Cabinets are foundational pieces of your kitchen, bathroom, utility room, closet, and other key areas of the home; they should be built to last with materials that stand the test of time. When it comes to made-for-you custom cabinets, it is important to select the right materials that suit your needs. From traditional wood construction to more innovative options, what do you need to know about the wood species, manufactured options, and other materials used to construct cabinets?

Hardwood and Hardwood Veneers

Hardwood is a classic choice. It’s durable and can last for decades or longer when properly maintained. It also lends itself to fit with any style of home. If you know you want to stick with this timeless choice, you have a wide variety of standard or specialty wood options to choose from:

Standard Wood

Alder. Cherry. Maple. Red Oak. These are the tried-and-true workhorses of the cabinet world! Whether solid or hardwood veneer, these dynamic woods deliver outstanding durability and a graceful aesthetic. There is a marked move towards lighter stains for species like oak, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through without that layer of heavy honey that was so popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

At the same time, people are revisiting dark stained wood, particularly in the kitchen. This can be an ideal complement to the more saturated colors that play a starring role throughout the home. It does evoke a sense of calm, stability.

Specialty Wood

For a more exclusive look, consider specialty wood, such as:

  • Rift White Oak. This is similar to more standard quarter-sawn oak, but the angle of the cut ensures that there are fewer saw cuts that run parallel to the medullary rays (i.e. the horizontal rays that extend from the core of a tree towards the bark). The lines are straighter and cleaner, making them a nice fit for modern and contemporary designs.
  • Sapele. Regulations and ethics make the rampant harvesting of genuine mahogany an unsustainable choice. But fortunately, the African species sapele shares many similarities and is much more readily available. You can achieve the look, feel, and luxury of mahogany in a more environmentally friendly package. 
  • Walnut. Typically, more expensive than options like oak, walnut repays you for the investment when it comes to durability, ease of cleaning, and the effortless sophistication it imparts to any room.

Manufactured Materials

For many applications, manufactured solutions make the most sense for discerning homeowners.

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Top manufacturers, such as Distinctive Wood Products, supply premium quality MDF. Their medium-density fiberboard is made from 100% Canadian softwood fiber. MDF is exceptionally durable, flawless, dent and chip resistant, and immune to high-humidity environments. This is a great substrate for painted products. 


MOX crafts cabinet doors with various laminated materials. That is, the materials are bonded to a substrate, usually particle board or high-density fiberboard (HDF). This provides the opportunity for unique color and texture characteristics that turn focal points into true showstoppers. Working with top brands like Rehau ensures that you receive the best of the best.

Soft Touch Laminate

Customization is seamless with soft touch laminate. This is a smooth surface that also undergoes thermal heating to provide a highly durable appeal. It is resistant to scratches and chips (homeowners can even erase micro-scratches easily with a damp towel and iron). The multilayer coating and acrylic resins also make soft touch laminate impervious to household cleaners and abrasion – and it is both antimicrobial and anti-fingerprint. Win-win-win-win!

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

PET is a high-quality polymer that is laminated to an MDF core, allowing you to achieve a vast array of design options while remaining durable and resistant to cracking, peeling, or flaking.

Thermo Structured Surface (TSS)

Looking for exquisite texture? TSS boards are created from decorative and kraft papers, which are then treated with special resins and exposed to incredible heat and pressure allowing it to become part of the panel itself. Do you desire a finish that looks and feels like wood? This alternative finish is a modern and affordable way to achieve that goal, without breaking the bank.

Specialty Materials

Options like aluminum frame cabinet doors are an elegant solution in contemporary and modern spaces. Available in a variety of finishes, they can also be fitted with glass, 3form, and custom inserts for a completely unique appeal. If you want the look of traditional hinges and hardware, you can achieve it easily. If you prefer a more discrete look, functional hardware can be effectively hidden


The cabinet door is an optimal “face” for your space. There is a wide variety of options for inserts such as glass, wire, mesh, and rattan or you can even opt for a full reeded panel. These additions to your cabinets suit many décor styles, bringing personality, texture, and flair to a space that perfectly aligns with your design aesthetic.

crafted with care

Cabinetry should never be an afterthought; it is a pivotal player in kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces. When form and function exist flawlessly together, the results are exceptional. 

MOX Cabinetry specializes in cabinetry with character. With the highest quality solutions on the market, MOX empowers you to enjoy the best of the best – and live with results you love year in and year out.

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