MDF Cabinet Door Pros and Cons

When customers are considering buying new cabinet doors a lot of them ask about MDF Cabinet Doors Pros and Cons.  MDF cabinet doors are one of the most popular options when you’re searching for cabinet doors you will paint to fit into your kitchen or bathroom.  First, we will talk about what MDF is and how it differs from solid wood, plywood, and particle board.  Then we will explore the pros and cons and MDF cabinet doors.

What Is MDF?

MDF, or medium density fiberboard, is an engineered composite wood.  It is like particle board but much stronger due to superior density.  Medium density fiberboard is made from fabrication process waste from wood processing plants.  The dust and scraps are mixed with powerful binders and pressed into large sheets the size of plywood.

MDF Cabinet Door Pros

MDF cabinet doors are excellent for several reasons.  They are easy to paint, resist bug infestation, don’t splinter like particle board, resist humidity changes, and are cheaper than solid wood.  Read below to see all the advantage of MDF.

  • MDF does not warp like solid woods in humidity.
  • MDF is cheaper than solid wood and fits into budgets.
  • MDF is consistent and does not have splinters or voids.
  • MDF has a smooth surface which makes it easy to paint.
  • MDF does not have knots that will show through a coat of paint.
  • MDF’s smooth surface is great if veneers are going to be used.
  • MDF allows for decorative edges as it cuts smooth with a router.
  • MDF is less likely to get infested with bugs than solid wood.

MDF Cabinet Door Disadvantages

The disadvantages of MDF cabinet doors deal with limitations of the material in scratching, high heat, holding screws, tendency to absorb water, and not being as strong as plywood or solid wood.

  • MDF is easy to scratch and cannot be repaired.
  • MDF is not a good option for high heat.
  • MDF is not as strong as solid wood or plywood.
  • MDF’s fine particles are not great for holding screws.
  • MDF will absorb water if it is not sealed properly.
  • MDF contains VOCs, which are typically contained by paint.

Are MDF Cabinet Doors Better Than Solid Wood?

This is a question where the answer will depend on each individual.  Both have attractive advantages for durability, cost, and appearance.  When shopping for new cabinet doors it’s important to seek quality within your remodeling budget.  MDF is a great option for budget conscious shoppers and people who want to allocate more of their budget into other finer points in their remodeling project such as range hoods, top of the line appliances, or more involved remodeling.

Shop MDF Cabinet Doors

If you’d like to purchase MDF cabinet doors, can help!  We have hundreds of styles of cabinet doors to choose from.  All of which are available in MDF for your convenience and budget.

Simply browse our selection of cabinet doors and choose your favorite style, then when placing your order select MDF as your wood choice.  Get the high quality cabinet doors in the style you want from today!

Steps To Buying Cheap Cabinet Doors

If you’re building a new home or remodeling the kitchen in an older home you might be searching Google for “cheap cabinet doors”.  Everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck, but there’s no reason you can’t get the best quality at the lowest prices.  Use these steps to buying cheap cabinet doors to get the best deal anywhere on the doors you need for your cabinetry.

Steps To Buying Cheap Cabinet Doors

Homeowners and cabinetry companies across the country have discovered that factories have opened their doors to accepting orders direct from the public.  This means you can order just enough for your project instead of having to order in bulk like factories used to require.  Cabinet Door frees you from having to pay the high retail prices for quality cabinet doors sold at your local retailers.  Use these steps to buy the best cabinet doors at the cheapest prices!

Buy Online

Most cabinet doors start their life at the factory whether you’re buying them from the factory or not. The difference is when you buy direct from the factory you don’t pay the margin added by retail store and big box hardware dealers. is proud to offer the best cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hinges, and everything else you need to purchase and install your own cabinet doors!

Measure For New Doors

Once you’ve realized how much you can save buying direct from the factory you’ve got to know what sizes of doors you want to order.  If you’re replacing doors you can just measure them and order the exact size replacements in the new style and wood you’d like.

How To Measure For New Cabinet Doors

Single Door Measuring

However if you’re starting new you can measure for the “overlay” of your new cabinet doors on the edges of the opening in your cabinetry.  Standard overlay for cabinet doors is ½ inch on the top, bottom, and side of the opening.  So if you have a 12×24 opening you simply add an inch to both dimensions and order a 13×25 door.  This will give you the overlay on the edges of the opening.

Double Door Measuring

For the cabinet doors with two doors over one opening you’ll measure the same for overlay on the top and bottom.  For the exterior sides you’ll also plan for ½ an inch.  However for the interior edges of the two doors you will need to subtract 1/16th of an inch from the width of each of the doors.  This will help provide the perfect gap between the doors and compensate for expansion due to variations in humidity.

