Laminate finished cabinets are a great option if you’re looking for kitchen cabinets that are easier to maintain and more durable than natural wood cabinets. Laminate cabinets have a plywood, particle board, MDF, or HDF core covered in a thin, durable plastic laminate layer. This laminate layer can be any color and can even mimic the look of wood.
Laminate is available in both low-pressure (less durable and less expensive) and high-pressure (more durable and more expensive) options.
Because they have a condensed wood core, laminate cabinets are unlikely to crack or swell with changes in temperature and humidity. They hold up well against cooking and cleaning conditions in a kitchen!
However, occasionally the glue holding the laminate to the core may break down and cause the laminate to pull from the edge. That damage is practically impossible to repair.
Recently, more durable varieties of laminate kitchen cabinets have been developed: porta door style laminate material (more commonly known as PET) and thermal structured surface (or TSS).
PET enhances regular laminate finishes with a transparent coating that is cured under special temperature and UV light processes to increase durability. PET features a water-resistant, permanently attached edge that prevents the laminate from curling or lifting away from the core over time.
PET cabinets are also lightweight, scratch resistant, chemical resistant, amd UV-light stable. PET cabinets can be high-gloss or matte and create a seamless appearance throughout your kitchen.
TSS laminate cabinets, on the other hand, thermally bind specially designed papers to a particle board substrate. These materials can be any color and are texturized using steel plates or drums that are pressed into the top color and underlying cabinetry core. This creates a more durable laminate layer that will last for years!