Slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker [2023]

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Whether constructing a new kitchen or remodeling your current kitchen or bathroom, you will be tasked with choosing doors for your cabinetry. If you are wondering what cabinet doors to choose from, your options primarily narrow down to slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker cabinets. Cabinet doors are the main face of the cabinetry; so you want to pick the one that will complement the look of your kitchen.

slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker

The best way to create a flawless blend is to take your time to weigh the cabinet door options available in the market. Your choice of cabinet door mainly relies on your style and budget. We will guide you in distinguishing between shaker cabinets and slab cabinets.

Shaker vs. Slab Cabinets

A flat panel with a raised frame along the outline of the cabinet characterizes shaker cabinets. Shaker cabinets fit well in modern farmhouse kitchen designs.

Slab cabinets are made of solid slabs without framing, ornaments, or beveling. They also lack the beadboard or raised parts typical to the more traditional shaker style kitchen cabinets. Also known as flat-panel doors, slab cabinet doors are ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, or any other hidden rooms.

Cabinet Type Design Style Affordability Suitable Design Styles
Shaker Cabinets Simple, classic design More affordable due to simpler construction and more readily available materials Modern farmhouse, various other styles
Slab Cabinets Sleek, modern aesthetic More expensive due to labor-intensive construction and use of higher-end materials Contemporary, minimalist

What to consider for shaker and slab cabinets?

Shaker cabinets:

  • Simple, classic design that works well in a variety of design styles
  • Can be finished in a variety of materials and colors, allowing for flexibility in design
  • More affordable than slab cabinets due to simpler construction and more readily available materials

Slab cabinets:

  • Sleek, modern aesthetic that works well in contemporary or minimalist design schemes
  • Often finished in a solid color, such as high-gloss lacquer, to emphasize their sleek look
  • More expensive due to labor-intensive construction and use of higher-end materials
  • May not work as well in traditional design styles due to their minimalist aesthetic
Slab Cabinets Shaker Cabinets
Design Style Sleek, modern aesthetic Simple, classic design
Affordability More expensive due to labor-intensive construction and use of higher-end materials More affordable due to simpler construction and more readily available materials
Suitable Design Styles Contemporary, minimalist Modern farmhouse, various other styles
  • Easier to clean
  • Less expensive due to less material use
  • Simplistic backdrop in a kitchen with other busy elements
  • Classic, enduring design
  • Works well in a variety of homes
  • Can transition with changes in color schemes, tile choices, countertops, and more
  • May require more maintenance
  • Design may be too simple for some tastes
  • May not fit well with ultra-modern design styles
Common Materials Solid wood, melamine, MDF, metal Various types of wood
Installation and Maintenance Varies based on material, typically requires more maintenance than Shaker Varies based on material, typically requires less maintenance than Slab

What Are Flat Panel Kitchen Cabinets?

Flat panel cabinets are also known as slab cabinets. They feature completely flat slab fronts and simple trim edges compared to other styles with decorative trims. Depending on the kitchen design, flat panel doors can come with or without hardware. Slab cabinets are ideal for both modern and contemporary homes.

slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker completely

Slab Door Design

Although they come as flat slabs, you can change the look and feel of your slab kitchen cabinets by painting or installing hardware. For a modern kitchen, opt for high-gloss lacquer, while traditional spaces would do well with matte white. You can also choose stained or natural wood for a more rustic style.

Slab Door Construction

Slab doors can be constructed in various ways, which dictates the cost of the cabinets. Despite the construction, slab doors remain without frames since they are solid slabs.

Solid hardwood slabs are the most expensive construction but also the most solid and durable. They are mostly found in custom installations.

Class A furniture-grade plywood features a face layer of high-quality hardwood applied on cheaper ply of softwoods like pine.

The third constructions are the medium-density fiberboard (MDF), ideal with doors that will be painted or covered with thermofoil or plastic laminate.

Slab Door Installation

Slab doors are easy to install, but the process requires precision. Ensure that the doorknobs and hinges match the existing door frame’s hinge locations and strike plate. If you are unsure of the process, consult your local professional installer.

Slab Door Cost

The cost of slab doors can range between $100 and $1,000, depending on the material and size of your cabinetry. Solid hardwood slab doors are more expensive than their plywood counterparts, while MDFs are the least expensive.

slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker material

Pros and Cons of Flat Panel Cabinet Doors

Flat panel cabinets are a go-to option for various reasons:

  • Flat panel doors are a clean-looking design that does not collect dust.
  • Due to their lack of nooks and crannies, slab door cabinet lines are easy to clean with a simple wipe.
  • Flat panel cabinets offer a timeless look that fits into different kitchen styles.

However, slab door cabinets have a major downside:

  • They are prone to warping within a few years after installation. Raw MDF slabs can resist warping if the thermofoil or laminate covering remains intact. Solid hardwood should also resist warping if properly sealed with paint or stain.