Choosing Your Cabinet Doors

This is likely the most fun step of the ordering process where you get to browse hundreds of cabinet door styles.  Cabinet doors are fabricated with one of two quality joints, cope & stick or mitered joints.  Both are high quality and durable joint types, so it boils down to preference of the consumer for which is best.  Once you’ve got a style chosen for your home all you’ve got to do is select the type of wood you want, enter the quantity you need, list the dimensions and click order!  It’s just that easy.

Click Here To: Browse Cabinet Doors

Cabinetry 101: What Are Mitered Cabinet Doors?

If you’re building a new home or are remodeling your kitchen you’re likely to be asking the question, “What are mitered cabinet doors?”.  Choosing the right style, construction, and wood type is a big part of deciding what cabinetry to have installed or what cabinet doors to order.  This post will help you understand what mitered cabinet doors are, how they are made, and what the benefits of mitered cabinet doors are.

What Is A Mitered Cabinet Door?

A mitered cabinet door is one where there are 5 sections of wood assembled together using 45° angles at the corners.  The 5 sections of the door are the panel in the center and 4 sections of wood at the top, bottom, and each side.  Mitered cabinet doors are superior to slab cabinet doors which are simply a piece of wood.

How Are Mitered Cabinet Doors Made?

As the sections on the top, bottom, and sides meet the 45° angles create the 90° angles that make up the corners of the door.  Each of the edge sections of wood have a grove on their inner side which holds the insert (center section of wood) in place.  There is always extra space left in the inner channel that holds the insert as it naturally changes size with variations in humidity. This extra space ensures that the insert doesn’t press on the edge sections or buckle.


Mitered cabinet doors differ from another 5-piece cabinet door fabrication method called “cope and stick”.  Cope and stick cabinet doors meet at the corners and the center pieces are flat on their edges and fit flush into the sides of the side sections.

Benefits Of Mitered Cabinet Doors

Mitered cabinet door benefits include resistance to humidity, durable joinery, and a visually attractive appearance.  All of these factors come together to produce some of the most sought after and highest quality cabinet doors on the market.

Mitered Cabinet Doors & Humidity

One of the biggest benefits to 5 piece mitered cabinet door construction is that it stands up well to variations in humidity.  As cabinetry is commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms there are daily variations in how much water is in the air.

If someone’s taking a shower or boiling water on the stove, there will be much more humidity in the room.  Slab cabinet doors are a single section of wood which will absorb temporarily some of the humidity in the air.  This causes wood to swell and in the case of slab doors potentially bend or warp.  In fact, the amount a slab door will swell can be as much as 3/16th of an inch.  Various wood types may swell more or less but 3/16ths is the average.  The problem with the swelling and door size changing is that doors that meet in the center may not fit together during periods of higher humidity.

Mitered cabinet doors are designed with space for expansion of the center panel.  Grooves in the inner edge of the stiles and rails are made wider and deeper than the panel to allow for expansion.  This means that homeowners will likely not even notice any changes as the swelling is virtually imperceptible.

Mitered Cabinet Doors For Sale

If you’re interested in purchasing mitered cabinet doors our site offers many styles.  Available in your choice of wood species and custom fabricated to your size specifications you’ll be certain to have the best cabinet doors at the best possible prices!

Click here for: Mitered Cabinet Doors

Guide To Measuring, Ordering, Hinge Installation, and Hanging Cabinet Doors

If you’re installing new kitchen cabinet doors in your home yourself this guide will help.  We will cover how to measure the door sizes you need, how to install new hinges, and how to hang the cabinet doors. This guide works for installing cabinet doors in the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere you’ve got cabinets in your home.  This step by step guide will take what could be a scary job, and make it more manageable.

Steps To Cabinet Door Installation

While replacing your cabinet doors yourself is a big job, taking it step by step makes it possible for homeowners to get the job done right themselves.  The savings in doing it yourself is significant along with the pride of showing off your handiwork to guests.  At the end of this post you’ll find a step by step video.

Step 1: Measuring Cabinet Doors

Before you place an order you’ll want to know the height and width of the new cabinet doors you want to order.  There are different measurements for single and double doors.  In all cabinet door measuring there is an “overlay” in the measurement where the doors are larger than the opening in the cabinetry.  This measurement varies whether you’re ordering single or double cabinet doors.

Single Cabinet Doors – To measure this correctly you will want to take a measurement of the height and width of the cabinet opening.  You should order your doors 1 inch taller and wider than the opening for the overlay.

