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How to Choose the Best Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets

The world of kitchen cabinetry is vast, but once you start searching for suitable cabinets to fit your kitchen aesthetic and everyday needs, you'll quickly see that all cabinets are not created equal. Different materials have their own special advantages or disadvantages, and it's essential to know your way around the vast array of substances that are predominately used to manufacture kitchen cabinets. Your assessment of cabinets should begin with a thorough analysis of your cooking habits and overall lifestyle. For example, suppose you or members of your household enjoy cooking. In this case, having durable cabinets that optimize your storage capacity would be the best choice.

Let's Talk Wood

Cabinets come in multiple finishes and can be made with many different types of wood. Hardwood cabinets are solid wood frames made out of hickory or maple. This type of cabinet is a good choice if durability, dent resistance, and quality are of the utmost importance. It's important not to confuse hardwood with softer woods such as walnut or mahogany because these materials are not as durable. Other woods that you can expect to see on the market is plywood, fiberboard, and veneer. These wood types vary in price and quality, and it's important to thoroughly inquire about how each is crafted before purchasing. For example, plywood comes in different grades, and the best plywood you can buy should have a AA grade. Particleboard is closely related to fiberboard but has a much lower density. The good thing about this type of material is that it's inexpensive, but it scores low on the durability scale and doesn't perform well when wet.

Modern Looks

Once you start your shopping, you'll notice that wood dominates the market, but if you're looking for a modern look that will withstand the test of time when it comes to performance, then stainless steel, aluminum, glass, and polyethylene are some of the best choices you can make. If you have pets or an active household, then you should be aware that aluminum and stainless steel are susceptible to fingerprints and scratches. Polyethylene cabinetry is available in a wide array of colors, and it has marine-grade durability. Glass cabinets are perfect for displaying fine dinner wear, but it isn't as resilient as other materials.

The Case for Custom Cabinets

For a picturesque fit, full space utilization, and control over your organizational methods, fully custom cabinets are the way to go. Custom cabinetry is architected and fitted to your kitchen by a professional carpenter, and your needs and ideas guide this creation. If you decide to go this route and make the big investment, be sure to compare semi-custom and custom quotes. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, a complete set of custom cabinets could be cheaper than going the semi-custom route because small nuances (sloped floors or crooked windows) can quickly turn semi-custom cabinetry work into a fully customized job.

Making the Right Choice for You

The absolute best quality cabinets you can get for your budget is the right choice, and remember that low-quality cabinets will cost you more in the long run. Although the style may look nice, materials that sag or are too weak to hold screws can cause a catastrophe, and taking the time to ask educated questions about the craftsmanship of your cabinets can save you a big headache in the future. The best cabinet you can buy will be made out of hardwood, plywood, polyethylene, or stainless steel because each of these materials has extremely high performance ratings.


Abigail Baker is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with outdoor kitchen cabinet retailer,


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