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Finding the Right Materials for Kitchen Cabinets

Jun 6, 2008
If you're looking to brighten your home, make it more modern or even take it back a few years, changing your kitchen cabinets is a great place to start. A new kitchen cabinet set can add value to your home and completely change the atmosphere of the room. Whatever kind of cabinet set you're looking for, you should know a few things about the materials from which kitchen cabinets can be made.

One of the most popular materials for wooden kitchen cabinets is maple. Maple is both durable and versatile. It can be used with many finishes because of its fine, uniform grain. Maple can be painted or stained with ease and can match a variety of kitchens. One of the only downsides of maple is that it tends to yellow in the sun, which isn't a problem if it's painted.

Rivaling maple's popularity is oak. Oak is quite durable, but it isn't as versatile as maple because of its distinct look. The distinctive grain of oak lends itself to old-fashioned, country-styled kitchens, but it doesn't match well in modern kitchen styles. Stains and varnishes take to oak very well and can allow its unique grain to really stand out. There are many different colors of oak since it's one of the most common trees in North America.

If you're looking for something completely different from traditional wood kitchen cabinets, try a set of metal cabinets. From stainless steel to copper, the variety of metals used in modern kitchen cabinets keeps growing. Stainless steel may seem somewhat institutional, but with the right accents it can help create a cozy kitchen. Burnished copper and brushed nickel also are two popular finishes on metal cabinets. Metal cabinets can be noisy, so look at all the materials used in the cabinets. Manufacturers often lay the metal over other, less noisy materials such as plywood or pressboard. This takes the noise level down, but can seriously affect durability. Cabinets will be more or less durable depending on the materials used underneath the metal. Spend a little extra to be sure your cabinets will last a long time.

Melamine cabinets are another option. Melamine is a coating that goes over a base material and provides protection against scratches, stains and flames. It can come in a retro-style, plain white or faux wood grain. The durability of melamine also is dependent on the quality of the base material. The coating doesn't allow moisture into the base material, but if the coating is cracked, melamine cabinets can sag quickly. Otherwise, they are an aesthetically pleasing and relatively durable choice for a kitchen cabinet set.

Whatever the choice of material, a new set of kitchen cabinets will make your entire house look and feel different. The right cabinet set will make your kitchen feel more like home or more like a professional kitchen, depending on your preference. Take the time to check out each material and style available before committing to a new set of kitchen cabinets. The right choice will last for years, or until you're ready to change the atmosphere again.
About the Author
I have been remodeling houses and rental properties for over 15 years. I have discovered the secret to saving thousands on kitchen cabinets. Find out my secret to buying kitchen cabinets at 30-40% below retail.
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