Question

What should I look for in a kitchen cabinet?

Asked by Jeannie Merritt
Chevy Chase, MD

To ensure the cabinet is healthy for my family, what are the most important factors? Low VOC? Formaldehyde-free? Please rank if you can. And how can I determine which cabinet is of the highest quality?

Answer

With regard to healthy green cabinets, here's my list.

  • formaldehyde-free is a high priority,
  • followed closely by low-VOC finishes. Water-based coatings are durable and healthier.
  • You could also consider cabinets made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products. This certification verifies the health and sustainability of the wood from planting to harvest to end use.
  • Other options for healthy cabinets include metal and reused or salvaged lumber.
  • Avoid particle board, since much of it contains added formaldehyde binders.

Quality is in the eye of the beholder. In many parts of the country, you can hire Amish, Mennonite or other holistic craftsmen to custom-build your cabinets with FSC-certified lumber, ensuring quality and healthy glues and finishes are used.

 

For more information:

Read "I have been looking into green cabinetry. How does KCMA ESP certification compare to other green options?" a Q&A answered by Kirsten Flynn.

Also, read "I would like a list of green kitchen cabinet manufacturers." a Q&A answered by Molly McCabe.

Tagged In: formaldehyde plywood, green cabinets

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.