How to spot kitchen cabinet quality

Many homes for sale in Massachusetts come with kitchens that feature beautiful granite countertops perched on low quality cabinets.  You might be surprised to know that even homes in the $600,000 – $900,000 price bracket often offer glitzy kitchen countertops that mask potential cabinet problems below.

beautiful kitchens massachusetts

Look beyond the countertop

So if you’re in the market to buy a home – or are thinking about renovating the kitchen or baths in your current residence – you need to know what to look for to spot true cabinet quality.

Since the National Kitchen and Bath Association estimates that roughly half of the cost of a new kitchen (70% including labor) is allocated to cabinets, it’s important to be an informed consumer whether you’re looking at a home to buy or walking through a kitchen design showroom.

Quick short cuts to judge quality

What we’ll cover in this post are simple short cuts you can use to quickly ascertain the quality of cabinets in kitchens and baths.

The video below will help you understand what to look for when you are examining cabinets in any kitchen or bathroom:

Highlights from video

We’ll review below the most important points from the video:

kitchen cabinets - bad finish

Look for signs of wear and deterioration on “high traffic” areas around door fronts and drawer pulls.

Scratches, abrasion and worn areas are signs of a cheap finish.

Avoid fake wood surfaces

kitchen cabinets - photo simulated wood grain

The cheapest cabinets use photo-simulated wood grain and paper thin laminates to create the impression of real wood.

These can chip and flake away over time, exposing the press board below.

Drawer construction

kitchen cabinets - stapled drawers

Low quality cabinets have drawers that are stapled or glued together.

kitchen cabinets - dovetailed drawers

Better drawer joinery uses dovetailing.

Drawer slides

kitchen cabinets - low quality drawer glides

Another sign of lower quality drawer construction is flimsy metal drawer slides.

kitchen cabinets - dovetailed drawers - better quality glides

Look instead for heavy gauge steel slides with ball bearings.

The best of these are full-extension slides with a self-closing feature.

More information

If you want to read up on the subject, there are some very detailed resources available on the web.

Here are links to a few that are especially helpful:

Judging kitchen cabinet quality

Buying kitchen cabinets

Getting the best kitchen cabinets

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