Wood or laminate: Is this a trick question?
If youâre in the market for a kitchen remodel, you probably think you already know the answer as to what material you should be using for your new cabinetry. After all, isnât wood the best option all the way around â more durable, more aesthetically pleasing, able to be customized in numerous ways, and able to boost up the value of your home?
Not so fast.
For reasons unknown â perhaps because many people incorrectly associate laminate with particle board or plastic â laminate kitchen doors have gotten a bad reputation. Todayâs laminate, however, can stand side by side with wood and prove to be the better choice for your project.
The kitchen is the most-used room in the home, so it makes sense that any homeowner would want the best bang for their buck and material that is going to hold up for at least two decades. With that being said, thereâs a vast difference between laminated particle board and a high-pressure laminated door or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard).
âThe cheaper version is plastic. A high-pressure Â laminate door has a wood frame â a real wood frame â and then a series of moldings,â explains Linda Fennessy, marketing manager at Kitchen Magic. âThere are so many advances in technology with maintenance-free doors. We say, âThink fences and decks.â You donât have to re-stain it. It will last forever and it wipes down easily.â
At Kitchen Magic, customers can choose from hundreds of laminate styles and color possibilities. Each finish carries a lifetime warranty against peeling, blistering and cracking under normal conditions. Wood has a tendency to change shape or size if it exposed to elements of moisture. Laminate, however, doesnât warp or expand â though this is no reason to expose laminated doors to excessive water when cleaning them.
Fennessy points to the Hamilton cabinet door, a maintenance-free style that is available in a flat or raised panel to enhance the kitchenâs design, exuding a sophisticated look and feel. There can be up to nine pieces to the door, starting with the wood frame and moldings on the front. There is another piece of ridged frame set in the middle of the piece, then another block in the center for a raised panel. The vinyl sheet them gets baked on top.
âIt has to be precise, centered, and all the same size. We make the Hamilton ourselves, and a whole team went into it from the shop to the production director to the designers. Everybody had input,â Fennessy explains. âBoth laminate and wood are labor intensive if made correctly. All of our products are made right here in the northeast.â
More than 80 percent of Kitchen Magicâs customers now order maintenance-free doors for their remodeling projects, though before undertaking home renovations, itâs essential for homeowners to know the difference between high-pressure laminated vinyl and wood.
âWoodâ refers to a product that is natural wood, while âengineered woodâ refers to a product that is a mixture of real wood, veneers, fibers, resin and adhesives. Wood has always had the main advantage of being strong and sturdy and unrivaled in its beauty. There are also many different types of wood, each with varied degrees of durability, cost and look.
Itâs important to note that both materials have environmentally-friendly qualities. Kitchen Magic offers eco-friendly bamboo for those who are concerned about LEED certification. Laminate options have low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) finishes. Both materials are made completely formaldehyde free, with no danger of off-gassing.
Wood can be customized into something unique, which is one characteristic that sets it apart from laminate. Because MDF is made from very fine particles, however, it does not have a noticeable grain to its finish â allowing it to be shaped, cut, drilled and colored without damage. Laminate is also available in more sizes than authentic wood, so it is a more logical choice for homeowners whose projects demand customized pieces of wood without joints. Itâs important to discuss the scope of your project with your professionals who can recommend the best materials.
âWe do give our customers the pros and cons of both wood and maintenance-free doors. We offer a free in-home consultation and estimate,â explains Fennessy. âWe always give our customers exactly what they want. Some of them wait their whole lives for the wood kitchen of their dreams. Weâre not here to hard sell them. When a consultation happens, weâll show them three or four styles of the 2 materials and ask what appeals to them, and then go from there. Customers are saying that laminate is making their rooms so much brighter because theyâre going with lighter colors, and most of them are getting flat colors â whites and greys. Itâs less busy, and the room feels less cluttered and more airy and fresh.â
Kitchen Magic will also go into homes and reface cabinetry â which is another cost-effective option â rather than replacing it. They reinforce your existing cabinet frames with durable Âźâ plywood, then add a veneer of real wood or laminate over it, then replace all the doors with new. Surfaces that they can also update Â include countertops and add a matching kitchen islands made in their own custom cabinet shop. Because 80 percent of what we see in kitchens is doors and drawer fronts, this allows for completely retransformed kitchens â new color, new style, and even new wood type – just by starting with a base of the existing cabinet boxes.
One fear that all homeowners have about doors â whether wood or laminate â is how it will hold up to long-term abuse and potential scratching or scuffing. What usually breaks down any kitchen material, over time, is steam from the stove or heat from any electrical cooking appliances. Both materials, however, are difficult to scratch through the top veneer.Â
âThe kitchen is the room in the house that takes the most abuse. It takes a beating,â says Fennessy. âThe quality and the installation is so important, and laminated doors have become the most versatile option on the market. We definitely see homeowners moving toward maintenance-free kitchens.â
Find out all of the options available for your kitchen remodel
Whether youâre looking for the elegance of long-lasting or decide to go with the versatility of laminate, http://www.kitchenmagic.com shows you all of the solutions available for your next kitchen remodeling project. Simply visit the website and click on âsolutionsâ to see the many options available that offer the functionality and aesthetic that you desire.
You can choose from hundreds of wood, stain and glaze combinations to create a custom look in your kitchen. Each stain and glaze is applied by hand and a company representative can show you limitless colors and styles to pick from. Kitchen Magic has recently introduced three new stain colors, as well: Dark Roast (a dark espresso brown), Portobello (light brown), and Driftwood (grey). All wood stains offer high-quality absorption and long-lasting, vibrant color.
Technology has allowed laminated doors to look just like their wood counterparts. Laminate doors are offered in 14 different styles, including raised and plain panels, classic cathedral, shaker plain styles, and narrow stripped panels. The most popular colors in laminate doors are white, grey, and dark wood, though there is also the ability to glaze colors to your liking.
The ideal way to view any samples is in the lighting of your own home, so be sure to ask a sales representative to bring you any colors that you see on the website when you receive your free consultation.