Most homeowners agree that when searching for new kitchen cabinet doors, one of the most significant decisions they have to make is what kind of materials to use, and rightly so. This is because there are so many options available. However, the two main choices are medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and solid wood.
Remember, when you have a particular style in mind for your kitchen cabinet doors, this vision will impact the kind of materials you will use. When it comes to MDF and solid wood, both have some unique characteristics that come out when used for cabinet door construction or repairing damaged kitchen cabinet doors.
A Closer Look at MDF and Wood Cabinet Doors
When asked which is better—MDF or solid wood—most people say the latter. For those unfamiliar with cabinet door materials, there are common perceptions about the two materials. One reason for this is that wood is often seen as being sturdier than MDF, which some people view to be a weak, cheap option. However, this is far from the truth.
Both materials have their pros and cons and work differently depending on what one is looking to achieve. Despite popular belief, wood is not always the better or superior alternative. In some situations, such as when looking for timeless white kitchen cabinets, MDF may have much more to offer.
That said, there is still no denying that solid wood can give your cabinetry added beauty, strength, and character–this is why so many homeowners are eager to choose it over other materials. However, solid wood cabinets do have flaws. For instance, they contract and expand based on changes in humidity and temperature. As a result, they tend to shrink, bend, or crack over time, depending on environmental conditions.
On the flip side, MDF can easily get scratched. If this happens, repairing it is almost impossible. Wood, however, can be sanded down to eliminate any surface damage. Additionally, MDF does not perform very well when exposed to high temperatures because the core materials can get ruined; this is one of the main reasons why MDF is not recommended for the construction of outdoor furniture.
What Can You Do
One of the biggest misconceptions is that solid wood is better than MDF for cabinet doors because it is more durable and reliable—but this is not necessarily the case. You must know all the facts before choosing between solid wood and the MDF for your cabinet doors.
Why Should You Pick MDF Over Solid Wood?
In many homes, MDF is used for the construction of cabinets. Even though it contracts and expands with changes in temperature, it does not warp or crack like solid wood. Its structure moves as one unit. As a result, it doesn’t matter how hot or cold it gets, and you don’t have to worry about your MDF cabinet doors getting damaged.
MDF is also made using re-engineered wood particles–this means that it doesn’t have noticeable grains like natural wood does. This leads to a smoother finish when compared to solid wood, especially after the board is painted.
MDF is also easier to customize and comes in many styles. For example, you can have MDF cabinets made with inset doors, flat paneled doors, shaker-style cabinet doors, raised doors, and many other variations. It is customizable and can accommodate all these styles because of its structure. MDF can also be drilled and cut without getting damaged.
You can purchase MDF in larger sizes than solid wood. This means that if you have a cabinet door project that needs a large piece of wood that is not jointed, then MDF is your best bet. This is something that you won’t be able to find with solid wood.
Lastly, MDF tends to be more affordable when compared to solid wood, and is still strong and durable with the proper maintenance.
It is fair to say that both MDF and solid wood have pros and cons that need to be weighed when choosing a material for cabinet doors. However, the perception that wood is always better is not correct–MDF has a lot to offer, too.