Wood Cabinets

Majestic Walnut finish on a wood cabinet

“I’m looking for wood cabinets.”

We get that request from clients and appreciate what people are looking for aesthetically when they ask about wood. What most people don’t realize though is that today’s wood cabinets are actually made from wood products and not solid wood constructions at all.


Yes, really, and for several good reasons. Solid wood has a habit of warping and twisting. This happens due to a change in moisture levels within the wood over time. You can see it in wood items like fence boards that bow, crack, and twist. Have you ever had to dig through a pile of them looking for straight pieces? It can be a nightmare.

Therefore when you want sleek looking kitchen cabinets, there are much better materials to consider. Ones that stand up better to heat and humidity, but still have the look of wood that you want. For most modern kitchens, that means either melamine or plywood cabinets.

A Look at Options in Wood Cabinets

What exactly are we talking about when we consider melamine or plywood cabinets? Essentially these cabinets are made of wood products and then covered in a veneer. Veneer wood is a thin sliver of natural wood sourced from trees. So you are still getting your wood, just a much thinner section of tree! The veneer is then glued to the door or panel, protecting the material inside. Unlike solid wood, where humidity from boiling water or changes in seasonal climates can affect the overall moisture level in your kitchen, either of these manmade cabinets gain protection from their veneer surface.

So lets look at the differences between melamine and plywood.

basalt maple wood cabinetsMelamine Cabinets

Melamine cabinets are made from particle board with a resin finish glued to its surface. Particle board is formed from compressed wood chips (more wood!). The resin surface is extremely durable, standing up to heat, moisture, and stains. Due to the nature of its surface, it is also easy to clean.

Aside from the structural stability of melamine, you also get the bonus of finding it in a wide range of colours and designs. This can make for a more uniform colour or be designed to look like wood. The affordable price of melamine cabinets makes it one of your best options from a cost standpoint too.

As with any product though, there are a few drawbacks. If an exposed edge gets wet, you can experience water damage. Best to wipe up any spills immediately and clean with a damp (not wet) cloth. There are more challenges during installation too, as melamine is more susceptible to splintering and chipping. Having a professional install them is key. The good news—Revival Home Renovations can help!

Cherry IslandPlywood Cabinets

Plywood cabinets are similar to melamine, in that they both have veneer surfaces. Their durability is comparable on a surface level. The difference between plywood and particle board comes under that surface though. Where particle board is made from compressed wood fiber, plywood is formed from thin layers of wood (veneers) stacked and glued in alternating patterns. The glued veneers offer more compression strength, plus holds screws and fasteners better. That is more convenient during installation, as is the fact that plywood is a lighter material to handle than particle board and definitely lighter than solid wood. Plywood also holds glue better, and is more resistant to dents and scratches, giving it an advantage over particle board. You get a real wood look, due to the nature of the product alone, but it takes paint too, if that is your preference.

One of the bigger disadvantages to plywood is the price. While it is cheaper than wood, particle board is less expensive than plywood. As particle board can be made from wood waste, you get cost savings, plus can feel good about saving waste products too. Not all plywood is made equal either, so it is important to remember quality every step of the way.

If you have a vision of wood cabinets in your next kitchen, know that there are plenty of options to choose from in a range of prices. Whether you go with melamine or plywood cabinets, either are beautiful and come in a range of colours and designs. And know that Revival Home Renovations is here to help you pick the right kitchen cabinets for your style and budget. Call Ryan today to schedule a quote.