MDF Vs Solid Wood Which One is Better
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    MDF Vs Solid Wood Which One is Better


    MDF Vs Solid Wood Which One is Better

    When asked to choose between the two cabinet materials, most people will choose solid wood. The rapid technological advancements have made the engineered wood much sturdier, cheaper, and unique than ever before. MDF can compete with the undisputed champion of the industry- Solid wood. When it is about the pick and pack furniture, engineered wood may bot be your best choice. According to kitchen renovation contractors in Toronto, Both types of wood are capable of giving your kitchen an elegant look.

    Many architects, interior designers, and homeowners go for solid wood as one of the primary materials in construction. Solid wood is not always the best solution for kitchen cabinetry, flooring applications, or countertops as it can expand and contract. In most cases, engineered wood products get utilized instead because they're just as reliable and much economical. The most widely used kinds for cabinet are made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, particleboard with melamine, and sometimes stainless steel. The cost to replace kitchen cabinets in Toronto depends on the type of materials you choose. So remember to do your research and stay within your budget

    What is Solid Wood?


    Solid wood is the lumber that is obtained directly from the trees.  Other types of wood, such as MDF or plywood, are produced from wood composites.  Solid wood is the wood that comes straight from the tree. Engineered wood is composed of wooden fibers throughout the pieces of lumber. No adhesives and fillers are consumed. Solid wood is much simpler to repair than engineered wood; that is why people prefer using it in their projects. There are several different types of solid wood available in the market. Woodworkers and carpenters can choose from a wide variety of projects. Every kind of wood carries its pros.

    Why use Solid Wood in Kitchen Cabinets


    There are many surprising reasons why solid wood is the top choice for building cabinet doors. Here we bring you some of the reasons why?

    Durability and Strength

    Solid wood is known to be hard and sturdy, which makes it an excellent choice for manufacturing durable furniture. It is the only reason it is being used everywhere, from skyscrapers to bridges. Not all solid wood materials are the same; for example, Oak is more durable than Cedar.

    Aesthetics Redefined

    When it comes to solid aesthetics, wood is always considered to be the top choice. Solid wood's beautiful grains and patterns give it a unique touch. Different solid wood materials have a different type of durability, and they significantly differ in aesthetics. White Oak is a more preferred one than red Oak, but the cost to redo cabinets varies.

    Easy to Customize

    Solid wood is extravagant and durable and supports abundant customization makes it the best for the kitchen cabinet doors. It can give out of the world look to your kitchen cabinets and is available in a variety of shapes, sizes,  finishes, textures, and colors. The kitchen renovation contractors in Toronto highly prefer it.


    Due to the ample benefits that solid wood provides, it is considered to be worth more. Solid wood also can increase the worth of your home. Besides, the furniture made from solid wood is worth much more than the one made from MDF.

    Cons of Solid Wood


    • If the wood is not in its finished state, it is not waterproof. More durable woods such as Red Oak can withstand the moisture exposure, whereas most woods will get damaged. A waterproof finishing is applied to protect the wood.
    • Wood has then the ability to expand and contract, which makes it vulnerable to warp and crack. If exposed to high temperatures and humidity, deviations solid wood is natural to warp and crack. The cracking is more visible even when it's painted. In recent years techniques have emerged to stop the wood from a wrap or crack.
    • Solid wood is more prone to pest attacks as compared to engineered wood. It needs regular maintenance and the right finishing to protect the wood.

    Different Methods to Build Solid Wood Cabinet Doors

    Solid Wood Frame with a Wood Panel


    According to bathroom and kitchen remodeling contractors in Toronto it is one of the most traditional methods to make a kitchen cabinet door. This method got discovered centuries ago, and the door is built from five pieces of wood. There are two stiles. Stiles is the outside pieces that go up and down. There are two rails, pieces that connect the up and down stiles, and a central panel. The four parts are held together by tight joints. The center panel floats so that it can expand and contract without breaking the joints of the frame.

    Your choice will depend on whether you will be able to see some textures and grains behind the paint

    • Maple if you are looking for a little or no grain.
    • Birch and cheery carry medium grain.
    • Use Oak and Ash for the hard wooden grain.

