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Particle Board Cabinets

By: Danny Lipford

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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8 Comments on “Particle Board Cabinets”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    March 6th, 2019 at 9:53 am

    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…

  • Eilene C Vest Says:
    March 4th, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    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.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    December 8th, 2018 at 4:11 pm

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

  • Leslie aikman Says:
    October 21st, 2018 at 4:53 am

    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

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 8th, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    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!

  • Fedelia Says:
    April 27th, 2018 at 1:47 am

    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.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Says:
    March 6th, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Hi, Joy,
    Here’s Today’s Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:
    Thanks for writing to us!

  • Joy Says:
    March 4th, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    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


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Particle Board Cabinets