If you're looking for new cabinets, you may have noticed that you have two different options: solid wood and particle board. Particle board cabinets often look fantastic and are much cheaper than solid wood. But that doesn't mean they're better - far from it. Particle board cabinets have some very distinct drawbacks that often makes them a poor choice for a home. Here's what you need to know.
Particle Board Warps With Moisture Easily
You may have heard that plywood warps more commonly than particle board. This is true in general (plywood may be easier to bend), except when it comes to water. Every type of wood can eventually warp when exposed to moisture. But solid wood is very unlikely to warp during ordinary use. Particle board, on the other hand, will absorb water readily because it is porous.
In just a few years, you will often begin to see particle board swelling. Thus, while particle board can be an economical and convenient choice for living room furniture, it's generally not recommended for kitchens or bathrooms.
Particle Board Can't Be Refinished
One of the great things about plywood cabinets is that they can be refinished time and time again. You can paint them, sand them, stain them, and correct minor issues such as scratches. This ensures that they both last a long time and can be changed if you want to renovate your kitchen later on. Particle board simply has a veneer over it, so you can't possibly refinish it. If it gets damaged, you'll need to try to fix its appearance through paint.
Particle Board Isn't As Attractive
Most particle board doesn't have real wood on the outside but instead has a photo replica: a highresolution print of wood. If you are going for natural wood grain, particle board often won't give you that appearance. Not only is the wood on it a little blurry and indistinct, but there will often be visible edges where the veneer joins together.
For the most part, plywood and particleboard hide behind cabinet doors. But if you're going to have glass cabinet doors or open shelving, the box of your cabinets and its shelves are going to be very visible.
Particle Board Isn't As Durable
One of the reasons solid wood is so expensive is because it is durable and will last a long time. Wood kitchen cabinets could last decades of use, whereas particle board cabinets are expected to last less than ten years.
Particle Board Must Be Flipped
Professionals recommend that you flip any particleboard shelves every two to three years. This recommendation again comes from the fact that plywood is not a durable material and can likely warp. Plywood has less maintenance and is expected to last longer. It can bear more weight and has more tensile strength.
Particle Board Is Heavier
Though you might think plywood would be heavier, particle board actually is. You have to press particle board together, so it is very structurally dense. This added weight can matter a lot when hanging cabinets. Not only will the structures need to be stronger to hang them, but it can also cost more to install. Comparatively, plywood is a lighter but stronger material, as it is not bonded together but a single piece.
So are particle board cabinets always a bad choice? They aren't as durable as wood cabinets, and they aren't going to increase your property values. But if you're not worried about that, they could be a quick fix. If you want to know whether they could be right for you, Carolina Quality Flooring & Cabinets can give you more information.