My wife and I are trying to decide on the two styles of construction...durability and cost are the major factors.

What are some other pros/cons of each?

One pro/con we've been struggling with... At our local big box hardware store, the designer there helping us tells us that frameless cabinets (such as at IKEA) are not as high quality. Also, b/c they are generally made with particleboard (with a veneer finish) and the hinges mount directly to the cabinet box. If the mounting area of the wood gets damaged, you essentially have to get a whole new cabinet box. And if that happens to be a base cabinet where counters will sit on top of, that will be a difficult swap out.

On front face cabinets, the hinges are mounted to the front face frame. If the wood at the hinge fastening is damaged, you can just replace the front face frame.

  • I fixed it so that it is only addressing the pros/cons – milesmeow Jun 21 '16 at 17:07

The particle board cabinets are cheap. If you ever have a leak in the sink they swell up and start falling apart in a very short time. The cabinets that are made out of particleboard usually do have the hinges screwed into the face when the particle board breaks there is no way to really fix it to look good (without repainting /or a new veneer- Cut the damaged area out put in new wood and a reinforcement on the back side). The cheap particle board cabinets will look nice for a while but not last like plywood. Several weeks ago I was in a house that I helped remodel over 35 years ago with my father. These are solid plywood with birch or oak veneer, My aunt said they did have to replace the hinges (self closer) as they had worn out. They also sanded and added a new coat of varnish. the cabinets look great other than being "style dated". I know over the years I have removed quite a few bathrooms and kitchen cabinets that had gotten wet that were made out of particle board. There have been a few that the owners just wanted all new looks that were plywood (many of these I used in my shop & friends garages). If durability is a concern don't even think of particle board. if you have Pre-teens don't even think of particle board. If you are an older couple (no kids at home) and the budget is more of a concern Particle board may be ok. This is my opinion others may disagree but I rarely see 20+ year old bathroom cabinets out of particle board and many times the "sink area" in kitchens has been damaged in much less time.


You have two questions.

  • Are face-frame cabinets easier to repair than front-face (Euro style) cabinets?
  • Is particle-board harder to repair than solid wood?

The answers to these questions may be different.

But how often does this happen?

This has never happened to me. I've kicked a hole in an oak door, the hinges were not affected at all. I guess it might be a problem if you have large children who like to climb up your open kitchen doors? I guess it might happen if you run into an open door and fall over it.

Also, can we use wood filler in the area that the particleboard is damaged?

It might not make a strong repair if a large area has been torn out. If in doubt, I'd consider relocating the hinge, there are tools for making the required recess/hole.

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