Yearly Archives: 2020

Framed Vs. Frameless Cabinets: Overview and Construction

There are a few broad style decisions that you’ll be making when choosing new cabinets for any room in the home, whether kitchen cabinets or any other location. One primary example here: Whether you’ll be choosing framed or frameless cabinets.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re proud to offer a wide range of kitchen cabinet options, including European style frameless cabinets that have become extremely popular in many homes in recent years. How do traditional framed cabinets compare with these frameless cabinet options, both in terms of general characteristics and more specific construction and other variables? This two-part blog series will look at all the important qualities of each.

framed frameless cabinets overview

Framed Cabinet Overview

Framed cabinets remain the most common style in the US, still extremely popular for their distinctive look. Their frames feature faces that allow for very simple installation and drawer or door adjustment, which is a major factor for many buyers.

Now, framed cabinets do require separate skin panels to be installed on-site, on the exposed sides. However, this is worth it for many clients, who enjoy the larger range of sizes and modifications available for framed cabinets than for other types.

Frameless Cabinet Overview

Frameless cabinets, also known as European style frameless cabinets, are a sleeker and more modern look that, as the name suggests, originated in Europe – and remains popular there as well. This style allows for full access into the cabinet interior, with a larger drawer box capacity than framed cabinets.

Cabinet sides are ordered finished from the factory, rather than installed on-site. More fillers are needed in frameless designs, just to ensure that minimum clearance is attained for door and drawer openings. This means there are fewer size and modification options for frameless cabinets, their one major downside compared to framed options.

Now let’s get a bit more specific in several of these areas.

Construction Differences

As their names indicate, the key construction alteration for framed cabinets compared to frameless is the solid wood face frame that comes between the door and cabinet box. This frame is made of horizontal rails, plus vertical supports known as stiles. In addition, wood grain directions in the face frame help reinforce the horizontal strength of the cabinet.

In addition, the face frame also limits a negative effect known as racking. This refers to a situation where the cabinet box tilts out-of-square, meaning the horizontal and vertical sections of the cabinet will not be level and the doors or drawers will not align properly. This is one issue that framed cabinets avoid entirely, but frameless cabinets may deal with if they aren’t constructed properly.

For more on the differences between framed and frameless cabinets, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or other product, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Daily and Long-Term Granite Countertop Care

Many common elements of a given room naturally complement one another in several ways, and a great example within the kitchen is the relationship between kitchen cabinets and kitchen countertops. Often selected at similar times or even together by those remodeling a kitchen space, these two areas are generally close together and can be chosen in ways that either match or contrast each other depending on your aesthetic desires.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re proud to offer not only a huge range of base cabinets, utility cabinets and other options among our diverse product selection, but also high-quality granite and quartz countertops for kitchen remodelers. We also provide expertise on the care and upkeep of any of the products we offer – here’s a quick primer on general care for those who choose granite countertops, including some important information on sealing.

daily granite countertop care

General Daily Cleaning

Granite has many benefits, and one of the top ones for many owners is the limited regular maintenance or cleaning it requires. You won’t have to buy any expensive wipes, sprays or other materials once you get granite countertops – rather, the products you already had at home will almost certainly do fine.

For starters, simply move any items off the counter so it can be fully cleaned. Then use a soft, dry towel or cloth to rub away any spills, crumbs or other debris. Finally, mix some gentle soap and water, then use a microfiber cloth to wipe down and sanitize the surface before drying the entire area off with another soft cloth. This whole process should take no longer than a couple minutes.

Steam Cleaning

For those who want a more in-depth granite cleaning method, a steam cleaner is usually the ideal option. This can be rented if you don’t own one, and will allow for a much more significant clean.

The first steps here are the same as manual cleaning – remove any objects and wipe off basic spills or crumbs with a cloth. From here, fill the steam cleaner with water and set it to either “low” or “medium” (high might damage the surface), then ensure it’s shooting out hot steam before you get started. Work in sections of your countertops, then use a clean microfiber cloth to dry each once it’s finished.

Sealing Frequency and Themes

Because granite is a natural stone, it can absorb liquids if they’re spilled on it and not cleaned right away. This is also why sealing your granite countertop is very important, as this will help it resist liquid, oil or other stain absorption. To get an idea of whether your seal is in good shape, simply trickle a few droplets of water on it each time you do a general cleaning – if it’s well-sealed, this water will bead up. If it’s not, the droplets will begin to seep into the surface, signaling it’s time to re-seal.

