Often regarded as the “face” of cabinetry, cabinet doors have an immense effect on the style and subsequent aesthetic of a space. And we’re not just talking about their design or colour. In fact, choosing the right door material for your cabinetry is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make during a renovation. So, whether you’re in the market for a new kitchen, bathroom vanity, or are simply interested in woodworking, then you’ll find this info quite useful! Now let’s break down the 4 door materials you need to know. 

Canaan thermofoil door example for cabinetry

Option 1: Thermofoil

Frequently picked as a solid, budget-friendly option, thermofoil doors are created using a vinyl material that is applied to an MDF (medium density fiberboard) door via a heat application process. While once known for their unfortunate tendency to peel over time, thermofoil doors have enjoyed a vast improvement in quality over the past several years which has directly resulted in an exponential rise in popularity. 

Thermofoil doors are a great, cost effective solution for smaller projects, rental property kitchens or high traffic areas such as bathrooms and offices. Thermofoil doors also come in a wide range of colours, meaning that you can find a colour to match almost any existing space. However, there are still some drawbacks to consider.

Thermofoil doors can begin peeling after 10 to 15 years of use, meaning that the cabinetry’s estimated lifespan could be lower than other options. In fact, the material could even begin peeling sooner if not cared for or directly exposed to a substantial amount of heat, so ensuring that appliances are properly situated at the right distance is vital.

If you’re looking for a solid product that can handle everyday wear and tear at a value-driven price point, then a thermofoil door could be the perfect solution for you.

Canaan decorative melamine door example for cabinetry

Option 2: Decorative melamine

Moving onto door number two on our list, a decorative melamine door represents a significant leap in both quality and durability. Decorative melamine’s core is comprised of compressed wood particles that are then encased in a resin and pliable finish. Decorative melamine doors come in a wide range of colours and styles, meaning that you’ll be able to find a style that can fit virtually any space. Highly durable and water resistant, decorative melamine’s lifespan is significantly longer than thermofoil. In fact, if you take proper care, decorative melamine cabinetry can last for several decades…and quite possibly even longer!

However, every product has certain features that you should be aware of. While highly resistant to water damage, if decorative melamine cabinetry chips, then the chipped area will be susceptible to water damage unless you get the affected area refinished to protect it. But if you take proper care of your cabinetry, then this issue shouldn’t come into play.

The most popular decorative melamine cabinetry currently is a flat gala door style. This trend emerged in Europe and has shown clear signs that the North American market is following suite, particularly in urban areas. Known for its clean, modern design, flat gala doors are easy to care for and age phenomenally because of their simplicity. 

Decorative melamine doors are a great option if you’re searching for the most value for your investment as it offers superb quality at a very fair price.


Canaan MDF painted door example for cabinetry

Option 3: Painted MDF

This may come as a surprise for some, but painted doors are currently the most popular choice with consumers and it’s not hard to see why. Boasting the most door styles of any option, painted doors provide an excellent combination of style and superb quality. The procedure that our painted doors undergo is actually quite extensive. All doors are made of MDF (medium density fiberboard) because, unlike wood, MDF doors are extremely unlikely to suffer from door warping or bowing as a result of seasonal temperature and humidity fluctuations. Once we receive the doors in the selected style, our finishing team then begins the intricate finishing process.

Each door needs to undergo 5 coats of finishing, with each coat taking a full day to complete. Once finished, however, the end product is absolutely breathtaking. Popular for its polished, clean look, MDF doors are extremely durable and are highly resistant to cracks and chips. With proper care and maintenance, you can rest easy knowing that your cabinetry will look stunning for years to come.

So, if price is not a concern and you’re looking for a great product that will be sure to wow and delight you and your guests for years to come, then painted doors are the perfect fit for you.

Canaan Maple door example for cabinetry

Option 4: Stained Wood

Universally recognized as the archetype of cabinetry, wood doors are a top-quality product that takes a backseat to no other. However, like all things, it’s important to understand its pros and cons to understand if it’s the right fit for you. Wood doors come in a wide range of woods, with each offering their own unique characteristics. It’s also important to be aware that each wood also falls in and out of demand as well. For the sake of simplicity, however, the most consistently popular woods are maple, cherry, oak, hickory, birch and walnut.

Our process begins with receiving the doors in their raw form. After this, our finishing team adheres to the same intricate 5 coat process that our painted doors go through, except instead of paint that’s applied, it’s stain. The purpose of staining wood doors is twofold. The staining process protects them from accidental stains and damage, but it also allows for further colour customization on the part of the client.

Wood doors are enormously popular for several reasons. They’re extremely durable and can easily be repaired and fixed, meaning that your kitchen can last practically forever with proper care. And while there are several wood types to choose from, the true versatility of wood doors comes in the near endless list of finish colours that can be applied. This allows for a much greater degree of creative freedom and style. While all of these benefits are great, an astounding advantage is that you can continually refinish your doors. Meaning that, if you’re happy with your kitchen’s functionality and setup, you don’t have to start from scratch if you decide to update your kitchen’s style in 10 years. 

While wood doors have plenty of positives to draw from, there are a few downsides to consider. The first is that the doors have the potential to warp and bow because of seasonal fluctuations in temperature and humidity. The second is that you’ll need to be careful of what products you use to clean your doors, as many household cleaning products contain chemicals that can damage the doors’ finish. For this reason, we recommend asking your cabinetry specialist which cleaning products can be used on your cabinetry before applying anything.

If you’re in the market for a product that you plan to use for years to come, then there’s little else that compares to the exquisite style, rich detail, and incredible quality that comes with wood cabinetry.

And that does it! The 4 door materials that you should know about. Make sure to keep this info in mind before attending an initial consultation with any firm so that you can be confident when the time comes to choose the right product for you. Did we answer all your questions? If not, we’d be more than happy to!


Here at Canaan, we believe that your home should reflect your own uniqueness. Which is why we take the time during our initial consultation to understand what makes you tick – we’ll determine your likes, dislikes, wants and desires. Our designers will then present you with a proposed design, without any commitment required so you can make the most educated decision possible. Sound good? Great! Are you ready to take the first step in getting the home of your dreams? Book your initial consultation with one of our designers today!

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