MDF or Solid Wood Cabinets?

When you decide to remodel your kitchen cabinets, there are two types of materials to choose from: wood and MDF. People often believe that wood is the best choice for cabinets, but the fact is that both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

MDF or Solid Wood Cabinets?

(Pixabay / Elledmytryszyn)

The choice between wood and MDF is easier when people understand the difference between the two.

Solid wood

Solid wood sourced from natural lumber has been the main material for furniture building for centuries. Strength and durability are the main advantages of solid wood over other cabinet materials. You can expect your cabinets to last for many years when you use solid wood in their construction. Based on the type of wood you use, you will see varying levels of strength, with oak considered to be stronger than cedar.

Solid wood looks beautiful and comes in many varieties. Cabinets made from solid wood can be customized in different ways with various finishes and color. Cabinets made from wood have a higher value than those crafted from other materials.

Unfortunately, solid wood has its disadvantages. While wood is considered tough and durable, it is also subject to moisture damage. Constant exposure to humidity will compromise the cabinets over time. Wood is subject to cracking or warping when subjected to extreme temperatures. It is also vulnerable to bug infestation if it is not maintained well.


MDF is an abbreviation for medium-density fiberboard, a type of engineered wood. It consists of panels of wood fiber, wax, and resin. MDF is considered to be among the best of the engineered wood products. It is much better than plywood, for example. It can be used as an alternative in many applications where solid wood may be used.

Many people choose MDF over solid wood when picking out cabinets. MDF does not crack or warp like solid wood, even in environments where the temperatures and moisture levels fluctuate. Also, MDF is usually cheaper than solid wood.

MDF has a smooth finish because it is made from very fine particles and therefore has no natural grains. MDF looks great when painted. It is also water resistant. MDF is available in large sizes, making it perfect for projects that require large pieces of wood with no joints. The disadvantage of MDF is that it cannot be repaired when it is scratched.

Both solid wood and MDF have their pros and cons. The choice between the two usually boils down to the user’s unique preferences.