Monday, June 13, 2016

Understanding Cabinet Selections

Information courtesy  Decore-ative Specialties

Understanding the differences in kitchen cabinetry can help 
you make a better decision on all the choices that are available.

Cabinet Differences  
Most of our clients begin their kitchen remodel with cabinets. There is almost an unlimited number of choices that can meet any aesthetic and budget need. You may have already encountered industry nomenclature that describes cabinet options as stock, semi-custom and custom. Did you know that those terms refer to the different production methods employed to manufacture cabinets; the terminology has nothing to do with the quality of the cabinet. 
Stock cabinets are ready-made, pre-manufactured and ship when an order is received. They can't be altered or customized. What you see is what you get.

Pros:   Price, and you don't have to wait for long lead times to have your cabinets delivered.
Cons:  Typically you don't have a broad selection of styles, shapes, colors, wood type or finishes.
Semi-custom cabinets come in basic sizes similar to stock cabinets but give designers the flexibility to resize cabinet drawers and doors and modify the depth of the cabinets themselves.

Pros:  The best of both worlds. A gentle price tag accompanied by some ability to have your cabinets your way to meet space requirements and design preferences. 
Cons:  May not provide all of the flexibility you need to meet room requirements or aesthetics preferences.
As the name suggests, custom cabinets provide a blank canvas to get whatever size, color and finish that you desire. Most custom cabinets are built to order on a case by case basis.
Pros:  Clients can get the details and features that they want to make personal design statements in their home and outfit their new kitchen to exacting requirements.
Cons:  Custom cabinets are labor intensive because they are built one at a time and can take a few weeks or even a couple of months to build. They also generally cost more than semi-custom and stock cabinets.

Cabinet Construction / Design
With so many cabinet options to choose from, here is a quick overview of the different construction elements.  Learn about the differences in the panel, frame and other categories available.
Butt Joint

Joined with 90 degree angles at the corners, butt joint doors are the most common construction type. They are also referred to as Cope N' Stick construction. This construction type provides a very sturdy frame with less opportunity for gaps or movement in the seams of the corners. The 5-piece drawer fronts of Butt Joint doors use a smaller width top and bottom rail, allowing for smaller drawer front sizes while keeping the right and left stiles of the drawer fronts the same width of the door frame for a cohesive look.


Miter Joint

Precise, 45 degree angles joining the corners give miter doors their high-end look. Mitered joint cabinet doors are made from five pieces: a panel, left and right stiles, and top and bottom rails. Doors using a miter construction type provide a high-end, elevated look to complement any space.

Raised Panel

Raised panel doors are created by connecting pieces of solid lumber, called staves, together to make a large, flat panel piece. Panels are then routed and sanded with the desired panel edge detail. Solid Panels are created with the same lumber material as the frame of the door for a cohesive look from panel to frame.

Recessed Panel

Recessed Panel doors are made of a plywood material covered with wood veneer and a solid lumber frame. Using a recessed panel provides a minimalistic look compared to a detailed raised panel and creates a door that is lighter in weight than a solid panel door. Though the wood veneer and the solid lumber typically come from the same wood species there can occasionally be a difference in appearance in color and/or grain between veneer and lumber.


Slab doors provide the look of a solid piece of material that can have an outside edge detail applied to add a little distinction to this otherwise simplistic style. Slab doors can be ordered in a variety of door styles made of wood, laminate, melamine, MDF, or Deco-form 3D Laminates.

Edge Banded

Edge banding is used on many flat panel slab doors to conceal the core material of the door. Matching edge banding is traditionally used to provide a cohesive look between the material on the face and the edges. A recent trend in cabinetry uses a unique or contrasting edge band to provide a distinct difference between panel and edge materials. This is especially popular with high gloss looks and with silver or contrasting colored edge banding applied. With custom cabinetry the options for customization are endless.

Beaded Panel

Beaded panels provide either a single or double groove routed into the panel of a door. We offer a variety of doors that come standard with a beaded panel but many of our door styles can be upgraded with an optional beaded panel. Some beaded grooves have a rounded edge for a softer appearance while others have a more angular, straight edge. Beaded panels are available in our Wood, MDF, and Deco-form product lines.

