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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Cabinet Materials Kitchen cabinets may be constructed from a variety of materials. Solid wood is never used for the entire cabinet. Not only would it be too costly, the cabinets would also be unstable and heavy. Many cabinets are built of a combination of solid wood and wood-based products such as plywood and particleboard. Mid and high-quality cabinets will use solid hardwood for face frames, door frames and stained raised door panels. Kitchen cabinet boxes are typically built of plywood or particleboard. The strongest cabinets have full plywood boxes. Plywood will handle the weight of the heaviest countertop material and resist damage from occasional moisture. A less expensive alternative is particleboard. Particleboard is prone to damage from water and may break down at points where doors are hinged and sides connect. There are many names for particleboard, including medium-density fiberboard (MDF), engineered wood, hardboard, substrate and furniture board. Unless exposed to moisture, particleboard resists expansion and contraction in warm and cold temperatures. On the downside, the particleboard is much heavier than plywood and doesn’t have the same per-square-foot strength. Particleboard is more susceptible than plywood to damage caused by moisture or by being crushed. There are many grades of plywood and particleboard. A cabinet manufacturer that, like CliqStudios, offers a limited lifetime warranty, will generally select higher grade materials to avoid damage and quality problems. Solid Hardwood Solid hardwood may be used in two areas of cabinet construction, the face frame and the door/drawer front. That is, it is used in the parts you see on the front and sometimes the sides of cabinets. Solid hardwood used in cabinetry, a product of nature, is affected by climate, soil nutrients, growing season and season of harvest. Each piece of wood – even compared to others from the same tree – is unique. Inconsistencies may include coloring, texture, grain pattern, mineral streaks, pins, knots, sap pockets, insect marks and aging. These natural variations add to hardwood’s distinctive appeal. The center panels of solid hardwood doors are built from solid wood staves cut in varied widths and joined together to form the required dimension. This process is known as planking. Solid hardwood is kiln dried to remove as much moisture as possible while maintaining its natural beauty. It will expand and contract, to some degree, based on the amount of moisture in the environment. Hardwood Veneer Wood veneer is a thin layer of solid hardwood peeled from a log in a process much like peeling an apple. Wood veneers are usually less than 2 mm thick and are typically adhered (glued and pressed) to particleboard or medium-density fiberboard to produce flat panels. Veneer panels should be bookmatched, a process of alternating veneer pieces so they don’t create a repeating pattern caused from the peeling process. Wood veneers, used for over 4,000 years, can be traced back to the Egyptians. They are commonly used for entry doors, wall paneling, cabinets, flooring, tables and furniture. In many applications, veneer is preferable because it is more stable, lighter and less expensive than solid hardwood. You will see it used on cabinet sides on large panels. It is also used in the flat center panels of Mission and Shaker cabinetry. Plywood In mid and high-quality cabinetry, the sides, tops, bottom, and shelves of cabinet boxes are constructed of plywood. Plywood accepts hardwood veneer very well. The veneer can be stained to blend with the solid hardwood components of the cabinet. Plywood is made with layers of wood running both lengthwise and crosswise. This crossing pattern makes plywood stronger than many materials and has more holding power than particleboard when fastened with screws, other fasteners and glue. Plywood has a much higher tolerance for moisture than particleboard and is less vulnerable to crush damage. Plywood is also much more resilient to blow-outs, dings and dents. The number of layers in plywood does not determine good quality. There are many grades and classification of plywood. It is difficult to ascertain good quality because grading standards are set by individual mills or trade associations. These grading standards vary greatly. Know that a manufacturer of fine cabinets will not use poor-quality materials that result in returns and warranty replacements. Engineered Wood In cabinet box construction, Engineered wood or particleboard is sometimes used as a less expensive alternative to plywood. There are many names for particleboard, including medium-density fiberboard (MDF), hardboard, substrate and furniture board. Engineered Wood is made by pressing wood particles together with glue and high temperature. Engineered wood resists expansion due to temperature changes. On the downside, the Engineered wood is heavier than plywood, does not have the same per-square-foot strength and is more susceptible to damage caused by moisture and crushing. In some cases medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is the preferred material that CliqStudios uses for specialty parts, cabinets and accessories where plywood is not the bests material choice. An example is MDF is used on painted door center panels, large and thick 5/8″ panels and as a substrate for veneer on flat panel stained doors. Large size center panels made from hardwood will expand and contract with temperature changes, possibly causing paint cracks. MDF used as a center panel material will not eliminate paint cracking but can limit the size and length of cracks. Get Started on Your Design Now All it takes is one step to get started on your new kitchen. It’s easy and with no commitment. Click below to find out how. Get Started Related Topics Want a great kitchen? Learn more with the topics below to help keep your remodel plan on time, on task and on budget. Cabinet Types Cabinet Construction Cabinet Components Cabinet Door Types Kitchen Cabinet Buyer’s Guide
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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Next Up Custom Kitchen Cabinets Get all the info you need on custom kitchen cabinets, from style options to average pricing, so you can begin designing your dream kitchen. Custom Kitchen Cabinets Learn about the features of custom kitchen cabinets and see why they are the cabinet of choice for homeowners looking for full creative freedom in their kitchen design. Stock Kitchen Cabinets Consider stock kitchen cabinets as an option for an economical kitchen design. Custom Kitchen Cabinet Doors Custom kitchen cabinet doors show off your unique personality and style. Storage Rules in Kitchen Cabinets Redesign and remodel storage with functionality in mind. Updating Kitchen Cabinets Updating kitchen cabinets transforms your kitchen into a gathering place for the whole family. Kitchen Cabinet Installation Overview Check your installer’s work with these guidelines. Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets Learn about the features of semi-custom kitchen cabinets and see why they are often considered the best of both worlds for homeowners designing their dream kitchen on a budget. Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets Get all the info you’ll need on semi-custom kitchen cabinets, which can offer a great balance between cost and personalization in your kitchen design. Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Ideas Outdoor kitchen cabinets can be beautiful and functional when they’re made from stainless steel or a variety of other materials.
