When you think about designing or remodeling your kitchen cabinets, you think about what you want them to look like. The colour, texture, and design are three things most homeowners prioritise when looking to put in new kitchen cabinetry while the actual materials to construct the units are often given less importance.
Today, Kitchen & Stone are here to explain why the chosen material of your kitchen cabinets matters, and the different types you should consider using when renovating your kitchen.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Materials
Apart from aesthetic purposes, the most important factors to consider for your kitchen cabinet material include the following:
- Durability – It must be sturdy enough to store dishes and heavy kitchen items
- Heat and moisture resistant – Prolonged exposure to heat and moisture should not weaken the material over time
- Maintenance – Some materials are harder to clean and more prone to grease and dirt stains
Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Materials
Depending on the way your kitchen space is utilised, you can choose between heavy-duty materials and low-maintenance options. Here are some of the most popular types of kitchen cabinet materials to consider.
Suitable for both modern and traditional kitchens, wood is an excellent choice for its durability and, of course, gorgeous, natural appearance. Available in a wide range of textures, grains, and earthy tones, the use of solid wood for kitchen cabinetry is advisable only if sealed properly to protect the material against heat, moisture, and stains. When polished or stained, wooden kitchen cabinets are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Unfortunately, solid wood is not always an option for homeowners who are looking to get the best quality for a lower budget.
If you don’t use your kitchen a lot (for cooking or preparing meals), a low-cost option like particle board is a great choice. It is not the most durable material and hence, should not be subjected to excess weight; however, particle board kitchen cabinets can be made into slimline designs, making it a practical choice for smaller kitchens. As far as cleaning is concerned, it should be noted that particle board is not water-resistant and hence, must be cleaned using specific cleaning agents depending on the type of finish.
There are different types of plywood, some of which are more durable and weather-resistant than others. For example, Moisture-Resistant Ply is preferred over regular plywood and is commonly used in the making of kitchen cabinets. Plywood is made up of engineered wood and is therefore extremely durable and strong. The wood veneer can be finished as desired and is easy to clean and maintain even if left natural (and stained). Yet another bonus is that plywood is resistant to termites so there’s never any worry of such insect damage.
Commonly used in modular kitchens, melamine is a budget-friendly material and yet, a fairly durable choice for kitchen cabinets. It typically consists of MDF, pressed wood, plywood, or other natural materials that are heat-sealed. Melamine is also treated with chemicals to protect it from heat and moisture, making it a great choice for overused kitchens. With that said, carpenter-made kitchens rarely use this material as it is difficult and costly to mould melamine other than in a factory setting.
Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Finishes
After you’ve decided on the type of material to use for your kitchen cabinets, it’s time to choose the finish. Just like materials, finishes vary in more ways than one; while some are easy to maintain, others may pose a challenge and require special cleaning methods.
Let’s take a look at some of the top-rated finishes used for kitchen cabinets.
Those elegant high-gloss finished kitchen cabinets you see are the work of polyurethane which is basically spray paint. These acrylic paints are available in virtually every colour imaginable and effectively resist water and grease. PU is costlier than most types of kitchen cabinet finishes, however, its durability and luxurious appearance make it a sought-after option.
If you’re looking for a kitchen cabinet finish that is heat and moisture resistant; durable and affordable, laminate is the way to go! Available in matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes, as well as a wide variety of colours and patterns, laminate is easy to clean and maintain with plain soap and water.
One of the reasons why veneer is such a popular kitchen cabinet finish is owed to its close resemblance to natural wood. It provides all the aesthetic benefits of wood while costing much lesser than real timber cabinets. Veneer is also a durable and strong material that can be cleaned carefully using minimal water and specific cleaning agents to remove grease and stains.
Poly-Vinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC sheets are another affordable and sturdy finish to choose for your kitchen cabinets. Made from composite plastic, they are water and grease resistant, and easy to clean with soap and water. Often used in stark white kitchens, PVC sheets can also be found in other light shades, as well as wood grain finishes.
Although the styles and types of kitchen cabinet materials are available in large varieties, it helps to know the most suitable options keeping those key factors in mind. Use the advice above to ensure that you get the most utility out of your kitchen cabinetry while enjoying a stunning new look to your kitchen space for years to come!