Flat Panel

Flat panel doors

In increasing order of cost we have :

  • Prefinished board, as an entry level product. (e.g. Laminex’s  Lamiwood,  Polytec’s Meltec, Parbury’s Panelart are all examples of this style).

These are available in a huge range of colors & woodgrains, and are available in matt, textured, and grained finishes. They can be used to create sensational results. Don’t be fooled by the term “entry level”, that just means they are very affordable.

  • Prefinished board in high gloss finish. (e.g. Laminex’s Crystalgloss finish & Polytec’s Createc gloss)

These are manufactured in a similar way to the entry level product, but with the addition of a high gloss coating that is both very hard, scratch resistant and imparts an absolutely mirror like finish to the surface. These products have a higher price point than Lamiwood type products, but give a spectacular finish to a modern kitchen.

It is fair to say that this very new finish is going to provide the marketplace with a less expensive alternative to the well known “2 pack paint “ finish that has been so popular over the last 20 years. It is substantially cheaper than 2 pack and gives, (in a flat panel at least), a stunning new way of achieving a mirror finish to your kitchen. In particular the new woodgrains that this type of product offers are really stunning.

  • Veneered doors

Veneered doors are flat panels faced with a natural timber veneer. These come in a huge range of species ranging from  modestly priced Victorian Ash, (or Tasmanian Oak, as some people call it), to the most exotic species costing a small fortune plus everything else in between.

  •  Thermoformed doors, (sometimes called Vinyl wrapped doors).

These doors can be manufactured as a flat panel or with many different profiles, (shapes), and can be made with a textured, satin, (or suede) and high gloss finish,. The price reflects the increasing gloss level in each type.

As with any product they have their strengths & weaknesses.

Strengths are their durability, (they are really “kid proof”), great range of colors and from a design point of view some manufacturers have taken the technology to the point where you can make virtually any shape, size object you want completely seamlessly with stunning effect.

In particular vinyl is a heat sensitive product and care should always be taken to protect it from excessive heat. All of the better door manufacturers provide care and maintenance instructions for their products. If you follow these carefully you should have little or no trouble. There are many imported vinyl doors that are really not up to the mark, they are “very cheap, because they are very cheap”. These types of panel will delaminate very quickly even with strong sunlight on them. They are a  trap for the unwary.

  •  2 pack polyurethane painted door, (First seen as Imperite in 1985)

2 pack polyurethane paint can be likened to a pigmented version of “Estapol”. It is usually cured in a “low bake oven”  and comes out very hard, scratch resistant, can be finished with a wide range of gloss levels  including, Textured, Matt, Satin and High Gloss.

  •  Timber doors.  This is where it all gets pretty complicated.

Firstly, let’s be honest, timber is warm, homely, beautiful, classical, timeless and also always expensive, but working out the what’s, where’s and why’s of a solid timber kitchen can be pretty intimidating.

A look at the following gives you an idea of the task.

Timber doors can be made as a:

ü      Solid frame with a veneered centre

ü      Solid frame with a thin solid centre, (known as a Shaker door)

ü      Solid frame with a raised panel solid centre

ü      Solid frame with “lining board” centre

ü       Solid frame with a “lining board” solid centre, with a raised moulding around it

So we have 4 basic types of door.

Then we have the main species available, pretty much in order of increasing cost:


ü     Knotty Pine, Celery Top Pine, Radiata Pine, NZ Pine .

ü     Baltic Pine, Oregon, Cedar, NZ Rimu

Generally speaking, softwoods are not really ideally suited for kitchen cabinet doors. Too soft and too unstable.


ü     Victorian Ash, Tasmanian Oak. Cherrywood, Nyotah,,Qld Walnut.

ü     Blackwood, American Oak, Red Gum, New Guinea Rosewood, Rock Maple, Aust. Myrtle.

ü     Red Gum Select, Jarrah, Danta, Mahogany, Silky Oak, American Hickory.

Now we have all the various finishes available:

ü      Clear polished

ü      Stained & polished

ü      Tinted

ü      Hand painted

ü      Distressed, (which means prematurely ageing the door)

Now if we multiplied out all these permutations, we would get loads of differing price points, so to cost a timber kitchen is very difficult until you know exactly what you want. More so than any other door style. However, a good designer will be able to work you through it without too much stress.

Needless to say there are more options than these, but these probably cover 99% of the marketplace.