fit inside that channel and is then slide into that channel to make the joint.  Sliding dovetails are typically not used in finer wood joinery as they require space at the edge of the channeled board to make the joint.  It cannot be made at the very edge or corner.

What The Dovetail Joint Is Used For

Dovetail joints are used to make the longest lasting finest wood furniture, timber framing, cabinets and more!  Even log cabin construction can be done with the long lasting and strong joint that  the dovetail joint provides.  Dovetails are one of the finest joints as the wood itself is all that is needed to make a durable joint.  The best joints are made by high precision woodworking equipment and reinforced with quality wood glue.  The do not require staples, nails, screws, or any type of metal fastener or dowel to hold together.

Melamine Kitchen Cabinets Pros and Cons

Melamine Kitchen Cabinets Pros and Cons

If you’re considering installing new kitchen cabinetry, or cabinet drawers, you’re faced with deciding between materials.  Homeowners have the choice for cabinetry between MDF, solid wood species, and Melamine.  Read on to understand Melamine kitchen cabinet pros and cons.

What Is Melamine Wood?

Before we get started talking about the pros and cons of Melamine it’s important to understand what it is.  Melamine wood is a combination of compressed wood particles at the core.  The core is then encased in a resin and paper finish that is water resistant and durable.  As the outer layer is a covering it comes in a plethora of colors and can even have designs.  This makes it an incredibly popular option for cabinetry in bathrooms and kitchens worldwide.

Melamine Cabinet Pros

Melamine is a popular option for cabinetry for a number of reasons.  It is durable, comes in a wide variety of colors, is inexpensive, and has a uniform finish.  These characteristics add up to make Melamine a serious contender to solid wood and MDF.

Melamine Durability

One of the major benefits of Melamine is its durability. Melamine is resistant to the normal conditions common in kitchens such as heat, moisture, and stains.  It is easy to clean due to the tough outer coating that encases the compressed wood core.  The combination of the durable coating and quality core make the material great for use in cabinetry and even cabinet drawers.

Melamine Variety

Melamine is also popular as it comes in virtually any color imaginable.  The outer coating is where the color or design is applied as the melamine coating is fabricated.  Just about any design or color is possible with melamine including faux wood grain and wood tones.

Melamine Price

The cost to build or remodel cabinetry is frequently a concern for homeowners.  Unless you’ve struck it rich, you’re likely wanting the best products at the lowest prices.  Melamine offers homeowners a lower cost option that’s durable and visually attractive.  This means that you’re not going to have to pay the extra money for cabinet drawers or cabinetry made in solid wood styles.

Melamine’s Finish

Today’s modern minimalist kitchens many times are filled with clean lines and simple color schemes.  While traditional homes many times look best with the warmth of real wood, modern kitchens are outfitted with the clean look of Melamine.  Melamine delivers a simple and uniformed finish instead of having color or grain variations throughout a section of wood.

Melamine Cabinet Cons

While Melamine does have great benefits there are some cons to using Melamine in your bathroom or kitchen cabinetry.  Some of the cons include weight, difficulty to install, chipping, and water damage.

Melamine Weight

Melamine cabinetry weighs more than some other types of cabinetry materials.  This means you may need to install heavy duty hinges or drawer glides.  Hanging Melamine on light weight hardware can result in damage to your cabinetry and the doors or drawers you’ve installed.

Melamine Installation

While all cabinetry requires a steady and knowledgeable hand to install correctly there is a greater risk of splintering the melamine than wood or MDF.  If the melamine splinters it not only will show the compressed wood core but also be much more susceptible to moisture penetration.

Chipping Melamine Finish

Melamine is created by applying a resin to the exterior of compressed wood particles.  This means there is a hard coating on top of a wood product.  Hard impacts to the surface of Melamine can result in chipping or cracking of the surface material.  If this happens it might require the refinishing or replacement of the door, drawer, or cabinet face section.

Melamine & Water Damage

In the event that there is splintering, chipping, or cracking in the surface layer of Melamine water will do much more damage than solid wood.  While solid wood does absorb some water it is nowhere near the amount that Melamine does.  When Melamine core absorbs water it might swell and lose much of its structural integrity.

How To: Measure, Install Hinges, and Hang Cabinet Doors

How To: Measure, Install Hinges, and Hang Cabinet Doors

If you’re purchasing new cabinet doors for your home you might be wondering how to measure, install hinges, and hang cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom.  While professional cabinetry companies know this process inside and out your average homeowner might be a little scared to take on this kind of job.

