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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

 

The quality of a kitchen depends on the combination of:

  • Materials used for the structural frame of the cabinets
  • The cabinet and countertop materials
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Lighting

 

Structural Frame

Kitchens are most commonly built using standard medium density fibreboard, called MDF. MDF may be flat, versatile and with a nice surface finish, but when the edges of MDF gets water damaged, it swells, splits and begins to decay - with way of fixing it.

MR MDF

However, many kitchen suppliers now use a moisture resistant MDF, called MR grade MDF.MR MDF is bound together with different resins, and is less susceptible to swelling and splitting through moisture absorption.

As added protection, avoid sitting MDF cabinet edges on the floor - use separate feet, commonly used in many kitchen cabinets for levelling kitchens [floors are often not as level as one thinks - and almost never so in older homes.

Alternatively, you can use solid timber or PVC packing strips between the MDF and the floor. Bit like using a damp proof course DPC between the foundation of your house and the cladding.

 

Cabinet & Drawer Finish

High Gloss 2 Pot Paint

MDF can be painted using a high gloss two pot mix to give a durable, stylish finish, and has the advantage that it can be repaired and colour changed.

Melamine

Most home owners using MDF use a melamine-surfaced MDF. Melamine is easy to clean, durable and is available in a wide colour range, including woodgrains. Investigate whether the supplier uses a thin iron-on style melamine strips which result in hard-sharp corners or the better quality melamine with its bevelled thicker edges.

Shrink Wrap PVC [Vinyl]

A contoured cupboard can be obtained using a highly durable vinyl coating which is vacuum pressed onto the MDF giving a very stylish contemporary finish.

Wood

Solid or laminated timber is the most expensive door option but suits those who prefer a very traditional, country look kitchen. Wooden cabinets must be custom made by a cabinet-making or joinery firm.

Next: Kitchen Countertop Materials

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