Part 3: Living in a Construction Zone
It’s here, it’s finally here!!! The day you’ve been dreaming of has arrived……construction begins! Then it hits you…..construction chaos has arrived! I now realize, I need more time!
It can be stressful to have your home torn apart and even more daunting to think of living in your home the entire time during the renovation. But you can do it. If you’ve read and followed our previous blog posts in our remodeling series, Part 1 and Part 2, then you should be well prepared for the demolition and construction phase. The pre-planning done during those stages of your project should make this most arduous phase as brief as possible, getting you smoothly to Part 4 – Finishing Touches – and ultimately to the reward of tasting the first delicious meal in your new kitchen.
Before the construction crew arrives
- Clean out the cabinets and haul off old appliances. This is a good time to purge. You probably have more than you need in terms of kitchen gadgets, and cookbooks that have been replaced by e-versions. Use this time to clear out the clutter. Bonus: if you give them to charity you can keep the receipt for a tax write-off.
- Set up a makeshift “kitchenette” somewhere that is easily accessible. During my own personal experience, my husband and I used a mini fridge, toaster oven, and microwave to survive our construction phase. Coffee is essential for me as well, so I also set up a coffee station in our bathroom. Keep your take out menus in a convenient spot; they will come in handy to help you survive life without a kitchen.
- Find a place to store excess food until the job is completed. We turned a spare closet into a temporary pantry while our home was being disassembled.
- Setup dust barriers if possible, or have this quoted from your contractor. This will depend on your layout and the scope of the project, but if possible you can hang sheets at the construction entrances to minimize dust and debris extending beyond the work zone.
- Breathe – you’re prepared, enjoy the process as much as you can 🙂
The contracting crew will disassemble walls, cabinets, floors, etc. Whatever is required to create a “clean slate” for your new design to become reality. It will be exciting to see the old cabinets leave the space. Seeing the new open area can help you envision how the new plan will come together. Once our space was emptied I used my plans to draw out the footprint of the kitchen. I really became excited, to see the reality of my vision finally appearing before my eyes.
The work continues
Depending on the scope of your project the work may take a few weeks to complete. However, things will generally happen in this order:
- Plumbing and electrical rough in changes will be made. New pathways will be made for outlets to be accessed and for a new sink placement if needed.
- Framing and drywall will be completed. This is where the dust barriers will come in handy. The process is messy. I’d recommend painting the new walls once they are ready; that way the walls will be completed prior to new floors going in.
- Floors are installed. Whether wood or tile, the flooring installation can last a few days. They will be beautiful in the new open space.
- Cabinets will be installed next. I believe this is the most exciting part of the construction process, because these custom components are the backbone of the new work-space. The day they arrive will be better than Christmas. The beautiful finishes, hardware, spacious drawers, and custom pullouts are finally arriving in your home! Yay! The installation will last a few days, then a counter-top template can be finalized.
- Counter-tops are next to go in. The gorgeous tops you’ve selected will be the icing on the cake. If you need any of these to be cut on site, the dust barriers will need to be in place for this as well. You are almost to the finish line!
- Last electrical and plumbing can now be completed. Appliances can be installed, and you can now have a working sink, as well as a better place for your coffee machine (no longer in the bathroom).
Prepare for hiccups: I know what you’re thinking. “That doesn’t sound too bad,” and you’re right. The idea of living in a construction zone doesn’t sound too bad here. If only a project could be finished in the time it takes to read this article, but alas, it cannot. Any home project takes time, and a major remodel is definitely a lengthy process. Be flexible and expect at least one delay to come up; they are inevitable. Be courteous to the people working in your home, if you are respectful to them, they will be more inclined to treat you and your home with respect. Be sure to report anyone that comes into your home that is not courteous. Small business owners appreciate knowing of any problems as soon as they arise.
Take some before, during, and after pictures to share with friends and family. It is exciting to see the progression.
Last tip: Don’t bother trying to clean up until the job is truly complete, because you’ll be dissatisfied and will be doing it more than once. If a General Contractor is looking after your project, he may have clean-up included as part of your estimate.
Once construction is done it will be time to put your kitchen back together and get ready for Part 4 – The Finishing Touches (coming soon to complete our renovation series).
Article by guest blogger: Jeneane Beaver, Former Designer at Walker Woodworking
“Having worked with Walker Woodworking for 7 years, I have the opportunity to share my experiences as a designer as well as a client, I remodeled my own kitchen in 2012.” ~ Jeneane Beaver
If you are only in the dreaming stage of beginning your project, we’d love to talk to you and work with you to fine tune your very own remodel plan. If you’re ready to be further from dreaming and closer to construction, call Walker Woodworking today 704.434.0823.
Please feel free to add a comment about your own personal experience with remodeling.
Did you miss the intro to this remodeling series? Click this link to see it now.
Did you miss Part 1 Budgeting and Planning Remodel Budget Analysis? Click here to see it now.
In case you missed it – Part 2 Making your selections. Click link to view post.
Remodeling 101 Part 2 – Making Your Selections.
