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Kitchen cabinets

Top quality kitchen cabinets are built with the structural stability of fine furniture. Framing stock is kiln dried and a full 1" thick. Kitchen cabinets have backs, usually 5-ply 3/16"-thick plywood, with all backs and interiors finished. Kitchen cabinet frames should be constructed of hardwood with mortise and tenon joints; corner blocks should be used on all four corners of all kitchen  base cabinets. Kitchen cabinet doors are usually of select 7/16" thick solid core construction using semi-concealed hinges. End panels are 1/2" thick and attached to frames with mortise and tenon joints, glued and pinned under pressure. Panels should also be dadoed to receive the tops and bottoms of wall kitchen cabinets. Shelves are adjustable with veneer faces and front edges. Hardware includes magnetic catches, heavy duty die cast pulls and hinges, and ball-bearing suspension system. Finish is scratch and stain resistant, including a first coat of hand-wiped stain, a sealer coat, and a synthetic varnish with plastic laminate characteristics.

Average quality cabinets feature hardwood frame construction with plywood backs and veneered plywood end panels. Joints are glued mortise and tenon. Kitchen cabinet doors are solid core attached with exposed self-closing hinges. Shelves are adjustable, and drawers ride on a ball-bearing side suspension glide system. Finish is usually three coats including stain, sealer, and a mar-resistant top coat for easy cleaning.

Economy quality cabinets feature pine construction with joints glued under pressure. Doors, drawers fronts, and side or end panels are constructed of either 1/2"-thick wood composition board or 1/2"-thick veneered pine. Face frames are 3/4"-thick wood composition board or 3/4"-thick pine. Features include adjustable shelves, hinge straps, and a three-point suspension system on drawers (using nylon rollers). Finish consists of a filler coat, base coat, and final polyester top coat.

Kitchen Design 


1. Floor space.

2. Height / width of all walls.

3. Location of electrical outlets.

4. Size / position of doors, windows, and vents.

5. Location of any posts or pillars. Walls must be prepared if chair rails or baseboards are located where cabinets will be installed.

6. Common height, depth of kitchen base cabinets (including 1" for countertops) and kitchen wall cabinets.

When you plan for kitchen cabinet placement, consider this Rule of Thumb:

Allow atleast 4-1/2' and 5-1/2' of counter surface between the refrigerator and sink. Allow between 3' and 4' between the sink and range.

1. What do you have to fit into the available space?

2. Is there enough counter space on both sides of all appliances and sinks? Kitchens have three work centers, each with a major appliance as its hub, and each needing adequate counter space. They are:

a. Food center -- Refrigerator-freezer

b. Clean-up center -- Sink with disposal-dishwasher

c. Cooking center -- Range-oven

3. Will the sink workspace fit neatly in front of a window?

4. Work triangle is the most efficient kitchen design; it means placing each major center at approximately equidistant triangle points. Ideal triangle is 22 feet total. It should never be less than 13 feet or more than 25 feet.

5. Where are the centers located? A logical working and walking pattern is from refrigerator to sink to range. Refrigerator should be at a triangle point near a door, to minimize the distance to bring in groceries and reduce traffic that could interfere with food preparation. Range should be at a triangle point near the serving and dining area. Sink is located between the two. Refrigerator should be located far enough from the range so that the heat will not affect the refrigerator's cooling efficiency.

6. Does the plan allow for lighting the range, sink, work centers and for ventilating the range center?

Kitchen Cabinets. When Deciding to remodel your kitchen. Cabinets construction is defined.

Cabinet Construction. Stock-grade cabinets are manufactured in standard sizes and warehoused until sold. Semi-custom grade cabinets are available in a wide variety of styles and shapes. Within limits, the manufacturer builds the kitchen cabinets to match the kitchen. Custom-grade cabinets are built specifically for the kitchen and include specialty doors, interior features, woods, and construction.

Cabinet Grades. Economy grade: Stock-grade cabinets with flush-face doors. Doors made from veneered particleboard.

Standard grade: Stock-grade cabinets with raised panel or cathedral doors. Interior panel may be plywood. Lower grade plastic-laminate face cabinets.

Semi-custom cabinets: Semi-custom grade cabinets are available in a wide variety of styles and shapes. Within limits, the manufacturer builds the kitchen cabinets to match the kitchen.

High grade: Semi-custom kitchen cabinets with raised panel or cathedral doors. Higher grade plastic-laminate face and foil-face kitchen cabinets.

