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Generally speaking, cabinets and furniture are made of wood. There is real wood and there are composite woods. Real wood is classy, warm, natural, and beautiful. Some composite woods are very strong, and easy to work with. The doors and frames on American style cabinets are traditionally made of the more popular hardwoods like maple, oak, walnut, birch and cherry wood. The more modern Euro style cabinets tend to use flat panel doors so they will almost always use composite woods like plywood or MDF for their doors. It would be a classy move to make Euro style cabinets with solid wood doors but the flat panel look of the Euro doors will often cause solid flat panels to warp and bend over time. MDF and other composite woods do not have this problem. So if you are a fan of real wood and you are looking for some cabinets that will have solid wood doors and frames, you should be looking for traditional American styles.
Just to be clear and avoid any confusion; these solid wood RTA cabinets use solid hard woods for the doors and frames but use plywood for the cabinet body. The use of strong plywood as the cabinet body is extremely common and done for good reason. This material is very strong and durable while the design of the cabinets keeps the unsightly edges of the plywood from ever being seen or dealt with. It’s a win-win.
Quality kitchen cabinets with solid wood doors add class and elegance to your kitchen. Many of the hard woods with attractive grains are stained and used to make cabinets with a natural wood look. Even when you paint the solid wood doors you still benefit. There is a quality to solid hardwood doors that you can feel when you compare them to similar doors made from MDF.
There is no shortage of versatility when using these beautiful cabinets. Many people choose older raised panel styles with natural wood doors to make a beautiful nostalgic kitchen with an aged look. You can also use painted solid wood RTA cabinets to get a much more contemporary look. Some people have very modern kitchens with smooth glasses or stainless steel appliances and smooth tile floors with flawless countertops. All of that sleek modern style can make your kitchen cold and uninviting. A simple way to create some balance without losing your modern feel is to install simple shaker style cabinets with a warm natural wood like cherry or mahogany.
Naturally, making a kitchen cabinet out of solid hard woods is going to cost more than it would if you just stuck a plywood panel on the front. So many companies will advertise that they offer hardwood cabinets, but in actuality, they are cutting corners to increase their profits at the expense of their product quality. It is important that you know what to look for when buying solid wood cabinets. The most common door design is a five piece frame and panel design. This is when your door is made up of four thick frame pieces that hold a panel in the center; similar to a picture frame. This design allows the wood in the door to expand and contract with the weather without warping. Sadly, some companies will simply use a thin panel made from MDF for the center panel instead of using the same natural hard wood that the rest of the door is made from. Some companies will put all their money into the solid wood frame and doors of their cabinet; after all, that is the part that people will be interacting with. Unfortunately for various reasons, this means that the cabinet body suffers in quality. Look out for thin plywood panels that are less than the industry standard of 1/2 inch thick. Particularly look for the shelves and back panel. These are both areas where some companies will cut corners. Lastly, I would certainly look at the hardware that the cabinets use. Cheap quality hardware can perform poorly and look very bad. Soft close mechanisms are a good thing to look for. Drawers can be a good tell as well; check for dovetailed corners and quality drawer tracks. Undermount drawer tracks with soft close mechanism are consistently made with quality parts.
There are plenty of good companies that offer a solid wood RTA kitchen cabinets. The quality is out there if you know what to look for. Remodeling your kitchen with wood cabinets can be a great choice and will add beauty to your kitchen and your home.