Plywood vs. Melamine Drawer Construction

If you are looking for melamine drawers, plywood drawers, or deciding which type of material to construct your cabinetry from, this post will help.  Kitchen and bathroom drawer construction has multiple materials that can be used to make long lasting, beautiful drawers. Two of the most used drawer construction materials are Melamine and plywood. Both types of material feature products manufactured by compressing wood that forms a solid board. Both Melamine and Plywood have particular advantages that make drawer manufacturers and homeowners choose one or the other. Let’s take a closer look at plywood vs. melamine drawer construction.

Basic Information About Plywood & Melamine Drawer Construction

The follow are things to keep in mind with regards to the strength, weight, cost, density, and environmental impact of both plywood and melamine.

Construction Process Of Materials

Melamine is pressed wood or particleboard that is covered with a plastic coating. Plywood in contrast is solid sheets of wood that have been pressed together with their grains set in opposing directions to increase strength. These materials can break or crack under pressure, but do not split. Either are suitable for drawer construction.

Environmental Safety

Both melamine and plywood contain some small concentration of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical which is made up from carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Both melamine and plywood formaldehyde levels are increased with the application of glue, but can be made with moisture resistant products that make it safe and conform to both European, Japanese, and American standards for safety.

Material Finishes

Melamine is made from the same type of resin that Formica is made from. Melamine being a resin that dries smooth it is perfect for drawer construction because it offers a ready to use surface. It is easy to clean without the need to spend more time with staining or painting the surfaces. Because plywood has more of a natural wood surface it can be prone to defects, knotholes, and rougher surfaces that need to be finished before the drawer can be installed. Because the plywood typically has a visible grain pattern time is also spent trying to make sure that the grain patterns are all going in the same direction.

Production Process

Plywood for drawer construction can be a bit simpler than making them from melamine. It is easier to cut plywood to length because the material is less dense. It is also easier to assemble plywood drawers because the nails and screws go in easier. Plywood drawers are a bit lighter which can be an asset depending on the drawer hardware that will be used. The cutting of melamine is do with CNC routers and is fairly easy. Care must be exercised to not chip the surface of the boards.

Plywood offers a finish and wood grain pattern that many homeowners love. It has the warmth of wood and they love the sight of knots and grain in their cabinet drawers. Other home owners love nothing more than solid colored drawers and complete uniformity. It is really up to the homeowner which style fits their preferences better.

Which Drawer Construction Material Is Best?

When you are deciding between plywood and melamine for a drawer material the choice really is hard. They both have their benefits and it comes down to if you want to be able to see a wood grain in your drawers or if you would prefer a solid color finish that is totally uniform through your kitchen. Melamine is cost effective, easy to clean, and beautiful while plywood has the warmth of wood grain which can make a kitchen feel more custom and one of a kind.


Custom Drawer Construction

Drawer Connection, Inc. has a wide variety of materials, finishes, and hardware to make your kitchen or bathroom drawers exactly how you want them. With options for melamine, plywood, and other composite materials we can fill any order and help finish your project the way you want it done.