We continue our remodeling 101 series with part 2 – making selections for a kitchen remodel project. A remodel is like a journey, so to speak. To make a journey successful and memorable, much planning must take place. The purpose for the journey must be established up front, of course. Financially, plans must be made and adhered to. Small details must be addressed while at the same time, the big picture of the journey must not be lost in the details. Otherwise, the journey may result in a miserable experience for everyone involved. Avoid these types of problems when planning for a kitchen remodel.
Let’s get started
Now that you have determined your budget goals (Remodeling 101 Part 1: Budgeting and Planning Remodel), it’s time to talk “ design.” A kitchen remodel must begin with focus on planning and designing for the space you have. Cabinetry will most likely consume the majority of your budget in the kitchen and will dictate the space and layout.
A major kitchen remodel must be completed in the right order for maximum efficiency. Working with an experienced kitchen designer is a key factor to obtaining the best layout for function, organization, aesthetics and overall flow of your kitchen remodel.
A kitchen designer can help you with all the elements involved and will suggest that you make your selections in this order. Consider the Selection Guide shown here:
- Cabinetry design & space planning
- Cabinet finishes
- Countertop material & finishes
- Sinks & fixtures
- Cabinet hardware
While the Selection Guide may seem daunting and overwhelming, the biggest factor is to understand all the possibilities up-front instead of as an afterthought. Please note that cabinets are mentioned 3 times in this process. After 15 plus years of remodeling kitchens, we know the process that works best for most of our clients. The only time the process doesn’t follow this order – is when the planning & design function is completely left up to the designer. (Omitting the client)
Keep in mind that this Selection Guide will provide the order in which your decisions should be made. It’s okay to be thinking about all of these components at the same time. But, ideally this is the order that works best for most clients, even those that are well organized and know exactly what they want. Based on our past experiences with our clients, the more our designers use the Selection Guide with clients, the better satisfied the clients are with the final product. Now, let’s break down each step.
Cabinetry design & space planning
During this stage of the process, you really should postpone thoughts of everything else and focus on designing your space. When remodeling a kitchen, think function, efficiency, style and longevity. Choose cabinets you love and a layout that works for your family’s lifestyle. If you like to cook, organizing your kitchen for your cooking style may be your priority. Let’s say that you love to entertain in your kitchen. If so, you need a layout that allows for people in your kitchen while maintaining your work zone. Maybe you want your kitchen to be the main command center in your home. A desk area where you would sort mail and work on your computer may be needed. Of course some people like the “WOW factor,” and insist on the newest styles and trends. Kitchens are used in different ways by couples and families. Allow your cabinet design & space planning to meet your specific goals. Needless to say, the majority of our client time is used for design & space planning.
If you thought about appliances during your budgeting phase, you probably have an idea of the features you would like. In order to finalize your cabinet design, you need to make your final appliance selections. Size matters and depending on your selections, you may gain or lose space for your cabinets. So plan carefully and discuss your decision with your design team.
I am sure by now you have been thinking about what type of flooring to use. Many people already have hardwood floors in their kitchen and opt to have those refinished for a fresh new look. Changing out and replacing your floors can be an expensive part of the project compared to keeping and refinishing an existing floor. Before you make other finish selections, we recommend you give much consideration to the flooring selection.
Choose cabinet finishes
Over the years we have found that often people approach cabinet design with a picture. And while we can certainly replicate most finishes, we can’t make a picture of a kitchen fit into your space. Once you have decided on the cabinet design and your appliances, (the most expensive parts of the remodel), you can think about your finishes. We provide sample finishes in our showroom from which our customers may make the selections. If a custom sample is needed we usually start with a selection of crown molding in order to establish a color. Once that decision is made, we provide a sample cabinet door. Sample cabinet doors will prove to be invaluable when you are ready to select the countertops and backsplash that you prefer.
Countertop material & finishes
Now that you have your cabinet finishes selected, it’s time to shop around for the perfect countertop. The options are only limited by your budget as price is usually based upon the type of material used and the quantity available. Of course the most common material used today is granite, but marble and man-made stones are in very close second place.
Often you can select your backsplash at the same time you select your countertops. It’s highly recommended to make an appointment when you decide to shop around for tile and granite, the most popular choices for a backsplash. When you enter a showroom with an appointment, you are more likely to be served quickly. Be sure to bring an elevation view of your design drawings so the vendor will be able to provide a quick estimate of materials that you will need for the backsplash. For the visit to your first vendor, we recommend that you allow yourself at least 1 hour for your tile presentation /discussion and 1 hour for your granite presentation/discussion. By the time you visit your next vendor, you will be much more informed about what you are looking for and can narrow your selections down much faster. We would advise that you to visit only two vendors per day. Too much information and too many choices can be overwhelming.
For a bathroom remodel
If you are working on a bathroom project and plan to have floor and wall tile with several patterns and pieces, you will need to schedule two hours at each showroom.
Sinks & fixtures
Selecting your sink and fixtures will likely be the easiest decisions to make. However, keep in mind that specs for farm sinks, apron front sinks, and oversized sinks need to be provided to your cabinet designer early in the planning stage. Nothing can be more disappointing than having a sink too big for your countertop due to lack of communication. Clients tend to worry about fixture finishes. There is no right or wrong selections when it comes to mixing metals. For example, a stainless steel sink and faucet will complement just about any type of hardware or light fixtures.
