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Everything You Need to Know About Cabinetry

Everything You Need to Know About Cabinetry

When you think kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, you can’t skip over the most important factor in these remodeling projects – the cabinetry. In the world of remodeling, your entire project hinges (cabinet pun intended) on your cabinets. From design, style, and fit, it’s the cabinets that really make the space uniquely yours and functional.

But something as simple as hinges, panels, and doors is actually pretty complex when it comes to remodeling. From the different build types to the different cabinetry needed to complete a design, all the way down to the type of door styles – the options when it comes to this important design factor are seemingly endless.

To help you make a better decision when it comes to your cabinets whether they be for your kitchen or bathroom, it’s important to start with the type of cabinet you’ll want. And the difference means quite a lot when it comes to your design project.

Types of Cabinetry – The Difference between Stock, Semi-Custom, Custom Cabinets

When we talk about the differences between types of cabinetry like stock, custom, or semi-custom, we’re referring to the production methods used in building these cabinets – not necessarily the cabinet quality. We’ll talk about that in a minute.

Stock Cabinets mean Mass Produced and Limited Options

When you think of stock cabinetry, think of ready-made, mass-produced cabinets. They’re sold in modular units which means what you see is mostly what you get. You may also hear stock cabinetry called RTA or ready-to-assemble cabinets. There is no sizing customization here. Your kitchen or bathroom design is now dictated not by your ideas, but rather by what the cabinets allow. The benefit to stock cabinets is delivery time and pricing. Since they’re ready-to-go, there’s little wait time, and since it’s not made specifically for you but rather en masse, they’re a lot cheaper. Unfortunately, the trade-off is a limit in the selection, door styles, colors, and wood types, and styles. Plus, cheaper costs can mean cheaper materials which may show more wear and tear in the long-run – an important factor to keep in mind if these cabinets will be seeing a lot of use (think – builder’s grade). The standard cabinet width starts at 9″ with 3″ increments to 48″ and the cabinet’s standard depth is 12″ for wall cabinets, 24″ for the oven, base, and utility cabinets.

Semi-Custom – What You Want within Reason

Unlike stock cabinetry, semi-custom cabinets have a little more leeway when it comes to styling and choices. Semi-custom means basically cabinetry with the option to change certain dimensions like cabinetry depth, door and drawer sizes, and door fronts. A blend of both worlds, semi-custom gives you a quality cabinet with the flexibility to make a design really yours at a price that may be a bit more budget friendly than completely custom cabinets. It’s important to keep in mind that you may not get the exact design you saved on Pinterest, but you can enjoy more savings in the bank – definitely not a bad deal.

Custom Cabinetry – Your Cabinet Dreams Come True

When you think custom cabinets, think of the Backstreet Boy’s song, “I Want It That Way.” You want this cabinet, this length, this depth, and with that door style? You got it. Custom cabinets start with a standard depth and that modifies as your design and desires dictate. As with anything custom made, this means more expensive than stock or semi-custom, but your design is exactly the way you want it – in the color and style you want it. With hundreds of options in door styles and finishes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to custom. Lead times on custom cabinetry are longer than stock or semi-custom because these cabinets are quite literally made to order – and as the saying goes, it can definitely be worth the wait. NVS Kitchen and Bath sells custom cabinets from cabinet manufacturers like Dura Supreme Cabinetry and Plain and Fancy Custom Cabinetry.

“So – clearly, custom is the best, right?” Not so fast. While custom cabinets at let’s say, NVS Kitchen and Bath are going to be high-quality, well-made materials, custom can also mean Uncle Bob in his garage building some less-than-favorable yet completely custom cabinets. It’s important to do your due diligence and not just get hung up on a descriptor. Stock, semi-custom, and custom don’t necessarily translate to low, medium, and high quality. Different construction factors can actually mean a stock cabinet can be a better buy than a semi-custom, or a semi-custom can beat out Uncle Bob’s weekend special in terms of quality and longevity.

What Type of Cabinet is Right for my Remodel?

How important is customization for cabinets? Just like in cars, customization means a better fit for your needs. In terms of remodeling, more customization means a greater utilization of space. This results in less dead space, more unique cabinets with specific functions, and more accessible storage.

Rather than approach cabinetry types with “how much can I save,” think of it in terms of an investment. “How much value will this add to my home now when I use it and in the future when I sell it.” Put in the kitchen your buyer wants to see and you may find that the short-term higher cost will lead to a much higher payoff come listing day.

So now that we’ve covered types of cabinetry in terms of production method, let’s talk cabinetry according to use.

Different Cabinets used in Remodeling – Base, Wall, and Tall / Utility Cabinets

Within each cabinetry production type we discussed earlier, there are types of cabinets like a base cabinet, wall cabinet, and tall or utility cabinets.

Base Cabinets – Holding it In

Base cabinets, sometimes called lower cabinets, are strong and sturdy cabinets meant to provide support for countertops such as granite or quartz or even create the perfect base for a window seat. These “heavy lifters” of the cabinet world provide a majority of your storage space and include inside shelving, drawers meant for dish storage, and even feature pull-outs for trash cans and recycling. In newer designs, these base cabinets can also feature additional storage in the form of toe-kick drawers utilizing every ounce of space in your kitchen. Base cabinetry can come in many different styles like easy-access, pull-out, two-drawer, open base, corner, and super cabinets.

