Learning the lingo and terms used in the kitchen industry may be new to you, the names of styles of kitchen cabinets and the choices of materials used in countertop manufacturing, etc.

We have compiled this comprehensive glossary of terms that are most frequently used by our kitchen designers during the process of renovating a kitchen. This glossary will help you make clear decisions for your kitchen cabinets, counters, and much more.

Cuisine contemporaine grise blanche et bois
Magnifique cuisine au plancher de bois, avec
Une magnifique porte de garage au lieu d’une traditionnelle porte-patio de style industriel.
Cuisine moderne noire et blanche



Classic kitchens never go out of style. When you choose a classic kitchen, the charm, and elegance will stand the test of time. What separates the classic kitchen is its 5-piece doors, upper cabinet, and ceiling moldings. Often the design will also have moldings above the counter on the lower wall cabinets, to discreetly hide the track lighting, usually referred to as light covers.

Even though designs have evolved over the years, certain characteristics remain the foundation of a classic kitchen, for example, the colours being light tones with black contrasts.

Cuisine avec céramique noire au mur et luminaires noirs


A contemporary kitchen simply describes the current designs that are in style at the moment. Contemporary kitchens are constantly evolving, today it’s a modern feel with wooden accents. European designers(often Italiens) are the leaders in this space and are highly influential in the contemporary styles and materials found in North America.  

Îlot avec zone de cuisson avec un four encastré et une hotte


To describe a modern kitchen (or trendy) we would use the term simple. These kitchens, in their texture, colours, and finish are aesthetically simple with nothing to weigh down the sharp overall look and feel. The straight lines and sleek design defines this style. These bright kitchens tend to have glossy cabinets and accessories.

Cuisine tendance bien éclairée


A Country-style kitchen is defined by the selection of accessories and its overall decor. From a classic kitchen to a country-style kitchen, the differences are in the finer details. The country chic look focuses on the laid-back and relaxed feel that is unique to this style. Using pane glass doors, decorative door handles, and moldings across the bottom of the cabinets are specific characteristics of a country-style kitchen.

Cuisine classique avec dosseret blanc lustré


The term “Transitional kitchen” is used when we blend any two styles of kitchens, for example, a classic kitchen with the addition of modern touches.

Cuisine transitionnelle avec îlot central


Industrial design is distinguished by the use of raw materials such as concrete, stone, and various metals. The original off-the-beaten-track, warmth, creativity, and vibe of a New York City loft.  

Garde-manger walk-in dans une cuisine industrielle



Our kitchen designers at MACUCINA in Laval will propose wooden kitchen cabinets to customers who want nothing but the real thing, as opposed to imitation wood. These kitchen cabinets are often more expensive, but the majority of synthetic products cannot offer the same elegance as wood, due to the slight inconsistency of shade, depth, and wood grain from one door or panel to another.


M.D.F. stands for “medium-density fiber”. MDF is a highly versatile material and is mostly used for decorative door moldings and is painted with solid colors and can be finished in matte or satin.


H.D.F. stands for “high-density fiber”. Manufacturers choose this type of material for kitchen cabinets due to its greater density compared to standard MDF.


Melamine is an ultra-thin sheet that is infused with an aminoplast resin which the particle board or MDF is covered with. Not to be confused with laminate, which is created by gluing a sheet(a maximum thickness of 0.2 mm) with contact adhesive on a panel made of wood. Laminate is often used for countertops.

Melamine can be created to emulate many types of materials from wood, metal, concrete, or simple textured colours, even a high gloss finish can be achieved.

Kitchen cabinets made from melamine are generally less expensive than wood, in some instances, this is not the case when highly elaborate manufacturing processes are required.

These cabinets can look and feel like authentic wood, the defining difference is the repeating patterns throughout the kitchen, which natural wood cannot achieve.

Cuisine tendance noire et bois


Lacquer is a type of paint that is applied to wood, MDF, or HDF, it can not adhere to other types of material. Lacquer is available in many degrees of gloss from 3% to 90%. A high gloss finish of 90% is usually considered “Italiene lacquer”.