Lighting can be a great selection to add a touch of your own personality. Many people consider lights to be a complement to the kitchen design. Selecting the perfect pendants or chandelier can be time consuming with so many options available online. We recommend selecting lighting components that will provide you with plenty of light, that are easy to clean, and will add charm to your kitchen.
Cabinet hardware has improved greatly in the last 15 years. With so many options, narrowing down your favorites can prove difficult. As much as we would love for hardware to be selected when the cabinet finishes are selected, it is rarely the reality. Clients tend to let hardware be one of the final decisions they make. Selecting the perfect hardware for your kitchen is, of course, another big decision. We understand that you want the hardware to coordinate with all of your other selections. It can be difficult to visualize which hardware will look best. For example, some pieces are minimal while others are bulky. Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of your kitchen and bath designer. Having seen many styles and finishes over the years, we have a good idea about which pieces look really great and those that only look OK.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Taking things one-step-at-a-time and having the guidance of a kitchen and bath designer will make your kitchen remodel a more enjoyable experience. Following our recommended order in the Selection Guide will allow you to soar through the process with all decisions made at the appropriate times. Kitchen and bath designers can help with as little or as much of the process as you need. Some of our clients prefer to take an active role in making the decisions while others leave all the options to us.
The scope of your project will determine how long this process takes. The process of simply removing old cabinets and installing new ones is definitely less complicated than removing walls and/or changing plumbing and electrical locations. Whatever the scope of your project may be, please maintain patience and focus so that you will be pleased with the end result.
The next part in our Remodeling 101 Series is “Tearing it out and Replacing it with beautiful Walker Woodworking Cabinetry.” Click this link to view post.
Thanks for reading, tell us what you think, was this article helpful? We would love to have your comments.
Did you miss the intro to this remodeling series? Click this link to see it now.
Did you miss Part 1 Budgeting and Planning Remodel Budget Analysis? Click here to see it now.
Remodeling 101 Part 1 Budgeting & Planning
Setting a realistic budget
Does remodeling your kitchen and bath seem so intimidating that you are not sure where you should begin?
Do you want to remodel but can’t get started because you know you must stay within a certain budget?
Whether you are planning a kitchen or bath remodeling project, or some portion of that, the questions stated above are the common obstacles that keep many people from taking on what may seem like the daunting task of getting the process started.
It has been our experience over the years that most people want to know what the overall project will cost before they start. If the project is out of your total budget then you may have to re-evaluate what you can realistically afford or make decisions on how you want to spend the funds you have.
Not so fast…
Cabinets are probably the first thing most people think about when remodeling a kitchen. Cabinets can be a major portion of the expense of a kitchen remodel but not necessarily the most expensive. Most people don’t realize what cabinets, countertops and appliances really cost. Discussing these topics with a professional will help you make the most of your budget by explaining the different options and the cost of each.
How we integrate this into our process.
Getting a ‘budget analysis’ is the first step we like to start with to help our clients narrow down expenses for each part of the remodel task. We determine the products that are needed and the amount willing to be spent on them.
What is a “Budget Analysis”?
A budget analysis will give you an idea of what the scope of your project will cost. We have found that this method is very beneficial for all of our clients. We simply take some preset formulas, add them with measurements in your home and then discuss each element of the project with your preferences to determine an estimated cost.
So how exactly does the Budget Analysis work?
For starters we will need to know some simple things, we ask A LOT of questions. Are you keeping your same cabinet layout or starting with a fresh plan? Do you want to remove walls to open up your space? Are any of the walls that you want to move load bearing? Are you wanting to add a new addition to your home?
Determine how to spend your budget.
Another area of important topics that we will ask; What is the purpose of remodeling? Are you remodeling to sell? Is this your forever home? Are you updating to get newer appliances? What is the value of your home? This will help determine what your budget levels should be.
As an example, Walker Woodworking offers 3 types of cabinetry; basic-standard cabinets, semi-custom cabinets and custom cabinets. The price difference can vary from 30% to 50%. If you are updating your kitchen in order to sell in a couple of years, you may not want to spend your budget on custom cabinets.
Other options; you can mix and match cabinets. Let’s say you have a fairly large kitchen or you want to splurge on appliances. You can spend less money by purchasing semi-custom cabinets and have a custom hood built. There are solutions for most situations. We help our clients get the most out of what they want to spend while making their space functional and unique to their lifestyle.
Are you overwhelmed yet?
Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the questions. People remodel for many different reasons. By determining what your goals are will ultimately help you determine where you should invest your budget. As professionals of our industry, we are here to help guide you along the way.
At our very first meeting with our clients we discuss budget. By asking questions and taking some simple measurements, we will leave you with a budget we feel is a close estimate of your project. Is it exact science? Of course not, but we are usually within 8% of the actual cost. This process can take up to 2 hours or more depending on the scope of the project.
Don’t be discouraged by the numbers, there are always ways to save. Once you make your final selections you still have plenty of ways to decide what you want to spend your money on.
Once you have settled on a budget that you feel comfortable with, it’s time to make selections.
NEXT ~ Making selections is our next phase of the remodeling process. Let’s see what that entails.