For more on caring for granite countertops, or to learn about any of our kitchen countertop options, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Shaker Cabinet Hardware Selection and Placement, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on hardware options and pull formats for shaker style cabinets. Shaker cabinets are available in a huge range of design options and are very versatile, including in the kinds of hardware you can choose for them – and the different placement styles you might consider.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, our wide selection of kitchen cabinets includes numerous shaker style options for you to consider if this is the style you prefer. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll dig a little further into the placement realm when it comes to the hardware you’re thinking about for your shaker cabinets – what are your options for shaker doors, drawers and unique insert handles?

shaker cabinet hardware placement

Placement on Shaker Cabinet Doors

When it comes to shaker cabinet doors and the location of your knob and pull handles, there aren’t many practical differences between your common options. Put another way: This decision comes down almost exclusively to your own aesthetic desires, and if you like how it looks you’re in good shape pretty much no matter what.

That said, there are a few common options chosen by those who purchase shaker cabinets:

  • Lower corner: Likely the most common location for shaker cabinet knobs and pulls is the lower corner on the side of the cabinet that opens. These will usually be around an inch from the edge of the door, with both horizontal and vertical pull options depending on your style.
  • Above or below corners: Others choose a bit more of an indentation here, placing knobs or pulls two or three inches from either a lower or upper corner.
  • Center stile: For shaker cabinets with stiles, another common choice is to place the knob or pull halfway up the door in the center of such a stile on the side where the door opens.

Placement on Shaker Cabinet Drawers

You also have a few options when it comes to shaker cabinet drawer hardware placement:

  • Center insert panel: For recessed drawer panels, the knob or pull will go in the center of this section.
  • Center top rail: In other cases, you may choose to use the center of the top rail part of the drawer for your knob or pull.
  • Larger base drawers: For larger and heavier shaker base drawers that will hold heavy items, you can either use double knobs or pulls or use a single oversized pull handle – in the latter case, the handle should make up at least 33% of the cabinet width, if not more.
  • Slab option: For slab style base cabinets, knobs or pulls can go in a variety of areas based on personal desire. There are also mixes of slab and shaker styles, in which case we recommend placing knobs or pulls on the top part of the slab or top rail.

For more on hardware placement for shaker cabinets, or to learn about any of our base cabinets, utility cabinets or other kitchen cabinet materials, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Shaker Cabinet Hardware Selection and Placement, Part 1

One of the most popular types of cabinet out there today is the shaker cabinet, which has a signature look with a five-piece design and a recessed center panel. Shaker cabinets come with numerous design options and are extremely versatile, working in both modern and traditional settings and with a variety of surrounding aesthetics.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, shaker style cabinets are just some of the fantastic kitchen cabinet products we carry, which include a wide array of base cabinets, utility cabinets, wall cabinets, and many others. One of the most common questions we get from clients considering shaker style cabinets: What are the best hardware materials to go along with the cabinet, and how should these be placed? This two-part blog will begin with some of the ideal materials and formats we recommend here, while part two will look into placement formats for several pieces of cabinet hardware.

Shaker hardware

Nickel or Steel

For those who want a traditional look to their cabinets, a clean and smooth aesthetic that lends itself to numerous contrasts, some of the best hardware material options will be nickel or steel. Used for knobs and pulls, these options are perfect for cabinetry topped with a wide variety of countertop options, plus are very low-maintenance and complement both modern and vintage looks. For those going for a vintage look, you can combine steel or nickel knobs with bin or cup pulls on your drawers, bringing a combination of warmth and flair.

Ceramic or Glass Knobs

For those looking for a classic finish on their shaker cabinets, a strong consideration may be ceramic or glass knobs. These originated in the early 19th century, and are especially ideal for shaker cabinets with a stained finish that showcases their wood features.

These materials complement classic wood finishes, plus are available in several color hues. They can be clear, opaque, or fully transparent, and can be used for both doors and drawers.

Pull Formats

Finally, there are several bar pull formats to think about:

  • Classic: Hardware options featuring exposed screws and available in options like antique brass, oil rubbed bronze, or nickel. These are best for farmhouse, utilitarian or industrial styles.
  • Tubular: Stainless steel or nickel formats for a modern look, also called the barrel pull.
  • Wire: Often accompanied by various decorative features or accented wire pulls, these are more traditional options and often feature ornaments.
  • Flat bar: Similar to tubular pulls, but available in longer lengths.

