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JPMills
plywood or mdf

we are pricing new cabinets for our kitchen, but one guy says plywood is the only way to go and the next guy says mdf press borad is better, stronger and cheeper then ply. I can't get over the fact that press board worps when it gets wet much easyer then plywood or are they making press borad that much better then in the past?:confused:

JLMCDANIEL
Re: plywood or mdf

DwarfWytch's opinion about MDF is much kinder than mine.
Jack

thaxman
Re: plywood or mdf

I share your situation. After dealing with 4 retailers, 7 large mfrs, and 2 custom cabinetmakers, I can say that although MDF or pressed wood is much much more common, just go for the plywood. Many mfr will do plywood ends and/or wood drawers with dovetail boxes. But many really don't want to deal with all plywood boxes for some reason (most likely because it turns a 10-15 year kitchen into a 50 year kitchen & who wants to wait so long to sell your product again?) If a salesperson is pushing MDF, chances are they are unconfident of their ability to sell the better product, relying on the lowest-common-denominator (price) to seal the deal.
Personally, I have an MDF kitchen from the 70s which has literally fallen apart at the glue seams. I ripped a good part of it out 2 years ago & put a fabric skirt hiding plastic bins in its place while we got the rest of the house done. Now that its the kitchens turn and I have run into people who insist on selling MDF & some that look like I am an alien when I insist on plywood construction. But with all the house flipping that went on over the last 3 years, no wonder they only push the cheap stuff.
No, definitely insist on the good stuff & if your spouse questions your financial judgement, remember that a good mfr will charge only about $500 for the upgrade (I did 18 cabinets) and that Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect of the 20th Century, used furniture-grade plywood extensively in his designs & whe was considered a genius in his circles.

A. Spruce
Re: plywood or mdf
DwarfWytch wrote:

Don't be fooled by cabinetry called "solid wood" it can still contain MDF.

"Solid wood" generally refers to face frames and doors (sometimes just the doors ). Even "plywood", in terms of cabinet retailers and manufacturer's is a misnomer because there is a great many products made of an MDF or particle board core and wood veneered faced material.

The best bet for wood-core plywood, real wood face frames and doors is a custom shop with those criteria addressed. For the same money you'd spend at a retailer for this type of cabinet, you can get custom woodwork done that will likely be of better quality material and construction than any mass produced item you could buy off the shelf or with those nifty "upgrades" or "special orders" that the big box retailers love to use to add additional costs to your order.

havanagranite
Re: plywood or mdf

just to add to this excellent thread, and to spruce with manufactured cabinets they (regardless of what they say) are not custom cabinets. whereas with a cabinet shop you can get truly any depth and configuration you want

bp21901
Re: plywood or mdf
havanagranite wrote:

just to add to this excellent thread, and to spruce with manufactured cabinets they (regardless of what they say) are not custom cabinets. whereas with a cabinet shop you can get truly any depth and configuration you want

Exactly....First hand experience with KraftMaid (otherwise known as KrapMade) which advertises "semi-custom". Just what the heck is that, its either custom or not. Their "semi-custom" is that you order catalog size cabinets and make them fit with fillers. The only custom piece to the whole thing is the width you rip your own fillers. They also use mdf rather than plywood. They are just one example of an overpriced cabinet. I have to laugh when I see them on the Home Makeover show. The builder puts up a big $ home only to have mdf cabinets installed.

havanagranite
Re: plywood or mdf
A. Spruce wrote:

"Solid wood" generally refers to face frames and doors (sometimes just the doors ). Even "plywood", in terms of cabinet retailers and manufacturer's is a misnomer because there is a great many products made of an MDF or particle board core and wood veneered faced material.

The best bet for wood-core plywood, real wood face frames and doors is a custom shop with those criteria addressed. For the same money you'd spend at a retailer for this type of cabinet, you can get custom woodwork done that will likely be of better quality material and construction than any mass produced item you could buy off the shelf or with those nifty "upgrades" or "special orders" that the big box retailers love to use to add additional costs to your order.

mdf IS solid wood just really little pieces of it:D

A. Spruce
Re: plywood or mdf
havanagranite wrote:

mdf IS solid wood just really little pieces of it:D

Then it's perfect for really little cabinets. :D

Sean M.
Re: plywood or mdf

LOL!!!!!That was funny!

Re: plywood or mdf

Quality manufacturers don't use MDF (medium density fiberboard) for cabinet boxes...They either use plywood or particleboard.
65 lb. particleboard is the best. It is made under 65 lb. per square inch pressure. These days with no off-gassing, no formaldehyde. Same with their plywood.
Both are equally strong and the particleboard is less likely to warp or twist than the plywood.
If the box is made of particleboard it will be a heavier cabinet, so the installer has a more difficult time.
Other than that I have seen no reason not to save the difference in cost between the two.
MDF is used as door material by many manufacturers.
The doors are too heavy and cause the hinges to break over the long haul, so I do not recommend MDF doors.

Any cabinet manufacturer that uses less dense particleboard than 65 lb. is not worth your dollars or time. Same with any cabinet maker that provides shelves less than 3/4" thick.

For other recommendations on how to know when you are looking at a well-built cabinet or cabinet spec, see my web site at http://www.kitchenartworks.com/cabinetry.htm for the Cabinet Shopping Standards I recommend to my clients.

thaxman
Re: plywood or mdf
bp21901 wrote:

They also use mdf rather than plywood. They are just one example of an overpriced cabinet. I have to laugh when I see them on the Home Makeover show. The builder puts up a big $ home only to have mdf cabinets installed.

Everyone pushes MDF & pressed-wood nowadays. They can't see selling a more expensive product with a 25+ year lifetime when they can sell crap & sell it all over again in 10 years.

Basically, if you plan on selling in less than 10 years, put in low-quality crap, but if you plan to stay, do plywood.

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