I’m often asked why some brands of pre-fabricated cabinets are so expensive when they are made of particle board. Most quality cabinets use a material that does resemble a low-grade particle board but is actually much more durable. The higher quality material, sometimes called engineered wood, weighs about three times more than common particle board because it’s bonded together with a high quality poly-resin.

This also means that it can be completely submerged in water without damaging effects. Something you can’t do with typical particle board. Often the wood grain that is printed on engineered wood is applied in several stages to assure a long-lasting outer shell or a true wood veneer is bonded to it to enhance the appearance of an all wood cabinet.

Of course the reason for all of this is that engineered wood is less expensive and though it can’t be fairly compared to all-wood construction it is a viable alternative for those of us on a budget.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Is particle board cabinets safe to use next to oven? How much space do you need between cabinet and oven? How do you finish the counter top next to the oven to give it a finished look?

    Thank you

    Joy

  2. The particle board cabinets in my condo are peeling on the door and drawer edged. Can these be repaired? Are these cabinets able to be refaced? Can the doors be replaced and keep the rest of the cabinetry? Does this make sense to do? What other affordable options are available without removing and replacing the entire cabinets? Thanks.

    • Hi, Fedelia,

      The peeling areas of the cabinets can be reglued. We would suggest using contact cement. Then they can be painted, or the doors can be replaced for a completely new look.

      Good luck!

  3. We have older inexpensive particle board cabinets that have bad spots that need sanded and refinished or painted, have been told can’t sand as will go to dust and can’t be refinished or painted. Any suggestions please

    • Hi, Leslie,
      Danny says, “They certainly can be painted by lightly sanding and then applying a bonding primer.
      Good luck with your project!”

  4. I want to paint my kitchen cabinets the doors are wood but the cabinet is covered partical board. What kind of paint should i use and can it be used for both the doors and cabinets.
    Ty

    • Hi, Eilene!
      You can go ahead and prime the particle board, assuming it’s clean and has no lumps or bumps that need sanding.
      Shellac-based primer will help ensure the paint’s performance.
      As for the paint, that depends on your personal preference, but having a built-in topcoat helps!
      Good luck.

      The good news is that when it comes to painting glossy surfaces, you can use a high-quality primer to successfully bond to the cabinet. Doing so elminates any prep work like sanding or scuffing the surface of the veneer/particle board. Also, putting a primer down first gives a moisture resistant barrier from your top coat of paint to the cabinet, giving the paint great performance.

      Shown below, shellac-based primer is one of the best primers to use for whatever topcoat of paint you’d like to put on top of it…

  5. Have 2 areas on particleboard cupboards That have bubbled and peeled away , they were complete circles!
    What could cause this, how should I fix it

  6. i have two cabinets that have been damaged because they are on each side of my sink and the hot water steam has ruined the sides of these cabinets. They are partilcal board and have shreaded on the bottom Can I correct this condition?

  7. Around my door knobs it’s starting to get these furry patches. How do I repair them? I’d like to paint all of my cabinetry but don’t know the correct products to use. Please help!!

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