Cabinets- A bit more about options

Last time I talked about the different types of cabinets. Now let’s talk about when is the best time to use them and the types of finishing.

Box Cabinets– J Carsten Remodeling will recommend box cabinets in economy situations where the customer is looking for a good quality cabinet on a smaller budget. Box Box cabinetscabinets come pre-finished (finished at the factory) and lead times are typically 4-6 weeks. Planning ahead of time is a must with box cabinets in order to ensure that cabinets are available for installation at just the right time. Typically, we will want the cabinets on the job site or at a minimum, delivered to the lumber company, before we will start demo.

Customizable Box/ Manufactured Custom Cabinets– We seldom use customizable box cabinets or manufactured custom cabinets. The main reason is the cost of these cabinets is comparable to local custom cabinets even when the cost of finishing is included.

Local Custom Cabinets- This is, by far, the cabinet type we install most often. J Carsten Remodeling has a relationship with a local custom cabinet shop where lead times are typically two weeks. In addition to shorter lead times, if errors or defects are found, we can usually get the problem resolved in 24-48 hours. That would not be possible with any type of manufactured cabinet.

Finishing on Custom Cabinets– For most installations, the local custom cabinets we install site finished cabinetwill be unfinished and then finished on site. This is preferred for two main reasons:

  1. Any handling or installation damage/ scratches can be fixed prior to finishing
  2. Nail holes in moldings (crown molding, etc) can be filled and make the nail hole virtually disappear. This is especially important with enameled cabinets.

There are occasions, though, where pre-finishing the cabinets is done.

  1. In a condominium situation where the association by-laws state that no cabinet finishing can be done on site. Then, we do not have a choice.pre-finished cabinet
  2. In a cabinet & countertop replacement only. In order to minimize the kitchen down time, the cabinets will be installed pre-finished. The kitchen is usable right after installation (waiting for countertops of course)

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

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Box Cabinets or Custom Cabinets- Just some facts.

J Carsten Remodeling has installed both box cabinets and full custom cabinets. Here are some differences:

Box Cabinets

Box cabinets, called so because the cabinet comes in a box, come in certain sizes (usually 3″ increments from 9″ to 48″ in width). They are usually made ahead of time and stocked by a distributor, in a box, on a shelf, ready for sale. Box cabinets are also usually made of Box cabinets.ashxthinner components to make them less expensive. Thus they often need “center stiles” (a divider that divides the middle of double-door cabinets to strengthen and support the overall box and shelves). Box cabinets also typically use less expensive hinges and drawer slides.

Customizable Box Cabinets

Customizable box cabinets are essentially box cabinets that can be ordered cut down in depth from the standard depths available at an extra charge. They are typically made to order. But in some cases they are essentially stock cabinets, where only the customized pieces in the order are made to order. Customizable product lines also typically encompass a greater variety of cabinets and some double-door cabinets available with no center stile (for roll-out shelves and other accessories). They might also make a few standard angled and/or radiused cabinets for use on the end of a run, where conditions are tight.

Manufactured Custom

Custom manufactured cabinets can be ordered to any dimensions as long as they do not exceed the limits the manufacturer lists in their catalog, typically 48″ wide, and 96″ Custom cabinetshigh. Maximum depths vary, depending on the type of cabinet involved. Designers can also order changes in the sizes and heights of doors and drawers, as well as customizing the mounting heights of ovens and other built-in appliances to suit the buyer. They typically use only the highest quality hardware and are made of thicker materials. So they are sturdier.

All customizations in manufactured cabinets carry an up-charge, and manufacturers typically base their standard offerings on basic cabinets very similar to stock cabinet catalogs. However custom manufacturers also offer many MORE cabinet types and accessories than box cabinets.

Local Custom

There the cabinets are designed and made in a local cabinet shop. There are fewer Custom Cabinetslimitations on sizes with local custom. The only definite ones are limitations on the sizes of materials, like sheets of plywood and sizes of the raw wood boards. Cabinetmakers can also do things like matching boards for pattern and color consistency that manufacturers find difficult. They are also free to use both thinner and thicker components, and more or less expensive hardware to meet a budget.

Cabinetmakers also routinely build their cabinets in what they call “runs“. This is building what may be an entire wall of base or wall cabinets as one long cabinet. This cuts the cost of face frame material a bit and makes the spaces between doors consistent.

Applications

Box- Typically the cheapest upfront cost and thus are typically installed in lower budget situations. The best applications are for straight forward areas without tricky areas or angles that might require special cabinets. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Customizable Box– Used in kitchens when the homeowner wants to maximize space in tricky areas or angled spaces. Typically the installation will involve a combination of custom and stock sizes. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Manufactured Custom– Used in middle to high end kitchens. The cabinets are built to fit the specific area and may include special moldings, space for specialty appliances, or other customizable areas. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Local Custom– Custom cabinets used to cost more than the box cabinets in nearly all cases. But lately, custom cabinets are closer in price than you might expect. Thus, you will see custom cabinets in all budget ranges. They are also used in applications where the cabinets are to be finished on site. They can be finished ahead of time in a local paint shop before installation.

Next time, I’ll go over which I prefer depending on the situation.

Good Luck

Jason

J Carsten Remodeling

Cherry stained kitchen cabinets- Poplar in the kitchen?

I was recently asked about using Poplar as a wood species for kitchen cabinets. Apparently there are several builders who are promoting “Cherry stained cabinets”. They are staining Poplar in colors that make the cabinets look cherry-like. Is this a good idea?

Let’s look at a couple advantages.

  1. Poplar will definitely be cheaper than Cherry cabinets. My custom cabinet maker charges 40% more for the Cherry material than he does for his standard cabinets made from Oak.
  2. Poplar is good material for paint-grade projects. I will commonly use poplar for mouldings or crown moulding where there is little chance of being damaged.

 Disadvantages

  1. Poplar is a softer wood than oak or cherry. Hardness of a wood is measured via the Janka rating. The Janka rating is a measure of the amount of force required to push a .444″ diameter steel ball half way into a piece of wood. In laymans terms, it is a way to measure a woods resistance to denting. The higher the number the greater its resistance to denting. Here are some Janka Hardness ratings for commonly used wood species:
  • Balsa- 100
  • Poplar- 540
  • Alder (red)- 590
  • Southern Yellow Pine- 690
  • Red Maple- 950
  • Cherry- 950
  • Red Oak- 1290
  • White Oak- 1360
  • Hickory- 1820
  • Brazilian Cherry/ Jatoba- 2350
  • Ipe/ Brazilian Walnut- 3684

2. As a softer wood, Poplar has a tendency to stain unevenly or blotchy if not treated correctly.

3.  Over the life of the cabinets, Poplar cabinets will be less likely to hold up to wear & tear and dents. There may also be issues with screws stripping out of the wood over time.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend using Poplar for kitchen cabinets. For painted cabinets, we use Maple. It is much harder and holds up better. For stained cabinets, I recommend the real stuff, whether it be cherry or some other wood. It may be a little more money, but if you factor in the cost of the cabinets with the cost of installation and finishing, the cost of the upgrade is relatively small.

Good Luck

Jason

J Carsten Homes & Remodeling