With doors, your choice will be governed to a large extent by your budget. Starting at the lower end of the market, the following options are available:
This is thin, absorbent paper impregnated with melamine resin bonded onto particle board. The advantages are that it’s affordable and the synthetic surface is easy to clean. But as the layer is thin it can be damaged by scratching. It cannot be curved or post formed, so you are restricted to a flat, sharp-edged door.
It can be edged in melamine, a metal strip, or a 3mm PVC foil edging. Another variation has a beveled edge covered in foil. The disadvantage of melamine is that the joins gather dirt, are vulnerable to water and could begin to lift after few years.
Continuous- pressure Laminate
Also known as the Decon door, this is similar to melamine but is slightly thicker and has a Kraft paper backing. It is made in a roll and can be curved or post formed. It is not very heat-resistant but this is not as important in a door as it is in a counter top. As it comes in standard sizes, you are limited to certain sizes. There are a limited number of colours and finishes.
Introduced a couple of years ago, this consists of Supawood sealed in a PVC foil. The advantages are that it can be pressed into a profile resembling a crafted, raised and fielded door. It is also, completely waterproof. There are no joins so it won’t chip or peel. However it is also not particularly heat-resistant.
High- pressure Laminate
Formica is the trade name for this type of laminate which is the thickest, strongest laminate used on cabinet doors. It is heat resistant up to 180 degrees and is scratch and stain-resistant. There is a huge variety of colours, finishes and textures. Both local and imported products are available.
Here a Supawood base is sprayed to achieve either a satin or a high-gloss lacquer finish. The surface is sprayed and buffed a number of times to remove any imperfections and then coated with a protective varnish. For the best results, car paint is used. In this case the colour can be mixed to exact specifications and guaranteed for 10 years against discoloration from the sun. Spray-finished doors can be cleaned with a damp cloth but no abrasives should be used. With high-gloss doors the finish must be done properly, because any imperfections are clearly visible, as are any fingerprints and scratches.
This is the most expensive type of door. The woods most commonly used are cherry, beech and oak, but others are available. As the quality if beech is variable and the wood has different shades and patterns, beech veneers are more popular because they have a uniform look. Two ways to give the look of solid wood without the expense is to combine a veneer door with solid beech edging, or a solid frame door with a plywood panel.
Solid wood expands and contracts with the weather, so doors must be carefully constructed with the weather, so doors must be carefully constructed to prevent cracking and warping. The wood is usually sprayed with a protective lacquer which makes it easy to keep clean.
The top of the price range is solid wood with a paint finish. Oak, for instance, can be stained any colour and given many types of paint finishes in varying degrees of colour.