Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Kitchen is the hub of every home. It is the place where we share meals and socialise with families and friends. High-quality cabinets are the key to kitchen design as they set the tone for your overall design.
The elements that affect how to choose the right cabinet include:
The style of the kitchen will decide the style of cabinets, such as modern, cottage, colonial or traditional. The common cabinets include shaker kitchen cabinets, slab kitchen cabinets, high-gloss kitchen cabinets, and freestanding kitchen cabinets.
Shaker kitchen cabinets have solid painted timber doors with a framed feature.
Slab kitchen cabinets are handleless with a smooth surface.
High-gloss kitchen cabinets are units in stunning neutral shades.
Freestanding kitchen cabinets bring a more relaxed vibe.
The kitchen layout can influence the style of cabinets. Gallery layouts can benefit from the seamless and streamlined cabinet designs, whereas U-shaped layouts work well with a large island in the heart.
When it comes to opting for cabinet materials, there are many options you can select but do consider their pros and cons before buying. This article will introduce you to the pros and cons of each cabinet material to help you make the right decision.
Carcasses are the units onto which doors and drawers fronts are attached. They are the internal structure of your kitchen cabinet to support the worktops. The density of the material will determine the lifetime of your kitchen cabinets.
The most common kitchen cabinet materials include:
Engineered wood, such as particle board (chipboard), MDF (medium intensity fibreboard), plywood
Metal, such as stainless steel
1. Engineered Wood
(1). Particle Board (chipboard)
It is an engineered wood product made from wood particles and chips held together by adhesive and compressed to form panels and boards. It is also called chipboard or LDF (low-density fibreboard) and is extensively used in the production of all types of furniture, panelling and partition structures. Laminated particle board and veneered particle board are widely used in interiors to enhance the appealing visual effect.
Cost efficient against plywood or MDF
Strong and aesthetically attractive
Tend to expand and warp under moisture condition
Low water resistance
(2). MDF (medium density fibreboard)
It is a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibres and resin. It gives a finer, heavier texture. It is commonly used to make cabinets, doors and shelves.
Cracking and peeling resistance
Smooth surface without knots
It can be painted or stained and give a look of real wood
Weaker than wood
Crack or split under extreme stress
Scratches cannot be refurbished easily
Water absorbency to produce smell
VOC is contained
An aerosol primer can not be used to paint
It is a material manufactured from thin layers or “piles” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers have their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. Plywood is widely used for furniture, cabinets and tables. The varieties of plywood include softwood plywood (fir, cedar and spruce) and tropical plywood.
Resistant to temperature changes
More expensive than wood
It contains VOCs
Difficult to cut and mould
The edges of the plywood have to be finished with either laminate or veneer
Low water resistance
Less strong than solid wood
More costly than MDF
2. Solid Wood
Solid wood offers a stunning warm organic feel.
Durable and versatile
The unit can be sanded and varnished.
Prone to expand and warp in the humid environment over time
Stainless steel provides a hygienic kitchen environment.
Aesthetic appearance (modern touch and sleek look)
Industrial and loft styles
Temperature change resistance
Bacteria and dirt resistance
Susceptible to scratching and denting
Cabinet Coating Material
The common coats of kitchen cabinets include:
Veneer --- a thin decorative covering of fine wood
PVC Laminate----a plastic material that imitates wood or stone
Melamine --- a strong hard plastic material
Thermofoil --- a plastic material that has a high-quality sheen
A flat panel of a fine slice of wood is attached to MDFs and particle boards. The grain appearance on veneer depends on the wood species, such as mahogany, ebony and teak.
Cracking and splitting resistance
High quality finishes
Low water resistance
More maintenance (polishing and varnishing)
Can't be repaired once damaged
2. PVC Laminate
It is a plastic product made from polymer resins and papers through pressure and heat, which is a substitute for wood or stone.
Wood and stone substitute
Low water resistance (crack, peel or discolour in damp environments).
It is commonly applied to particle board, MDF and plywood and comes in a variety of colours, patterns, sizes and thicknesses.
Shatter and scratch resistance
Versatility in colours and patterns
Susceptible to chipping
It is a thin layer of vinyl (a plastic material) that is thermoformed to be the profile of an underlying engineered wood core such as particle board, MDF and plywood. Thermofoil has a high-quality sheen and may incorporate metallic elements in its finish.
Smooth and seamless look
Delamination and peeling at the edges
Difficult to paint
Vulnerable to heat and moisture