Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Gain insight on laminate kitchen cabinets, an alternative material to more expensive wood cabinets.
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A bold retro oven is featured alongside white and gray cabinets in this midcentury kitchen makeover by Savannah-based designer Celestino Piralla.

By: Amy McEvoy

Kitchen cabinetry can take up over 30% of the average kitchen renovation budget. If you want to keep expenses down, consider alternative options such as laminate kitchen cabinets, which typically cost much less than wood.

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Laminate is a synthetic material placed on particleboard, which is made of compressed wood. It comes in high-pressure and low-pressure varieties. High-pressure laminate is the higher quality of the two and is sold under brand names such as Formica and Pionite. Laminate doors are made by applying the synthetic material on top of particleboard or MDF. Because of the way laminate doors are made, the seams of the underlying particle board (which is brown) may show, which is often considered a drawback to using laminate. Low-pressure laminate, such melamine, is used on the less-expensive kitchen cabinets and is not as durable as the high-pressure variety. It also comes in fewer colors, so it is less appealing among homeowners looking for a wide variety of color options.

One of the major advantages to using laminate, other than its low cost, is that it is a durable material that will hold up to the heavy use of the average kitchen. It doesn't warp with time like wood can, and it's resistant to fading. It also holds stain color uniformly so each cabinet will be exactly the same throughout your kitchen. Laminate is also available in a wide variety of colors, patterns and door styles, so it can be used in both traditional and modern kitchens, depending on your specific style and taste.

Homeowners have a wide range of styles to choose from when it comes to laminate cabinets. In general, laminate is best suited for contemporary or modern kitchen designs; however, styles that replicate more traditional cabinet designs are also available.

If you're looking for a versatile, durable and low cost alternative to wood cabinets—in particular if you have a contemporary or modern look in mind for your kitchen—laminate cabinets can be a great choice for your kitchen design.

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