What is MDF?
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product made from wood fibers (usually sawdust and wood-chip waste product) and a combination of wax and chemical binders. By applying high pressure and temperature, MDF is formed into panels. It can be used as a building material similar in application to plywood, though it is much more dense. It is widely known as an affordable option for contractors and homeowners alike.
Here’s what you should know:
- MDF does not hold nails or screws well. When screwing into the edge of a board, the wood is likely to split. Though MDF does not have any sort of face grain, a grain does exist going into the board.
- MDF and moisture do not get along. If not sealed in a humid environment, it will warp and swell.
- Most MDF contains urea-formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen, and other Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). There is evidence that workers exposed to the manufacturing of MDF have high rates of lung cancer, as well as nose and throat cancer. This is dangerous for you, and for the carpenters building your home. In fact, it was once labeled the asbestos of the ’90s! Remember linoleum? We haven’t heard that name in a while, either…
- MDF is not made to last. On impact, the material easily chips, especially on sharp edges and corners.
So why do big companies like MDF? It gets rid of their waste! MDF is garbage disguised as the real thing. Painted or veneered, it’s still junk.
Wood is a better option.
Take the time to look at real, renewable wood products as the best alternative to MDF. For example, Poplar is a smooth, tight-grain hardwood, known for its durability. It is a utility wood in nearly every sense. It is used for frames, crates, upholstered furniture frames, trim, and baseboards. Here are some reasons to consider Poplar for paint-grade trim:
- How much more does a wood option like Poplar cost? Not that much. Looking at smaller materials like baseboards and trim, Poplar on average runs $3-4 more than its particle board counterpart, MDF.
- Poplar trees grow incredibly fast. Because of this and the fact that Poplar can be harvested sustainably with relative ease, poplar is an eco-friendly choice for wood products. This species is not at risk of endangerment.
- Poplar is strong, stable, and resistant to warping
- Poplar can be stained to look like darker, more expensive wood. The wide range of stains and paints complimentary to poplar makes this material an ideal choice for many homes.
- It is much easier to sand and repair Poplar, as it comes in a variety of thicker profiles.
- Whether customizing or creating parts, Poplar makes it easy. By choosing Poplar for your trim, you are choosing to trim your home with a material you can trust, and quality you can count on. Real-wood accents deliver a look that lasts, keeping you and your family both healthy and happy – sustainably.
Durango Wood will provide the clarity you need.
When faced with the choice of either MDF or wood, look for natural woods like Poplar as your best alternative.