Chinese Cabinets: What's The Real Story? Cabinet Genies, Kitchen Remodeling ,Cape Coral, FL

What You Need To Know About Chinese Cabinets

American homeowners are starting to look again at American cabinets for their kitchen remodeling projects. For a time, cabinets made in China made an inroad into the American market after the recession hit in 2008. Chinese cabinets could be bought for about 15 percent less than their American counterparts. As these Chinese cabinets have entered homes, though, Americans have expressed increasing displeasure with chinese kitchen cabinets. 

Homeowners have discovered that Chinese cabinets are of a lower quality than American cabinets. The workmanship is poor, the wood quality is tenuous and the manufacturing process is questionable across a number of issues. In addition, the price of Chinese cabinets is starting to rise.

Quality of Chinese Cabinets

The panel stock in Chinese cabinets is weak, and it falls apart in a few years. The glue used in manufacturing these laminates has ingredients which compromise the glue’s holding power. Instead of using established cabinet joinery, such as tenons and biscuits, the Chinese use screws, staples and nails. These fasteners weaken with time and use.

Environmental Issues with Chinese Kitchen Cabinets

Chinese manufacturers use a number of questionable processes in the manufacture of cabinets. Ingredients such as sulfur, lead and formaldehyde are used in the cabinets. These ingredients are banned by the EPA. California bans the importation of these cabinets because of the formaldehyde use.

Origin of Chinese Cabinets

Many of the hardwoods used in Chinese cabinets are illegally logged in Third World countries. China itself has stripped away its forests. Several American big box companies have stopped accepting cabinets from China where illegal wood is used.

Low Quality Finish

The cabinet finish on Chinese products is weak. Acceptable hardening agents aren’t used. The finish can be easily marred and flake off with normal use. Scratches easily occur because the finish is sub-standard.


Hardware, such as drawer guides, are stamped from cheap white metal. These guides can easily break and stop functioning if the drawer has excessive weight.

Wood Seasoning

Wood needs to be seasoned or dried to the proper moisture content before it’s manufactured into a cabinet. Chinese manufacturers skip this process and make a product with wood that’s still green and not seasoned. This causes the cabinet material to warp and not hold a finish.

Types of American Cabinets

Homeowners have a choice of stock, semi-custom and customized cabinets. The price range of these cabinets starts at $2,500 and can exceed $25,000 for custom cabinets. Much of the cost for kitchen cabinets is embedded in the installation. A good cabinet maker will charge from $50 to $150 per hour.

Advantages of American Cabinets over Chinese Cabinets

Hard particle board or solid wood is used in cabinet construction. This material resists warping and exposure to moisture. Hard particle board is ideal for cabinet shelving, too. The wood is properly air dried and then dried again in a kiln to assure proper moisture content before the cabinets are produced.

The proper stain and sealer is applied to ensure strength, good color and years of use.

American cabinets use Grass or Blum guides that are rated from 75 to 126 pounds.

Good cabinets use joinery like mortise and tenon and dowels and biscuits. This joinery ensures that the cabinets will last for many years.

In conclusion, we want to state that there are some select chinese products that contain quality materials and craftsmanship, but for the most part, cabinetry coming from China is below par as the industry standard goes.

Some Chinese cabinets can make for beautiful Kitchens. But remember, beauty is only skin deep.


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