Cabinet construction impacts cost, durability

In our previous post, we discussed how cabinet door selection sets the look of the room and can also be used to help control costs. In this post, we’ll tell you why choosing your cabinet door style and finish is just the tip of the iceberg.


The cabinet box – the part that is screwed to the wall and is largely invisible when the cabinet doors are closed – provides the support and durability for the cabinet. The parts of a cabinet box include the end panel, bottom, back, adjustable shelves and the toekick. The composition and construction of each of these parts may vary with manufacturer and brand, and there may or may not be options for each. Attention to these important details will help ensure you get the cabinets best suited to your project and your budget.


The construction of the boxes you choose can help determine the cost and even the life expectancy of your new cabinets. As you might imagine, cabinet boxes can be large and awkward to handle, so the sturdier the box is when installation begins, the more likely it will be to remain square once the job is complete. Bear in mind that while cabinet manufacturers offer a variety of box construction options, you may not be able to switch construction materials within a brand.


When considering the construction of your cabinets, you may have the option to choose between all-plywood construction and boxes made from furniture-grade, high-density fiberboard. Parts of an all-plywood box that will be visible – such as on an island or peninsula – should be specified as a finished end by your designer. The visible parts of the fiberboard boxes are covered in a wood-patterned, printed laminate material. An option on some fiberboard boxes is to use plywood ends that will be covered with a veneer exterior.


All-plywood construction is generally considered to be the most sturdy and durable option. All-plywood cabinet boxes are more likely to come through installation in good shape and will adapt better to changes in temperature and humidity.


Where the cabinets will be installed and how much use they will get are important considerations in selecting the construction of your cabinet boxes. High-humidity areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and pool areas may see longer cabinet lifetimes from all-plywood construction.


If you are buying cabinets for more utilitarian uses or for situations that may have an expectation of more frequent replacement, a value line with fiberboard construction might be a better choice.


With so many variables, it pays to work with an experienced kitchen and bath designer who can explain all the choices and differences, and can steer you toward options that best fit your project.



Decora Airedale

Decora Treyburn


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