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Home »  Resources » Remodeling Glossary

Kitchen Glossary

This glossary of kitchen-related terminology will help you navigate the complicated waters of planning your kitchen remodel. Please contact us if there are other words you’ve heard that you would like defined.

Types of Kitchen Layouts

Two parallel walls create a long, narrow kitchen layout; just like a hallway.

Walls perpendicular to each other to create an open floor plan.

Freestanding base cabinet(s), able to walk around the full 360 degrees. Very popular, everyone wants to own their own island.

Cabinets attached on only one end, accessible on 3 sides. Imagine the state of Florida.
Kitchen Layout Terms

Work Triangle
An ergonomic approach to kitchen design that emphasizes three key points: the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink. The distance between each point should be between 4 to 9 feet; less than 4 feet is too cramped, more than 9 feet is inefficient. The triangle should not contain any obstacles or household traffic.

The direct means of accessing and exiting a space.

An assembly of cupboards used for kitchen storage. As houses become more open, featuring less interior walls, cabinets define kitchen boundaries. The box construction, exterior material, and storage options vary considerably.
Cabinetry Terms

Cabinetry drawer info
Durability and price depend on box construction and guide selection. Function is dependent on guide selection and interior depth.

Side-mount Drawer Guides
Hardware attached to sides of drawer box. Indicates price-conscious cabinets.

Bottom-mount Drawer Guides
Hardware attached to bottom of drawer box. Indicates good quality, durable cabinets.

Blind cabinet
A corner cabinet that utilizes the corner space but only provides access from one side. The size of the access door has a large impact on function and client satisfaction.

Corner Lazy Susan
A corner cabinet that features revolving shelves. Traditional lazy susans revolve around a vertical pole. Modern lazy susans have eliminated the pole and just have rotating shelves.

Dovetail joint
Two substrates are interlocked with notches that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Framed cabinets
Traditional design that features a picture frame between the interior box and exterior door/drawer. Aesthetics are defined by the relationship between frame and the door: full overlay, partial overlay, and inset options.

Full overlay
The door covers almost every inch of the frame, leave only a ¼” reveal on all sides.

Partial overlay
The door covers just the cabinet opening, revealing most of the frame.

The door sits inside of the frame, revealing the entire frame. This construction must include a 1/8” gap between the door and the frame.

Frameless cabinets
Modern design which eliminates the frame between the interior box and exterior door/drawer.

Very thin piece of wood attached to particleboard substrate.

Engineered wood product in which wood chips, sawmill shavings, saw dust, and synthetic resin are compressed to form a solid sheet. Typically 3/4" thick.

Thin sheets of wood are layered to create a very sturdy substrate.
Countertop Surfaces

Solid Surface
Man made product used in cabinets that is adored for its hidden seams, flexibile shapes, price range, and non-porous surface.

Soft metamorphic rock, usually mineral talc. Very limited in color and not practical for the entire kitchen. Very popular in small applications.

Natural wood glued and/or thermoformed into an appropriate worksurface. Adored for its natural beauty, timber selections, and thickness variation.

Butcher Block
Assembly of wooden strips to create a very thick, durable countertop. First used by butchers to chop meat.

End-grain butcher block
Small side of wood, very durable; creates a square grid pattern. Professional chefs prefer end-grain for its durability and resurfacing options.

Edge-grain butcher block
Long side of lumber, very beautiful. Preferred over edge-grain when aesthetics is a priority.

Thin metal wrapped around particleboard substrate. Popular metals include stainless steel, copper, zinc, bronze, and aluminum. Very unique, not wallet-friendly.

Thin piece of plastic adhered to a particleboard base. Very wallet-friendly.

Porcelain, ceramic, or stone tile wrapped around particleboard substrate. Most tile designs require grout, which is an important aesthetic and maintenance consideration.

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