We'll help you find the best type to fit your kitchen's personality and meet your storage needs. Not that age always matters. Generally, the quality of service you get before your cabinet purchase won’t be too much different than the service you get after you purchase your cabinets. If you knock or tap on it, it feels slightly loose. Since cabinets can last for such a long time, this is a very popular remodeling technique. Plywood will warp and split in moist conditions. Another huge difference is the overall fit of the pieces. How much higher? It comes in 3/4-, 5/8- and 1/2-inch thicknesses. Dealer service is another huge factor when purchasing cabinets. Plywood is made up of layers of wood veneer glued together, alternating the grain of the wood for stability. Plywood vrs particle board Nor was the butcher block I looked at. The sides of your cabinets are SO important, if they are not in good condition there is no point to waste money making aesthetic changes. I will be comparing two similarly sized 3 drawer base cabinets. Some manufacturers use 1/2" thickness to keep the cost low and tote that it is a premium feature. That's one long run-on rant you posted, completely free of any punctuation. C-grade is unsanded and may have several minor defects that will need to be repaired with knots up to 1 1/2-inches across, discoloration and sanding defects. Apparently, your own "butt" is far too "lazy" to even hit the question mark or period key on a keyboard, yet you disparage others for making the effort to educate themselves before heading out to a store and spending thousands of dollars. Kitchen cabinets are exposed to more water, steam, and other damaging elements than cabinets in most other parts of your home. If the cabinets open up all wrong. Push on the sides of your cabinet walls, do they feel soft at all? While both of these materials offer tremendous strength for long-lasting cabinets, plywood features greater stability and better resistance to moisture. This is fairly typical across most manufacturers and is one of the major selling points Chinese cabinet manufacturers use to their advantage. Most Chinese cabinets come standard with plywood boxes, most American stock or semi-custom cabinets come standard with particle or furniture board boxes. Another way people easily spruce up a solid set of cabinets is by adding new hardware, such as handles that make a refreshed statement. The cabinets are not always square, and the plywood is not strait, and some time has defects. Why do you compare this stuff I honestly think that people should get their lazy butts up and look for it at the store Before we begin, it is important to state that every cabinet manufacturer, whether American or Chinese, makes their cabinets differently so this comparison does not represent every American cabinet, nor does it represent every Chinese cabinet. LONG story short, yes. 08/06/2018 - Jerry from Carson City, NV, Wrong, Dianna... The deeper the finish looks and the smoother it feels, generally means the higher quality finish. MDF often goes by different names, such as composite wood, fiberboard, or by the brand name Masonite. In general, plywood is rated according to the number of defects or blemishes that you will find on the surface. You can remove the old thermofoil and paint the MDF substrate to bring new life to yellowed or scratched-up cabinets, although this will change the look of the cabinets. To my knowledge, the vast majority of Chinese cabinets come as is, no warranty at all, but I have seen warranties with limited periods such as 1, 3, or in some cases 5 years. As a professional NKBA Kitchen & Bath Designer, I welcome a real discussion of options with potential buyers. There are several pretty huge differences that every consumer should be aware of before making their final decision. If your cabinets are warping due to humidity, a humidifier can help slow down the damage. As long as it remains veneered, either with wood or thermofoil, it can perform well for many years to come. Are your cabinets swollen, not properly closing, or showing dark color spots? Since most kitchen cabinets are crafted from wood, water damage is a likely occurrence. I'm laughing hysterically right now. "Re people should get their lazy butts up and look for it at the store", most people not in the design / cabinetry business have no idea what they are looking at, or should be looking for, in a store. It's all over most American homes. But how much less? (See our custom kitchen cabinet page for a description of stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets). They are lighter, stronger and hold up better than an MDF cabinet box – but that’s a conversation for another post. Signs Your Cabinets Are Good For Repairs. In some minor instances, water damaged cabinets can be fixed. Hey, Dianna - 07/03/2018 - NmgCle from Cleveland, OH, Plywood VS Particle Board Do you really want your children exposed to unknown chemicals in the cabinet finish? In comparison, high-quality wood cabinets can last 50 years or longer. Simply removing the drawers and refacing them will not fix the problem. … Remodel