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Sophisticated kitchen cabinetry can transform your home into a dream. Because kitchen cabinets are a main factor in expressing a kitchen’s charm, it is fundamental to select the right style and design for your space. Though people may argue that kitchen cabinetry can seem somewhat shallow when compared to other structural components of the house, however because kitchen cabinets cut a hefty portion of your budget when renovating or building your dream home, it is crucial that you perform some research before specifying to your manufacturer what style or element you want for your kitchen cabinets. Disputably, more than the design and functionality, the most vital part of choosing your kitchen cabinets is choosing the right material.

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So, if you are planning on investing in kitchen cabinets soon, you will want to select your cabinet material meticulously, based on your kitchen design, color scheme, and your overall budget. With that, this article will provide you an idea on what are the most popular kitchen cabinet materials available in the market and what are their pros and cons. Hopefully, this article will guide you in the next big decision that you will have to do when renovating your kitchen.

  1. Natural wood
    Natural wood is surely the most common material utilized when making kitchen cabinets. Other than the fact that it is a non-toxic and renewable resource, it also comes with intricate design due to its grain variations produced naturally by tree growth. Wood cabinets come in a variety of styles such as natural, stained, or painted finishes.

    • Pros
      Wood is obtainable in a wide range of grains, variations, colors, and textures. In fact, many people like natural wood due to its physical variation within the material itself because it significantly adds a characteristic appeal. Wood can also easily adapt to a diverse design style such as traditional and modern. Cleaning polished wood is also not considered a heavy task to do. Knicks and scratches are also easily repairable in wood cabinetry. Lastly, wood cabinets can be also painted or re-stained in order to recreate a new look.
    • Cons
      Wood is very particular to environmental conditions. In fact, change in humidity, temperature, and moisture levels can damage the core and surface of the wood. Humidity and moisture can cause warping of the kitchen cabinet if it is too high. Wood also needs frequent polishing in order to maintain its straight and smooth texture. Lastly, compared to other kitchen cabinet materials, wood is more expensive and labor and time-consuming to install
  2. Laminate
    Laminate is a synthetic material that is made of compressed wood. Laminates are composed of layers that involve plastic resin, paper with a printed layer of different patterns or designs, and an overlay of a tough plastic film. Laminate is a synthetic material that is made of compressed wood.There are a number of different laminates in the market. These include high-pressure laminates that are considered to be more durable, moisture-resistant, and sturdy when compared to the low-pressure laminates. There are also those that come as matte, high-gloss, and unicore where every layer of paper in the laminate has the same pattern and color. There is also a digital laminate that comes with specialized, even customized, printing on its surface.

    • Pros
      The advantage of laminate is that it is both durable and affordable. In fact, both high pressure and low pressure laminate are able to withstand extreme amounts of heat and moisture, protecting their inner wooden core from damage. Most people who use laminate for their kitchen cabinets are those who probably use a lot of heat and steam when cooking.Since the printed layer comes on a paper backing, laminates can let you achieve the look of almost all materials such as wood, metal, leather. Laminates are also considered to be much easier to clean compared to wood. Due to the plastic-like laminate cabinet film, you can easily wipe away the kitchen cabinet. Lastly, laminate is also quite resistant to scratch and tends to last for a long time. If peeling starts over time, you can just simply replace the laminate.
    • Cons
      Despite their durability, laminate kitchen cabinets are prone to damage. If not installed properly, the edges of laminates tend to peel off. Since laminates are made of plastic-based resins and paper compressed under high pressure, they are a non-renewable material. Also, once you get a deep cut or crack on your cabinet door, it would be difficult to repair the laminate, so the best option here is to replace it as it is almost impossible to repair. The cost of laminate cabinets is quite low, but that is because their cores are commonly made from cheaper woods that are not as durable.
  3. Stainless steel or Aluminum
    Due to the high carbon content of stainless steel or aluminum kitchen cabinets, you are assured that they are slightly stronger than other kitchen cabinets. In addition to that, stainless steel cabinets provide your kitchen with a modern and sleek design. Steel or aluminum can be utilized as doors over wood-based cabinets. Though plain ones are the most usual, metal sheets are available in different finishes: brushed, etched and patterned.

