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May 06, 2021 3 min read

Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or building a kitchen from the ground up, it’s important to know about the materials that will be used in the construction of your cabinets.  

Most framed cabinets have solid wood face frames, regardless of budget and quality.  So when it comes to cabinet construction, of particular interest to most customers, is the construction of the cabinet box itself.  There’s so many options out there, and knowing the differences between each will ultimately help you decide the best one for your space and budget. We’ve put together this helpful guide to cabinet materials for you to do just that. 

As a note, most cabinet boxes are made out of wood. There are a few different ways this is done, but the core material in most cabinets is wood. In fact, one of the few other types of material you’ll see in cabinets that isn’t wood is laminate. However, you’ll usually only see laminate used to cover kitchen cabinet doors. The cabinet bases themselves are still wood.

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Different Wood Cabinet Materials At-a-Glance

Type

Pros

Cons

Plywood

Durable

Cost-efficient

Moisture-resistant

Need to ensure you’re using the right thickness

May lack consistency

Hardwood

Each panel can have own texture

Durable

All-natural

Long lifespan

Expensive (materials & installation)

Heavy

Durability can fluctuate

Warping is possible

Fiberboard

Durable

Warp resistant

Smooth finish

Not as strong as other cabinet types

Emits most formaldehyde gas (not best for the environment)

Particleboard

Inexpensive

High-quality is durable

Great for interiors of cabinets

Not durable unless highest-quality

Not moisture-resistant

Can sag if overfilled


Plywood

The best choice for cabinet materials out there is plywood. Our quality cabinets have all plywood boxes, making them perfect for everyday use in your kitchen and your bathroom. It’s also very versatile. Cabinets made from plywood can come in a variety of different colors, and they look great with all different types of hardware. No matter if they’re your kitchen cabinets or put in your bathroom, plywood cabinets are the best option. 

  • Durable: Because of the makeup of plywood, these cabinets are durable and won’t sag when you fill them with all your kitchenware. From dishes to cookware, plywood cabinets won’t sag or warp. 
  • Cost-efficient: Plywood cabinets are great for budget-friendly renovations or builds. Our Wolf Classic cabinets are perfect for every kitchen because they are quality built but won’t break the bank. Your standard 10 x 10 kitchen reno is much more doable than you think when you go with our plywood cabinets. 
  • Moisture-resistant: Plywood cabinets don’t retain moisture, so they’re great for your kitchen. With all the steam and heat from your oven, dishwasher and kitchen sink, it won’t destroy your cabinets.

various color cabinets

Hardwood

Hardwood cabinets are very traditional. Many older homes have all hardwood cabinets. There are a variety of pros and cons for hardwood cabinets. 

  • Pros: Hardwood cabinets are all-natural. If you’re big into only using natural materials, hardwood is the way to go. They’re also pretty durable. And because they’re all natural, each panel will have a different texture and feel. 
  • Cons: There are a few cons to hardwood cabinets. One of the worst things about hardwood cabinets is how expensive they are. Unless your budget is over $30k, hardwood cabinets probably aren’t the choice you want to make. They’re also very heavy, so your walls need to be thick enough to hold up the cabinets. Their durability can also fluctuate, which means they’re prone to warping over time.

light cabinets

Fiberboard and Particle Board

Fiberboard and particle board are two other types of wood from which cabinets can be made. While there are some advantages to both types of cabinet material, overall they’re not the best choice. Here’s why:

  • Durability: While both can be durable if you use high quality materials, they don’t stand up well to overfilling. Heavy items will cause the cabinets to sag and potentially break. Particle board is particularly susceptible to degradation because it isn’t moisture-resistant. 
  • The environment: While particle board is made from recycled wood materials, that’s actually one of its downfalls. Because it’s made of a variety of materials that are the “scraps” of others, it’s not very strong. So, while particle board might be attractive for anyone who’s looking to do an environmentally-friendly renovation, you’ll want to make sure you purchase only high-quality particle board, which might take a large portion of your budget.
    • On the other hand, fiberboard cabinets might be durable, but they're created through a process that isn’t good for the environment. As part of the pressing process, fiberboard produces the largest amounts of formaldehyde gas. Even though most pressed woods emit formaldehyde gas, fiberboard emits the most. So, if you’re trying to be cognizant of what chemicals make it into your home, fiberboard probably shouldn’t be your cabinet material. 

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