Double Cabinet Doors – In the case of double doors that fit over 1 opening they need to be measured to have a ½ inch overlay at the top, bottom, and outside edges with a 1/8th of an inch gap in between them in the center.  When ordering just subtract 1/16th for from the widths to get the 1/8th gap in the center.

Larger Overlays – While ½ inch overlay is a standard overlay size some homes have been designed with cabinetry that features larger overlays.  If you’d like to maintain that style simply measure the opening and add the additional width and height to your door order giving consideration for center gaps in the case of double door larger overlay installation.

Step 2: Ordering Cabinet Doors

The next step is one of the most fun in the process and that is browsing the kitchen cabinet door styles.  There are hundreds of unfinished cabinet door styles to choose from including cope and stick joints, mitered joints, glass ready cabinet doors, and other popular types and styles of cabinet doors.

Once you’ve narrowed down which cabinet door style you like best simply choose the type of wood you want, how many doors you need, the size by width and height, if you want your new doors drilled for concealed blum hinges, and if you want to purchase the blum hinges.  If you have various sizes of doors you will want to add each quantity to your order separately.

Step 3: Installing Hinges

Once your doors arrive the first step will be installing the hinges.  In the case that you ordered your doors with the hinge holes drilled and blum hinges it is fairly straightforward to install them.  They are drilled at the right depth and position for your doors, come with the hinge, mounting plate, and screws you’ll need.

Steps To Mounting The Hinge

  1. Attaching the hinge and mounting plate
    1. Slide the plate into the hinge
    2. Rotating the hinge will result into it snapping into place
  2. Mount the hinge to the door
    1. Each hinge has 3 holes
    2. The large hole is for the hinge cup
    3. The other 2 holes are for alignment
    4. Fit the hinge into the hinge cup
    5. Move it until the hinge drops into the alignment holes
    6. Press down the locking flange and the hinge is installed

Step 4: Hanging The Door

After the hinges are mounted to the door you’re ready to start hanging the doors.

  1. The best method is to start by temporarily attaching a straight edge under the bottom of the opening, at the ½ inch overlay measurement. Use a clamp to hold it in place and use a level to make sure it is positioned well.
  2. Next take your door with the hinge attached and set it on the straightedge. This will put the door at the right height with the top and bottom overlaying the opening equally.
  3. The next step is using a pencil to mark the spots through the mounting plate. This will help you know where to drill the pilot holes for your screws that will hold the plate, hinge, and door.
  4. Take the door out after you mark the slots and drill the pilot holes in the center of your pencil marks.
  5. Using a #2 phillips screwdriver screw the mounting plates into the inside of the cabinets into the pilot holes you’ve just drilled. Don’t completely tighten them down, leave a little play in the plate.
  6. Snap the door into the mounting plates, having an extra set of hands is a really good idea for this step. At this point your doors are hung in the cabinets.

Step 5: Alignment

The last step is the final alignment of the doors.  If you’ve chosen to have the holes drilled at the factory and used blum hinges, these will be minor adjustments at the most.

  1. First you’ll want to install the rubber bumpers that help keep the doors quiet during operation. These damped the sound of the door while it is being closed or opened.  Each hinge should get a bumper at the top and bottom of the hinge.
  2. Blum hinges allow for adjustments on 3 axis, side to side, up and down, and in and out. This allows you to always be able to adjust he doors to be perfectly aligned.
  3. The elongated holes you made with your pencil run up and down and can be loosened slightly to make adjustments to the position of your door up and down.
  4. If you need to make an adjustment to the distance from the cabinet door to the face of the cabinetry you loosen the screws on the hinge furthest from the door
  5. The screws on the hinge closest to the door are for adjusting any issues with the position of the door from left to right.

If the doors aren’t already aligned properly methodically go through these adjustments until you’ve got the perfect professional custom fit you’re looking for.

Instructional Cabinet Door Installation Video

If you’d like a little more help understanding how to install you new cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom watch the video below.  It goes through these instructions step by step as well.

How To Measure, Order, and Install Cabinet Doors

Guide To Making Shaker Cabinet Doors

If you’re interested in learning how shaker cabinet doors are made, this post is for you.  Shaker cabinet doors are one of the most sought after style of cabinet doors as they are durably stylish.  They are created with minimal woodworking tools and have a simple appearance.   Read our guide to making shaker cabinet doors below.

Steps To Making Shaker Cabinet Doors

The steps are the same whether it’s a factory making your cabinet doors, or if you’re trying to make them yourself at your home or in your shop.  A table saw can create quality cabinet doors just like computerized assembly equipment, depending on the aptitude of the individual.

