MDF Cabinets: The Pros and Cons

MDF Cabinets: The Pros and Cons

MDF is one of the most sought-after materials for projects like cabinet doors and furniture, but many homeowners are still wary of it. The assumption is that solid wood will give your cabinets long-term durability, strength, and value. While this is mostly true, there are several places where MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, can actually be the better choice. For example, MDF is an excellent choice for painting, as it is budget-friendly and finishes smooth. 

MDF is a type of engineered building material that can be used for many different things. MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard, and it’s made up out of thin sheets from wood fibers, veneer resin, and wax. These materials are heated and pressed into large sheets, which can then be cut into various shapes depending on the need at hand. 


In this quick blog, we are going to take a look at a few reasons why we love this highly versatile material.

Reasons We Love MDF

two floating cabinet door profiles

Man-made building materials and engineered wood are often looked down on as cheap or frail. On the one hand, MDF is a cheaper option than solid wood, but this does not mean that it is weak. MDF is a very reliable material, as it is resistant to warping and twisting. The strength, affordability, and customization of MDF have made it an excellent choice. 

You like already have MDF in your home and didn’t know it. MDF is often used as the core and is covered by a veneer to give it color or a grain pattern. Bookshelves, coffee tables, and even cabinet doors may be made from MDF that you never notice. Our thermofoil cabinet doors are made by heating and pressurizing a vinyl laminate onto an MDF core. 

  1. Cost-Effective: MDF is much more budget-friendly than solid wood options, but you don’t have to worry about sacrifice any strength or durability. With the proper maintenance, MDF cabinets can last longer than people imagine.
  2. No Warps & Cracks: MDF expands and contracts with fluctuating temperature and humidity. But due to its structure, this material does not warp or crack. This is because it is produced as large sheets and is a single unit, unlike solid wood doors that are constructed for multiple parts.
  3. Smooth Finish: If you're looking for cabinets with a smooth finish, opt for MDF. If you're thinking of painting your cabinets, we highly recommend MDF for a beautiful smoothness that you can't get from other materials. MDF can also be finished with thermofoil, which is a vinyl laminate that is heated and pressurized onto an MDF core.
  4. Water Resistant: If you're installing cabinets in your home's high moisture areas like your bathroom, opt for MDF. Talk to your cabinet retailer and determine what types of MDF have been specifically made to be resistant to water. However, in most cases, MDF should not be used for external construction.
  5. Customizable: From shaker cabinets to inset cabinets, cabinet doors come in a wide variety of styles. If you're looking to opt for one of these styles, go with MDF as it is easier to customize. It is also used in a wide variety of furniture you might not expect. Due to its structure, MDF can easily be drilled into and cut in various ways without causing damage.
  6. Does Not Twist or Warp: Unlike solid wood cabinets, MDF does not warp or twist at larger sizes. This means you will not need the added battens for support, which can help you save on the total cost. 

But MDF is not all pros, and does come with a few cons, including the following:

  1. Can't Sand Down Damage: MDF is more difficult to repair than solid wood. With solid wood, scratches can be easily sanded away. However, with MDF, it takes a bit more work.
  2. Not Heat Resistant: MDF does not work well when exposed to extreme heat as it damages the material. If you're planning to install cabinets into an outdoor kitchen, avoid using MDF.
  3. Cannot Be Stained: Since it has no grain pattern, MDF cannot be stained. If you are wanted a stained look for your cabinets, you will need to explore solid wood options.

Final Thoughts on MDF

A modern kitchen with thermofoil cabinets.

And so, MDF can be worked into any room of the house with few exceptions. It is an interior material, so it is not suited for environments with excessive heat and humidity such as outdoor kitchens. In addition, if it becomes scratched or damaged, MDF is a bit more difficult to repair. With solid wood, you can simply sand away scratches. This does not work as well with MDF, and it will require a bit more work to cover any problem areas. Now that we have a good idea of what MDF is, let's take a look at the benefits of choosing this material.

If you are ready to start ordering or if you need assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-844-326-6680 or email Our team is here to help with everything from measuring to ordering.