My guide to cabinetry materials, finishes and profiles
Updated: Jan 10
If you're building or renovating, you'll probably need to make a lot of important decisions about your cabinetry. One of the things I get asked by clients all the time is the difference between the available cabinetry materials, finishes and profiles. With so many options available now, it is easy to get confused. I have broken down the most common finishes and materials we use, so hopefully this guide can help you make the right decision:
1 | 2pac
This is the most common cabinetry finish that we use as it allows us endless options for
colours and profiles. This finish is achieved by spray painting each panel (MDF or similar) with a polyurethane 2pac paint, which means that you are able to choose any paint colour you desire. It also means that the finish is completely seamless as it wraps around all the edges. The main downside is that due to being a painted finish, it can chip easier than other options and because of this it can be an issue for families with young kids. When selecting 2pac, you also have the option of going with profile doors. The most popular profile options are:
- No profile at all
- Great for modern and minimal interiors
- You can add interest with handles or go handle-less
- One of the most popular options
- Has a picture frame border rail with the inside section being inset
- Works beautifully for a lot of more classic styles like hamptons or country
- I prefer a handle on base cupboards with shaker profiles, as fingerpulls can look too busy. (Decorative handles often suit a classic, Hampton's or country style anyways!)
- A more modern take on the shaker style, with the border rail being much thinner than a traditional shaker
- Works well for both classic and modern interiors, or when you want to have a mix of both
- Can work with handles or fingerpulls as the thinner borders look less busy
- Similar look to the popular VJ paneling that is used on walls, with vertical lines
- I love this look for coastal homes, but it also works well in contemporary, industrial and country style homes
- Can work with or without handles
- This is a newer joinery profile which is quickly becoming quite popular
- Scalloped design is characterised by its soft waving curves across the panel
- Works beautifully in feature areas (like the front of an island or concealing a rangehood) and combined with other more simple profiles
2 | Vinyl Wrap
As the name suggests, vinyl wrap joinery is made by heating, wrapping and vacuum sealing thin sheets of vinyl onto the MDF panel. Like 2pac, you are able to choose out of different profile options but the range and colours are a lot more limited. Each supplier (Laminex, Polytec or Albedor for example) has their own range of profiles and colours, so you need select from their particular range. As well as plain colours, many suppliers also have some timber look options which can look fantastic. The main downside is that there is some concern that vinyl does not hold up as well in areas where there is a lot of heat and moisture. However, the technology has come a long way and we have used vinyl in many kitchens and bathrooms with no issues.
3 | Laminate/Melamine
Laminate/melamine is the most affordable option for joinery. They are made by bonding thin layers of printed sheet to MDF or similar substrates, and then applying an ABS edging to the edges. They are very durable, and come in a range of colours, patterns (including timber look) and finishes (including matt, gloss and textured). Polytec and Laminex are the most well-known and both have fantastic ranges. I tend to use quite a lot of timber-look laminates and I love Polytec's Woodmatt and Laminex's Impressions Nuance range for this. The biggest downsides to laminate is that the ABS edging is quite visible, particularly on plain colours, and that you're only able to have flat doors with no profiles.
4 | Timber Veneer
Timber veneer is quite similar to laminate, but instead of printed sheets being bonded to the substrate, it is thin layers of real timber. This is a cheaper alternative to solid timber cabinetry, but it is still a very high end product. However, if you're after timber cabinetry that looks and feels authentic, this is a fantastic option. If you love the texture of timber but want something more plain, there are also painted timber veneers which come in lovely plain colours with the sophisticated timber texture coming through.
I hope this guide have been helpful! If you want to find out more about selecting the right materials and finishes for your project, get in contact with us below:
Have a wonderful week!