Step 1: Measure

The old saying is still true, measure twice and cut once.  That goes for any home improvement project.  In this case you’ll be measuring the height and width of your cabinet doors and making sure you know the sizes of wood to order and how much you’ll need for your project.

Step 2: Choose Your Wood

The first step to making shaker cabinet doors is choosing the wood you want for your doors. It should fit your needs and the design of your cabinetry project.  If you’re going to choose to pain your cabinet doors, ensure you’re order a paint grade cabinet door.  Other popular woods for cabinet doors are Poplar, Alder, Soft Maple, Hard Maple, Cherry and more.  Choose one that fits your budget, and your home’s appearance.

Step 3: Rip Frame Stock

You’re likely not going to find the frame stock in exactly the width you want for your shaker cabinet doors.  Ripping is the process of removing thickness from wood frame sections.  The table saw can be used to rip the wood down like it would be at the factor.  The difference is the highly precise machinery at a factor can be the accuracy of the table saw.

Step 4: Copes, Rails, and Stiles

Shaker cabinet doors are fabricated in the cope and stick method.  To adjoin your wood sections you’ll need to use your table saw to create the cope and stick joints that will hold your frame together.  The downside to using a table saw to create this type of joint puts the operator at risk.  Fingers get too close to the saw blade and extreme caution should be exercised to keep all body parts away from the saw blade.  This is the point where ordering your cabinet doors will save time and potential injury.

A big part of this step is also cutting the grooves on the inside of your frame which will accommodate the center panel of your cabinet door.  You want to ensure there is some room for expansion and contraction that’s natural with humidity changes, but also that the panel isn’t so small that it’ll slip out of the frame during contraction.

Step 5: Cutting The Panel To Fit

A shaker cabinet door, like many cabinet doors, consists of a frame and a center panel.  In a shaker cabinet door the panel is typically flat and isn’t routed.  The style of shaker furniture and cabinet doors is one of simplicity.  Once the panel is the right size and thickness for the groves in the cabinet door frame you can begin assembling your door.

Step 6: Assemble Your Shaker Cabinet Door

Using a series of clamps you’ll assemble a portion of the frame, insert the center panel, and fit the rest of your frame sections around the panel.  As you go make sure to use a quality wood glue and clamps to hold the sections securely in place.  The challenge in this step is making sure that your door is perfectly square.  Use a square to check the angles on your door to make sure that it is rectangular and not shifting to either side.

Step 7: Edging & Sanding

Using a router around the outside edge of your cabinet door shapes the door to the desired look.  It also makes sure that the edges of the door are smooth.  Sanding is the follow up to edging and knocks down any sharp points on the door.  DIY’ers can use a sanding block or a disk sander to finish this step.

Step 8: Finishing Your Shaker Doors

This step is where you choose a stain, dye, or paint to finish your cabinet door.  There is no “right choice” when it comes to this step as each home has a different style.  If you’ve chosen maple as your wood type you should exercise some caution and a patient hand as it can be difficult to stain.  No matter what look you’re going for make sure you’re patient, intentional, and thoughtful about how you’re proceeding with your cabinet door project.

Step 9: Install Your Shaker Doors

At this point your door will be ready for hardware such as the hinges that hold it in place and for any handles, knobs, or pulls you are planning to use.  Install your door hinges first and make sure your doors are level as you install them in your cabinetry.  After they are anchored you’ll be able to install the hardware you’ve chosen.

Buy Shaker Cabinet Doors Factory Direct

Woodworking by it’s nature is dangerous work that deals with powerful equipment like your table saw.  If you’re not sure you want to undertake a full set of new shaker cabinet doors for your bathroom or kitchen, order online from  We fabricate Shaker Cabinet Doors to order in your choice of wood and the sizes you need.  Our highly accurate computerized woodworking machinery will get you the highest quality doors at the best prices anywhere.

Click here to view: Shaker Cabinet Doors For Sale

Cabinet Doors: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to kitchen cabinet construction, it is not rocket science and knowing all the details are not necessary. Although, it will be helpful to understand the basics about the different parts and how they are constructed to get the best results.

This will provide you with a better concept of the various levels associated with cabinet quality, along with what you can and cannot get with the different level of cost you come across.

A Look of What’s On This Page:

Basic Elements & Styles

Frameless and Framed Constructions

The method used for constructing cabinets varies between manufacturers, but there are two basic design styles that they conform too. The design types or styles are referred to as frameless or framed. In addition, framed cabinets are sometimes referred to as face-frame cabinets, they can be referenced either way. When it comes to construction, there is not a large difference between the two styles. The difference is in the overall appearance and accessibility of the cabinet.

