NOTE: Quality cabinets should last 20+years

Cabinet materials

  • All plywood construction
  • Plywood is made with layers of wood running both lengthwise and crosswise in a way that makes plywood stronger, high tolerance to moisture- important to consider around sink and faucets. Bear weight over long periods.


Names for particleboard: medium density fiberboard (MDF), engineered wood, hardboard, substrate, furniture board, etc. made by pressing wood particles together at high temperature with glue, susceptible to damage by collision and moisture, sagging is a sign on deteriorating particleboard constructions

Full height panel back

  • Solid, full height plywood
  • Strongest heavy (3/8-inch or more), full-plywood, full-back panel. Allows for better contact to stud, will retain structure even when cut.


Thin panels, metal hang rails and brackets, rails, and picture-frame construction. There is either no back or 1/8-inch to ¼-inch particleboard panel that is the height of the cabinet if the cabinet requires cuts more work will have to be done to reinforce the cabinet

Soft-close Hinges

  • Soft-close, steel, 6-way adjustable hinges hinge should be adjustable six ways: in-out, up-down and left-right so that the hinges can be adjusted when cabinet doors expand and contract during seasonal changes.


  • Be wary of cabinet manufacturers that use low-end hinges that only provide four-way adjustability, or who don’t back their product with a lifetime warranty.
  • Undermount, soft-close drawer glides
  • Undermount, steel, soft-close glides
  • Full access to the drawer, ball bearing steel guides, mounted beneath the drawer box, heavy load rated glides 90lbs, almost silent

Other drawer glide systems

Common construction uses epoxy-coated metal with plastic rollers subject to wear, Center-mount and side-mount glide rarely provide full access; instead, about 25 percent of the drawer remains inside the cabinet, making it difficult to reach the back of the drawer. Side-mounted glides reduce the width of the drawer, thus reducing storage space.

Hardwood dovetail drawer boxes

Solid hardwood drawer boxes with dovetail joints and heavy plywood bottoms, long-lasting durability, hardwood drawer box will have sides of 5/8-inch or thicker solid maple or birch strength of the joint comes from the wood itself, drawer bottom, fully captured on four sides in dado (grooved) joints, is glued and nailed in place.

Other materials and construction

Particleboard, plywood, metal, and plastic are common materials.

I-beam construction

I-beams are ½-inch stretchers used in base cabinet construction. I-beams are locked and secured in a dado joint, capturing all four sides of the cabinet to secure and provide the cabinet with long-term strength, keeping the box square and true during shipping and installation.

Melamine interior

Durable, fire-resistant, impervious to water, stain-resistant, and can be safely cleaned with strong household solutions, wipes clean

Face frames

Face frames provide a solid, hardwood base for hinges and drawer glides. Furthermore, the face frame provides stability to help keep the cabinet box square during shipping and installation., three styles of framed cabinetry, referred to by the amount of frame revealed: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset.

What to look for:

  • Fully assembled in the factory
  • Customizability and modifications
  • Lifetime Warranty and Industry Certification