Applied Molding

Popular in more detailed design styles like Country and Estate, applied moldings elevate the look of a standard 5-piece door while also providing an excellent canvas for glazed finishes. Available on both butt joint and miter joint wood doors, applied molding pieces are securely attached to the front of the doors and 5-piece drawer fronts. Door styles with rope moldings are also available for a perfectly embellished look. While most applied molding styles are offered in our Wood product line we also have several door styles available in our Expressions and Deco-form product lines to meet the design needs of all Decore-ative Specialties customers.

Rope Molding

Dramatic and detailed, these doors have rope molding inserts meticulously added to specially routed door frames to highlight these unique looks. They can be beautifully highlighted with a glazed finish or coated with a clear, stain, or painted finish so the rope design stands alone without further embellishment.

Veneer Raised Panel

This series uses a beautiful, solid lumber frame with coordinating veneer raised panels. They are an excellent option with consistent grain pattern across the panel and reduced panel movement in climates that experience large shifts in temperature and humidity. Customization options are available on some styles by choosing from the classic raised panel options and a variety of inside and outside edge detail options. For the look of a solid lumber panel but the added benefits of consistent grain and reduced panel movement, Veneer Raised Panel doors are an excellent alternative.

Louver Style 

Channel the look of louvers by using Louver Style doors made of solid wood. These un-vented styles achieve a stylized look without the functionality of vented, movable louvers and therefore eliminate the possibility of broken or damaged louvers. If ventilation isn't necessary, our variety of Louver Style doors are a perfect fit. If you need true louver doors with vented slats please visit our Specialty section.


Cabinet Materials
Solid Wood

Wood frames create a beautiful structure for either a raised or recessed panel. Solid lumber is used to build sturdy and reliable cabinet door frames that will stand the test of time.



Veneer is cut from a log into sheets in varying thickness down to as thin as 1/40" thick. This allows you to get the look you want accompanied with an environmentally friendly, recycled wood fiber composite core to offer a truly resource conscious option. Thanks to the sturdy core, Veneer doors are less susceptible to warping than solid wood doors and can provide a consistent color and grain pattern. Reconstituted Veneers use high-quality common wood veneers from responsibly managed forests that are reconstructed to offer a diverse variety of color, grain, and texture options. Now you can get the exotic or unique look you want without impacting the world's exotic forests.

Rigid Thermal Foil (RTF)

Thermofoil, often called Rigid Thermal Foil or RTF, is a durable vinyl. Thermofoil cabinet doors are replacements for many "ready-to-assemble" cabinets and are often called laminiate cabinet doors by some.  They have the look of a real wood door but resist expansion and contraction with temperature fluctuation, clean easily, and don't require any additional finishing. Many styles are available with unique glazing applied to the frame and several raised panel options are available to create a truly custom look.

Medium Density Fiberboard, MDF

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a heavy, hard, strong, dense, stiff, uniformly textured wood product with no grain pattern.  It's consistency in texture and density make it an ideal material to accept matte and high-gloss paint. The durable MDF resists dents but can be more susceptible to if moisture enters a blemished area where the exposed MDF may expand, creating a small 'pillow'.  Doors and drawer fronts can be left solid for a sleek look or can be routed to achieve a huge variety of looks to fit Traditional, Contemporary, and even Country design styles. 



High Pressure Laminates (HPL) are decorative laminates applied to a composite core with high levels of pressure to seal and secure the bond between the core and the laminate material. Laminate doors and drawer fronts have a band around the edge to conceal and protect the composite core. Typically the core is made of MDF or Particleboard. Laminate is available in a wide variety of colors, sheens, textures, and designs including solids, wood grains, and abstract designs and textures



Melamine is a durable, thermally fused, coated paper-based product bonded onto a particleboard core. Melamine doors and drawer fronts have a band around the edge to conceal and protect the composite core. They are consistent, uniform in strength and free of defects. 


This material is available in a Brushed or a Matte finish with a variety of glass insert options. The Brushed Finish is similar in color to stainless steel with a polished, shiny finish while the Matte Finish is a light silver with a flat finish. Aluminum frames can be easily cleaned with a soft cloth.


Stop by our Showroom

Since remodeling your kitchen or bath offers one of the highest return-on-investments for your home, now is the time to get started.  Stop by our showroom and browse our large selection of cabinet options.  We'll help you make the right choices for your home.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

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