Builder-Grade Cabinets in the Kitchen

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 9, Part 1

Bob’s in Punta Gorda for kitchen finishes to this storm-ready home. Jack Ballantine from Ambassador Kitchens joins him for the installation of the Cardell maple builder-line cabinets with solid wood framing, maple faces, and pressboard box construction. Richard Wagner of Wagner Cabinetry shows Bob how the upper cabinets are installed on the exterior wall and the base cabinets are set for level, shimmed, drilled in place, and finished with a toe kick and maple crown molding. Andrea Johnson from DuPont Corian shows Bob some of the more than 100 colors and patterns available. These solid surface countertops are stain and scratch resistant, non-porous, and easy to clean. The new colors, like Canyon, are inspired by nature and designed to bring the outside in. Scott Lawyer, the countertop fabricator, joins Bob first to create a template for the solid-surface counters that will be made in his shop, and then to install them. The Luan template is made from blueprints, checked at the site, and set on the Corian as a cutting guide. The Corian integral sink and counter are installed. The counter sections are joined and finish sanded for an invisible seam. Mike Goodrich installs the Whirlpool dishwasher for quiet operation.
Part 1: Builder-Grade Cabinets in the Kitchen
Bob is in the Punta Gorda house with Jack Ballantine of Ambassador Kitchens, where builder line kitchen cabinets have been installed. These Maple cabinets from Cardell Cabinets of San Antonio, Texas, have maple faces, solid wood frames, and pressboard boxes. The hinges are from Blum and are fully adjustable European or concealed hinges. The drawers feature a builder-grade box, which means it's of consistently high quality but not of the company's highest grade. A builder-grade cabinet will feature baseline construction with custom features like cabinet faces and wood selections. The benefit, Ballantine explains, is that the cabinets are delivered on time, consistently. A special rate and quality service are extended to customers, like Ambassador Kitchens or Mercedes Homes, who outfit a number of homes with their line. In Florida, where the demand and wait times are significant, a delivery period of three to four weeks is terrific. Richard Wagner of Wagner Cabinetry is in Punta Gorda for the installation of Cardell Maple cabinets. He starts with an overhead box that is marked for placement using a laser level. Since the exterior walls are concrete and the wall studs are steel, Bob asks how they handle installation. Wagner explains that as with wood, it's a matter of finding a stud and tacking with a finish nail before screwing the cabinets in place. Once tacked, the cabinets are checked again for level and screwed together with 2 1/2-inch flathead, square drive, zinc-coated screws with wood master tips that are serrated and cut through wood like a drill bit. With these screws, Wagner can avoid pre-drilling. After the doors are reattached and adjusted for swing, the crew moves to the base cabinet, which is nearly level and needs only be shimmed in the back. It is checked with a laser line at the wall and two feet out before being drilled in and finished with a toe kick. Bob shows the crown molding that is glued and tacked in place at the top of the cabinets for a finished look.
Part 2: Building a Template for a Kitchen Countertop
Part 3: Installing the Dishwasher