For more on the various materials and styles available for shaker cabinet hardware, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or other kitchen materials, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Correcting Myths Surrounding Quartz Countertops, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the common myths out there regarding quartz countertop surfaces. When items or services become highly popular, they sadly tend to develop some areas of misinformation within popular culture – and quartz is a good example, with rising popularity in recent years that’s unfortunately led to some misconceptions out there.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we ensure all our clients have the proper product information for any of our materials, from base cabinets and our wide selection of additional kitchen cabinets to our granite and quartz countertops also offered. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few other quartz countertop myths out there, plus the correct information in each of these areas.

correcting myths quartz countertops

There’s No Variety

In some ways, we can understand how this particular myth got started. While other stone materials like granite and marble are unique with every single slab, meaning you’ll never see the same one twice, quartz is a manufactured stone – so some naturally assume it’s uniform and cannot be purchased with any variety.

This isn’t the case, however. Quartz manufacturing allows for a huge range of colors and shapes, with various designs popular today: Speckled quartz, solids or even those that mimic granite, marble or other stone types. In fact, quartz is one of the single most versatile stones out there due to how easily it can mimic others.

It’s All Synthetic

While synthetic materials are used to help fabricate quartz slabs, anything you hear about synthetic materials making up most of the slab is incorrect. For most slabs, the breakdown will be about 90% natural materials and 10% synthetic, though this can vary somewhat based on your desires. It is not possible to create quartz with only synthetic materials, and too low a level of natural quartz will not allow for slabs that mimic other natural stones.

Quartz and Corian Are Interchangeable

We talked about quartz and quartzite mixups in part one of the series here, and another potential point of confusion is for terminology between quartz and Corian. The latter, which is a construction metal created in the late 1960s, came onto the market around the same time as quartz – the two were competitors in some ways during their early years, and some of the companies involved in this competition have even merged since.

It’s even possible to combine original Corian surfaces with Corian quartz countertops for fancier aesthetics. But these are not the same thing, nor are they interchangeable.

It Requires Sealing

Finally, unlike other natural stones like granite, you do not need to seal quartz surfaces. You will still need to perform regular maintenance, however.

For more on moving past the myths associated with quartz countertops, or for information on any of our kitchen cabinets or other products, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Correcting Myths Surrounding Quartz Countertops, Part 1

We offer a variety of fantastic kitchen products at AWA Kitchen Cabinets, from our wide range of base cabinets, vanity cabinets and various other cabinet accessories to several additional products, including both granite and quartz countertops. Countertops and cabinets tend to go hand-in-hand when it comes to many kitchen remodels, and we’re here to help with some of the best stone countertop materials available today.

When it comes to quartz countertops, in particular, there are a number of unfortunate myths that have arisen over the years. Some of these exaggerate quartz’s qualities while others diminish the reality of all quartz’s benefits. In this two-part blog series, we’ll look into some of the top misconceptions out there on both sides of the quartz countertop ledger, plus how to get the proper information on any of these areas when considering quartz countertops.

correcting myths quartz countertops

Cost Misconceptions

There are myths on both sides of the quartz countertop pricing realm, depending on which circles you’re in and who you’re talking to. Some are under the impression that quartz is a cheap, low-cost surface like a laminate – this is simply not true, as quartz is actually much closer to granite and marble when it comes to both quality and pricing. It will generally run between $40 and $100 per square foot depending on several factors, plus is far more durable than something like laminate.

On the flip side, however, there are those who lump quartz in with high-cost materials like marble, and this isn’t accurate either. Marble can get as pricey as $150 per square foot or even higher, a range quartz never reaches – but many quartz countertops can mimic marble in ways the naked eye can’t even separate.

Quartz is Indestructible

Quartz is known for being highly durable, but it’s worth noting it is not indestructible. It may still break, crack or scratch based on heavy impact or pressure, though it will stand up to such risks better than marble or granite counterparts.

Burns Easily

On the flip side, one major benefit of quartz is how well it resists high temperatures. You have to honestly try to burn a quartz countertop, though extremely high temperatures may lead to discoloration or cracks if you place sizzling pans directly on the surface. While we don’t recommend this action, you won’t have to be overly careful with quartz and temperature.

Same as Quartzite

Finally, despite having similar names, quartz and quartzite are not the same thing. The former is an engineered material that combines natural quartz with polymers and resins, while the latter refers to a mined, metamorphic rock that’s extremely hard – plus contains recrystallized quartz for some extra sparkle.

