Measuring for Your New Kitchen – The Basics

At first glance designing your dream kitchen can seem like an over whelming task. However, if you learn the basics, there really isn’t too much to it. This post will teach you the basics of how to measure and design your new kitchen.

Let’s get started with measuring the kitchen area. First you need to get the overall measurements of where you want cabinets to go. This can be wall-to-wall if you are putting cabinets between two walls. Another way to start is if you have a corner, measure from the corner outward to the end of your current cabinetry, or until you want the cabinets to stop.

Now that you have your overall measurements, you need to take into account specialty cabinets and appliances. The biggest specialty cabinet you need to account for is the Sink Base. This is the cabinet that will hold your sink. If you’re not moving the existing plumbing, then take a measurement from the corner (ideal, if you have a corner) to the center of the plumbing. If you don’t have a corner, measure from one side of where the cabinets would end. This will provide a rough ideal of where the sink base needs to be placed. Centering the plumbing in the cabinet would be ideal, but most times this is not possible. In this case, simply be sure the plumbing will fit completely in the sink base cabinet.

After the sink base, you need to measure for appliances. Typical appliance sizes are as follows:

Stove/Range: 30”

Refrigerator: 30”, 33” or 36”

Dishwasher: 24”

Typically, the stove is the appliance with the least amount of flexibility in its placement. Because you don’t want to move a gas line or a high voltage electrical line, people typically leave the stove in the original position. This doesn’t mean however that it cannot be moved left or right a few inches.

To measure for the Stove, find the center point of where you want it placed, or where it was originally. It is easiest to work with center points because it is a single measurement instead of a range and all you need to do is extend 15” on each side of the center point to find the exact placement of the stove.

The refrigerator tends to have the most flexibility for placement as all it needs is an outlet and maybe a water line. In todays marketplace, with the availability of flexible water lines, it is fairly simple to add this feature to where ever you decide to place the refrigerator. Typically, a 30” refrigerator is a standard top freezer unit without an ice maker. These are also shorter than their wide counterparts. To get a decent side-by-side refrigerator, you need to extend your width up to 33” or 36” for a nicer model.

To measure for the refrigerator, follow the same steps as for the range and find the center point of where you want it located.

The dishwasher tends to be the easiest to place. In most cases, the dishwasher is simply placed to the left or right of the sink base. It is best to keep it located like this as the dishwasher relies on the sink plumbing for water and drainage. A center line for the dishwasher is less important simply because it is going directly next to the sink base which you already have a measurement for.

At this point you’re ready to start laying out the kitchen. In our next post we are going delve into laying out the actual cabinets.

Until then, Happy Renovating!


All you need to know about Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Slides

There are essentially 3 different categories of kitchen cabinet drawer slides. On the low cost end of the spectrum you have standard epoxy coated metal slides, the next step up are the full ball bearing side mount slides, and lastly the coveted undermount and/or self closing kitchen cabinet drawer slide.

Epoxy Coated Metal Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Slide

The epoxy coated metal slide is going to be your entry level model. This slide is often found on lower priced kitchen cabinets or as basic option for custom kitchen cabinets. The main drawbacks of this slide is that it is not full extension. This means the kitchen cabinet drawer can only pull out ¾ of the way. Another main problem is that these kitchen cabinet slides have a low weight rating. On the positive side, they are easy to operate, there are no major maintenance or adjustment to worry about. In short, they just work as they should without any headache. If you happen to need to replace one or all of the slides on your kitchen cabinets, these slides are an nice and inexpensive way to go. Price range for epoxy coated kitchen cabinet drawer slides is $5-$20 a pair.

Ball Bearing Side Mount Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Slide

Next up are the side mount ball bearing kitchen cabinet slides. These kitchen cabinet slides use ball bearing technology to move the drawer in and out. As opposed to the single wheel system on the epoxy coated slides, these have numerous highly oiled balls that gently move the drawer. These kitchen cabinet drawer slides solve the two main drawbacks of the epoxy coated drawer slides. Ball bearing slides allow the drawer to extend fully so that items in the rear of the drawer are easily accessible. Also ball bearing slides can handle much more weight than the light weight epoxy coated kitchen cabinet drawer slides. Price range for side-mount, ball bearing kitchen cabinet drawer slides is $20-$30 a pair.

