Painted Kitchen Cabinets — MDF vs. Wood
If I wanted painted kitchen cabinet doors, which would I choose? Let the battle begin: MDF vs. wood … or even a Hybrid door (wood framing with a MDF center panel)? This has been discussed and debated online in articles and forums with no clear cut winner that I can tell.
So which is better – MDF or Wood
First of all I am talking about the doors, and drawer fronts, not the cabinet box. I am a firm believer in a plywood cabinet box. They are lighter, stronger and hold up better than an MDF (or particle board) cabinet boxes – but that’s a conversation for another post. Back to the doors.
I would first eliminate the Hybrid door as a possible selection. If only one is the best, MDF or Wood, than why would I want a door that consisted of both materials? Why did they even come up with a Hybrid door? If adding a MDF center panel, when a painted finish is desired, made the door perform better, than why not make the whole door out of MDF? Once a door is painted, assuming a professional paint job, like what you would get from Conestoga, 99% of professionals and homeowners could not tell the difference, just by looking at the door. If you picked the 2-doors up, you could tell the difference, since the MDF would weigh a little more. And wouldn’t a heavier door be more desirable? More substantial? Less flimsy?
What About Durability?
I hear some people say that wood is stronger than MDF, and won’t dent and scratch as easily as MDF. Well, as far as the scratching goes, that would be related to the finish, right? As far as the strength, or denting possibility goes, we are talking about kitchen cabinet doors, not barn doors, or garage doors, that would take a lot of abuse. And we are talking about MDF, not particle board which is relatively soft. I guess what I am trying to convey is that even if wood is harder than MDF, which could be argued either way, we are talking about an cabinet door, inside your home.
Here are the pros and cons of MDF, as I see them:
- Less chance of joint separation.
- Less chance of warping.
- Lower cost
- Same appearance
- I can’t think of any, except if someone asked me what my doors were made of, I would have to say MDF 🙁
So in conclusion, I would order MDF doors and drawer fronts if I wanted a painted finish on my kitchen or bath cabinets. Why would I not want a door that out performs, and is less expensive than wood?