Difference Between MDF And Plywood | MDF Vs Plywood


Wood has been gaining popularity in the construction business for many years now. New construction methods and new possibilities in the use of timber have emerged quickly in response to concerns about sustainability and building carbon footprints.

The adaptability of wood is the driving force for its extensive use. Wood can be used in various project stages and with varying degrees of processing and finishing, from boards to beams, flooring, and even thermal and acoustic tiles and insulators.

The use of boards in furniture, wall coverings, ceilings, and even flooring is a cost-effective and practical means of incorporating wood into structures.

There are various types of wooden boards on the market, each with its own production method comprising fibers, particles, fragments, or sheets, resulting in varied applications.


Although MDF and Plywood both have a role in your home as building materials, they are not interchangeable. Both are commonly used in the construction of kitchens and modular furniture.

Like any other material, MDF and plywood have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will discuss the difference between MDF and plywood.

What is MDF?

MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, which is effectively engineered wood made from hardwood and softwood composites that have been broken down.

There are no apparent wood grains or knots on an MDF board because it is made up of microscopic wood fibres. The fibres are glued together with wax using pressure or a high temperature to make panels.

The machine may cut the fibres in any direction because they are randomly oriented, resulting in a smooth surface to the touch. Naturally, the board is not waterproof, but there are alternatives on the market that are more moisture and fire-resistant.

MDF boards are currently the most popular carpentry material since they may be painted or lacquered, glued from natural sheets or melamines, or even printed with patterns. They can also be used in other applications, such as wall and door cladding.

MDF Board

What is Plywood?

Plywood, like MDF, is an engineered wood product manufactured by gluing veneer wood sheets together to form a single solid piece. Plywood sheets are available in various grades, allowing you to select the best one for your purposes.

Plywood, unlike MDF, has visible wood grains but is devoid of other flaws. Homeowners can use low-grade plywood for flooring, while higher-grade plywood is ideal for cabinets and shelving.

The uses of plywood are numerous. Furniture, floors, ceilings, doors, and countertops are just a few examples of what it may be used for. Paints and glues for natural sheets or melamine are also suitable with it.


Differences Between MDF And Plywood:

ParticularsMDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)Plywood
Types of materialIt’s a fragmented mixture of hardwood and softwood scraps.In this case, thin veneered sheets are glued together.
CostMDF is less expensive.Slightly expensive.
StructureUniform, smooth, and knot-free.The grains of adjacent layers are at right angles to each other in an odd number of layers.
StrengthIt has a softcore and a tendency to split easily.It has a stronger core and several layers of wood are present.
UsesIt is used for bookshelves, cabinets, doors, doorframes, and other indoor projects.Furniture, roofing, external and interior walls, and other outdoor projects are all made with plywoods.
WeightMDF is denser than plywood, so it weighs considerably more.It weighs less than MDF.
During cutWhen compared to plywood, MDF produces significantly more sawdust when cut. As a result, we must work in a well-ventilated environment and wear a respirator or other protective mask and goggles.Does not produce that much dust during the cut.
Finishing of edgesIt is easy to cut because of its lack of grain and its softness. The cuts are even at the edges.Since it is made of layers, so the edges of plywood need to be finished.
PaintingMDF takes well to paint due to its smooth surface. It gives the best results when started with a coat of oil-based primer.Plywood can be painted and higher-grade plywood is available. Because of its solid-wood-like grain and finish, plywood works well with stains.
Anchorage for screwsMDF doesn’t hold screws very well because it’s soft.Plywood is more likely to splinter or crack around the edges than MDF.
Water resistanceIt is not water-resistant.MDF can be sealed and made more water-resistant with a good, thick primer and paint.It is more water-resistant than MDF.When exposed to water over time, it is still porous and prone to damage.
Durability and ResilienceWhen properly finished, it is long-lasting. However, it is not as sturdy as plywood.When properly finished, it is durable.
FlexibilityIt is not flexible.Plywood is flexible in thin sheets.
Environmental impactIt is environment-friendly because it reuses scrap wood items.Since wood veneers are used, it is less eco-friendly.

Which One Should We Use: MDF Or Plywood?

So, which should you choose between MDF and plywood? Both materials have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.

MDF isn’t appropriate for outdoor use because it effectively withstands moisture, but it can be used as decorative panels or furnishings in your home.

Because it does not chip easily, MDF is perfect for cutting, machining, and drilling. MDF is better suitable for indoor use, such as furniture, because it does not withstand moisture well.

MDF is also perfect for cutting, milling, and drilling without splinters or chipping because of its non-directional grain structure.

It’s a wonderful choice for simple interior design elements that will be painted, such as cabinets, shelving, and mouldings, because of the smooth surface.

Plywood is widely used for doors, stairs, flooring, and outdoor projects, but it also can flex easily with the grain, making it excellent for curved surfaces.

Plywood’s strength is also affected by moisture; exterior-glued plywood can be used outside, but it performs best when the moisture content is kept low.

After all, any form of manufactured wood can be used for various projects; however, we should keep in mind the weight, material strength, clean cutting, and the possibility of water damage.

Also Read –

Difference Between WPC Board & Plywood

Types Of Plywood Used In Construction

Types Of Wood Used In Construction

Types Of Skirting Used In Construction

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