Framed Construction

A framed cabinet implements a wood ‘frame’ that goes around the cabinet’s outer edge. Whereas, the frameless cabinet style does not have this outlined feature.

When visualizing the basic wooden box, there are many wood pieces that create the face-frame, which are fastened to the cabinet’s forward-edge and creating a ‘frame’ around the cabinet. Meanwhile, the outer edges of this frame will be flush with the cabinet’s outer surface, while the inside area of the frame will extend slightly further than the inner edges. The cabinet’s appearance receives a level of rigidity from a face frame, which assists with it remaining sturdy and holding shape.

Basic Framed Cabinet Structure Example

Typically, framed cabinets tend to be thought of as a traditional look which provides some variety in style, depending on the amount of door overlay. The term door overlay simply refers to the amount the cabinet door covers (overlay) the face-frame.

  • Full-inset: This refers to drawers or doors which are constructed to it in the opening of the face frame.
  • Partial-overlay: This refers to drawers or doors which only cover a portion of the face frame.
  • Full-overlay: This refers to drawers or doors which fully cover the face frame.

Varied styles are available from different manufacturers, ranging in the amount of door-to-frame overlay.

Frameless Cabinet Construction

A frameless cabinet will offer the user a little more accessibility compared to a framed cabinet.

Frameless Cabinet Construction Example

The reason accessibility is higher with frameless cabinets is due to the inside edge not having a face-frame blocking a portion of the perimeter and hindering it from opening. In addition, the storage space available is higher with frameless constructed drawers compared to that of framed cabinets. This is due to the drawer box being larger for the cabinet size. Therefore, with framed cabinets the drawer size must be smaller to compensate the additional space of a face-frame.

A frameless cabinet design is frequently referred to being a “European” cabinet style. The cabinet doors are generally designed as a full-overlay allowing the doors to fully cover the front edges of the cabinet. However, some are designed with full-inset styles. When a full-inset is used, the cabinet’s edges are typically finished using a laminate or wood veneer, or another type of material so the raw edges are hidden.

So, you may be wondering what the main significance between the differences are. The answer, not much. The main difference is a minor difference in accessibility and style. Both framed and frameless styles will work well, they simply evolved from different design traditions.

Base, Wall and Tall Cabinets

There are other primary elements besides frameless and framed cabinet construction styles that you should know. These are the basic building blocks of cabinet construction:

Base cabinets: These cabinets are mounted to the floor and generally offer support for countertops. A kitchen island is another type of base cabinet which is available with a combination of base cabinets that are connected together or it can be custom made.

Wall cabinets: These type of cabinets, as implied by the name, are mounted to the wall and do not connect with the floor. Generally, these are positioned above stoves, ovens, and countertops.

Tall or pantry cabinets: These type of cabinets are designed to be taller base cabinets. They typically connect with the floor and can be attached with other base cabinets or free-standing.

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Methods and Materials of Construction


The majority of people think about kitchen cabinet as being made from wood materials, and while that is true in many situations it is not the only type of ‘solid wood’ used. For instance, like lumber used for framing houses there are various types of materials available for cabinet construction. While some are wood-based, others are non-wood based.

Below is a list of the major cabinet materials:

Solid wood: This material, as implied by the term, is a solid wood option. The variation includes panels or boards of solid word pieces which are joined together.

Particle board: This is another common material which is created from wood particles and chips that get combined with adhesive. This fuses the particles together to create a panel or board. This material option is used for a large portion of cabinet construction on today’s market.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF): This material is also a type of engineered wood which is created from wood fibers. Fibers and adhesive get combined, then pressure is used to form the panels and boards. There is a finer texture compared to particle board, and MDF is heavier and denser. It is often used for cabinet boxes, doors and shelves.

Plywood: This material is also engineered from wood, and very popular for different purposes. The construction is created using thin wooden ‘plies’, which are wooden layers which are glued together similar to a sandwich. Typically, plies are constructed with the wood grain in different directions to provide a more rigid panel or board with stability. Plywood is commonly used for cabinet boxes, door and shelving.

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Cabinet Door Material Tips

It is common to find plywood as an upgradable feature over practical board or MDF, with a corresponding up-charge. There are some manufactures which only offer plywood cabinet boxes with their high-end product line.

In addition, terms to be cautious about include ‘all wood’ or ‘solid wood’ when reading manufacturer descriptions. The term ‘solid wood’ should be representing a whole, uniformed lumber and not a wood composite or fabrication, such as MDF, particle board or plywood.

