Is your kitchen badly in need of a redesign? Then you should first consider new kitchen cabinets. After all, they’re the biggest part of your kitchen. Changing your cabinets will change the entire feel of the room. But with so many different cabinet materials, it can be tough to decide which one is right for your kitchen.
What Are the Best Cabinet Materials for Your Kitchen?
There are many factors to consider – including durability, maintenance, cost, and appearance. So we’ll take a look at the different options available to you.
Most cabinets are made from hardwoods. Sometimes they are made from solid hardwood. But other times, the hardwoods are applied as a veneer over a substrate to reduce costs. In either case, it is vital that the wood is finished on all sides before being installed. Wood warps easily as its moisture content changes and you want to prevent any possibility of warping.
There are many different types of wood from which to choose:
Red or White Oak
Strong and durable, red oak is also relatively inexpensive. With pronounced grain patterns, it’s one of the most frequently used woods for traditional cabinets. Red oak is available in a wide range of styles and finishes and can be used for stock, semi-custom, and custom-made cabinets. White oak is as durable as red oak, but a bit stronger. It has a more subtle grain pattern and is often quarter-sawn for custom cabinetry. It’s also more expensive.
Ash if a good choice for a more contemporary look. Especially when it is given a clear or natural finish. It’s similar in strength and durability to oak, but is lighter in color and has straight-grain patterns. Its generally not available as a stock option and its availability is limited in semi-custom lines. Ash is most often seen only in custom work.
If you’re looking for a beautiful wood that is both durable and has great visual appeal, then cherry is your best bet. Plus, cherry can potentially darken and improve over time. Cherry offers a luxury wood appearance that can be likened to mahogany or ebony, without the exorbitant price tag. It does still fall in the medium-to-high range of cost though. As an added bonus, cherry cabinets are also considered one of the six trends for the best kitchen cabinets in 2018.
Less dense and slightly more expensive than oak, hard maple is a fine-grain and light-color wood. Similar to ash, it takes on a more contemporary style when given a clear or natural finish. Though darker stains are also attractive. Maple is a popular choice for semi-custom and custom cabinets.
Slightly darker than maple, birch is a durable, versatile fine-grain wood that takes finishes well. In fact, birch can be stained to achieve a pretty believable cherry or maple wood appearance. But since it’s also prone to some irregular coloring, birch is relatively inexpensive. It’s a good choice in both stock and semi-custom lines.
Knotty or White Pine
Pine is the top choice for the traditional “country” kitchen. And there are two subspecies from which to choose. With its trademark visible knots and extensive markings, knotty pine has a truly rustic, down-home appeal. And designers say it’s making a comeback. But white pine also maintains a rustic look, without all of the markings. It offers up a feel that’s a little simpler and lighter. And it’s also easier to blend with other design elements. Regardless of which one you choose, it must be noted that pine is a very soft wood. So you’ll need to be okay with some potential dents and scratches, which happen easily with pine.
If you really want wood but you have a tight budget, wood veneer cabinets are an affordable solution. With wood veneers, pieces of real hardwood that are adhered to a less expensive material, such as plywood or some other wood composite. Wood veneers can be customized, stained, and are as versatile as regular wood. But because the wood is in thinner strips, these cabinets tend to change color over time. They’re also easily scratched.
Though often considered wood, bamboo is actually a grass. So we’re giving it its own category. Over the years, bamboo has become a common material for high-end “wood” flooring. But now it’s proving to be an extremely sturdy and high-quality offering for cabinets as well. Bamboo is very strong and resistant to denting or chipping. Yet it has a lustrous appearance. In terms of cabinets, it’s generally available in either flat/slab or Shaker-style forms. And it’s on the higher-end in terms of cost. While you could conceivably custom order it in any design or style, this is only a realistic plan if money is absolutely no object because it would cost a premium.
Veering away from wood, wood veneer, and wood-like cabinets for a moment, laminate kitchen cabinets are another wallet-friendly option. Pre-fabricated will run the cheapest, though semi-custom and custom cabinets are available for a bit more. Laminate kitchen cabinets are incredibly easy to clean. And they’re almost as durable as most wood species cabinets. But if a laminate cabinet gets chipped, you’re looking at a difficult repair that could require the total replacement of the door or frame. Another potential problem is the glue that holds the layers of laminate material together can become loose over time, causing the laminate to start peeling. So with laminate, you have to weigh out whether the savings are worth the potential trouble.
4. Stainless Steel
Cabinets don’t come any more durable than those made from stainless steel. They’ll never warp or crack. Stainless steel kitchen cabinets can also easily combine with other more natural materials like wood to create some interesting contrast. With their cool and shiny sheen, they’re the perfect solution for a very modern kitchen with a sleek industrial look. However even designers agree that it’s easy to have too much stainless steel in a kitchen.
Are You Ready to Tackle Your Kitchen Redesign?
We hope that you now have a better understanding of all the different cabinet materials available to you. If you’re not quite ready to start tearing down the old cabinets, that’s okay, choosing the right cabinet takes time.
So take a look at our huge selection of cabinets and finishes to get some inspiration. You might just find that perfect cabinet!