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Originally published May 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Page modified May 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM

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Cost of redoing cabinets hinges on materials, construction, hardware

The size of your kitchen or bath and how you want to utilize the space can help determine whether factory-built, standard sizes can work for you, or if you are going to need custom cabinetry.

Special to The Seattle Times

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HomeWork

Q. I want to redo my cabinets. Why do prices vary so much?

A. The simple answer is, cabinets are not created equal. Even though they can look very similar, cabinets are built with a variety of different materials, construction methods and hardware — all of which affect pricing.

And as you can imagine, cabinets built to standard sizes and specifications will typically cost less than those built with custom sizes.

The specifics of your kitchen or bath and the level and quality of finish you want will all factor into what product will suit your needs and the price range you can reasonably expect to pay.

The size of your kitchen or bath and how you want to utilize the space can help determine whether factory-built, standard sizes can work for you, or if you are going to need custom cabinetry.

Here’s a list of some of the variables to consider:

Box construction: Cabinet boxes are generally built with a particle board and melamine veneer, or plywood with a maple or birch veneer. Each veneer has advantages and disadvantages, including overall performance and price. Ask you contractor or do some online research to help you decide what veneer will best suit your taste and the way your family will use the room.

Drawers: Drawers can be built with dovetail construction or simply nailed. Either construction technique can work well, but dovetail construction is designed to hold up to consistent, heavy use, which could be an important consideration if you have a large family and a busy kitchen.

Doors: Doors can be solid wood, veneer, Thermofoil or painted. Thermofoil is a plastic finish material applied to engineered wood core like fiberboard. It can be a solid color or an imitation wood grain.

When choosing types of doors, you want to consider the design and how those doors align with doors around them.

You’ve probably been looking at cabinets in magazines and online, so find a photo of the cabinets you like and ask your vendor or remodeler to help you replicate that look. You may be able to purchase stock sizes.

Wood grain: You want to make sure the cabinets you are ordering have panels and frames with a matching wood grain. Ask for a sample of your specific cabinet door before ordering so you know what to expect.

Hardware: It’s easy to forget about this, but the variations of hardware for cabinets and drawers can make the difference between ease and irritation.

Full extension glides allow drawers to extend almost fully, instead of just halfway. Soft-close glides and hinges allow the doors and drawers to close silently instead of banging shut.

Think about how you will be using your drawers and cabinets.

Nothing is worse than a long, deep kitchen drawer that only opens half way, making it a struggle to claim the utensils inside.

As with almost every home-improvement project, doing your research is a major key to a functional and beautiful outcome.

Anne Higuera, Ventana Construction is a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council and provided the information contained in this article. If you would like more information or have questions about home improvement send them to homework@mbaks.com. Sorry no personal replies. Always consult local codes and contractors.


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