When it comes to any residential renovation project that requires the replacement of cabinetry, whether it’s for a kitchen, bathroom or a bedroom closets, what goes into making the cabinet is just as important as how it looks. With a wide range of materials to choose from, selecting the right option based on purpose of the project, your budget and even the location of your cabinetry will be something that would need to be strongly considered when making your choice.
In the world of residential and commercial cabinetry, a couple of truths ring true. First, is that you will always “get what you pay for” and the second is that you should “never judge a book by its cover.” As a consumer, you should be aware that looking at a beautiful, eye-catching piece of cabinetry does not necessarily mean that the highest quality standards and craftsmanship was placed into manufacturing the product. However, a lot of times that is okay if the buyer know exactly what he or she is buying, and that the price fits the quality of the purchase. But as a buyer, you should know the pros and cons of the common material used in cabinetry and you should be aware of your project goals.
Beginning from lowest to highest on durability and cost, melamine offers an inexpensive option to buyers on a budget. These cabinets are constructed by using a resin, made by combining melamine and formaldehyde, to create a laminate under pressure and heat. The resulting sheet is then and bonded with glue, usually to particle board. However, over time, melamine cabinets are notorious for swelling, is known to quickly show wear and tear, and it has the tendency to look just as inexpensive as its price tag.
Like melamine, thermofoil is a plastic-coated cabinet finish that uses a thin film that is heated and molded over engineered medium-density fiberboard, or MDF. It can offer a longer lasting alternative to melamine cabinets that gives consumers a greater selection of colors and styles. Furthermore, it is well known for its high quality sheen, and some finishes include wood grain, and can even have metallic elements. Thermofoil can also be applied to existing cabinet doors. Both melamine and thermofoil cabinets are easy to maintain.
Finally, if your budget allows, natural solid wood provides one of the highest level of durability, strength and beauty available in the market today. Unlike engineered wood products, the quality of the solid wood is dependent on the species, whether it would be oak, maple or cherry. In general though, wood is regarded as a reliably better choice for cabinetry than MDF for its strength, although both can deliver a visually stunning piece of cabinetry. And with better technologies and manufacturing processes coming down the pipe, MDF can be become the leading player in the cabinetry market.
So whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or real estate investor there is always a cabinet available to meet your requirements. The important thing is to know what you expect from your cabinets in the near and long term. As an example, a homeowner or landlord would need long lasting durability and strength and would probably consider a higher grade product such as solid wood or thermofoil. In contrast a real estate investor may do well with the less durable melamine product to secure a quick sale. Just remember to choose wisely, and more importantly, research the company or contractor you are purchasing from.