Information about cabinet construction

 A primer on cabinetry: The Cabinet Box


Building cabinetry starts with the “box”—it's the cabinet foundation. To withstand the test of time, the cabinet box needs to be built of quality materials.
  • All wood construction makes the strongest box and will withstand years of use.
  • Particle board (engineered wood) is not recommended for cabinetry box sides, bottoms or tops and will result in a shorter cabinet life.
  • Face frames should be constructed of premium, solid woods for extra rigidity.
Cabinetry joints
  • Strong joints, such as rabbets and dados, are critical for solid construction. Joints held together with only glue and staples will not last.
Cabinetry end panels
  • Cabinets installed next to an appliance, such as a dishwasher, may have a portion of the unfinished end panel showing. Exposed end panels need to be covered with stained wood veneer or melamine that matches the exterior finish.
  • Better cabinetry offers adjustable shelves for height flexibility. Fixed shelves are very limiting.
Cabinetry interiors
  • Melamine applied over plywood provides a light-colored interior that is durable and easy to clean.
  • Cabinetry interiors with glass doors or open shelves should be finished with a wood veneer stained to match the outer finish. Not all manufacturers offer this option.
Full enclosure
  • A fully enclosed space under the bottom drawer in base cabinets helps to protect the cabinet interior and contents from dust, bugs or rodents.
  • Be cautious of cabinet boxes that are made without
    • a back
    • an enclosed bottom
    • melamine interiors
  • Cabinets made without the three items listed above will not withstand the rigors of everyday use.
Credibility and reliability
  • Confirm that the cabinetry manufacturer is a member of the Kitchen Cabinetry Manufacturers Association (KCMA).
  • Quality products should be backed by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Learn more! Download the Cabinetry Comparison Workbook.

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