Will Your Kitchen Cabinets Withstand More Than the Test of Time?

February 22, 2009 by
Filed under: Kitchen, Kitchen Cabinets, Kitchen Remodeling 

(ARA) – It’s Friday night. You have half an hour before your guests arrive and you’re frantically shuttling back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room, pulling out drawers looking for silverware, flinging cabinets open and slamming them shut with your elbow as you take a handful of plates to the table. Fifteen minutes left and the food is still not ready. Steam from the piping hot pot roast drifts up from the counter. Gravy drips down the cabinet fronts.

Of all the things that could go wrong on a night like this, the last thing you need to worry about is wrecking your cabinetry. By checking to make sure your cabinets are ANSI/KCMA certified, you can rest assured that they’ve already undergone a battery of performance and quality tests to ensure hinges won’t break as you hurriedly open and close them, exteriors won’t be stained by a spill (including mustard and alcohol) and heat, steam or a wet dish rag won’t cause damage.

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA), through a process established and regularly reviewed by the globally recognized American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has established itself as an approved standards developer since 1968 and has taken the initiative to set the standard for cabinet performance and construction. The unique blue and white certification seal, located inside the sink base cabinet, indicates that the cabinets have been tested in an approved independent third-party testing laboratory. Furthermore, cabinets are chosen for testing in an unannounced plant visit by a KCMA inspector. The cabinets must pass over 42 rigorous performance tests to determine if they are eligible to display the seal. For many years, homeowners, builders, remodelers, architects and U.S. government agencies have called for ANSI/KCMA A161.1 certified cabinets as their benchmark for durable cabinetry.

To meet the ANSI/KCMA A16.1 Performance and Construction Standard, cabinets must undergo thorough testing procedures. First the interior of the cabinet is tested by applying 200 pounds of pressure to the framework. Then cabinet doors are repeatedly struck with a 10-pound sandbag to test the frame’s structural integrity.

Ever tried to hoist a baby elephant on top of your mounted wall cabinet? The third-party approved lab that tests ANSI/KCMA cabinets has performed the equivalent. Certified wall cabinet mounts have to prove their worth by holding 500 pounds of weight without any visible signs of sagging or other failure.

Doors and drawers are opened and closed 25,000 times as part of a series of operational tests preformed to ensure durability. At each test’s conclusion, doors must be fully operable, door-holding devices must hold the doors in a closed position, hinges must show no visible signs of damage and connections between cabinet-and-hinge and door-and-hinge must show no signs of looseness.

Kitchens are filled with all kinds of acidic and staining products. Over the 35-year lifespan of the average kitchen cabinet, all kinds of liquids could be spilled. To make sure these spills won’t mar the beauty of your cabinets, ANSI/KCMA leaves vinegar, lemon, orange and grape juices, mustard, tomato ketchup, coffee, olive oil and 100-proof alcohol on cabinet exteriors. If the exterior of the cabinet shows signs of swelling, discoloration or evidence of blistering, the cabinet does not gain certification.

The finishing touch is testing the cabinet finishes. All finishes must stand up to temperatures equal to that of a summer day in the Sahara desert with humidity levels as high as the Amazon rainforest. The cabinets then are subjected to cycles of extreme temperature changes by being exposed for one hour in a 120 F hotbox and then one hour in a minus 5 F coldbox. The cycle is repeated five times. In order for the cabinets to pass, there can be no sign of cracking, peeling or other failure.

Cabinetry that has gone through these arduous trials is available from more than 100 certified companies and through retailers nationwide in a variety of styles and prices. For a complete list of certified brands, click on the Member Listings tab at www.kcma.org.

By checking for the KCMA/ANSI seal on the interior of your sink base cabinet, you can rest assured your cabinets will stand up to the daily wear and tear of the kitchen and instead, worry about that souffle in the oven.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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