Why Ply?

When people visit our New Jersey kitchen showroom they often ask: Why should I choose plywood cabinet box construction for my cabinets? First, let’s become familiar with the different types of construction widely used for cabinetry. Cabinet boxes are most commonly constructed from Plywood, MDF or Particleboard. Plywood is the strongest and most expensive followed by MDF and then Particle board with the least strength and lowest cost. It is generally agreed that particle board is not strong enough to hold up over time for kitchen cabinet boxes. There is debate on MDF vs. Plywood. Some people argue MDF is as strong as plywood and since it is less costly a better choice. My response is multi-layered plywood is stronger than MDF or any composite. Why? It’s all about the layers…and composites don’t have layers. Why not hardwood for cabinet box construction? Hardwood expands and contracts with temperature and humidity and when jointed need stabilization i.e. finger joints, battens, dados etc… Plywood will not shrink or warp.

Based on our decades of experience remodeling kitchens and bathrooms in New Jersey, plywood construction is strongest and most stable. It is made of multiple layers glued together perpendicular to each other which maximizes the strength. Plywood cabinets are also the longest lasting construction mainly because the screws that hold up your door hinges and drawer tracks are securely anchored in the layers of the plywood and won’t loosen or strip. More recently plywood cabinets have become available at reasonable up charges, some as low as 5% and ranging to 15%. I say a small price to pay for peace of mind-well worth it!

You won’t have to “knock on wood” and worry about the future of your kitchen or bath cabinets if you choose plywood construction!

Key advantages to plywood:

Strongest - holds screws from drawer tracks and hinges best
Longest life - screws will not loosen and strip when re-tightened so doors and drawers will function longer
Stability - Will not warp or shrink
Emits less formaldehyde than MDF or Particle Board


Plywood is made of thin sheets of wood veneer that are laminated in alternating directions

Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is made of very fine wood fibers that are glued and compressed under great pressure

Particleboard is a combination of wood chips, shavings, fibers, and adhesives

Hardwood comes from deciduous trees (whose leaves fall off once a year)

Softwood comes from evergreens

Plywood Cross Section


MDF on Top Particleboard on bottom