When to Use MDF and When Not to



Whatever your DIY project – kitchen remodelling or simply creating some bespoke furniture, it can be difficult to decide which material to use that will be budget friendly whilst ensuring your masterpiece will last the distance.

MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard)is an extremely versatile product and has many benefits when you know how to use it to maximum effect. There are some situations where MDF is preferable to natural wood and there are of course times when solid wood is the best option.

Benefits of MDF

The advantages of MDF are numerous when compared to alternatives like solid wood. Here are some of the benefits of MDF:

  • Stability – unlike solid wood MDF does not warp or crack.
  • Price – MDF is significantly cheaper than solid wood.
  • Green – as MDF is made from recycled wood, you can be sure you are doing your bit for the environment.
  • Finish – due to the smooth surface, MDF allows for an immaculate painted finish.
  • Size – MDF is readily available in much larger sizes than solid wood, providing more options for bigger pieces and projects.
  • Variety – there are lots of board types and a range of thickness to choose from, making it easy to select just the right type for your DIY project.

When to Use MDF

There are some DIY projects that would benefit from the use of MDF as the popular choice. This is where MDF makes its mark in the DIY world!

Painted Finish

Painted Finish To Your Furniture Piece

If you are intending to have a painted finish to your furniture piece, cabinets or doors, MDF is the best choice. Unlike solid wood, the surface does not have a noticeable grain and is free from knots. Therefore, the smooth surface makes painting easy and creates a seamless finish.

Custom Design

If you are looking for a unique style and finish, MDF is the perfect option. Due to its structure, MDF can be customised in countless ways without causing damage. Therefore, it is easy to cut and drill MDF boards to meet your specific design requirements.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

As mentioned above, MDF doesn’t crack or warp in response to temperate and humidity making it a more durable material for use in rooms where these elements vary, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Though, it is important to purchase a suitable water resident board to ensure durability.

Grand Scale Designs

DYI projects requiring large pieces without joinswill be best suited to MDF as the material. Available in larger sizes than solid wood, MDF provides increased options for bigger designs.

When Not to Use MDF

There are certain situations where MDF just doesn’t quite fit the bill and in these circumstances, you are best avoiding MDF and opting for good old natural wood.

Natural Look

If you are looking to achieve a natural or rustic style, MDF is not the material to use. You will only achieve this look by using natural timber in all its many forms, colours and patterns.

Stained Finish

MDF cannot be stained, so if you desire this effect, solid wood should be your material of choice. With many stain options available, you can create the effect you want without much difficulty.


If you are creating your masterpiece to sell and make a profit, you may be likely to make more when using solid wood. This is because it tends to have more value and it’s even recommended to use solid wood furniture to boost the sale of your home!


Solid wood is found outside in nature and so it won’t surprise you to know that it is the best option to choose for outdoor furniture or structures. Whilst it will require regular maintenance with the right wood treatment, you will get far more durability from it than if you were to use MDF.

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Preeti Shah is a person who loves checking out different styles and designs of houses. She took interior designing in college and is practicing in the field of home improvement for five years now. In her spare time, she is usually searching the web for interesting and fascinating home designs.



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