Picking The Perfect Cabinet! – On the House

Picking The Perfect Cabinet!

By on March 22, 2016

Home improvement manuals teach us that there are many factors which combine to create the total cost of a set of built-in cabinets: Wood specie and thickness, joint construction, type of paint or stain and varnish, door-hinge type, drawer-glide type, overall cabinet size, whether the cabinet finish is applied to the inside and the outside or just the outside, and door style and door thickness, are but a few of the almost endless choices that have to be made.

Interestingly, there is another major cost consideration that easily can be overlooked, and one which we have never seen mentioned in available literature — the door-drawer configuration. That is, how many doors and/or drawers a particular cabinet, or set of cabinets, contains.

Drawers can be made from as few as five pieces of material — a bottom, two sides, the back and the front. A door, on the other hand, can be made from a little as one piece of material. And although smaller, a drawer front can be every bit as difficult to mill as a door. Also, a drawer rides on tracks called glides which are substantially more expensive than the pair of hinges used on a door.

Given this information it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to deduct that, all else being equal, a cabinet with one door will probably be far less expensive to purchase than a cabinet that contains a door and a drawer or even three or four drawers. Remember, we said, “all else being equal.” If you price the cheapest drawer against the most expensive door then the drawer will win with a lower price.

Having read this you may be thinking that one way to cut cabinet costs is to use less drawers. And such might be the right thing to do in your case. But rather, we would suggest that you design your cabinets so that they meet your particular needs while at the same time considering the differences in cost between doors and drawers.

Be careful! Trying to cut costs can backfire. For example: using one door where two have been designed could be a mistake for a couple of reasons. First, one large door can be cumbersome to open in a tight space like a kitchen or bath, and second, the larger the door the more prone it is to warping and twisting — a very common problem that even effects normal size doors. Also, a kitchen with too few drawers could be very unappealing. Actually you could end up with an end result that is as useless as a baby’s bottle without a nipple.

Cabinets with doors only can be used very effectively in combination with sinks and countertop appliances like cooktops. Many designers will lead their clients to believe that sink cabinets for example, should have a blank piece of wood over the doors that aligns with the top drawer of an adjoining cabinet. Although this is a common practice we see many designers designing many cabinets with doors only joined with several banks of drawers. Older kitchen design included one bank of drawers per kitchen plus several other modules each containing one drawer and one door.

Be creative — develop a design that will make your kitchen, bath, office or entertainment center versatile and practical. And that might not necessarily be how the cabinet salesperson perceives your project to be.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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