What is Cabinet Veneer?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Cabinet veneer is a thin covering that is applied to cabinet doors and frames as a means of providing a more attractive appearance. Veneers of this type are often uses to face cabinetry that is constructed with durable but less costly materials. As a result, homeowners can enjoy the look of more expensive cabinets without having to spend as much money.

Veneer in general is created by joining three very thin slivers of wood. The top layer is usually composed of the most expensive and attractive sliver, since it will be exposed. Underlying layers provide the facing with stability, making it much easier to apply the veneer to the surface of an object. Many manufacturers use a combination of glues and pressure to meld the three layers into one durable section of veneer.

While there are several options, the cabinet veneer that appeals to many people is the wood veneer. Created by extracting thin sections from quality woods such as oak, elm, and cherry, the veneer is adhered to the front of the cabinets with the use of a strong glue that will not weaken even when exposed to a great deal of heat and humidity. When paired with new hardware, applying a hardwood veneer to the facings of old cabinets can completely change the look of the cabinetry as well as the entire kitchen.


New cabinets are often produced using simple plywood veneer that is colored and stained to resemble the patterns in hardwood. Cabinets of this type are usually budget priced, making it possible for people with very little money to still enjoy kitchen cabinets that look great. This option offers a viable and slightly more formal alternative to plastic laminate veneer, another relatively inexpensive veneer alternative that is used with less expensive cabinets.

In kitchens where cabinet veneer is used, it is not uncommon for homeowners to also make use of veneer panels. The panels can be cut to size and utilized to create facades for appliances such as under the counter dishwashers or refrigerators. Because the panels feature the same design and stain as the cabinet veneer used on the doors and frames of the cabinets, they help to give the space a more streamlined and unified look.

Aside from the obvious benefit of being a less expensive alternative to purchasing hardwood cabinets, cabinet veneer is also an environmentally friendly option. The thin slices of veneer generate very little in the way of sawdust, which in turn means there is more wood left to work with. Since dozens of sheets of veneer can be made from a single plank, it is possible to consume less of precious hardwoods and make better use of plywood and other options to construct the cabinets themselves.


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