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Kitchen cabinet remodeling: Simplify your decisions

Has kitchen cabinet remodeling sent your head spinning? Are you overwhelmed by the choices of materials, styles, colors, quality and price?

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Make your life simple by starting with one choice at a time. Consider materials, for instance.

Kitchen cabinet remodeling materials

You have a myriad of choices for your doors, drawers and face frames. Here are a few examples:

  1. All wood: Even if you want wood, you have to decide the type. If you plan to finish your cabinets with paint, you can opt for a less expensive, paint-grade construction. If you want natural or stained wood, you can choose from economical types such as poplar and alder, mid-range oak and hickory or top out with beautiful American cherry. More exotic woods include Lyptus, a hybrid of the eucalyptus tree and a South American hardwood, considered very eco-friendly because it is farmed. It looks a little like mahogany and is priced in the upper range.
  2. Bamboo: Technically, bamboo is grass, not wood. Usually it is considered eco-friendly because it grows so fast, unless it is harvested under unsavory agricultural and labor practices. It is priced on a par with cherry.
  3. Thermofoil: Also known as rigid thermo foil (RTF), this material is made by pressing vinyl, under high temperature, onto the surface of medium density fiberboard (MDF). It costs about a third of the lower-end woods and is formed to mimic wood designs such as paneled and raised-paneled doors. However, it is subject to fading and the laminate can degrade from exposure to high heat.
  4. Exotica: If you are going for chic, consider doors in glass or metal--aluminum or stainless steel. These are specialty items, and as such, are at the top end of pricing.

Kitchen cabinet remodeling, with its litany of decisions, is intimidating. But choosing the material for your project is a huge step in resolving your design dilemma.

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