Cabinet Door Options made simple – Part 1

Cabinet 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 makes a considerable difference. Most kitchen companies will offer about five styles, each having a range of colours and finishes.

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 kitchen benchtops.(It can be used for office benchtops which have less wear). 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 if it is melamine edging. (This does not happen with PVC or ABS edging).The colour is on both sides of the door.The edge and the door do not have great impact resistance and water damage can effect the door because water can leach through the joint of the edging and the melamine face. Edging can be replaced as can the door at minimal cost. The approximate price of a 730mm x 450mm door is about A$30-45 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 a complimentary or contrasting colour 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. It is still affected by water which can leech through the edge joint. The approximate price of a 730mm x 450mm door is $40-50 depending on the colour and brand of the melamine board used. Gloss melamine colours are now available at a higher cost of $55-70 per door and at a distance gives the appearance of a much higher cost polyurethane door. The Smartpack website has a range of melamine colour doors available.

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. The cost of a hardform door is $60-70 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. 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. Laminate doors are now not used much as they are too expensive and they tend to bow on taller doors unless laminate is applied on both sides of the door which is even more expensive. 

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 and it is necessary to use the specified heat shield next to a heat source like an oven. The approximate price of a door 730mm x 450mm is $70-120 depending on the complexity of the routered face, thickness and foil finish.


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.

Part 2 of this article will be publish in the next blog article in mid October.



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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