Two people looking at kitchen cabinet material options at a store.


Choosing Quality Kitchen Cabinet Material

It’s said that the kitchen is the heart of the home and as the element with the highest visual impact in your kitchen, cabinets set the tone for the overall look and feel of your space. Additionally, due to their high surface area, cabinets can be one of the more expensive elements of any kitchen remodel and the materials you choose will determine the durability, maintenance, changeability, and overall look of the cabinetry and your kitchen space. 

Components of Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are essentially a simple box with additional components that add style and function. Different materials are often used for different parts of a cabinet for both affordability and durability. The basic cabinet components include:

  • Cabinet box
  • Cabinet shelves
  • Cabinet door styles: frameless, framed, inset, overlay
  • Cabinet end panels
  • Hinges
  • Drawer box
  • Drawer fronts
  • Drawer slides

The Most Commonly Used Kitchen Cabinet Materials Oak kitchen cabinetry with black knobs and pull handles.

There are a variety of wood and wood-looking kitchen cabinet materials that can give a different feel to the space, whether you’re going for a traditional or contemporary design, or something unique.

  1. Solid Wood

Solid wood cabinets are the most common choice for kitchen cabinets thanks to their wide variation and scratch- and dent-resistant nature. Though they cost more, many homeowners use wood for face frames and drawers and choose another material for the cabinet boxes.

  1. Wood Veneer

Composed of thin slices of hardwood affixed to plywood, medium-density fiberboard, or particle board, wood veneer is a cost-effective and beautiful alternative to solid wood. Compared to other materials, veneer cabinets are easy to maintain.

  1. Thermofoil

This wood alternative utilizes a vinyl film applied over particleboard and laminate surfaces and comes in a variety of colors and designs. Thermofoil is water-resistant, affordable, and easy to clean.

  1. Laminate

Crafted from wood resins and paper that are compressed and heated into a solid form, high-pressure laminate varieties are popular as a durable and impact-resistant cabinet choice. Keep in mind that they cannot be painted or stained, making future remodels difficult.

  1. Melamine

An affordable alternative to laminate, melamine is similarly crafted from polymer resins and paper fitted on particleboard. Melamine is completely waterproof and easy to clean but has a high dent and damage risk.

Common Kitchen Cabinet Box Materials

Engineered wood products are typically used instead of solid wood for kitchen cabinet boxes and shelving because they are cost-effective and just as reliable. They are a great option for homeowners who want to save on non-visible elements and invest in other areas like countertop surfaces, added storage, or kitchen appliances. While all of these materials can be used for doors and drawer fronts, they are most commonly used for cabinet boxes and shelving.

  1. Plywood

Plywood cabinets come in different grades of durability, with the highest grade being used for cabinet doors that can be stained and sealed and the lower grades more suitable for being painted or used for cabinet boxes and shelving. Plywood is both affordable and easy to repair.

  1. Particle Board

Light and affordable, homeowners prefer to use particle board for cabinet boxes and shelves as it can’t be painted or stained and does not have a smooth surface due to the variation of wood particles. Particle boards are also susceptible to moisture damage and tend to work best in drawer boxes.

  1. Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Much like particle board, MDF is made from wood-based or recycled wood but instead uses wood fibers. Unlike particle board, MDF is easy to paint and stain and is resistant to moisture and warping.

  1. Stainless Steel

Typically used in industrial settings, stainless steel cabinets are not as popular with homeowners (though they are a stain-resistant and easy-to-clean option); however, some homeowners opt for metal cabinets with wooden doors.

Work With Neil Kelly To Plan Your Kitchen Remodel

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right cabinet materials for your kitchen remodeling project. Neil Kelly’s dedicated designers will walk you through every step of the process. From examining the way you use your kitchen to considering the overall layout, the Neil Kelly team combines function and style when designing the kitchen of your dreams.

Schedule your complimentary design consultation today.