with confidence at Tops Kitchen Cabinet, we offer wholesale prices for an affordable new kitchen you are sure to love! There are many other things to explore with cabinetry like the finish, the drawer quality, the hardware (slides and hinges), etc. Not only can mold compromise the general integrity of your cabinets, but also large quantities of mold can hamper you and your family’s health. Most people do not want to pay for the quality of the high end product that can be done here in states by even the smallest mom and pop cabinet shops. Overall, the face frame of the cabinet and the cabinet doors appear to be constructed about the same, But the center panel of the Chinese cabinet appears to have a bit more play in it. In addition to a perfect fit, the American cabinet pieces are also secured together with pocket screws and glue. Typically plywood is the more expensive cabinet box construction, but check the thickness before you decide to go plywood. Here's a hint: you know where else it gets wet and humid? If you would like a free design consultation, contact us to schedule an appointment! Check over your cabinets for any signs of warping or swelling, especially cabinets regularly exposed to humidity and water. Think plywood will absorb less water than particleboard? To level the playing field, let's compare an all-plywood model by the Design House brand to a similar model by Kitchen Cabinet Kings: Although you did almost admit plywood is better by trying to impugn their motives for using it. It really only makes sense to reface your cabinets if they are in overall good condition, poised to last for many more years. You need to compare apples to apples and really learn how the cabinets are built before deciding. Cabinets may cost $5000, or ten times that. Many homeowners begin restoring original cabinets, and get 70% through the project before wishing they had just replaced the cabinets. 10/14/2017 - Lesley Clay from Schaumburg, IL, Reply - Video Wood can easily be damaged by water, and in your kitchen there is always a lot of water, especially if you have a leak somewhere. And they can usually do other things: mudrooms, laundry rooms, etc. Here are 5 signs you should consider replacing over refacing your cabinets. But in no way is a particle board cabinet always superior. Chinese cabinet makers only use plywood construction because the cabinets come over on boats. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’ve found that while many products will outlast their warranty, a warranty is a pretty good indicator of how long the cabinet maker expects their cabinets to hold up. Bottom line, while handcrafted cabinets may be better in many ways, most American cabinets are not really all that American. Is this scenario the ONLY reason to avoid particle board? The Chinese bottom panel is only inset on three sides and stapled on the back side. Good luck. You need to ask yourself the questions like: How long will I live in my house? The Chinese cabinet uses staples, many of which missed the connecting piece completely. This sounds like an incredible long period of time, and cabinets are in fact one of the longest lasting components of your entire kitchen. I would assume that over time these staples will fail from the weight of items in the drawer and eventually start to sag and rub against the frame of the cabinet until complete failure. For more details on particle board vs plywood, check out the video specifically on plywood vs particle board. I understand that it is price and economy to use melamine cabinetry, and foil wrapped doors, as it hits the consumers price point. Construction – Plywood will generally hold mechanical fasteners (nails, screws) better than particleboard. 03/14/2018 - P Marks from Merritt Island, FL, Kitchen cabinets are not created equal These tips can help you check the quality of plywood cabinets: The wood should have many thin plies -- at least 7-ply for ¾-inch plywood (including the veneer), but you can go as high as 13-ply. To size the stretchers, use that same number minus the 3 ⁄ 4 " dado allowance. So saying it might be in Chinese cabinets may be true, but is it? The type of plywood used for cabinets is not the cheap plywood used for sheathing and construction projects. The most challenging part of the built-in bookcase and desk I built for my study was the 135″-long plywood countertop; most of that challenge was balancing my desire for beauty with my checkbook. There are many grades of "particle board". The point is that without the correct construction methods, plywood doesn't matter. An abundance of the so-called experts in store know little more than the buyer, and their agenda is to sell you something and to say whatever it takes to accomplish that. Homeowners Expect Quality Homeowners updating their cabinetry expect newly installed cabinetry to last a minimum of 20 to 30 years before needing replacement. Custom-made cabinets can accommodate any size and style. The interior of the drawers appears comparable. 