Bathroom Cabinet Buying Tips(page 1 of 2)

Consider room size, layout and style when picking cabinetry for your remodel

DP_drury-blue-bath-cabinets_s4x3 Photo courtesy of Drury Design

Buying cabinetry or a vanity for your bathroom is a similar process to buying kitchen cabinets. Before you start shopping, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your bathroom renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new bathroom will look like, after exploring various bathroom designs and layouts and planning out space and storage. Finally, you should have a budget to work with.

Cabinet Quality Grades

Similar to kitchen cabinetry, bath cabinetry is available in four basic grades (RTA, stock, semi-custom and custom) and two general construction approaches (face framed and frameless). Bath cabinetry may also be purchased in the form of a freestanding vanity. Cabinetry is sold through a network of retailers including, building supply stores, kitchen and bath retailers and home improvement centers, such as Lowes and Home Depot. A number of mass home catalogue companies sell freestanding vanities.

Ready-to-assemble (RTA) is the cheapest cabinetry grade but you'll sacrifice on quality of materials and construction. RTA comes boxed, requiring assembly. Stock cabinetry is generally affordable but offers little variety in door style, size and materials. Semi-custom cabinets offer a wide range of door and drawer styles, materials and finishes but like stock cabinetry, semi-custom is measured in 3-inch increments and doesn't provide a fully tailored fit. Custom cabinetry is completely adapted to suit any given space. With custom-built cabinetry, there's no limit in terms of style, material, finishes or decorative elements but the trade-off can be extremely pricey. Lead-time on cabinetry can be anywhere from same day delivery with stock cabinetry to eight weeks or more on custom orders.

Cabinet Drawers

Regardless which grade you opt for, make sure to choose a well-constructed cabinet with drawers at least 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch thick, especially on the bottom. Avoid stapled construction. Check to ensure drawers are snug in their box, open quietly and glide smoothly. They should not sag when extended fully. Wood sides and dovetail joinery marks quality construction practices but substrates, such as plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF) with doweled joinery is a suitable and affordable alternative.

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