The Latest + Greatest in Cabinet Materials

One of the true joys of my profession is the constantly changing palette of beautiful materials employed in cabinetry manufacturing. Long gone are the days of rotary cut “golden” oak!! Yippee!! Our manufacturers are always on the search for fabulous new materials to keep our cabinetry looking fresh and new. With the trend toward contemporary styling, the most popular door style is a 1 piece, simple slab that gives us an opportunity to showcase the exterior material. This style of door is primarily a solid substrate (MDF is popular due to it’s structural integrity) “veneered” with either a LP (low pressure laminate), HP (high pressure laminate), or actual wood veneer. With the popularity of this doorstyle comes the opportunity for “grain matching”, a lovely continuation of the wood’s character from bottom to top on tall doors, and base drawer and door fronts.  If you think of the surface of the cabinetry as a painter’s canvas, you can see the opportunity to highlight the material’s beauty across a large surface, just as in a fine work of art.  Grain-matching is an important aspect in making the material you love show to the best of it’s ability.

But back to materials, as I digress….low pressure laminate refers to a thin sheet of glass mat thermoset with resins and then adhered to a substrate (usually some form of particle board, such as MDF).  High pressure laminate is similar but may also employ substrates such as kraft paper, mica paper, canvas or cloth.  Typical resins used in high pressure laminate manufacturing include phenolic, epoxy, melamine, silicone and polymide.  Exciting stuff, huh?  The end result is a photographic image on a very durable surface that performs extremely well as a cabinet face.  Low pressure and high pressure laminates have been used extensively in Europe for many years, and we are seeing some exciting new selections coming our way, especially in the exotic veneer category.  Natural exotic veneers tend to be very costly and it can be difficult to find enough similar material to do a large project.  These new LP and HP laminates are affordable, durable and consistent in color and pattern.  Some even have texture that resembles natural wood grain.  You have to see them to believe them!  We have a wonderful new selection of these laminates from our supplier ArtCraft, so please stop by to see them!

Natural wood veneer is also very popular for one-piece cabinet doors.  Some beautiful examples that are available through Homeworks are flat cut maple and walnut, Ribbon Sapele, Quarter Sawn walnut and Rift Cut White oak.  The flat cut veneers offer a more traditional “flame” pattern in the doors, whereas the Ribbon Sapele, Quartered walnut and Rift Cut oak are very striated in appearance and lend themselves beautifully to a horizontal grain design. 

Whether you prefer the function and consistency of LP and HP laminates or the natural variation and beauty of real wood veneers, we have a large selection of materials and finishes to choose from.  Nothing is more rewarding to me than creating a beautiful kitchen!!!



ps: to learn more about the exciting technical details regarding LP and HP laminates, please visit


~ by Katrina on March 11, 2010.

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