For more on common myths surrounding quartz countertops, or to learn about any of our countertops or kitchen cabinets, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Balancing Neutral and Brighter Colors in Kitchen Remodels

When it comes to a kitchen remodeling project and numerous elements within it, color themes are a vital factor to consider. The right aesthetics at every level of the remodel can make or break its success, helping keep the room visually appealing without boring the eyes.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re proud to offer a wide range of colors for all our kitchen cabinets, from vanity and wall cabinets to utility cabinets and many others. One major theme that’s present with the cabinets and other parts of any kitchen remodel: “Neutral” hues compared to more colorful, creative areas and how you balance the two within the same kitchen. Here’s a primer on many of the themes to hit on within both areas, including various spots in the kitchen where brighter accents tend to do well.

neutral brighter colors kitchen remodels

Neutral Themes

Both for practical and aesthetic reasons, some of the higher-value kitchen remodeling items are often those that do best with neutral color schemes. These tend to double as the largest and most visible parts of the kitchen, and making them too bright or eye-catching will distract guests and sometimes even make them feel uncomfortable. Some of these items include:

  • Cabinets: You may have noticed that many of the colors available for our cabinets fall into the family of neutral hues, or at least very close by. This is because cabinets generally do very well in these neutral colors, helping set the tone in modern ways while allowing accents in other locations.
  • Countertops: Stones like granite, marble or quartz all tend to come with neutral color hues, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t stylish – they’re both sleek and highly practical.
  • Flooring: Flooring should almost always be a neutral backdrop for the rest of the kitchen,
  • Appliances: Certain colored appliances are popular today, but the highest-quality appliances tend to come in stainless steel, black or gray – all neutral hues.

Accents and Creativity

On the flip side, there are several areas of the kitchen where infusing in some brighter contrasts is a great move. Some options here

  • Cabinet hardware: Doors, handles, interiors and other segments of your cabinets can receive splashes of color to mix things up and accent the cabinets themselves.
  • Wall and ceiling color: The best part of wall paint is that even if you go a bit too bright and want to tone it down, you can always just paint over it later.
  • Rugs, curtains and other accessories: Another area where it’s very easy to experiment and change out designs if they don’t work as well as you had hoped.
  • Lighting: Lights offer a whole other dynamic to a room, plus can be easily changed for better options.

For more on balancing a kitchen remodel between neutral and bright colors, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or countertop materials, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Choosing Between Raised and Recessed Cabinet Panels

The modern world of kitchen cabinets offers a huge amount of customization available for clients, with numerous design and practical areas you have at least two choices in. One great example here is choosing between what are known as raised and recessed center cabinet panels.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of kitchen cabinet options, from utility and vanity cabinets to base and wall cabinets. Within each area, we offer both raised and recessed cabinet panels with several distinct style varieties – here are some basics on what each of these formats refers to, plus how to choose between them for your new kitchen cabinets.

choosing raised recessed cabinet panels

Raised Cabinet Panels

As the name suggests, raised cabinet panels refer to those that have a center panel raised slightly above the rest of the door, drawer or other cabinet definition. The idea here is to add an additional dimension to the cabinet, bringing depth and a three-dimensional theme to the kitchen’s appearance that helps it look both larger and more modern.

In most cases, those looking for detailed, intricate designs will generally choose raised cabinet panels. Raise panels can be found on a variety of cabinet styles, from traditional options to rustic and several others.

Recessed Cabinet Panels

Recessed cabinet panels, on the other hand, are those where the center panels are flat, but the borders around it are actually raised instead. This look brings a bit less depth than the raised panel theme, but it’s ideal for those looking for a sleek, modern feel to the entire kitchen and pairs extremely well with modern countertop materials.

We offer numerous cabinets that fit the recessed label, including our Shaker style cabinets. These and other recessed cabinet types are known to blend well with a variety of kitchen types, and they’re often chosen by those who regularly re-design or re-organize the kitchen.

Making Your Choice

How do you decide which of these two options is best for your kitchen? Some of this conversation revolves around the overall kitchen style – we mentioned that raised panels tend to do well with traditional and rustic kitchens or bathrooms, and they also work with transitional designs, but they’re sometimes not as ideal for modern or contemporary formats. In these situations, recessed cabinets are often the way to go due to their simplicity, blending and sleek appearance that fits into most modern designs.

There will be other factors at play here as well, though. These include other elements in the kitchen like floor tiles, appliance aesthetics and even the size of the space, all of which our areas our team will be happy to provide expertise in.

