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 breakdown on the MDF vs plywood comparison.

Let’s Start With MDF

MDF is also known as medium-density fiberboard

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 and high temperature.

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, to help you select between MDF vs plywood.

  • MDF is generally more economical when compared to plywood
  • The surface of an MDF board is very smooth and homogeneous which makes it a great base for painting
  • Thanks to the smooth edges, it is easy to cut and carve grooves out of MDF
  • Compared to plywood, it’s much lighter. Therefore, it’s a great material for window shutters

Disadvantages of MDF Material

Like every other material, MDF also comes with its set of cons. Knowing the disadvantages will help you differentiate between MDF board and plywood:

  • If not sealed well, MDF soaks up water and other liquids like a sponge and swells

Where to Use?

Since MDF is very lightweight, it’s best used as a material for window shutters. Additionally, due to its homogeneous nature, grooves and designs can be easily created on its surface.

MDF Unit Designs for Your Home

Before you decide whether you should go for MDF or plywood, check out these images:

You can also use MDF for your wardrobe
MDF jaali can transform the look of your pooja room

A Case for Plywood

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 with resin. Plywood sheets come in different grades, so you can choose the right one that suits your needs. Based on the type of resin used, the water-resistant abilities of plywood changes.

Advantages of Plywood

Plywood has a lot of advantages that you should consider while deciding between MDF vs plywood:

  • 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
  • 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

Disadvantages of Plywood

Before you decide between ply vs MDF, let us tell you some of the disadvantages of plywood:

  • Plywood is more expensive that MDF; and the higher the grade, higher the price
  • 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

Where to Use?

Being water-resistant with a strong core, plywood’s best use is as carcass for kitchen cabinets and wardrobes.

Plywood Unit Designs for Your Home

Here are some plywood unit designs to help you differentiate between MDF vs plywood:

Still a little baffled with facts? Here is a comparison chart showing you the differences between MDF and plywood: 

DefinitionA fragmented and
homogeneous blend
of hardwood and
softwood residue
Thin veneer sheets
glued together
with resin
CostLess expensiveMore expensive
StrengthSofter coreStronger core
Where to usePlaces with low
water exposure. Due
to its lightweight
nature, it’s the perfect
material for window shutters
Due to its
water-resistant nature
and strong core, ply
is best used as carcass

Cost Factor

When it comes to plywood and MDF price, MDF is generally more economical than ply.


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. Additionally, you can also use it as window shutters due to its lightweight nature.

On the other hand, plywood is a much stronger material, which can be used for doors, floors, staircases, wardrobes and outdoor furniture. Also, being water-resistant, it serves as a great carcass material for kitchen cabinets.

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?

  • With 146 quality checks, we guarantee the best of materials for your home
  • Our designers are experts at guiding you with the right selection of materials

If you want beautiful interiors for your home, then look no further. Book an online consultation with Livspace today.

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