Kitchen Cabinets: Plywood vs. Particle Board Construction

Many kitchen cabinets can get away with looking great on the outside without the internal structure to match. However, most of the value in a cabinet structure comes from what is under the hood. This is where homeowners will save money because of the durability of their cabinets and increase home value over time. Well made cabinets also give homeowners a chance to divert money into other aspects of home building. So what are the two major ways in which cabinets can be constructed? Although they look the same to the untrained eye, particleboard construction and plywood are actually quite different from each other. In general, cabinets that are made entirely of plywood are more durable, sturdier and store veneer much more professionally.

Let's take a look at why you should always prefer plywood over particle board construction.

The Secrets of the Cabinet Box

Cabinets have two major parts – fronts and boxes. If a cabinet base has no countertop, fixture or door, then it is only a box. You can put this kind of box onto the wall without fixtures, and designers will refer to it as such.

Cabinets with fronts are the traditional types of cabinets that we see everywhere. The front contains the decorative veneer face, and this is the first impression that most people are concerned with. Fronts and boxes can be made of different materials. If a front is made of a certain type of wood, many people will assume that the box is as well, which is not always the case. However, if the front simply looks good enough, most people will not even delve into the materials that have been used in the cabinet. This is not a very good practice if you want your cabinets to last for a long time.

The box is the heart of the cabinet. Here is where all of the storage takes place, and it is where all of the wear and tear break down the durability of the cabinet as a whole. If the box is less durable than the front, then you will eventually lose both pieces. After all, you can’t very well have a front without a box, can you?

Particle Board Construction vs Plywood

The box of the cabinet needs to be its strongest part, because it is the part of the structure that holds up everything else. This is where the differences between particle board construction and plywood really begin to show themselves.

Particle Board Construction vs Plywood | Kitchen Art Design

Particle board is also known as medium density fiberboard. As long as it is not put under any stress and remains generally dry, it will maintain a certain level of stability. It also needs to remain properly veneered. Plywood used for cabinets has the ability to maintain its structure under less inviting circumstances. Cabinet grade plywood is usually around 3/4″ inches thick. It also has better lamination, smoother finish and twice the plies of particle fiberboard. Plywood cuts more cleanly than particle board, resulting in less damage if it needs to be modified or customized.

What’s more, plywood is also lighter than particle board. This leads to easier installation of plywood cabinets and less potential for structural damage of the house when hanging those cabinets over a number of years.


With all of the advantages that plywood has over particle board construction, one would assume that plywood is more expensive. It is – at least upfront. Unless you can be completely sure of perfect conditions in and around your kitchen, plywood will more than pay for itself long after particle board would have splintered and begun to give you less overall performance. It will also look much better over time as well. However, if you are truly pressed in your budget, you can find particle board boxes for around two thirds of the price of plywood.

Particle board is the stuff that you find in cabinets straight off the shelf from places like IKEA. It is more difficult to find plywood boxes that come ready-made. No, these kinds of cabinets need to be constructed from the ground up by a true professional. Because you start out with a more professional box, you also have an easier time later on when you need to reface plywood rather than particle board construction.

Kitchen Designer Discuss With the Client on Plywood and Particle Board Construction | Kitchen Art Design

If you are looking for the best-looking and best-made kitchen cabinets, give one of the dedicated experts at Kitchen Art Designs a call. For 40 years, we have been constructing only the finest cabinets out of the best plywood on the market. We pride ourselves on providing not only a great look to a cabinet structure but also an adorable one that will stand the test of time, add value to a home and provide high functionality to its homeowner over its lifetime.