04/19/2018 - Scott from Los Angeles, CA, Particle board vs. plywood Now, to install these cabinets, I used shims to level them up … There are usually two options for cabinet box construction: plywood and particle board. Even if you purchase all new cabinets you will not be able to stop the problem from happening again if you do not first solve the issue that caused your original cabinets to wear out. Did I seriously just hear you try to make a case that particleboard is better than plywood? Also, weight was important, but strength was even more important. From a design standpoint, cabinets typically draw the most visual attention in the kitchen, so refacing them is probably the single best way to renovate your kitchen. American made like Chevy, Ford and Cadillac, right....??? This is a simple fix; you can either reface your cabinets or purchase new doors instead of completely new cabinets. Appearance stamps on plywood range from cabinet-grade (A) to construction grade (C and D). Ask Kylie: Will My Painted Maple Cabinets Really Last? It would be unusual to have the coach made in the Midwest using imported woods, when there was plenty of cheap native wood. The end result is a frameless cabinet box that can be hung directly to a wall stud without any cleats. Ridiculous. Plywood can have gaps in plies, and all but the best stuff can warp. This topic is complex and a little true education & preparation goes a long way. Good cabinets should use 1/2", 5/8" or 3/4" plywood construction. Eventually it gets down to the question: does it make more economic sense to get a new car, or continue making repairs? Obviously, there are limitations to that warranty, but the bottom line is that we expect our cabinets to last a lifetime. To my knowledge, the vast majority of Chinese cabinets come as is, no warranty at all, but I have seen warranties with limited periods such as 1, 3, or in some cases 5 years. The answer ultimately depends on who’s making the cabinets and where you’re buying them from, but typically they cost about 10% to 15% more. The two base cabinets being compared in this article have different finishes, the Chinese is a stained finish, the American is a paint, so it is not practical to compare them. I would much rather have plywood over particle board. Your budget will dictate so many decisions in cabinetry. The dado’s and rabbet joints on the American Cabinet are amazingly tight while the Chinese connections have large gaps. Should You Repair Your Cabinets? They are both face frame cabinets, they are both full overlay, shaker door styles, and they are both standard sizes with no modifications. All cabinets sold by New Leaf Cabinets & Counters from Tacoma, WA include a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Refacing your cabinets allows you to re-style and update wood without spending a fortune, but that doesn’t mean refacing cabinetry is cheap. Design Versatility of Plywood Cabinets. Scott, thanks for watching. This will include replacing certain parts and bleaching out stains, a process that can take some time and money. Right off the bat the American Cabinet feels far more sturdy. Because of all kitchen cabinets must endure, they often need to be replaced before other cabinets in your home installed at the same time. There are countless kitchen cabinet sizes, styles and designs. I have taken apart dovetail joints (what installer hasn't) in drawers and such and reassembled them to create replacement pieces. On average it will cost around $150 to replace each door and/or drawer on your cabinets. However, I will provide a tip based on my experience as a cabinet professional. That doesn’t mean it’s always a bad idea to repair over replace, in fact sometimes it’s smarter to resurface cabinets than to buy completely new ones. This sounds like an incredible long period of time, and cabinets are in fact one of the longest lasting components … Even most full custom lines are using particle board, MDF, or some type of engineered lumber as its standard box construction. https://www.nlcabinets.com/plywood-vs-particle-board-cabinets Those two staples in the Chinese pictures do a lot to stabilize the joint, for very long time. Kitchen Cabinets and Granite Countertops, Pompano Beach FL. Behind the cherry, birch, or maple doors of a kitchen cabinet is the wood used to construct the cabinet box—the back, sides, top, shelves, and bottom. In this instance, you will want to identify the reasons your cabinets have worn out beyond repair to make sure that the same problem does not happen again. CDX is the most common exterior plywood grade. Here are signs of more serious water damage if the: The first step is always to find and then stop the source of the water from getting into the wood. Have you ever had an old car that required constant repairs? You want to be sure that it is possible to repair your cabinets before embarking on the task. When mold is caught early on it can be cleaned up and stopped, but when mold is left unidentified it will continue to grow and worsen. I don't think this site makes a particularly good argument for US over China made. Exterior plywood carries an X stamp, which identifies it as suitable for use outdoors. The cabinets structural integrity is gone and other