Last Updated on March 15, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev

Medium-Density Fiberboard, mostly known as MDF is a type of composite wood. It is a top-grade, amalgamated material which gives better performance than solid wood in numerous areas. Made from cast-off wood fibers and resin, MDF is machine dried and pressed for the production of thick and even sheets. Having been built from recycled materials it qualifies as “green”.

Pros and Cons of MDF Cabinet Doors
Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

The type of this engineered wood varies by density, size, glue type, moisture content, wood species and thickness. The cost of the MDF is directly proportional to its thickness and density. It is mostly used in constructing cabinet doors. In effect, solid wood cabinets will pick for MDF doors. There are several reasons for this.

If you don’t want to have solid wood in your kitchen, MDF cabinet doors could be an alternative to reflect on. Despite the material often being viewed as a cheap substitute for those who cannot meet the expense of the best stuff during a kitchen remodel, wooden cabinet doors might not always be the best selection for every kitchen.

There are times when MDF tends to be the finer material. There are quite a few pros and cons of MDF cabinet doors to mull over if you’re not doing a full replacement through your kitchen remodeling.

Pros of MDF Cabinet Doors

1. Cost Efficient

Medium-density fiberboard is a cost efficient choice for you. Despite having to pay less for the product, it is still as strong in the kitchen or bathroom. With proper maintenance it can last for unexpectedly long time.

One of the reasons for this benefit is that it combines to all colors fairly with no trouble. The molecular structure of the product can even facilitate you to use less product.

2. Environment Friendly

Medium-density fiberboard is made with recycled wood but the chemicals and resins required to make the item alters the profile to some extent. This might not be the best option if you have kids or pets who like to lick things in your home. But if you’re willing to craft a home that produces least community waste, then this material is worth taking into consideration.

3. Less Issues of Cracking or Warping

MDF does not crack or go out of shape like customary wood does when exposed to changing levels of humidity and temperature.

Despite expanding and contracting, the movement of the whole board takes place as a unit instead of having different elements of the natural gain working against each other. In these two areas, you’re likely to not have to worry about experiencing dent to your doors.

4. Non Appearance of Evident Grain on Your Cabinet Doors

Noticeable grain can be seen from products made from natural wood whereas, the medium-density fiberboard made up by the very fine particles of wood eliminates the evident grain. MDF is made known to give you a smooth surface that provides consistent strength. It gives your kitchen a better and smoother finish, leaving you an option for painting.

5. High Levels of Moisture Resistance

The use of solid wood cabinet doors for your home will lead you to putting some kind of sealant on the product if you want to make it water-resistant.

On the other hand, if you choose to pick medium-density fiberboard, it has the availability of some boards having a higher level of resistance in this area. Some MDF cabinet doors are particularly treated for moisture-intense rooms like bathrooms, so your investment continues to pay off instead of demanding constant maintenance and revamp.

6. Provides Fire Protection

Fire retardant MDF Board is suggested for fire guards. Despite its popular use in commercial areas, it can also be used at home to provide fire protection primarily in kitchen and bedrooms.

Cons of MDF Cabinet Doors

1. Scratches cannot be Refurbished Easily

With the installation of MDF cabinet doors in your kitchen, you must be attentive to its nature to accept scratches. Brushing up against the surface with a pair of jeans can be enough to scrape the item.

It cannot be refurbished easily once it gets scraped. The patch up needs to be done instantaneously as even small cracks or cuts will deteriorate the structure of the shell. Perhaps, you’ll have to apply an identical stain to conceal the crack, use putty to fill up deep scratches, or even change the door totally.

2. Doesn’t work well in Excess Heat

You are likely to avoid this disadvantage if you choose to keep the MDF cabinet doors underneath the shadow outside the yard. Exposure to excess heat can result in the breakdown of the core materials of the product. This might lead to a condition in which it cannot be repaired and needs complete replacement. Hence, this material cannot be an available option for outdoor furniture.

3. Preference of Natural Grain

A number of people might prefer natural grain which is eliminated by MDF. In terms of its natural beauty inclusive of the grain, tone and hue, solid wood is unmatched. If there isn’t any plan to paint your cabinet doors then it’s better to opt for solid wood rather than medium-density fiberboard designs.

4. Aerosol Primer Cannot be Used

Having a smooth surface, MDF provides a brilliant choice for painting. You’ll have to use an oil-based primer to begin with and not aerosol primer, as the spray options are likely to immerse right into the engineered wood.

Contrary to it, chances are the surface of the door will become rough. It’ll be a clear wastage of your time and money. Avoiding any liquid or water before the product undergoes the sealing procedure is very important as it can swell noticeably in some conditions.

5. Might Consist of Urea-Formaldehyde

Volatile organic compounds like urea-formaldehyde might be present in some medium-density fiberboard products. The out-gassing that can happen in some kitchens or bathrooms can be minimized by the creation of an instant layer of paint, but the material cannot be polished or cut due to the con.

You must make sure to avoid inhaling any of the particles if you use saw into the cabinet doors for some reason. If you choose to make any modifications outside you need to make sure you use a mask that is proficient in blocking the MDF particles from entering into your air passageways as far as possible.

6. There is less Density to MDF Cabinet Doors

Medium-density fiberboard when chosen over solid wood for the cabinet doors turns out to be a product that isn’t as dense. This implies that you need to be attentive about how you fit the centers on the door.


There are instances when the pros and cons of MDF cabinet doors need a good judgment. You can also be in positions where the improved solution can be a solid wood product instead. Considering each point watchfully can lend you a hand in deciding if the selection is the best one to meet the needs of your home.