The majority of custom closets are made from laminate systems – but not the laminate of yesteryear that plagued kitchen counters in the 70s and 80s. Laminate finishes have come a long way, providing an assortment of colors and wood grain finishes that are easily blended into today’s home. There is still nothing like the look of real wood, and customers who prefer that can choose between real wood fronts or wood veneers.
Melamine is by far the most common laminate material used in custom closets. Companies like SpaceMan Home & Office, California Closets and Closet Factory all use this in their storage systems. It is a thin layer of paper that is applied to particle board using a heat-based processed. This process makes the material very durable, scratch resistant and water resistant.
Thermofoil is a laminate used for profiled doors and drawers, like raised panel and shaker style. The thicker vinyl material is heated and stretched to perfectly shape to the profile of the piece. It is a more expensive choice than melamine fronts, but less expensive than the real wood options.
When a company says that a custom closet is made with “real wood” it does not mean that every piece is a solid piece of wood. It usually means that a system has real wood fronts on the drawers and doors or the closet system is made from a wood veneer. A system simply can’t be made of solid wood because it doesn’t come in the sizes necessary. Also, the grain within the wood warps and twists as it gets longer. With a wood veneer, a very thin layer of wood is applied to a substrate. This way, every inch of the surfaces is covered in wood, without the warping challenges that solid wood might present.