Aluminum Kitchen Cabinets (Design Guide)

See pictures of aluminum kitchen cabinets with what they are, their advantages and disadvantages, costs, types of aluminum doors & frames, brushed aluminum cabinets, designs, and buying tips.
Kitchen with breakfast island, granite countertop, arched window and backsplashWood has always been a material of choice when it comes to kitchen cabinetry construction, but what most people don’t know is that there are other materials that can be explored if you want something that has impressive durability and a long life span.

Aluminum is one of the most outstanding materials which has revolutionized kitchen cabinetry design. Aluminum kitchen cabinets have had a growing demand for the past years because of the benefits they offer.

With their sleek finish and outstanding performance, these cabinets prove that they are worth the try. Let’s take a deep dive into its characteristics to know if they are the right fit for your home.

What Are Aluminum Kitchen Cabinets?

Aluminum kitchen cabinets with exhaust hood over kitchen islandIt is a type of steel with a carbon base metal coated with an alloy of aluminum and silicon through hot dipping. This creates a strong metallurgical bond between the materials, resulting in a new product that possesses the best characteristics of steel and aluminum. 

Nowadays, aluminum is one of the newest materials being used to manufacture cabinets. As its name suggests, cabinets made from this material are solely made of aluminum and do not use any other material like wood or fiber density boards for their components.

A full aluminum cabinet does not only have aluminum cabinet doors and front panels but also has carcasses, back panels, drawers and shelves all made of the same material.

Kitchen with white aluminum framed cabinets and black countertopThese cabinets typically have the following main parts:

• Carcass or frame – the framework is made of aluminum square tubes that are joined together

• Face panel or cabinet door, rear panels, and end panels – the cabinet doors and panels make use of sheets rather than plywood and laminates

• Shelves and drawers – made from rectangular aluminum tubes and sheets

During construction, these tubes are joined together to make the framework of the cabinet. These sheets are then attached to the frame to make the front, side, and end panels. Shelves, drawers, and doors are constructed separately and added to the finished cabinet carcass.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Aluminum Cabinets in the Kitchen

U-shape kitchen with brushed metal cabinet handles and solid surface counterIn terms of quality and benefits, the cabinets prove that they can be the best alternative to wood cabinets.  Although they have some minor drawbacks, their advantages still outweigh the cons.

Advantages of Aluminum Kitchen Cabinets 

Kitchen with frosted glass front cabinet, white backspalsh and cooktop on island• Durability – It is the best material to use for kitchen cabinets. Compared to MDF, particle board, wood, and HDF cabinets, this material is more robust and tougher. It does not have the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that wooden cabinets have.

• Heat resistant – Since moisture and heat are common in the kitchen, it is important to choose a material that can endure both factors, and it is the only material that can withstand these well without being damaged.  It is a very stable metal and won’t be affected by varying temperatures.

• Waterproof – Moisture is another big consideration when it comes to kitchen cabinets. High humidity proves to be one of the worst enemies of wood and wood-derivative cabinets because it can cause warping and swelling.

You do not have to worry about moisture damage because it is totally waterproof. It has a nonporous surface and does not have pores where water can seep into it.

• Hygienic and odorless- Another common problem with kitchen cabinets is that if the material is nonwaterproof, molds and mildew can form, and this will eventually lead to a musty, unpleasant odor.

These cabinets will never have the same problems because they are completely odorless and more hygienic. This is due to its nonporous surface, which prevents it from harboring the growth of bacteria and harmful microorganisms.

Needless to say, you can be sure that there will be no molds and mildew in cabinetry using this material.

Kitchen with stone backsplash and stacked stone accent wall• Perfect for different climates -The rainy season can be problematic for non-waterproof storage units because the weather can cause rotting, de-shaping, and damage.

These storage units are your best bet for such type of climate because they can withstand different elements without their performance being affected. 

• Chemical resistant – The surface has a thin oxide layer, which protects it from chemicals. These cabinets will not react nor get damaged by mild acidic liquids and cleaning agents.

• Anti-rust – As mentioned, this material is a very stable metal, and its oxidized finish prevents it from rusting and corroding. 