Tell us what you think, was this article helpful? We would love to have your comments.
Ask The Designer!
Here at Walker Woodworking – we want to make the process of remodeling your kitchen less stressful. However, that’s not an easy task! As part of our continuing effort to educate our clients, we decided to put Brandon Fitzmorris, our designer at Walker Woodworking, in the hot seat. Let’s see what he has to say!
Where should a homeowner start with a kitchen project?
As with any major purchase or project BUDGET is the smartest starting place. See more information about our Budget Analysis.
What are some of the first questions you ask a new client?
How do you want the space to feel?
What is most important to you and your lifestyle?
It is very important for us to understand the family vibe and the vision before we start to draw and make our suggestions. We want to become involved early in the process so that we can have input on any changes to the footprint of the room. Knowing the lifestyle of our clients in the beginning really helps to move the process forward.
What are some kitchen trends that are also worthwhile investments?
Trendy things come and go, but quality products withstand the test of time. Product replacements are the number one reason most people decide to do a remodel in the first place.
Have any innovative appliances caught your eye recently?
The Galley is a new innovative product which I am excited to incorporate into new kitchen designs. This functional yet sleek and modern sink gives the homeowner a unique working station with endless possibilities. A variety of sizes allows The Galley to work in kitchens no matter how large or small. Made for Chef style cooking, it is a great investment. For more information about The Galley.
How do you ensure a good “flow” in a kitchen?
Getting away from triangle design…
Busy lifestyles have changed both the purpose and the configuration of the kitchen space. “It’s no longer just Mom in the kitchen,” Brandon explains. “Cooking has returned to more of a communal process. Dad cooks too, and the kids pitch in. So instead of the classic work triangle, where multiple people would crash into each other, you might have two or more small triangles with multiple prep areas. Or, you might break all the rules, blow the triangle out completely and go with a fluid work space.”
Good kitchen design will encompass and address the many tasks that the room must perform, and when you think it through, there are regular, everyday logical steps that create that flow. We walk through the imaginary space and perform those tasks to see if it works.
What are some rules of thumb in kitchen design?
As far as a “rule of thumb” is concerned, I have a few that are drilled into my designers’ minds: Don’t over-design, leave plenty of room between counters, and never make the island too big. Lastly, don’t kid yourself that you will change the habits of a lifetime when remodeling a kitchen; embrace what makes sense and accommodate the ideas into the new space.
Where should you splurge in your kitchen?
Cabinets and appliances: These will last the longest and are the better investments to your home.
Lighting and hardware: Many clients speak of the lighting and hardware as the accessory piece. As with any accessory, it needs to be complementary.
If you go cheap on either, the end result is the same, CHEAP! There are ways to stay within a budget and still get what you like, and make sure that the product will complement the cabinetry, that is why hiring a designer can help you!
Where can you save?
“Value engineering” is something I hear a lot these days. You always tend to get what you pay for, and it shows. If there are sensible areas to “save” money, it might be on flooring and back-splash tile and ancillary items such as special wall finishes and fabric. I am amazed at how people tend to spend too little on cabinetry and hardware and then pay way too much for a wall finish or decorative item that won’t last. Tastes change, and so the room decoration becomes replaceable long before the fixed items such as cabinetry and countertops need to go.
Renovating is big right now. What are key ingredients of a successful remodel?
The right team of professionals is the most important element. With the amount of information available to the homeowner, suddenly everybody’s an expert. Beware, because bad advice will lead to a bad job that typically costs more than it should. While the time is right to invest in your home, don’t under-spend on the products you put into the project. Do lots of research because there are fantastic new products available for each element of a kitchen remodel. The new technology being applied to appliances, countertop materials, and “green” materials has made this a very exciting time to design.
Good references are important.
Any tricks of the trade for keeping a new kitchen looking beautiful? Do you use special cleaning products in your showrooms?
Mild detergents and soft cloths are really all one needs. Often times the chemicals used are not necessary for cleaning and will do more harm than good.
What distinguishes Walker Woodworking from other kitchen design firms?
I’m glad you asked, because I rarely get to speak publicly about why I feel so strongly in the product produced by Walker Woodworking.
Honestly, we are the best at what we do. We have unparalleled experience in our area of expertise, and we have all the skills in house to pull a project together. We construct extremely well made cabinetry. You get what you pay for. To survive and prosper as our company has done since 1999, you have to deliver on the promise time and time again. Many people think we are more expensive than we actually are and that is a shame because we offer very good products at a very fair price. Our perfection does not necessarily equal cost.
What’s your favorite meal to cook for your family?
I generally do all the cooking in my family. I have an ongoing joke with my wife that she would burn boiling water. I have a very diverse cooking style from, my hometown Louisiana Cajun style jambalaya, to a soul food meal of fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. Either way, I involve my boys in the process, as cooking is meant to be shared and is a great learning tool for children in many ways from measuring, to reading ingredients, as well as instructions. It is good quality family time that we share in the kitchen, which is why I am passionate about kitchen design.
What’s NEW for 2017?
