Category Archives: Cabinets

The A-Z Glossary of Home Remodeling Terms

Abatement
The encapsulation or removal of building materials containing pollutants (such as lead or asbestos) to prevent the release of or exposure to fibers.

Acclimation
The adjustment to changes in the climate or environment. Some materials may need time to acclimate before they are positioned in a kitchen or bath.

Accessories
Additional cabinetry items such as overlays, moldings, etc to enhance the appearance and quality of a project. Also includes towel bars, soap dishes, hardware, etc.

Apron
Trim attached below a tabletop or window sill

Backsplash
1)The portion of the exposed area between the bottom of the wall cabinets and the top of the countertop. 2) Also, an elevated section of counter material approximately 4″ high typically part of the countertop. Backsplashes are necessary to prevent water from seeping into the seam between the counter and drywall.

Banquette
A built-in table with chairs in an alcove.

Barn door
Hardware that allows the door to slide along a wall. Useful when a pocket door is too costly or not possible.

Base cabinets
Cabinetry used on the floor to provide countertop support and typically is 34 ½ inches tall and 24 inches deep.

Bearing wall
A wall designed and placed in a position to hold more of a load above it. Usually around the perimeter of a house and in strategic locations to support floor, ceiling, and roof beams.

Casing
An enclosed frame around a door or window opening. Also called trim.

CFM
Cubic feet per minute; used as a measure of the amount of air a fan can move

Chair rail
A trim piece that runs horizontally on a wall at the height of a chair back and is used to make the transition between a wainscot and upper wall. Originally used to prevent damage to a wall from the backs of chairs.

Crown Molding
Crown molding encapsulates a large family of moldings which are designed to gracefully flare out to a finished top edge. Crown molding is generally used for capping walls, pilasters, and cabinets, and is used extensively in the creation of interior and exterior cornice assemblies and door and window hoods.

In recent times, crown moldings have generally made their appearance as mostly decorated plaster or wooden trim where walls meet ceilings.

Clearance space
The space required for a safe and clear use of an appliance, cabinet doors and safe passage.

Color temperature
The color of the lamp itself as compared to the color of a black reference substance when heated to various temperatures Kelvin, and the effect the lamp color has on the color of an object being illuminated by it. Or an index of how the light source itself looks to us, measured in degrees Kelvin (K).

Compact fluorescent (CFL)
A type of fluorescent lamp with the fluorescent tube coiled into a compact shape in a size similar to an incandescent bulb.

Compartmentalized bathroom
A bathroom where individual activities, like toileting or showering, are separated by walls into individual compartments.

Concealed hinge
A hinge that is attached to the door and the inside end panel or stile of a cabinet, making it not visible from the exterior of the cabinet

Construction plan
A drawing that shows both the existing conditions of the structure and the changes to be made to achieve the design

Dormer
A structure built atop a roof to increase the usable space below or to contain windows. A window set vertically in a structure projecting through a sloping roof

Energy efficiency
Ratio of energy output of a conversion process or of a system to its energy input.

Farmhouse Sink
A deep sink that has a finished front. Set onto a countertop, the finished front of the sink remains exposed. This style of sink requires very little “reach-over” to access the sink.

Gable Vent
Vent openings mounted in the top of a gable of a house to allow the exchange of air in the attic.

Grab bars
Safety bars installed in bathtubs and showers to prevent falls. A device, usually installed on a wall, that provide support while rising from, sitting in, entering, or exiting a bathtub or shower.

HVAC
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.

I.L.T. (Integral Light Technology) Grilles
Grilles are permanently bonded to the inside and outside of your window glass. Nonglare foam spacer in between the grilles casts a realistic shadow like individual windowpanes would. Creates the most authentic look of true-divided-light windows.

Island
An area of cabinets and countertops which can be accessed and walked around from all sides. Considered free standing.

Laminate
Any thin material such as wood or plastic glued to the exterior of a cabinet, countertop or other surface.

