Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Panval melamine makes a cost-effective kitchen remodel

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Looking for new kitchen cabinet doors that don't break your budget? Keep in mind that "cheap" doesn't have to mean "cheaply made." Doors made of melamine can look great in your kitchen and might be the answer that keeps your financial bottom line happy.

What is panval melamine?

Melamine starts as an organic compound made of wood particles, paper, resins and glues. When it is combined with formaldehyde, it turns into a useful resin. The material is known as a thermoset plastic, since it is molded while warm and sets into a rigid shape when cooled.

The plastic can be molded in the factory to fit almost any shape, which makes it a great material for kitchen cabinets that look like wood-grain or other popular materials. However, the plastic look-alikes made of panval melamine are available at a fraction of the cost.

Advantages and disadvantages

As with every cabinet material, there are pros and cons to using melamine. The advantages include:

  1. Heat resistant and durable: The process used to create the melamine makes it a very durable, sturdy and heat-resistant material that can last for many years. The cabinets are often as heavy as wood, making them even more sturdy than they look.
  2. Easy cleaning: The easy-to-clean outer finish of panval melamine cabinets can come in very handy in the kitchen, where splashes and stains are the norm. A simple cleaning with soap and water can make even the oldest melamine cabinets look new.
  3. Lower cost: Melamine cabinet doors can be purchased for as little at $20 per panel. Thicker doors might cost a bit more, but even custom jobs usually cost less than that of other materials.

Disadvantages of using melamine for cabinet doors include:

  1. Installation problems: Thanks to the solid structure, melamine panels don't accept screws or nails very well. The material can also chip or crack, especially when being cut to size.
  2. Thin moisture barrier: Moisture can cause serious damage to melamine cabinets. The thin outer layer of the cabinets is meant to protect from moisture, but the slightest crack or dent could spell disaster if water were to get underneath that protective coating.
  3. Potential health concerns: There have been questions in recent years about the safety of melamine products. However, these concerns mostly focus on heating the product, which is not a likely scenario with kitchen cabinets.

Though Uniboard is the most popular manufacturer of panval melamine cabinets, there are several other companies that sell the product. A good warranty can help ensure you get a high-quality product.




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