When you meet with a remodeling contractor to discuss your upcoming kitchen or bath remodel project, your first thought might be that they’re speaking a foreign language with a few normal words thrown in. While that may be a possibility, in all likelihood they’re just using cabinet terminology that’s common to the remodeling industry. Kitchen and bath remodeling is similar to fields such as healthcare, auto repair, and information technology in that each has its own unique language that professionals use on a daily basis. Most remodeling contractors are more than happy to explain any cabinet terminology that you might not understand, but this list of 11 common industry terms will provide a head start in preparing for your first meeting.
These are the cabinets that sit on the floor in your kitchen. They can either be placed against the wall or if a finished rear panel is added, can be used to form an island or stand alone assembly. Base cabinets are available in many different widths and configurations.
Just as the terminology implies, these cabinets are mounted on the wall and are normally directly above base cabinets. In most but not all cases, the wall cabinets are the same width as the base cabinets below.
While all cabinets might appear to be the same other than their finish, there are actually two primary types of kitchen and bath cabinets and which you choose can affect your remodeling costs. A solid wood cabinet has a solid wood face and the sides and rear panels are normally plywood with a wood veneer applied. A composite cabinet also has a solid wood face, but the rest of the cabinet box is usually constructed of composite or particle board. Both types of cabinets will often have solid wood doors and drawer fronts. A solid wood cabinet costs more than a composite cabinet, but can last longer and isn’t as susceptible to damage from moisture.
This is the outline your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanities make on the floor. A remodeling contractor can typically keep your costs down if you maintain the same footprint with your new cabinets as plumbing, electrical, and mechanical lines may not have to be moved.
This is a process where your existing cabinet boxes are reused for your remodeling project and new wood veneer is placed on the faces and any exposed side and rear panels. New doors and drawer fronts are also installed. It is possible to completely change the appearance of your existing cabinets when they’re refaced. Cabinet refacing is often much less expensive than purchasing new units. If you are completely changing your cabinet footprint with your remodeling contractor, then cabinet refacing may not be the most economical choice.
While this is another procedure that allows you to reuse your existing cabinets, it is often too costly due to the amount of labor involved for most kitchens. The sealant and stain is removed from the cabinet faces and doors by sanding or stripping with chemicals. Your remodeling contractor would then apply a new stain or paint to the natural wood. Cabinet refacing is normally a better option if you plan to reuse your existing kitchen or bath cabinets.
A sink base is a base cabinet that has drawer fronts attached, but no actual drawers. This allows room for a sink to be installed in the cabinet. Sink bases are also used when a separate cook-top is installed in the kitchen design.
This is a tall cabinet that allows the installation of a separate wall oven. Oven cabinets can often be configured to accept a double-oven as well.
This is a basic terminology of kitchen design for creating an efficient work environment. The 3 points of the kitchen work triangle are the refrigerator, oven, and sink. Each triangle leg should be at least 4 feet, but no longer than 9 feet and the total of all 3 legs should be less than 26 feet. The kitchen work triangle allows you to work in the kitchen without excessive walking, but keeps the appliances far enough apart that an open door shouldn’t be an obstacle.
These are cabinets that differ from standard wall and base cabinets in that they are designed with a specific purpose in mind. There are numerous types of specialty cabinets for both kitchens and bathrooms, but a few of the most popular are pantry, linen, trash, and microwave cabinets.
Wall and base cabinets are usually sold in industry standard widths, but unfortunately the locations where they are installed don’t always work out for an exact fit. A “filler” is a term for a board that matches the cabinet finish that can be used during the installation to fill spaces between cabinets and walls or other cabinets. They are available in various widths and can also be cut to fit.
And there you have it – 11 cabinet terminology definitions. These are just a few of the most common cabinet terms that you will likely hear used by your remodeling contractor during a kitchen or bath remodel project. And be sure to ask your contractor to explain any other cabinet terminology that might happen to slip into the conversation.
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