Getting New Cabinets? Know The Difference Between Plywood and MDF

Are you preparing to get new cabinets for your kitchen, but you're not sure of the type of wood you should use to get the job done? It will help to know the differences between medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood.

1. Plywood

Plywood is close to normal wood because it is made out of multiple thin layers of wood that are assembled using glue, pressure, and heat.. The nature of piecing the wood together in multiple directions makes it less likely for the wood to bow or split. 

Be aware that there are various grades of plywood, with plywood being made for interior or exterior use. You are going to want to use a higher grade of plywood for kitchen cabinets, which makes it the more expensive cabinetry. The strength of plywood is also going to be much better when compared to MDF, making cabinets that are more durable and withstand the test of time. 

Since plywood is more durable, you are going to discover that plywood is going to have fewer problems with corners getting bent inward by accidentally hitting it with a hard object. The strength of plywood also helps create long shelves that do not need vertical supports.

2. Medium Density Fiberboard 

MDF is made with a wood pulp that is pressed into sheets and glued together. You are not going to find any wood grain in MDF, since the wood is pressed into a shape from tiny pieces. It is a step up from normal fiberboard by using smaller fibers that give a more uniform shape and smoothness. 

One reason that MDF works great for kitchen cabinets is that they can be cut down to the exact size you need. However, since MDF is naturally a weaker material than plywood, it will require more supports in your cabinetry. If you plan to have very long and wide cabinets, they will need more vertical supports in the middle to prevent the boards from sagging due to the weight above them. This typically isn't a problem though when you factor the width of cabinet doors creating a natural vertical support point if you are using MDF for a really long shelf. When you compare the cost of MDF to plywood, you'll find that MDF is going to be a more affordable product. This can help MDF work for homeowners on a budget. 

Reach out to a commercial cabinet maker in your area for more information on the type of wood you want to use.