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  • Jeff Chaignot

Particleboard Cabinets vs Plywood Cabinets

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Kitchen Cabinet with Plywood Box

So you are ready to remodel your kitchen and you started looking at cabinets and now you are faced with the big decision of particleboard sides or plywood sides. What is the difference? Hopefully this information will help you out.

Remodeling your kitchen is a big decision and it is a good idea to take your time and do your research before making your purchase. Choose a cabinet that will suite your lifestyle as well as get you the longevity you desire. Always make sure when choosing your cabinet you actually see them in person. Never order your cabinets online site unseen. Cabinet color and door style should not be your only decision maker. If you are going to have problems with your cabinets in the future is will usually be with the cabinet box and shelves, so those are the best items

to check out.


Cabinet Box Construction

First thing to look at when you examine the cabinets is the box (carcass) construction. Examine the thickness of the side wall, cabinet back and shelves. Cabinets usually come with particle board sides or plywood sides. It is hard for most people to tell the difference between the two. The best way to tell is to look underneath the upper cabinets at the cabinet sides to see the raw material on the bottom. You cannot tell by looking at the inside or outside of the cabinet. Most cabinet companies will try to use generic words to describe the cabinet box like “engineered wood” material. Engineered wood simply means man made, which could be a number of materials. Particleboard and plywood are both man made materials. If you cannot see from the bottom of the cabinet you can

remove a shelf from the upper and look at the back of it.


Cabinet with particleboard box side

Particleboard is made of essentially made from sawdust and wood glue. This makes particle board more environmentally friendly than plywood. Particleboard is not a bad material as some companies have lead you to believe, as long as the material is thick enough. Particleboard in general does not get as much warping as plywood will. Particle board boxes will usually have a melamine interior. Melamine is a material that helps resist heat, staining and water.


Cabinet with plywood box construction

Plywood is made of thin layers of real wood stacked and glued with each layer having the grain running in an opposite direction. Because it is made from real wood, it generally runs more money and has more probability of warping. Also, plywood is a lot lighter than particle board which makes it more desirable for import lines to use to reduce shipping costs. Plywood boxes will usually have a veneer interior.

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