    This way of construction contains a little risk of mild paint cracks at the joints due to seasonal changes. There also chances of exposing a thin painted edge around the perimeter of the central panel since it tends to contract from the groove when the doors get exposed to dry conditions.

    Solid Wooden Frame with a Pressed Veneer Panel


    This method is a bit similar to process no one because the frame is made the same way. There is a significant difference in the central group. A pressed veneer panel is built by gluing a thin wood veneer to both sides of the MDF sheets. MDF is more dimensionally stable than solid wood in which edges are glued with each other. Using a pressed veneer central panel partially eliminates the risk of central panel contracting back from the grooves that hold it back in place. There are chances of cracks in the veneer if it is exposed to high temperatures. This is an excellent method to choose for the flat panels doors as nearly all of the panel designs have sharp angles and details, which make it hard for the veneer to be pressed over.

    Solid Wood Frame with an MDF Panel


    This method also uses the same solid wood frame as method one and two but using an MDF central p-panel contracting and any veneer cracks. You get the durability and repair-ability and screw the holding power of the wooden frame. And the dimensionally stable stability of MDF. This solution doesn't allow the grain to show through, so it needs a high solid paint grade solution and a smooth and even finishing. This is the most popular paint grade solution followed closely by the MDF one-piece routed method.

    Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinet Renovation Cost

    The average cost of solid-wood kitchen cabinets is around $460 per linear foot including installation

    What is MDF?


    Medium-density fiberboard and also known as MDF is a versatile building material. It is the most economical and is suitable for building shelves, storage cabinets, and decorative projects. It has a smooth surface that is suitable for painting.

    MDF wood is usually sawdust and glue that have been compacted with pressure and heat. The colors of MDF can vary from tan to dark brown. The process of working with MDF is relatively similar to working with another kind of wood or plywood. Fiberboard is built from wood fibers, which are tiny pieces of hardwood or softwood. Low-density fiberboard is known as particleboard, which is made from even smaller pieces than MDF. There's also high-density fiberboard known as hardboard that uses more heat and pressure than what's required to make MDF, making it durable and expensive.



    Homeowners looking for an economical alternative to solid wood while emphasizing on sturdiness and resistance, always find MDF a more mesmerizing option for furniture, especially kitchen cabinets. Here we will talk about the benefits of choosing MDF over other types of engineered woods.

    Withstand Warping and Cracking


    MDF does not wrap or crack and can withstand severe temperature and humidity fluctuations. This is the main reasons why we are known we use MDF as door center panels in all our cabinets at ASASA construction

    Smooth Finishing


    It is constructed from fine particles, so MDF does not have any visible grains that are found in solid woods. As a result, they have smoother finishing after the paint job. It gives an edge to MDF over solid wood when it comes to cabinet doors.

    Easy Customization

    Kitchen cabinet doors come in a bunch of styles, such as flat paneled doors, raised doors, and so on. MDF  boards are flexible, and they are easy to cut and drill and can be customized as the door requires.

    High Water Resistance

    MDF performs really well to water resistance, and in fact, some MDF boards are specially designed for bath cabinets, and they are highly water-resistant.

    Cheaper Alternative

    MDF is a much cheaper option than solid wood. It requires proper maintenance and can last as long as some solid woods.

    MDF Cabinet Doors: Cons

    MDF cabinet doors may not be suitable in certain conditions. They are susceptible to water, scratches, and heat. MDF cabinet doors require extra care and maintenance.

    • MDF cabinet doors are not suitable for high temperatures.
    • It is considered less strong than solid wood.
    • It may not be great for holding screws in some circumstances since it consists of fine particles.
    • Cabinet MDF can fall prey to water absorption if not sealed properly.
    • If the MDF get scratches, it's usually difficult to repair it.