Regarding our new ventures of Greenbrook Design Kitchen & Bath Home Center, our clients look to us for advice in other areas of their homes and appreciate our sense of style and proportion. They understand quality and value and we hope that is what they will receive from the new design center opening in the Spring of 2017. It makes sense for us to offer more products such as lighting, plumbing, home accessories, and more to meet the demands of our valued clients.
What is the difference between Custom, Semi-custom and Stock cabinets?
If you’ve already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. One of the many things to consider is whether or not you want to purchase custom or semi-custom cabinets and what the differences are. This blog will primarily focus on the differences between stock, semi-custom, and custom kitchen cabinets.
The first thing to know when noting differences between stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets is that the terms refer to the type of production methods used to make the cabinets, and not to the quality of the cabinets. If you want more information about the quality of materials and construction methods, then you can find that in this blog. (stacey will link)
Stock cabinets are readymade, pre-manufactured cabinets, meaning they’re mass-produced in a factory and ready to ship when ordered. They’re sold in modular units, and no customization is available. What you see is what you get! The advantages of stock cabinets are affordability and a quick delivery time. However, you usually have a limited selection of styles, shapes, colors, wood types, etc. Delivery time is typically 1 to 3 weeks from the time of your order.
We recommend using stock cabinets if:
- You are looking for a low cost solution to your cabinetry needs.
- You can save money by installing them yourself.
- Stock cabinetry is the quickest solution if time is a factor.
The disadvantages of Stock Cabinetry:
- Finish & color selections are limited.
- There are standard height dimensions for base, wall, vanity and tall cabinets. Stock cabinets cannot be modified.
- Generally stock cabinets will last 5 – 10 years.
Standard Width: Start at 9″ with 3″ increments to 48″
Standard Depth: 12″ for wall cabinets, 24″ for oven, base, and utility cabinets.
Semi-custom cabinets are basically stock cabinets with extra detailing options. The basic cabinet sizes still apply, but consumers have the option to change certain dimensions, like resizing the cabinet drawers and door fronts, or increasing/decreasing the cabinet depth. The advantages of semi-custom cabinets is that you get the feeling you have some individual input into the design (however limited) without the cost of full-on custom cabinets. Sometimes that’s all you need to get great cabinets without the expense of a custom job. Semi-custom truly is the best of both worlds. Delivery time is typically 3 to 8 weeks from the time of your order.
We recommend using Semi-Custom cabinets if:
- Semi-custom cabinets offer a great balance between stock & custom cabinetry. A budget friendly choice for a simple upgrade to your home.
- Incorporate stock options with modifications and customization to feel as if you are involved in the design phase.
- Quick lead times can make the process move along faster.
The disadvantages of Semi- Cabinets:
- Hardware: better quality hinges and slides are available as an upgrade only.
- Construction: Although made to the client’s size requirements, semi-custom cabinets are predetermined sizes and often fillers are used to fill areas which can limit your storage options.
- Semi cabinetry typically will last in the home / office 10 – 20 years.
Standard Width: Start at 9″ with 1″ increments to 48″
Standard Depth: Can be reduced or increased according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Custom cabinets are built to your specifications, so they can be pretty much anything you want! When designing custom cabinets, we start with your floorplan and window and door locations. We then determine what your appliance preferences are and then we custom design your cabinets around that incorporating all your accessory and storage ideas. Because of this, custom cabinets are expensive, labor-intensive, and usually take a few weeks or months to complete. Custom cabinets are built by skilled carpenters, and manufactured on a build-to-order basis.
We recommend using Custom cabinets if:
- You are building a new home or if your floor plan is more complex and requires customization by not using standard sizes. Custom cabinets are built to fit.
- Custom cabinets allow the consumer complete freedom in the design, style and construction of the cabinetry. You don’t have to settle for average, you can add all the bells and whistles!
- Custom cabinetry is built to last a lifetime.
The disadvantages of Custom Cabinets:
- Timing: generally custom cabinets take the longest. The design and construction phase are more detailed. All work is done by skilled craftsman, therefore the production takes longer.
- Huge cost difference: No doubt custom is the most expensive of the three, but the value received will be well worth it!
- I wish I could come with another negative but I can’t. If you plan on living in your home for a long time and quality is very important, then custom is for you!
Standard Width: Customizable
Standard Depth: Customizable
The Biggest Difference is PRICE
As you may have guessed, the more options you have with customization, the higher the overall price will be. Another advantage to having more custom options is that you are usually able to get a lot more storage gadgets such as spice pullouts and drawer organizers. Rev-A-Shelf has an endless supply of items that can be added into custom cabinets and semi-custom cabinets. The ability to build custom hoods can also add a unique complement to your overall design. Some Kitchen and bath dealers (like us) have the ability to provide semi-custom cabinets while being able to offer custom built pieces such as a hood or hutch as enhancements to your order of kitchen cabinets.
The possibilities are endless, you just need a creative designer to make it happen. Afterall, your kitchen is the heart of the home, where you and your family spend lots of time, and you’ll want it to be functional, durable, and beautiful!
What kind of cabinets do you have in your kitchen? Share your experiences and recommendations! Was this information helpful? Share your comments.
