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Kitchen materials of today

Posted on Jun 21, 2015

By Nathan Moore

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Today you have many decisions to make when it comes to choosing your materials for your kitchen. It can be very stressful, time consuming and overwhelming when working through all of the different materials, surfaces and hardware options that are available to create your perfect kitchen.

 

To help you through this process and to eliminate the stress, you need to source a registered master joiner as they have the knowledge, expertise and experience with which colours, materials and hardware best work in different situations, and most importantly, which ones combine well to achieve a visually appealing overall look.

Sourcing a registered master joiner will also ensure that only top quality materials and hardware are available for your choice, as there are some materials and hardware on the market that are not up to the same standard and will only leave you disappointed and out of pocket in the long run.

Today you have many decisions to make when it comes to choosing your materials for your kitchen. It can be very stressful, time consuming and overwhelming when working through all of the different materials, surfaces and hardware options that are available to create your perfect kitchen.

To help you through this process and to eliminate the stress, you need to source a registered master joiner as they have the knowledge, expertise and experience with which colours, materials and hardware best work in different situations, and most importantly, which ones combine well to achieve a visually appealing overall look.

Sourcing a registered master joiner will also ensure that only top quality materials and hardware are available for your choice, as there are some materials and hardware on the market that are not up to the same standard and will only leave you disappointed and out of pocket in the long run.

When it comes to benchtops and work surfaces, you have a wide choice of materials, such as laminates (HPL), engineered stone, natural timber, stainless steel, marble, granite and acrylic. And once you’ve chosen the best material for your bench top, you then have to choose the colour, finish and edge detail.

The most commonly used and popular choice for benchtops is laminate (HPL) and the colour range for this is by no means limited – there are hundreds of colours available and in many different and interesting finishes. Today many people combine different benchtop materials. Some have a stone or acrylic in the kitchen and a laminate in the scullery area, or you may have stone on an island and stainless steel on a hob benchtop.

Placement of material is very important and can look fantastic if done well. Using different materials will largely come down to cost, how you use your kitchen and the overall look you want to achieve with the colours. With many kitchens being open plan now, the overall look and colours can be affected by the adjoining rooms.

With your cupboard doors and drawer fronts you have many different choices and finishes. The different products are melamine, vinyl wrap, lacquered, veneer, solid timber, glass and acrylic. Once again, when you have chosen the material or materials that are going to work best in your kitchen, you then need to choose a colour and finish; the most popular choice of material being melamine.

In some kitchens people combine different materials and colours with their cupboard fronts; this can create texture, a point of difference and really can showcase an area in the design.

Combining different products can make a standard design look quite interesting and personalise the kitchen to fit in with the overall look of your home.

A product that has become increasingly popular is the thermo formed vinyl wrap doors, drawers and panels. A lot of people are combining this product in a gloss finish with a textured melamine in areas like island back panels and overhead cupboards.

Another thing to consider is the substrate being used for your fronts. The substrate is the product that the melamine etc applied to (you don’t see the substrate). You should make sure you have a moisture resistant board (MR) when choosing lacquered fronts, as this eliminates the chance of moisture entering the board and creating a crack in the lacquer and enhances the overall finish of the lacquer. And you should at least use MDF for melamine fronts; some joiners use chip board.

The different materials for benchtop and cupboard doors and/or drawers come in a wide range of durability. For example, your most commonly used material for a benchtop is laminate, but if you place a hot plate or run a knife over it, then you will damage the surface which is hard to be repaired successfully. But if you went to a stone top, then this would be a lot harder to damage. Now if you were to chip a laminate or stone benchtop, then it’s hard to repair, but an acrylic top you can repair a chip or scratch easily, as it can be resurfaced and you would never see where the scratch had been.

The only downside with the acrylic can be that it can show scratches more visibly than a stone product shows marks.

There are a lot of new stone benchtop products on the market that are only 10mm – 12mm thick and these are then mitred to a much larger thickness that you can determine. This can create more of a visual impact and also make waterfall ends a real statement.

With cupboard/drawer front material, if melamine is damaged it is hard to repair, as you then expose the substrate – but if a lacquered front is damaged this is able to be touched up, or if the damage is significant, the door can be sanded back and re surfaced.

All these materials have their pros and cons, so it’s a matter of working closely with your master joiner to select the best material that will suit your needs and budget.

There are also different substrates used for the actual cupboard insides (carcasses) – usually covered in white melamine and 16 or 18mm thick. The joiner may use chip board, MDF, MR or a plywoodsubstrate for this. The most durable substrate for carcasses is plywood, as this will not soak up any water/moisture, but the most commonly used material for kitchens is MDF.

Regarding hardware for your hinges and drawers – be wary of cheap imported hardware. They may be cheaper and more affordable to start with, but can break down over a much shorter period of time, costing you more time and money in the long run. Having to replace hardware can be a time consuming process which may require a joiner on site.

 

Nathan Moore is the president of Canterbury Registered Master Joiners.

 

 

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