Wall Cabinets – Holding it Up

Wall cabinets – like their name suggests – hang on the wall and are the workhorses of the kitchen or bathroom. These wall mounted cabinets are hung above base cabinets and provide a ton of storage options for homeowners. They’re best at housing items that can easily be accessed overhead like glassware and smaller bowls. Some nifty types of wall cabinetry include pull-down spice racks, appliance garages, door-mounted spice racks, lazy susans, and electronic lift cabinets. You’ll find wall cabinets no only in kitchens, but in bathrooms, laundry rooms, entertainment centers, and home offices make these cabinets essential to any remodel design.

Tall Cabinets – Holding It Together

At over 96 inches in height, last but not least, the towering “tall cabinets” are the final addition to our cabinetry lineup. These cabinets are intended for big storage like pantry items and utility closets and even coats and other clothes. But before you think these cavernous cabinets are just intended to fill dead ends of a kitchen design blueprint, cabinetry tech has advanced these tall cabinets to be real assets to the functionality of a kitchen and bathroom. Tall cabinets can house microwaves and ovens or feature stacks of pull-out organizations drawers. A new trend is the pull-out pantry making storage (and storage access) a breeze.

With their powers combined, these three cabinet types can bring all the creature comforts and storage needs into a single design making it flawlessly functional. So we’ve talked about cabinet production and cabinet types, let’s finish with cabinet construction – the parts of a cabinet.

Parts of a Cabinet – Cabinet Components

“Why do I need to know about cabinet components?!” Well, when it comes to your design – especially if you’re going the way of custom cabinetry – knowing the parts of the cabinet will be important as you tweak the design to produce the perfect cabinet for your kitchen.

You’ve Been Framed (and Unframed)

There are both framed and unframed cabinets adding even another layer of design choices to an already complex component of your remodel. Typically built by American manufacturers, framed cabinets create a literal frame at the front of the cabinet box where doors are attached to the cabinet. On the flipped (and frameless) side, these European style doors are finding their way into American homes because their construction – a thicker wall with no frame – allows for complete access to a cabinet’s storage but limit the door styles to only full overlay doors.

Full overlay doors cover the entire cabinet opening – meaning the length of the storage area is equal to the length of the cabinet door whereas, in a standard overlay, there may be two cabinet doors and a center stile covering a storage area.

Other Parts of a Cabinet

As mentioned above, the cabinet frame is the front of a kitchen cabinet (imagine a cabinet without a door) and is typically made from hardwood. The vertical frame parts are called a stile and the horizontal components of the frame are called the rails. Based on the quality of the cabinetry, the stiles and rails can be joined in by a higher-end dowel or pocket screw or through staples – a cheaper alternative.

Some keywords you may hear as your cabinetry shopping include:

  • Center Panel: The raised or flat panel in the middle of cabinetry doors enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Center Stile: Sometimes called a mullion, this is the raised rail in the middle of the cabinetry doors that is enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Edge Profile: Shape put on the outside edge of the cabinetry doors or cabinetry drawers.
  • Rail: A horizontal framing member of the cabinetry faces or doors.
  • Reveal: On a framed cabinet, the distance between the outside edge of the face frame and the outside edge of the door.
  • Stile: The vertical-framing members of the cabinetry faces or cabinetry doors.

Types of Cabinetry Doors to Fit your Style

So we’ve covered cabinetry production, cabinetry construction, cabinet types, and different types of cabinet components leaving us at the most visible component – the door style. The door of a cabinet is the part of the cabinet that affects each cabinet type (base, wall, and tall) and will really set the design tone of your remodel.

We’re going to quickly cover five different types of door styles to really set off your kitchen design – although these door style can also be used in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

Shaker-Style Doors

Named after shaker-style furniture, shaker cabinetry doors use clean and simple lines and focus on utility. You’ll see shaker-style doors used in many NVS kitchens. The popularity of shaker cabinets is due to its easy of conforming to different designs from contemporary to traditional and provides a plethora of choices in woods, stains, and finishes. Its versatility in design allows it to fit in multiple budget ranges making shaker doors really popular.

Louvered Doors

Here’s something you don’t see too often in cabinet door design. Horizontal wood slats add a distinct look to homeowners who choose this door style. The slats are more than just a visual stimulant – these louvered style doors provide great ventilation making them an awesome addition to laundry rooms where clothes are hung to dry or for entertainment units where electronics require better heat ventilation than typical doors can provide.

Flat Doors

Just like they sound, flat cabinetry doors are flat making them styles while avoiding any expensive details. The straight, flat lines make this door a shoo-in for contemporary style designs and modern interiors. Flat doors can come in both a cheaper alternative like laminate or in wood making them versatile for budgets while still remaining stylish.

Inset Door Styles

Often a more expensive option due to the complexity of the door construction, inset doors make a really stunning, classic design for any kitchen or bathroom. Because of their frameless construction, precise measurements are required to have these doors line up perfectly. This also results in exposed hinges that aren’t always included in the door costs, so make sure you know what you’re getting into regarding pricing with inset doors – two hinges per door can add up rather quickly!

Distressed Style Doors

Don’t stress wear and tear when it comes to distressed style doors! These antique-inspired door designs give a kitchen or bathroom and eclectic feel, but distressed doors add in a few more production steps so make sure you fall in love with your budget before you fall in love with this door style.

So there you have it – a crash course in all things cabinets from construction to design giving you hopefully an easy to understand yet comprehensive look into the complexities of cabinetry design and how it will affect not only your remodel but your budget as well. Interested in getting cabinetry right here in Northern Virginia? NVS Kitchen and Bath offers a myriad of cabinetry selection as well as an in-house design team making us your one-stop-remodel-shop. Come by and see our Northern Virginia kitchen and bath showroom in Manassas and soon McLean, VA!

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