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Solid Wood Cabinets vs. Melamine or Metal

Aug 13, 2008
Solid wood cabinets are what most people would expect to find when shopping for kitchen cabinets, but that is not the case anymore. In the past, cabinet builders would use solid wood for every aspect of the cabinet. In today's economy and the demand for lower priced products, most cabinet makers will use other materials for the cabinet box itself. You can still find some custom cabinet manufacturers that will use solid Maple, Oak, or Cherry for their cabinets but you are definitely going to pay a premium for them.

Most manufacturers these days are using plywood for their cabinets and calling them solid wood cabinets. This is just another spin on the concept of solid wood, since they typically use solid wood for the face frame and doors, but utilize a combination of solid plywood with a veneer of solid wood for the sides and back. If you come across any cabinet manufacturers that are using lower grade particleboard or fiberboard, be very leery.

Even though wood kitchen cabinets have always been the traditional look, there has been a resurgance in the demand for metal cabinets. While metal cabinets will provide the retro look that some homeowners are looking for, they definitely have some drawbacks. The first being the overall appearance. Metal cabinets tend to give a cold, sterile look to a kitchen. This lends itself towards the modern look, versus the traditional warm and inviting looking of the typical kitchen.

In addition to the appearance, you also have the noise factor. Traditional wood kitchen cabinets will absorb some of the noise of a kitchen, whereas metal kitchen cabinets will tend to amplify the sound. This can be especially true when removing or replacing plates and dishes.

With the popularity of Ikea, you also have the rise in another building material for kitchen cabinets- melamine. This is simply a veneer of melamine material over a sub-surface of either particleboard or fiberboard. The problem with this material is the affect moisture will have on it. While the melamin itself will not absorb moisture, the material underneath it will.... unlike solid wood cabinets, this form of cabinet will tend to buckle or warp from moisture.

In addition to metal, melamine, and solid wood, there are many other materials out there that are used for kitchen cabinets. When it comes time to choose the cabinets that are right for you, it is important to focus on the materials used to build the cabinet itself, not just the finish or look of the cabinets. This will ensure that your cabinets not only look good, but also hold up to the daily use and abuse from your family.
About the Author
Find out where the experts go to get all of their wood kitchen cabinets and accessories. Learn how to save thousand on wood cabinets by buying them where contractors and builders shop.
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