Understanding the Differences: Particle Board & MDF vs Solid Plywood

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Choosing the right wood is crucial for the success and durability of any furniture or construction project. In the realm of engineered wood, options like particle board, MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), and solid plywood are popular choices, each offering distinct advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the properties of these materials can help you make a well-informed decision for your upcoming project. Let’s explore the key features of particle board, MDF, and plywood to guide you in selecting the best material for your needs.

Particle Board


Simply put, particle board is a waste-wood product made by heat-pressing wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even sawdust and resin together. To make the end product resistant to water, fire, and/or insect-proof chemicals are used including wax, dyes, wetting agents, and release agents. After the resin, chemicals, and wood scraps have been mixed together, the liquid mixture is made into a sheet.


  • Low Cost
  • Light-Weight

  • Low Strength
  • Cannot Support Heavy Loads
  • Not as Eco-Friendly as Wood CABINETS
  • Expands or Discolors Due to Moisture



MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, which is an engineered wood composite made up of wood fibers. Because the MDF is composed of small wood fibers, there is no visible wood grain, rings, or knots. The making of the composite uses the fibers, glue, and heat to create a tight bonding board. Both softwood and hardwood are used to manufacture MDF. Generally denser than plywood, this composition creates a stronger material for building. We use a veneer sealant to prevent water damage. Two types of fiberboard are moisture resistant (which is typically blue) and fire retardant.


  • Low Cost
  • Denser & Stronger than Particle Board

  • Heavy
  • Expands or Discolors due to moisture
  • Cabinet doors get loose in overtime
  • Less sturdy – screw holes expand
  • No wood grain (High exposure to stains)
  • Contains VOC (Urea-Formaldehyde)

Solid Plywood construction


Plywood is considered one of the most ideal materials to build cabinets. Plywood has superior construction longevity because it holds screws and other mechanical fasteners more efficiently. It has superior tensile and shearing properties (meaning it resists pulling forces and side-to-side movement) and a slight advantage in compressive strength (ability to bear weight). Plywood also weighs less than particle board, which can be significant when hanging large cabinets. In addition, plywood holds glue joints together better than particle board and is more resistant to dents and scratches. Most of our cabinets feature 7-12 ply layers. These thin layers of maple or birch veneer are actually part of the plywood, as each veneer or ply is glued with its grain at right angles to adjacent layers creating strength and durability. This process of alternating the wood grain to create a structurally stable panel material is called cross-graining and has many key benefits as a durable cabinet material.

We meticulously choose only the finest materials for our cabinets, ensuring they meet our standards. This commitment to excellence is our way of guaranteeing the complete satisfaction of our customers.



  • Low Cost
  • ECO-friendly
  • Similar price range with MDF, Particle board cabinets
  • Face frame and doors are built with with solid wood
  • Provides superior construction that is designed for longevity
  • Reduced shrinkage and expansion
  • Minimized tendency of the wood to split
  • Improved strength, increases overall dimensional stability
  • The compressive construction, more resistant to dents and scratches

Get plywood cabinets from EZcabinetry

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