The kitchen cabinet material you choose will impact more than just what they look like. Different cabinet materials will be different in durability, maintenance, how easy they are to change up and, of course, in price.
This article explores the 5 most popular kitchen cabinet materials in Australia, and each of their pros and cons. You’ll be able to weigh up your options and see which solution best suits your kitchen build or renovation.
As carpenters, if you have any questions, we’re here to help you find the right kitchen cabinet materials for your home.
5 Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Materials in Australia
Solid wood cabinets.
Solid wood cabinets remain a timeless and popular choice for many Australian homeowners. Known for their natural beauty and durability, solid wood cabinets add warmth and character to any kitchen.
Australian hardwoods like Jarrah, Blackbutt and Tasmanian Oak are highly sought after due to their stunning grain patterns and rich colours. Solid wood cabinets can be stained or painted to match your desired aesthetic.
While they may require regular maintenance, such as refinishing or resealing, they offer excellent longevity and can withstand daily use.
Laminate cabinets have gained immense popularity in Australian kitchens for their versatility, affordability and ease of maintenance.
Made from layers of resin-impregnated paper bonded to a composite substrate, laminate cabinets offer a wide range of colours, patterns and textures. They can convincingly mimic the appearance of natural materials like wood or stone.
Laminate cabinets are highly durable, resistant to stains and scratches, and easy to clean, making them an excellent choice for busy households. With their budget-friendly nature and vast design options, laminate cabinets are a popular choice for those seeking a stylish yet cost-effective kitchen upgrade.
Thermofoil cabinets have become increasingly popular in Australian kitchens due to their sleek appearance and durability.
These cabinets consist of an MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) core wrapped in a heat-sealed vinyl material. Thermofoil cabinets offer a smooth, seamless surface that resists chipping, cracking and fading.
They are available in an array of colours and finishes, including high gloss or matte. Being low-maintenance, requiring only simple cleaning with mild soap and water also makes them extremely popular. However, MDF kitchen cabinets may not be as heat-resistant as some other materials, so you may need to be careful with hot pans or trays.
Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) is one of the most popular kitchen cabinet materials, known for being highly affordable, but still looking good.
MDF is engineered wood made from wood fibres combined with resin and formed under high pressure. The production method means they are super smooth, and all look very uniform, perfect for an affordable, modern-looking kitchen.
They are highly versatile, allowing for intricate designs and customisations. However, they are susceptible to moisture damage, so proper sealing and regular maintenance are important to prevent swelling or warping.
Stainless Steel Cabinets
For a sleek and modern look, stainless steel cabinets may be the kitchen cabinet material for you.
Most people will know of stainless steel cabinets from commercial kitchens, but they have also gained popularity in residential settings to get that industrial look.
Popular in contemporary and industrial-style kitchens, stainless steel cabinets offer a clean and hygienic aesthetic. They are highly durable, resistant to heat, stains and corrosion.
Better still, stainless steel cabinets are super easy to clean and maintain, only needing a wipe down with mild soap and water. However, stainless steel is a more expensive, but popular kitchen cabinet material. They are a long-lasting investment, but are a very distinctive design statement, so you will want to be sure you’ll love them long-term.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any specific considerations for kitchen cabinet materials in Australian climates?
Yes, it’s important to consider the climate when selecting kitchen cabinet materials in Australia.
Humidity is one of the main problems you’ll face with kitchen cabinets in Australia, with some types of treated plywoods, thermofoil (or MDF) and stainless steel cabinet materials being good options.
However, a cabinet specialist, like our team at QLD Building Repairs, can help you find the best option for your home
Can I customise the appearance of different kitchen cabinet materials to match my kitchen design?
Yes, there are many ways to customise your kitchen cabinet materials. For example, solid wood cabinets can be stained or painted to match the desired aesthetic, while there are so many different colours and textures of laminate cabinets available. Some cabinets are harder to change once built, like laminate, while wood is easier to paint or stain to change the look.
Can I easily change the hardware or handles on kitchen cabinets made from different materials?
The type of kitchen cabinet hardware you already have and what you want to change it too will make a difference in what you can switch out. For example, you may need to drill extra holes or have extra holes showing, and some handles may be harder to change.
If being able to change your handles or hardware on your kitchen cabinets is important to you, be sure to talk to your cabinet maker or carpenter.