Armoires de cuisines laquées et comptoir


Polymer is essentially a thin covering made from high-quality plastics, which is used to cover kitchen cabinet doors. This category includes the following materials: polyester, thermoplastic (PVC), acrylic, and polyethylene(PET). These finishing materials are often used with particle board, MDF sheets, or MDF moldings for specific styles of cabinet doors, for example, the frames for shaker-style and crown moldings or the moldings on the bottom of wall cabinets.

Each of these materials has a specific look and feel but they are all referred to as “polymers”.


There are five unique products if you’re looking for a glossy kitchen: Italian Lacquer, glossy thermoplastic, glossy PET, acrylic, and high-gloss varnished melamine.

Cuisines blanche lustrée


Polyethylene or PET, is part of the polymer material Family. These kitchen cabinets are always made with flat cabinet doors that are in a satin or gloss finish. These cabinets are in the mid-range price point.

These doors are offered with glued edge binding, some may believe that over time the binding can come loose as the glue ages, at MACUCINA we only use PUR (polyurethane) glue to adhere to the edge binding. This type of glue has stood the test of time and is proven to deliver superior quality and last the life of your kitchen.

Clients that purchase PET cabinets are primarily looking for durability with a  contemporary look at an affordable price.


Polyester is also part of the polymer material Family. These cabinets have five-panel “shaker” style or molded doors, and polyester is used to cover the MDF moldings.

The center panel is always flat and made of melamine. Clients that choose this type of cabinet are looking for the best value, while still expecting a highly durable and resistant product that will withstand abuse over time. This is why polyester is often the choice for Families with young children.


There are three different types of thermoplastic cabinets available: five-panel doors, one-piece molded doors, and straight one-piece doors.

This versatile material comes in many different styles and colours. The prices can vary, based on the choice of style.

A one-piece molded door is made from a thermoformable polymer that allows it to be molded into a three-dimensional film that is applied to panels of MDF, this eliminates the need to install edge binding. We do need to pay special attention to excessive heat with this material. Please review “Avoiding heat damage in your kitchen”.

Please note that the inside of your doors remains melamine. The five-panel doors are completely covered in PVC film. These doors are not more sensitive to heat than other types of materials. Clients choosing cabinets in thermoplastic often select single-piece molded doors for the simple reason of their seamless appearance. Five-panel doors are also very popular for their lacquered satin look.


The least expensive solution to do the bare minimum, prefabricated kitchens would be the solution. Some skilled clients take care of the installation on their own to lower costs. On the other hand, please note that this option offers limited options as these cabinets are made using average kitchen size and shape, they never really fit properly.

In most cases there will be significant gaps that will need to be hidden with moldings and facade coverings, this ends up taking away usable space and essentially reduces the size and functionality of your kitchen. MACUCINA does not offer prefabricated kitchen cabinets, we offer exclusively custom-tailored products made to measure for your home.

Cuisine contemporaine avec îlot


Custom kitchen cabinets are designed and built using exact dimensions, down to the millimeter. Whether it’s a contemporary kitchen, a modern(trendy), or a classic kitchen, clients can choose custom kitchen cabinets for any taste. The freedom to choose everything, absolutely everything from size, colour, material, finish, and much more.


Butcher block style kitchen counters are made from different types of hardwood from walnut and oak to maple, birch, and sometimes even sometimes cherry wood. The kitchen designers at MACUCINA can propose a range of styles, models, and colours, stains, varnishes, or even oil finishes.

Butcher blocks treated with an oil finish are very durable and can be re-oiled and the finish can be brought back very easily. This type of counter delivers a very warm feel to your kitchen.


Contrary to popular belief, Corian is a brand of countertops. These counters are made from polymer (⅓ acrylic reason and ⅔ mineral fillers) once installed, they are polished, and their seams all but disappear, it gives the impression that these counters were built using a single piece. The kitchen sink is blended into the counter seamlessly. In addition, these counters are highly resistant to stains and have a trendy matte finish.

