What is HDF? Everything You Need To Know

June 15, 2020

Move over, Solid Wood. There’s a new kid on the block.

HDF might not be the first material that comes to mind when you think of cabinet doors, but it's actually a great alternative to solid wood and might even be the superior choice for your kitchen project.

First of all: What is HDF?

High Density Fiberboard (HDF) is an engineered wood product composed of wood fiber extracted from chips and pulped wood waste, formed by glue under immense pressure and heat. When it comes to engineered wood, HDF is a step above MDF and plywood.

In fact, there’s even a step above HDF. Super-Refined HDF (SRHDF) is like HDF, but uses smaller chips and pulped wood waste which results in a stronger and more durable material. Both HDF and SRHDF have all of the attributes of solid wood, but unlike wood, they do not have any grain and resists cracking in temperature and humidity changes.

HDF Cabinet Door Styles


What are the benefits of HDF and SRHDF?

No Graining

Since HDF and SRHDF are made from very fine particles, there is no noticeable grain. Which results in a better and smoother finish for painting.

HDF cabinet doors, no grain

No Cracking

When you paint your solid wood cabinet doors, there is always a chance that paint can crack over time. Wood is an organic substance that expands and contracts when humidity levels rise and drop. And because of that movement, your painted cabinet doors can eventually crack where the panels meet the rails.

Paint Cracks On Solid Wood Cabinets

Unlike solid wood, HDF and SRHDF do not crack - even under severe fluctuations in temperature and humidity, completely maintaining the integrity of the finish.

No Paint Cracks On HDF Cabinet Doors

No Warping

Similar with cracking, wood has a tendency to warp when temperatures fluctuate. Which over time, causes unsightly gaps in your cabinetry. HDF, however, does not experience movement from expansion and contraction like traditional hardwoods do, so there's no warping.


HDF and SRHDF are great options for a kitchen on a budget. They are affordable, inexpensive options that are just as strong as wood with a similar look and feel.

Is HDF the right choice for you?

HDF and SRHDF are great alternatives to solid wood, but like any material, they are not perfect for every project. We recommend using HDF and SRHDF on indoor cabinetry only since they are not designed to handle outdoor weather. And it's also important to note that one of the biggest problems cabinetmakers have when working with HDF and SRHDF are the design options. Since they are routed on CNC machines, there are limitations and they can't be customized as easily as solid wood can.

As a cabinetmaker, it’s important to understand all materials and different types of cabinet doors so you can make the right choice for your project. And when it comes to cabinet doors, we highly recommend SRHDF. It’s an affordable option that offers a smoother finish with a higher resistance to changing temperatures.

See for yourself

Do you want to see this material for yourself? We don't blame you. At Ruck Cabinet Doors, we offer a wide selection of different wood species, including SRHDF. And since it's a relatively new product most cabinetmakers aren't familiar with, we like to give out sample boxes to really win you over.

If you want a sample box, head on over to our SRHDF 1-piece doors page and order your box today to get a feel for this great material.

What Is HDF? Sample Box

Want to know more? We are here to help. Contact us with any questions on SRHDF and we’d be happy to answer.

The doors are ready when you are.

Explore Door Styles Now

We think you'll also like...

What Is Conversion Varnish? Everything You Need To Know

Conversion Varnish is one of the best (if not the best) finishes that can be applied to cabinet doors and wood in general. But what makes it so great? Let's take a closer look at what exactly it is and the advantages and disadvantages of using it. What is conversion varnish and how is it […]

Read More
Finish In The Shop Vs. Finish On Site - What's Better For Cabinets?

When you're a cabinetmaker you have 2 choices when it comes to finishing: Finish the cabinets in the shop or finish on the job site. Go up to any cabinetmaker and I'm sure you'll get strong opinions on the matter. It's a hot topic, for sure. But is one better than the other? Is quality […]

Read More
The Best Woods To Use For Painted Cabinets

Some woods like paint and some don't. Here's a quick rundown of which woods to use and which ones to avoid if you're painting your cabinets. The best woods for painted cabinetry: 1. Soft Maple Despite its name, Soft Maple is actually considered to be a hard wood when it comes to density (harder than […]

Read More


Stay up to date with the latest advice and insights to help grow your cabinet business.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram