Home Innovation Insights

Bob Hill, PE
September 5, 2013

Putting Cabinets Through Their Paces

As mentioned in my last post, looking for the Home Innovation Lab Certified mark is a valuable thing for builders and consumers to do when making purchasing decisions. But, as a full-service product testing and certification laboratory, Home Innovation also does testing that supports another external certification label for the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers’ Association (KCMA). Let’s pull back the curtain a little to see what cabinets that bear the KCMA mark really go through before they’re spec’ed in a new or remodeled home.

We all know that kitchen and bathroom cabinets are a major expense when building or remodeling a home. While a key consideration in the cabinet selection decision is style, buyers also need to be cognizant of quality. KCMA has developed a rigorous testing protocol for cabinets that bear the KCMA certification mark, for which Home Innovation provides third-party testing. Similar to the ANZI Z124 testing for plumbing fixtures, the KCMA testing is intended to simulate use and abuse that the cabinets will see in the real-world scenarios of your home. The testing includes appearance, structural tests, hardware cycling, and surface finish tests.


Steps along the way to a kitchen or bathroom cabinet earning KCMA certification.

When we receive cabinets to be tested at Home Innovation, they first get an inspection to make sure the joints are tight, the finish does not have any blemishes, and the doors and drawers operate smoothly. Then the cabinets get a series of structural tests that include uniform loading of the shelves to see if they will sag over time. The joints get stressed to 250 pounds. There is an impact test of the doors with a 10-pound sandbag. Another test makes sure the drawer joints are strong enough to take the impact of a 3-pound steel ball dropped from 8 inches above the surface. And, to make sure the cabinets will hold up to being fully loaded and not fall off the wall once installed, a 600-pound load is as well. There are also durability tests of the surface finish, consisting of temperature and humidity cycling as well as stain and water/detergent resistance testing. The test that most consumers relate easily to is the door and drawer cycling test. This test will open and shut the cabinet door or drawer 25,000 times. During this time, the drawer is weighted to 15 lbs/ft2. The door hinges and drawer slides must still operate smoothly after the 25,000 cycles.

The results of all this testing, which all falls under ANSI standard A161.1, is reported by Home Innovation to KCMA who issues the certification. If you think your product could benefit from rigorous third-party testing by Home Innovation Labs, just let me know.

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