Key Things to Look for to Ensure Quality

Close Up of Drawer Interior

Thoroughly examine construction quality before making a final decision.

A coveted name brand (and hefty price tag) might imply high quality, but to truly ensure quality, it's important to examine cabinet construction and components that often go unnoticed.

Look at:

  • Drawer construction: Dovetail drawers will provide the most strength

  • Finishing system: To properly protect the doors, your cabinet's finish should include a moisture resistant sealant, catalytic conversion varnish and baked-on coats

  • Composition of the doors

The Hardwood Manufacturers Association recommends asking yourself:

  • Is there evidence of cracking of wood or delamination?

  • Are corners square with no perceptible joint separation?

  • Are exposed surfaces smoothly rounded with no blemishes?

  • Do doors align when closed?

  • Are hardware and handles fastened securely and aligned properly?

  • Are all edges smooth?

  • Are screws, nails and fasteners properly concealed?

  • Do doors and drawers open smoothly and quietly?

  • Are the drawers removable?

  • Is the finish smooth with no drips and bubbles?

Industry Standards
The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) sponsors a national testing program for cabinets to ensure they meet standards set by the American National Standards Institute. Cabinets that pass the tests — designed to simulate years of typical household use — have seals reading ANSI/KCMA A161.1. The certification program is voluntary.

When you purchase a cabinet with the KCMA seal, know that your cabinets have passed the following tests:

  • Doors are properly aligned and close without excessive binding or looseness.

  • All wood parts were dried to a moisture content of 10 percent or less at the time of fabrication.

  • Cabinets are suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms, withstanding exposure to grease, solvents, water, detergent and steam.

  • Mounted wall cabinets were gradually loaded to 500 pounds without visible signs of failure in the cabinet or the mounting system.

  • All shelves and bottoms were loaded at 15 pounds per sq. ft. and maintained for seven days to check for joint separation and bending.

  • Drawers were loaded at 15 pounds per sq. ft. and opened and closed 25,000 times to ensure proper drawer assembly and operation.

  • To ensure tight and proper connection of doors, door-holding devices and hinges, doors are opened and closed through a full 90-degree swing 25,000 times.

  • The cabinet door has been placed in a hotbox at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent relative humidity for 24 hours to test the finish for discoloration, blistering and film failures.

  • To ensure kitchen and bath durability, exposed surfaces were subjected to vinegar, lemon, orange and grape juices, ketchup, coffee, olive oil and 100-proof alcohol for 24 hours (and mustard for one hour). The finish did not show appreciable discoloration or stain that would not disperse with ordinary polishing.



More in this category: « Door Types


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