We all want the cabinets in our home to look their best, but there are also some corners we would like to cut. Is it ok to use plywood for cabinet doors?
Plywood makes a nice material for cabinet doors and has many benefits when compared to hardwood. As long as you are finishing the plywood doors to hide the edges, it will do a good job.
There are a number of things to consider when you are using plywood for cabinet doors. It’s not simply enough to say that it is a good product for the job, you also need to consider other factors, such as the price and durability of plywood.
Here are a few things to keep in mind. These are the positive aspects of using plywood as a cabinet door. We will also consider some of the negative aspects in the next section.
Price: One of the main reasons why people choose plywood for cabinets is the price. Obviously, it is a good idea to use plywood on the interior of the cabinets but does the lower price point make enough sense to use it on the face?
When you compare the price of plywood with hardwood, there really is no comparison. Hardwood is much more expensive without providing any benefits, unless you are finishing it in a way to allow the natural grain to show through.
Durability: Plywood is a much more durable material than hardwood. In fact, you can even get plywood that is made from hardwood, which is like killing two birds with one stone.
Since plywood is less likely to crack than hardwood, you will have less of a chance of having to replace the door in the future. In addition, if you drop something against the door, plywood is less likely to dent or scratch.
Strength: One of the reasons why plywood is used in the construction industry is because of its strength. The layers of wood in plywood make it a good choice for use on cabinets.
Finishing: This is one point that goes both in the pros and cons list. If you are finishing the cabinets by painting them, then plywood is the best choice. You can also varnish plywood but you have to pay particular attention to the edges (which we will discuss below).
As you can see, there are many reasons why using plywood for your cabinet doors is a good idea. Before we get to the problems associated with plywood, it’s a good idea to cover some points on safety.
When you are working on cabinets, it is important to keep your safety in mind. This would include working with the proper tools in the proper way and wearing the appropriate PPE.
Safety glasses are always going to be an important part of any DIY project. It only takes a moment and a very small piece of debris for your eyes to be injured beyond repair.
Invest in a good pair of safety glasses and wear them regularly. With a little time, you will not even notice you have them on.
Another important thing to wear are gloves. This is something that is often skipped by those who are working on a project, but they can really save your hands.
Wear the right gloves for the project. At times, such as when you are using tools that could catch on the gloves, the right glove may actually be no gloves.
Finally, wear a respirator when you are cutting plywood. There are many chemicals used in making plywood and when it is airborne, you don’t want it getting in your lungs.
Should You Use Plywood For Cabinet Doors?
Now that we’ve established the fact that plywood is a good material for cabinet doors, we will look into what types of problems you may encounter. This isn’t to keep you from using plywood. It is to help you avoid the problems if possible.
Moisture: One of the biggest problems you will face when using plywood for cabinet doors is moisture. That is especially true, since cabinets are often used in areas of the home where water is present.
When water gets on plywood, it isn’t long before it gets into the plywood. As a result, the plywood will swell.
This is only a temporary problem in many cases with minor water intrusion. The plywood will eventually dry out and go back to its original shape.
On the other hand, if you allow water to get exposed to excessive moisture, it can be a real problem. That moisture could cause the plywood to warp, swell, and even delaminate.
One way to overcome this problem is by protecting the plywood with a good waterproofing agent, along with paint. It is not going to be foolproof, but it will help.
VOCs: When plywood is made, it is done using various chemicals, including formaldehyde. Since the plywood often ends up in the store soon after it is made, those chemicals can leach out into the air.
This can be a problem for those who are particularly sensitive to the chemicals but even if you don’t have a known issue with them, it can be a problem as they will be in the air for years in some cases.
Edges: One of the biggest problems with plywood, especially when you are using them for cabinet doors, are the edges. If they are left exposed, you will see that they are plywood and not hardwood.
In addition, cutting plywood typically leaves behind a rough edge, so you will have an exposed edge on the outside or inside of the cabinets that is not properly finished.
You can do some things to limit the damage, and we will go over that in the next section, but you can’t stop it completely. The only thing you can do is finish the edge with some wood putty, sand it smooth, and paint the doors.
Delamination: One other problem is the possibility of the veneer separating from the rest of the plywood. This can happen if it is not properly bonded at the factory, or if the plywood is exposed to water.
The best thing to do if this happens is to attempt to re-bond the veneer. Otherwise, you will have to replace the door.
What Preparations Do You Need To Use Plywood For Cabinet Doors
If you’ve made up your mind to use plywood for cabinet doors, you should prepare properly for the job. Here are some steps to get you started:
Plywood Selection: The right thickness and grade of plywood should be selected for the job. If possible, choose plywood that is rated as water resistant.
Even if you are using high-grade plywood, you should still inspect it carefully before purchasing. A knott at the wrong place can practically ruin the entire sheet when cutting out larger cabinet doors.
Prepare the Surface: Plywood has a rough face, so you should sand the entire sheet in advance of using it. You can cut the plywood first to save some sanding, but you want the plywood to take on the proper appearance, rather than looking like a cheap substitution for hardwood.
How To Use Plywood For Cabinet Doors
Now that you have the plywood prepared, here is how to get the job done.
Measure and Cut: Carefully measure the plywood and cut it with a table or circular saw using a fine tooth, new blade. You should also cut with the inside of the door up, as that is where the rough edge is going to happen.
You can limit the damage to the plywood by taking a few steps in advance. This would include using painters tape over the cut area and then scoring the plywood several times with a utility knife.
Inspect: Before you go any further with the project, you will want to carefully inspect every part of the doors. Make sure you are looking at the edges and surfaces, taking note of any defects.
If you find an area that needs attention, it is much easier to do it before applying the finishes rather than later.
Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on June 2, 2023.
Finishing: It is much easier to finish the cabinet doors prior to hanging them. Finishing the doors makes them look great and match the rest of the room. It also provides some waterproofing, which is important when using plywood.
Always start with a quality primer that matches the type of paint or finish you will be using.
PRO TIP: Only apply one coat of primer as adding a second coat can be counterproductive. You will still see the plywood through the primer.
Install: Make sure the cabinet doors are aligned properly and they are installed securely in place. Choose hardware that is going to stand the test of time.
Hardware: Finally, install the hardware in place. Make sure it is properly installed and appropriately tight for the project. Test the doors by opening and closing them a few times.
Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on June 2, 2023.
Maintenance: This is an ongoing part of the project, but it is one that should not be skipped. Regularly wipe down the cabinets using a slightly damp rag and some mild cleaner. Check the tightness of any hardware as you clean them.
You can use plywood for cabinet doors. It is a strong material that works well in any area of the home. As long as you finish the doors to hide perfections and the edges, they will look just as nice as hardwood.
ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on June 2, 2023.