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Which cabinet door construction to select??

Posted by icspotz (My Page) on
Tue, May 6, 08 at 18:10

We're building a vacation home in the foothills of southern Virginia. While shopping for cabinetry, I've been told that a solid wood slab door is a bad idea (as is solid wood flooring) because of the seasonal temperature variations experienced by an unoccupied home (to save on energy costs, we will certainly keep heating and cooling to a minimum during our absences).

Is this a valid concern both for cabinetry as well as solid wood flooring? Would we truly be better off with wood veneer and engineered wood flooring as I've been hearing?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!


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RE: Which cabinet door construction to select??

I'm not very familiar with the climate in your area. Relative humidity is the critical factor. RH is typically fairly steady outdoors, but indoor humidity tends to be lowered when you heat or cool the space. The more extreme the outdoor temperatures are, the more your indoor air will tend to dry out when you flip on the heat or AC to make the house comfortable. When the RH drops the wood will shrink, only to re-expand when you switch the climate controls off.

I would shy away from solid wood slab doors, and if you were going to use frame and panel doors then I'd steer you away from mitered corner joints in those. Veneered slab doors should be okay, as should solid wood frame and panel doors with non-mitered corners. For flooring, a lot depends on the look you're going for. If you want a smooth and unbroken floor with planks tightly butted together without gaps then I'd think an engineered flooring would be a better choice. If you were going for a more rustic appearance where small gaps between the floorboards would be acceptable then I'd think solid wood flooring could work just fine.


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