Door options made simple. What is the difference in a cabinet door?

Door Options made simple

The kitchen behind the doors and panels is usually made up of white high moisture resistant melamine board and varies only slightly in construction and finish between different manufacturers. The major cost difference in the kitchen comes from the benchtops and the doors and the choice of doors is considerable. Most kitchen companies will offer about five styles, each having a range of colours and finishes. Visit the kitchen gallery on the Smartpackkit site to see pictures of different types of kitchens.


Melamine doors with melamine edging
This is the cheapest door style. Melamine paper overlay is a low pressure resin impregnated paper pressed on to board.Melamine paper is a thin brittle material that cannot be handled without the backing board.It is suitable for vertical surfaces such as doors and panels but not for benchtops. With care it will last a long time and is a very economical way to bring colour into a kitchen. The only significant drawback is that the edging on the square cut door can peel off or the colour can chip off the edging. the edge and the door do not have great impact resistance. Edging can be replaced as can the door at minimal cost. The approximate price of a 730mm x 450mm door is about A$20-35 depending on the branded colour. White generic board is always the cheapest.

Melamine door with rigid PVC edging
This door offers you a low cost melamine option with a hard wearing 1mm or 2mm edge. The edging can be complimentary or contrasting and the 2mm edge has a radius edge which gives a modern clean appearance. The advantage of this edge is the impact resistance and the non chipping features compared to the melamine edge. The approximate price of a 730mm x 450mm door is $35-45 depending on the colour and brand of the melamine board used.


Melamine door with Postformed edges or “Hardform” door
This door was invented to make a door to look like a postformed laminate door at a lower cost using melamine. The edges are rolled or postformed with a 6-8mm radius along the vertical or horizontal edges with the alternate edges edged with a 2mm PVC edge in the same colour. The door has a soft clean appearance which high lights the line where 2 doors meet. The colour in all melamine doors is the same on the inside and the outside of the door as against the laminate version which usually had only laminate on the outside of the door to save on cost and had a tendency to bow over time. The cost of a hardform door is $55-60 per door or panel. 

There are a number of people in the industry who refer to laminate doors for the above types of melamine doors but this is an incorrect description. A laminate door is made using laminate applied to board as is done with a benchtop. It has better impact resistance than melamine. One can handle laminate separately without breaking. Melamine on the other hand has to be applied to board before it can be handled and is no good to be used for benched. The color can be the same for laminate or melamine but laminate is a thicker product (0.4-1.2 mm) whereas melamine is 0.1-0.2mm thickness


Thermofoil or Vacuum formed door
This door style is manufactured using MDF (medium density fibreboard) which has a pattern routered into the face and /or edges and then a pvc foil is adhered to the one side of the door using glue, heat and vacuum. The door can have a modern (plain face) or federation, colonial, shaker or provincial appearance (routered face). The door foil comes in a textured, woodgrain, satin or high gloss finish. The doors are not repairable if damaged or scratched but could be replaced. The doors are easy to clean and have a 7 year warranty. However there have been some problems with delamination of the foil in the past. The approximate price of a door 730mm x 450mm is $70-120 depending on the complexity of the routered face, thickness and foil finish.

Sprayed doors

These doors go by a number of names such as two pack, polyurethane and  lacquered doors. These doors are made from MDF (medium density fibreboard) and sprayed with a chemically cured paint similar to car paint. The faces and edges of the door can have a routered pattern or just plain faced with pencil round edges. The paint finish can range in gloss levels from matt(10%) , satin (30%), semi gloss (60%) to high gloss (90%).  The paint finish gives a very sleek modern appearance and shows no join seams on the edges. The paint is brittle but hard and can chip. The high gloss shows marks as does any highly polished surface. Semi gloss or satin finishes now more popular show less finger marks and are not so reflective. These doors are well suited to kitchen and bathroom installations. The price of a door 730mm x 450mm is between $85-150 per door depending on the routing and finish. The high gloss being at the more expensive end of the range.


Veneer doors
Veneer doors are made from pre-veneered board which is then cut and edged and sprayed with clear polyurethane in a satin finish. The classical modern look has never been outdated in the last 60 years and gives that Danish or swedish design look with the warmth of timber. The advantage of this door is that one gets the real timber grain feel to the door without the expense of solid timber doors and still has a modern look as against the colonial or country look of solid timber doors (a result mainly of the construction). The door can be repaired by sanding and re-coating if damaged.The door can be made in a large range of natural timbers but one must be aware that the natural variation in the veneer from sheet to sheet from which the doors are cut. Depending on the type of veneer this can be quite obvious when installing a complete kitchen. A new type of restacked veneer has been developed to overcome this incnsistancy and is slightly more expensive but the result of using this Smartveneer or restructured or reconstituted veneer is a very consistent colour and grain throughout the kitchen or wardrobe. The cost of an average door 730mm x 450mm is between A$70-150 per door. The cheaper end of the scale would be the tasmanian oak or pacific maple natural veneers, then the more exotic timbers to the restructured veneer doors.


Timber doors
This is the more traditional style of door and has become increasingly more expensive as the exotic timbers have become more rare. These doors are hard wearing and can be repaired if damaged. After a number of years the doors can be re-sanded and re-lacquered to look like new. The doors have a number of different styles and moldings but mostly have a federation ,colonial , country style or shaker appearance. The doors need to be lacquered to protect them from moisture and grease. Oiling them is an option although not recommended in an hygienic kitchen environment. The doors can also be painted for the provincial look. The approximate price of the finished door 730mm x 450mm is between $150- 250 depending on the type timber used. Matching panels for these doors are generally made in a matching veneer as the large flat pieces of timber are not available or tend to warp.


It should be noted that all doors to a greater or lesser extent are all affected by water and excessive heat which will destroy the doors. If the doors are looked after and maintained they will last the  lifetime of the kitchen. Do not clean any of the doors with an abrasive cleaner. A simple wipe with a mild detergent will do the job. All doors should not be wider than 600mm otherwise it will bend the hinges and make sure that there are enough hinges to support the door. As a minimum use 2 hinges up to 900mm, 3 hinges up to 2100mm and 4 hinges for doors up to 2400mm. heavier thicker doors than 18mm might use more hinges.



About Smartpackkit

The new and cost effective way to order custom joinery in flatpack for kitchens, wardrobes, laundries, home office, entertainment and storage solutions.
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