Pros and cons of NEXGEN cabinet doors

NEXGEN cabinet doors are an inexpensive option. But how can you be sure they are the right choice? Learn about the pros and cons of NEXGEN.

Three NEXGEN cabinet doors - from left to right, a light brown, a grey, and a medium brown.

We have all experienced the need to cut costs or reduce expenses. However, reducing costs often seems risky. What if you purchase an inexpensive option that falls apart or quits working? And if you are looking for an inexpensive cabinet door option, how can you ensure you don’t sacrifice quality? 

At Cutting Edge, we recommend NEXGEN cabinet doors for customers who want an affordable kitchen. At the same time, we understand that they are not the best choice for everyone. For those reasons, we always ensure we take the time to discuss the pros and cons of NEXGEN cabinet doors with people trying to choose a cabinet door option.

In this article, you will learn about the pros and cons of NEXGEN doors and why they might affect your choice.

NEXGEN™ is a prefinished product

NEXGEN™ is a product used in cabinet door manufacturing, trademarked by Olon Industries, Inc. in 2016. In the woodworking industry, we often refer to cabinet doors built with NEXGEN products as NEXGEN doors. However, NEXGEN is specifically the polyester wrap on those doors. Cabinet door manufacturers use the wrapped components to form cabinet doors.

An infographic showing how the MDF core of NEXGEN doors is wrapped by polyester and TFL.

Pros of NEXGEN cabinet doors

NEXGEN doors were designed to fit a specific need in the cabinetry industry – affordable, durable and practical doors.

1. Affordable

The main advantage of NEXGEN doors is their affordability. NEXGEN has an MDF core and a TFL or polyester wrap, minimizing the cabinet door cost. The cabinet door manufacturer puts little labour into the cabinet doors. They only need to cut the components, assemble the doors, and ship them out.

Because NEXGEN is a prefinished product, you don’t have the added costs of staining, lacquering, or painting the cabinet doors.

Affordability matters, especially if you have a tight budget or a narrow profit margin.

2. Durable

The polyester and TFL wraps used in NEXGEN doors are fade-, heat-, water-, and scratch-resistant. 

Fade resistance means that if you need to add or replace a NEXGEN cabinet door after several years, the new door will match the existing doors. NEXGEN doors are unlike wood doors, which change colour over time and when exposed to sunlight. 

Heat- and water-resistance lets you install NEXGEN cabinet doors next to stoves and under sinks without worrying about the heat and water exposure damaging the polyester wrap. 

Scratch resistance allows you to use the cabinet doors without stressing about how you handle them. NEXGEN doors remain in good condition for years without careful handling.

Durability matters in high-use areas or high-wear environments, especially kitchens and bathrooms – and NEXGEN doors are certainly known for their durability based on the factors above.

3. Easy to clean

NEXGEN doors are low-maintenance. The polyester and TFL surfaces stand up well to everyday use and are smooth enough to clean easily. While you should only wipe most cabinet doors with a damp cloth, you can use dish soap or even general-purpose cleaners on NEXGEN products if necessary. This is possible because their durable TFL and polyester wraps can withstand cleaners.

4. Low (almost zero) formaldehyde emissions

NEXGEN products have an MDF core. Although MDF emits some formaldehyde, it’s not enough to be a health risk on its own. However, the polyester and TFL surfaces seal the MDF off, reducing formaldehyde emissions to almost zero. Canadian regulations governing formaldehyde emissions require products like NEXGEN doors to emit less than 0.05ppm of formaldehyde.

Low formaldehyde emissions matter in health-conscious environments, like schools or healthcare facilities.

5. Similar in appearance to wood cabinet doors

Cabinet door makers build NEXGEN doors using two construction methods also used for wood cabinet doors: cope and stick assembly and mitred assembly.

NEXGEN doors mimic wood doors with vertical grain stiles, horizontal grain rails, and a centre panel. In addition, most NEXGEN wraps are textured, coloured, and patterned to look as much like wood as possible. 

While appearance is purely decorative, it still matters. NEXGEN doors look much like real wood doors, which makes them less noticeable as a cost-effective option.

Cons of NEXGEN cabinet doors

Unfortunately, NEXGEN doors are not perfect. There are a couple of drawbacks that might offset the advantages you have learned about so far.

1. Not customisable

Because NEXGEN is a prefinished product, there are limitations to the products and options available. For example, real wood doors have endless profile options and combinations. However, most cabinet manufacturers only have one or two designs of NEXGEN doors available. 

In addition, custom pieces like decorative panels, mullion frames, and range hoods simply are not possible because NEXGEN components come in specific sizes and designs that prevent customizations.

The lack of accessories and customizations means that most kitchens with NEXGEN cabinet doors are very simple.

2. Have an MDF core

Some people still don’t want MDF products because of the associated concerns. These concerns include formaldehyde emissions and a perception of low-quality products.

3. Limited colour selection

Again, unlike wood cabinet doors, there is a limited selection of NEXGEN colours available. NEXGEN doors come in approximately 150 colours, but most cabinet door suppliers can only stock between 20 and 50 of those colours.

4. Minimum order quantities

In addition, many NEXGEN products have a minimum order quantity. Typically, cabinet door suppliers have to order in enough materials for around 200 cabinet doors. This makes it impossible for cabinet door manufacturers to stock all the colours available. Thus, most cabinet door manufacturers stock only a specific set of NEXGEN colours.

When NEXGEN doors might be the right choice

NEXGEN cabinet doors are an excellent choice for high-use and high-wear environments, tight-budget kitchens, and health-conscious customers.

Common uses for NEXGEN products include rentals, apartments, schools, commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, and homes.

Sometimes, NEXGEN doors are not a good option

However, NEXGEN cabinet doors are not always the right choice. If you want a custom kitchen and have the budget to support that choice, you should consider wood cabinet doors, which are much more customizable.

NEXGEN cabinet doors: a niche product

As we all know, making a cost-effective choice does not always work out – especially when it comes to products that need to last a certain amount of time.

And if there is one purchase you don’t want to get wrong, it is your cabinet doors – an expensive purchase that is front-and-centre in your kitchen.

So, now that Cutting Edge has addressed the pros and cons of NEXGEN cabinet doors for you, it’s time for you to decide whether they are right for you. If you need more information, contact our team.

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