7. Fitted kitchens


The base and wall units, components and accessories which together constitute a fitted kitchen can be manufactured from several different materials surfaced with resinated paper, paint, wood veneer or decorative foil. Melamine surfaced MDF is available for the manufacture of carcase panels and shelf units. Standard MDF with its smooth surfaces and well compacted edges has considerable advantages for panelling which is to be finished by direct painting with plain colours or special effects including rag rolling, metallic textures and high gloss finishes.

The good machining characteristics of MDF can be used to good advantage for the manufacture of specially shaped panels for corner shelf units, open display fitments, light pelmets, ironing tables and breakfast bars. Small accessories such as spice racks, towel holders, bread boxes and cutlery trays are often manufactured from MDF painted to match the doors and drawer fronts or stained and lacquered to enhance the natural surface of the board.

The cornices and pelmets fixed along the top and bottom edges of a run of wall units are often manufactured from wood veneer or decorative foil wrapped MDF mouldings free from surface defects and available in long lengths. These mouldings should be concealed screw fixed to the carcase panels at approximately 500 mm intervals to ensure rigidity. Mitre comer joints at the ends of runs should be adhesive bonded or otherwise secured with a concealed bracket. The high stability of MDF in response to changes in moisture content ensures that these joints remain tight fitting.


The appearance of fitted kitchens depends largely upon the design features and manufacturing quality of the doors and drawer fronts. These can be produced from MDF with a wide range of different finishing treatments. The following types are in common use,

1 . Profile edged and surface recessed MDF with a paint finish.

2. Wood veneer or foil wrapped MDF frame members surrounding a veneer or foil surfaced panel with raised centre.

3. Melamine surfaced MDF with soft form edges.

4. Moulded MDF panel with membrane pressed PVC overlay.

5. MDF panel with rounded edges and high gloss paint finish.

Although the requirements for most applications of MDF in fitted kitchens can be satisfied by standard grade boards, the possibility of using moisture resistant or exterior grade MDF for more demanding applications should not be overlooked.