Choosing the Right Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets

When remodelling your kitchen, custom cabinets are one of the best ways to transform the room and make it your own. You can make the best use of your kitchen space, pick your favourite colour and theme, and even choose the materials that fit best.

There are several choices when it comes to materials, with differences in price, durability, density and other features. The grain and colour will have a big impact on the final product. Since you are making custom cabinets, you can even use some materials for certain parts and different materials for others. The right choices will give you long lasting cabinets that look like a million bucks.

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Different Kinds of Wood

Especially if you want people to see the natural wood, you can choose a wood that looks right and has the right qualities for your ideal kitchen.

  • Maple — This kind of wood is popular because it’s light, easy to stain and looks smooth. Its consistency alone makes it a great choice.
  • Cherry — Known for its durability and strength, cherry can stand up to most normal household abuse. It’s also a really pretty colour, light red or brown, though it tends to darken over time.
  • Ash — Often known as the material used for baseball bats and tool handles, ash has a clean, even look and can provide a unique, modern look.
  • Pine — This is a softwood, so it isn’t as durable, and you will be able to see the knots in the wood. However, you may choose it because of the distinctive, old-fashioned look.
  • Birch — Extremely durable and beautiful, birch is smooth and if you stain it right, it looks really expensive.
  • Oak — White oak is stronger and more old-fashioned looking, while red oak is more versatile and traditional looking.


This kind of material can be made from cedar, spruce, fir, pine, or redwood, so there is potentially a wide variety to choose from. It can be thick, thin, flexible, and can even vary as far as the kinds of adhesives used, some of which have different properties like a greater resistance to heat and humidity.


Plywood is a popular choice because of its low cost, but it has several other natural advantages too. The material is naturally resistant to moisture and has greater stability than some other kinds of wood. Plywood is actually made of multiple layers of wood veneer glued and pressed together. Plywood is often more stable because of its ability to hold fasteners, like screws and bolts.


While its layered design gives plywood a surprising amount of strength and flexibility, it does have its disadvantages. The layers can make it difficult to cut, and the edges can get splinters. Plywood can get heavy when exposed to moisture, especially when the exposure happens over time like with a leak. That can lead to permanent damage.

Medium Density Fiberboard

Made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, Medium Density Fiberboard is then combined with wax and a resin binder to make the final product. This is formed into panels which can then be used for your construction projects. If it was low density it would be particle board, which shouldn’t be used for the main parts of the cabinets because it isn’t very strong but can be used for the outsides to save money. High density is strong but can be expensive.


Medium Density Fiberboard often referred to as MDF, is dense and heavy. MDF is often used in popular products like IKEA furniture because it is smoother than plywood and resistant to cracking and peeling. That means you can paint over the colour easily when you want to update your kitchen. MDF won’t expand and contract with heat because it’s not made of solid wood.


MDF can be hard to repair, even if you are just dealing with something small like a chip or crack. Water can make MDF swell, and kitchens are places with lots of exposures to water. There is no grain on MDF because of the way it is made, but you can cover it with veneer to get the texture and look you need.

Stainless Steel

Most people don’t think of stainless steel first when designing new kitchen cabinets, but it is a popular option for people who want the kitchen to have a modern, contemporary look. You’ve probably seen this style on television if you watch cooking shows because some professionals choose stainless steel for their cabinets.


The most obvious reason to build stainless steel cabinets is that you can match them to your appliances. It would also be hard to find another material stronger than stainless steel, making them more durable than other materials. If you use it just in certain places, you can take advantage of its properties; for instance, stainless steel countertops will be durable and heat resistant. You can take a pot off the stove and place it directly on the stainless steel countertop without harming it.


With the great look and shiny surfaces comes the obvious problem of fingerprints and smudges. If you want an immaculate kitchen, you will find yourself constantly wiping down the surfaces. Also on the cosmetic side, if you overuse the stainless steel, your kitchen will look more like a factory than a home kitchen. The surface itself can be noisy and easy to scratch, and the material itself may be costly.

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets 1

The Choice is Yours

When it comes to building your own custom cabinets, you don’t just have a lot of choices; you can make multiple choices. You can choose the material you think is the prettiest, or the least expensive, or the strongest, and you can use different kinds of materials for different parts of the project. And to make it even harder to choose, you can always replace all or part of it later.