Britannia News

KITCHEN DESIGN

How to judge the quality of your new kitchen (and make sure it lasts for many years)

31ST JULY 2012
Precision joinery has a major impact on the durability of cabinets and drawers.



Buying a new kitchen or re-vamping an existing kitchen can be an exciting time, but how do you know it won’t fall apart in a couple of years? How do you know it will look as good as new in a few years’ time?
We asked Richard at Davonport for advice on how to assess the quality of your new kitchen.

Does craftsmanship matter?
Yes, the craftsmanship of cabinets is hugely important for the overall quality of the kitchen.
Cheaper, mass made cabinetry is unlikely to offer the same precision joinery you’ll find with bespoke cabinets. Not only will this affect the overall look and feel of new cabinetry, it also means that cabinetry, hinges and joints are less durable and may need replacing more frequently.

Cabinets and drawers often have to undergo immense pressure. Technical details such as solid timber dovetailed drawer boxes with soft close precision runners can help maintain the longevity of furniture. Make sure you work with a good kitchen designer who can assist with selecting the right type of fitting and joints for ease of use, accessibility, and durability.

The initial cost of bespoke cabinetry may be higher than the cost of mass produced cabinets, but you should look at it as a long term investment because a bespoke kitchen may last much longer.

Oak, Maple and Poplar are the most durable timbers.



What timber materials are most durable?
Selecting the right material for your kitchen cabinets may seem difficult. Many customers feel overwhelmed by the variety of materials available.

For cabinet fascias, wood is probably the most popular choice, but significant variations in the type of timber can make a real difference on the overall quality of the kitchen. Oak, Walnut, Maple and American Poplar (also known as tulipwood) are regarded as the most durable timbers. These wood types are less easily chipped or scratched.

The cut of the tree is as important as the species. Heart wood is the wood at the core of a trunk. It’s usually darker than sapwood – the younger wood formed under the bark. Heart wood is less likely to twist and warp because it’s less porous than sapwood.

Lastly, consider how the wood is dried. Kiln dried wood is preferred to air dried because the higher temperature used for kiln drying kills insects, eggs and fungi.

What about environmental aspects?
A reputable kitchen supplier will not only demonstrate their own commitment to environmental issues but will also help select products that have a low carbon footprint.

At Davonport we only use wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; and we will never use wood listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. We also work hard to reduce waste. In the last five years, we’ve achieved a waste reduction of 53%!

How do you assess the quality of appliances?
A good way to get a feel for the quality of an appliance is to open and shut the doors. How does it sound? Does the quality feel right? Some appliances will feel really solid while others have a tinny feel.

Also, ask your kitchen designer what his or her experience is with a brand. For range cookers, we like to work with Britannia. I don’t think we’ve ever had quality problems with their products.

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