What are solid wood cabinet doors?

What are solid wood cabinet doors? Are they the right choice for you? Learn about solid wood cabinet doors, their benefits and drawbacks, and more.

Five cabinet doors in a variety of wood types, door styles, and profiles.

Many people would agree that the kitchen is the heart of their home. It’s where you probably start your day with breakfast and end it with dinner. Given how much time you spend there, your kitchen needs to be both functional and enjoyable.

A dark, cramped kitchen isn’t nearly as inviting or practical as one that’s spacious or cozy. When considering the essential elements of your kitchen — like countertops, appliances, hardware, and lighting — cabinet doors stand out for their impact on the room’s look and feel.

Choosing the right cabinet door is crucial. You don’t want to break the bank, but you also don’t want to settle for something that looks cheap and low-quality.

You’ve likely heard of solid wood cabinet doors. But are they the right choice for your kitchen?

At Cutting Edge, we have produced solid wood cabinet doors for over 20 years. We understand how to make them and the benefits and drawbacks.

Want to learn more about solid wood doors? Keep reading to find:

Definition of solid wood cabinet doors

By definition, solid wood cabinet doors only contain solid wood. Solid wood doors don’t have any composite materials like plywood or MDF.

Some companies mimic the appearance of solid wood cabinet doors by applying a thin veneer over a shaped plywood or MDF core. However, this type of door is not a solid wood door.

How manufacturers make solid wood doors

As you now know, solid wood cabinet doors only have solid wood. So how do manufacturers transform lumber into a cabinet door?

First, they cut the rough boards of lumber into usable strips, usually between 2” to 4” wide.

Then, they cut some of those strips of lumber to form the frame of the cabinet doors. Each cabinet door takes two stiles and two rails.

The remaining strips of lumber become the centre panel. The manufacturer glues multiple strips together to form a slab of wood. They then cut that slab to the correct size and machine the panel profile.

Finally, they assemble the solid wood cabinet door.

An infographic showing the parts of solid wood shaker style cabinet doors.

Benefits and drawbacks of solid wood cabinet doors

Solid wood doors are not the most popular cabinet door option out there. Of the 112,000 cabinet doors Cutting Edge sold last year, 9,700 were solid wood. Assuming the average kitchen is 45 pieces, 215 of 2488 customers chose solid wood doors.

So what would make people choose solid wood? And why would other people avoid them?

Benefits of solid wood doors

There are three main benefits to solid wood cabinet doors. Each of these benefits hinges on the fact that all of the components of each door are solid wood.

1. Durable and high-quality

First is the durability and quality. Solid wood stands up to everyday use well. Hardwoods like Maple or White Oak are very durable, while softwoods like Pine or Alder are slightly less durable. Even if you damage a solid wood door, you can often patch, repair, or refinish the cabinet door to hide the damage.

An infographic showing the relationship between price, hardness, popularity and availability of wood.

In addition, solid wood doors require custom craftsmanship to ensure all the components fit together correctly. Thus, they are better quality than mass-produced or less expensive options, which suppliers spend less time on.

2. Unique

Wood is a one-of-a-kind product. No two boards are exactly alike, and no two doors are exactly alike. 

No matter how carefully you select the wood, you can’t replicate a solid wood kitchen exactly. There are always unique grain patterns or colour variations within the wood.

3. Very customizable

In addition, solid wood cabinet doors are highly customizable. You can choose from a variety of profiles, designs, custom accessories and more to make your kitchen stand out. There aren’t many limitations to what a cabinet door manufacturer can achieve with solid wood.

Drawbacks of solid wood cabinet doors

However, there are reasons not to choose solid wood doors.

1. Cost

First and foremost is the expense. You pay for the solid wood, quality, and customizations. Solid wood doors are easily double the cost of other alternatives.

2. Solid wood is a biotic product

This factor is less important but still worth considering. Solid wood is a biotic (living) product – it moves and changes over time.

For example, solid wood doors may warp (bend), shrink, or expand. 

You can limit these risks by ensuring your home is humidity- and temperature-controlled. However, this does add cost to your project as well. 

Types of solid wood cabinet doors

Now, do all cabinet door makers call a specific range of products solid wood cabinet doors?

The answer is no. Solid wood doors are also called several other names, including raised panel doors, solid wood shaker style doors, slab doors, and more. However, cabinet door makers also use some of the same names to refer to products that aren’t necessarily solid wood.

So how can you ensure your cabinet door is actually a solid wood cabinet door? To be sure, ask your cabinet door supplier.

Learn how much solid wood doors cost

The cabinet doors you select have a major impact on your budget and the appearance of your kitchen. If you make the wrong choice, you may end up with a kitchen you don’t like or couldn’t afford.

So, now that you have the information you need to decide if solid wood doors are the option you want, it’s time to take the next step. Learn how much solid wood shaker style doors cost from Cutting Edge.

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