Laminate cabinets are cheap wooden cabinets that are covered with a plastic-like layer called laminate. Laminate cabinets usually have a glossy shine to them that makes the cabinet feel at home in a modern or transitional-style kitchen.
If your goal is to create a sleek, contemporary and efficient kitchen design, you may want to consider laminate kitchen cabinets. Laminate and wood are the two most popular materials used for kitchen cabinets, and they both offer a range of advantages and disadvantages related to price, durability and appearance.
Laminate cabinets consist of a strong core material typically created by compressing wood or wood particulate and melamine, which hardens the mixture into a sturdy plank. After that, a thin layer is attached. This layer can be printed with a variety of designs, patterns and look-alike options.
Laminate cabinets are easier to clean than wood, they offer more durability over time and tend to conceal fewer scratches than solid wood cabinets and cabinet doors. There once was a time when there weren't many options when it came to designing kitchen cabinetry.
Laminates are the most commonly used cabinet finishes for kitchens. This artificial multi-layered material is made by pressing thin layers of plastic resins and flat papers. The top layer is printed with colours and decorative patterns.
If your kitchen encounters frequent food spills and the pitter-patter of kids or pets, this durable surface may be the solution. Laminate mimics the look of hardwood or tile and comes with a lower price tag. The surface resists stains and scratches, and cleanup is a snap.
A sure way to recognize wood laminate is when the grain does NOT follow through your piece. Wood Veneer is a sheet or thin layer of 'quality-natural-hardwood' that is adhered to a lesser quality wood surface.
Comparing Wood and Laminate
When properly cared for, laminate cabinets have longevity, but wooden cabinets typically last longer. Laminate itself is very tough. It's hard to dent or scratch. Problems occur when edges or corners of laminate lift slightly.
Kitchen cabinets should be replaced whenever they are in poor condition or whenever you feel that it's necessary to freshen up your kitchen's style as interior design trends change. High quality kitchen cabinets can last for up to 50 years. That is assuming the cabinets have been keep in good condition.
The least expensive option is painting laminate cabinets. Laminate is not an ideal surface to paint, but it can be done.
The main difference is that veneers comprise thin layers of wood that are pressed on a plywood base while laminates are manufactured by pressing together layers of flat paper and plastic resins under high pressure.
Laminate cabinets cost between $5,000 and $8,000 on average for materials and installation. Depending on the quality and grade selected, high-end laminate cabinets can cost up to $15,000. Laminate cabinets are made from HDF (high-density fiber) with a layer of the laminate of top to resemble real wood.
Thermofoil is a vinyl laminate that is heated and pressurized onto an MDF core. This process leaves a completely smooth surface that does not show any seams. The lack of seams around the door's joints can be a clear indication that your cabinet doors are a laminate material.
Durable: Not only do thermofoil kitchen cabinets look great, but they are also durable. The material used to create laminate cabinets can resist gradual erosion caused by mechanical, physical, and chemical actions.
Melamine and Laminate cabinets are often confused with Thermofoil, but they are not the same material. Melamine and Laminate are made of melamine plastic, Thermafoil is vinyl. You can tell them apart by the following: Thermafoil is thicker, softer feeling, peels off more easily, and is more flexible.
If you feel the surface, hardwood typically has texture and grains, while laminate is hard, glassy, and has a plastic feel to it.
You can sand, prime and paint laminate as if it were a solid wood piece of furniture! It's easy to skip the sanding step, because sanding is a drag… but it's especially important with laminate. Because it's often somewhat glossy-looking, and important to sand it down until the finish is very dull before priming.
Of the three materials, Plywood is the best option for cheap kitchen cabinets. While you can still get nice MDF or particleboard cabinets, we would say to look for plywood. Our least expensive cabinets are plywood boxes with solid wood doors. They are quality construction for a cheap price.
Check the edges of the doors and drawers. If they are solid wood, you'll see end grain on the tops and bottoms. If they're engineered, you'll see edging material with a longitudinal wood grain, which looks unnatural.
Cheaper cabinets will often use thin panels which then require metal hanging rails with brackets, rails, and a picture frame construction. Sometimes they leave the panel out completely, so the wall shows through.
Water damages laminate flooring by soaking into the layers. Once inside the boards, it causes them to swell and warp. It also weakens the glue that holds them together and they can eventually fall apart.
Vinyl stands up the best against excess moisture and spills, and it can be less expensive than laminate. However, laminate gives a more realistic wood look to enhance the design aesthetic in your home.
Laminate, on the other hand, is made out of recycled hardwood, so it is not waterproof. Due to its melamine wear layer, it has a tough finish which resists against scratches and may have minor protection against minor water (quick spills).
Yes, laminate cabinets can be refaced as long as the cabinet boxes are in good shape. But if the cabinet boxes are weak or damaged, you may need to replace your cabinets altogether.
Good-quality wood glue and a clamp to hold the laminate against the core is a good way to repair laminate coating that is peeling. Once the glue has set and dried, you can begin to clean the cabinet doors and drawers.