Kitchen cabinetry material are often produced from wood, Veneer, Particle board, MDF, Stainless steel, plastic laminate, melamines and Thermofoil,
Here’s a list of the primary cabinet materials you’ll encounter:
Solid Wood – is solid wood all the way through. “Solid wood” should represent whole, uniform lumber, not a fabrication or wood composite, like particle board, MDF or even plywood. Commonly used for cabinet fronts, counters, moulding, corbels and edges.
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) – a engineered wood product that’s made up of wood fibers. The fibers are combined with an adhesive under pressure and formed into boards and panels. MDF has a finer texture than particle board and is denser and heavier than particle board. It’s used in cabinet doors, shelves and cabinet boxes.
SOLID WOOD VS MDF
Solid wood has many benefits and is available in a variety of species. Since solid wood boards typically expand and contract both horizontally and vertically when temperatures and humidity rise and fall, cabinets, doors and panels made from solid wood require a high level of care and maintenance.
When solid wood is installed it is essential to maintain proper humidity levels in the home, humidity levels vary depending on where you live, however the general recommendation is 35-40%.
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is a high grade, composite material that performs better then solid wood in many areas. It is made from recycled wood fibers and resin, is machine dried and pressed to produce dense, stable sheets. MDF is more stable then solid wood and stands up better to changes in heat and humidity.
In the construction of painted cabinet doors, MDF outperforms solid wood. The conventional frame and panel method (5-piece construction) building solid wood doors involves connecting five separate pieces. Four frame pieces and a center panel cut slightly smaller than the frame to allow for expansion and contraction. MDF because it is made of wood fibers in sheets, can be milled by CNC (computer controlled machinery) in one-piece frames with the center cut out for a recessed panel. Because of its density, MDF does not move independently from the inserted panel and does not need to float like the conventional five-piece solid wood door. Since the mdf panel does not float within the frame, hairline cracks do not form along the edges of the panel or at the style and rail joinery. MDF will expand and contract but with this 2-piece construction method the doors move as a unit and not as individual pieces of wood, therefore the paint does not crack or peel at the joints. MDF does not have any visible wood grain and knots which is an added benefit in a painted finish.
MDF is commonly offered in a variety of painted lacquer finishes including, 20,40 60 degree sheens, glaze finishes and hi-gloss polyurethanes.
Plywood is a sheet material manufactured from thin layers or “plies” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. Plywood is used for shelving, doors and cabinet boxes.
Plywood is usually an upgrade, from particle board or MDF, with most cabinet manufacturers
Stainless steel/metal – Stainless steel in kitchens is generally used for countertops, hoods, reveals, for the underside of stoves, and fronts. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and corrosion resistance are required, but is also used for it industrial look, durability and versatility.
It doesn’t chip, bend, or crack easily (though it does scratch), and it stays shiny over years of use. Stainless steel is a metal alloy with about 10-11% chromium. When exposed to air, the chromium in the metal forms a film of chromium oxide over the surface. This film is passive and non-toxic, and most importantly, it prevents the steel from rusting by shielding it from air and moisture. Even if the metal gets scratched, the chromium oxide reforms seamlessly.
This gives us all the excellent properties of stainless steel without the worry of rust. It’s also non-reactive, unlike aluminum and iron, so we can use it for preparing and cooking acidic foods.