Category Archives: Material Selection Advice

Concerns about countertops, floor finishes, siding, and more? Here we offer some suggestions on where to use what in your new home!

Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Material – Quality or Price?

A personal situation prompted me to write about cabinetry and why I wish I would have had the option to upgrade to a more expensive, durable and quality cabinetry in my current home (not built by Crown).

A few months ago, I noticed the side of our cabinetry (veneered box) as well as the base attached to it was bubbling a bit. ¬†I commented to my husband that I thought the dishwasher (which is situated next to this particular cabinet) was leaking…we’ll get to the part where I was right a little later. ūüôā ¬†He thought it was leaking down the side where the door sealed, but I was confident it was leaking beneath, causing the underside of the cabinet frame to be exposed to water. ¬†After a few more weeks when¬†the “honey do” list was still not completed or investigated properly and we were now seeing puddles on the floor, I removed the bottom of the dishwasher during its drain and found the culprit (well I saw it – after my husband removed it, he discovered the drain gasket was bad – on a year old dishwasher). ¬†Needless to say, our cabinet on the right side of the dishwasher looks terrible, and had better quality been installed, we may have been saved from having to replace or repair this area.

What are your options for cabinet boxes that might save you one day from the perils of a bad dishwasher…

  • Particleboard¬†is made from wood particles mixed with resin and bonded by pressure. This is typically used in most on cabinet bases that are covered in veneer, in homes that are not custom. ¬†Particle Board can buckle in certain situations, as it is more susceptible to moisture than plywood. ¬†Particle board is also more likely to have failed hinges and shelf pins, especially when the grade is poor.
  • Medium-density fiberboard¬†is a high-quality substrate material made from smaller fibers than particleboard. It offers superior screw-holding power, clean edges, and a¬†very smooth surface. ¬†MDF is extremely heavy! ¬†Note: Formaldehyde is still used in the process of bonding MDF boards.¬†¬† In some cases, it will out perform wood, due to the tendency for wood to expand and contract during weather changes, such as heat and humidity.
  • Plywood¬†is made by laminating thin layers of wood to each other. Varying the direction of the grain gives plywood equal strength in every direction. The layers are bonded with glue under heat and pressure. When exposed to moisture, plywood can de-laminate. ¬†Plywood is a more expensive option than MDF.
  • Solid Wood¬†is exactly what is means: solid wood box and cabinet construction. ¬†This may not be your best bet (although most expensive and highest quality) if ¬†you live in an area of high humidity, as it is likely to warp and expand/contract over time. However, no other product mentioned above will achieve the elegant look and feel of solid wood doors and cabinet boxes.

Make sure you do your due diligence when the time comes to choose your cabinetry and take these pointers into consideration.

Has anyone else had a similar story to share, or experience with any of these types of cabinets?  Please feel free to comment!

Is Marble Right for you…or your kitchen and bath?

Many of us love the look of marble for our kitchen and bathroom counter tops, but is it right for you in the long run?

Marble, although a beautiful and clean surface that can enhance just about any kitchen or bathroom (and sometimes can be a less expensive alternative), is very porous and is subject to staining as well as scratching, unlike its rival, granite.  A honed finish is found to be more durable than glossy, however maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis is a must if you want marble to work for you.

What’s good about marble, you ask? ¬†The beautiful bright color and surface and elegance in the veining that cannot be achieved with most granite or other counter top selections. ¬†Marble is naturally cool to the touch. ¬†It is easily available at most local stone yards, and the more typical choices (Carrera) are typically less expensive than other natural stone counter tops (although choosing a more exotic color may cost you dearly).

Counter tops can be an expensive portion of the cost for your new home or renovation.  Make sure you do your research and choose what is best for you and your family, because you will be the one living with this decision, perhaps for quite a few years!

Let us know if you have any materials in question we can help with!