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MDF as the perfect material for your interior needs : Its advantages and disadvantages

When it was first founded and still developing, many people hesitated to question the reliability of Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF) as a furniture material for their area. Most of them still hold on to the assumption that MDF is less durable than solid wood. These assumptions are partially baseless, as MDF is constructed differently from solid wood. Due to its composition, made of wood fibers glued together with resin, this material's characteristics are more fragile than solid wood, as solid wood has no hollow spaces inside it.

Does using MDF as a solid wood alternative offer no advantages compared to using good old solid wood? Below, we will review together all the advantages and disadvantages of using MDF for our furniture!

The Pros

  • Harder to crack: MDF's structure is different from solid wood, as MDF is a collection of wood fibers pressed together and engineered to specific points to enhance its capability and performance. When solid wood and MDF are bent, MDF won't crack like solid wood typically does. Instead, MDF material will only bend and warp. This alternative is highly sought after as a furniture material because of its higher moisture resistance when coated with a protective finish.

  • Affordable and more accessible to obtain: The economic value of MDF material is much more accessible to a wide range of markets. This is because the manufacture of MDF material utilizes leftover wood chips from other wood-related activities. Therefore, the primary materials needed to produce MDF are recycled and don't cost much to acquire.

  • High durability and unmatched versatility: Certain chemicals added in the processing steps to enhance MDF's performance make it more resistant to insects than ordinary solid woods. MDF can also be engineered to be more moisture-resistant, as it is easier to add chemicals to its resin mixture and laminate onto its smooth surface compared to solid wood, which has a more pronounced grain and texture and doesn't require a resin mixture for binding. Its smooth surface also gives MDF a higher ability to accept and retain color when painted, resulting in modified MDF having a finished look similar to natural wood.

The Cons

  • Excessive production of VOCs and dust: During manufacturing, MDF produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the air. These VOCs can be harmful to human health when inhaled. They can lead to respiratory problems, headaches, and nausea. Dust is also a significant issue in MDF production. Unlike regular dust, the dust produced during the manufacturing process of MDF typically contains formaldehyde, a harmful toxin that can cause asthma and bronchitis.

  • Strength: As durable as MDF can be, it will never be as strong as solid wood. This is why furniture made of this material generally has a shorter lifespan than that of solid wood. MDF is not designed to withstand extreme stress; it may either crack or split when subjected to loads beyond its capacity.

Each of these materials, both solid woods and MDF, is crafted to cater to your specific furniture needs and usage. If you are on a tight budget but still want to decorate your space as stylishly as possible with a variety of choices and high-quality MDF boards, be sure to check out our carefully curated MDF catalog on PT. Sumatera Prima Fibreboard (


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