Let there be no confusion: a kitchen renovation can be a lot of work. And when it it comes to kitchen cabinet materials, there are countless options available. Each come with their own pros and cons and at a different price point. The most common kitchen cabinet materials used today are melamine, polyester, lacquered, and wooden. The material you choose depends on your budget, style, and long-term use of your kitchen. Alternatively, to save money there are cost-effective ways at updating your cabinets, such as resurfacing your cabinets, opposed to installing new ones. Here are the average costs, pros and cons of each material based on a medium sized renovation.
Melamine cabinets are an affordable option if you’re looking to renovate your kitchen and stick within a budget. Melamine is made by heat-sealing either pressed wood, medium density fibreboard, or plywood between paper that is saturated with thermally fused melamine resin. These cabinets are popular amongst homeowners as the paper that is used can be printed in any colour or design, making these cabinets completely customizable at an affordable price.
Melamine does not split easily and does not require paint or stain. It is also very easy to clean, you can use water and dish soap to wipe away grease and fingerprints. As melamine can be printed in almost any colour or design, many homeowners opt for a wood grain pattern over real wood cabinets. When using a printed pattern, you do not have to worry about end grains being visible. Your wood pattern will be smooth and seamless throughout your cabinets.
The cons of melamine are that it can shatter and the material does not hold onto screws and anchors well. This can lead to repairs needed in the future after heavy use. Melamine also weighs significantly more than real wood or plywood cabinets which can lead to sagging. Talk to a kitchen expert today to see if this material is appropriate for your space.
Melamine is the lowest costing material. On average it will cost $9,200 including installation fees to renovate a medium sized kitchen with new melamine cabinets.
While similar in look and feel to melamine, polyester cabinets are the more elegant option. They are made from a compound of melamine and pine fibre that is then covered with a polyester film. If you’re looking for a material with a low cost point that looks more expensive than melamine, polyester is a good alternative.
Similar to melamine, polyester can be printed in any colour or design, including wood grain. Polyester cabinets are more resistant to scratches compared to melamine, making them more durable.
While you can achieve an elegant look, polyester scratches are hard to touch up as you can’t paint them like you could with a wood material. Consult a professional to see if polyester cabinets are an option for your kitchen cabinet renovation.
Polyester is an appealing choice for homeowners as they can achieve wood style cabinets at a low cost, around $12,650 for a medium sized kitchen renovation.
Similar to melamine and polyester cabinets, lacquered cabinets are made of a pine fibre board that is finished with lacquer which provides a protective coating for the wood. While most commonly purchased in white, these cabinets do come in other colours, however, they lack the more creative design abilities.
The high gloss finish of lacquered cabinets allows them to keep their like-new shine for years. If you’re after a lustrous and modern appearance, this is the material for you. They’re also easy to clean and scratches can be repaired relatively easily by adding another coat of lacquer.
While easy to clean, these cabinets can be quickly dirtied by handprints if hardware is not used to open them. If you have young children or are a messy cook, you might want to consider a different material. Find out if lacquer cabinets are right for you by speaking to a kitchen cabinet pro today.
Lacquered cabinets are in the middle for costs, averaging $18,975 for a medium sized kitchen renovation.
As the most expensive of the group, wooden cabinets offer you a very resistant material. There is a wide variety of wood materials to choose from for your cabinets, such as pine, walnut and oak to name a few. Wood can also be refaced with paint for a custom coloured look.
As a long-lasting material, wood will withstand your kitchen with the occasional scratch or dent that is easy to repair. As an added bonus, the style of wood is timeless and will stick around for years to come.
The biggest con of this material is that it is quite expensive, however, its lifespan makes up for it. Speak to a kitchen cabinets professional to explore wood cabinets as an option for your home.
To add new wooden cabinets to a medium sized kitchen will cost $21,275 on average. Prices will vary depending on the type of wood you choose.
If your existing kitchen cabinets aren’t in need of an entire replacement, resurfacing them is a cost-conscious choice that will leave your cabinets looking brand new. The average cost of resurfacing your cabinets is approximately $5,500. Cheaper than purchasing all new materials for your cabinets, this cost-effective approach can save you time and hassles during your kitchen renovation. This will leave you with cabinets in the same location, however, you can get creative and customize the colour and redress the hardware for minimal costs, making it feel like new.
Below are the average costs of Kitchen Planning & Renovation services across different cities in Canada:
*Costs based on 1533 verified Canadian homeowner reviews as of March 2022
With the wide variety of materials available, choosing the right one for your space is made easy through weighing the pros, cons, and costs. Applying your budget and design ideas to your process will help you choose the perfect material. Connect with a kitchen cabinets pro to see what is best for your space and lifestyle. Once you have the cabinet material set, starting researching the best design and layout to ensure your kitchen is meeting all your cooking needs.
Article Updated June 2022