What types of materials can I use for my kitchen cabinets?

October 31, 2014

Shopping for your kitchen remodel? You might not even realize the wide selection there is of types of materials for kitchen cabinets.

What types of materials can I use for my kitchen cabinets?

Hardwood: the most common cabinet option

You’re probably already familiar with wooden kitchen cabinets, but do you know how many different types of wood you have to choose from? There's a wide selection of hardwood (and one softwood!) available for use in kitchen cabinets, and they each have distinct features.

Oak – It's available in both red oak and white oak varieties. Red oak is the more common oak; it is strong, durable and an affordable choice for most and features pronounced grain patterns and looks best with traditional decor. White oak has a more subtle grain than red and is slightly stronger. It is often used in custom cabinetry.

Hard maple – Hard maple is more expensive than oak and offers a fine grain and light colour. Maple is well suited to more contemporary spaces.

Hickory – It has a similar grain pattern to oak and is of comparable strength. It can be stained, but it is most commonly given a clear or natural finish and used in kitchens that pair well with its rustic style.

Cherry – A durable wood that features a smooth, fine grain and a red to reddish-brown colouring, cherry is a good choice for traditional, formal kitchens. It can also work well in more contemporary surroundings.

Birch – Features a fine-grain and is slightly darker in colour than maple. The right finish can help birch pass as one of its more expensive counterparts, like maple or cherry.

Ash – A hardwood of the same approximate strength and durability as oak but comes in a much lighter colour. Makes a great choice for contemporary kitchens, especially when stained with a clear finish.

Pine – The only softwood commonly used in kitchen cabinetry. Pine is pale yellow, can be stained and often features many knots. It’s a good choice for country or rustic kitchens.

Alternatives to wood cabinets

If you can’t afford or simply don’t care for wood cabinetry, there are other options: stainless steel, Thermofoil and laminate. If your budget is smaller, Thermofoil and laminate kitchen cabinets might fit the bill. These are surface finishes or veneers that are applied over a core material like particleboard. They can be installed to mimic the look of wood, or you can go for something more unique and opt for laminate finishes in a rainbow of colours.

Stainless steel is an appealing choice for those seeking a modern/industrial look, but the initial cost of stainless steel cabinets is significant, so make sure there’s room in your budget.

Options for the environmentally conscious

Environmentally friendly “green” kitchens and stylish updates aren’t mutually exclusive. If you are after an eco-friendly cabinetry option, consider bamboo or Lyptus (Lyptus is the trade name of a two-species hybrid eucalyptus tree). Both of these options come from highly renewable resources and give your kitchen a modern feel. Note, however, that these types of cabinets are expensive to install.

Whether you choose a traditional hardwood, a budget-conscious laminate or an earth-friendly bamboo, the wide range of available types of materials for kitchen cabinets ensure you’ll be able to make a choice that suits your unique tastes.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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