For more on choosing between raised and recessed kitchen cabinet panels, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or quartz and granite countertops, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

Countertop and Floor Complements for White Kitchen Cabinets

For anyone involved in a significant kitchen remodel or upgrade to major aesthetic areas, the theme of contrasting is a vital one. Even if you plan to utilize a single color or shade as your primary foundation, it’s important to include the right contrasting and complementary accents and differing shades to ensure the space doesn’t become too monochromatic.

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re here to help. Not only do we offer a wide selection of quality kitchen cabinets, from wall cabinets to base cabinets and many others, we also offer granite countertops and several other pieces that often play a big role in complementing cabinet color schemes. Let’s look at some of the most popular countertop-and-cabinet design combinations homeowners consider when utilizing white cabinets, one of the most popular styles out there today.

: countertop complements white kitchen cabinets

White on White

For those who prefer white or lighter shades as their primary foundational color, it’s easily possible to obtain both white cabinets and white granite countertops. There are several granite varieties that are lighter in shade and come with excellent color accents, usually in the form of veins and speckling found within.

In some cases, designers choose to pair these with beige or other lighter-colored accents, such as backsplashes or even chairs. This is an excellent combination alongside a traditional wood floor, along with stainless appliances that leave a clean, modern look.

Flooring Contrasts

Speaking of flooring, it’s often a great way to complement both your cabinets and your countertops as you’re looking for the ideal kitchen color scheme. In particular, those looking for darker granite countertops of any hue will often find success with a similarly dark floor – the floor and countertops will lend the ideal contrast to white or off-white cabinet types. Splash in a little gold on your kitchen fixtures, such as cabinet handles or faucet knobs, and you have a wonderful scheme in place.

Lighter Granite

If you want a good contrast to a white cabinet but want to keep things on the lighter side, there are several granite varieties available here. From off-white to various light browns or beiges, these options go well with soft lighting in the room that will allow them to blend in to many sets of eyes.

To contrast this, consider a standard hardwood floor and darker accents. Dark brown backsplashes do very well, and brown or black handle accents and fixture designs cap off this look.

Darker Granite

There are also several darker options available, including blue, brown and even black forms of granite countertops. This is the truest contrast available to white cabinets, bringing a sharp modern look that works well with either dark or light accents (depending on where you place them).

For more on choosing the right complementary countertops for white kitchen cabinets, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or other products, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.

The Versatile Value of Gray Kitchen Cabinets

At AWA Kitchen Cabinets, we’re here to provide quality kitchen cabinet products of a variety of styles and formats for all our clients. Whether you’re looking for prominent options like base cabinets or wall cabinets to define your entire kitchen’s design or you prefer cabinets that match a previous design already in place, we have a wide array of selections available.

Among those in this latter group, one color that’s very popular today for kitchen cabinets is gray. Gray is known to be one of the most versatile and adaptable colors for cabinets and other kitchen or home design areas – let’s look at what makes gray such a versatile color in these areas, plus the many benefits of going with gray for your next kitchen cabinet purchase.

versatile gray kitchen cabinets

Gray Hues and True Color

While we’re talking about gray as its own distinct color, the reality is that gray can actually be formed into pretty much any kind of hue you’re looking for. There are almost limitless variations of gray available, from yellow or blue shades to lavender, brown, green and many others. These hues might barely show up in some cases, or might be extremely significant. If you already have another primary color in your space, there’s no concern over gray cabinets throwing the color scheme out of whack.

Matching Other Designs

As we noted above, gray cabinets are perfect if you’re looking to simply match a previous design but don’t want to overdo any particular color scheme. If you desire, they can be sleek and modern, with a darker hue that maintains a similar theme.

On the flip side, you can choose lighter gray cabinets that are excellent for various kitchen styles, including those opened up to natural light. Gray is ideal for everything from plain cabinet doors to embellished doors, from raised panels to Shaker-style options as well.

Neutral Backdrop

Does your kitchen feature wood, brick or other specific texture designs that you do not want to take eyes away from? Gray is a perfect complement here, serving as a fantastic backdrop to these kinds of materials that allows them to shine through. While we do recommend some accents in certain areas so the entire kitchen isn’t too monotone, gray cabinets are a great start.

Paint or Stain

Finally, gray cabinets offer the ability to either paint or stain them as needed. Stained gray cabinets can show off wood grain, while painted gray cabinets can then be distressed or given several potential finishes, bringing you the ideal aesthetic for the entire space with no hassle whatsoever.

For more on the value of gray cabinets as versatile additions to your kitchen, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets, speak to the staff at AWA Kitchen Cabinets today.