    Uses of MDF

    • The most common utilization of MDF is in kitchen cabinets. Most kitchen cabinets consist of both MDF, and solid wood MDF Board is generally found on doors and the interior paneling. MDF is also used in bathrooms, which contain a lot of moisture. MDF is always preferred over solid wood because it is resistant to humidity and temperature changes in the bathroom. Check if the MDF is water-resistant when purchasing a bathroom for any other damp environment. Normal MDF boards will easily get damaged when they get in contact with water.
    • Fire retardant MDF board is used for fire protection. This kind of MDF is more commonly used in commercial areas, but it can also be used in the home to provide fire protection in rooms like the kitchen and bedroom.
    • Another important thing to consider when using the MDF board is to compare it to the plywood. In some instances, plywood may be better than MDF.
    • MDF can also be used aesthetically. A great example of this is wainscoting. In the past few years, wood was then only wainscot material used, but recently, there's plenty of materials that you can use, such as MDF. MDF wainscoting can be customized in many different styles and can be utilized in the kitchen, living room, or even bathroom.
    • Another area where MDF is utilized is the shelving. Whether it is an open wall shelf, inside a cabinet, or a bookshelf, MDF is used because of its smooth surface. Be very careful about placing a heavyweight on it as it is capable of sagging with time. If you are planning to place heavyweights on the MDF shelving, consider mixing it with solid wood.

    Different Methods to Build MDF Kitchen Cabinet Doors

    MDF One-piece Routed with Raw Back

    We start with a full sheet (generally 4 feet x 8 feet or wide) and secure it to a router table with a vacuum. A computer-controlled router is programmed to remove material from the face of the sheet using several tools following programmed paths of varying depths. This method is highly accurate. There are limited designs when you require to route tight corners, undercuts, or small details. Those challenges can be hard to program and a very time-consuming todo job. It requires many passes of the router bits to build a door.

    The tooling material (high-speed steel, carbide, or diamond) and the sharpness is critical to minimize "tool paths" that can take extra time. Usually, the back of the door is flat, but you can also flip the door over on the machine and route the back to simulate the look of a five-piece door. This way is only good for solid paint colors as there is no wood grain to the telegraph through the paint. It is a great choice for glossy finishes. The cost to redo cabinets can be economical than a five-piece door, but that is not always the scenario. The more complex the design, the economical it gets. Certain designs can be less expensive with five-piece construction.

    MDF one-piece Routed with a Melamine Back

    In this method, the back of the door comes with a white melamine coating that can eradicate the requirement to paint the back of the door. This can save half of the the cost as well as save time. This method should be used when low cost is an important factor. The melamine back does not matter how it looks. However, contractors and designers understand that the melamine back is the most cost-effective option, and therefore it can reduce the kitchen  renovation estimate. The melamine back can be shambled and painted to hide the fact that it's cheaply renovated. Besides, the flat back of the door is a proof that costs were cut down.

    The price of CNC (computer numerically controlled) routers used to make this kind of door is becoming lower hence making the equipment more economical. The popularity of the one-piece routed doors is rising due to a surge in the trend of the painted finishes. Many stores that purchase CNC routers to make cabinet elements can also construct their own custom-designed doors. The store owners promote these doors not necessarily because they are a better choice, but for the fact that they can make them in their house. The quality of this type of door can vary based on the quality of the MDF being used, the tooling, the skills of the programmer and the sanding, and handling.

    MDF Two-piece with MDF Panel

    In this method, a door frame is routed out of an MDF sheet, and a door center is also routed but separately. The two pieces then adhere together. This method takes up more time and is more expensive than routing the door out of one piece of MDF. This method provides ample advantages of the one piece MDF door with another benefit of having an inset back And it is a sign of good quality.

    The center panel is usually pushed inside from the back of the frame. The quality of the glue is critical as an inadequately glued panel can become loose. It is not mechanically held by a groove like the panel in a five-piece door. This method of construction is considered to be perfectly suitable if the door is made from the proper components, and the fitting and gluing of the center panel are appropriately done.

    MDF Kitchen Cabinet Renovation Cost

    MDF Kitchen Cabinet Renovation Costs Average around $275 per Linear Foot.

    Both solid wood and MDF boards have an equally important role in their own way when it comes to renovating While solid wood makes the cabinets more  sturdy and durable, MDF (especially doors and shelves) offer a more smoother finish and higher resistance to humid temperatures. As a contractor, you need to consider the various aspects of these wood materials and choose your cabinets accordingly and remember the kitchen remodeling cost varies according to the materials you use.

    Also read: How Decorative 3D Wall Panels Enhance Aesthetics



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