Cabinet Selection: What’s available? What’s the best? What do we do

Cabinets are essential all throughout the home from the kitchen, to the bathrooms, to the basement wet bar. They serve as strong focal points in a space, while serving functional benefits in terms of storage and organization.  With cabinets going in various places in the house it can be difficult to decide the type of cabinet to choose. We all want something with good value, high quality, and a beautiful look. Today we’ll sift through the options and make your cabinet decision much easier to make.

Factors to Consider:

  • What’s the look you’re going for? Style?
  • What will you use the cabinets for?
  • What’s the budget?

Answering these questions before cabinet hunting can narrow down your options and help you find your dream cabinets. Now let’s dive in –

Wood Cabinets

        Wood cabinets come in various styles such as natural, stained, or painted finishes. Hardwood cabinets are generally very durable and much easier to repair. For example, wood cabinets can be repaired with wood filler to remove any damage or scratches, however overtime wood is susceptible to humidity which can cause warping. There are various species of wood that all have their own characteristics, let’s get specific:

  • Cherry – Varies in color from white to a deep rich brown, red undertones, smooth, close-grained appearance, fairly uniform texture and random markings. Cherry cabinets are hard enough to withstand knocks and marring.
    Janka Rating: 950
  • Oak – Distinct grain patterns and range in color from white to pink and reddish tones. Darker streaks due to mineral deposits in the wood. Red Oak is strong, durable, and relatively inexpensive for wood kitchen cabinets.
    Janka Rating: 1290
  • Maple – White to creamy-white in color, occasional reddish-brown tones, smooth and uniform appearance. Maple is one of the strongest wood species making it more resistant to scratching and denting however it’s less dense than oak. This also comes with a higher price.
    Janka Rating: 1450

(The Janka scale rates the relative hardness of woods. The higher the number the harder the wood. The test measures the hardness of the surface by embedding a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood.)

        These are just a few styles among many, so you have a lot of versatility when going with wood cabinets. Refacing of wood cabinets tends to be less of a hassle compared to other materials.  However, wood cabinets would mean you have a higher budget. The quality, durability and versatility come with a price tag, as many wood cabinet options are usually custom ordered, this may also cause the cabinets to take more time to produce, when compared to other materials.

BOLT Rating: 9
Cost: $5,000 to $25,0000

Laminate Cabinets

        Laminate is a synthetic material that is made of compressed wood and plastics in different layers. Laminate is both durable and affordable. Laminate, like hardwood, has a range of aesthetic possibilities. The final layer of most laminate cabinets comes on a paper backing, you can achieve the look of almost all materials, with the ability to change in the future instead of having to purchase completely new cabinetry. Laminate layers can tend to peel off if not installed correctly. Since most laminates are made of plastic-based resin and paper it’s a non-renewable material. If a laminate cabinet is scratched or damaged it’s more difficult to repair. If you are on a budget and want something that looks nice and can be careful with it may be best to go with laminate.

BOLT Rating: 7
Cost: $4,000 – $15,000

Thermofoil Cabinets

        Thermofoil cabinets are made of vacuum-pressed vinyl. This option is the most inexpensive of cabinet options while still having numerous design styles. Thermofoil cabinets are susceptible to heat – so you may need to purchase heat shields if the these cabinets are going around the stove. If the vinyl layer is damaged, it is almost certainly unrepairable. Thermofoil is popular because of it’s easy care and maintenance, as long as the coating isn’t damaged, cleaning and maintaining these cabinets isn’t difficult. Thermofoil may be the best option for you if the cabinets are not going to be installed in the kitchen or apply heat shields to ensure no damage is done to the cabinets from any heat source.

BOLT Rating: 8
Cost: $5,000 – $20,000

Metal Cabinets

        Metal kitchen cabinets are generally made of stainless steel or aluminum. As expected, metal cabinets are extremely strong and durable. Metal boasts a unique look. Treated metal is sturdy, rust-resistant and stain-resistant. Metals are unaffected by heat and humidity. All of these “pro” factors make this option more expensive. With metal there are limitations, metal only comes in a variety of colors. Cleaning and maintenance of these cabinets will take more time as fingerprints and other smudges are more noticeable on metal surfaces. The cabinets may need re-polishing from time to time and metals may be louder when opening and closing drawers and cabinets. Replacing or repairing and damaged metal surface may be more costly.

BOLT Rating: 8
Cost: $25,000 – $38,000

What do we use?

        Our cabinet selections vary from project to project, client to client. We factor in a lot when deciding what cabinets to go with as cabinets can transform the look and feel of any room they are in. In the homes that we redevelop we use all the above materials depending on the aesthetic we are trying to achieve. The option we go with most often is a hardwood shaker cabinet. We feel that hardwood is a classic mark of building quality. We take pride in designing the entire home with purpose, and hardwood cabinets always help us achieve this. We still recommend any of the above cabinet materials as they are all great options for different reasons!

        Are you in the market for new cabinets? Please reach out to us. We can get more in-depth with any of your cabinet questions and help you take the first steps in building something beautiful.