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Are Solid Wood Cabinets Worth the Money?

Are Solid Wood Cabinets Worth the Money?

Posted by John C. on 2020-09-28

When picking what your cabinets should be made of, solid wood always seems to be the obvious choice. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it is also strong and sturdy. But it comes at a high price that is often out of homeowners' budgets. For homeowners who are remodeling or undertaking home renovations, understanding what you're paying for is essential — especially when it comes to cabinetry. With cheaper options like MDF board, is it really worth getting solid wood cabinets? In this blog post, we’ll unpack the pros and cons of getting solid wood cabinets and whether it is worth the money.

Advantages Of Solid Wood Cabinets

Solid wood is known as a superior material by cabinet makers. Whether you opt for alder, cherry, maple, or oak—solid wood has plenty of benefits. To help you make the perfect choice for your home, here are the benefits of having solid wood cabinets:

  • Strong & Durability: Solid wood is so remarkably strong that it is used around the world to build bridges and homes. For your cabinets, the strength and durability of solid wood are unmatched. If you're looking to install cabinets that will last you for decades, solid wood is the ideal choice. But remembered that different wood species have varying levels of strength, so do your research to make sure you are purchasing the right choice for your home.
  • Value: Because solid wood cabinets can last for decades, you'll be getting the most value for your money. Even though it can be more expensive upfront, wood cabinets are more durable and won't need to be replaced for years. Ensure that you care for your cabinets properly and they will last a lifetime.
  • Aesthetics: With beautiful and natural grain patterns, solid wood can brings charm and warmth to any room. Like the strength and durability of a wood species, different wood types have a different aesthetic. If you're looking for a solid wood that has an amazing grain, opt for cherry, maple, or oak.
  • Customization: No matter what type of wood you choose, you can customize it to fit your needs. From its shape to its finish, you can truly make your kitchen unique by using solid wood cabinets.
  • Plenty Of Option: With numerous wood species, you'll have plenty of options to choose from when picking your solid wood cabinets. Depending on your needs, you can find a wood that matches your budget and style.

Disadvantages Of Solid Wood Cabinets

With the immense amount of advantages of solid wood cabinets, there are also a few disadvantages. If you're still undecided about what type of cabinets you want, keep these points in mind when choosing:

  • Prone To Moisture Damage: In its unfinished state, solid wood cabinets are not waterproof. Hardwood species such as red oak can withstand a certain amount of moisture, but most other woods are prone to moisture damage. It is, therefore, essential that you add a waterproof finishing to protect your wood.
  • Can Warp & Crack: Overtime, due to changes to temperature and humidity, wood tends to expand and contract. This, in turn, results in solid wood cabinets warping, and sometimes even cracking. If your cabinets are painted, the cracks can be even more noticeable. The good news is that carpenters have developed methods that help to minimize both warping and cracking.
  • Bug Infestation: Because wood is a natural material, it is more vulnerable to pest attacks. Due to this, you’ll need to maintain your cabinets to protect your cabinets regularly.

Cheaper Options For Cabinets

Solid wood cabinets are a costly option, so if your budget does not extend to afford this material, there is another option. Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is a type of engineered wood consisting of thin panels of wood fiber, resin, and wax. Known to be a level above plywood, MDF boards are denser, stronger, and more durable, making it perfect for cabinetry. Because it is not solid wood, and many homeowners look down at it as it is seen as a cheaper option. It also performs very differently compared to the more expensive option. But like solid wood cabinets, MDF board cabinets have their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages Of MDF Board Cabinets

MDF boards are most commonly used in constructing cabinet doors, and there are many positive reasons why, including the following:
  • Cost-Effective: If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to solid wood that is still sturdy, opt for MDF board. Because it is made from a mixture of materials, the MDF board cabinets' cost is substantially lower than solid wood cabinets. Plus, with the proper maintenance, MDF board cabinets can last as long as solid wood cabinets.
  • No Warping & Cracking: With fluctuating temperature and humidity, solid wood cabinets are known to warp and crack. MDF board cabinets do not have this problem as it is engineered to withstand fluctuating temperatures and humidity.
  • Customization: MDF boards are flexible, and therefore it is easy to cut and drill, making it super easy to customize. From shaker cabinets to raised panel doors, MDF board is made to suit your needs.
  • Smooth Finish: Because MDF board is manufactured from fine particles, it does not have any noticeable grains like solid wood. Because of this, MDF board has a smooth finish, which is perfect for painting.
  • Water Resistant: Solid wood is prone to moisture damage. If you do not want to deal with moisture damage, opt for MDF board cabinets as it is specifically crafted to be highly water-resistant.
  • Environmentally-Friendly: MDF board cabinets are made from recycled wood, making it an environmentally-friendly option.

Disadvantages Of MDF Board Cabinets

Even though MDF board cabinets have some fantastic benefits that solid wood cabinets don't have, it also has disadvantages. Before making your final decision on your cabinets, here are a few of the cons of MDF board cabinets:
  • No Grain: Because it is an engineered wood, MDF board cabinets do not have the beautiful grain that solid wood cabinets have.
  • You Can't Repair Scratches: If you happen to scratch your MDF board cabinets, you need to know it is not easy to repair. Once damage occurs to this type of cabinets, you need to have it fixed immediately, even if it is a small nick. If the damage is left, it will weaken the structure of the cabinet.
  • Does Not Retain Its Value: Unlike solid wood cabinets, MDF cabinets does not retain its value. With time solid wood increases in value while MDF decreases.
  • Can Not Be Stained: With MDF board cabinets, your only option for decorating is painting it. Unfortunately, you can not stain the cabinet doors as the material will soak up everything that is put on it, and then it will start to swell.

The Verdict: Are Solid Wood Cabinets Worth The Money?

The simple answer is yes. If you weigh up the pros and cons of solid wood cabinets and other cabinet materials, solid wood always comes up on top. It is a high-quality material that is durable, strong, and can last you a lifetime. MDF board cabinets have their benefits too in terms of price, but the quality and lifespan are not as good as solid wood. At the end of the day, as a homeowner, the choice is yours to make. Think about what you need for your home and your budget, and make your decision accordingly.
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