distortions may occur. Buy American. Considering the average kitchen is only remodeled once every 30 years, Most people want their cabinets to last far more than 5 years. At New Leaf Cabinets, we pride ourselves on providing a VIP cabinet experience from the moment you initiate contact with us and throughout the lifespan of your kitchen. Here is a fact, you showed one of the best samples of an American made cabinet and the worst Chinese cabinet. Prices for three-drawer base cabinets start at about $200. The doors are the most outdated part that you don’t like. It must also be remembered that these coaches were not built to last 100 years... they were built with a 5 (+ or -) year life expectancy. Without the ability to work with the current wood, your entire cabinet box needs to be replaced; otherwise you risk wasting a lot of money trying to make unsuccessful repairs. The first two will range from A to D. Sheets of plywood that are rated with an A have the fewest blemishes and are often used for finished projects like cabinets or furniture. As a 30 year custom cabinetmaker, I agree with most of this information. After working for 15 years as an handyman and cabinet installer, I would have to agree with almost everything in the article. I am not making a case that particle board is stronger than plywood. I doubt that they lose any sleep over the fact that if you got a magnifying glass out you could see a gap somewhere on the joinery on the bottom of a drawer. The American drawer front feels tight. Certain factors can cause your kitchen cabinets to wear away faster, no matter their original quality. Depending on the quality of the wood cabinets you purchase, the amount of time they will last will vary. No. Cabinets compliment your overall kitchen design, and other appliances. Cabinets are a key element of any kitchen. Dave If so, this is a sign that your cabinets are badly damaged will soon fall apart completely. It’s not uncommon for people to start resurfacing their cabinets only to realize it costs a lot more than they were expecting to make their old cabinets look new. Obviously, there are limitations to that warranty, but the bottom line is that we expect our cabinets to last a lifetime. The only area I vary slightly is the plywood/particle board comparison. I know this for sure; once the kitchen is installed using RTA cabinets from China, the customer is friggen thrilled that they paid around 35% of what so-called American cabinets were selling for. Cut ¼” plywood to make the doors to fit these openings. Wood is seen as a strong material while MDF is often viewed as a weak alternative. Overall I want to get the best value for my dollar. 10/03/2019 - Rod Kreinbrink from Port Charlotte, FL, Most info is accurate Mold can grow from so many different surfaces, including your kitchen cabinets. In general, high quality cabinets can last up to 50 years. However, we’re not friends because you enjoy my short stories… When we bought our home 4 years ago, I knew that the maple cabinets wouldn’t be sticking around for long. Here we explain the difference between cabinets you should replace vs. cabinets you should restore. Calculate upper cabinet sizes the same way. As with the cabinet box, the pieces of the American dovetail fit perfectly leaving a nice smooth seam. When installing your kitchen cabinets they can feel pretty permanent, and they should be. It is most common to find plywood labeled with three letters. With that being said, let’s take a look. How hard on the kitchen am I? Plywood is significantly more water resistant. B-grade plywood also features a smooth, sanded surface, but may have more repaired defects up to 1-inch across. So far we’ve talked about the differences that we can see, but there are additional differences that also must be considered when purchasing cabinets, such as the warranty and dealer service. When Should You Replace Your Kitchen Cabinets? They will live in your community, therefore, be more invested in maintaining their reputation should something go wrong. The drawer guides also appear comparable. In order to accomplish this without a hitch, classic style cabinets make the safest long-term investments. Next, you want to sufficiently dry out the cabinet. Most people are generally aware of why Chinese goods are less expensive and are typically equally aware that the quality of the goods, like the price, is also less. 10/11/2017 - Scott from Chandler, AZ, Idk The bottom panel of the American drawer is slightly thicker and is inset on all four sides of the drawer. I have also seen plastic corner braces in both American and Chinese products. It’s heavier, the pieces fit perfectly, and it simply feels like one solid unit. Don't forget your local custom cabinet maker. No matter how aesthetically pleasing you refinish your cabinets to look if they do not efficiently function you will still be craving a remodel. A good particle board will beat a bad plywood any day. I researched this with high-end cabinet companies that I sold. If you use similar grades, the engineering specs are the same. Since age alone can’t tell you if it’s time to replace