What You Should Know Before Purchasing Kitchen Cabinets

Before deciding about installing new kitchen cabinets, you should learn thoroughly about:

  • The techniques used to construct cabinets
  • What different materials are used for different designs
  • The various methods used to build the cabinets

There are certain factors that come into play that will dictate the look and quality of different cabinets. Even if the actual construction is something you are far from interested in, some basics will help you understand the different levels of carpentry so you can get the very best quality for your money. While shopping around, you will run into different cabinets that range from very inexpensive to very expensive so you should know if you are way out of your league or getting a great deal on a given cabinet.

What Materials Are Cabinets Made From:

First off, you should understand the different materials used including solid wood, plywood, Medium-density fiberboard or MDF, particleboard., and melamine So, let’s go over the materials and see what you think:

Solid Wood

As the name suggests, these cabinets are made from solid homogeneous wood and nothing else. There are so many different woods used in making cabinets you could easily become overwhelmed and each particular wood has a different value. As an example, Mahogany is a much more expensive wood than Pine. The only big difference could be the panels or the boards that the solid wood pieces are joined together.


Plywood is a wood product that most people are very familiar with. It’s not an expensive material and consists of wood layers that are glued together very much like a sandwich. The plies or panels have different grain directions at different angles but they will all have the same grain directions when constructed into a cabinet. Plywood boards can be quite rigid and stable.

MDF (Medium-density fiberboard)

This is a wood product that is made from wood fibers. The fibers are joined together under pressure with an adhesive and formed into boards and panels. This product has a finer texture than particleboard and is also much denser and quite a bit heavier.


This is another wood product that is made from wood chips and particles that are combined with adhesive then fused together to create boards and panels.


This material is formed as a plastic-based, sheet material which is very similar to laminate that’s applied to the outside surfaces of the cabinet. In most cases, the material underneath the melamine is a medium-density fiberboard, particleboard or plywood. You should always inquire whether the cabinet is made in the United States or imported. This will be important if you are someone who wants your cabinets made in the USA which is significant because many imported cabinets from other countries do not have the regulations we have in the US regarding the construction of the wood products.

The Techniques Used For Constructing Cabinets:

There is no right or wrong way to make cabinet boxes, frames, or drawers when they are ultimately brought together. However, there are different approaches during construction. The technique used can decide the integrity of the cabinet and the time and labor that went into it.

Here are some of the most popular techniques used today:

Mortise & Tenon

This is a form of joinery which uses a square post protruding from one end of the piece of wood that fits into a square hole. This process might be used to connect the pieces of the cabinet face frame together. A joiner is someone who builds items by joining pieces of wood, unlike a carpenter. This includes furniture and cabinets. While joinery and carpentry are constructing items, joiners usually work in a workshop while carpenters usually work on a site.

A Doweled Joint

This technique uses round wood dowels or pegs that are pressed and then glued halfway into the holes into one piece of wood. The extended part of the dowel is fitted into the holes by aligning the mating piece of wood. This is a popular process to join the sides of drawers or the cabinet box together.


A dado is a groove that has been cut into the board or panel where the edge of another board panel can fit into. As an example, the sides and back of a cabinet drawer are grooved to accept the drawer’s bottom. The drawer’s bottom is then glued or nailed to the edges of the side panels for a stronger fit.

Cabinet Assembly By Bringing The Materials & Construction:

The materials and construction that your cabinet is made from, is not always seen by the naked eye like the drawers and doors are. That said, they contribute to construction because they are brought together along with the materials they are made from. Let’s look at the two factors when considering the different components of the cabinet.

The Cabinet Boxes

These boxes are made from a high-quality material such as Maple plywood to a low-material such as particleboard along with many other options in between. This will affect the overall price of the cabinet.

The Cabinet Frames

In most cases, the front of the cabinet that you can see is usually made from solid wood.

Drawer Boxes

The quality of the material that is used along with the boxes joined together will have an effect on the sturdiness of the drawer. As an example, a dovetailed drawer is stronger than a drawer using butt joints and screws. You will have choices regarding the different sides from standard, to full extension. Most components that are soft-closing are also- self-closing.

Do You Know What Decides The Look & Design Of Your Cabinet?

The construction style of the cabinet will decide how the doors and drawers fit and the overall look of the cabinet. You can be sure that you will get the same high-quality of construction that we also provide. Carpentry is broken up into 3 categories after the method has been chosen:

  • Inset
  • Overlay
  • Frameless


The inset door is named so because it is set inside the cabinet frame. The door is carefully and precisely measured so it will sit inside the frame and will open and close the right way every time.


The standard overlay is the most popular. The face frame of a typical cabinet door overlays from 1/2-inches to 1 ½ with different gaps between the doors and drawers.


Frameless cabinets are a specific design that has only recently been introduced into the US but have been extremely popular in Europe for a very long time. Because cabinets do not have a frame, the frameless cabinet feature has full access allowing for a great amount of space. Also, frameless cabinets seem a lot more modern in appearance. If you are presently looking for new cabinets, it would be worth your time to check out frameless cabinets.

Other Things You Might Want To Consider:

There are several other options you might want to consider for your kitchen or bath cabinets. Keep in mind, the hinges and door will dictate the style more than anything else. It’s up to you what style of cabinet is right for you and your home’s décor.

Other things you should take into consideration include:

  • The Style of the Door
  • The Shelves
  • What Finishes will work best for you
  • What Wood are you in favor of?
  • Storage, organizational features, and other accessories
  • Do you want Custom or Semi-Custom?