Cabinetry Construction

What material is used?

  • The more real wood used in the construction of a cabinet box, the better.
  • Quality plywood holds up the best over time.
  • Plywood is good for larger surface areas such as sides, tops, bottoms, backs and toe boards.
  • The face frame should be constructed of premium-quality, solid wood for extra rigidity.
  • Particle board (also called "engineered wood") is not a good choice for the side panels, tops or bottoms of a cabinet.

Joint construction?

Cabinets need to endure hard knocks. Make sure the box includes strong joinery using rabbets and dados. If a joint is only glue and staples, pass up that cabinet.

What is an "exposed" end panel or side panel?

Sometimes when a cabinet is installed next to a dishwasher or stove, a little bit of the cabinet's end panel will show.

Exposed end panels should be covered with stained wood veneer or melamine that closely matches the exterior finish.

Cabinet interior?

  • A light colored interior reflects the most light so it's easier to view your cereal choices. A light-colored melamine applied over plywood does the trick, and is easy to clean.
  • If your kitchen cabinet designs call for open or glass-door cabinets, make sure the line you choose offers a stained wood veneer interior to match the outer finish.

Shelf construction?

Better quality cabinetry offers adjustable shelving as a standard feature. It’s worthwhile to ask about this, since some lines offer only fixed shelves. Adjustability gives you more flexible storage options, especially where shelves and roll-out trays are concerned.

Is the cabinet complete?

  • Extra features, such as a fully enclosed space under the bottom drawer in base cabinets, help to protect cabinet interiors and their contents from dust, bugs and rodents.
  • Some cabinet boxes are made without a back or enclosed bottom or even a melamine interior.