They are more sensitive to direct heat and scratches than other types of materials, but usually, they can be repaired with a little sandpaper and some elbow grease. The prices are normally in the higher range, similar to a quartz countertop.

Lavabo, robinet et comptoir de cuisine


Granite countertops are unique in their category because each piece(slab) is cut directly from its natural stone. Therefore each countertop is unique and can not be reproduced.

Clients choose these counters for their unique colours and motifs which are unmatched by any other counter materials. This material is also favored by the environmentally conscious, with its natural look and sourcing, as well as being durable, and resistant to direct heat. The price range of granite varies substantially, it can be affordable to very expensive, it depends on the available models.

Granit does have some drawbacks, it requires the simple re-application of a sealer every two years. The choice of colors is quite varied, but it is impossible to have a solid color as with quartz.

Lavabo, robinet et comptoir de cuisine


Porcelain counters are made from clay alloy, silica, feldspar, mineral oxides, and pigments. This innovative material is available in several thicknesses; 6mm, 12mm, and 20mm. Porcelain countertops are ideal for modern and contemporary styles of kitchens, being resistant to direct heat, scratches, stains, and chemical spills as well as being antibacterial and requiring no maintenance, it makes them not only stylish but also highly functional.

This is an extremely high-end product with no shortcomings and it is accordingly priced in the middle to high end of countertops.

The ultra-compact surfaces include Neolith, Dekton, Laminam, Lepitec, and Sapienstone amongst others, and porcelain also falls under this category of material. These counter types are hygienic and ecologically made from 100% natural products, and are completely recyclable. In this category, you will find colours and finishes for every style and taste.

Comptoir de cuisine et robinet


Quartz countertops are made from 92-93% crushed quartz that is cast in a synthetic resin, which represents 7-8% of the finished product.

Clients choose this material due to its vast choice of solid colours, and uniform patterns; it is even offered in styles that imitate marble. This type of countertop has a very modern look with its chic and pure feel, it requires no maintenance and it’s normally priced similarly to granite countertops.

Quartz is a very durable countertop, even though it is extremely resistant to everyday use, it can be scratched and can be damaged by direct heat.

Comptoir de quartz et robinetterie


Laminate is a composite panel made from kraft paper(10 to 20 overlapping sheets) with the addition of the top layer being the decorative designed surface, these sheets are all infused with resin. A very economical countertop that is very easy to maintain. Clients have a wide selection of colours, motifs, patterns, thicknesses, and finishes.

These countertops are sensitive to direct heat and are generally not as durable as other material choices, they are very difficult to repair as well.


Panels of wood particleboard are created by compressing particles and/or flakes of wood with resin and forming the mixture into a sheet. Kitchen cabinets made from melamine or real wood veneer are composed of 80% particle board.

These panels are significantly lighter and more flexible than MDF, which makes the installation somewhat easier. Particle board and MDF have a similar quality, when professionals choose particle board it’s a matter of functionality.



Single-panel molded doors are made from a thermoformable polymer which allows us to mold a 3D film onto the MDF panel, this eliminates the need to install edge binding and creates a seamless door. On the other hand, We do need to pay special attention to excessive heat with this material. Please review “Avoiding heat damage in your kitchen”. Please note that the inside of your doors remains melamine.


The five-panel door consists of a shaker-style door and four panels that form the sides of the door, framing the center. The center panel can be made from several different types of material, plywood, melamine, MDF, or natural wood that can be flat or molded.


Shaker doors are in the five-panel door Family, they are uniquely offered in the square-styled door.



Manufactured from wood or polymer, edge binding allows us to cover the edging of a cabinet door or the kitchen cabinet box itself, meaning its side fringe or its cut edges. At MACUCINA we use only the best technology in the installation of our edge binding. The brand “PUR” allows the finished product to be completely water-repellant and its (polyurethane) glue is the most effective on the market.


