Wood vs MDF Cabinets: Which is Better?

July 18, 2017

Looking to revamp your kitchen? Sometimes simply changing the cabinets is all it takes to get a completely new look and drastically improve the esthetics of this space. Arguably the most important room in the home, the kitchen speaks volumes, and updated cabinets may be the perfect way to get the look you’re going for.
But what type of material should you choose for cabinets? Obviously solid wood, right? Not necessarily. Before you make the decision on the type of material you’d like your new kitchen cabinets to be, you should compare both wood to a more modern material option: MDF.
mdf cabinetsSolid Wood
First, let’s talk about wood. This is the more traditional material used for kitchen cabinets and is certainly still a viable option. But it comes with its own set of pros and cons, as we’ll talk about below.
Pros of solid wood:
Strength – First and foremost, solid wood is robust and can stand the test of time, if taken good care of. Oak, in particular, is one of the strongest woods around, which is why it has long been used for kitchen cabinets.
Looks – It’s tough to compare the beauty of natural solid wood to any other type of material, especially because of its natural grains which vary from one type of wood to another.
Value – Kitchen cabinets that are made out of solid wood usually hold more value compared to man-made engineered wood, typically because this natural material can be pretty expensive.
Customization – Solid wood cabinets can be customized in several ways, such as shape, colour, and finish.
Cons of solid wood:
Damage from moisture – Since the moisture level in kitchens is high, wood can become damaged if not treated properly. Wood is not waterproof, and as such, it can’t withstand exposure to moisture without getting ruined.
Warping – With fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels often comes warping of wood cabinets.
Pest infestation – Solid wood is more at risk for bugs to infest this material compared to man-made materials.

mdf cabinetsMDF

In order to combat the disadvantages of solid wood, many homeowners have chosen to go with MDF (medium-density fibreboard) instead. MDF is made of thin panels from wood fibre, wax, and resin and has various applications, including kitchen cabinets. Different types of MDF vary by size, density, glue type, wood species, moisture content, and thickness.
Pros of MDF:
Resistant to warping and cracking – Unlike solid wood, MDF is not as vulnerable to warping from humidity and temperature fluctuations because it is able to expand and contract.
Better water resistance – While not necessarily 100% waterproof, MDF has a much higher tolerance to water and moisture than solid wood. As such, it does not get damaged as easily.
More easily customized – Wood is certainly customizable, but nowhere near as much as MDF. These types of cabinets come in a ton of different styles and colours, and they can be cut in so many ways without getting damaged thanks to its unique structure.
Cheaper – MDF is often more affordable than solid wood, depending on its type, and can last a very long time if properly maintained.
Cons of MDF:
Easily scratched – Once MDF is scratched, it cannot be repaired, unlike wood that can be sanded down to eliminate scratch marks.
Materials can get damaged when exposed to extreme heat – MDF does not do so well when it is exposed to extreme heat. As such, its core materials can easily get damaged under these circumstances.
Let Hope Designs Help You Make the Right Decision About Which Kitchen Cabinets You Should Choose
Before you revamp your kitchen cabinets, call the experts in interior decor and design – Hope Designs! With plenty of experience in kitchen renovations, these pros can guide you in the right direction in terms of which cabinet material to go with, along with every other detail! Call Hope Designs and book your consultation today!