Step by Step Cabinet Door Installation Guide

Here we guide you through each step of how to install your own cabinet doors.  This is a great guide for savvy consumers who purchase their own cabinet doors and want to install the doors themselves.  More and more consumers are buying their doors online to save hundreds of dollars on the doors and a good portion of them want to save even more by installing them on their own.  For a step by step video on how to do this, refer to the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Measuring

The first step of installing new cabinet doors is measuring.  You need to consider how the door will fit over the opening and “overlay” the area.  This is a reference to how wide and tall the door is in relation to the size of the opening in the cabinetry.

Single Doors – Measure the width and height of the opening.  When you list the size of cabinet door you need each of the edges should be ½ an inch wider than the opening of the door.

Double Doors – The exception is when you have double doors covering one opening.  In this case you will want to make sure you subtract 1/16th of an inch from the width of each of the doors which will meet in the center.  This reduction in width is designed to compensate for swelling of wood due to humidity.

Larger Overlays – In the event that you’re cabinet doors have been hung with a different overlay size, simply measure for those add those overlay sizes to the doors and remember to subtract for the center gap if you’re installing double doors.

Step 2: Installing Hinges

Most reputable sellers of cabinet doors offer to drill for hinges at the factory before shipping out your doors.  This means that if you’re ordering your doors to be hung with Blum hinges the holes will be drilled at the correct position and depth.  The hinge will come with the hinge, mounting plate, and all screws needed to secure it to the door and cabinetry.

Hinge Mounting Steps:

  1. Attach the mounting plate to the hinge:
    1. Slide the mounting plate into the hinge
    2. Rotate the plate and it will snap into the attached position
  2. Mount the hinge to the cabinet door:
    1. Notice that there are 3 holes for each hinge
    2. The large hole is for what’s called the hinge cup
    3. The two smaller holes are for alignment
    4. Fit the hinge into the hinge cup
    5. Rotate it until its indentations drop into the 2 alignment holes
    6. Press the locking flange down and the hinge is secure in the door

Step 3: Hanging A Door

With both the hinges mounted you’re ready to start hanging your doors.

  1. Use a straight edge to find the right position for the door in reference to the overlay at the bottom of the opening. You can clamp your straightedge ½ an inch or whichever measurement of overlay you’re using below the bottom edge of the cabinet opening.
  2. Next we sit the door with hinge and mounting plate attached onto the straightedge. This puts the door at the right height for the top and bottom of the door.
  3. Now you’ll want to use a pencil to mark the face from through the slots in the mounting plate. This will be where you drill pilot holes for the screws that will secure your hinge and door.
  4. Remove the door and drill pilot holes in the center of these markings.
  5. Use a #2 phillips screwdriver attach the mounting plates to the face-frame. Don’t screw the plate completely down as you will want to be able to make finer adjustments once the door is in place.
  6. Snap your door into the mounting plates, a helper at this stage is really useful.

Step 4: Aligning The Door

With the door and hinge attached to the cabinetry you’re ready to align your door and tighten the screws.

  1. Install the rubber bumpers that came with your hinges. They dampen sound of the hinges while they are being opened and closed.  Make sure each hinge gets one at  the top and one at the bottom.
  2. While the blum hinge along with factory drilled holes should result in perfectly aligned doors, you can make adjustments as needed. The blum hinge allows for adjustments on a 3 axis plane.  This allows homeowners to get that perfectly plumb and level cabinet door installation look that typically only comes from professional installers.
  3. The elongated holes you used a pencil to draw run vertically and are used to adjust the height of your doors. If you clamped your straight edge a little too high or low, this is the way you compensate.  You can loosen these screws to raise or lower your cabinet door.
  4. Next you can custom adjust the distance from the cabinet door to the cabinetry face. This is done by loosening the screws on the hinge which are furthers from the door.
  5. Left and Right adjustments are made by loosening the screws closest to the door.

Methodically go through these steps to compensate for doors that hang too high, low, left, right, or are installed too far out or close to the cabinet frame.  Once everything is perfect ensure that all of your screws are tightened down and you’re done!

Cabinet Door Installation Instructional Video

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video about how to install hinges and hang your cabinet doors must be worth a million.  If you’re unclear about any of these steps, refer to this video of how to mount hinges, hang your doors, and align them like a pro.