The Ultimate Guide to Custom Kitchen Cabinets for Your Dallas Area Home Remodel
When it comes to Dallas homeowners remodeling their homes, often the first priority is to replace existing kitchen cabinets with custom kitchen cabinets.
This is why we have put together this comprehensive guide on custom cabinets when remodeling your Dallas, Frisco, or Plano home.
Let’s get started!
Designing Custom Cabinets for the Home Owner
When starting the design process for custom kitchen cabinets, a good remodeling company will begin with how you, the homeowner, work within the kitchen. It is not enough to just replace what is existing. Instead, they should ask you questions about your daily work within the kitchen.
What do you like to cook? What do you cook on a regular basis? Where do you keep your ingredients, pots and pans, utensils, etc? These questions help guide the design process in order to maximize the efficiency in the kitchen. Once the remodeling company has a better understanding of how you operate in the kitchen they should produce a design that will maximize efficiency and organization of your kitchen.
Custom Cabinets Should Maximize Efficiency
One aspect in particular that the remodeling company should consider is the number of physical steps it takes to get from one area of the kitchen to the next. In particular, they will look at the amount of steps from storage (refrigerators and storage cabinets), to prep area (sink area), to your cooktop. When properly designed, the kitchen should be laid out so that nothing is further than 9 steps away. Cabinet placement is centered around you, the cook.
Here are a few tips when considering the design of your kitchen.
Tip #1: Begin taking note of those problem areas in your kitchen. What areas of the kitchen are currently inefficient? Which cabinets or drawers are constantly getting disorganized and cluttered? Which cabinets do you access frequently? What are the main issues with these areas of your kitchen?
Tip #2: Prioritize the areas that you would like to have fixed from highest to lowest. This will help your kitchen remodeler have a better understanding as to how you work within your kitchen.
Tip #3: Consult a “Design Build” home remodeler. Most remodelers simply focus on the nuts and bolts of doing a home remodel, and don’t get involved in the design process. Design Build companies, however, focus on both the design and the building process. Often times, Design Build companies will have the best insight and open you up to new ideas when designing your custom cabinets.
Discovering Your Custom Cabinets Design and Style
Custom cabinets should not only be functional and improve efficiency, but they should also be an aesthetically beautiful focal point of your kitchen. A large majority of your kitchen’s aesthetics centers around your kitchen cabinets.
Collecting ideas for new trends and styles for you kitchen cabinets is both fun and exciting. There is, however, a vast sea of design ideas out there, and narrowing your ideas down can be difficult.
Here are a few tips on how to start finding your style:
Tip #1: Take note of your personal style. What style of clothes do you where? What kind of art are you drawn to? What color pallets to do you like most? Once you have a few notes on your personal style, your cabinet maker can often incorporate your style into the design of your custom cabinets.
Tip #2: Begin collecting ideas on Houzz or Pinterest. A great way to begin looking for ideas is by searching these two popular sites. Once you have a collection of your favorite photos, you can show them to your remodeling company so they have a better understanding your desired outcome.
Two Options for Homeowners in the Dallas Area
There are currently two primary methods Dallas area remodelers will use in order to install custom cabinets. They will they will custom order pre-built cabinets from a manufacturer and install them, or they will have an in-house cabinet shop and build them custom for the client. Let’s explore each option.
This option is probably the most common choice for remodeling companies in the Dallas area. Companies will choose to have the cabinets manufactured by a cabinet manufacturing company such as popular manufacturers such as Welborn cabinets. They arrive pre-finished, and then the contractor or a subcontractor will perform the installation.
This method allows for some customization, however, you are limited to by the style selections offered by the manufacturer. Also, while the quality is continuing to get better, you are still subject the standards of the manufacturing company.
Option 2: Working with a remodeler with an in-house cabinet shop
If your desire is to have custom cabinets that are truly custom and unique, and cannot be found anywhere else except in your home, then you will want to find a remodeler with an in-house cabinet shop. When a Design Build company has a custom cabinet shop, then they will be able to not only create beautiful custom cabinets, but they can seamlessly work with the designer to ensure that the cabinets are installed properly and accurately. More importantly, the quality of the cabinets is controlled in-house often resulting in a cabinet that looks stunning and will last a lifetime.
How to Determine a Good Cabinet from a Bad Cabinet
Construction of the Custom Cabinets
When determining the quality of cabinets, you can look at the materials used to construct the cabinet boxes. Most cabinet builders will use a cheaper material such as particle board in order to save cost when constructing their boxes. A step up in material selection would be a plywood such as poplar or birch which is smooth and easier to paint. The last, and best option, is to use a good quality hardwood such as Clear Maple. This type of wood provides the highest in quality while still allowing the cabinet makers to easily apply the finish.
One of the primary reasons that you do not want to go with a cheap material is because the lower quality woods will produce green spots when finished. Since these are generally on the inside, some people do not mind this. However, if you are looking for something beautiful inside and out, then you will want to consider a higher quality wood.
Additionally, you can determine the quality of the boxes by the thickness of the materials used. Again, poorer quality boxes will use particle board or plywood with a thickness of ½ inch. A step up would be 5/8 inch. Finally, a higher quality of box will have 1-inch thickness. It is recommended that the box thickness should at least be 5/8 inch.
