Which Material Is Best to Use for Kitchen Cabinets?

Aside from being a key factor in defining a kitchen’s character, cabinets can either make or break the functionality and appearance of a kitchen space. Moreover, cabinetry takes up well over a quarter of your remodel project. For this reason, you’ll want to do your research before a kitchen cabinet install in FL.

While looks are important, kitchen cabinet material significantly impacts their cost, longevity, ease of installation, and upkeep. We’ve compiled the different types of materials out there to help you make an informed decision.

Different Materials Used for Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re planning to remodel your entire kitchen, you’ll want to consider the cabinet materials on the market to ensure you find the right ones for your home. Choosing a material requires thinking about how you’ll use your kitchen space.

Do you cook a lot? Will you be feeding your little ones in it? Do you like entertaining guests? While these factors may impact your decision-making process, once you’ve decided on each material’s practicalities and appearance, the rest of your kitchen will start taking shape.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is an affordable, high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibers and resin. MDF one-piece frames are often CNC-milled under high pressure with the center cut out for the recessed panel. This material is a popular choice due to its resistance to peeling and cracking, which makes it easy to paint over.

Since MDF is watertight, it’s an excellent choice for cabinets that often come into contact with water. Thanks to its resistance to moisture, you won’t have to worry about your MDF cabinets getting warped. Furthermore, it’s easy to cut MDF into different sizes. Consequently, this material is ideal for extra-large or awkward-shaped kitchen cabinets. Unlike plywood, MDF panels are smooth and even, making it easy to apply a wood veneer or laminate onto the panels.

While MDF offers multiple benefits, it also has its drawbacks. For example, it’s not suitable for commercial kitchens with multiple hobs or ovens because its manufacturing process isn’t suitable for extremely high temperatures. In addition, it’s weaker than other cabinet materials because it’s made of a wood blend instead of a solid material. For this reason, MDF cabinets can sag or snap if they get overloaded.

Melamine (LPL)

Melamine, also known as low-pressure laminate, is a pre-finished board that features a thin, single melamine paper that’s directly bonded to a substrate. Heat-fused melamine resin adds color to the layer of paper that tops the core material. Melamine cabinets come in various color assortments and textures. They’re easy to clean and won’t need re-staining and sealing for many years.

he downside to melamine cabinetry includes the limited choice of shape because the cabinet shapes are usually square. This material is susceptible to scratches and dents that can be challenging or impossible to repair. Since melamine cabinetry is heavier than other cabinet materials, it might sag over time.

High-Pressure Laminate (HPL)

HPL is a manufactured composite material consisting of printed decoration paper that’s fused to multiple sheets of Kraft paper and saturated with a synthetic thermosetting resin. While Kraft paper, HPL’s core material, determines the product thickness, the overlay paper enhances the material’s resistance to abrasion, scratch, and heat. The core material’s substrate includes MDF, particleboard, and plywood. The resins, such as melamine or phenolic, glues all components together.

HPL laminate cabinetry is impact resistant, available in a wide range of colors and finishes, and doesn’t require staining or finish. Lastly, they’re easier to clean. Although HPL is more expensive than melamine and other materials, it’s still a cost-effective option.

Solid Wood

Wood is a non-toxic and renewable resource that’s available in a diverse range of grains, colors, and textures. Some popular options include cherry, oak, bamboo, birch, maple, walnut, knotty pine, and hickory.

The natural variation within the solid wood adds to its distinctive appeal. Whether you stain and varnish its surface or paint it with your choice of color, solid wood material is customizable and adapts well to both traditional and modern kitchen designs. Since solid wood cabinets will always be on trend, they add timeless beauty to your home.

Although solid wood cabinets are gorgeous, strong, environmentally friendly, and more sustainable, their weight can cause them to come away from the walls or rest heavily on hinges if they’re not constructed well or installed properly. Bad-quality wood boards may show warps and dents over time as changes in humidity levels damage the material’s core and surface.

Besides being vulnerable to stains from splashes and spills, wood is also time-consuming and costly to work with. They’re also high-maintenance,  requiring you to treat the material with a waterproof finish and clean it with non-abrasive products specifically designed for wood.

Wood Veneers

If you want the look and feel of natural wood without spending a fortune, consider wood veneers. Wood veneer cabinets consist of a thin layer of real wood glued onto less expensive core materials.

Aside from being highly resistant to warping, wood veneers require simple scratch repair. You can get rid of nicks and scratches and restore a smooth and even appearance by simply buffing them out. Additionally, wood veneer cabinets are easily wiped with a lightly dampened cloth.

However, excessive moisture can create an unattractive bubbled effect when it loosens the veneer from its base.


Besides being a low-cost material, plywood is highly resistant to moisture. Plywood cabinetry boards consist of layers of thin wood piles glued on top of one another. A wood veneer, exposed plastic laminate, or thermofoil coats the outside for added protection. Since plywood is available in various wood species, you’ll easily achieve a wood-look interior to your cabinet box.

Moreover, plywood is easier to manipulate than other options. If it ever gets chipped or damaged, you can sand it down or fill a chip with wood filler. While this material can withstand a heavy load, it’s easy enough to erect because it’s lightweight.

Cabinet makers use plywood when constructing slab or flat panel doors. Furthermore, furniture-grade plywood with a hardwood veneer face layered over soft plywood can also be a material of choice for solid slab doors if it’s layered over a softwood plywood core.

Looking for an Expert in Kitchen Cabinet Install in FL?

At Cabinet Direct Club, we’re here to help you make your dream kitchen a reality. Contact us today to get started.

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