Lazy Susan
A corner cabinet on which the shelves are mounted on a vertical axle such that items may be retrieved by pushing on the shelves to turn them may also be called a lazy Susan. This type is usually found in kitchens. Closed, this type of lazy Susan appears to be two normal cabinets at right angles to each other. When pushed on, the cabinet “doors” reveal the shelves, which are circular except for the ninety degree cutout where the doors are mounted.

Lead time
The time between when a product or item is purchased to the actual delivery date.

Linoleum
An all natural flooring material made of linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone, and pigments; regarded as environmentally friendly flooring.

Low-E (Low Emissive)
Glass that reflect heat, not light, and therefore keeps spaces warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Molding
An embellishment in strip form, made of wood or other structural material, that is used to decorate or finish a surface, such as the wall of a room or around a door or window

Muntin
A small vertical or horizontal strip that divides window panes from each other.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze
The Oil Rubbed Bronze finish is a chemically darkened surface designed to simulate aged bronze. This finish is very dark and varies from a deep chocolate brown to a dark gray and usually has copper undertones.

Particle Board
A panel product made from sawdust or wood particles, bonded with a resin under high heat and pressure.

Partition Wall
A wall that separates rooms, or divides a room. Partition walls are usually not load-bearing. Partition walls are constructed of many materials, including steel panels, bricks, blocks of clay, terra-cotta, concrete, or glass blocks.

Pedestal sink
A free-standing fixture with a wide top and narrow base that conceals the plumbing.

Pendant
A lighting fixture hung from the ceiling containing one or more lamps.

Peninsula
An area of cabinets or counter fastened on one side which can be accessed and walk up to on three sides.

Picture Rail
A horizontal trim piece installed high up on a wall as a means of hanging pictures without puncturing the wall with nails or brads.

Pocket door
A door that slides horizontally on a track and is typically moved inside a wall for storage.

Powder room
A small bathroom for guest near the public areas of the home. Consists of a sink and toilet.

R&R
Remove and Replace. A term describing simple remodeling project that involves removing and replacing cabinetry, fixtures and appliances without structural or mechanical changes.

Radiant Heating
An efficient heating system that warms cold objects, which then radiate heat into the surrounding space evenly.

R-Value
A measure of the thermal resistance of material, especially insulation.

Sconce
A light fixture that is fixed to a wall.

Scope
The sum of the products and services to be provided as a project.

Sheetrock™
A brand of drywall that is itself often used as a term for drywall.

Sight lines
The range or visual field in direct line with a person’s eyes, impacted by the position a person will be in when the space or product is being used. This is useful in planning heights of fixtures, fittings, lighting, windows, and more.

Sill
The portion of the door or window assembly at the bottom or floor, including the fixed and movable parts of the window or door and the fixed portion of the building into which the window or door mounts.

Site Plan (Mortgage Survey)
A drawing prepared to scale showing the placement of a proposed building(s), location of existing structures, and other lot development features — setback measurements, driveways, fencing, landscaping.

Soaking tub
Extra deep tub that allows the user to submerge to their neck.

Soffit
A lowered portion of a ceiling. The horizontal surface below the eave. A porch roof. The under surface of a lowered portion of the ceiling. A “bulkhead” in Canada. An enclosed area used to fill a space between the tops of the wall cabinets and the ceiling.

Solid Surfacing
A class of rigid surfacing materials made of acrylic and/or polyester resins mixed with alumina tryhydrate.

Studs
Framing members of the wall, usually 2x4s or 2x6s which the cabinets are fastened to.

Subcontractors
Contractors who will work specifically for another contractor or design firm

Sub-flooring
The flooring applied directly to the floor joist on top of which the finished floor rests.

Task lighting
Added lighting for specific tasks, like grooming, dressing, reading, etc. Lighting focused on an work area.

Toe kick
An indented space in cabinetry near the floor to accommodate the feet while standing next to a cabinetry.

