Tile // Cabinetry // Stone // Kitchens // Bathrooms
The kitchen consultants at Gulf Tile and Cabinetry see hundreds of current and prospective clients in our showrooms every month for anything from curious browsing to kitchen design consultation. Following are some of our customers’ most common questions about kitchen cabinets and design.
Q. What is the best brand of cabinet I can buy?
At Gulf Tile we carry a wide range of kitchen cabinets in prefabricated, semi-custom and custom styles from some of the nation’s leading manufacturers, including KraftMaid, Merillat and Collier Bremtown. Although choosing a quality manufacturer is important, your final cabinet selection will ultimately depend less on the brand name than it does on your personal vision, taste and budget. If you fall in love with cabinets of a certain material, finish or door style that is out of your price range or unavailable in your layout, we can assist you with finding something similar that suits your needs. Cabinets are furniture elements, designed to last for years. It’s important to choose a look that works now and into the future.
Q. What should I look for in cabinet construction?
Cabinet and drawer box construction refers to the case on which the drawers and doors are mounted, and consists of two sides, the back, the floor, and in the case of hanging wall cabinets, also a top.
Traditional cabinets include a face frame that surrounds the inset drawers and doors. On frameless or European –style cabinets the doors and drawers are mounted directly to the sides of the cabinets.
In order to meet ANSI standards, frameless cabinet should have walls, tops and floors of a minimum 5/8- to 3/4-inch thickness to prevent bowing, and are generally made from high density furniture board or plywood. Framed cabinets should have 1/4-, 3/8- or 1/2-inch panels of either fiberboard or plywood, along with a 3/4-inch thick face frame to support the drawers or doors.
The materials and types of fasteners used in construction will determine the overall thickness of the panels. Ask a consultant if you need more information.
Q. Aren’t plywood cabinets better?
Both plywood and furniture board have pros and cons. Plywood is made of many thin sheets of wood laminated together and is generally less susceptible to water damage than furniture board. However, plywood is also a target for termites while furniture board is not.
Cabinets constructed from solid wood frames and plywood panels are generally more expensive than HDF cabinets, but they are also more durable and longer lasting.
Q. What about drawers?
Entry level cabinetry usually includes drawers that are rabbited together and then glued and pinned, but these drawers are susceptible to warping and sticking. A drawer box that includes dovetailed joints, in which the floor is inset into the frame on all four sides, and undermount glides for support, creates sturdier drawers that can handle heavier weights. Dovetail construction is becoming increasingly popular in cabinet construction.
Q. Why are there so many different prices?
The wide range of construction materials, finishes and door styles available accounts for most of the variation in cabinet pricing.
Generally, upgrading from furniture board to solid wood adds about 15 percent to the overall cost of the kitchen, while upgraded drawers and hardware can add $30 to $40 per drawer. Oak doors are less expensive than cherry, flat panels are more affordable than raised panels, and full overlay doors cost more than standard overlay doors.
Q. What about accessories to make my kitchen work the way I want it to?
The size and layout of your kitchen will determine the number of accessories you can add to your remodel, and entry level cabinet lines generally offer fewer options for accessorizing the kitchen. Before adding convenience accessories, remember that they can be useful additions, but installing accessories usually requires a reduction in available storage space.
Q. What about countertops?
Laminate countertops are the least expensive option and modern designs are available the mimic the look of granite, marble, and other finishes. However, most kitchen consumers choose to make the investment in the beauty and durability of natural granite or quartz kitchen countertops. Other options include acrylic, stainless steel, marble, tile, slate, soapstone, structural glass, concrete and custom formulated terrazzo.
With the exception of laminate, countertop installation is best left to professionals.
Q. Can I at least install my own cabinets? That would save me some money.
For smaller projects, do-it-yourself installation can be a money-saving solution. Larger projects, however, imply a substantial upfront investment. The cabinet supplier will not be held responsible for any damage or errors that occur during installation. The complexity of the installation is another consideration. Keep in mind, also, that due to construction variations, minor adjustments may need to be made during installation. Understanding the risks and rewards of do-it-yourself installation is the key to making this decision.
Q. Is there anything else I should know?
Yes. Cabinets are just the first step. Your new kitchen may require new plumbing fixtures, flooring, appliances, paint and the labor required to install these elements. Your cabinet budget will be determined by the extent of your remodel.
Q. My sink and faucet are just fine now. Why should I replace them?
While these fixtures may be in fine working order, will they last as long as your new kitchen? You will already pay the price for reinstalling the existing fixtures, so it may be cost effective to upgrade now.
Q. Aren’t backsplashes included?
Backsplashes may be included in the pricing for laminate countertops, but when using other materials they add to the overall square footage, increasing the cost of the job. You may want to consider using other materials for this application.
Q. Okay, I see the point about the sink and faucet, but my appliances are in really good shape.
That’s fine; reuse them. If your existing appliances are in good working order and suit the overall design of your new kitchen, there’s really no reason to replace them.
Q. I just want new cabinets. Why do I need a kitchen design, and why do my appliances have anything to do with it?
An updated kitchen adds more resale value to your home than any other upgrade. Installing new cabinets that clash or contrast with your existing appliances, paint or flooring lessens this result. A comprehensive kitchen design, executed by a professional, will ensure that your investment adds maximum value and is aesthetically pleasing.
Q. Isn’t this going to take a lot of time and money? I don’t want it to be this complicated.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. A qualified designer and a reputable company are your best resources and can simplify the process. Our consultants know what products are available and will use that knowledge to provide you with the design, products and services that will best meet your needs and provide the best value for your investment. We do as much or as little as you like, and can guide you through the process every step of the way.
Q. What do I need to watch out for?
Beware of salespeople who make promises before they understand the project. A good designer will ask you why you are replacing your kitchen, what you want the end result to look like, how you use the space, and approximately how much time and money you’d like to invest. If a designer isn’t asking these questions, he is not interested in meeting your needs, only his own.
Q. Why are you putting all of this information out here?
Kitchen projects require adequate information and planning to be successful. Customers who are involved and aware about the process are better able to provide more information to the designer. This information allows the designer to become a better resource to the client and ultimately results in a project that is less stressful and better meets the client’s expectations.