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Choosing Between Solid Wood and MDF for Cabinets

Sep 13, 2021
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Two common cabinet materials that homeowners and professionals can choose are MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and solid wood. “Solid wood” is a strong, informative term, whereas “MDF” is an elusive acronym, so it’s easy to assume the former is the better choice of the two. However, choosing between solid wood and MDF for cabinets isn’t that clear cut. Check out the details below to learn what sets these cabinet materials apart and which one is best for your kitchen’s needs.

Solid Wood

“Solid wood” isn’t an entirely misleading moniker; solid wood contains natural materials and creates an intriguing look. For this reason, solid wood is a great option for kitchen cabinets. In addition, real wood allows you to literally bring the outdoors in, creating a calming atmosphere and an eye-catching focal point. A wide variety of wood types is available, each bringing its own aesthetic value to a space. Furthermore, a good set of solid wood cabinets excels in durability. If you want cabinets that will remain intact for decades, solid wood is a good option.

That said, temperature fluctuations and high humidity can inflict warping on wood over time, so be wary of your surrounding environment.


Unlike solid wood, MDF is an engineered mixture of wood fibers, resin, and wax. This material is typically more cost-effective than solid wood, but that doesn’t mean it’s weak. Rather, MDF is a reliable and durable material. It doesn’t offer the same strength and longevity as solid wood, but it’s still a reliably tough material. Furthermore, MDF is less susceptible to the warping that wood can fall victim to, and MDF has a cleaner finish than solid wood because the former lacks noticeable grain patterns.

Making Your Choice

So, when you’re choosing between solid wood and MDF for cabinets, how do you know which one is right for you? At the end of the day, both options are suitable. However, if you feel that natural wood’s look and durability are what your space needs, then solid wood cabinets are what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you want a distinctly smooth, clean finish, then MDF cabinets are the better fit for your preferences.

That said, no matter your wood choice, be sure to stick with reliable manufacturers when you’re seeking products such as custom inset cabinets online. In doing so, you can ensure the proper performance out of both MDF and solid wood cabinets.

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