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    Cabinet Materials Guide

    Cabinet Materials Guide

    Cabinet Materials Guide

    Updating your kitchen can positively influence property value, but beyond that, a kitchen makeover can make the space more functional and appealing. One of the most important features of any kitchen is the cabinetry. The right cabinetry will provide both form and function, upgrading the look of your kitchen while being protective and easy to use.

    Kitchen cabinets are available in various materials, each offering different advantages and considerations. With several options on the market, choosing the right material can be tricky. In this comprehensive guide, we discuss what each material has to offer so that you can select the best material for your cabinet doors. 

    The Different Types of Cabinet Materials

    Cabinets are made of a range of materials — kitchen cabinets might use one type of material or many different materials to make up the overall structure. For example, cabinets can have solid wood boxes and glass frame doors. They can also use a plywood base with veneer applications or a plywood cabinet box with solid wood frames and doors.

    Here are the most common cabinet materials available today.


    Wood is among the most popular kitchen cabinet materials due to its natural elegance, versatility and durability. Solid wood cabinets are available in a wide range of colors and grains. You can easily customize them with paints and stains, and they work well with modern kitchen trends. Alder, cherry, hickory, maple, walnut, white oak, red oak and poplar are some of the best woods for cabinet doors.

    Solid wood cabinets can be pricier and require more maintenance than other options. They can fade when exposed to direct sunlight and are prone to warping, shrinking or expanding with humidity changes. Still, solid wood cabinets are a worthwhile investment. When maintained and treated properly, wood can withstand decades of use before needing replacing.

    If the higher cost of natural wood doesn’t suit your budget, you can also consider cabinets with wood veneers. This material is made with thin strips of solid hardwood. The material is applied over plywood or medium-density fiberwood (MDF) cabinet panels. Wood veneers are more affordable and easier to maintain, although they are more susceptible to water damage.


    Plywood is a highly common cabinet material due to its affordability. Plywood consists of layers of thinly sliced wood slabs. This cabinet material is notably robust, making it an excellent choice for longevity. It’s less expensive than solid wood and more resistant to water damage. However, plywood can be more of an investment than other engineered woods, and lower-quality varieties are known to splinter easily.


    If you’re after a modern, breezy kitchen design, glass cabinet door panels are a trendy option and one of the most popular cabinet door alternatives. These cabinets often show off the dishware stored inside, which can be used for decor purposes. However, glass cabinet doors don’t need to expose cabinet contents — you can choose between ribbed, opaque and shiny glass finishes to achieve a balance.

    Glass cabinet doors are scratch- and stain-resistant. While glass is easy to clean, it’s not the most versatile material because you won’t be able to alter the glass panels without reinstalling them.


    Thermofoil cabinets are made with a foil-like material vacuum-sealed over MDF with heat. High gloss finishes offer a shiny, chic appearance that can brighten up your kitchen.

    While thermofoil cabinets are an inexpensive kitchen cabinet material that is easy to clean and relatively resistant to warping, they are prone to scratches, and repainting or resurfacing them can prove challenging. Thermofoil is also heat-sensitive and can show fingerprints and dirt easily.

    Medium-Density Fiberboard

    MDF is an engineered wood variant made with wood fibers, resin and glue. This cabinet material is durable and offers the appearance of solid wood cabinets without the hefty price tag. Medium-density fiberboard is made with less pressure than high-density fiberboard, and it is commonly used as a cabinet surface layer as with veneers.

    MDF is an affordable engineered wood. It’s easy to paint and customize and offers moderate durability and a lightweight nature. However, MDF is not as durable as high-density fiberboard and is sensitive to heat.

    High-Density Fiberboard

    High-density fiberboard (HDF) is more durable than MDF as it’s made with more pressure. This material is robust, even in humid environments. Still, HDF is prone to water damage, and it doesn’t hold nails and screws as well as other cabinet materials. Additionally, HDF doesn’t offer a wood grain and has a shorter life span than other hardwood materials.


    Laminate kitchen cabinets are made from a combination of resin and paper pressed together using heat. Laminate is a surface material applied onto plywood or another type of fiberboard used for the cabinet’s body.

    This material is available in different qualities — high-pressure laminate is less prone to cracks and chips than low-pressure varieties. However, low-pressure laminate is more affordable.

    While laminate is easy to clean, affordable and pressure-durable, it can’t be repaired, and it’s less durable than solid wood.


    Melamine is a similar material to laminate. It’s made from resin and paper that is pressed together with heat. However, it’s notably cheaper than laminate.

    While melamine is scratch-resistant, durable and accessible, it is a lower-quality wood material that doesn’t offer as much longevity. This material is the most affordable option.

    Cost-Efficient Cabinet Door Matzerials for Remodelers

    Cost-Efficient Cabinet Door Matzerials for Remodelers

    Remodeling a kitchen can be costly. Fortunately, there are ways to update cabinets on a budget. While opting for an affordable cabinet material is a practical solution, it’s also wise to prioritize durability and longevity when shopping for affordable kitchen cabinetry. While solid wood and plywood are durable materials to choose from, laminate, thermofoil and MDF are the more affordable options that offer substantial durability.

    You can replace the entire structure or dress up existing cabinets with new doors when updating the cabinets. If you choose this option, the cabinet boxes must be in good condition. According to data from Forbes, replacing kitchen cabinets can cost an average of $8,200, though you could spend more or less depending on the cabinet material and number of cabinets. 

    You can also reface your existing cabinets. This process entails replacing the doors, hardware and cabinet skin panels. Refacing is a pocket-friendly way to elevate affordable cabinet materials to make them seem high-end. Solid wood veneers and brass or chrome finish handles can make affordable MDF cabinets seem like luxury installations.

    Shop Quality Kitchen Cabinetry at Bath, Kitchen & Tile

    Bath, Kitchen & Tile is a leading supplier of premium kitchen cabinetry. We also provide kitchen appliances, tiling and other fixtures that can complete your kitchen and bathroom remodel projects. With competitive pricing, quality products and over six decades of experience as an industry leader, we have the materials and knowledge to make your renovation goals a reality.

    Browse our vast range of kitchen cabinets, including wood, thermofoil and more, to start your kitchen transformation today. We have showrooms in Delaware and Maryland, so you can also visit us in person to view our product selection. Ready to get started with your project? Schedule a free design consultation today!

    Shop Quality Kitchen Cabinetry at Bath, Kitchen & Tile

    Visit Our Showrooms

    Bath, Kitchen & Tile is a leading supplier of cabinets, appliances, tiles and other fixtures for your bathroom or kitchen remodel. With bathroom and kitchen showrooms across Delaware and Maryland, you can visit us throughout the week to move your project forward. We offer a competitive price guarantee, making us the preferred local supply source by homeowners and contractors. Contact us for more information!

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