Pendant lights over island, tile floors and brown cabinets• Does not fade – Powder-coated aluminum materials does not fade or dull easily even when exposed to different substances and varying factors.

• Easy to clean – One of the best benefits these cabinets have to offer is ease of cleaning and maintenance. They do not require much upkeep and only need simple wiping with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, and grease.

It can be easily cleaned without any cleansing agent or detergent and is suitable for busy households.

• Fire resistant – These cabinets provide extra safety by being fire resistant. Unlike wood, this material can withstand high heat without getting burned easily.

• Customizable design and color – All the cabinet components, from the cabinet doors to the frames, can be customized into any color.

Customers have the freedom to modify the design and arrangement in any way they want. In terms of looks, it offers a cast range of colors that can fit a variety of interior design color schemes.

Another breakthrough in aluminum kitchen cabinet design allows manufacturers to include textures and special finishes like traditional classic wood grain and sleek crystal white finish. Mirrors and clear, textured, or frosted glass can also be incorporated into cabinet doors.

• Environmentally Friendly – It is 100% recyclable, sustainable, and has zero waste.

Kitchen with marble floor tiles, island and aluminum framed cabinets• Pest Resistant – Other kitchen cabinet materials are prone to pest infestation like termites. However, these cabinets do not have the same problems because they provide no conditions where pests can survive. 

• Long lasting – It can last for a lifetime. The thicker the frame and carcass, the longer they will last because they have better support and won’t bend easily.

It can stay in excellent condition for up to 20 years. A bonus is that most manufacturers offer it with a 10-year warranty.

• Offers a Sleek Look and Finish – They come with a sleek finish that is perfect for modern and contemporary kitchen designs.  

Disadvantages of Aluminum Cabinets

Marble backsplash, andaluminum and wooden cabinets • Clanging Noise – These storage units can be noisy because of the metal’s clanging sound. To avoid this, make sure to use quality soft-close cabinet hinges and hardware.

• Can Be Quite Expensive – This material is more expensive than wood but proves to be a worthy investment because its advantages outweigh its drawbacks. It would be worth investing in.

• Design Limitations – Most people perceive that the metallic look of this cabinetry is limited to only modern and contemporary interior styles. But nowadays, you can find some manufacturers offering them in more diverse designs. 

Aluminum Doors of Cabinets in the Kitchen

Empty kitchen with aluminum doors, stone backsplash and under cabinet lightingAluminum cabinet doors have aluminum square tubes for the frames and sheets for the door panel. It comes in different finishes, colors, and designs. Other materials like clear and frosted glass can be incorporated into the front panels.

The beauty of these cabinet doors is that manufacturers can customize the design based on the customer’s specifications. The versatility lies in the malleability of the material used.

Even though it is a metal, it can be pressed or hammered into different shapes without breaking, allowing for full design customizability when it comes to cabinet designs.

Aluminum Frame Cabinets

Kitchen with white table with chrome legs, two chairs and fruit basketIf you are not into a full aluminum cabinet, one option you can try one just for the frames. These cabinets use square aluminum tubes for the support and another material for the front panel.

The most common door material for aluminum frame cabinetry is glass inserts. These inserts are typically 4 millimeters thick.

For the colors, manufacturers offer in a broad range of options, but the most popular variant is frosted and clear glass.

Painted glass is the option used by those who want colored doors with aluminum frames. This type of glass is opaque, with one side coated with color.

It is available in neutrals like black, taupe, white, and gray but also comes in bright hues of red, oranges, blue, and green, to name a few.

Safety options for glass inserts usually include tempered glass and safety film. The safety film is used for painted glass and is added to make it shatterproof. 

This metal is also very durable and can go through a lot of wear and tear. The smooth, reflective finish of the glass can help make a space look brighter and more open.

In addition, the sleek design and clean look of aluminum frame cabinetry make it an ideal option for contemporary and modern kitchen styles.

Brushed Aluminum Type Cabinets

Kitchen with square tile backsplash and granite counters and hoodThe two most common finishes for this type of cabinet door are gloss and matte finish. Brushed aluminum cabinetry has a satin finish and fine lines running in one direction on the surface.

