Understanding Kitchen Cabinet Materials

When you design a new kitchen, you have a lot of decisions to make. This is true for kitchens in a new construction home and for kitchen remodel projects. While planning a new kitchen, one important decision is the type of material for your kitchen cabinets.

Different materials can provide a different look for your kitchen, and the quality of the material is important for how well the cabinets will stand up over time. In this post, we are going to look at some of the most popular kitchen cabinet materials.

kitchen remodel rochester mn


Hardwood cabinets offer a good option because it is a durable material and you have a lot of options for the type of wood and the finish. Dings and scratches can be fixed and the wood can be refinished to extend the life of the cabinets. If you are considering hardwood cabinetry, the most common options are oak, maple and cherry.

Oak is a popular material for custom cabinets, but you can find semicustom and stock options. Both red oak and white oak are very durable, but white oak has a slight edge in durability. That said, red oak tends to be a little more popular because it has a pronounced grain.

With maple, you have a fine-grain wood with a lighter color. It is slightly more expensive than the varieties of oak that are available, but it is a great material for custom cabinetry. Maple takes a stain well, but many homeowners choose to go with a natural finish to highlight the quality of the wood.

Cherry is a strong, durable wood that offers a versatile array of design options. This is another fine-grain wood, and it has a reddish-brown color. Cabinets made from cherry are likely to darken with age. The rich, dark color of aged cherry is a favorite among the makers of fine furniture and cabinets.

While cherry, maple and oak happen to be some of the most popular hardwood options, the list does not end there. If you are interested in hardwood cabinets, you could consider materials like ash, birch or hickory.

Other Materials

Hardwood cabinets are great, but they can be expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of materials that are more affordable. You can often use these other materials with wood veneers if you still want the look of hardwood without having to pay for it. Along with that, you also have a range of other style options if you go with laminate covers on a cheaper base material.

Plywood happens to be one of the best materials for making cabinets. It is very strong and durable, and of all your options, it has the best strength to weight ratio. It can be covered with a hardwood veneer to make it look like hardwood cabinets and it is also used as a base for some cabinets that have laminate exteriors.

If you are looking for something more affordable than plywood, you could consider MDF. This is a material made from things like sawdust and recycled wood material. The wood material is mixed with resins and wax and then pressed into boards using high heat and intense pressure. This material is strong and durable, and it is very easy to work with.

Particleboard is similar to MDF in that it is made from things like sawdust and wood chips that are bonded together using resins, but it is not as dense or as strong. It can be covered with a veneer or laminate to improve the appearance and it is fairly light when compared to some of the other cabinet materials available. While it is suitable for making cabinets, it is the least durable of the materials mentioned here. It’s main advantage is that it is inexpensive.