Part 2: Cabinetry Materials
Here's a list of the primary cabinet materials:
Solid wood - just as the term implies, it's solid wood, all the way through. The only variation might be boards or panels that are several pieces of solid wood joined together. Solid wood is used in doors and parts. It is not suitable for box construction because of expansion, contraction and warping caused by temperature and humidity changes.
Particle board - an engineered wood product that's made from wood chips and particles that are combined with an adhesive and fused together into boards and panels. This is an inexpensive box material.
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) - another engineered wood product that's made up of wood fibers. The fibers are combined with an adhesive under pressure and formed into boards and panels. MDF has a finer texture than particle board and is denser and heavier than particle board. MDF provides a very stable base for painted finishes in doors and paneled parts.
Veneered MDF- MDF that is covered with a wood veneer like maple or cherry for finished exterior parts.
Melamine - It's a plastic based material for covering particle board panels that are used in making cabinet boxes.It is popular because of its durability and ease of cleaning. Melamines come in different grades. Thermo-fused provides better durability.
Plywood - It's made up of thin wood "plies" or layers of wood that are glued together in a sandwich form. Usually the plies are oriented with their grain direction at varying angles with respect to each other to give the board or panel more rigidity and stability. Plywood is considered the premium option for cabinet boxes.