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When it comes to new kitchen cabinets, you’ve got a long list of decisions to make, like whether to refinish, resurface or replace your cabinets. And while you can always live with cabinet colors and hardware for a while and break up if you change your mind, picking cabinet materials is one decision you don’t want to make lightly, since this is a long-haul relationship. Check out some of the most common kitchen cabinet materials below to decide which one is the perfect match for you.
Most kitchen cabinets are made from wood, or from wood-based materials—which we’ll get to in just a second—and hardwood is popular because it has beautiful natural patterns, is durable, is easy to maintain and repair, last forever, and come in a wide variety of shades and textures. The kitchen cabinet world is your oyster when it comes to hardwood cabinets. But hardwood cabinets have drawbacks, starting with the price. Even off-the-shelf hardwood can costs thousands of dollars, and any amount of customization will double or triple the price tag. Perhaps more important, though, is that not all woods are created equal in the kitchen. While pine may be very versatile, it’s also a soft wood and won’t last as long as other woods.
Pro-tip: You can select hardwood for the face of cabinets and drawers only, while selecting another, more efficient product for the rest of your cabinetry. Work with your Kitchen FX design team to design which combination of hardwood and wood-based products are right for your kitchen.
Plywood is the result of the lamination of thin layers of wood using pressure, heat, and glue. Because of the way that plywood is made, it’s a strong and versatile material for kitchen cabinets. Plywood is popular because it is easy to install and repair, and also resist moisture damage better than hardwood. But, plywood cabinetry can lack consistency that doesn’t appear normal.
Particleboard is a popular wood-based cabinet material because it is highly affordable and easy to work with for cabinet backings and the interior of kitchen drawers. But, unlike plywood, particleboard is not sturdy, and over time can succumb to water damage and sagging from weight.
Pro-tip: If you decide that plywood or particleboard cabinetry is right for your kitchen, work with the experts at Kitchen FX to ensure that every inch of your cabinets is crafted and installed professionally, so that you love your cabinets from day one to forever.
Somewhere inbetween particleboard and plywood is where you’ll find MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard. If you’ve ever walked through an IKEA, you’re familiar with MDF, which is made from a composite of wax, resin, and recycled fibers. Affordable, like particleboard, MDF won’t succumb to moisture damage and it is to paint, stain, and maintain. But, just like particleboard, if you’re cramming heavy items into your drawers and cabinets, it isn’t going to last.
Pro-tip: Before you hop on the MDF wagon, talk to the design experts at Kitchen FX, who can help you to understand the ins and outs of MDF over time, and whether these mostly off-the-shelf cabinet solutions will work in your kitchen.
Metal cabinets, including aluminum and stainless steel, are gaining in popularity, and it is easy to see why. They’re sleek, durable, and add a contemporary vibe, all while standing up to moisture and temperature fluctuations. But metal cabinets, too, come with their drawbacks. The most common complaint about metal cabinets is how quickly they’re marred by scratches, and how often they require cleanup to get rid of dreaded visible fingerprints.
Pro-tip: If you have your heart set on metal cabinets, talk to the designers at Kitchen Fx about the different types and colors of metal available on the market, since not all metal is created equal.
Your relationship with your kitchen is longterm, and the main feature of your kitchen, the cabinets, needs to hold up to the longevity of your relationship. Choosing the right material is like building foundation of that relationship. Do it right and you’ll be able to trust, appreciate, and even love your kitchen for decades to come.