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Jason Pagliuca

by Jason Pagliuca Renovation Advisor | Reno-Assistance

Kitchen Cabinets: The Most Popular Materials and their Prices

Advice Cost and Price Kitchen

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When it comes time to redo your kitchen, there are many decisions you need to make including all the different kinds of materials for your cabinets. Each of these cabinet choices has pros and cons to meet different needs and tastes. This article aims to help you decide on the best choice for you and your budget.

Types of kitchen cabinets

Melamine Cabinets

Melamine is the most affordable cabinet material on the market. It consists of a mixture of decorative paper and resin glued on pressed wood.

Advantages: 

  • The cheapest type of cabinet
  • Large selection of colours
  • Easy to maintain
  • Can make a convincing imitation of wood

Disadvantages:

  • Low-end hardware
  • More fragile to shocks and scratches
  • When scratched, it’s difficult to retouch
  • The door styles you can have are usually limited to square in shape

Polyester Cabinets

If you are looking for the low prices of melamine, but with a slightly more classy finish, consider polyester cabinets. It is a compound of melamine and pine fibre that is subsequently covered with a polyester film.

Advantages:

  • Compared to melamine, it is more resistant to scratches
  • Large choice of colours and imitation of wood
  • Value for money is on par with that of melamine

Disadvantages:

  • Scratches can be difficult to retouch (however it is made stronger than melamine)

Thermoplastic Cabinets

While remaining in an affordable range, but a little higher than melamine and polyester, there is the thermoplastic cabinet. Made of a pine fibre compound and covered with a sheet of PVC, the thermoplastic cabinets offer a good choice for a mid-range budget.

Advantages:

  • Large selection of customizable styles and doors
  • Better than average shock resistance
  • Easy to maintain

Disadvantages:

  • Can’t be retouched or painted once the product has been treated

Wooden Cabinets

Natural product available in many types and styles such as maple, birch, mahogany, walnut, oak, pine, etc. The different woods all have their advantages, be it density, durability or simply in their visual appeal.

Advantages:

  • Wood is a timeless material and does not go out of fashion
  • It’s a safe long-term choice and is very resistant to shocks
  • Several choices of wood types and hues

Disadvantages:

  • There’s a moderate risk of scratches, depending on the wood, but in general, it’s possible to cover these

Lacquered Cabinets

Composed of a pine fibre board on which a lacquer is applied that reflects the light. It’s often found in white, but it’s possible to find it in a wider range of colours.

Advantages:

  • Lustrous and modern appearance
  • Easy to clean and can be repaired after a scratch
  • Beautiful finish and seems to keep its new appearance even after several years

Disadvantages:

  • May leave finger marks if doors are not opened by the handle

Alternative solution: cabinet resurfacing (kitchen refacing)

Have you ever thought of resurfacing your cabinets? If your cabinets are in good condition, but your doors are damaged, discoloured or faded, cabinet resurfacing is an option you can consider.

Advantages:

  • Usually less expensive than replacing full cabinets
  • Faster and easier to do
  • Possibility of repainting to give a new look

Disadvantages:

  • You keep the same boxes and cabinets i.e. the hinges, shelves, etc. are not new
  • The life of this solution is usually less than an entirely new kitchen
  • Return on investment often lower
  • You will be keeping the same style you had previously

But how much do kitchen cabinets cost?

Of course, the costs associated with each type of cabinet have an influence in the decision-making process. Even though each project is different, here is a table summarizing the average approximate prices we have seen across the thousands of projects we have dealt with (incl. materials and labour for different kitchen cabinet types) for a medium-sized kitchen (about 10ft x 12ft).

Cabinet type Average price (materials, labour & installation)
Melamine cabinets $6,900+
Polyester cabinets $10,000+
Thermoplastic cabinets $10,000+
Wooden cabinets $13,500+
Lacquered cabinets $13,500+
Cabinet resurfacing $5,000+

"I'm here to help you with your kitchen project"

- Adele / Renovation Advisor at Reno-Assistance

Where to buy kitchen cabinets for a renovation?

Kitchen cabinets can be bought at big box stores, but they are often medium to low-range, at best. These stores usually also carry standard-format cabinets that will not always be easy to combine and arrange, which can leave a kitchen looking “tinkered” if it is not done well. For example, if you have 17 inches of space between your dishwasher and the wall, and standard boxes are 15 or 18 inches, you will be left with space to hide.

When this is repeated too often in a kitchen, you will see it in the final result. However, if you are building a new bachelor kitchen yourself in your basement, this solution could be the best value to meet your needs.

bachelor kitchen cabinets wooden refacing

If you are planning to remake your kitchen for the next 15 to 20 years in a house that has a modest value in the market, you should consider the benefits of working with a kitchen designer who will make a plan tailored to your specific kitchen so that a cabinet manufacturer can custom-build them for your project. The quality of cabinets made by cabinetmakers is usually far superior to what is found in stores. Not only will the quality of materials be better, but the other hardware, such as hinges, drawer rails and other mechanisms will also be of better quality.

And to fill the gaps left in your kitchen, the kitchen designer will be able to offer useful ideas to make your kitchen more functional. Your kitchen could also include things you may not have thought of that could transform your home. The price of custom cabinets is generally higher but will make a difference in the end result and the resale value of your property.

Consult the experts

With thousands of kitchen renovation projects of experience, our renovation advisors can help guide you through the planning of your kitchen renovation and refer to you the right experts to make sure your project is a success.

Would you like to know the cost of a kitchen renovation?

Need more information?

Want to learn more about what’s involved with a kitchen renovation and the average costs? We invite you to visit our page on kitchens or simply submit your project online and one of our renovation advisors will get in touch with you to understand your requirements and refer the three best 360° Verified kitchen renovation contractors in your area to provide competing quotes for your project to make sure you get the right price.

Speak to an advisor now!  1-888-670-9742

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