Manufactured wood products known as substrates are hidden behind laminate, vinyl film, or wood veneers. Here are the various types used:
- Particleboard is made from wood particles mixed with resin and bonded by pressure. It serves as the base for most cabinetry covered with laminate and vinyl film. New technology and improved resins make particleboard a strong, reliable building material. In poor grades, though, hinges and other fasteners tend to fall out; and particleboard that's too thin will buckle or warp under the weight of kitchen gear.
- Medium-density fiberboard is a high-quality substrate material made from smaller fibers than particleboard. It offers superior screw-holding power, clean edges, and an extremely smooth surface. In addition, its edges can be shaped and painted.
- Plywood is made by laminating thin layers of wood to each other with the grain at right angles in alternate plies. Varying the direction of the grain gives plywood equal strength in all directions. The layers are bonded with glue under heat and pressure. Thinner plywood is typically used on cabinet backs; thicker plywood forms the sides.