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What Are the Most Durable Kitchen Cabinets for a Rental Property?

June 30, 2023 4 min read

kitchen with island

When designing or upgrading a kitchen in your rental property, you'll want to choose cabinets that balance quality, style and cost. High-quality kitchen cabinets will be appealing to renters, easy to clean, and resistant to scratches, dings and stains. The best cabinets are often made from a combination of materials to optimize their longevity, durability, aesthetics and functionality. At The Wholesale Cabinet Supply Company, we offer RTA cabinets manufactured with the material, construction, finishing and style choices that can help you make the most of your investment.

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Quality kitchen cabinets can be constructed from a variety of different materials, from solid hardwood to plywood and engineered/furniture board.


Solid hardwood is the most durable cabinet material. Maple, birch, cherry, oak, alder, walnut and tulipwood are strong, long-lasting woods that can bring warmth and richness to your rental kitchen. Using hardwood can make your rental more attractive and increase the value of your property.  While hardwoods are durable, they are also expensive so they are rarely used for constructing an entire cabinet.  Hardwoods are typically used for the frames of the cabinetry - but more on this later.


Plywood is made from thin timber veneers that are cross-laminated at right angles to create a sturdy, stable board that resists shrinkage, expansion and warping.  Plywood does not lose its integrity when exposed to water - a huge plus when selecting cabinetry for your rental if you want to avoid costly repair or replacement bills from a major water leak.  Because of these advantages, plywood is typically the material of choice for the box of the cabinetry.  

Manufactured Boards

MDF, fiberboard and chipboard are manufactured boards that are used as a budget alternative to hardwood and plywood. Although they are generally more affordable, they are also more susceptible to water damage, so they are usually the material of last resort.  The most durable man-made board will be stiff and laminated with a thick layer of water-resistant melamine.  

Cabinet Construction

Long-lasting, well-made kitchen cabinets are commonly constructed from a combination of hardwood and engineered materials like plywood. One of the most reliable and popular cabinet configurations includes plywood shelves with hardwood fronts, frames and dovetail drawers. Good-quality cabinets will be made with thick materials, leveled and securely fastened to the walls. If your rental has an outdoor kitchen, you may also want to consider installing our WeatherStrong cabinets which are specially engineered to withstand the elements.


Solid hardwood frames are sturdy and strong enough to keep your cabinets square after years of use. Attaching cabinet doors to solid timber frames increases their stability. Cabinet doors need to hold up to frequent pulling and pushing, occasional impact and changing temperatures and humidity levels.  Birch and maple being the most popular hardwoods used because of their affordability, strength and resistance to scratching.

blue cabinets in kitchen


Thick, rigid plywood shelves are less likely to bend under the weight of your dinnerware, cookware and pantry items. Birch plywood is a popular choice.


Hardwood cabinet doors are versatile, long-wearing, and easy to finish with varnish, paint, or stain.  For painted finishes, doors can also be constructed of a high quality HDF or MDF material.  This material is growing in popularity for use in doors (and drawer fronts) because of its ability to create a consistent finish as well as its relative affordability.  Since doors and drawer fronts are rarely exposed to standing water, the downside risk of being susceptible to water damage is significantly reduced making this a popular and cost effective option.  

Cabinet Finishes

To withstand daily wear and tear, kitchen cabinets need a long-lasting, flexible, high-quality finish. Many hardwood cabinets are varnished with an easy-to-clean catalyzed conversion varnish that is resistant to chemicals, moisture and temperature changes. This varnish can be stained or hand-finished with durable, low-maintenance eggshell paint.

Great Cabinets Add Value

The right kitchen cabinets are sure to attract discerning tenants. These design tips will help you choose the right cabinets for your property.

Pick White or Natural Cabinets

Tasteful, high-quality cabinet finishes will please your tenants and increase your property value. For a bright, clean look that creates an illusion of space, choose white cabinets. Natural, stained cabinets are another option that can look elegant and expensive.

Shop for the Best White Cabinets

Choose Shaker Cabinets

Shaker style cabinets are simple, timeless cabinets that look good in almost any kitchen. They are easy to install and maintain, and they will look great for years to come.

Use Quality Hardware

Using high-quality hardware is key to ensuring the durability of your kitchen cabinets. Good hardware helps protect cabinets from fingerprints and stains while making them look more elegant and upscale. Installing SOSS or butt hinges can add strength to your doors and make the cabinet interiors more accessible.

kitchen with white cabinets


The Right Kitchen Cabinets Can Keep Everyone Happy

Classically styled, high-quality kitchen cabinets will last for years with minor touch-ups. When you invest in good materials and finishes, your cabinets will keep your tenants happy and make it easier to maintain your property year after year.

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