your cabinets, what can? The drawers do not open without getting stuck, making an odd sound, or causing some sort of issue. One American, one Chinese. Wood has started to blacken, or otherwise change colors. Many older cabinets are made of solid wood, and these can make great refacing projects, producing cabinets that will last another 20 years or more. Thank you for taking the time to differentiate the difference between a Chinese made cabinet versus an American made one. Your cabinets are still in good condition inside the cabinet box and on the outer exterior. Its not just how they look. At a glance, in a completed kitchen remodel, the cabinets may appear comparable, but a detailed examination quickly reveals several key components in the cabinet construction that make a quality cabinet worth the extra money. Chemicals known to cause cancer, such as formaldehyde, have been found in extremely high levels in Chinese stains, glues, paints, lacquers, and varnishes. If you do a lot of woodworking–especially cabinets, built ins, or storage pieces–plywood quickly becomes your best friend. The Chinese cabinet feels extremely delicate and if it might fall apart if you so much as look at it wrong. Remember that this level is mostly fiber board with cheaper hardware. 12/03/2018 - Dave from York, PA, Scare tactics, hmmmmm Did you test the cabinet from China to confirm? They are modest guys usually making an okay living. 10/11/2017 - Dianna Mickison from No, WA. Back to the doors. I also do not see any evidence of glue in the Chinese construction. © 2021 New Leaf Cabinets. As a cabinet installer, here is one thing I know for sure; the majority of consumers want to save money on cabinets and rta cabinets from China definitely do that. For instance, if you open 2 cabinet doors at once and they slam into one another. I would first eliminate the Hybrid door as a possible selection. American made cabinets are clearly superior to Chinese cabinetry in every factor except price. It’s worth it. To frame out the cabinets, secure 8 foot 2x4s perpendicular at 36” across and 60” across. While plywood will get wet too, its expansion and distortion is minimal. If you consider a kitchen renovation, get estimates. Signs your cabinets are eligible to be resurfaced or repaired: Before spending the money, time, and effort it takes to repair cabinets you want to be sure that you are making the right decision. What this means is that it is highly likely that the stains, varnishes, and paints used in China contain high levels of Chemicals that American manufactures can’t and won’t use for both environmental and safety reasons. Please don't be naive and think that you will not have a water leak at some source in your kitchen's lifetime. Before you buy new doors, or sand down, and repaint your old doors, you should make sure that the wood is able to support new holes and hinges. This adds up, but not as quickly as entirely new cabinets. Once dry, the appropriate repairs can be made, if possible. That's the number one reason to buy American made. We all know that china has far less environmental regulations than the united states, so we have no way of knowing what type of unregulated chemicals and glue are holding the plywood together. Since your cabinets are going to last so long, you want to pick out cabinets that will match your current appliances, as well as the new appliances you plan to get in the future. Signs the design of your cabinets could benefit from replacement: Have your cabinets gone soft? As we go through some of the key differences, some of the differences will be more common among the majority of manufacturers, other differences may be more specific to each individual manufacturer. They were in great condition, but just weren’t ma’ jam. In other instances, cabinets prematurely wear out long before they should. I agree with that. If you can still feel the texture of the wood and there is not a very noticeable sheen or depth to the wood, that is typically a sign of a thin finish coat that will wear out quickly, scratch easily, and rapidly discolor. 5 Things to Consider Before Ordering New Tacoma Cabinets. The biggest weakness of particle board when compared to plywood is that if it gets subjected to a high humidity or wet environment for long periods of time (such as the inside an ocean bound shipping container for months at a time) it has more problems than plywood has, so they typically make their cabinet boxes using plywood. As for 'people and their lazy butts', apparently you are too lazy to even use punctuation. Both drawers feel to have a smooth natural finish on the wood. By the way, they don't fall apart in five years as implied. Buyers who do no research before heading to the store are lambs to the slaughter. As a result, custom cabinets last for decades. The investment you'll make in your new maple wood cabinets will vary depending on the size of your kitchen. I am a firm believer in a plywood cabinet box. Upon further examination, there are several reasons for this. When will you need to finally replace them altogether? 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