The woodworking world is replete with different types of materials you can fiddle with, some of which are engineered, while others are found in nature. Medium-density fiberboard, for example, is one of the engineered wood products you can work with. It has grown in popularity since it was first introduced large scale in the 1980s. This engineered wood is produced by breaking down softwood and hardwood residuals into component wood fibers using a defibrator.
These broken-down wood residuals are formed into MDF by adding wax with the help of a resin binder under high pressure and temperature. Afterward, the cooling process begins using a star dryer. Then, MDF panels get trimmed and sanded. In some instances, these panels get laminated for additional strength. MDF, of course, is dense. It is denser than plywood. Besides, it is much denser and more robust than particleboard. Nevertheless, it has similar applications to plywood.
12 Types of Medium-Density Fiberboards
If you intend to use MDF for your woodworking projects, it will be best to know its different types to enable you to choose the best type for your projects. To fill you in on the different types of MDF, you can check the following MDF types:
1) Regular MDF
Regular MDF is the least expensive among the different types of MDF. It is also the most common type. It is around ten-millimeter thick and is best for use indoors where the humidity level is relatively constant and less variable.
Regular MDF has a very low Modulus of Elasticity, implying that it doesn’t tolerate bending. Thus, it is very stiff. Moreover, it breaks with ease. It also does not undergo any treatment. As such, it is not moisture-resistant or more durable than treated MDF.
Chipboard is similar to laminated boards because both underwent the same manufacturing processes of heating and assemblage at a very high temperature. They differ, however, in their forms. The chipboard doesn’t have the fireboard layers bonded together. Instead, its wood particles are simply stuck together using resin.
Thus, you can’t expect the chipboard to be reliable compared to the laminated board. Nevertheless, it is cheaper because it requires less time to manufacture. You can paint the chipboard to give it more style.
Recently, many furniture manufacturers have been using chipboard for their furniture. Companies like IKEA have seen a spike in using chipboard for their furniture.
3) OBS Board
OBS gets manufactured from strands of softwood compressed and bonded using water-resistant resins. Thus, it is an ideal material for use in the bathroom because it is resistant to moisture. You can use this MDF type in areas where appearance doesn’t matter much.
Thus, it gets often found in areas that are not immediately visible to the onlookers. Moreover, it gets often used at the bottom of beds or wardrobes’ back parts.
4) Colored MDF
If you are a designer or an architect, you might love to work with colored MDF. Colored MDF substrate offers architects, designers, and woodworkers varied colored substrates for enhancing their projects.
Colored MDFs have recently gained popularity for interior decoration and furniture. Of course, you can also tinge with color the regular MDF. Yet, the colored MDF gets already treated with shades. It carries an appealing look that is ideal for use in kitchen cabinets.
5) Moisture Resistant MDF
You will also find MDF treated to become more water resistant. Moisture-resistant MDF is perfect for use in areas with high humidity. The moisture-resistant MDF is usually colored green because of the green dye.
But it is not the green dye that provides it with a high level of water resistance. It is a distinctive color to distinguish moisture-resistant MDF from other types of MDF. You can use this MDF in areas characterized by moist conditions.
Hardboard is not entirely considered an MDF because it is very dense and does not fall under medium-density boards. Its manufacturing process requires higher temperatures and pressure to produce the more rigid board. It features a smooth surface and a rough surface.
It is not too thick and is best for back areas or parts of furniture. It also gets used for drawer bottoms. You can also use it for making boxes and flooring.
7) Fire-rated MDF
Since building regulations require using fire-rated MDF, manufacturers of MDF have produced fire-rated MDF. It is best for use in areas with a high risk of fire. The fire-rated MDF is usually treated with fire-retardant chemicals to retard the spread of fire.
8) Laminated MDF Board
You will also find laminated MDF with melamine on both sides. This MDF is usually five millimeters in thickness. You can also find this MDF in several colors and thicknesses. The melamine may also mimic the texture and color of other woods. Besides, it can be waterproofed or standard.
Laminated boards are hardboards. They are durable and robust. They consist of several thinner boards wrought in wood fibers, created under intense heat and pressure. Because of their remarkable strength and durability, they get often used for larger furnishings.
9) Veneered MDF Board
Another excellent type of MDF is the veneered MDF Board. It features a natural wood-looking board. It may come with decorative wood patterns, allowing you to be more creative in your woodworking projects. One downside of its use is you can only utilize this MDF in areas with gradual curves because it may crack if you use it on steep curves.
Veneered MDF is usually around 16mm in thickness. Yet, it may also come in various thicknesses, designs, and patterns. Besides, you will find waterproof veneered MDF. It is perfect for making furniture.
10) Post-formed MDF
Post-formed MDF comes with reliefs on each side of the board. The reliefs get rendered during the heat pressing process, wherein the heat press comes with reliefs for creating the desired shapes. Post-formed MDF is a plinth piece with both sides having melamine.
You can use this type of MDF for furniture doors and interior doors. You can also find the post-formed MDF in regular, fireproof, and waterproof versions.
11) Exterior-grade MDF
Exterior grade MDF is manufactured for external applications. It has higher strength and density, making it more durable and stronger than ordinary MDF. This MDF is perfect for outdoor applications. It gets treated with additives and chemicals that make it more resistant to moisture and other external elements like fungi and termites.
12) No-added Formaldehyde MDF
The No-added Formaldehyde MDF comes with the lowest level of formaldehyde content. It is perfect for those who hate being exposed to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, of course, is a compound that is toxic to humans. Thus, if you want to use MDF but are wary of its urea formaldehyde content, it will be best to choose this type of MDF.
Formaldehyde is a colorless and odorless chemical compound consisting of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. It can cause skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritations. If you inhale it, it can cause the narrowing of your bronchi and fluid accumulation in your lungs. It can also cause corrosive injury to your pharynx, epiglottis, stomach, and esophagus. Besides, it can cause cancer.
MDF gets categorized into three types: High-density MDF, Standard grade MDF, and lightweight MDF. The standard grade MDF is wrought in wood fibers along with synthetic adhesive and resin, forming the MDF. Lightweight MDF, on the other hand, is similar to standard MDF.
Nevertheless, it is slightly weaker than the standard MDF and is lighter. High-density MDF comes with more wood fibers packed into this board. It is also packed with better-quality fibers, allowing this MDF to maintain a smooth and clean finish compared to standard and light-grade MDF.
After reading this post, you will be familiar with the different types of MDF. This way, you can select the ideal MDF type for your upcoming woodworking projects. As you see, MDF comes in various types, and choosing the best for your woodworking projects will help you come up with better results.