Advantages & Disadvantages of an MDF

Medium Density Fiber (MDF) is a building material used for construction purposes. It is made by the breakdown of hardwood and softwood with resins and wax to form wood fibers. It is much denser than the normal plywood board and came into being in late 1980s. It is mainly used for making closets and drawers.

contractor on construction site
credit: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Construction worker

Construction

Carpenter Sanding Wood
credit: Errol Brown/iStock/Getty Images
Young man sands down a piece of MDF to be paired with a particular varnish

MDF is very versatile in use and can be coated with any color of user's choice. The molecular level structure of MDF is such that color applied to MDF has a very good binding. It can take up a variety of paints like varnishes, water based paints or even oil based. However, the disadvantage of MDF is it can blunt sharp edges of construction equipment due to an extensive use of glue in its making.

Quality

Carpenter Sawing  Wood in Workshop
credit: Errol Brown/iStock/Getty Images
Carpenter cutting a piece of MDF

Unlike wood, MDF does not have knots and a grainy structure. This helps in easy cutting and fitting of this material. It can be drilled quite easily. On the down side, MDF can affect your health. Formaldehyde, used in its construction is released when MDF is cut. If you come in contact with it, it may lead to irritation in eyes and lungs. Hence, it is important to wear masks and goggles while cutting MDF.

Usage

Carpenter Making A Wall Unit
credit: Errol Brown/iStock/Getty Images
Carpenter uses wood glue to join two pieces of MDF together

This is the biggest plus point of MDF due to which it is used these days. It is very easy to put MDF to use. Wood glue can be used to join two pieces of MDF together. Pieces can also be connected very easily through nails. The flexibility accorded in its usage helps a lot in construction activities.

Reasons for Popularity

Carpenter Assembling Cabinet  In Workshop
credit: Errol Brown/iStock/Getty Images
Carpenter assembles a cabinet

Despite its downside, MDF is used prolifically. This is because its advantages outweigh its disadvantages by quite a margin. MDF can also be molded into different qualities as the fibers of MDF are very thin. You can do so by adding resins (UFP 1001) and additives.