5 Tips for Buying High-Quality Kitchen Cabinetry

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With all the choices available today, it’s important to do your homework before buying what’s often one of the costliest components in a new or remodeled kitchen design.

Sleek stainless appliances and shiny granite counters may get all the attention, but the real star in any kitchen is the cabinetry.

Cabinetry affects the way your kitchen looks, feels and functions.

“There’s a huge range in cabinetry today,” said John Morgan, 2013 president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association and owner of Morgan Pinnacle, a Maryland-based manufacturers’ representatives’ agency. “When I started in this business in the early 1990s, you could get oak or maple cabinets in a couple of colors, and your door choices were basically square raised or cathedral.

“Today, buying cabinets is a much bigger decision because there are at least 10 different wood species, 500 different door styles and hundreds of color combinations. The sky really is the limit.”

With all those choices at your disposal, it’s important to do your homework before buying what’s often one of the costliest components in a new or remodeled kitchen design. Cabinets, advises Morgan, should be both timeless in their appeal and durable enough to last for decades.

“There are absolutely, positively quality cabinets available at every price point,” Morgan said. “It’s like buying a car: It may be possible to find a mid-level Honda that’s got a higher quality rating than a BMW or Mercedes. They’re all quality cars that will get you where you need to go, but their styling and prices are going to vary.

“With cabinets, you may find a high-end manufacturer who’s using a three-quarters-inch plywood end panel and a mid-level one that uses a half-inch plywood panel. They’re both going to last 30 years, so you, as a consumer, need to decide if those little extras are worth the higher price tag.”

When setting out to select new cabinetry, Morgan offers these five tips:

Go with the pros

Morgan says the key to any successful kitchen design or remodel is to put together an experienced team you trust. “If you find a reputable designer, contractor and cabinet installer, they’ll steer you to quality products, no matter what price point you’re at,” he said. “Conversely, a poor or average installer can take the best possible product and ruin it for you.”

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