Wood cabinet doors
since the Medium Density Fiberboard was introduced to the cabinet’s industry.
The MDF is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down wood residuals [saw dust] into wood fibers and combining it with wax and a resin binder. Panels are formed by applying pressure at a high temperature. MDF is denser than Plywood and became popular in the 1980s. It is used in many different ways but mainly for paneling, moldings and cabinet doors.
most often used for a solid colour finish [paint] in the cabinet business is Soft Maple due to its unbeatable smoothness.
When a customer is looking for a solid colour finish, a majority of kitchen cabinet companies prefer to promote MDF over Maple while other companies will prefer to use Maple, even if it means hiding the beauty of the wood grain underneath a few coats of paint.
The advantages of using MDF cabinet doors for a painted finish are primarily the low cost and stability that this material has. MDF won’t be affected by any expansion and contraction guaranteeing the integrity of the finish from cracking and peeling on the cabinet doors for the first few years. A disadvantage using MDF is mainly the durability. The daily use of the kitchen will eventually chip the doors leaving the MDF vulnerable to water infiltration that will cause the swallowing of the cabinet doors. It is not possible to repair damages of this kind.
Using Maple for painted cabinet doors is a better long term investment. The chipping due the regular use won’t cause the Maple to swallow. It is known that due to the natural expansion and contraction of wood the finishing may be damaged from small cracks, mainly where the cabinet door’s seams are.
Taking all of this information into consideration I would definitely recommend Wood over MDF, even for a painted finish.
It has been an interesting battle between MDF and