Whereas, ‘All Wood’ has a different meaning, typically referring to an al-plywood construction or a solid wood/plywood combination.

Therefore, when encountering these terms, it is important to be clear on the construction materials used truly being ‘solid wood’ or a plywood base to avoid surprises.

Stainless steel/metal: That’s right, stainless steel is used in the construction of cabinets. Although, it is less common than wood cabinets. There are entire cabinet designs that use stainless stell, including the doors, drawers and box. Certain manufacturers also produce stainless steel doors to be used on wood cabinets for a unique look.

Plastic laminate:Basically the same type of material used on laminate countertops, but with a thinner application when used for cabinets. It is a plastic based product that is produced from fusing plastic resin and paper together, then applying pressure and heat. A laminate is typically used to cover cabinet doors and/or boxes to offer a surface that is easier to clean.

Melamine: Also a plastic based product, melamine is another option to cover the surface of a cabinet. It is more popular for covering particle board pieces used for cabinet construction. For instance, you may find melamine combined with wood veneer covering particle board of a cabinet box. The outer surface of the particle board has wood veneer applied, while the melamine is applied to the inside surface.

Thermofoil: This is a thin vinyl film used in covering cabinet boxes, drawers and door fronts. Typically the vinyl begins as rigid film which gets headed and molded over a substrate material, for example a cabinet drawer constructed from MDF. The term ‘thermofoil cabinets’ may be encountered, which simply implies that the cabinet is covered with thermofoil material while the base material used for constructing the cabinet is generally an engineered wood material.

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Construction Methods

The process and methods used for assembling and constructing cabinets vary depending on the manufacturer and the quality paid for. Being an informed cabinet buyer does not require being a master carpenter, just the knowledge of common construction methods and terms that you are likely to encounter along the way, even by simply browsing the website or brochure of a cabinet maker.

The main factor to learn from this is the existence of a relationship between the cabinet’s durability and quality level and the type of construction used.

Below are terms which describe commonly used methods for wood cabinets are jointed together, also known as the “joinery”.

Dovetail joints: This method offers a strong joining of two boards at ideal angels, like drawers. The end of both panels or boards are notched and have V-shapes cut which mesh with the notches on the adjoining piece. When tightly positioned, they are considered to be very solid joints.

Mortise and Tenon: This type of joinery makes use of a square “post” which is fitted in a square cutout or hole within the adjoining piece. This joinery method could be used in fastening pieces of the cabinet face-frame.

Dado: These are the grooves cut out of a panel or board which the edges of another panel or board fits into. For example, the back and sides of a cabinet drawer, the dado allows the drawer edges to slide in. It provides a stronger approach to ‘capturing’ the drawer bottom compared to nailing or gluing the side panels and bottom edges.

Rabbet: This is the step or notch cut in a boards’ edge to allow the edge of another piece to fit in and create a 90-degree angle. Similar to the cut of a Dado, but one side is open.

Doweled joint: This method of joinery makes use of round wooden dowels, also referred to as pegs. They are placed halfway into drilled holes and glued on the end of one piece, and the protruding part of the dowel is fitted into the hole of the adjoining board and glued. This technique is used for joining cabinet boxes and drawers together.

Butt joint: With a butt joint, two ends of the chosen material are ‘butted’ with edges together. The joints are held together with some type of mechanical retention, such as glue, screws or nails.

Glue, screws, nails and staples: The use of these are not classified as being techniques for wood ‘joinery’, but they are used in many cabinet constructions. They can be used for reinforcing the true wood joinery technique, or used on their own. However, used alone in the assembly results in reduced stability of the cabinet.

Therefore, when it comes to cabinet construction joinery the strongest methods are the ones where a piece is captured within another piece or where pieces lock into each other. Whereas, using supplemental fastening techniques in addition to these joinery methods will increase stability, such as using screws with the Mortise and Tenon joinery.

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Parts Too Pay Attention To

Cabinet Boxes and Face Frames 


The cabinet box is typically constructed of MDF, particle board or plywood. It is uncommon for solid wood panels to be used in the construction of cabinet boxes other than the face frame. The panels using wood product tend to be covered in a plastic laminate/melamine combination, wood veneer or thermofoil.

Although stainless steel is used in cabinet construction, it is less common than wood. Using stainless steel provides cabinets with a more professional and novel appearance. Unlike wood, stainless steel will not expand and contract in a kitchen setting. However, a downside to stainless steel is the difficulty with fingerprints showing up easily.


