MDF or medium density fibreboard is a construction material that is made of wood fibres and resin binders. These two elements are mixed under high temperature and pressure to create the strong MDF construction material.
Urea formaldehyde is commonly used as the resin binder. This type of MDF is made with white melamine surfaces bonded to both its sides, and this makes it non-porous. The material comes in different sheet sizes, thickness ranges and finishes. There are two grades of white faced MDF:
- Standard – This grade is made of durable resin, but it can still soak up water. It has melamine bonded to its sides. Standard MDF should be used in places that don’t contain a lot of moisture or humidity.
- Moisture resistant – This one is made of hardwearing white melamine surfaces bonded to both sides. Moisture resistant resin is used as the resin in this grade of MDF. You can use this type of MDF for interior applications in places with high moisture and humidity.
Advantages of White MDF
- It is inexpensive in comparison to other alternatives like plywood.
- It has a smooth surface that is good for painting.
- It is easy to clean and maintain. You only need to wipe it and it will regain its clean and attractive appearance.
- It is resistant to stains, chemicals and even scratches.
This type of MDF has to be adequately sealed on all sides. Otherwise, it can soak up water and swell. If you live around the northwest, UK, you can also order specially prepared flame retardant MDF. Since they make and sell the material directly, you will also get the MDF at a better price.
What Are the Disadvantages of MDF?
This construction material has a few disadvantages as well. Here are some of them:
- Although it doesn’t stain easily, it can still get some stains. When this happens, you will have a tough time cleaning it since the stains soak up in the material.
- If it is not sealed well on all sides, it will easily get damaged by water and other liquids.
- It doesn’t hold screws well since it is smooth.
- Working with white MDF is difficult since the material is very heavy.
- It contains volatile organic compounds that can be very dangerous to your health. These are released to the atmosphere when you cut and sand the material.
This material is best used for indoor applications. It is used in the making of:
- Built-in cupboards and wardrobes
- Wall linings
- Indoor furniture
Items made using this type of MDF should not be over-exposed to humid conditions.
White faced MDF and plywood are commonly used in the making of furniture and other wooden units. MDF is preferred for its lower cost and the fact that it doesn’t stain quickly. It also has smoother surfaces that can be painted easily. MDF is very strong as a construction material, but it should be cleaned regularly since stains can soak into it. Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining the smooth surfaces is a simple job.