When choosing cabinets for any project, one of the first questions you have to answer is what kind of material you want the cabinet box made of. Odds are most homeowners don’t even realize they have a choice when it comes to the box as the door choice usually is the top decision in their minds. While doors are extremely important, it’s worthwhile to take a moment and discuss the options when it comes to box material. The two major options available in the market today is plywood and particle board (sometimes called furniture board). Most homeowners know what those are but they may not know the pros and cons of each. So let’s break it down:


Most people are very familiar with plywood as it’s a building material used in all kinds of projects and is easily available. Plywood is basically thin layers of wood pressed together to form one large sheet. The layers, direction of the grain on the layers, and even the type of wood all vary greatly, so don’t assume all plywood is the same! Generally, you want a minimum of 5 layers of a domestic wood that are gap and void-free for a strong board. Beware cheap plywood! Many import plywoods are much cheaper than domestic versions but are thinner and the layers are substantially lower quality making the overall board much weaker. We recommend our standard high-grade domestic plywood that is ¾” thick.

  1. Pros:
    • High Strength, especially for heavy duty applications
    • Holds Screws Well
    • Different Species Available
    • Can be clear coated, stained, or painted
    • Traditional High End Look
    • Prone to warping (especially in humid climates)
    • More Expensive
    • Blemishes, voids, and imperfections are possible depending on species
    • Can be harder to clean (depending on finish)

Particle Board

Particle board is an engineered board made of real wood pieces (often leftovers) pressed together with glue. Most often, the outside is melamine, a highly durable and wipable surface. Melamine comes in plenty of colors and wood grains and can fool many people into thinking it’s real wood veneer. Most people’s initial reaction to particle board is that it’s cheap and flimsy, but just like plywood, there are many types of particle board and premium particle board is a great product to make cabinets out of.
We use a high, commercial grade particle board to create high quality cabinetry that is suitable for most residential and commercial applications. Particle board cabinets are actually the standard in Europe as plywood has been banned in many countries as it is less eco-friendly.

  1. Pros:
    • Easy to Clean
    • Smooth Surface with No splinters
    • Huge color and pattern choice
    • Extremely Affordable
    • Less Warpage, Great for Areas of High Humidity
  2. Cons:
    • Heavier Than Plywood
    • Cannot be Painted or Stained
    • Cannot support super heavy loads


Final Thoughts

So what’s the best choice for your project? Both plywood and particle board are great options for cabinets and that’s why 90% of the market today uses these materials. Both options are excellent choices as long as your choose a premium version, so it really comes down to style and budget. We suggest coming into our showroom and seeing samples of both! We have over 100 melamine options for all styles and many plywood samples showing the natural beauty of the real wood grain. The beauty of custom cabinets is the choice is up to you!