Everyone will tell you that their kitchen cabinets are 'good quality'. But what do you need to look for when choosing your new kitchen?
MFC or MDF?
The components of the cabinet itself are cut from a larger board and fixed together, If those components are cut from MFC (chipboard) there is a greater risk of them becoming damaged, eg. blowing out, when in contact with water or other liquids.
MDF is a more solid and robust material, and has greater resistance to moisture - check what your cabinets are made from.
Another useful check is whether the back of the cabinet is as robust as the rest of it - is the same thickness of material used in the back, which adds extra support and strength to the unit?
Cabinets can be manufactured in different board colours - does the company make matching carcase colours available? Standard options should include white, cream, grey and wood effect.
Are the components protected at the edges?
When the board is cut, edging is applied to cover and protect the bare ends. Some manufacturers leave edges bare, in order to reduce costs, but that leaves the ends susceptible to damage. Check that components, including shelves, are edged on all sides for a finished, polished product.
Drawers and hinges
Saving money on drawer runners and hinges can be more costly in the long run. Robust components are a necessity to ensure your kitchen looks good and works properly for years to come.
Soft closing, smooth running drawers and boxes should be standard, with the drawers having sensible capacity (40kg upwards). Hinges and internal wireworks should also be soft closing and sturdy. Check that your components are guaranteed for the life of the kitchen.
Check where, and how, the cabinets are constructed. An experienced manufacturer will construct the cabinets using strong and reliable fixings, and ideally by hand.
Finally, be wary of buying your kitchen cabinets as flat pack components. If the components are to be constructed on site you are very dependent on the skills and experience of the workman who is putting the pieces together, as well as the quality of the components! Ready made cabinets are more likely to be guaranteed for at least a 10 year period.