Tongue and Groove
A method of fitting similar objects together, edge to edge, used mainly with wood, in flooring, parquetry, panelling, and similar constructions. Tongue and groove joints allow two flat pieces to be joined strongly together to make a single flat surface. Each piece has a slot (the groove) cut all along one edge, and a thin, deep ridge (the tongue) on the opposite edge. The tongue projects a little less than the depth of the groove. Two or more pieces thus fit together closely. The joint is not normally glued, as shrinkage would then pull the tongue off.

Traffic Patterns
The normal walkway or passage a person would go from one place to another.

Transom
A horizontal window set above a door or other windows.

Underlayment
A material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under the finish covering to provide a smooth, even surface. A non-structural sheet material installed on a subfloor to provide a stable, level and smooth base for the floorcovering.

Updraft ventilation systems
A kitchen ventilation system that includes a hood over a cooking surface to capture the air borne by-products of cooking and a fan to pull air up; captured air is either exhausted to the outside or filtered and re-circulated into the room, depending on the system

Vanity
Bathroom cabinet with the sink on top.

Vapor Barrier
Any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet, that resists diffusion of moisture through wall, ceiling and floor assemblies of buildings to prevent interstitial condensation.

Vessel sink
A sink bowl or basin that sits on top of the counter or ledge.

Wainscoting
An application of wood paneling up to the middle or lower half of a wall

Work Triangle
The distance between the three primary work centers (cooking surface, clean-up/prep primary sink, and refrigeration). Ideally between 12 and 26 feet in total length.

Source: Many of these definitions were obtained from the NKBA.

The Benefits of Visiting Our Showroom

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, which should accommodate almost any schedule.

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 596-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

A Beautiful Kitchen Before & After in Milford

Last week, I was invited to this beautiful home in Milford, Michigan that Mr. & Mrs. Varilone had completely custom built for themselves. It was just gorgeous, every detail! We were lucky enough to get to work with them on designing their kitchen.

Mr. Varilone had contacted us through the Custom Cupboards website. He had done some research, and knew these were the right cabinets for him. We designed the kitchen with him, using these beautiful grey cabinets as the starting point.

Below you will see the Before & After photos of this kitchen transformation:

Here is a close-up of the backsplash, granite counters & cabinets:

I love the design elements that the Varilone’s brought to this space- most especially the wooden beams on the ceiling and this light fixture:

Custom Cupboards is the brand we sell most often – they are of the utmost quality and style, and can be completely customized to fit your design and functionality needs. You may not have known, but most cabinets only come in standard sizes and depths, which can be very limiting to the design possibilities.

Want to see what your house could look like with a custom kitchen? Have our designers sketch up a 3D rendering! Want to see more photos of this beautiful kitchen? Hop on over to Houzz.com. See you next time!

How Can I Tell if a Cabinet is Good Quality?

“How to Buy Remodeling” Blog Series – Part Four

Cabinets are basically designed in two categories: Budget-priced and Custom.  There is a middle category called semi-custom but it doesn’t have anything to do with the construction of the cabinet, it has to do with the available sizes and stain colors.

Your budget cabinetry is made out of as much particle board as possible to keep the price down.  Particle board is not a good product for the box, or the shelves, or the tops, or the bottoms of a cabinet.  The goal would be to have the least amount of particle board as possible.  A good quality cabinet has no particle board in it at all.  It has plywood veneers, MDF veneers, or other types of veneers or solid woods.  That is how you tell the difference: look and see, with the top removed, how much of it is particle board. Every cabinet manufacturer has a specification sheet with an exploded view of the cabinet and how it’s made, every part is identified.  I’m pretty sure it’s like a Cabinet Manufacturer Associations Pledge to Honesty.  No one would lie about the way their cabinet is made.  It’s just a matter of what you are looking for: Quality or Price?

Next are the Doors themselves.  Everybody makes a face frame that is of solid wood, and most offer a door that is solid wood, but with some companies, the door itself is MDF (which is not bad) or a combination of real wood and veneers, where the center portion is veneer and the outer portion is real wood.  Those are going to be lower quality and less durable.  A lot of companies that are making furniture that you see in furniture stores are made that way.  Where the appearance is very nice (the shine and the color), but the quality is very low and they don’t last.

