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How to Check for Quality in Your New Kitchen Cabinets

by Jessica Santina

Replacing your kitchen cabinets is a significant investment. It shouldn't be taken lightly, and it certainly should be based on more than appearances.

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Before you make that final cabinet purchase, make sure you consider the following:

  1. Are the cabinets certified by The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA)? The certification process is voluntary. But if your cabinets are certified, you know that they've been checked rigorously for key durability features. Certified cabinets can withstand heat, water, and grease as well as loads of up to 500 pounds without visible signs of distress.
  2. Are the drawers well constructed? Check that the pieces fit well together and are made of quality joint materials--ball-bearings instead of cheap plastic runners. Check for a quality finish on the inner surfaces and that drawers pull all the way out.
  3. Is the wood in good repair? According to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association, wood cabinets should show no evidence of cracking or delamination, no perceptible joint separation, no unfinished or rough edges, and no noisy doors or drawers. Make sure that cuts in wood are smooth, not torn or rough, and that there are no gobs of glue.
  4. Is the hardware installed properly? Make sure that screws, nails, and fasteners are concealed well, and that all handles and hinges are fastened securely.
  5. Is the shelving high quality? Inside shelves should be at least 3/4 inch and adjustable. Edges of all shelves should be finished. They should be solid wood, and shelf clips should be metal and tight-fitting.
  6. Is there a warranty? There should be. Check whether it extends to the end-user, especially if you eventually plan to sell your house.

Investing in the durability of your cabinets now can save you headaches in years to come.

About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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