Laminate Cabinets vs Wood

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When it comes to kitchen cabinets, you've probably come across both solid wood and laminate cabinets. Both are great choices for kitchen cabinetry depending on your needs and budgets, the team at Kitchen Infinity is  going to gloss over the key differences with you, no pun intended! 

What are laminate kitchen cabinets?

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.

You can get low pressure and high pressure laminates that are designed to withstand slightly different environments.

laminate cabinet
Beautiful White Laminate Cabinets by Kitchen Infinity

What is under laminate cabinets?

Laminate cabinets tend to be made from cheap or pressed woods underneath their laminate film exterior. These cabinets are usually made from MDF or particleboard which is then covered with the laminate coating.

What are solid wood kitchen cabinets?

As the name implies, solid wood cabinets are kitchen cabinet sets made from real high-quality wood. There are many different types of wood materials you can use, but Red Oak, Poplar, Maple, and Mahogany are commonly used due to their natural strength, appearance, and grain.

Wood cabinetry will usually be sanded down and then painted, stained, or varnished to get the aesthetic you desire.

solid wood kitchen cabinet
Photo credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

What is the best material for cabinets?

Both wood and laminate cabinetry materials have pros and cons to consider depending on your wants and needs in the kitchen. You can also learn more about  best wood for cabinets on our blog.

Benefits of laminate cabinets

Both high pressure and low pressure laminates are able to withstand extreme amounts of heat and moisture, protecting their inner wooden core from damage. If you're using laminate for cabinets, you probably use a lot of heat and steam in your cooking.

Laminate cabinets are also much easier to clean than wood, with the plastic-like laminate cabinet film allowing you to wipe dirt right off. It's near-impossible to stain a laminate cabinet, assuming that the laminate film is in good condition.

Finally, laminate is also quite scratch-resistant and tends to last a long time. However, it can peel away and need replacing as it weakens over time. The cost of laminate cabinets is quite low, but that's because their cores are normally made from cheaper woods that aren't very durable.

Benefits of wooden cabinets

Top-quality wood cabinets are often found in more traditional kitchens, where their natural wood finish is celebrated. In more modern designs, you might find that they've been painted an interesting semi-gloss color.

Generally speaking, wooden cabinets are just much stronger than laminate cabinets because they're made from stronger types of woods. A top-quality wooden cabinet could last for decades if you take care of it properly and protect the wood from moisture with the appropriate topcoats and polyurethane layers.

The downside of wood cabinetry is that it's expensive and requires a little more upkeep than laminate cabinets. However, it tends to have a more warming, rustic look to it.

kitchen cabinet
Cherry Delight Dark Wood Cabinets by Kitchen Infinity

Which cabinet material should I choose?

If you want a practical easy-to-maintain kitchen or you're going for that modern hi-gloss look, then go for laminate cabinets. However, if you want a rustic cabinet that will last for decades, go for wooden.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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