Kitchen Cabinets: The Most Popular Materials and Their Prices


When it comes time to renovate your kitchen, the possibilities for cabinet styles are endless! There as many materials for cabinets than there are for countertops. There are classic options, more budget-friendly options, and ones that are on-trend for the coming year.  Each of these options have their own set of pros and cons, but all fulfill certain wants and needs. Which options are best for you and your budget? Our Renovation Advisors have broken it down for you in this article, to help you make the right decision for you. 

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. 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.

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?

The costs associated with each type of cabinet may 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 $9,400+
Polyester cabinets $13,000+
Wood cabinets $22,000+
Lacquered cabinets $19,500+
Cabinet resurfacing $5,600+

Need some inspiration for your kitchen? Check out Reno-Inspiration.

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 damages and scratches
  • When scratched, it’s difficult to retouch
  • The door styles you can have are usually limited to square in shape
Massicotte Project - Kitchen

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 sophistication 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
Sossoyan Project - Kitchen

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 damage
  • 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
Forgues Project - Kitchen Renovation

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
Turp Project - Kitchen

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

Kitchen Renovation Guide

Learn all there is to know before beginning your kitchen renovation project!

Thank you for downloading our guide

Need more information?

Now that you’ve gotten the run-down on cabinets, it’s time to start renovating! We’re here to help you understand the in and outs of your dream kitchen renovation. We understand the difficulties that come with finding a reliable and high-quality contractor for your door project, so let us take away that stress! Our Renovation Advisors can invite up to three 360° Verified Contractors to submit quotes for your renovation and help you decide which one brings the most value to you. Call us today or fill out our form  to get started!

Updated December 20th, 2019