MDF or medium-density fibreboard is an engineered-wood, made of wooden particles glued together with an adhesive. This product has been replacing the use of wood in furniture and modular products. Some tell us that it is a low-grade material that breaks easily under pressure or swells when exposed to water. And many a time, its durability and shelf life have come into question.

Despite being economical and widely-used, it has somehow earned the reputation of being an inferior-quality material in the Indian market. Yet, opposing this belief, many homeowners with MDF furniture or modular kitchens and wardrobes are happy about the end result. Here are 5 things you should know!

#1: Material Matters

MDF

MDF is made of recycled wood, so basically, small wooden particles are glued together with resin and compressed at high temperatures. However, this is not of inferior-quality as its engineered but is better than wood as it doesn’t have knots or blemishes. Carpenters feel these are low-quality as they need specialised tools to work on them, and with traditional tools, it will easily chip.

Moisture Resistance

MDF

Any wood, when exposed to water, can expand. This is the normal trait of wood and is not specific to MDF alone. Also, unless your sink or countertop is of MDF, there is no way how water can reach the cabinets. Thus, where furniture or cabinets are near water sources, moisture-resistant (MR) or boiling water-resistant (BWR) material is used. Also, MDF is not used directly in a modular kitchen and is accompanied by a laminate or membrane finish. Thus, when it is properly sealed on all ends, you won’t have to worry about it being exposed to water.

MDF doesn’t handle weight well

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Yes, MDF cannot withhold a lot of weight when compared to plywood or normal wood. However, it can easily withstand 50-60 kgs of weight. We’re sure you won’t be applying 50-60 kgs of weight on a single cabinet. Hence, there is no need to worry about the weight MDF can hold. So if your cabinets happen to fall off, then it’s possible that the carpenter has not fastened it properly to the wall.

Prone to Normal Wear ‘n Tear

MDF

Every material has its wear and tear and MDF is no exception. Even the best quality of plywood doesn’t have more than 10 years of warranty. Unless you take care of the modular furniture well, it won’t last long. In the earlier points, we’ve already covered the water issue and the instance of it sagging. So, apart from this, we’re sure you wouldn’t have other problems.

Is it carcinogenic?

MDF

Another pressing concern is that one of the resins used to bind MDF is formaldehyde. And when carpenters work on the materials, the sawdust carries the carcinogen in the air affecting the health of people. However, in factory-finished products, this is not an issue as sawdust doesn’t enter your home premises. Also, when the ends are sealed properly, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Quick Fact Checker

MDF

Now that you know there is no reason to fear MDF, give your home the desired look without burning your pockets. Here are more options you can consider for your kitchen.

— editor@livspace.com

**Prices mentioned are indicative of market rates and can vary based on location, quality and brand.