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Kitchen Cabinets Buying Guide

Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide

Not all Kitchen Cabinets are Created Equal

Researching cabinets for your kitchen will lead to an overwhelming amount of brands, styles, looks, and materials to choose from. With all of those options, it can be hard to narrow things down to a manageable amount. If you want cabinets that are worth the investment, that won’t fall apart after a few years, that will continue to function exactly how they did when they were installed, you can narrow your options down considerably.


What to Look For

There are certain materials, hardware, and construction techniques that are clear indicators of quality cabinets and drawers. By ensuring your selections include all of these, you’ll be able rest easy that your cabinets will last for a lifetime.

Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinet

Solid Wood Construction

Make sure your cabinets are built from real wood. Particle board sides and shelves are much less desirable. Cabinet sides should always be at lest 1/2″ thick for framed cabinetry and 3/4′ thick for European frameless cabinetry. The solid properties of wood will hold up to wear and tear longer, protecting your investment.

Full-Extension Soft Close Drawer Tracks for Kitchen Cabinet Drawers

Full-Extension Soft Close Drawer Tracks

These type tracks are the best hardware for your kitchen drawers. Blum makes the industry standard, but others can be nearly as good. They will withstand heavy use and will make accessing drawers convenient.

Kitchen Cabinet Dovetail Construcion

Dovetail Construction

Dovetailed joints are an age-old construction method and are a sure-fire sign of better quality construction. The method involves wedge-shaped “Dovetails” that join the corners of a drawer for a sturdy result that will last far longer than staples, srews, or dowels.

What to Avoid

With all that in mind, it will be easy to avoid trouble signs such as particle board anywhere, drawer tracks that do not extend the length of the drawer, or 3/8″ sides on cabinets,  Most times, these characteristics will be easy to spot, and if you compare the look and feel of these low-quality cabinets next to their premium counterparts side-by-side, you’ll be able to tell the difference right away. Finally be aware that the durability and finish quality that most nationally distributed cabinet lines offer can not be easily replicated by small custom shops. Small production facilities almost always do not have the ovens to bake the cabinetry finishes and the other equipment needed to produce professional finishes. Many professionals consider the cabinetry made in small custom shops as “homemade” and not “handmade”.


Please watch our video below. Paul from Main Line Kitchen Design and Doug Mottershead from McHales discuss what makes a well made cabinet and how important it is:

The Mainline Kitchen Design Difference

At Mainline Kitchen Design, we deal only with premium cabinet lines. That means you’ll never have to sift through poor quality substitutes and you’ll never wind up with a kitchen that will fall apart short of a lifetime. Typically upgraded construction would cost you more, but because we’ve cut out the overhead of maintaining and staffing a showroom, we’re able to pass the savings along to you. Even with the better construction our prices for cabinetry still remain slightly less than home centers and other showrooms pricing out the same doorstyles and finishes in lesser particle board construction. And you can have the convenience of professional designers bringing the same samples you’d be shown at a showroom right to your home. Making design decisions and color and finish selections can be easier when everyone is standing in the space being renovated. Or appointments can be on our Bala Cynwyd PA office where you’ll see 3D renderings on a flat screen TV.

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