Cabinet Construction – How Cabinets Are Made
How are kitchen and bath cabinets made? Until you started shopping around for cabinets you probably didn’t realize that there are different ways that cabinets can be built and several options for materials. Most people come to us with a picture and say “this is what I like”. While this is perfectly fine, we still like to offer some education about the different ways that cabinets are made as well as the materials that we use.
As a consumer, it’s always a good idea to know how cabinets are made. Research the construction techniques and know the quality of well designed cabinetry before you purchase.
There are distinct choices you need to make. Here, we take them on one by one to help you pick the right cabinets for your home.
Learn a few basic terms about cabinetry, a few important things to know include;
- Materials used
- Construction techniques
- Build methods
These are the 3 main factors that will ultimately determine the look and the quality of your cabinets.
Even if you’re not the type of person who’s inclined to ponder- how things are put together – it’s still helpful to understand the basic parts and how cabinetry is constructed. This will help you have a better feel for the different levels of cabinet quality and what you do or don’t get for the various levels of cost you’ll encounter.
Materials – What are your cabinets made of?
There are several material options when cabinets are specified. You should know the difference between solid wood, MDF, Plywood and particleboard. Let’s start by having a basic understanding of these materials.
Solid wood – As the term implies, it’s solid homogeneous wood, all the way through. The only variation might be boards or panels that are several pieces of solid wood joined together.
Plywood – is an engineered wood product, but one that’s probably most familiar to people. It’s made up of thin wood “plies” or layers of wood that are glued together in a sandwich form. Usually the plies are oriented with their grain direction at varying angles with respect to each other to give the board or panel more rigidity and stability.
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) – another engineered wood product that’s made up of wood fibers. The fibers are combined with an adhesive under pressure and formed into boards and panels. MDF has a finer texture than particle board and is denser and heavier than particle board.
Particleboard – Is an engineered wood product that’s made from wood chips and particles that are combined with an adhesive and fused together into boards and panels.
Melamine – Is a plastic-based, sheet material similar to laminate that is applied to the exterior of cabinets. The substrate or material underneath the melamine is usually medium density fiberboard, particle board or plywood.
Another important point to remember about wood, is where it originates. If it’s important to you that your products are made in the USA, you should ask your designer if your products are domestic or imported. Other countries don’t have the same regulations as the US in how they engineer their wood products.
Construction Techniques – How are cabinets made?
There are different ways that cabinet boxes, frames and drawers are made when joined together. While there is no wrong way to build cabinets, there are different ways in which they are constructed. The process that is used, will determine the integrity of the product and the time and labor involved. Here are the most popular methods used today.
Mortise and tenon – another form of joinery, this method uses a square “post” protruding from one end of a piece of wood that fits into a square hole or cutout in the mating piece. This type of joinery might be used to fasten the pieces of a cabinet’s face frame together.
Doweled joint – this joinery technique uses round wood dowels (pegs) that are pressed and/or glued half way into holes drilled into one piece of wood. The protruding part of the dowel is then fit into holes drilled into the mating piece of wood. This method is another way to join the sides of drawers or cabinet boxes together
Dado – this is a groove that’s cut into a board or panel that the edge of another board/panel can fit into. A good example is the sides and back of a cabinet drawer that are dadoed to accept the edges of the drawer bottom. It’s a stronger way to ‘capture’ the drawer bottom than just gluing or nailing the drawer bottom edges to the side panels.
Putting together the Materials and Construction
The materials and construction details that your cabinets are made from are not always as visible as the doors and drawers, but they contribute greatly to their durability and cost. The overall quality of kitchen cabinets is closely linked to their construction, meaning how they’re put together and the materials they’re made from. Let’s put the two together when considering the different components of the cabinets.
Cabinet boxes can be made from high quality material, such as ¾” maple plywood to a low quality material such as particle board and many options in between. This is one of the main factors that will affect the overall price of your cabinetry.
Cabinet Frames, the very front of what you see are usually made with solid wood.
Drawer boxes- The quality of material used as well as the way the boxes are joined together will affect the sturdiness of the drawer. For example, a dovetailed drawer will be stronger than a drawer using butt joints and screws. You will also have choices of different slides, from standard, to full extension, and full extension with soft close features.
Build Methods – What determines the overall look and style of your cabinets?
The construction style of your cabinetry determines how your doors and drawers fit and the overall look of the cabinet face. Regardless of the style you choose, you can rest assure that you will get the same superior quality of construction that we provide time after time. Cabinetry is divided into three major categories when considering methods.
Inset – The Inset Difference
The inset door gets its name because it is set inside of the cabinet frame. The door is designed and constructed with extremely precise measurements so that it nests inside the frame and opens and closes properly.
Overlay – The Most Common
The standard overlay cabinet is typically the most popular. The face frame of a standard cabinet door overlays from 1/2″ up to 1 ½” with varying gaps between doors and drawers.
Frameless – The advantage of Frameless Cabinets
A frameless cabinet is a style of cabinet that has been popular in Europe for decades, but that wasn’t introduced here in the states until rather recently. Doors typically cover the entire cavity and box, which is called full-overlay. Because they don’t require a frame, frameless cabinets feature full access, allowing maximum use of space. Cabinets and drawers are slightly larger than those constructed with face frames. Frameless cabinets have a more modern look. If you are purchasing new cabinetry for your home, you owe it to yourself to look into the benefits of frameless cabinetry.
