Are you planning a kitchen renovation? Remember, the cabinets will be among the most prominent features in your new dream kitchen-to-be. You’ll want to choose your cabinet material with care, based on your kitchen design, colour scheme, and of course, your remodelling budget.
Let’s compare 7 popular kitchen cabinet materials pros and cons to guide you in your kitchen remodel decision. (TIP: Some very stylish kitchens use a combination of two or more materials.)
Price. Made of pressed wood, MD, or plywood topped by a layer of paper coloured with a heat-fused melamine resin, melamine is the least expensive cabinet material.
Variety. The assortment of colours and patterns is enormous, including a rather convincing faux wood grain.
Maintenance. Melamine cabinets are easy to clean and won’t require re-staining or sealing over the years.
Limited Choice Of Shape. The cabinet shapes are almost always square, limiting your design options.
Low Resistance. Melamine cabinets are especially susceptible to scratches and dents, which can be difficult – or impossible – to repair.
Weight. Melamine is heavier than more costly cabinet materials, and might end up sagging.
Price. This material is composed of melamine blended with pine fibre, then coated with a polyester film. While slightly pricier than melamine, it’s still very affordable.
Higher resistance than melamine. Polyester is more scratch resistant, compared to melamine.
Colour selection. Polyester cabinets are available in a wide variety of colours and wood looks.
Difficulty of Scratch Repair. If polyester does become scratched, retouching is not a simple task.
Always in style. High quality wood cabinets add timeless beauty to your home, which will always be on trend.
Many natural colours. An assortment of lovely natural hues, offered by different wood species, including bamboo, cherry, oak, birch, walnut, maple, knotty pine, and hickory.
Durable. Wood cabinets are strong, long-lasting and resistant to damage. Scratches are usually easy to cover or buff away.
Customizable. Solid wood can readily be customized to create the cabinet door type of your choice.
Cost. Solid wood cabinets tend to be expensive.
Reactive To Humidity. Solid wood naturally reacts to humidity and may warp or crack.
High Maintenance. Wooden cabinets should be treated with a waterproof finish. Clean with non-abrasive products designed especially for wood.
Natural Wood-like. Veneer cabinets provide the look and feel of natural wood, because they are actually made of a thin layer of real wood, which is glued onto less expensive core materials.
Price: Wood veneer is cheaper than solid natural wood.
Simple Scratch Repair. Nicks and scratches can be simply buffed out to restore a smooth even appearance.
Durability. Wood veneer is reasonably durable (more so than laminate, but less than solid wood). It is highly resistant to warping.
Easy Care. Veneer cabinets are easy to wipe down, using only a lightly dampened soft cloth.
Vulnerable To Water Damage. Excessive moisture will loosen the veneer from its base, causing an unattractive “bubbled” effect.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)
Even Grain. Because MDF is composed of small particles of wood fibre mixed with wax and resins, it has a smooth, even grain.
Stability. MDF will not expand and contract as much as natural wood with fluctuations in your home’s relative humidity. As a result, it will be less prone to warping.
Paintability. Cabinets made of MDF take paint nicely, and may be repainted whenever you wish.
Flexible Styling. Medium density fibreboard is easy to craft into a variety of kitchen cabinets styles.
Large Size Pieces. MDF is manufactured in large pieces, unlike wood which is limited by the size of the tree it is cut from.
Cannot Be Sanded. Chips and scrapes are impossible to sand out of MDF.
Not Heat Resistant. This cabinet material will not stand up to extremely high temperatures,
High Gloss Thermofoil
Attractive Appearance. High gloss thermofoil consists of a glossy vinyl coating on a base material such as pine fibreboard. These cabinets reflect light, making your kitchen appear brighter and more spacious.
Easy Cleaning. Just wipe off any smudges or marks with a damp non-scratch cloth.
Fade And Warp Resistant. HGT cabinets don’t fade or warp, as wood tends to do.
Show Dirt. Every fingerprint or smear will show up on the reflective surface, so many homeowners with small children use this material only for upper cabinet doors.
Difficult To Paint. Changing colour or covering scratches is complicated.
Vulnerable To Heat And Moisture. Today’s HGT cabinets are more durable than they were 20 years ago, but they are still somewhat vulnerable.
High Pressure Laminate
Impact Resistant. Though HPL is similar to melamine, it is manufactured of multiple layers, under high pressure. As a result, this material is more resistant to chips, scratches, etc.
Selection. HPL cabinets come in a wide range of colours and finishes.
Easy Care. This material does not require staining or finishing and is easy to clean.
Price. High pressure laminate is pricier than melamine (though it’s still cost-effective compared to many other materials).
Help Selecting Your Kitchen Cabinet Material
We hope you’re getting excited about choosing your kitchen cabinets by now. Let us share your excitement – and offer some practical suggestions as well.
When you book a free consultation with Laurysen Kitchens, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a qualified designer. Together, we will plan the kitchen renovation of your dreams.