Unlike polished metal, brushed aluminum has a bit of metallic luster, is less glossy, and has a matte finish. This is the perfect choice if you want something sleek and subtle for your kitchen. 

Aluminum Outdoor Cabinets

Outdoor kitchen with hanging lights and wooden countertopHumidity, heat, temperature changes, and constant exposure to natural elements are the most significant considerations when choosing a material for outdoor cabinetry. So when deciding, make sure to opt for something that won’t budge into such conditions. 

This material is a perfect choice for outdoor kitchen countertops and cabinets. Contrary to popular belief that all metals rust when exposed to high moisture and heat, aluminum is non-corrosive and weather-resistant.

It survives well outdoors and won’t get damaged even when exposed to varying climates. This is because it has an oxide coating that is highly resistant. When damaged, it renews itself, making the metal safe from corrosion. 

Outdoor storage units made from this material are also lightweight and perfect for rooftops and patios. It is also the metal of choice for outdoor applications because it is easier to work with. In addition to its impressive durability, this material has a sleek appearance, which can help bring a modern touch to an outdoor space.

Aluminum Cabinet Price

Kitchen with modular cabinets and long island and marble flooringThese have a high price point but even if they are expensive, they are a worthy investment to make. In general, these cabinets are measured on a per-foot run basis, and pricing typically starts at $85 per foot but can go up to $125 depending on different design factors.

This is significantly higher compared to other materials like wood, particle board, MDF, and HDF. Check out our guide on MDF kitchen cabinets for more related information.

The final price of such cabinetry can increase depending on the thickness of the aluminum panels and frames used. The type of finish and special textures like wood grains and colors can also raise the cost.

For average-sized kitchens, expect to pay anywhere between $1500 and $6000 for the project. This is whether you want to resurface your old units with aluminum or construct new ones.

Aluminum Vs Wood Cabinet Cost

Kitchen with wood cabinets, porcelain floors, and microwaveAluminum storage units are more expensive than those made from wood. In general, metal is more expensive than wood because of the material’s properties.

Also, these units are more often used in professional kitchens and are considered a less common material than wood and wood derivatives like MDF and HDF. 

Typically, an average-sized culinary space will cost around $2750 or more when fitted with aluminum cabinets — around 25% to 35% more than its wood counterpart. 

However, you get to maximize your investment in the long run because the cost per year is much lower in terms of maintenance. This material also has a longer life span, five times more than wooden storage units, so you get more than your money’s worth. 

Several factors give this cabinetry type a higher price point than wood. This includes durability, long lifespan, resale value, maintenance, and resistance to different elements.

Although each cabinet material has its own pros and cons, aluminum makes it to the top of the list because it is a more durable material. Hence, it performs better in wear and tear even in long periods of time.  

What to Look for When Buying Aluminum-Made Cabinets

Kitchen with countertop stove, faucet, sink and greige finish cabinetsThere are two factors that you must consider when buying such cabinets, namely quality and professional installation. Quality should be your first priority.

Some cabinets have thin frames and are substandard, so make sure that only high-quality aluminum panels and tubes are used in the construction process. Also, invest in suitable fittings and cabinet hardware like hinges, drawer systems, and hydraulic lifts.

These storage spaces are closed and opened very frequently, so even the smallest component needs to be able to withstand constant use.

The second consideration is professional installation. Cabinets can function to their fullest when manufactured and installed by a professional, so make sure to choose a trusted supplier.

Is Aluminum Good as Cabinets for the Kitchen?

Kitchen with two whihte stools , waterfall island and sliding doorIn summary, it is the best material you can use for cabinets. It is a very stable metal and offers impressive benefits when used as a cabinet material.

Cabinetry made from this material is not only super durable but is also noncorrosive, odorless, nonflammable, anti-rust, and very hygienic.

It does not have the weaknesses that wood possesses and won’t get damaged by kitchen elements like moisture and heat. To top it all off, it will not rot, decay or get infested by termites.

Overall, it is considered to be the top cabinet choice if you are looking for stability, durability, and reliability. Visit our guide to aluminum kitchen countertops for more related content. 

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