High-end custom kitchen cabinets, Wood or MDF

High-end custom kitchen cabinets, Wood or MDF?

Many high-end kitchen manufacturers frequently employ MDF in some applications. MDF has advanced significantly, it no longer warps because it is more dimensionally stable.

Since there are several quality levels, MDF is no longer synonymous with low-priced, do-it-yourself kitchen cabinets. Its environmental friendliness should also be taken into account (provided that it doesn’t include formaldehyde, of course). Regarding resale value, urban dwellers who care about the environment would prefer MDF over wood, although individuals in smaller towns in more rural areas might favour wood.

Different types of MDF kitchen cabinet doors 

For traditional 5-piece panel cabinet construction, in which the doors are constructed of two vertical stiles, two horizontal rails, and a central panel, MDF can be used as a solid wood equivalent. The quality of a door, frame, or end panel constructed in this manner is, in my opinion, on par with that of soft maple or poplar (the two most commonly painted hardwoods). Dimensional stability and the fact that MDF is a composite material, which allows for easy assembly, are its benefits. The doors won’t ratchet when they are closed firmly after a few years. The kitchen cabinets have a very substantial feeling because MDF attenuates at low frequencies as well. They are also durable since the surface is as hard as oak and has a comparable density.

Since MDF doesn’t have the same seams as wood, it takes paint better and won’t fracture or split where wood may. The major advantage of real wood, in my opinion, is that it raises a home’s prospective worth as a selling factor. You can’t actually sand it down or repaint it if it is damaged and needs to be restored.

MDF also has the benefit of being offered in a wide range of sizes.

If the client requests it, we can paint wood doors. If a client insists on wood, we typically try to persuade them to choose a shaker v-groove door or a mitered door, which has the v-groove on the frame at the vertical joint. Due to the mitered doors’ unique construction, the paint does not fracture to the same extent because they do not extend and contract as readily. Nevertheless, a wood-mitered door would cost you significantly more than an MDF one.

Why choose a stain finish if you desire wood?

Think about wood with a very faint stain.

If doors are built using 5-piece panels, it is impossible for a buyer to tell if they are made of MDF or hardwood when they are being sold second-hand.

A wood frame with an MDF middle panel that provides extra solidity and a wood look from the wood-painted frame is the compromise.

The drawback of MDF is that you can’t strip it if you decide you’d rather have genuine wood in the future. Eventually, the shelves will budge. If you choose MDF anyway due to price, be sure to frequently flip the shelves over to prevent sagging. If you do choose an MDF face frame, be sure to obtain plywood shelves that are laminated to match the interior or stick with that for the shelves if the interior is natural lacquer. Despite being tougher than wood, the MDF we use absorbs water more quickly. As was mentioned, the finish does not penetrate the material and instead rests on top of it. While it is true that both wood and MDF can become water damaged, I have heard of far too many wrecked cabinets that were made with MDF. I believe that harm occurs more quickly. The fact that the finish is on top and separate from the timber in part explains this.

Different types of wood

The top line in our custom kitchens features solid wood doors, thick, high-grade plywood cabinet boxes, and solid wood dovetailed drawers all around. Although more expensive, this choice has superior quality and is long-lasting. If you choose a mitered door, make sure the joint has a tenon and is pinned for additional stability.

The MDF fibres may slightly expand if water penetrates the lacquered coating. Water can certainly harm wood, but my impression is that it doesn’t spread permanently in the same way.

The feel and appearance of the wood are, of course, advantages. Additionally, I would choose wood if you want to retain this kitchen for a very long time. Custom cabinetry trends are ever-evolving. If you decide you want a different finish in the future, you can always strip wood. If your cabinets are well-made, you can change their appearance and they will still be worth something in the future. With wood, the finish itself is infused into the board, enhancing its ability to withstand spills and moisture.

The shaker-style frame portion of the kitchen cabinet doors we make is made of solid maple, and the interior of the panel is made of maple plywood. Inside the door section, the plywood is still a floating panel.

The interiors of our cabinets and doors are left their natural colour with simply a clear shellac varnish, and the cabinet boxes are likewise made of maple plywood. This page discusses custom cabinets.

Can you picture an MDF cabinet turning into an antique with any value? In summary, I have both new and ancient wood in my home, from new cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom to antiques. I have a lot of antique wooden furniture in my house, including my grandmother’s old baby high chair. They have endured through the years. That simply cannot be said of MDF.

Also, keep in mind that the backs of the frames are typically not finished if you get bespoke cabinets with a face frame. MDF is left unfinished and visible on the back as a result. MDF is inferior to wood in terms of resistance to moisture. I would advise a European cabinet without a face frame if you opt to use MDF.

One drawback of wood is that it may shrink, leaving an exposed finish line in the central panel of a door. We at Unica Concept always provided touch-up kits to our clients just in case. No one ever returned to us with an issue.

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