Modular Kitchen cabinets can be made from a variety of different materials, most of them being wood based but the base material can also be steel. The wide variety of materials available allows for a lot of flexibility in design, color, finish, durability and cost to suit the differing needs of different homes. The most commonly used materials –
- Solid wood
As the name implies, this is solid homogeneous wood, all the way through. In some cases, there are boards made up of several pieces of solid wood joined together. Solid wood cabinets are more expensive compared to engineered wood cabinets.
Solid wood is very durable, customizable, and available in a wide variety of wood types, colors and finishes. The downsides of a solid wood kitchen are the long manufacturing time, and a tendency to expand and shrink with changes in temperature and humidity.
Plywood is an engineered wood product, which is made up thin layers(“plies”) of wood glued together. The adjacent layers of wood have their woodgrains at 90o to each other. There are 2 main kind of plywood when talking about kitchen cabinets
Commercial Plywood – Commercial plywood refers to Moisture Resistant(MR) plywood. Moisture resistant is not the same as being waterproof. It just means that the plywood can withstand some amount of moisture, dampness and humidity.
Marine Plywood – Marine plywood is waterproof plywood. Although when talking about kitchen cabinets, Boiling Water Resistant(BWR) grade plywood is usually referred to as Marine Ply. Marine ply is both stronger and more durable than commercial ply but it’s also significantly costlier.
- Medium Density Fiber(MDF)
MDF is another engineered wood product made up by mixing wood residuals with wax and reMDFsin binders, and then formed into panels by applying high pressure and temperature. Since MDF is made up of wood residuals, it does not contain any knots and rings and is therefore smoother than solid wood and plywood.
MDF is also denser than plywood, but not as hard and can sag under heavy load. Although newer variants of MDF have improved in this regard but MDF is not as resistant to moisture as plywood, so should not be used in areas with high humidity. It is quite cheap compared to plywood.
- Particle Board
Particle board is made by heat pressing wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even sawdust and resin together. To make the end product water resistant, fireproof, and/or insect-proof chemicals are used including wax, dyes, wetting agents, and release agents.
Particle board is cheaper than MDF, has lower strength & durability, is more susceptible to moisture. It is mainly used for lower end furniture.
- Stainless Steel / Aluminium
These metallic cabinets are have lots of advantages over wood cabinets. They are much easier to maintain, are completely water proof, insect proof, fire proof, long lasting and suitable for all kinds of weather. On the other hand, they can be slightly costly, dent in certain places, be noisier than wooden cabinets, and are not yet available in as many designs as you can find in wooden cabinets.
This article was originally published on Infurnia