Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets

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Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets

Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets – What’s the difference?  Does it really matter if cabinets are constructed using particle board or plywood?  Here are the facts:

  1. Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets

    The way it looks. When I show customers a quality veneered piece of Plywood vs. a piece of Particle Board or MDF for cabinet construction, 9 out of 10 customers, after looking at the quality, depth, construction, and strength of the plywood, ask for the plywood constructed cabinets.  MDF (medium density fiberboard) is also known as melamine, thermofoil (RTF), 3D Laminates, formed, and molded.

  2. When particle board gets wet or damp, it swells and falls apart! Does this make any sense? Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry cabinets are in wet areas.  I can’t count the number of customers who asked me why their particle board cabinets smell musty, are disintegrating, moldy, and the doors and drawers no longer close properly – “We just had them installed a few years ago by Company XYZ” they say.
  1. Traditional particle board cabinets are really heavy.
  2. Particle board, MDF, and RTA cabinets are ridiculous! They break, chip, splinter, de-laminate, and can’t hold a screw or nail. With veneer the thickness of paper, I can’t figure out how something can be made so thin!  The substrate between the MDF veneer looks like stained cardboard or newspapers.
  1. Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets
    Particle Board

    Will not hold a screw for long (even confirmats), especially after the customer starts opening the doors. A few months or years down the road – they fall off!

How good are MDF Cabinets?

I recently disassembled an MDF melamine kitchen that was only a few years old that was built using glued and stapled 3/4″ material from one of those big box home improvement retailers.  With only a hammer, it only took 10-15 minutes to knock down about 12 cabinets.  They literally fell apart with a couple of blows.  I removed the doors by simply pulling on them with one hand – I merely ripped the doors and hinges off in a single motion.

More on Particle Board and MDF Cabinets . . .

  1. Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets

    Particle board off-gassing smells and causes some folks nausea!

  2. Particle board ends use edge band – basically strips of laminate that’s glued and affixed to cover the material between the veneered sheets using heat. That way you can’t tell if it’s particle board or plywood.  This is how many people get tricked into thinking they paid for and received plywood.
  3. De-lamination issues. MDF and particleboard separate from the interior substrate (material between the laminates).  On molded doors and drawers, it’s common for MDF to bubble away from the substrate.
  4. Applying Edge Band

    Surface breaks when using screws.

  5. Sub-materials degrade over time (joints loosen).
  6. Hinges loosen easier over time (door sags).
  7. Will not hold moldings well without glue or nailers.
  8. MDF next to a heat source, such as a cooking area, oven, microwave, television, water heater, and window, will yellow, melt, and bubble away (detach) from the substrate.
  1. Cheap (both ways).

Why Should I Choose Plywood Cabinets?

When considering the question “Particle Board vs Plywood Cabinets?”, choosing particle board or plywood cabinets is really a choice that is up to you.  There are pros and cons to each of these materials.  After reviewing the summary below of the pros and cons of each material, you can then make a decision on what to use for your cabinets.


Although particle board and MDF may be strong enough to do your cabinets, plywood tends to be much stronger and have superior durability and finishing. This in turn makes your cabinets withstand more.


Hinges tend to break away a lot sooner using particle board and MDF cabinet’s verses plywood cabinets.


Particle Board vs Plywood CabinetsDrawers also tend to break away using particle board and MDF cabinet’s verses plywood cabinets.


Particle board does not hold screws like plywood.  When screwing, particle board and MDF will chip away.


Plywood is more expensive than particle board and MDF.


Particle board and MDF wipes down very easy. Plywood is a bit harder to clean.


Plywood veneer must be finished using a varnish, paint, or stain – of your choice.  Particle board and MDF come pre-finished in a variety of colors.

Always Hire a Reliable and Dependable Contractor to Remodel your Home

Design Build Bathroom Remodel | Best Local Contractor DAD's ConstructionAlways work with a trustworthy contractor like DAD’s Construction for home remodeling.  We are experts in full interior home remodeling who can manage projects in an efficient manner.  DAD’s Construction will do everything to minimize the possibility of change orders.  Our team will make sure we have all the necessary information to prepare a proposal that meets your requirements. Rest assured that we will provide you with a detailed, by line-item contract.  We will make sure that the contents of this agreement are properly and clearly communicated to you.  If you have questions or need updates regarding your project, we will always answer your inquiries.

How Can I Receive More Information on Remodeling my Home?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best experience remodeling your bathroom, kitchen, and home interior in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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