What is MDF (Board/Wood) – Its Uses & What it is Made of

By: | March 29 , 2023

The market of engineered wood products used for making furniture and other items consists of plywood, particleboard, strand board, medium-density fiberboard, etc. The engineered wood to be discussed here is MDF. The basic question is what is MDF? Medium Density Fiberboard or MDF is a flat panel that is manufactured by gluing organic wooden fibers with resin and wax in a process that uses high temperature and pressure.

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Thus, the answer to the question of what is MDF board is that it is a dense engineered wood panel that is used as a building material for homes and commercial properties such as furniture and flooring.

Related Post: Engineered Wood vs Plywood vs MDF vs HDF

What are MDF boards made of?

The chief constituent of MDF is wooden fiber. The common question is what is MDF wood fiber? MDF wood fiber can be obtained from any species of wood or wood residues and agricultural wastes such as sawdust or wood shavings. Eucalyptus wood fibers are commonly used to impart moisture resistance properties to the MDF boards. The wood fibers are dehydrated before being used to make the boards.

The adhesive is another constituent of MDF boards. The adhesive used to bond the fibers is a synthetic resin. The commonly used synthetic resin is Urea Formaldehyde. Apart from the adhesive, paraffin wax and a preservative are also present in the MDF board. Paraffin wax is added either in melted form or as a dissolved form in mineral spirit. A preservative is added at the mixing stage of the adhesive. The preservative can either be Trichlorophenol or Sodium Pentachlorate.

What is the process?

The wooden fibers are mixed with resin and wax. The mixture is then heated to a very high temperature and pressed to form an MDF board. Modern technology used for the process ensures that the density of the MDF board is uniform. The technology also ensures that problems such as knots, twists, air pockets, bonding defects and graining issues are all eliminated from the MDF boards.

Machines finally sand the panels to impart a very smooth surface finish to them. The smooth surface finish makes them ideal for carving, painting, lacquering, veneering, etc. The panels are then cut into specified dimensions.

Related Post: Advantages and Disadvantages of MDF Board

Uses of MDF Board

The following points will enlighten you if you are wondering what is MDF used for.

  • Used in making Economical Furniture – MDF board is used to construct many types of inexpensive furniture such as bookshelves, entertainment centers, etc. It is also used in making pre-fabricated furniture. MDF lowers the cost of making furniture because it is economical and produced easily.
  • Easily transportable– Lightweight MDF boards that weigh less than conventional MDF boards are used to make things that need to be moved regularly. These include mobile homes, tradeshow booths, theater sets, etc.
  • Perfect for making cabinets– MDF board is commonly used to make interior cabinets in homes such as kitchen cabinets and shelving units. Wood laminates are commonly used to impart a natural wooden appearance to cabinets made of MDF.
  • Flexibility– Flexible MDF boards can be easily bent or curved into any desired shape. Such MDF boards are used to make things requiring significant curves or slopes.
  • Fire redundant– They have fire-retardant properties. This is why MDF boards are widely used in the construction of commercial buildings such as offices and shops which are required to meet certain safety standards. MDF boards are also used in the construction of homes for protection against fire.
  • Moisture-resistant– MDF boards are made of a special kind of resin that provides moisture resistance. Such MDF boards are used to make flooring, furniture, or other kinds of things used in damp environments such as kitchens or bathrooms. They can also be used as vapor barriers to prevent heat loss in homes.
  • Excellent choice for roofs-  MDF is also an excellent roofing material and is used to make a backing for shingles of roofs.
  • Great for external uses- MDF panels made of wood, phenolic resins, zinc borate, and water repellent are suitable for external usage. Such MDF panels do not contain urea-formaldehyde. They are resistant to moisture, rotting, and termites and are widely used for making external doors, signage, and other outdoor architectural products.
  • Can provide soundproofing– MDF has soundproofing properties. Hence, it is used for making speaker casings, walls of media rooms and apartment buildings, and floor underlayment to prevent sound from traveling through the floor.
  • Used in making Shelf panels–   MDF panels designed for display purposes are used to secure shelves displaying products in retail stores. Such panels have deep grooves.

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