Difference Between 2 PAC Cabinetry, Vinyl and Laminate Finishes

What’s the Difference Between 2 PAC cabinetry, Vinyl and Laminate Finishes?

Custom cabinetry design can help to elevate a typical kitchen or bathroom renovation. It does this by creating a highly functional space that also looks amazing. And with modern advances in cabinetry design and manufacturing, homeowners now have more choices than ever. But this has resulted in a frequently asked question for cabinetmakers in Ipswich: what kind of finish, is 2 PAC Cabinetry best for kitchen or bathroom cabinetry? 

The three most common products used in custom cabinetry design are 2 PAC, vinyl and laminate, and they all have their own unique pros and cons. While you may have heard blanket statements about these products (such as, “laminate is cheap and nasty” or “2 PAC is always the best”) the truth is more complicated than that. Like with most products, the look and durability of each finish depend more on the quality of the materials used and the skill of the manufacturer.

To determine which product will offer the best solution for your kitchen or bathroom renovation, you first need to consider the pros and cons of each option.  

What is 2 PAC Cabinetry? 

This product (also known as 2Pac or 2 Pack) got its name from the manufacturing process, which involves combining 2 separate liquids, a special kind of acrylic paint and a hardener. When mixed, these products produce a chemical reaction that causes the paint to dry with a smooth, thick finish that is similar in quality to the paint job you get on a car. To create 2 PAC cabinets, MDF is cut to size and then sprayed in the 2 part liquid concoction. To avoid a mottled finish, this process needs to be completed by skilled tradesmen in a specialised paint booth. 

2 PAC Cabinetry Pros :

  • More colour variety: The 2 PAC solutions can be tinted to match existing cabinetry and can even be mixed to ¾, ½ or ¼ strengths (similar to what you can do with wall paint).
  • A high-end finish: Quality 2 PAC cabinetry is ideally suited for high-end kitchen renovations, as it looks amazing and produces a durable surface that will continue to look good for many years.  

2 PAC Cabinetry Cons :

  • Is labour intensive to produce: 2 PAC cabinetry usually takes longer to manufacture, due to the labour-intensive construction process and the slower drying time. As a result, 2 PAC cabinetry will generally cost more. While there are cheaper 2 PAC products available (generally in the flat-pack type of the shelf products), these will typically be made with low-quality materials which can seriously compromise the resilience of the finished surface.

What is Vinyl Cabinetry? 

Also known as thermo-laminated cabinetry, vinyl wrapped doors are made from an MDF substrate which is then covered in a layer of vinyl. The vinyl is heated and then applied to the MDF using a vacuum method which carefully moulds the material to the board for a lasting finish. Vinyl cabinetry is available in a really wide selection of colours and styles, including realistic woodgrain finishes.

Vinyl Cabinetry Pros :

  • Great selection of finishes:  Vinyl wrapped cabinetry gives you a great selection of cabinet finishes to choose from, including textured, gloss, matte and satin. This makes it suitable for use in just about any style of kitchen
  • Durable and long-lasting product: Good-quality vinyl cabinetry is stain and scratch-resistant, moisture-resistant and easy to clean. Polytec has an excellent reputation for producing vinyl wrapped cabinets using the latest technology and the best materials, creating a durable and long-lasting surface. 

Vinyl Cabinetry Cons :

  • Can be damaged by heat: Vinyl cabinetry is not heat-resistant, so it’s not suitable for contact with hot surfaces.
  • Poor-quality imitations: If a poor-quality vinyl is used, the product is likely to discolour with time. The vinyl may even start to peel if it hasn’t been applied properly. To avoid these kinds of issues, steer clear of poor-quality imitations.   

What is Laminate Cabinetry? 

The laminate finish is usually the most affordable cabinetry finish, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an inferior product. Laminate is made by covering MDF substrate with compressed, plasticised sheeting. The outer layers of the product are coated to create the finished colour and texture of the laminate. A matching edge strip (usually 1-2mm thick) is then applied wherever the sheets of laminate meet, to create a smooth and uniformly coloured finish. 

Laminate Cabinetry Pros :

  • Affordable product: Laminate is a cost-effective cabinetry solution that is simple to manufacture. This also makes it a good choice for kitchen renovations on a tight construction schedule, as laminate cabinetry can be ready for installation faster than most other finishes. 
  • Good colour range: Laminate cabinetry is now available in a good range of colours and finishes, including matte, gloss, textured and satin. This makes it suitable for homeowners seeking a modern kitchen or bathroom design. 

Laminate Cabinetry Cons :

  • Visually seeing the edge stripline: The edge strip on laminate cabinetry can sometimes be visible and is not a seamless finish like 2 PAC.

To find out more about the difference between 2 PAC cabinetry, vinyl and laminate finishes, contact the experienced team at McColl Cabinetmakers today.