Which is best for Cabinetry? Plywood or Melamine

If you have ventured into the furniture world as a designer or a homeowner, you must have faced the dilemma: Plywood v/s melamine cabinetry.  Now there are several significant parameters you need to consider like price, quality, style, etc. when you make a choice.  The following facts about melamine and plywood will help you.

Construction and Durability

Plywood is resistant to splitting as the grain pattern stands at 90 degrees to the sheet beneath it. Plywood from a superior class of hardwood like teak is particularly durable.

Melamine is pressed-wood. While the plasticized covering protects it from external damages, it can break under pressure. Hinges and drawers get splintered sooner in melamine than plywood cabinets.

Weight and Density

Traditional melamine is weighty. Then what about the lighter ones? They de-laminate, chip away, and break all too easily. It is difficult to support the material to put in the screws and nails.

On the other hand, plywood is less dense and, therefore, cutting and assembling it is less burdensome. Being light-weight, it is ideal for upper cabinets.


The manufacturing environment gives melamine cabinets beautiful, uniform, and solid finishes while the color and pattern of solid wood grains in plywood fluctuate even within the same order. The defects and knotholes in plywood necessitate additional finishing, making it a costly affair.


Melamine being synthetic comes in an assortment of shades of faux wood grains and solid colors.

An interesting variety of plywood has come up in recent years. It is bendy ply or flexible plywood, and it has made curved plywood surfaces a possibility.


Many are fascinated by the natural beauty of solid wood in plywood works. But it is costlier than melamine in terms of both carpentry and source material. So if you are facing budget constraints, plywood may not be your option.

Melamine has its cost issues too. Being heavy, it requires bracket enhancement. Without it, your cabinet may fall and incur high-priced ruins.

Installment Issues

Melamine cabinets are harder to install than its plywood counterparts. Improper handling can cause the nails to crack the melamine. So seek for professional assistance from melamine suppliers for installation.

Susceptibility to Water Damages

Water can compromise the quality of melamine. On prolonged exposure, it gives out a musty smell, and its parts start to swell and come apart.

Plywood is prone to water damages too. When you install them in potentially wet areas like kitchen and laundry cabinets, the layers start disintegrating due to absorption of water. Resort to BWR waterproof plywood for an alternative.

Ease of Cleaning

The resin in melamine is the same as Formica laminate countertops, making it easier to clean than plywood cabinets.

Environmental Issues

Formaldehyde, a chemical substance made of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, is naturally present in both melamine and plywood. Now, to stick the veneers together, adhesives are used. It may add to the formaldehyde concentration and raise the emission of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are harmful and cause environmental pollution. So while buying plywood or melamine from a chemical supplier, you should check for safety norms.

Now that you know the pros and cons of plywood and melamine cabinets, the final call is yours. Always take note of the quality and integrity in your product while keeping it within your budget.


What do you think?


Written by Asit Roy

Years Of Membership


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