The front of the cabinet boxes are called the face frames. The face frames are composed of the Styles (the vertical pieces between doors and drawers) and Rails (the horizontal pieces). Once again, the materials and construction determine the quality of the custom cabinets. Most lower quality cabinets are made with hardwood such as Oak or Ash. However, a higher quality material such as Clear Maple, Mahogany, or Cherry is considered a better selection. The material is somewhat up to the homeowner and their preference. However, a good remodeler should be able to guide you through the selection process so that you get a high-quality wood.
Another determining factor for the quality of the cabinet is how they are constructed. Most companies will simply nail them in place and then fill in the nail holes. A better solution is to find a company that uses a tongue and groove system to piece the cabinets together. The result is a much stronger, more durable cabinet, and a more aesthetically beautiful cabinet because you do not need to hide nail holes.
Finally, you will want to consider the overlay of the cabinets. Some cabinet makers will place an additional Style (vertical piece of the face frame) in between two cabinet doors in order to compensate for the poor structure of the cabinets. However, this often means an inch or more of unusable storage space in the cabinets.
Cabinet and Drawer Fronts
Once again, the wood species is the greatest determine factor for quality. This is up to you, the homeowner. It is recommended that you match the cabinet face frames.
A quick note on selecting your wood. Different woods will receive stains differently. The more porous the wood, the more the stain will seep in and the grain of the wood will become darker and stand out more. Harder woods, however, will not soak in the stain as much, and the natural flow of the wood will stand out instead of the detailed grain. As a result, harder woods are often a top selection for quality wood because it is both durable and unmatched in beauty.
For drawers, you will need to select which glides you will use. There are two types of glides: hard closing, standard glides or glides with a “soft close” feature. The soft close feature allows you to close the drawer with your hip when your hands are full, and the drawer will softly close on its own. The soft close option can also be applied to cabinet doors. This feature is often used to enhance the quality of the cabinets.
You will also want to consider where the glides are mounted. There are, again, two options; side mounted and bottom mounted. When using side mounted glides, the boxes have to be made smaller in order to account for the space taken up by the glides. Bottom mounted glides will give you more storage space.
Finally, you will want to ask for full extension glides. These glides will allow the drawer to fully come out and give you better access to the back of the drawer.
Cabinet Door Hinges
There are two primary considerations when choosing cabinet hinges. You can choose an exposed hinge, or you can opt for a European-style concealed hinge. The concealed hinges often give a cleaner, more elegant look. If, however, you find an exposed hinge that is decorative, then these hinges can often give your cabinets a little more personality.
Finishing Options for Custom Cabinets
Just as the construction of the cabinets contributes to the quality of the cabinets, the finishing process is a key element to what makes a quality cabinet. There are two primary ways of finishing cabinets; painting and staining.
If you choose to have your custom cabinets painted, then you will want to find out if the cabinets will be painted with an oil-based paint or a water based paint. Most standard cabinet builders will opt for oil based paint because it is easier to work with. However, a water-based paint often looks better when completed.
Staining and sealing is a favorite choice among homeowners because it shows off the natural beauty of the wood being used for the cabinets. Similar to painting, the two options for stains are water based stains versus oil based stains. Again, most all cabinet makers will use an oil based stain. This is because it is cheaper and easier to use for the remodeling company, however, this can often result in a poorer quality of cabinet finish.
Water based sealers is considered a higher quality finish option for you cabinets. In fact, there are very few companies that can even offer water based stains because it often requires extra training and certification before water based stain manufacturers will even allow contractors to use their product.
During the finishing process, there is also a sealing process when staining. Poor quality sealers are often made with polyurethane. Poor quality sealers often turn the wood yellow over time and can look less than desirable.
One final consideration when choosing stains and sealers is the toxicity of the chemicals. Most poor quality sealers and stains are highly toxic and smell terrible. They are harmful to both the contractors using the product and you and your family. High-quality stains and sealers are less toxic and are virtually odorless. This means that the finishing process can occur in your home without even being noticed. It is both safe for your family and the craftsmen. An added bonus is that it is much better for the environment!
Our cabinet shop uses a water-based stain that is a very high quality. We are able to create our own “recipes” which means each of our clients has a truly unique color and finish that can’t be found anywhere else. Additionally, we use on average a 14 step finishing process (using both stains and sealers) making our cabinets virtually indestructible.
There is a lot of information about the various materials used in custom cabinets. That’s why we created this a “Materials Checklist and Cheatsheet” to help guide you in your conversation with your remodeling contractor.
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What is the ROI on Installing Custom Built Cabinets in You Dallas Home?
In order to ensure your home retains a high value, we want to ensure that every remodeling project produces a good return on investment. So what is the ROI for installing custom built cabinets? According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value report, an upscale kitchen remodel in the Dallas area will realize an average ROI of 70.2% which is higher than the national average of 61.5%. This is a great return, lowering the risk of your investment. This doesn’t even account for the intangible returns that you will benefit from when you have a beautiful kitchen that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Where to Begin When Considering Custom Cabinets for your Dallas Home
The very first step (and the most crucial step) is to find a home remodeling company that you can trust.
When you are talking to different home remodelers, be sure to ask them good questions to better understand their remodeling experience and skill set.
Finding a remodeling company that you can trust can be nerve racking. Hopefully, we have given you some insight into custom cabinets that will better prepare you for finding a good remodeler that will build the kitchen of your dreams.
This comprehensive guide was brought to you by Euro Design Build. Euro Design Build is the premier home remodeling company in the Dallas area. If you desire to elevate your lifestyle, consider doing your kitchen, bath, or home remodel with Euro Design Build.