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Material Face-Off: Wood Vs. MDF

There are so many decisions to make when it comes to picking out your perfect cabinets. You have to consider whether you want to paint or stain and the color, the style of the doors and what you want your cabinets made out of. We are going to make it a whole lot easier for you and break down the difference between wood cabinets and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cabinets.

Wood cabinet examples


Let's start with a classic wood cabinet. No matter where you go, you are likely to see some kind of wood furniture, whether it is cabinets, tables or even chairs, and there is a good reason why.


In our opinion, wood is easily one of the most beautiful options when it comes to cabinetry. The natural patterns and wood grains are truly second to none. In addition, solid wood cabinets are a great investment for your home, as they are strong and long-lasting, meaning you will not have to replace your cabinets for a long time. Of course, this depends on the type of wood you use, as some wood is going to last longer than others. There is also a great variety of wood choices when it comes to cabinets, whether you are looking for dark wood, light wood, something to match to your countertops and so much more.


While wood is a great choice for cabinets, there are some things to consider before you fully invest in your new cabinets. Since wood is a natural product, you have to be aware of the fact that your wood cabinets may warp and crack, depending on the climate you live in. If you are exposed to high fluctuation in temperature and humidity, wood cabinets may be something you want to steer clear from. This is especially something to be wary of if you want to install inset cabinets, as they may start to stick and become difficult to open and close. There are things that can be done to prevent this from happening, but it is still something to consider. Bug infestation could also be an issue with wood cabinets if you do not take the proper steps to maintain your cabinets. One of the biggest turn-offs when it comes to wood cabinets is that they are expensive, especially compared to MDF cabinets, however, since they do last a long time, it may be worth it for you to invest in natural wood cabinets.

MDF cabinet example


MDF is a product that is used for cabinet components. It is not a wood product, but more of an engineered-wood product, meaning that it is made from recycled wood products and resin.


Any project involving replacing your cabinetry, whether it is in the kitchen or the bathroom, is going to cost a little bit of money. Luckily, there are some areas where you can cut costs, including the type of materials your cabinets are made with. For example, using MDF for your cabinets is going to end up saving you more money than if you choose wood cabinets. MDF components also do not crack or warp, unlike natural wood cabinets do. MDF is also a great option if you are looking to paint your cabinets, as opposed to stain your cabinets. Painted MDF cabinets provide a smooth finish that is hard to beat. In all, MDF cabinet components are more low-maintenance and water-resistant than other materials that are used to build cabinets.


MDF, like wood, is not perfect. MDF cabinets should not be used near heat, without proper protection. If it is placed right next to an oven without protection, for example, it can damage the materials and your cabinets will not last very long. While MDF doors are sturdy, accidents can happen. Unfortunately, when the doors are damaged, you have to entirely replace the whole door. When your wood door gets scratched, it can easily be sanded down and repaired.

Between wood and MDF, there really is not a bad choice when it comes to what material you choose to build your cabinets with. It comes down to your style choices and what will work best in your home. For more information about cabinet material, contact us at (515) 310-1070 or schedule an appointment with one of our experienced designers.


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