1. Are any of the CNC doormakers doing a good enough job to emulate a 5-piece flat-panel or raised panel door, with the corners done sharply (in MDF)? Or sharp enough to satisfy most buyers of painted wood cabinets?
2. If such doors were available, would they be cost-effective for painted face framed inset fronts work?
3. How would such doors behave in regard to seasonal movement, as compared to their all-wood counterparts?
4. Would one invest more time and therefore expense in finishing them, as compared to wood?
5. How about the comparison of finishing materials cost versus wood? Are more coatings required? Higher cost materials?
6. And for flat-slab drawer fronts, why not MDF in place of wood?
From contributor J:
1. Yes, they can look very similar and most customers would not know the difference. Some, however, will and you just need to be honest and tell them what they are getting so if they have a problem with the MDF you can offer the alternative.
2. They can be, but only you know your costs and only you can determine whether they can be more cost effective. I know there are several companies with CNC now that are offering MDF doors starting at about 10 dollars a door.
3. They are very stable and will move and warp much less on average than wood.
4. Not in my experience. But it can depend on the particular type of MDF used, as some tend to look better than others with fewer coats.
5. No. In my experience they end up being the same.
6. Indeed, why not? You may need to sand the end grain more on MDF.
In the end they may be a viable option in many situations. The key is to be up front and state what material you are using and why. Then you don't have anything to worry about after the fact.
Here is another kitchen using the same doors. The advantage is that there are never any cracks where the panel meets the frame, as it is all one piece.