So what material is better?
There are many variables to consider when shopping for kitchen cabinets. One of the things you will come across is what cabinet box material to select. A common misconception we hear all the time from customers is that a plywood cabinet box makes a better cabinet and ultimately a superior product. What they are talking about is which material the cabinet box (top, bottom, sides and shelves) is constructed of. Most cabinets will either be constructed from plywood or particleboard. Both materials have their strengths and weaknesses.
The pros and cons of plywood
The biggest pro to plywood would be its overall holding power; a screw going into plywood has a more dense material to bite into and thus can hold more weight.
The biggest con to plywood would be its ability to cup and twist. A piece of plywood can cup (the board is not straight with opposite edges of the board pulling towards each other) and twist (opposite corners of the board going in opposite directions). Both of these problems result in a board that is not perfectly straight. This can become a problem when using frameless cabinets (we’ll get into this in another post) as there is no margin for error between the cabinets.
The pros and cons of particleboard
The biggest pro to particleboard would be that the board is always perfectly straight. This is great for veneering exposed sides and, as mentioned above, makes frameless installation a breeze. Another pro would be that particleboard usually costs less than plywood. This allows manufacturers that offer both materials to lower the price of particleboard, potentially saving you thousands!
The biggest con to particleboard would be the overall strength of the material. This encompasses both the holding power (as listed above if not properly compensated for), and stability, as some may experience sagging shelves if a lower grade particleboard is used.
Customers will usually ask us about how exposure to water will affect the cabinetry with both plywood and particleboard. While it is true that particleboard is more affected by water than plywood, in our experience neither material holds up well if water were to flood into the kitchen.
What do you think?
So now that we have the basics of two cabinet box materials, which one to choose? This is personal preference but at our company we usually recommend particleboard construction for our kitchens. The cost savings and ease of installation, for us, offsets any negatives between the two materials. We offer a variety of cabinet lines, so if you decide that plywood is the right material for your kitchen we are happy to accommodate you.
Can you tell which is which?