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6 Indications of Quality Cabinet Construction

August 1, 2022

6 Indications of Quality Cabinet Construction

How can you tell if cabinetry has been constructed with quality and care? Sometimes it’s not always easy to see right away. Shop smarter and avoid potential problems by knowing these six characteristics of high-end cabinetry.

Plywood vs Particleboard

Plywood boxes hold up much better than particleboard. Plywood is made from layers of wood, running both crossways and lengthwise, to create strong holding power and high tolerance for moisture. Over time, plywood boxes can withstand the heavy weight and extensive usage that is typical in a busy, well-loved kitchen. With particleboard cabinets, you’ll notice sagging shelves over time and they’re more susceptible to damages from dings and moisture contact.

Durable Hinges

Hinges made with steel, are adjustable in six ways, and have a soft-close mechanism are a sign of higher quality cabinetry. Manufacturers that use lower end hinges won’t back the hinges with a lifetime warranty and typically are adjustable only four ways. Hinges must be able to withstand almost constant use and should meet or exceed the requirements of the American National Standard Institute.

Framed vs Frameless

Face framed cabinets provide a solid base for drawer glides or hinges. They also create stability to ensure the box stays symmetrical and even during installation and beyond. This is also where you decide on the initial style such as partial overlay, full overlay, or inset cabinets. Frameless cabinets arrive just as it says—without a frame on the cabinet box front. Most the time these are constructed with particleboard with drawers and hinges directly attaching to the side walls of the cabinet. Installation of frameless cabinets can be much tricker and over time, the hinges will likely become loose.

Drawer Materials

A high-end drawer box is made with solid hardwood and plywood bottoms and has dovetail joints to maximize durability. The drawer bottom should be assembled with blind dado joints which create the strongest and tightest box. Generally, you can tell if cabinetry is high quality if the sides of the drawers are a width of 5/8-inch or thicker. There are a wide range of materials used for cabinet drawers, from plastic to metal or particleboard, but solid wood is going to provide the best longevity.

Drawer Slides

Drawers need to glide smoothy, and the best way to achieve this is with steel, undermount, soft-close glides that open the entire way, allowing access to the full drawer. High quality glides should be able to support over 90 pounds and should be whisper quiet. Common cheaper slides are generally plastic, mounted in the center, and don’t allow the drawer to be pulled out completely. These glides don’t stand the test of time.


Cabinetry that comes with a short-term warranty or worse, no warranty at all, should be avoided. High quality cabinets come with a long warranty, typically a lifetime one. Poor quality cabinets will start to show their problems within about five to ten years, so their warranties will typically not extend more than a few years. Although warranties are not the only indication of a quality cabinet, it does provide a clue about the product.

For the highest quality in cabinetry design and customization, visit Swirl Woodcraft today.