Other things to consider
There are several style options to consider for kitchen cabinets. The door style and finishes are going to define the style more than anything. So which style of cabinets is right for your home? It depends greatly on the overall architectural style of your house and your tastes.
Other decisions that will need to be considered include:
- Door Style
- Wood types
- Accessories / Storage and organizational features
- Custom & Semi Custom. Read more about custom, semi custom & stock cabinets – click here.
Look for these topics to be covered in future blogs. For more information about how Walker Woodworking builds our custom cabinets – visit our Product Education page.
Was this information helpful? Tell us what you think.
Cerused Oak Remodel Project.
We were so excited when our client, Mrs. Young, wanted to use a new finish technique that we were in the process of making to showcase at the 2016 Southern Spring Home & Garden Show. After making a few samples, we decided that we would use the color combination of Revere Pewter for the perimeter cabinets with cerused oak on the island. We were just in love with this color combination but before we could get the cabinets made for the show, it caught Mrs. Young’s attention. Dr. & Mrs. Young had just purchased a home and wanted to remodel the kitchen before they moved in.
What are your needs?
First, we had to determine what the homeowner needed and what their style preference was. Travis Walker, company owner met with Mrs. Young in her home and started the process of gathering measurements and information. Travis will usually take pictures like the one above to share with Brandon as part of the planning for the first design meeting. We also ask our clients what they like and don’t like about the design of the kitchen they currently have. Getting as much information as possible prior to the design meeting helps Brandon, our designer plan the layout of the kitchen before meeting with the clients.
“My husband and I both love to cook and spend time together in the kitchen, so a good flow with plenty of prep space was critical. We also really believe in function over form, so we were leaning toward more of a commercial style kitchen… Of course we think we got both function and form with this remodel!” ~ Mrs. Young
What are your style and color preferences?
We also asked Mrs. Young to share her thoughts about this as well as her idea books from Houzz so that Brandon could see which style and color preferences she was leaning toward. Idea-books from Houzz are one of our favorite tools to use when planning a new customer design meeting.
“As to color choices and cabinet style… I have to credit Brandon with quickly figuring out our design style preferences (I.e., clean, simple, elegant) and showing us the new cerused oak cabinet he’d been working on. I loved it from the moment I laid eyes on it. While gorgeous, it isn’t formal or stuffy. It perfectly fit the environment of our kitchen, the floors, the stone fireplace, the flagstone patio, and generally, the natural views through the picture window. Once I had the sample doors, I was able to select a complementing paint color and flooring… The granite was the final touch that pulled all the colors together.” ~ Mrs. Young
The cerused oak for the island and bar area are custom painted with a color we named ‘hunting lodge gray’ with a white glaze. Revere Pewter from the Benjamin Moore Historical collection is the perimeter color of the kitchen.
“People are highly complementary when they see the kitchen… Thanks to you all!” ~ Mrs. Young
See all of the photos from this project. Click this link to see our photo gallery of this project.
Making a quiet comeback
For about 2 years now we have been seeing cerused oak in furniture pieces, and now it is being incorporated into kitchens. Cerused oak can have many different colors due to a technique that is used to bring out the grain.
What is Cerusing?
Cerusing is a time-honored French finish technique in which the open grain of oak is filled with a contrasting white pigment. The stain and colors of the white pigments can be mixed and matched to create unique color combinations. What I love the most is the texture that you can see and touch. This technique is mostly used on quarter sawn white oak.
Specifically we use Quarter Sawn White Oak. This wood has an amazing straight grain pattern that lends itself to design. Quarter sawn lumber is defined as wood where the annular growth rings intersect the face of the board at a 60 to 90 degree angle. When cutting this lumber at the sawmill, each log is sawed at a radial angle into four quarters, hence the name. Dramatic flecking is also present in red oak and white oak. When quarter sawn oak is cerused, we are able to add a white glaze and use a special brush to make sure the glaze seeps into the grain without affecting the color of the stain, thus giving texture to the surface of the wood.
Want to see how we can incorporate cerused oak into your home? Give us a call today to schedule a design consultation 704-434-0823.
The story behind our 5 minutes of fame with the Wall Street Journal.
The famous laundry-closet
We were pleasantly surprised recently when The Wall Street Journal contacted Walker Woodworking and spoke to Travis Walker about a particular laundry room. The laundry-closet is one of many featured rooms on the Walker Woodworking profile site at Houzz.com and is how the Wall Street Journal found Walker Woodworking.
This particular laundry room closet combination has had over 454,787 impressions and over 5,193 adds to idea-books on Houzz in just the last year. Houzz is a website and online community about architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvements.
With permission of the homeowner, we gave the WSJ the homeowner’s information and she was contacted for an interview. Shortly after being contacted, a photo shoot was scheduled at the home.
It’s not every day you can say your home was photographed and videoed by The Wall Street Journal, but that is exactly what happened to Mrs. Ellie Cartner. At Walker Woodworking we are equally excited to say our cabinets have been featured in The Wall Street Journal.
We want to thank Mrs. Cartner and her family for allowing us and the WSJ into her home.
