When shopping for a bathroom vanity, most homeowners have a general idea of what they want. They might know they need a certain amount of storage space, a particular configuration of faucets, and a certain style and color. Unfortunately, not too many homeowners give serious thought to the quality of the vanity they want. For a variety of reasons, quality is more often associated with living room furniture or household appliances, but never vanities.
Whether a homeowner is shopping for unique farmhouse bathroom vanities or something more contemporary, the following information will provide four signs your bathroom vanity is built well and should provide years of service. Look for these traits of a well-built vanity and you will be well rewarded in the future.
1. Quality Construction
Probably every homeowner has been faced with a piece of furniture that wasn’t well built. Maybe there was chipping off the particleboard of an edge or a drawer. Or, perhaps the entire piece just seemed too lightweight. Regardless, something about it made you feel that the quality just wasn’t there. Unfortunately, that’s an all too familiar feeling for those shopping for vanities. Homeowners can combat shabby construction by doing two things:
· Buying fully assembled. Most manufacturers that sell their vanities do so only after extensive testing, and quality assurance inspections have been performed. An added factor is that fully assembled vanities are built to withstand the ownership of the homeowner in addition to the rigors of shipping. Fully assembled vanities are most often sturdier and heavier than those that are delivered ready to assemble.
· Buying ready to assemble. Vanities that are purchased ready to assemble come unassembled in a box. The parts contained in these boxes are assembled by the homeowner or a workman at the destination. This does not mean a vanity that is ready to assemble is of lesser quality, but the construction can be time-consuming and difficult. Since vanities of this type need to be put together, the result will depend on the capabilities of the person who is doing the work.
Not only does quality extend to the cabinet itself, it also applies to drawers and how they are built. In the case of drawers, a homeowner should check to make sure that each drawer seems to be strong enough to withstand the weight of whatever is anticipated to be stored it. The quality of a drawer should also extend to the hardware, such as slides, mounting brackets, and handles.
2. Slides and Hinges
Slides come in two varieties: undermount and center or side mount. Both should be well built. Undermount glides usually allow full access to the entire drawer. As the name implies, undermount slides are designed to support the entire weight of a drawer and its contents, especially the bottom panel. The bottom panel should be able to support whatever is in a drawer without bending and forcing it to torque away from the sides. Undermount slides should be closed with a soft action that will not damage the drawer or the cabinet.
Center or side mount slides don’t allow as much access to a drawer’s contents, but it should still be well made, much along the lines of undermount slides.
Soft-closing hinges are available in several styles, those that are 6-way and 4-way. Both types may appear to be well made, but the 6-way type are usually more flexible since they move in several directions: left/right, in/out, and up/down.
Material type is another important factor in selecting a quality vanity. In recent years, as in so many other products, higher prices have forced some manufacturers to use lesser-quality materials, such as particleboard, to keep prices lower. Unfortunately, this has caused the quality of some vanity makers to lower their standards. This should not detract from the availability of high-quality vanities that remain on the market. This just forces homeowners into the position of having to look harder to find excellent quality buys. The best material types used by vanity makers today are lower-priced woods such as pine or birch or the more expensive varieties such as maple, oak, Asian hardwood, and more.
3. Selecting Style
It might seem to be counter-intuitive, but the style of variety a homeowner buys can affect the quality of the construction. Vanities that have such details as decorative extensions along the edges are natural targets for being knocked off or being otherwise damaged. As much as possible, a homeowner should buy a vanity that is solidly built and has few, if any, accessories. A vanity that will be located in a corner or between two wall extensions does not usually need to be built as well as a vanity that is out in the open since there is less access and the cabinet is less susceptible to damage.
Many vanity makers sell their products without tops to give buyers the option of paying for a higher-quality top. This offers the added benefit of allowing a homeowner to choose a top that more closely matches the décor of their bathroom.
4. Other Considerations
The quality of a bathroom vanity extends beyond how the actual cabinetry is made. It also applies to how well the fixtures, such as the faucets and handles, are made and mounted. In this case, it will take a homeowner to actually inspect how the pieces are fitted to the cabinet to determine their quality. Are the fixtures positioned conveniently? Are the accessories countersunk into the cabinet? And, in the matter of the fixtures themselves, it often pays to buy a respected brand known for its quality.
There is a good chance that a vanity that is purchased today will last for a long time. Any homeowner who buys “for life” will naturally look for higher-quality features in a vanity purchase. Fortunately, with planning, research, and some care, a homeowner who is willing to take their time shopping for quality will usually find it. And, just as is the case with so many other products, if you have a question about the quality of vanity, ask.