White cabinet doors in Alaska- what material is best?

Many of our readers will know that Builders Bargains prides ourselves on carrying all plywood cabinets. You may find it surprising then, that our new stock of white cabinetry incorporates an MDF door. Before you write us off as frauds, hear us out, we promise there's a reason!

In case your skin hasn't notified you recently, Alaska has a very dry climate. Wood is very susceptible to changing with the elements. It shrinks in dry environments and swells in humidity. That being said, when you paint a wooden surface, anywhere that joints come together the paint is going to be vulnerable to acquiring cracks when the wood shrinks. In order to combat this issue manufacturers have started MDF which is a tightly compressed material that is very dense. It is not the same as particle board but a similar idea.

Not only is MDF more dimensionally stable (meaning it won't change shape or size with temperature and humidity levels) it also has no perceptible grain. This gives the cabinet doors a very smooth surface to paint, with no wood grain showing through. This is another reason it has become the top material for all painted cabinets.


Wooden door with separation at joint


Painted wooden door with cracks in finish at joint


CFA cabinet door, made of MDF no cracks or separation

The largest downfall of MDF doors, or all white cabinets really, is that they readily show dings and scratches. Since the surface beneath a white or painted cabinet is completely different than the finish, any blemish is going to be very obvious. For this reason we always recommend getting a touch up kit to keep your cabinet looking fresh.

There are also some new options on the market which incorporate lighter stains, which still keep the appearance of a light airy kitchen but are less likely to show imperfections so obviously. These might be a better match for our tough Alaskan lifestyle. While we do not currently have any of these options in stock, they are a mere 3-4 weeks out when ordered.

Overall, for those committed to white cabinets in Alaska, we feel the MDF door is definitely the best option for our climate. Plus they help lighten and open up a kitchen, which is especially nice in these long, dark winter months!


Palmer Location

(907) 746-1408

2010 S. Terrace Court

Palmer, Alaska 99645

Anchorage Location

(907) 344-1408

12150 Industry Way, Suite Q-1

Anchorage, Alaska 99515

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