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What are MDF Cabinet Doors, and Why are They so Popular?

March 14, 2021 | Updated on: April 10, 2024

custom mdf cabinet doors

Everyone at least once in life faced the problem of choosing a material for future furniture. The construction market is offering various kinds of MDF products. If you do not know what MDF is, then we will be happy to help you! Let's try together to answer the question, "What is MDF in cabinetmaking, and how is it different from other materials?" In this article, you will get answers to these questions. 

Cabinet Doors

It is not hard to guess that MDF is an abbreviation - Medium Density Fibreboard.  mdf for cabinet doors

How does the production of MDF boards look like? The pressing of fine wood chips under the influence of high temperature and pressure. Fine chips are processed with a resin, which bonds the fibre particles when they’re compressed. 

The material is unique, and you can talk about its advantages for a very long time. Depending on the finish, the panel may look like you will never distinguish it from natural wood, or it will sparkle with a lacquered surface like a polished mirror. 

MDF used as a core material for making panes such as:

  • Melamine;
  • Textured Melamine;
  • High gloss;
  • Wood veneer;

Even though it is very often used as a core for other materials, MDF looks decent as material for cabinet doors. MDF is a trendy material in the custom cabinet-making business. There are tons of possibilities and applications of it. Custom MDF cabinet doors are excellent for the painted look of the cabinets. MDF for cabinet doors is different from MDF used for the core. Platinum MDF or Ranger board only uses softwood sawdust. It is well known for its machining and painting capabilities. 

Advantages of MDF cabinet doors

The availability of customization is one of the most significant benefits of MDF doors. Custom MDF cabinet doors can be made in many different profiles.

Types of MDF cabinet doors:

  1. One-piece MDF door; 
  2. Two-piece MDF door;
  3. Five-piece MDF door;

MDF doors offer homeowners and designers numerous advantages when selecting cabinet door materials. Their flexible designs, durability make MDF an excellent option. The benefits of this material make it an attractive choice for cabinet doors and furniture: 

mdf kitchen cabinet doors

  • Routing MDF cabinet doors give hundreds of options for the shape of the doors.
  • Mdf cupboard doors can be painted in any colour is another advantage of MDF doors. There is a possibility of spraying MDF doors in a unique colour.  
  • Formaldehyde-free MDF is an environmentally friendly material that does not emit any odours and chemicals and can be used in child care facilities
  • it is very durable, which allows use in many different applications; for example, it can be used for MDF panel doors, MDF interior doors, MDF kitchen cabinet doors, MDF furniture.
  • MDF can stand temperature changes and high humidity! The same cannot be said about more expensive materials (for example, natural wood).
  • MDF is immune to microorganisms, mould and fungi
  • MDF price of the raw material is not expensive

Disadvantages of MDF cabinet doors

Before making decisions about MDF cabinet doors, it's essential to carefully assess potential downsides. By knowing what these disadvantages entail, homeowners can make more informed choices for their kitchen renovation projects.

  1. It is quite difficult and time-consuming to prepare MDF for finishing. Sanding MDF doors requires specific tools and order. 
  1. Raw MDF absorbs water quicker than wood. After water damage, the MDF is not usable anymore. 

MDF doors finishing guide

Maintaining an exquisite finish on MDF doors can greatly elevate the aesthetic appeal of any kitchen interior. When refinishing existing MDF doors or embarking on new projects, knowing how to finish MDF properly is crucial in order to attain professional results. 

  1. Sand door edges with 150 grid paper using an orbital sander.
  2. Router edges using 2mm router bit.
  3. Sand inside door profile using 180 or 220 grid paper. making cupboard doors from mdf
  4. Finish inside door sanding using 320 grid paper.
  5. Sand doors center panels using an orbital sander with 320 grid paper.
  6. Send the doors for center panel assembly.
  7. After assembly is done, check for imperfections, especially inside the profile.
  8. If there are any imperfections, fill them in using Bondo.
  9. Fill the perimeter of the center panel using Drydex and a special brush.
  10. Sand routered edges using sponge block with 320 grid paper. 
  11.  Sand outside door edges using an orbital sander with 320 grid paper.
  12.  Sand mud inside of the door using a 320 grid sponge.
  13.  Smooth all the sharp corners using a 320 grid sponge.
  14.  Send doors to spray booth for priming.
  15. Prime both sides of the doors.
  16. Sand using orbital sander and sanding block with 320 sanding paper.
  17. Scuff the surface using a 320 grid sponge.
  18. Air blows the doors nicely.
  19. Doors are ready for topcoat.
  20. Spray doors backs, let them cure for a minimum of 6 hours.
  21. After backs are sprayed, tape them using yellow 1” tape and green roll paper. 
  22. Sand using orbital sander and sanding block with 320 sanding paper.
  23. Scuff the surface using a 320 grid sponge.
  24. Air blows the doors nicely.
  25. Doors fronts are ready for topcoat.

How to repair MDF cabinet doors

repair mdf cabinet doors

Sometimes during installation or use, the damage is happening. What to do in that case? Is there any way to repair damaged MDF?  routing mdf cabinet doors

  • Remove dust and grease from the surface. Use a sanding block to make the surface smooth. 
  • Use a putty knife to spread wood filler over the scratches and holes. Allow the filler to dry. Apply a second coat if needed. 
  • Sand the damaged area until smooth. 
  • Blow away sanding dust. Paint as desired.

Where are MDF cabinet doors used?

spraying mdf doors Making cupboard doors from MDF is very popular. Let look at the options available for MDF cabinet doors Canada. 

What is the difference between MDF shaker cabinet doors and MDF raised panel doors?

MDF shaker door has a square frame and flat center panel. There are few different types of shaker doors.

  • Regular or standard shaker door (2 ¼ inch frame and flat central panel);
  • Slim shaker door (½ inch frame and flat central panel). 

MDF raised panel doors come in so many different options. Raise panel door to differ by outside edge profile, inside edge profile and different profile for a central panel. 

MDF is used not only for the kitchen and bathroom cabinet fronts but also for MDF wardrobe doors. Wardrobe MDF Doors look stylish and make your closet stand out.

If you would like to know about MDF cabinet doors vs wood, read our next article.


Article by:

Valentina Melnikova - Lead Designer at Cut2Size

Office 403.366.7411

Hi there! I’m a millwork designer and an owner of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. With a team of professionals, I work on designing and manufacturing high-end millwork. Combining professional designing and manufacturing skills is what allows us to develop and translate our plans into a reality through our uniqueness and exclusive ideas. Our employees are highly skilled and creative thinkers that also utilize their professionalism and experience to take millwork to the next level. I’m very familiar with the industry and I take on each project from the design to the final product. With that said, if you’re looking for design advice or technician help, you’re in the right place.