Wood Veneers and Laminate Cabinets

In our previous article we went over the different types of wood used to construct the base and foundation of cabinets. In this section we will cover the different types of wood veneers and laminates which are used to cover the plywood, MDF, or particleboard cabinets. Here are the main types of cabinet coverings:

  • Wood Veneers - These are thin layers of wood carved out from trees that are then glued to plywood or particleboard and treated with a variety of stains, varnishes, and other finishes. Consider looking at all veneer options including grain, pattern, thickness and color. Popular wood choices include cherry, maple, oak, hickory, birch and pine.
  • Laminates - Layered plastic coatings attached to the cabinet material with heat and pressure. Laminates offer a wide variety of options for colors, patterns and textures since the product is manufactured instead of natural.
  • Thermofoil - Instead of plastic or wood, thermofoil uses a piece of vinyl to cover cabinet boxes, doors and drawers. It's a very smooth and durable product but does not perform well in heat so be cautious of thermofoil if you live in a very humid area.
  • Melamine - Another type of plastic applied to cabinet frames, shelves and drawers using heat, pressure, and adhesive. This product is very durable, can easily be cleaned, does not fade in color, and is less expensive than wood veneers.

The type of cabinetry and construction you choose should be based on the look you are going for, budget, durability, and location. For instance, you might want to splurge on kitchen cabinets while going for a less expensive option on bathroom or utility room cabinetry. Plywood coupled with wooden veneers will be the most durable option but will also be more expensive. Any type of cabinet set should last several years and also check out the manufacturer's warranty to see what's covered.