Remodelling 101: Material Considerations for Your Kitchen Joinery MakeoverApril 12, 2021
Although many people assume that joinery holds little to no importance as compared to the structural components of a kitchen, homeowners still acknowledge joineries as a key factor in defining a kitchen’s character. As such it is vital to choose the right style for your space. Arguably, the most important part of picking out joinery — even more than style and functionality — is choosing the right material. Below are tips on how to choose the best joinery materials for your kitchen makeover.
Many architects, interior designers and homeowners aim for solid wood as one of the main materials in a residence. But we already know that solid wood expands and contracts, so it is not always the best solution for kitchen joinery, flooring applications or countertops. In most cases, engineered wood products are used instead because they’re just as reliable and a lot cheaper. The most widely used kinds for joinery boxes are constructed from medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood, particleboard with melamine and sometimes stainless steel.
Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)
MDF is a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibres and resin. It’s CNC-milled under high pressure, often in one-piece frames with the centre cut out for the recessed panel. The dense and heavy product is nearly synonymous with IKEA joinery, as, over the years, the Scandinavian company has cornered the world supply for their various kitchen collections. MDF attracts consumers because of its resistance to cracking and peeling — meaning it’s super easy to paint over. Plus, MDF is smoother than plywood.
Many manufacturers gravitate toward producing plywood joineries not only because it’s a relatively low-cost material, but also because it’s said to have a higher resistance to moisture and greater stability than MDF. Each board that makes up plywood joinery is layered like a sandwich, with thin wood piles glued on top of one another. An exposed plastic laminate, wood veneer or thermofoil coats the outside for added protection.
Particleboard joineries are maybe the least conventional joinery-construction method. To create particleboard, wood chips and particles are combined with an adhesive, which is then fused together into the panels. This mixture is the least firm of all the options because it’s basically shards of wood ground up into little pieces, and the only thing truly holding it together is the glue.
While stainless steel gives a kitchen a coveted contemporary feel, it’s somehow not as desirable as wood. Stainless steel is more commonly used in professional kitchens, but it’s hard to clean off fingerprints and scratches. Stainless steel doesn’t expand and contract like wood, making it a nice option for moisture-rich places.
Joineries usually come ready to assemble, but semi-custom options are great if you want an added touch of control over the final product. One aspect of joinery that people often overlook is the drawers. Usually, these are made up of the same material as the joinery box, but on high-quality joineries, they might be made of solid wood so as to withstand abuse from future overuse. The drawer fronts will likely feature solid wood or MDF.