I really want to replace our overwrought, baroque cabinet doors with flat panel doors. I want them to look good but I actually like the look of plywood.

It seems from what I've read like I have to use some kind of manufactured wood for that or it will warp. I've been looking at formaldehyde free maple or birch ply and wondering if that would be a good fit. I think I'm looking for A-grade maple ply, right?

The uppers are 30" high, the lowers are 23" high. The largest door is 30 x 21.

The existing doors use hinges that just require two bores in the door and can line up on the cabinet frame pretty easily, so I'm not worried about getting the hinges right. (and I already know I need a hinge cutter forstner bit and jig).

What else should I be concerned about?

  • What size are your doors. I deal with plywood cabinets all the time. Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 23:10
  • Updated with dimensions. The largest door is ~30x21. The smallest is 15 x 15
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 12:50
  • Update ... I put the doors in over a year ago and they definitely warped a bit over time, but not so dramatically that I couldn't force them back into flat with some well placed catches.
    – Amanda
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Your main concern is the wood warping. I've used plywood for cabinet doors in the past and they have all warped to one degree or another.

Your best bet might be getting marine ply which is designed to withstand moisture and hence less liable to warping.

If you can get a thicker ply (7 or 9 ply perhaps) then this will also minimise the amount it will bend.

  • How much warpage will be a problem depends on how large the doors are. Large full height pantry doors will warp some no matter what you use, the more common 2x3 foot doors will be fine with quality plywood. The other issue would be how the edges are finished.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 23:03
  • I'm looking at Appleply, and I decided to pay someone with a woodshop and a drill press to cut and bore for me.
    – Amanda
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 16:38
  • 1
    Plywood is made from many types of wood and in many different grades. All wood products will move a bit with temperature and moisture but high-quality plywood should be very stable (much more than "regular" wood). Marine-grade plywood is much more expensive than even high-grade normal plywood and probably isn't worthwhile unless the kitchen is underwater.
    – Hank
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 23:54

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