Why do quality products matter?
We recently showed our product at the Fall Kitchen and Bath show in Charlotte, as a result we have been estimating a lot of new jobs. As we meet our new potential customers we not only try to ‘show off’ our work but also provide some consumer education about what our cabinets are made of. As you can imagine this can get very detailed and for those who are not construction minded, it is easy to get cluttered by details that you may not be accustomed to taking about every day.
What amazes me the most is how many people don’t really bother to take this information seriously, or do their homework when shopping for cabinetry. When you are building a new home or remodeling, the choices you make and the money you invest in your cabinets, counter-tops, and appliances are decisions you will have to live with for a long time. Thus my point, exterior beauty should match interior integrity. As you can see in the photo, the shelves are sagging due to poor quality of material.
When a couple is building their first house, spending and extra 10% to 15% for their cabinets is just not worth it to them. As I try to determine the reason for this I think that it comes down to a lack of experience. Kitchen are so important in our everyday loves; they are the hub of the home. However, until you have had a kitchen that wasn’t functional or cabinets that were not sturdy or user friendly you probably have never taken the time to really consider how much the cabinets and appliances in your kitchen impact your life.
Of course I could use this post to tell you why we have the best product and what makes our product the very best money can buy. I could also tell you haw important it is to have a kitchen designer to help you plan your space and design your kitchen but I would be ‘Tooting my own horn’. What I will do , is give you some resources and let you do your own ‘fact checking’ and you can decide for yourself if you would spend 10% to 15% to get a quality cabinet versus one that may look like quality on the outside but is actually like the picture illustrates on the inside (see above).
What materials are used in the construction of the cabinets you plan to Purchase?
What type of material is used to make the cabinets? It’s important to know if your cabinets are made of plywood, Import plywood or particle board. In the example used in the pictures above, even something as simple as shelves matter. 3/4″ domestic plywood is the very best and most expensive material you can use for cabinet construction. Here are some sources that can elaborate, as you can note form my illustrations there are definite differences!
Domestic plywood is much less likely to expand or shrink based on moisture in the environment, and the alternating construction creates a board that is much stronger and less prone to shrinkage. Also the glues used in the making of domestic plywood, is a formaldehyde free soy based product, which is green and FSC-certified.
Import Chinese plywood is not regulated in any way. Starting with the forestry practices and the chemicals they use in their glues, to the treatment of the labor there is no real regulation. Their 5 ply panel is weak and falls apart in a few years or upon getting wet. Formaldehyde weakens any glue and they use plenty of these dangerous toxins when manufacturing their plywood. For our company it is not solely a matter of cost but ethics that has eliminated this product as an option for us.
What is particle board? Particle board is a manufactured wood product. It is built from compressed shredded wood scraps and recycled wood, held together with a type of resin. It is cheaper and denser than plywood, but is not very strong or resistant to moisture. It also does not take paint or stain well. To the untrained eye, cabinet components made from veneered particle board may look like a fine hardwood piece, but fall short of that standard.
All cabinet companies use different materials from different sources. Just ask your supplier and you should be able to get the information from them, we use 3/4″ plywood supplied by Columbia Forest from Marion, NC Please contact Walker Woodworking for more information.
Consumers of course will have different opinions about what they prefer, just like buying a car. We realize information available to consumers is limited and we want to be able to provide you with the most up to date information so you can make good decisions about the cabinetry you plan to purchase. We welcome any feedback. Did you like this post? As a consumer what are you interested in?
Look for the next part in our series; You get what you pay for! We will focus on How Cabinets are Built. We also have lots of information and design ideas on our website.
Image Information: Picture 1 was taken at a home that we installed in 2002. Picture 2 was taken at a home that cabinets were installed in 2009 by one of our competitors. Please contact Stacey Walker for more detailed information.