Under-mount Self Closing Kitchen Cabinet Drawer Slide

Now onto the luxury market, the under-mount, self closing, full extension, heavy weight kitchen cabinet drawer slides. These slides seem to solve all the problems. They are under-mount, so you never have to see them! They are full extension and the best part that everybody loves, the self-closing! Always a point of conversations. People are just simply amazed by this rather basic technology. Also you no longer have to worry about drawers slamming shut as this mechanism prevents it. Price range for under-mount, self-closing kitchen cabinet drawer slides is $25-$75+ for a designer pair.

Particle Board versus Plywood for Kitchen Cabinets

A lot of people ask what is a better substrate for kitchen cabinets: plywood or particle board? This question has a difficult answer. Most people are in the camp that thinks plywood is the better option. This in most cases is true. However, depending on what your plans are for your kitchen this could just be an unnecessary luxury. I have seen numerous particle cabinets withstand the test of time. I have been in kitchens that are 20-30 years old with cabinet boxes that are made strictly of particle board and the kitchen has sustained the years. How could this be when plywood is all the rage?

To answer this you have to think about who says plywood is the standard. For example, American made kitchen cabinets usually come standard with the particle board boxes with plywood being an upgrade. Often times this upgrade can cost in the realm of 20% more. However, the standard cabinets still come with a lifetime warranty. If particle board is such an unsuitable substrate, how could the manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty?

Most of the time when you see kitchen cabinets that advertise “all wood” or “solid wood” they are implying that they do not use particle board in the cabinets. These tend to be the Chinese, or import, cabinets. It is extremely inexpensive to upgrade to plywood sides when they are manufacturing on such a large scale. Often times it is only a few dollars more per cabinet, but it allows them to advertise the plywood as a standard feature as opposed to an upgrade. This helps them sell their cabinets. When a customer is deciding between American or Chinese cabinets, even at the same price point, the Chinese are able to offer standard features that are upgrades in the American cabinets.

Both substrates are more than suitable to hold up a counter top, even a heavy natural stone such as granite or marble. Some consumers believe that plywood is more suitable to high humidity environments. This is definitely true, however, plywood has its own drawbacks in high humidity environments. For example, most cabinets that come with plywood sides are also finished with a veneer or laminate that matches the stain on the cabinets. More times than not, I have seen this veneer peel off when exposed to extreme humidity. So even though the plywood is stronger, it creates a cosmetic problem that needs to be addressed.

As it turns out, plywood is only marginally better than particle board. If price is not an issue, than obviously plywood would be a welcomed upgrade. But for those consumers that are on a shoestring budget and are looking to get the best for the price, compromising on the substrate that makes up the kitchen cabinet box is not the end of the world. For most applications, a particle board kitchen cabinet will hold up just as well as a full plywood kitchen cabinet box.

Tips for Buying Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

I get asked all the time where is the best place to buy cheap kitchen cabinets. Until recently I have not had a good answer. In the past one would have to compromise quality in order to save money on their kitchen. Also, the discounted kitchen cabinets only came in limited styles and colors.

Today all that has changed. Due mostly in part to the standardization of cabinet manufacturing, today you can buy stock kitchen cabinets in almost any imaginable color or wood species. Stock cabinets are built to industry standard specifications that allows for very customizable kitchen designs without the added cost of custom built cabinets.

There are many online retailers selling RTA or Ready to Assemble Cabinets as well as local cabinet dealers that will do the entire assembly for you and provide a warranty. These cabinets are often manufactured in China and then flat packed into a box and shipped by the container to the USA. The specification on these cabinets are often comparable to or sometimes even better than those that are manufactured in the USA. They come in all wood construction which means they contain no particle board or MDF (medium density fiberboard). Basically they are either plywood or solid wood. Typically the cabinet box is made of plywood with the face frame and doors being made of solid wood.

These discounted kitchen cabinets can greatly reduce the cost of a kitchen remodel. For example a kitchen where the cabinetry would normally run $5,000-$8,000 for a custom made in America cabinetry is now about half that price. I’ve seen numerous renovators buy a complete kitchen set for as low as $1,500! Chances are you couldn’t even replace the doors on your current cabinets for this price.

The import cabinet business is starting to boom. No longer are these importers little mom and pop operations. There are great companies out there providing quality products with lifetime warranties. Any company that is providing a lifetime warranty clearly knows their product and will stand behind it for years to come. If you are looking to greatly reduce the cost of your new kitchen renovation, I suggest looking into some of these import cabinets.