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Choosing Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Last modified: 2022-12-03 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Cynthia Pigeon

Is your kitchen clad with melamine cabinets and looking duller than ever? Have you forgotten the last time you redecorated your kitchen? Either way, your cabinets are robbing you of your love of cooking and you sure don't want to miss out on new storage ergonomics. So it's about time you give your kitchen some pizzazz!

Forget about a pristine and polished kitchen. Nowadays, natural materials such as wood, marble, and untreated copper are all the rage. These somewhat durable materials are highly sought after. Whether in solid or veneer form, the natural wood texture in which the grain is clearly visible is trending! Mix and match with contrasting accessories, from bar or counter stools to a stainless steel coffee machine. This type of design incorporates geometric patterns that create depth and more intense colour schemes than the pastel hues of the past.

Not quite ready to make the organic leap? Thermoplastics are available in a variety of finishes and colours, as well as amalgams of materials such as stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and Plexiglas, all of which offer numerous possibilities. Although a matte finish is easier to clean, there is nothing stopping you from opting for a pearl, semi-gloss, or gloss finish. 

What Materials Are Used for Kitchen Cabinets?

Before you get started, these articles might interest you:

Wood or lacquer cabinets

Wood or lacquer kitchen cabinets

Source: Steve Larkin

You could opt for solid wood. No two pieces of wood are the same: the irregularities and variations of each are shaped by its particular environment. With kitchen cabinets, manufacturers treat solid wood to ensure a nice consistency throughout.

Among the wide range of species available are cherry, red oak, white oak, maple, wild cherry, rustic cherry, walnut, African mahogany, and white. Solid wood is easy to maintain, has a timeless style, creates a warm and inviting ambiance, is very durable, and is easy to work with.

Another alternative to solid wood is veneer. The latter consists of a thin plank of real wood glued to an MDF panel, and is available in the same species as solid wood. This option is more eco-friendly since it requires less wood and is less expensive, while offering better resistance to humidity.

You can also choose from a variety of exotic species: African mahogany, curly anigre, bamboo, English sycamore, wenge, and Zebrano, all of which will help you capture the richness of the rainforest right in your northern hemisphere kitchen.

Opaque lacquer consists of applying a glossy paint finish on your cabinet panels to create a smooth and uniform look. Once your panels are thoroughly processed, it's a matter of applying thin coats of lacquer and then gently sanding them.

The objective here is to make the surface smooth and level by exposing the actual pigments, no matter which colour is chosen from the near-limitless range. This process is used on all kitchen cabinet models and its sheen is long-lasting.  

MDF, Polymer or Acrylic Cabinets

MDF, Polymer or Acrylic Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Steve Larkin

If you're against systematic tree cutting, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), manufactured from wood prunings and wood processing waste, might interest you. Unlike raw wood, which could cause flatness and surface problems, MDF panels have dimensional stability and compactness given through thermosetting adhesives, providing such panels with mechanical characteristics. Using this material results in flawless kitchen cabinets that’ll retain their shape. Although it is cheaper than solid wood, using it means that you will have to forego a natural aesthetic.  

An MDF panel, the first option, is brought forth by technological advancements that have resulted in heated and moulded plastic sheets (PVC) to create polymer kitchen cabinet panels. Their glossy finish replaces lacquer with a textured finish that adds character and accentuates contrasting textures. It also has a very velvety matte finish that resembles opaque lacquer. Polymer cabinets allow for a wide range of designs, seamless and consistent colours and finishes, and realistic wood effects. In addition, the glossy finish isn't expensive.

With an MDF panel, the other option is to coat it entirely with a 1.4 mm thick acrylic film with a glossy finish. The gloss and colour of this material won't fade over time, as it resists prolonged exposure to UV rays and moisture. These kitchen cabinets are only available in a gloss finish, are less expensive than a lacquer finish, and can include an aluminum trim that cuts through each cabinet to match the metal elements in your kitchen.    

Laminate, Polyester or Melamine Cabinets

Laminate, Polyester or Melamine Kitchen Cabinets

Source : Unsplash

For barely a few years now, European laminate has been making its mark in North America. It's considered part of the laminate family of products, along with kitchen countertops and floating floors. It has the same water, moisture and heavy-duty resistance features, while also being low maintenance. This type of kitchen cabinet door can be pressed to create a texture and design according to the desired pattern: wood grain, granite effect, stone, or geometric shape. It's also possible to have built-in handles.

Polyester kitchen cabinets are similar to genuine wood cabinets, but at a fraction of the price. This amalgam of MDF and melamine is coated with polyester and is more durable than melamine, low maintenance, and scratch-resistant. However, experts warn of its low resistance to heat, moisture, and water. Be mindful of using this material in the kitchen!  

A predisposed and cost-effective choice, 1980s melamine has given way to new finishes and colours to keep up with today's designs.

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How to Purchase Kitchen Cabinet Doors

When it comes to changing your kitchen cabinets, you’ve got an array of options. You can choose to purchase pre-assembled kitchens; IKEA, the reliable and cost-effective Swedish design, offers the TORHAMN kitchen, that combines functionality with simplicity, all the while showcasing the unique desirability of wood. 

You can also buy easily-assembled modular cabinets at big box stores and well-known retailers in Quebec. Also, for those who need to actually experience their kitchen's future design, some manufacturers have designed and installed showrooms that you can visit. The last option would be to purchase your cabinets from a cabinetmaker or manufacturer in your area who has remodelled kitchens in your neighbourhood. 

What’s the New Storage Ergonomics?

Originally, a rotating platform built under a kitchen counter’s corner space facilitated access to items stored in the back. Instead of having to bend over and stick your head in to be able to grab the pot handle, this ergonomic invention only required a hand movement.

Half a century later, excessive cleaning, a dirt aversion, and a bacteria phobia have merged to create motorized doors, such as the built-in waste container that can be opened with a quick knee tap. In addition, cabinet doors open upward making it easier to access its contents. In addition to mechanical devices, electrical devices allow you to silently open and close your cabinet doors with a simple finger tap. Magic!

​​For some examples of kitchen renovation projects completed by contractors affiliated with, take a peek at our article 10 Examples of Kitchen Renovation Projects.

Planning a kitchen renovation project? Check out our Kitchen Renovation Guide to find tons of relevant information.

French author: R.M.P.

Cover image source: Steve Larkin

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