    • Pros
      It is a well-known fact that stainless steel or aluminum kitchen cabinets are very durable. It can last you more than a lifetime. They are also waterproof, moisture-proof, and acid-proof. Unlike cabinets made out of wood that expand when exposed to water, stainless steel and aluminum kitchen cabinets will retain their original shape no matter how much water or environmental changes they encounter. Treated metal is also sturdy, rust-resistant and stain-resistant. These types of kitchen cabinets are easy to scrub and clean.
    • Cons
      Stainless steel and aluminum kitchen cabinets only come in a limited range of colors. When they start to oxidize or rust, you definitely need some heavy repolishing with a top shiny coat. Furthermore, metal surfaces display oil smudges and fingerprints very visibly, so there is a lot more deployment of the duster. Stainless steel and aluminum kitchen cabinets also have the inclination to dent and scratch. Their doors and drawers also produce louder sounds compared to other types of material. They can also come with a high price, depending on the manufacturer of the stainless steel and aluminum kitchen cabinets.

      (Source: Pexels.com)

  4. Poly-vinyl chloride or PVC material
    Poly-Vinyl Chloride or PVC material is sheets made of plastic composite. Traditionally, PVC is utilized for pipes, bathroom or plumbing material. However, today, because of its durability and ease of availability, PVC has many other uses including as a kitchen cabinet material. There are two types of PVC board for kitchen cabinets. These include PVC hollow boards which are hollow inside and PVC foam boards which are thicker and sturdier than hollow boards. While both types of PVC material can give the same glossy or matt look, , unlike PVC foam boards, PVC hollow boards have low thermal resistance and can frequently sag early due to lack of strength.

    • Pros
      PVC material is termite-proof, anticorrosive and easy to preserve. Considering the material is plastic, PVC cabinets are super easy to clean, and do not keep any types of stains. This means that PVC requires almost no maintenance. Furthermore, just like laminates, PVC sheets are easy to source and replace. PVC materials are cost-effective and are cheaper in comparison to wooden cabinets.
    • Cons
      While PVC boards are simple to install and utilize, the difficult part is their hardware. The screws and hinges used in joining these PVC boards tend to loosen over time resulting in sagging. Thus when compared to other materials like plywood or natural wood, the holding power of PVC boards is weak. Lastly, over time the material might get scratches or cuts which unfortunately cannot be covered up
  5. Wood Veneers
    Wood veneer is a very thin slice of wood which is obtained from a tree log. It is glued on to different types of engineered woods such as plywood, MDF, blockboard, particle board, and many more, in order to provide a complete aesthetic appearance. Today, many are utilizing wood veneer to improve the look of kitchen cabinets. Wood veneer is available in various types, based on the specific wood species, on matches, on cuts, and many more.

    • Pros
      Wood veneers provide aesthetics like natural wood with less cost. Apart from increasing aesthetics, applying wood veneer sheets to weak engineered woods like particle board can help in increasing its strength. Also, they are generally non-toxic. Lastly, natural veneers can be customized with polish or varnish to change its shade from light to dark more easily.
    • Cons
      Wood veneer sheets are not easy to install like laminates. They require skilled workers whose air gap must be properly removed to get a perfect finish. Also, veneers tend to be susceptible to water damage. Furthermore, wood veneers require more maintenance and they need to be polished from time to time. For increased durability, they must be polished periodically. Lastly, unlike natural wood furniture which can be easily repaired by sanding several times, it is impossible to repair wood veneer.

References: 

  1. Better Homes & Gardens. 2020. 8 Cabinet Materials You Should Know and How to Choose the Best Type for Your Kitchen. Retrieved from: https://www.bhg.com/kitchen/cabinets/styles/kitchen-cabinet-material-types/. Retrieved on 3 December 2021. 
  2. Houzz. 2017. What’s the Best Material for Kitchen Cabinets?. Retrieved from: https://www.houzz.in/magazine/whats-the-best-material-for-kitchen-cabinets-stsetivw-vs~82630988. Retrieved on 3 December 2021. 
  3. Laurysen Kitchens. 2020. Pros & Cons Of Kitchen Cabinet Materials. Retrieved from: https://www.laurysenkitchens.com/blog/pros-cons-kitchen-cabinet-materials/. Retrieved on 3 December 2021.
  4. LivSpace. 2021. An Ultimate List of Materials for Your Kitchen & How to Best Use Them. Retrieved from: https://www.livspace.com/in/magazine/kitchens101-kitchen-cabinet-materials. Retrieved on 3 December 2021.
  5. Pedini Miami. 2019. Improving House Decor: Choosing the Best Material for Your Kitchen. Retrieved from: https://www.pedinimiami.com/improving-house-decor-choosing-the-best-material-for-your-kitchen-cabinets/. Retrieved on 3 December 2021. 
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