Category Archives: framed cabinetry

7 Tips for Finding the Best Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Shopping for kitchen cabinets can be like talking to parents about their kids: Everyone thinks their child is the smartest, fastest, strongest, kindest, etc. Parents lack objectivity when it comes to their children, and kitchen cabinet manufacturers lack objectivity when it comes to their products! How do you as the consumer sift through the opinions to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinets?

You learn what to look for…

When you’re searching for the best semi custom kitchen cabinets, here are seven things to look for to help you rise above the subjectivity and make an informed decision for your new kitchen:

  1. Look for choice: This is your dream kitchen, after all, so look for a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that offers plenty of choices in door styles, stains, colors and finishes. That way you’ll find exactly the kind of cabinet you’re searching for. (Some like Wellborn Forest also offer custom color matching services, so you can literally get the exact color you want!)
  2. Look for quality: This should perhaps go without saying, but not every homeowner knows what quality looks like when comparing kitchen cabinets. All those cabinets can be lovely on the outside, but you need to know how they are put together too, because what’s on the inside will determine how well your semi custom cabinets stand the test of time in your busy kitchen.
  3. Look for extras: Even with the cost savings of semi custom (vs. custom) kitchen cabinets, you’ll still spend a large chunk of your remodeling budget on the cabinets. So look for cabinets that give you a little extra, such as soft-close hinges and drawers that fully extend.
  4. Look for durability: Semi custom cabinets are built with either framed or frameless construction. Framed cabinet construction tends to be sturdier. At Wellborn Forest, for example, we only build framed cabinets with concealed hinges. Also check for sturdier 3/4-inch shelves on the insides of the cabinets, and see if the wood used in plywood or furniture board.
  5. Look for American-made: Semi custom cabinets made in the USA tend to be of a higher quality and built of better materials, while also ensuring the workers making the cabinets do so in safe conditions and earn a decent wage. Buying cabinets made elsewhere is risky in comparison. And besides those practical reasons, buying American-made is one of the best ways for you to do your part to improve the economy and job climate.
  6. Look for longevity: When businesses last, it means they are doing something right. Wellborn Forest has a history stretching back to 1961. That kind of longevity is proof of quality construction and design!
  7. Look for warranties: You want a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that will stand behind their products, both the cabinets and the details such as hinges. Look for warranties as proof of the best semi custom kitchen cabinets.

Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinet manufacturers and then start the fun part: finding the cabinets you love!

To Hinge or not to Hinge: Choosing Your Semi Custom Cabinet Style

When you start searching for your semi custom cabinets for your new kitchen, you’ll quickly learn that you’re not only choosing between different cabinet door styles, but also different door types. Yes, each of the styles has a different look to it but you also have to take into account the look you’re envisioning for your new kitchen because some kitchen cabinet doors will let you use visible hinges and some won’t.

If you’ve been on Pinterest pinning pictures of kitchens with visible hinges, you need to read this post…

Why the difference in semi custom cabinets?
Kitchen cabinet types are either frameless or framed, and this can affect the look of the cabinet door. A framed cabinet will have cabinet doors that don’t cover the whole face frame. The doors are attached to the frame and can have hinges that show, although concealed hinges are becoming the industry norm. (At Wellborn Forest, all our semi custom cabinets are built with concealed hinges.)

On the other hand, frameless kitchen cabinets are designed so the cabinet doors cover the whole outer surface. You don’t see the face frame, because each cabinet door or drawer essentially butts up against the next one. The cabinet doors are attached to the inside of the frame, with “hidden” hinges (also called concealed hinges). Visible hinges are not an option.

What’s in a hinge?
For you as the homeowner planning your new kitchen, that means hinges can be visible or invisible. That decision is all yours, and is usually driven by the look you want for your new kitchen. Hinges, doorknobs and drawer pulls can be accessories that complete the design—but, of the three, hinges are definitely the least necessary. For example, someone planning an old-fashioned looking kitchen might want to use hinges that help to create the aesthetic. Or perhaps a homeowner wants the contrast that hinges can provide, say with black iron hinges used with antique white semi custom cabinets. But drawer pulls and knobs can achieve the look without the hinges.

Hinges can also add to your costs. A decorative (yet functional!) hinge can run you quite a bit of money, and that dollar amount is going to be times two for every cabinet door you’ll have.

Hinges mean fewer cabinet choices
Hinges won’t make or break your new kitchen design, but you should give them some thought before you start shopping for your semi custom cabinets just in case. You only want to fall in love with the kitchen door styles that will fit with the bigger picture you have in your head! So if hinges are on the must-have list, you’ll need to narrow your choices to framed cabinets and only the kind of cabinet door that can use an exposed hinge.

Those choices are getting more limited as homeowners and cabinet manufacturers choose concealed hinges more often. At Wellborn Forest, for example, we only build framed cabinets with concealed hinges. (Our Elite Series and Supreme Series cabinets feature soft close hinges as standard.)