Tips for Choosing the ideal Kitchen Cabinet Material

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Published: 11th July 2012
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The Importance of Kitchen Cabinets

A kitchen cabinet should not just be all about looking nice nor storing items. It serves as a reflection of your style and the care you put into your home. The face of the kitchen cabinet along with its lifespan will serve you well as you prepare meals and entertain guests inside your home.

Many kitchen cabinets simply look good or are cheap so homeowners get taken in easily. But over the years these kitchen cabinets may fade, get ruined and even become beyond repair. While there isnít a perfect kitchen cabinet yet, you can find different types of materials for a kitchen cabinet that will suit your needs. Whether it is utilitarian, stylish or homey, your kitchen cabinet will surely be available.

For easy reference on what an ideal kitchen cabinet should be, take a look at the guide below. This shows the different characteristics of a good kitchen cabinet as well as what kind of materials they are made of. Depending on your own vision of your kitchen and the amount of use it will see, different materials are available for you. There are affordable and high quality pieces that will be sure to fit into a kitchen of your design.

Properties of an Ideal Kitchen Cabinet

The kitchen is sure to give plenty of challenges for any kitchen cabinet. Heat, moisture and different food stains are sure to be problems. A good kitchen cabinet should be able to take any challenge the kitchen will throw at it. See the list below to know what a good kitchen cabinet should have.


As you expect the kitchen to be a very wet place, a kitchen cabinet should be waterproof or at the very least, water resistant. Water can cause materials to rot or lose their shape. Materials that absorb or take on water will also become heavy causing strain on the support and joints.

Chipping and Breaking

A kitchen cabinet will take all sorts of punishment. Constantly being opened and having pots and pans banged against doors can cause it to chip, crack or break. Tough materials can be impact resistant. If any small chipping, dents or breaks occur then you may want to have a kitchen cabinet than can be easily repaired.

Choices for Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid in a kitchen cabinet, youíll need to know what materials are available for you. These materials will have their own strengths and weaknesses. Itís up to you to choose which ones are most suitable for you and your kitchen.

Stainless Steel Ė This material is very durable and wonít rust or stain. Many professional kitchens love this material as it is easy to clean and lasts long. Be aware that this can still dent especially if the metal is thin. Make sure that frames and joints are properly sealed so they donít fall apart easily. The material is also available in a variety of finishes and with different accents. You can avoid the cold look of stainless steel by going for different accents such as wood or even colored plastic.

Stainless steel does tend to track fingerprints, especially with all the grease that your hands will be exposed to in the kitchen. While this is annoying, fingerprints can easily be wiped away with a paper towel. Maintenance is easy as you just need to wipe off any stain.

Thermofoil Kitchen Cabinets Ė Thermofoil is basically a vinyl finish that is fused on a surface using heat. The core board is usually MDF but solid wood boards can also be used. Thermofoil is great since it can be fully customized to suit any design. You can have thermofoil finishes made to order. Be sure however that the thermofoil finish is of good quality so water wonít seep in and the finish wonít crack over time. If the base board material is MDF, make sure it is of high grade. MDF will easily fall apart when it takes on water.

Remember that thermofoil cabinets are very susceptible to heat. Make sure that if you do place thermofoil cabinets next to ovens and stoves that a heat shield is installed. This will save you plenty of headaches down the road.

Wood Cabinets Ė teak and oak are usual popular choices for wood cabinets. Plywood is also a common material for kitchen cabinets. For kitchen countertops however you may want to go for solid wood. The wood should be treated with a waterproof finish so moisture wonít seep in. Wood has a nice solid feel to it and is quieter than metal kitchen cabinets. You do need to place a new finish once in awhile to keep it looking fresh.

What you Want and Need

Your ideal kitchen cabinet should be a balance or what you want and what you need. It also should take into consideration what you can fit into your kitchen. If youíre starting from scratch then you do have more leeway in terms of your options. If you are just updating your kitchen then you should consider just how large of a change you can manage.

Form and Function

Custom kitchens arenít just about style. It must be a marriage of form and function. Kitchens should look nice but also be efficient to work in. The joy of cooking and having guests over is doubled with am attractive and efficient workspace.

Thermofoil cabinets are cheaper but durability may sometimes be an issue. If you use the kitchen lightly and want a sleek and customizable design then this may be the option for you. Take note however that once the thermofoil finish fades or peels away, it almost always canít be resurfaced with a new thermofoil.

What will work for You

With the many different options for a kitchen cabinet out in the market, the choice really is up to you. If you are having a difficult time in choosing you may want to ask yourself what level of use will your kitchen see and how much maintenance are you comfortable with.

By considering the different properties each material has with what you want and need, youíll have any easy choice in which material to use. Now that you know what an ideal kitchen cabinet should be, have fun looking at all the options available for you!
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