Cabinet Doors for Coastal Climates

How do you make a cabinet door that will stay stable through wide seasonal humidity changes? August 19, 2008

My customer who lives at the beach would rather have the contemporary clean look of a veneered plywood cab door, but is thinking (as am I) that a floating panel would be more stable in foggy/sunny weather. So what is more stable: a shaker style recessed panel door, or veneered plywood door with edgebanding? Thanks for your thoughts.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
I don’t know if it is the shaker door, but I do know it definitely is not the plywood door with edgebanding. If you want a flat panel door go to veneer over MDF.

From contributor J:
Stay away from the edgebanded plywood. I saw a kitchen made like this that was less than a year old and kept in a fairly stable environment; the doors were warped beyond belief.

From contributor J:
I would absolutely use MDF with a balance veneer or backer sheet on the reverse of the door. Here in SC and coastal areas it's a major concern. Another issue is that the homeowners will not keep house climatized as the cost during vacancy is too high. We have had to really work on the disclaimer on this!

From the original questioner:
Thanks, that makes sense, and now that you remind me, the flat panel doors I've done have either been MDF or solid. Now for another question about solid wood edging on MDF panels - have any of you done this? The customer wouldn't want edge banding.

From contributor M:
Now you’re talking another ballgame. You just went from laid up MDF to banding MDF and then veneering, and if they’re looking at that, they’re also going to want grain match.

From contributor G:
It's the change in relative humidity that is the problem and this change in wood products is slower that what you might think. You still have to build as stated above. 95% of our jobs are located within three miles of the Sea of Cortez and the RH changes from 35% in winter to 90%+ in summer. I would go solid wood, mission or shaker style using Spanish cedar or mahogany.