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Jason Pagliuca

by Jason Pagliuca 360° Verification Coordinator | Reno-Assistance

Reno Blog / Kitchen / Kitchen Cabinets: The Most Popular Materials and Their Prices
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Kitchen Cabinets: The Most Popular Materials and Their Prices

Advice Cost and Price Kitchen

When it comes time to renovate your kitchen, the possibilities are endless – there as many materials for cabinets than there are for countertops. There’s the classics, the affordable ones, the timeless ones, but also those that are part of the most recent kitchen trends that change as time passes. Each of these options have their own set of advantages and inconveniences, but all fulfill certain needs and desires. Though, which options are best for you and your budget? Find out in this article to be better prepared for your renos. 

Should You Get Custom Made Cabinets or Pre-Built Ones?

Buying kitchen cabinets in superstores is possible! They also provide some cost benefits. However, they’re typically of lower quality than custom cabinets. Also, given that they come in standard sizes and colours, they might not necessarily properly fit in your in your kitchen or their colours might not mesh well with the rest of your home. They might even make your kitchen look like it was put together by inexperienced contractors just because of the clash created by sizing or colours. For instance, if you have 17 inches of space between your dishwasher and a wall, well, standard sized cabinets only come in 15 or 18 inches in width. You’ll therefore need to hide the empty space created by getting the only size that actually fits in the space allotted. When cover ups need to be used in more than one area of the kitchen, it’s extremely apparent when the kitchen is done. However, if you plan on undertaking the entire renovation process (i.e. not hire a kitchen contractor) or simply want to add a kitchen in your basement apartment, this solution might be best for you! 

If you plan on renovating your kitchen and keeping it for the next 15 to 20 years in a house that has a good resale value, getting custom cabinets and working with a kitchen designer would be your best bet. They’ll be able to help you put together a plan that fits with your needs and wants. Your kitchen designer will know the right tips and tricks to allow you to make the most of your space. He or she can suggest things you never thought of that make all the difference in your home. A cabinetmaker can then work with the plans and build cabinets for your kitchen.

Renovating your kitchen can give an 85% return on your investment.

The quality of cabinets made by a cabinet maker is typically highly superior to those bought in store. They’re made of top quality material and hardware, like hinges, drawer rails, and other mechanisms. Custom cabinets are a little more costly, but can make all the difference when it comes to your kitchen’s final look. 

How Much Do Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

Of course, the costs associated with each type of cabinet will influence your choice. Here is a table summarizing the average 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 $9,200+
Polyester cabinets $12,650+
Wooden cabinets $21,275+
Lacquered cabinets $18,975+
Cabinet resurfacing $5,500+


Need some inspiration for your kitchen? Check out RenoInspiration

Kitchen Cabinets: Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Material

Melamine Cabinets

Melamine (decorative paper and resin glued on pressed wood) is the most affordable cabinet material on the market.


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


  • 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

This is a compound of melamine and pine fibre that is subsequently covered with a polyester film. If you want a low price, but more class than melamine, polyester cabinets are a good choice.


  • 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


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

Wooden Cabinets

It’s a 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.


  • 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


  • 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 lacquer is applied that reflects the light, this material is often found in white. However, it’s possible to find it in a wider range of colours.


  • 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


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

Alternative solution: cabinet resurfacing (kitchen refacing)

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


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


  • 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

Plan your kitchen renovation with our detailed guide today!

Download the PDF

Speak with an Expert

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.

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

- Marilena / Renovation Advisor at Reno-Assistance

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

Updated September 5th, 2019

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