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Spotlight On…. Laminate Cabinet Doors and Refacing

September 07, 2016

Cabinets and storage are a defining feature of a kitchen. How your cabinets are made, and from what, determines the strength and lifespan of your kitchen investment. There are several high value synthetic kitchen cabinet materials on the market today.  Today we will look at laminates, the most popular synthetic material.

Past synthetic products have not been very sturdy, but new developments in the industry have brought forward materials of a much higher caliber. Today we have sturdier materials and processes that go into a product that is called DLV, or Decorative Laminate Veneer.  In the video below, one of our owners,  Brett Cohen, explains the difference between the types of laminates available, what to look for, and why.

Now that you know that not all laminates are created equal, let’s review and add a few more facts to the mix.

  • Differences between RTF and DLV Laminate:
    • ~ RTF or Thermofoil doors are finished doors that were entirely literally laminated, a process that could be undone in the course of normal kitchen  heat exposure and use.
    • ~ DLV fuses the strong base material MDF with panels of melamine and adds a layer of protective resin for a finish that can outperform some natural woods. DLV doors are solid doors that are assembled like other doors, out of pieces of MDF coated with a laminate finish of your choice. Worth looking out for, these new products are sturdy and a solid investment that will last for many years.

The laminate refacing process is quite similar to real wood refacing. With laminate refacing, instead of a thin layer of wood veneer, a thin layer of laminate is applied to all the surfaces that you wish to refresh.   Then new doors are installed onto the refaced existing or new cabinets.

This kitchen was expanded and refaced in a warm wood-look laminate, and looks great! Existing cabinets were refaced and repaired, and new cabinets were added along with the new exteriors. Two of the kitchen cabinets received storage upgrades with full extension rollouts, while another got a pull out base organizer and a tip out tray added storage to the sink area. A classy and custom look was created by adding details like a mullion glass door, crown molding, a light rail and base molding.

Wood is a  very popular cabinet material choice, known for its durability and beautiful look.  Those two traits are also true of quality laminate cabinet doors. However, if you wanted a particular wood grain or the multi-dimensional glow of a natural product, there’s going to be no replacement for that.  But if you want  the look of wood without darkening over time or just want a lighter cost without sacrificing either beauty or durability, then laminate refacing is worth looking at. Laminate is more difficult to repair than wood, but it is less susceptible to some of the kinds of damage that wood is vulnerable to and will stay strong and beautiful for a long time.

Laminates are known for their smooth and glossy sheen and are for that reason a great choice for contemporary, modern and retro styles of kitchen. With the new textures that are now available, traditional and rustic styles can take advantage of DLV cabinet doors, just don’t be surprised if no one guesses its not wood!  Kitchen styles are more strongly shaped by door style than by material, so if you’re considering traditional, rustic and country looks, laminate is not only an option, it could be your best option for cost-effectively reaching your goal.

What a difference refacing can make! This kitchen was transformed with new countertops and new Parma doors. Helpful touches like trim, under-cabinet lighting, full extension drawers and a new cabinet add storage and usability.

Ready to get started? Check our reviews or our service area and get in touch!

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