The real question is: how long are the cabinets going to last?  Again, like countertops, moisture is the enemy of a cabinet.  And the more particle board you have in the manufacturing of the product, the more it is going to fall apart when it’s exposed to moisture.  A quick example would be the sink cabinet.  As you know, everybody’s sink once in a while drips water underneath, you don’t notice it, and it eventually rots out the bottom of the cabinet.  If that cabinet was made out of plywood, it would last a lot longer than if it were made out of particle board.  As a matter of fact, a lot of companies are now selling a vinyl covering for their particle board sink cabinets to try and stop the water from penetrating when it drips.  So that is something you could look for.

The next thing about cabinetry quality would be the drawers.  Drawers can be made out of particle board, MDF, plywood, or solid wood.  It doesn’t matter to me what it’s made out of, because they all are rated to hold approximately 75 or more pounds.  The rating of the drawer is based on the drawer guide, not the drawer itself.  A lot of companies are showing and pushing 5/8” thick, full dovetail, solid birch, pine or maple drawer boxes.

They are pretty to look at, but they’re just holding your silverware.  If you had a particle board drawer, it still holds silverware.  What makes the difference is the drawer glide system.  If you have a weak glide system, eventually the drawer is going to fall off.  If you drop a drawer and it’s made out of particle board, it will break.  If it’s made out of dovetail solid wood, it will bounce.  You can put it right back in and it won’t be a problem.  But most people don’t drop the drawers so it’s really not an issue.  If you have broken your drawer, then the manufacturer is going to get you a new one.  Or any reface company can make you a new one relatively inexpensively and put it in.  I’m not necessarily condoning particle board as a drawer box, I’m just saying it doesn’t matter that much.

How do you know if you have a good drawer glide system?

Well, you can look at them.  The ones that are bigger are better.  The ones that are real thin are not going to work for the long run.  Visually inspect it: you can tell a good one, a more expensive one, from a cheaper one. As a general rule, the ones that are mounted on the sides are cheaper, and the ones mounted underneath are better.  Some of them are very sophisticated where they close by themselves, soft-close they’re called – when you give them a little nudge, they finish closing on their own.  Those are the high-tech ones.  If the drawer opens all the way out, full-extension, they are more expensive than if the drawer opens ¾ of the way out.

Your standard, side-mount drawer guide is real flimsy, the drawer shakes if you wiggle it, and it only extends ¾ of the way. Your stronger ones are full-extension, they don’t wobble as much, and then your soft-close are the best.

I recommend a nice looking drawer that is durable.  And usually if you are buying an all-plywood cabinet it’s going to come with a plywood or solid wood drawer box.  If you’re buying an all particle board cabinet, it’s going to have a particle board drawer box.  And they will have upgrades available just to upgrade the drawer box.

A lot of cabinet companies, Kraftmaid for example, will give you a particle board box, but then they offer you a plywood side on all exposed sides.  Between the cabinets where it doesn’t matter it is particle board, but everywhere you can see is plywood with a veneer.  So that is an interesting option that they offer.  The problem is that by the time you take a particle board box, and add your plywood sides as an upgrade (they make a lot of money on their option upgrades), you could have just as easily bought a plywood cabinet to begin with.  So there is really no reason to take a particle board cabinet and try to upgrade it.  Just buy a better cabinet to begin with.  Obviously different cabinet shops are going to give you different advice, there are 1,000 different brands of cabinets out there.

What I advise is to look at the box of the cabinet without a countertop on it (so you can see how it’s made), or an exploded view from their pamphlet, ask about plywood vs. particle board, and look at the shelves and see how thick they are (they should be a minimum of 5/8”, I wouldn’t recommend any ½” shelves because they warp).

Feel free to stop by our showroom for a hands-on look at all the different cabinet styles that Dave has discussed, from particle board to soft-close systems, we have the right cabinet for every style and budget.  Located at 38200 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights, MI Kopke Remodeling & Design is known for happy customers, good quality products, and fair prices.  586-777-6633