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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Custom Kitchen Cabinets Get all the info you need on custom kitchen cabinets, from style options to average pricing, so you can begin designing your dream kitchen. Custom Kitchen Cabinets Learn about the features of custom kitchen cabinets and see why they are the cabinet of choice for homeowners looking for full creative freedom in their kitchen design. Stock Kitchen Cabinets Consider stock kitchen cabinets as an option for an economical kitchen design. Custom Kitchen Cabinet Doors Custom kitchen cabinet doors show off your unique personality and style. Storage Rules in Kitchen Cabinets Redesign and remodel storage with functionality in mind. Updating Kitchen Cabinets Updating kitchen cabinets transforms your kitchen into a gathering place for the whole family. Kitchen Cabinet Installation Overview Check your installer’s work with these guidelines. Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets Learn about the features of semi-custom kitchen cabinets and see why they are often considered the best of both worlds for homeowners designing their dream kitchen on a budget. Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets Get all the info you’ll need on semi-custom kitchen cabinets, which can offer a great balance between cost and personalization in your kitchen design. Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Ideas Outdoor kitchen cabinets can be beautiful and functional when they’re made from stainless steel or a variety of other materials.
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Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Composite materials have become widely used for the cores of all types of kitchen cabinets. To understand the differences between composite materials, you need to know the differences between hardwood and soft­wood. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees (whose leaves fall off once a year), whereas softwood comes from evergreens. Plywood is made of thin sheets of wood veneer that are laminated in alternating directions. It’s strong and doesn’t pose the warping or shrinking potential of solid wood. Both hardwood plywood and softwood plywood come in a variety of grades. A hardwood ply­wood panel for a cabinet should have one face graded A and the other graded 2 or better. Softwood ply­wood has a different system of ratings. It’s rated according to its face veneer (the outermost plies) and should be rated B or better. Used as a core material for kitchen cabinets, softwood plywood can be covered with a plastic lam­inate or wood-veneer face. When you look at cabinetry, you can’t assume that a hardwood veneer is necessarily covering a hardwood core, so if you have doubts, ask your designer, dealer, or remodeler to clarify the matter for you. Hardwood plywood will generally be a higher qual­ity core, although a Medium Density Overlay (MDO) softwood plywood, covered on one or both faces with a thin resin-fiber overlay, is suitable if you intend to paint the cabinets. There are different grades of hardwood, softwood veneers and composites. Two common varieties of composite materials are used as kitchen cabinet cores. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is made of very fine wood fibers that are glued and compressed under great pressure. It has a very smooth surface and has greater screw-holding power than particleboard, the other composite material. It is less expensive than plywood, but more expensive than particleboard. Particleboard is a combination of wood chips, shavings, fibers, and adhesives. It differs from medium-density fiberboard in appearance, since its larger wood chips are in the core, and smaller, finer chips are on the surface. It’s heavier than plywood, but not as strong. If a plastic laminate is going to be applied to the core material, the material shouldn’t be of lesser quality than industrial-grade particleboard. Low-grade particleboard won’t be able to support the weight of the laminate, and screws and staples won’t hold over the long term, resulting in loose cabinets or doors. One distinct disadvantage of choosing kitchen cabinets constructed with pressed woods like particleboard, hardwood plywood, or medium-density fiberboard is the emission of a gas, formaldehyde, from the adhe­sives used in their construction. Of all the pressed woods, medium-density fiberboard emits the greatest amount of formaldehyde gas. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, formaldehyde gas can cause respiratory and other physical ailments in some people exposed to elevated levels of it (above 0.1 parts per million). Although the EPA estimates that most older homes have significantly less concentration of concentrated gases in their kitchen cabinets. To find a cabinet shop, dealer, retailer, or distributor in your area, visit NKBA.org/ProSearch.

Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Kitchen Cabinet Materials
Kitchen Cabinet Materials
Kitchen Cabinet Materials

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