How to tell if cabinets are real wood or laminate?

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Old 02-26-17, 02:46 PM
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How to tell if cabinets are real wood or laminate?

I'm planning to paint our kitchen cabinets and I need to determine weather they are real wood or laminate. When I run my hand on the doors however, they feel pretty rough in some spots, it's not smooth at all. The cabinet doors under the sink have sustained minor damage over the years, I can see through to the wood under. The sides of the cabinets however, are very smooth and look shiny and feel just slightly rougher than our laminate counters. Responses are welcome!
 
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Old 02-26-17, 03:38 PM
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Some pics might help.
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Old 02-26-17, 05:34 PM
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As said pictures would help. Most manufactured cabinets have two options for sides, plywood or furniture board/melamine.
The plywood will have real wood veneer with grain and visible layers on the ends. Furniture board will be smooth and might be a different color on the inside.
You can also look at the shelf pin holes, you can tell whether they were drilled in plywood or MDF.
 
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Old 02-27-17, 03:08 AM
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http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

For a long lasting paint job on cabinets proper prep and selection of coatings is critical - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/pa...t-repaint.html
 
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Old 02-27-17, 06:32 AM
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Cabinets

Inspect the top and bottom edges of the wall cabinets for clues.
 
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Old 02-27-17, 01:28 PM
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Name:  IMG_5401.jpg
Views: 9000
Size:  17.8 KB (Front of doors under sink, ignore the missing handles I was trying to determine the material via the screws)

Name:  IMG_5402.jpg
Views: 9091
Size:  28.5 KB (Up close of damage)

Name:  IMG_5404.jpg
Views: 8782
Size:  15.4 KB (Side of cabinet)

Name:  IMG_5405.jpg
Views: 8686
Size:  20.1 KB (Up close of side)
 
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Old 02-27-17, 02:01 PM
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Looks to be a mixture of solid wood and a wood veneer.
 
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Old 02-27-17, 04:07 PM
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Your cabinets are typical middle grade, which is OK. The door frame is solid maple, nice hardwood.
The door panels are 1/4" maple plywood.
The sides are what is called furniture board/particle board/MDF. It looks like 1/2" melamine and has the same look as melamine.

I will refer the painting and priming to others. The doors are real wood and can be painted or finished natural.
The side melamine has a very thin top layer and only needs cleaned, scuffed lightly and primed.
The melamine cannot be sanded aggressively, it's like paper.
 
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Old 02-27-17, 05:43 PM
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Just out of curiosity, IF i did aggressively sand it like wood i'm assuming the wood under would peak through, but wouldn't that provide a stronger bond of the paint?
 
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Old 02-28-17, 03:45 AM
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Melamine isn't real wood, it's a man made substance. No need to aggressively sand it. A scuff sanding is all that is needed. An oil base or pigmented shellac primer will adhere fine with just a scuff sanding. The only aggressive sanding you'll need to do is on the doors where the finish is peeling.
 
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Old 02-28-17, 05:09 PM
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Would there be a specific sandpaper grit for the sides?
 
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Old 03-01-17, 03:23 AM
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180 or 220 grit will work well for the sides. You'll need a coarser grit to smooth out the doors.
 
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Old 03-01-17, 04:06 PM
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Great! Thanks for all the input!
 
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