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Choose the Right Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets

by Jessica Santina

Not all kitchen cabinets are equal. The materials you choose should fit the feeling of your kitchen, your lifestyle, and even your climate and cleaning habits. So here's what you should know about the most popular materials for kitchen cabinets.

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Wood Cabinets

Wood is one of the most versatile materials. It's also durable, offers a variety of colors and finishes, and lasts for generations. You can paint it and stain it, and your choices of wood species are numerous. However, wood is expensive. Also, high humidity can warp wood, so instead of solid wood cabinets, you might opt for wood veneer or laminate. Finally, good hardwoods often require polish and oils to maintain their durability and luster.

Metal Cabinets

Metal is easy to clean, extremely durable, fairly inexpensive, and very low maintenance. Most metal cabinets are made of stainless steel, which is virtually indestructible. Plus, it offers a shiny, contemporary look that complements most any kitchen, regardless of the existing decor. But you can't paint stainless steel, and you can't refinish it.

Veneers and Laminates

Wood veneer is actually a sheet of wood that's been peeled off a log, and is applied with glue to wood or particleboard surfaces. It offers the appearance of solid wood, at a fraction of the price. It's often "perfect" looking, with uniform grains that you may or may not like. Applied to cabinets, it can minimize warping due to humidity or moisture, or cover damaged wood. You can also stain it. It's also not as durable as wood, but it's inexpensive to replace.

About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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