Basically, a cabinet box is exactly that, a box. The main factor to understand is the different ways of reinforcing the cabinet box, ensuring it remains rigid. There is one technique that uses triangular braces to reinforce stability. They are created using MDF, particle board, solid wood, plywood or plastic. Alternatively, a “beam” brace is an option which runs from the front to the back of the cabinet box. These are located on the inside of the cabinet, often on the inner side panels or side to side on the back. This beam brace generally fits in the side panel dado.



The majority of cabinet drawers are constructed with the same materials used for the cabinet box, including MDF, particle board, plywood or solid wood. It is more common for high-end cabinet drawers to be designed with solid wood option to withstand frequent use. Whereas, on stainless steel cabinets the drawers are also constructed of stainless steel. Although, there are manufacturers that offer the option of metal drawers on wood cabinet products. The drawers will have an epoxy coating.

The drawer front, which is the section that is visible when closed, tends to be constructed with solid wood or MDF which is covered in thermofoil or painted.


The longevity and durability of a drawer depends on the construction method used. A drawer box is created using a front and back panel, and two side panels attached to a bottom panel. It is common to find a separate front piece attached to the front panel of the drawer box, but there are designs where the front panel and drawer front are one piece.

There are many ways that the parts of a drawer box can be put together. A dovetail joint provides a tight grip, and has the strongest connection in the corners, making it an ideal method. Doweled joints are another common method that has dowels installed on one side of the drawer box, fitting into holes of the other side to complete the joinery.

For the drawer bottom, having a dado slot that the drawer slides in will provide more strength compared to drawer bottoms that are glued and/or nailed to the drawer box. In addition to joinery methods, nails, glue or staples may be used to provide additional stability.



Cabinet doors are generally made from an engineered wood (plywood, particle board, MDF), or solid wood unless they are stainless steel. If an engineered wood is used, the doors will have a cover of thermofoil, wood veneer or laminate.

An advantage that MDF provides is that it allows routing and cutting, similar to that of solid wood to provide higher quality results compared to particle board as it has less density and chips easier. Therefore, MDF can produce a smooth finish that resembles a raised-panel door. However, MDF is unable to be stained like solid wood because it does not have a grain, meaning it has to be covered in thermofoil or painted.


Cabinet doors have two basic construction types: framed or slab. A framed door is designed with an outer frame constructed around the center door panel. The panel edges are fitted in slots that were milled on the inner edges of the frame, allowing it to ‘float’ in the frame to enable the natural contraction and expansion process of wood. With framed door styles, the raised panel door is very common.

Whereas, slab door styles generally have a single piece construction or uses several solid wood pieces combined with wood glue to create a solid slab. A slab door is typically created with MDF or plywood and covered with thermofoil, wood veneer or laminate.



Engineered wood options are used for creating cabinet shelves. Particle board is popular, but higher end cabinets typically use MDF or plywood. No matter which material is used, all options are usually covered with laminate or wood veneer.


When it comes to the shelving of a cabinet, there is not much to it other than the thickness and if it is designed to reinforce the railing. Otherwise, shelves are simply straight boards constructed from one of the material options above.

The thickness of a shelf will vary depending on the manufacture and the product line and brand it was designed for, which generally relates to the quality level. The thickness can range between ½-inch to 5/8-inch to ¾-inch. Of course, when it comes to longer shelves the thicker boards will be more stable, and reduce sag.

The reinforcing rails are additional wood strips attached to a shelf’s front edge. This offers additional rigidity to the shelf and aids in reducing sag, especially on longer shelving. Although it is not standard for many cabinet manufacturers, if it is an available option it adds more durability and stability.

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Cabinet Finishes

The finish on a wood cabinet is another important area to focus on. Although visually it enhances the appearance, it also acts as a key element for protecting the wood surface. The type of finish determines how much protection the wood material has against chemicals and moisture commonly found in the kitchen.

Note: This section is focusing on wood cabinets only. Cabinet designs that have a melamine or laminate covering do not get coated with these types of surface treatments and finishes.

Although the science behind applying lacquers, varnishes, and other types of cabinet finishes and surface treatments could take an entire book, it is not required for basic knowledge needed to purchase a cabinet. The areas this section will focus on includes common finishes that you are likely to encounter when researching cabinets, and explains their use.

Paint, Finishes, & Stains

Below is the most common type of finishes when searching for kitchen cabinets:

Paint: This provides the advantage of having an endless choice of colors to choose from. It does not limit you to a pallet range of brown shades or earth tones like that of wood stain.

