Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Ask the Expert: Casa Verde Designs

Choose quality cabinetry for your kitchen renovation project

Once homeowners have decided to renovate their kitchens, they are faced with many important decisions – the most important of which may be what to do about the cabinetry. At Casa Verde Designs, we work closely with our clients to find the best cabinet solutions for the project scope, budget and needs.

Renovate or replace?
Most homeowners undertaking a significant kitchen remodel will replace old cabinets with new cabinets. A few choose to reface, refinish, paint, or partially rebuild existing cabinetry. This approach can save money and time, and the result may extend the life of the kitchen by years and improve the desirability of the home if resale is in the future. Renovating existing cabinets can be relatively costly and offers the best solution ONLY if existing cabinets are well constructed, and the kitchen layout is working well.

If existing cabinets are not well constructed or if the kitchen layout needs to be reworked to accommodate current appliance and cooking trends or to make better use of the space, installing new cabinets will almost certainly offer the best result at the best price.

Stock or custom cabinets?
Stock cabinets are “ready made.” They can be purchased at big box home improvement stores in specific sizes. Low advertised prices for stock cabinets may be misleading. Options, styles, and colors are generally limited, and construction quality may not be high. “Designers” at big box stores are often trained in computer software, not in kitchen design principles. The resulting cabinetry may not be designed for maximum function and efficiency. Some stock cabinet boxes will have to be assembled before the cabinetry can be installed in the kitchen, unexpectedly adding to the final cost and time line of the project.

Custom cabinets are “made-to-order.” A designer will work with you to put together a kitchen that works in your space and meets your particular needs. Custom cabinets are typically more expensive than stock cabinets (but not by much, considering the quality and flexibility available). Custom cabinets can be purchased from a local cabinet maker or from a cabinet manufacturer and quality and price can vary widely. Most kitchen and bath design showrooms and kitchen design professionals work with custom cabinet manufacturers who can provide furniture-quality cabinetry at competitive prices using materials and processes simply not available to a local shop. Both local shop and manufactured cabinets take about six weeks to deliver to the job site.

Look for quality construction and finishing
To the inexperienced eye, most new cabinets look pretty good. But this beauty is often only skin deep,
and it may be fleeting. If possible, ask your cabinet professional to show you a kitchen that has been
installed in a home for a few years. This will give you an idea of how well the finish and construction hold up to the demands of daily life.

* Look closely at cabinet construction and ask to see written specifications on materials used. Construction details should be clear and explicit in any bid you receive. Wood grains should be selected and matched with care. If you are using a local shop, be sure to ask if they make their own doors from material sourced from the same place as the cabinet boxes. The same wood species (maple, for example) may have different characteristics if sourced from different regions of the country.

* Examine drawer boxes carefully. High quality cabinets are made from ¾” material and joints will be
dovetailed, not butt-joined. Drawer glides should move smoothly. Full extension and soft-close glides are often not included in lower-quality cabinets.

* How are the cabinet interiors finished? A high quality laminate will provide many years of wear and ease of cleaning, in contrast to raw interiors. Is shelving adjustable and sturdy enough to hold heavy items like plates?
Be sure to ask about paints and finishes. A painted cabinet that has a heat-set varnish will be far more durable than one with just a sprayed finish. Wood finishes should be smooth, with an even and consistent sheen. In stained woods, color variation should be consistent with the natural variation of the wood species. Wood finishes that seem dry, uneven, or blotchy are not high quality finishes and will not look attractive after a while.

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