Exterior Cabinetry Materials Choices

Cabinetmakers suggest woods, synthetic materials, and finishes for cabinets exposed to the elements under cover. February 21, 2011

I have been getting more and more requests for outdoor cabinetry. For the most part everything is undercover (roof) but with open walled sides with screen - exposure to the elements but not directly. For those of you that are experienced in this area, which case material, door style, wood and finish should I use? I even worry about drawer box construction as well. I want it to last.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
I use teak and mahogany on boats all the time. Coating: 2kPoly or any marine finish will do. Long dry times on the marine coating and it will need to be maintained.

From contributor G:
I second the 2k poly, and teak, oak, mahogany, jarrah, ipe and black locust, are all great outdoors wood. You can use softer woods as well cedar and redwood to name a couple. If the cabinets are really exposed to the weather you could use marine plywood and dress them up with frame and panel exteriors made from the solids mentioned above. You can also use ship lapped redwood or tong and groove stuff with end caps on the exteriors too.
Use stainless steel screws or galvanized deck screws for construction on the cabs.

From contributor W:
You can use any wood, even veneer. The finish should use the outdoor material. If you don't have any problem with yellowing color, the spar varnish is a good choice. If yellowing is not allowed then you should choose the non yellowing material. An outdoor PU is good material.

From contributor R:
We have made lots of outdoor cabinetry in Oceanfront community. We have used cedar and marine plywood. I have a couple of these projects currently and I plan on using the thermally heated wood doors from Conestoga. It is fairly new item-the poplar looks like very nice walnut with the color changes caused by the heat process. We have typically used marine ply for the boxes (it has an okume facing) and cedar or teak for doors (sometimes talk clients into dark stain and use cedar strips around plywood door for shaker look). For finish we use ML Campbell Euro X spray or oiled finish. The oilk is a whole lot cheaper but does require annual work. The Euro X last for a number of years in harsh enviroment.