Why Good Kitchen Cabinets Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Good_Kitchen_Cabinets

Hey, y’all! As a designer, I know that sometimes it’s easier to understand something when you’ve got a good visual. And cabinet construction is one of those super boring topics that you really need to see in action to get a good grasp of why it matters. So (just for you because I love ya that much!), last week I flooded my kitchen to show why spending the money on quality cabinets is a very good thing. How’s that for taking one for the team?

A quick bit of background info first. Monday night I put a pan to soak in the sink, turned on the water, and went to get a load of towels out of the dryer. Once I had the basket of towels, I decided to go ahead and take them to the bedroom so I could fold them. (At this point, I’d already forgotten about the faucet still running.) After folding the towels, I started piddling with a few other little things that needed to get taken care of. Finally, after who knows how long, I took a glass back into the kitchen to stick it in the dishwasher. I’m sure you can imagine what happened then.

You can see the offending pan in the sink.

You can see the offending pan in the sink.

At any rate, even with a ridiculous amount of water running over the edge of the counter, into each and every drawer and cabinet, soaking the hardwood floors, and seeping down the foundation wall into the basement, I’m not having to replace my entire kitchen. Here’s why:

Cabinet Boxes

Because it’s so inexpensive, many cabinet boxes these days are made from particleboard. Now, we’ve all seen what happens when particleboard gets wet. And once it gets soaked, there’s no coming back. You’re going to have to replace those bad boys.

Luckily, my cabinets have 13-ply Baltic Birch plywood for the boxes (You can see the plywood in the picture below). Super strong, super durable, and super resistant to moisture.

Drawers

So many times you’ll see drawers that are held together with just a little glue and a couple of nails. The drawers in my kitchen, though, have dovetail joints on each of the four corners. Why does that matter? Because even though the plywood expanded a bit, the joints stayed together.

This drawer had been full of boxes of foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, freezer paper, etc. (You can see them all drying on the shower bench.)

This drawer had been full of boxes of foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, freezer paper, etc. (You can see them all drying on the shower bench.)

Now that they’ve dried back out, they’re still as sturdy as they were before. Add in the fact that they didn’t have a pressboard bottom that would basically melt when wet, and I’m a happy camper.

Face Frames

Not all cabinets have face frames, but they add a ton of stability to the cabinets. Mine are solid wood and are finished on both the front and the back which means less chance for water to seep in.

You can see the face frames here.

You can see the face frames here.

I’m not *quite* to the point yet where I can laugh about my poor kitchen, but I am definitely thanking my lucky stars that the previous owners of our house chose decent cabinets. 

This is actually the AFTER picture. Not bad, eh?

This is actually the AFTER picture. Not bad, eh?