Though these two materials may have found a place in your home, they are definitely not interchangeable. Both are often used in building kitchens and modular furniture and like every other material, MDF and plywood come with their set of advantages and disadvantages. Given their frequency of use, we thought we’d give you a lowdown on the MDF vs Plywood comparison,. A little extra information never did any harm, right? Read on.

Let’s Start With MDF

MDF is medium-density fiberboard, which is basically engineered wood obtained by breaking down hardwood and softwood composites. Since an MDF board is made up of small wood fibres, there are no visible wood grains or knots. The fibres are joined together using wax to produce panels by applying pressure or high temperature.

Price starts at ₹34 per sq. ft.

Advantages of MDF Material

Now that we know what an MDF board is composed of, we are sure you want to know how good or bad it is.

  • MDF is generally cheaper when compared to plywood
  • The surface of an MDF board is very smooth and makes for a great base for painting
  • Thanks to the smooth edges, it is easy to cut and carve designs out of MDF
  • It is denser and stronger than a particle board
MDF vs Plywood- bookshelf
An MDF board is commonly used for bookshelves

Disadvantages of MDF Material

Like every other material, MDF also comes with its set of cons:

  • If not sealed well, MDF soaks up water and other liquids like a sponge and swells
  • Since MDF is a dense material, it is very heavy and difficult to deal with
  • Being made up of fine fibre, it does not hold screws very well
  • MDF easily suffers damages and sags if it is not handled with care

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A Case for Plywood

mdf vs plywood- plywood stacks
Plywood is veneer wood that is glued together

Like MDF, plywood is also engineered wood, made by binding veneer wood sheets together into one solid piece. Plywood sheets come in different grades, so you can choose the right one that suits your needs. Unlike MDF, plywood has visible wood grains, but is free of other imperfections. Low-grade plywood can be used in flooring at homes, while the higher-grade version is perfect for cabinets and shelves.

Price starts at ₹35 per sq. ft.

Advantages of Plywood

Plywood has a lot of advantages that you could consider while getting it installed at your home.

  • Made up of multiple layers of veneer, plywood is a tough material to use at home
  • It does not soak water and liquids like MDF. Thus, it is less susceptible to damage
  • Because of the grains that plywood has, it is easier to stain and thus makes for a great material for cabinets and tabletops
  • Since it is made up of layers, plywood holds screws tightly, as  each layer ensures better holding for the screw
  • This material comes in various designs and thicknesses
stacks of plywood
Plywood sheets are commonly used for outdoor projects

Disadvantages of Plywood

Before you jump to conclusions, let us tell you some of the disadvantages of plywood that you should consider before buying it:

  • Plywood is more expensive that MDF; and the higher the grade, higher the price
  • Since plywood shows layers on the surface, it has to be finished well with timber or decorative mouldings
  • It is difficult to create designs using plywood since it is difficult to get perfectly smooth cuts on it
  • Plywood splinters easily and the edges that have layers may have voids when not cut properly

Still a little baffled with facts? Here is a comparison chart between MDF vs Plywood. 

mdf vs plywood - comparison
Comparison Chart: MDF vs Plywood

The Verdict

So, between MDF vs plywood, which should you choose? Since MDF does not handle moisture well, it is not suitable for outdoor use. So use it indoors — as decorative panels or furniture. MDF is ideal for cutting, machining and drilling as it does not chip easily.

On the other hand, plywood is a much stronger material, which can be used for doors, floors, staircases and outdoor furniture. It is easier to create curved surfaces with plywood since it bends easily. Do you want to know about laminates or veneer? Then take a look at the article on Laminate vs Veneer that we wrote just for you.

How Can Livspace Help You?

We hope you found our ideas useful! If you want beautiful interiors for your home, then look no further. Book an online consultation with Livspace today. Delivering safe home interiors has been our No. 1 priority. Click here to find out how interiors are being delivered following all safety protocols.

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Courtesy: Design by Misha

Keep the comments and suggestions coming in at editor@livspace.com