Understanding Cabinet Materials
For some homeowners, remodeling their kitchen is when they first become acquainted with the natural characteristics of wood and the materials used in cabinetry. That introduction is important, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Learning more about the qualities of hardwood and other cabinet material will help you better understand “What is a quality kitchen cabinet?”
Naturally produced, hardwood is known for its unique color, texture, and grain pattern. Durable and easy to repair, hardwood is easy to sand and refinish to conceal scratches, dents, stains, or watermarks. It is most commonly used in frames and doors in cabinetry.
An advantage to hardwood is the reduction in movement that appears in the wood. Movement refers to the changes in the wood caused by factors like insect tracks, mineral streaks, aging marks, and weathering. Hardwood expands and contracts less than softwood. Softwood being as its name suggestions: a soft, lightweight wood as spruce, yellow pine, white pine, and Douglas fur. Much of its appeal comes from its ability to stay in place. Additionally, hardwood provides lifetime use.
A common concern with consumers is understanding the characteristics of the various hardwoods. Hardwood does move according to weather, but expands and contracts significantly less than softwood. Painted hardwood doors and frames will expand and contract overtime, leading to hairline cracks. We are going to break down what types of hardwood we offer in our CliqStudios cabinetry and what you can expect.
With a smooth grain, the color of cherry varies from light pink to dark brown. It will darken or mellow with age. Mineral streaks, pin knots and sap wood are all natural and acceptable characteristics. CliqStudios offers cherry wood in both Cider and Russet stains.
Maple has a smooth texture and tight, uniform grain patterns. Generally creamy white, it can vary from bright white to light pink or reddish brown. Also, maple will amber overtime. Rustic Maple has a smooth texture and tight, uniform grain patterns. Generally creamy white, it can vary from bright white to light pink or reddish brown. It too will amber with age. CliqStudios offers maple wood in Caramel stain.
A medium-density hardwood with a firm, durable surface, it accepts finishes well. The wood features a distinct, moderate grain pattern that ranges from straight to curly or wavy and has a fine, uniform texture. CliqStudios offers birch in Birch Sables stains.
Oak has a varied, open grain pattern. Colors range from light tan and pink to medium dark red and brown. It can contain small mineral streaks and some pin knots. CliqStudios offers oak in Saddle and Sable stains.
Other materials used for cabinetry include plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and wood veneer. All play an important role to understand “What material are kitchen cabinets made of?”
plywood is known for being rigid and stable. It is made by layering wood at alternating right angles, and binding them together with glue, heat and pressure. It is resilient against blow-outs, dings, dents, and sagging, making it the best material for cabinet sides, backs, shelves, and drawer bottoms.
A less expensive alternative to plywood made from a composite material made from recycled fibers, resin, and wax pressed together under high pressure. It resists expansion from temperature changes and has a smooth surface. MDF is also heavier and denser than plywood, but does not provide the same per-square-foot strength. Additionally, it is susceptible to damage caused by moisture and crushing.
Also known as low-density fiberboard (LDF) and chipboard, particleboard is an engineered wood product made by pressing together recycled wood products. It is usually finished with a layer of laminate, or a wood veneer to improve its appearance. Though inexpensive, it is weak in compression and tension, and can degrade quickly when in contact with moisture, which causes expansion and discoloration.
Wood veneer is a thin layer of solid hardwood peeled from a log in a process much like peeling an apple. It’s usually less than 2mm thick and are typically glued and pressed to particleboard or MDF to produce flat panels. It is used for large cabinet sides and flat center panels for its stability, light weight, and inexpensive cost compared to solid hardwood.