Kitchen Cabinets – what materials are best suited for cladding?
Quartz and Ceramic materials have been used for vast decorative applications in the recent years. Apart from the obvious (and most commonly used) worktops we can expect to see these products on stairs, flooring, walls, but even cabinets! That’s right, this wasn’t a typo – nowadays many people opt for synthetic stone as means for cladding, predominantly when embellishing kitchen cabinets (doors, side panels etc.).
“How is this possible? Aren’t quartz or ceramic worktops very heavy?”
Not when they are thin! The advantage of the modern stone cutting and sintered stone production is that these products can be created in very thin parameters. Go back 10 years, and the minnimum thickness of quartz was 20mm, and ceramic products didn’t even exist – now both can be purchased in very thin sizes, enabling you to clad whatever you like, without putting strain on the cabinet hinges, or worrying that the material itself won’t hold.
What thicknesses are currently available?
This depends entirely on the company and the product type itself. To provide a good example, in terms of quartz products, not many companies on the British market offer their products in variations other than 20mm & 30mm. 20mm is still deemed as the lowest standard. However, some, more prominent Quartz Companies have developed new technology in the recent years which enables them to have thinner options. These are:
- Technistone: 12mm (Although the palette is very limited. As little as 5-6 colours are presently available in this size)
- Caesarstone: 13mm (Less than half of all colours are available in this size)
- Diresco: 12mm (Roughly 50% of all colours available in this thickness. These materials are especially good for outside use because of the anti UV properties. I would highly recommend those if your kitchen cabinet units extend into a conservatory.)
- Silestone: 12mm (Most products available in this size. These can also be ordered to size, allowing you to save on additional cutting i.e. only polishing and fitting left.)
- Compac: 12mm (Most products available in this size. These can also be ordered to size, allowing you to save on additional cutting i.e. only polishing and fitting left.)
As to the Ceramic Products, or rather ‘Sintered Stone’, as these products are professionally referred to – they are available in far more flexible thicknesses, thanks to their light density and overall composition. In other words, because of the process of making, these products can be created in thin sizes, but be still as strong, durable and sturdy as the thicker counterparts. This is a massive advantage of the ceramic companies, and thanks to the likes of Dekton and Neolith, the market and application use for stone has completely changed. Prior to their release, cladding was only limited to walls or ceilings, now thin sheets of stone can case anything you can imagine. The current availability is as follows:
- Neolith: 6mm, 12mm
- Dekton Cosentino: 8mm, 12mm, 20mm, 30mm
- Lapitec: 12mm, 20mm, 30mm
The thinner, the better.
For any cladding projects, from walls to kitchen cabinets themselves, we would strongly recommend opting for something as thin as possible. 12mm Quartzes can still be quite heavy, so perhaps apply those to your walls. That’s not to say the hinges on your cabinets wouldn’t last, but the risk does increase. So when it comes to cabinets, we strongly recommend the 6mm Neolith, 8mm Dekton and 12mm Lapitec products. Not only are they fairly easy to mount, attach, and glue-on, they are also very reliable. Due to their thin properties they can hang upon the side-panels or kitchen cabinets and not cause any damage. In fact, even opening the doors won’t feel much different, as these products ever so slightly weigh down your doors.
Why is cladding/encasing of kitchen cabinets a good idea?
The reasons are many. First of all, when you clad and surface with a stone product, you instantly increase its durability. These products can be slashed with knives, covered with liquids, oils and acids, and they will still remain in a pristine condition for years to come. It’s their incredible endurance which grants them such high ratings and
Second, the maintenance is incredibly straightforward. All you require is a bit of water, a dishcloth and all stains, dirt and marks come off at an instant. That’s because their surface/inner contents are glazed with a special sealant that repels all stains. And you don’t need to worry about scratching your surface, as is often the case with laminates or wooden doors. Have you ever spilt pancake mix on their surface, and let it dry? It’s the worst thing ever – when I always used to scrub the cabinets, I would always leave minute ring scratches on the surface. This doesn’t happen to sintered stone or quartz, which is why this product is perfect for kitchens, where staining, scratching or general wear and tear is of the highest degree.
Third, the value goes up. Stone surfaces are worth a lot, therefore if selling your property was ever on the cards, it’s worth to invest in top notch cladding to increase it’s value. With quartz or ceramic layering, you’re essentially giving the buyer a guarantee that the kitchen will last for far longer than it would normally have lasted. It’s the same as choosing tiles over paint, or oak panels over carpet. The more modern you go, the more value you add to your property.
Fourth, you don’t need to replace your existing cabinets. You heard that right, you save a lot by leaving your old cabinets in place, and simply covering them with a new stone surface. It’s not only a cheaper solution, but a fantastic way to save yourselves some time and effort. For the first time ever you won’t be left without a kitchen for weeks at a time, instead a specialised company will pop in, measure all your cabinets and have them encased a couple of days later in this beautiful product.
Lastly, they match your existing stone worktops. Yes, they perfectly suit the stone worktops that are already in place. You can match them up, create different contrasts, and make your whole kitchen look as a modern interior.
To find out more advantages of these products, visit: Dekton Advantages
Likewise, for more info regarding Dekton, Neolith and all other ceramic worktops, we send you off to our other article, which highlights all the benefits of these products.