Deluxe grade: Semi-custom kitchen cabinets with raised panel or cathedral doors. May include special slide-out drawers, pull-out baskets, glass doors, or foil-face cabinets. Materials include cherry, pecan, and Shaker-style maple or pine.

Custom grade: Custom kitchen cabinets with raised panel or cathedral doors. May include special slide-out drawers, pull-out baskets, mullion or leaded glass doors. Materials include cherry, pecan, and Shaker-style maple or pine.

Custom deluxe grade: Same as Custom Grade, may have some curved wood cabinets and more custom features.


Foil-Face Cabinets. Foil-faced kitchen cabinets (also called thermo foil) are coated with rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that has been heated and pressed. The interior core is usually medium density particleboard. Currently, there is no good way to repair scratched or dented foil-face kitchen cabinets. Although colors do not fade from foil-faces, it is almost impossible to replace doors or other parts with colors that will match. Foil-face kitchen cabinets are high to custom deluxe quality depending on the selection of interior features and the complexity of the design.

Kitchen Cabinets


The kitchen is the most heavily used room in a home. Make the space efficient and user-friendly by selecting a cabinet style that’s both attractive and functional.


Most manufactured kitchen cabinets come in 3-inch wide increments, usually beginning at widths of 12 or 15 inches and continuing up to 48 inches wide. This gives you enough flexibility to fit a set of modular units into just about any size kitchen.


There are two basic kitchen cabinet types: base cabinets and wall cabinets. Base cabinets are the wide lower portion to be covered with a counter top. Wall cabinets are the shallow upper portion that hangs on the wall. Doors on wall and base cabinets, broom closets, and pantries should be aligned and operate smoothly.


Corridor Kitchen Layout



A well-designed kitchen layout with properly arranged cabinets does more than reduce work and save steps for the cook. It probably reduces costs because less space is needed.


The L-type layout has the sink and range on one leg, and the refrigerator on the other. This design is sometimes used with a dining space or extra storage in the opposite corner.


A parallel wall or corridor kitchen plan works well in narrow kitchens, and is quite efficient with proper arrangement of the sink, range, and refrigerator.  


An island or peninsula configuration is a good choice in houses with plenty of space. Having plenty of room to work in the kitchen is good, but you don’t want to go overboard.  


The refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and range need plumbing and electrical connections. Good lighting, both natural and artificial, is also important in designing a safe and pleasant kitchen.


Tray Base Cabinet



There are standard sizes for both base and wall kitchen cabinets. While the counter height guidelines range from 30 to 38 inches, the standard countertop height is 36 inches. If the countertop is less than 36 inches, a dishwasher won’t fit under the cabinets. If the countertop is taller than 36 inches, the range top won’t align with it.


Base and wall cabinets come in widths from 12 to 48 inches, in 3-inch increments. If a cabinet is not long enough to completely fill the available space, try using a filler strip placed vertically between the end of a cabinet and the wall. Another option is to install a narrow tray base cabinet that’s handy for storing items like cookie sheets.


Wall cabinet height largely depends on what’s installed beneath them. They range from 12 to 42 inches tall, but are normally 30 to 42 inches tall. When installed above a range or sink, wall cabinets won’t be more than 21 inches tall. Wall cabinet tops should align, and usually fit under a 12- to 14-inch drop ceiling or soffit. The most common distance from the countertop to the bottom of any wall cabinet is 18 inches, to accommodate taller electrical appliances.


Standard narrow wall cabinets come with single doors, while the wider varieties have double doors. You can get base cabinets in full-door or full drawer units, or with both drawers and doors. Sink fronts or sink-base cabinets, oven cabinets, broom closets and desks can help make a kitchen exactly what you want it to be.


Modular Cabinet Units



Cabinet cases can be built without a frame, or with a face frame of solid wood. In frameless cases, the cabinet side edge grain is covered with a wood veneer, vinyl tape, or a strip of plastic laminate to create a finished surface.


The most visible parts of a cabinet are the door and drawer faces. You’ll have a variety of styles to choose from. Make sure you know how a door is hinged on the face of a cabinet. Door or drawer faces may be hung flush with the face of the cabinet and its frame, or hung to overlay the front of the cabinet and its frame. With overlay doors, you can still select several sizes including 3/8- or 3/4-inch, or flush overlay. Each style creates a different visual effect.

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Phone: (734) 812-3884
43812 Leeann Lane
Canton, Michigan 48187
Written "By Ron Parko"