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Should I Use a Veneer or a Solid Wood for my Cabinets?

Question: Should I use a ‘veneered cabinet’ or a ‘solid wood’ for my cabinets?

Answer: There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Veneered plywood has the advantage of price. It also holds screws better in some circumstances, is less prone to warping and checking, is usually a little heavier and more uniform in color and grain and has less seasonal movement. Disadvantages are when it chips (usually at the edges) the layers underneath become very visible, it can chip out more with sawing, and you usually don’t have as much selection when trying to do elaborate grain and feature matching.

Solid wood is more expensive, requires more time in color and grain matching, is usually lighter in weight, and chips and scratches don’t show up as conspicuously. This is why solid wood is often used on framing while plywood is utilized for flat panels, where it is less prone to damage and has less seasonal movement.

However, if you want to apply elaborate edge details or carving to panels, then solid wood is by far the better choice.

Solid wood                                                       Veneer