There are different grades of cabinetry which can make it difficult to truly compare apples to apples when you are gathering different quotes for your project. We have a range of cabinets starting with a line of cabinetry called Homesite that compares to the stock cabinets at Home Depot going all the way up to a full custom line. Many kitchen cabinet companies carry different grades. It can be complicated to know which cabinetry line is the best. The best way to know is to look at the specifications on the cabinet line which will give you the standard construction details on the cabinet box itself, the door, and the hardware such as the hinges and drawer glides.
Questions to ask:
1. What material is the cabinet box made of?
Particle Board: made by pressing wood, sawdust, and sawmill shavings using heat, low strength, lightweight, low cost
MDF: an engineered wood composite made of wood fibers, stronger than particle board, no wood grain
Hardwood Plywood: some cabinetry lines use the term hardwood for wood veneer
Plywood: engineered wood made of sheets of wood veneer, there are many different types of plywood, but generally this is the strongest cabinet box. All Plywood Construction is sometimes an upgrade so make sure to ask if your price includes all plywood construction.
2. What is the door made of?
See the different types of wood above. With a semi-custom line such as KraftMaid or Waypoint your door will be made of real wood. However, often they will put a wood veneer in as the center panel which is actually to help the door be more resistant to warping and shifting due to environmental changes. With a cheaper cabinet, a lesser grade cabinet, the door could be MDF or engineered wood. Thermofoil doors are sometimes MDF that are then wrapped in Thermofoil.
3. Cabinet Hardware.
Are the hinges and drawer glides soft closing?
There are pieces of hardware such as hinges and drawer glides that can also affect the effectiveness of your cabinet. Most companies offer soft closing drawers and doors as standard construction now a days, but you should check to make sure.
There are two main different types of drawer glides: roller drawer glides and ball-bearing drawer glides. Ball bearing are usually more expensive and tend to hold more weight. However, this is just general information because there are different types that bear different weights.
4. What door styles and finishes do they have?
Normally, semi-custom cabinetry lines, a middle grade, higher end cabinet, will have lots of different options for you to choose from. Lower cost/lower grade cabinets will have less options to choose from. So just make sure that you find a door style and finish that you like that will fit your style and budget.