Alternatively, “Milk Paint” is another option available than the standard enamel paints used with cabinets. This paint is organic-based, created from lime, milk proteins, and natural pigments. The ‘recipe’ is basic and has existed for hundreds of years. The benefit of this option is the strength and durability of resisting water. It will adhere to wood well, and has a unique decorative appearance. It resembles the paint texture on period and antique furniture.

Wood stain: This option provides a color treatment to the wood surface, altering its natural color and enables transparency so the natural wood grain is visible. For protection, wood stain also requires a sealer be applied.

Varnish: This finish combines resin and oil used as a protective layer on wood and other types of surfaces. Varnish is similar to wood stain as it alters the wood.

Another common term associated with finishes includes “catalyzed varnish”, which sounds technical (and it can be). It simply describes a form of finish which makes use of a ‘catalyst’ to increase the speed or cause a certain reaction based on the chemicals within the finish. It is typically used for obtaining a certain result and combines compounds to make the protection more durable.

Lacquer: This top-coat protecting sealer is used in multiple situations, from cabinets to furniture. It is formed by dissolving resin within a solvent, and like varnish it can be catalyzed as well. You may find reference to “catalyzed lacquer” within different cabinet descriptions.

Glaze: A glazed finish offers a pigmented appearance with a semi-transparent or transparent layer that is applied to the base coat of stain or paint. Basically, glaze provides an enhanced look for the cabinet as it highlights the base color and detail of the surface. In addition, when applied and wiped off by hand, glaze may be used in door corners to offer more highlights and enhance the look.

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The Finishing Process

The process of finishing a cabinet varies based on the type of finish and the capabilities of the individual cabinet maker. A larger cabinet manufacturer for example, could have facilities capable of more sophisticated processes for applying a finish, where a small cabinet shop may use a simple approach or outsource the entire process to a business that specializes in finishes.

There are many steps involved with wood cabinet finishing, from preparing wood, applying the finish or treatment, and the baking process. For instance, look at The Door Stop finish process (a large cabinet manufacturer). You will find there are many steps throughout their entire finishing process.

A large cabinet manufacturer might have more advanced production and resource abilities for producing finishes with a consistent quality level. Whereas, smaller cabinet makers might not be able to have these abilities. The finishing process should be one of the areas you inspect when shopping at small cabinet shops. To achieve a quality finish, there are requirements, such as controlled environment conditions, no airborne particles such as dust or dirt. There are finishes which require a baking process for curing. Although, a high-tech facility is not the only place that is able to provide a quality finish. Just ensure the cabinet makers finishing process is understood to determine if the finish quality will withstand a kitchen environment.

Finally, the overall cost will be impacted by the finish option used on the cabinets. For instance, a finish which requires mltple steps and applications, or hand-rubbed treatments take longer to achieve and increase the cabinet cost. Glazing is able to prodce decent appearance, but there are extra steps involved with the process as well. You should consider if the kitchen style is a must have feature, or if a simple finish at a lower cost is sufficient.

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Cabinet Installer Sources

There are a couple available options when you are wanting to purchase new cabinets and have them installed. You may choose to do it yourself, or have it professionally installed by a company or contractor that has specialized experience with cabinetry installation.

Installing the cabinets, yourself is a money saving options, with various how-to guides being available online. Although, you should consider the chance of encountering walls that are not square that require adjusting or other issues that could arise through the installation.

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Getting Your Cabinets Installed

When remodeling my kitchen, I obtained the appreciation and knowledge of some of the complex issues associated with cabinet installation. We had cabinet installers in our home for a few days, which was actually interesting to watch as they worked. They used laser levels, among other tools for ensuring the installed cabinets were properly balanced and square. It was clearly a job for at least two people, if not more depending on the project size. Especially when it came to hanging cabinets. Once cabinet were installed, the task of installing all of the drawers and doors had to be completed while ensuring consistent gaps were achieved and door were straight.

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Professional Cabinet Installation

My final thoughts and advice is, if you plan to purchase new cabinets you should leave installation to the professionals if you do not have in-depth cabinetry experience. The pros know exactly what they are doing, and do it on a regular basis. Not only will they be able to provide a higher quality installation, they will likely get it done much quicker than self-installing them.

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Buying Cabinet Doors Online

Everyone homeowner wants to get the highest quality cabinet doors for the best prices. offers homeowners direct from the manufacturer cabinet doors at wholesale prices.  Cut out the middle man and the inflated costs of retailers and big box stores and buy your cabinet doors direct from the factory with Cabinet Door.  Orders can be ready to ship straight to your shop or home in less than 2 weeks and we ship anywhere in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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