A biscuit joiner is a small circular piece of plywood that allows the craftsman to join two pieces of particle board or MDF together.


The cabinet box of a kitchen cabinet is constructed with panels that create the floor, ceiling, sides, and back which create the box, the addition of shelves and drawers is installed within this frame. In most cases, doors are installed, but in certain styles of kitchens we can leave these cabinet boxes open for decorative purposes, these open cabinets are referred to as niches.


A finger grip is a recessed 1” space between two drawers or doors, this allows the user to open the door or drawer by the edge without the use of handles. This delivers a very contemporary and original look.


Cabinet rails or glide systems ensure the smooth operation of drawers and sliding shelves. At MACUCINA, in our custom kitchens, we exclusively use the best quality hardware to ensure our clients will always love their new kitchen without issue.


The kickboard in a kitchen is made from a 3” (approx) deep recessed molding that fills the gap at the bottom of the lower cabinet.  The height can vary according to the specific design, generally they are between 4” and 4 ⅝”.


The backsplash in a kitchen is the space between the countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinet. Often they are made from ceramic tiles. Backsplashes protect your walls from humidity, splashing, and dirt accumulation.

From a decorative point of view, a backsplash can be like the perfect necklace that completes a woman’s evening gown. Clients can be creative or conservative, it really depends on individual taste. There are many choices of materials for kitchen backsplashes, from porcelain, natural stone, granite, quartz, or any other solid surface material.


Crown molding refers to decorative moldings that are installed above the upper cabinets between the cabinet and the ceiling. It is also often referred to as ogee molding, as well as crown molding. These types of molding add a very classic style to a kitchen, they also give the impression of grandeur, by creating the look and feel of higher cabinets.


For decorative purposes, these panels, and small walls are used for structure and finishing as side panels of the kitchen’s island or dishwasher, fridge, or even in between the cabinet boxes.


A door hinge is a type of hardware built from a steel mechanism and installed at a right angle on the doors of kitchen cabinets. Hinges allow us to open and close the door smoothly and properly.

At MACUCINA, our kitchen designers understand that only using the best quality hinges with integrated shock absorbers which are guaranteed for life, ensures the utmost satisfaction and longevity of our client’s new kitchen.


Aligned installation of ceramic is the most common and widely used style. There are several ways to install ceramic, and some of them are very creative, but in this type of installation, the joints are perfectly aligned which creates a tight “square” look that is very modern.

Cuisine classique blanche vue 1


The herringbone pattern is when the ceramic is laid in an ear of corn or repeating V-motif. This style lends itself well to contemporary or classic kitchen designs, it creates a contrast due to the vertical and horizontal lines of the kitchen cabinets, and it adds a distinct and interesting visual effect to the kitchen.



This technic of installing ceramic for a backsplash is similar to laying brick. These tiles are usually offered in small rectangular formats of 3” X 8”, which delivers a very traditional style.



Resurfacing cabinet doors is a technic to avoid major kitchen renovations. This approach uses the existing cabinet boxes and brings new life to the kitchen. Professionals can repaint, apply a new covering or edge binding with a new colour or style or completely replacing the doors.

This type of renovation only updates the look and does not address the ergonomics or functionality of the kitchen. This process can save you approximately 20% from a complete renovation. 


A bulkhead trim is a molding that can be installed to close off the soffit between your upper cabinets and ceiling.


Tip-on is a handleless door system that allows the doors to be opened with a single touch. This bouton device is discreetly installed in the interior of the cabinet, giving users easy access to the opening edge of the door or drawer with a simple touch.


Inside sliding drawers is a clever way to organize and easily access the storage of utensils, pots and pans, food, and much more. Generally, it is made up of an open box drawer with rails installed within the cabinets. The box has a front, back, and two sides and a pair of slider rails.

Make an appointment today with one of MACUCINA’s kitchen designers in Laval to get a consultation and create your dream kitchen. Visit our Laval kitchen showroom.

Book a consultation