Solid Wood vs. Composites

When it comes to solid wood vs. composites many people always assume that solid wood always the best material… This is a question we’re frequently asked and you may be surprised that the answer.


Solid wood has many benefits. It is strong, sturdy and the beauty provided by the natural grains cannot be matched. One major downside to solid wood is that contracts and expands when subjected to changes in heat and humidity. Unless these conditions are carefully controlled, cabinets, doors or paneling made from solid wood can expand or shrink, causing cracks. Solid wood boards typically expand and contract both horizontally and vertically when temperatures and humidity rise and fall. Because of this, cabinets, doors and paneling made from solid wood require a higher level of care and maintenance.


Wood composites, MDF being the most popular, are a high grade, composite material that performs better than solid wood in many areas. MDF is made from recycled wood fibers (saw dust) and resin (glue), that are mixed together and then machine dried and pressed to produce dense, stable sheets. MDF is more stable than solid wood and stands up better to changes in heat and humidity, but it lacks the natural charm that solid wood brings to a space.


Another consideration is cost. MDF is often a better value. Solid wood is often more expensive and sometimes is not as readily available. Don’t let this article scare you away from solid wood though.  Although the cost is slightly higher, as are the maintenance requirements, nothing is better than solid wood when it comes to beauty and durability in your home.


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