Today’s Laundry Rooms
Laundry rooms today are a HUGE deal to homeowners. They are becoming the central work station for all members of the household.
Design and function are important in the beginnings stages of new construction or a remodel. With the many functions you can have in a laundry room, taking advantage of space is a MUST. Organized clean up can save you time.
Today the options are endless on the items that can be built into a custom laundry room:
- Docking drawers for technology devices, phones, tablets, etc.
- Desk area with mail sorters and dividers for family members.
- Built in message center with chalkboards or bulletin boards.
- Cabinetry positioned at a comfortable folding height.
- Built in storage bins for laundry sorters.
- Hanging rods for dedicates to dry, as well as pull out drying drawers with screens for sweaters and such.
- Pet centers are also being incorporated into the laundry rooms, with storage bins for food, beds, and feeding areas.
- Personal lockers for each family member to store book bags, coats & shoes.
- Craft supply storage, rods for wrapping paper & ribbon.
The possibilities are endless, especially with custom cabinetry. Good design and planning should start prior to construction to make the most out of your space, this will also save you time and money.
Wash, dry & repeat! Laundry is a never ending thing in any house, so why not enjoy the command center of your home, with useful amenities, and beautiful cabinetry!
Thanks for taking time to read about our 5 minutes of fame, it was certainly an honor for us at Walker Woodworking. Jan Blanton – Walker Woodworking
Sam & Kim’s Kitchen Remodel
In 2015, Sam and Kim decided to move back to Sam’s former home and update the kitchen. Enlisting the help of Walker Woodworking and Tony Brooks of Beam Edwards & Brooks, this kitchen remodel became an amazing transformation from an enclosed kitchen to an open floor plan. Follow this link to see the complete before & after photo gallery.
Sam’s family moved into this house in 1962 as its first owners. Over the years the home was remodeled several times. Multiple additions included adding a master bedroom, enclosing the carport to build a playroom, and adding a sunroom. Sam along with his brother Al and his sister Andrea grew up there. Many children through the years considered it their home while Sam’s mom ran a daycare until the mid 80’s.
Growing up in the home the formal living room was used only on special occasions or to take family photo. The 7 grandchildren considered this their second home and have fond memories of playing and being loved there.
After Sam’s mother’s death, his father continued to live in the house and host weekly Sunday Dinner for the family. After his dad’s death the house was vacant except for grandchildren sometimes living there.
Planning & Design:
In working with Tony Brooks, a plan was formed to open up the formal living room and convert to an open floor plan. The playroom was converted to a den for use during construction.
After a desire for the open floor plan was determined they met at Walker Woodworking with kitchen and bath designer, Brandon Fitzmorris, to complete the kitchen design. Brandon was able to plan out the space for optimized cooking and storage. Since this will be their forever home, they wanted to make the space as functional as possible. One of the design challenges was to achieve seating at the peninsula while still maintaining the feel of an open floor plan. We were able to accomplish this through team work with the general contractor by incorporating a pass through to the living room.
Demo – Demolition started and cabinets came out. Site prep was done by adding a protective floor covering to prevent damage and a dust barrier to the existing living space.
Construction – A wall was removed and carpet from the living room came out. Hardwood was added to the kitchen and den and matched up to the existing hardwood in the living room, a treasure hidden beneath the carpet. The end result was seamless, there is nothing left of the previous wall separating the formal living room from the kitchen.
Plumbing & Electrical – The next part of the process was to update plumbing & electrical. By using our preplanned CAD drawings, the subcontractors were able to quickly and efficiently make the necessary changes to the updated kitchen layout.
Sheetrock & Primary Painting – Sheetrock repair and primary painting is definitely an expectation with an extensive remodel like this one. The wall that needed to be removed was a load bearing wall. We had to build a header across the room and sheetrock that area.
Cabinet Install – Usually a 2 day process for a kitchen similar to this one. Our trucks show up full of cabinets, already assembled including the decorative hardware. One of the things that we do differently than most companies is to apply the toe kicks after the floors are finished. In most cases this eliminates the need for shoe-moulding. This will give the cabinets more of a finished furniture style.
Counter-tops – Typically counter-tops are ready for the template after the cabinets are installed. Once the template has been done, it will typically take 1 to 2 weeks before the tops are ready to install. Each fabricator is different. Granite can be installed in a kitchen like this usually in half a day.
Appliances – In most situations appliances will go in after the counter-tops. Every project is unique and having professionals that realize the importance of when certain things should happen is important for a smooth remodel. This will also help to ensure that cabinets, flooring and counter-tops are not damaged during the process.
The Finishing Touches – The last few things that need to be done include the tile back splash, final coat of paint, and the final sanding & finishing of the floors.
“Both Tony and the team at Walker Woodworking held our hand through the process, which at some times was emotional because of the changes being made to the family home. The end result was more than we could have ever dreamed possible.The remodel was completed in time for us to continue family traditions of Thanksgiving & Christmas in the home.” ~ Kim Davis
We would like to thank Sam & Kim for allowing us to share their story. Follow this link to see the complete before & after photo gallery.
The Walker Woodworking Showroom is located at Greenbrook Design.
112 North Lafayette Street
Shelby NC 28150