What Is the Best Material to Use for Slab Kitchen Cabinets?

Solid hardwood is ideal for your slab kitchen cabinets since natural hardwood is durable and strong. If you are replacing the kitchen cabinet doors and plan to stain or paint them with a clear coat, consider cherry, oak, or maple wood. Red oak, birch, hickory, and walnut are other natural woods used to make flat panel cabinets. These materials are mainly available for custom-made cabinets.

Gives a Modern Look

Solid hardwood slab kitchen cabinets are not only durable, but they also give your space a modern appearance. Natural wood is a timeless material that transforms your space depending on the stain or coat you apply to it.

Painted Slab Cabinets

Slab cabinet doors can be stained, sealed, or painted. Painted slab cabinets give you a custom look since you get to pick a design and color that fit explicitly into your taste and preference. MDF slab doors are the best choice if you plan to paint your cabinets.

What Are Shaker Doors?

Shaker cabinet doors have completely flat center panels with square edges and trim detailing. Picture a rectangular wood slab with a smaller square-shaped box inside it. Shaker cabinets have the appearance of a four-cornered cabinet frame with an inset panel.

slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker shaped

Shaker Style Cabinets

Many homeowners prefer the shaker door style because of its timeless design, which fits seamlessly with almost any style. There are countless shaker cabinet colors you can choose from, including black, white, or gray shaker cabinets. High-quality cabinetry is made from solid hardwoods like maple or standard paint-grade shaker cabinets.

Shaker Door Costs

The cost of shaker doors depends on the material, the size of your cabinets, and whether they are custom-made. Expect to spend anywhere from $28 to $80 per square foot for your shaker cabinet doors. The price can be higher for natural wood custom-made shaker doors.

slab kitchen cabinets vs shaker custom

Cabinet Type Average Cost per Linear Foot
Shaker Cabinet Doors $28 – $80
Slab Cabinet Doors $100 – $1,000
Custom Full Cabinets $500 – $1,200

Traditional Raised Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Raised panel cabinets differ from shaker doors in that they feature a raised center panel slightly sloped back to the edges. They have curves, edges, raised panels, and frames, giving them a more formal design, ideal for traditional kitchens.

Shaker Door Installation

Shaker doors can have a framed or frameless construction. Framed doors are attached to a frame in front of the cabinet. Frameless doors hang on the side of the cabinet. Shaker door styles are mostly frameless to maintain their simplicity, while raised cabinets mainly feature a framed construction to retain a traditional appearance.

Shaker Door Use

Shaker cabinet doors are popular for many homeowners due to their clean lines and minimalistic style. They give your space a more coastal appeal since they lack trim and molding details.

How Much Do New Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

When planning a kitchen remodeling project, the cost of cabinets largely affects the overall revamp budget. The size of your space and the type of cabinet material affect the cabinetry cost. The average cost of new cabinets is $160 to $380 per linear foot. Full custom cabinets can cost $500 or as high as $1,200 per linear foot.

Which Type of Cabinet Is Right for Your Kitchen?

Your choice of cabinet for your kitchen depends on factors like style and cost. Raised panel cabinets will fit your design if you want a traditional look. Shaker cabinets are more popular and fit into modern designs. Slab cabinets merge into contemporary, mid-century, and modern kitchen designs.

If we have shed light on your journey to choosing the right doors for your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, click on the links below to learn more about kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Eira Patel

    I recently installed solid hardwood slab kitchen cabinets in my home, and I absolutely love the modern and timeless look they give to my space. I chose a beautiful natural wood finish for my cabinets, and the quality and durability of the material is really impressive. It’s amazing how a simple update like this can completely transform the look and feel of a kitchen. I highly recommend considering solid hardwood slab cabinets for anyone looking to give their kitchen a fresh, modern update.

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Hi Eira, thank you so much for your positive feedback on the solid hardwood slab kitchen cabinets! I’m glad to hear that you love the modern and timeless look they give to your space. It’s true, natural wood is a beautiful and versatile material that can really transform a kitchen depending on the finish you choose. I’m glad you mentioned the quality and durability of the material – it’s definitely one of the key benefits of choosing solid hardwood for your cabinets. Thank you again for your comment, and I’m glad you found the information in the blog post helpful!

  2. Avatar photo

    Is it okay to mix shaker and slab ? For example, all the cabinet doors are shaker style and all the drawer fronts are slab style. Top cabinets are all shaker style and bottom cabinets are mixed ( doors are shaker style and cabinets are slab style).

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Mixing shaker and slab styles in your kitchen can create a unique, personalized look. Ensuring a cohesive color scheme and hardware choice will help the styles complement each other. Consider the overall design theme of your kitchen and home to achieve a harmonious blend of shaker and slab styles.

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